Title: The Chronicles of Riddick: The Underverse
1. The Chronicles of Riddick: The Underverse
Fandom: Chronicles of Riddick. B:TVS
AN: Post CR, Post The Zeppo.
Summary: In order to end the Necromonger threat Riddick must journey to the past where it all began. And gets some help along the way.
Diclaimer: WE own nothing. Nothing. Riddick unfortunately belongs to those with far more money, and pull than us. If we had it our way, he'd be tied to Wren's bed. And I'd have JC, damnit. But unfortuantely we realize the sky's blue so this isn't our world.
The Chronicles of Riddick: The Underverse
Riddick growled at the Elemental. Aereon sighed, The Riddick was a complex creature. The last of his kind. A killer, a convict. At the moment, Lord Marshal of the Necromongers. At the moment.
"I'm tired. I can't keep doing this," muttered Riddick from where he sprawled across the Lord Marshal's throne. "I never asked for this."
"Yet it is what is," said Aereon, quietly.
Riddick eyed the woman. After two years of her cryptic bullshit, he was ready to strangle her. If he thought it'd do any good she'd have all ready tasted his blade. "I refuse to be hunted any longer."
"You are no longer..."
"Bull," he roared standing. "The moment I became Lord Marshal, I became even more of a prize than before. The Necromongers are revolting because I won't let them continue their campaign. Several contingents have all ready seceded."
"And what are you going to do about it," she asked.
"Fuck," he muttered, pacing. "I am no one's saviour."
"You can not run."
Riddick gaze narrowed, and for a moment the ancient creature trembled at the look in the silver gaze. She above all knew the animal that lay barely leashed beneath the surface.
"I ain't never run in my life," he growled. "But you give me a solution or I'll make a solution."
"I have spoken with the Oracles," she said, floating off.
Riddick dropped back onto the thrown. He hated this mystical shit. Higher powers or whatever, he hated them all. They'd done nothing for him. He never intended to do anything for them.
"The Necromongers can not be stopped," she said after a long silence.
Riddick snorted. That was a no brainer.
When he didn't take the bait, Aereon continued on. "Not in this time," she offered. "The Oracles believe if you were to travel through the Underverse to before this began... stop the first Lord Marshal."
"And how would I do this," asked Riddick, brow quirking. "None of these loathsome creatures have ever seen their blessed Underverse. Hell, I don't even think the fuckers know where it is."
"They don't," began Aereon slowly. "Praise the Powers That Be that it was hidden from them. Or the worlds of man would have been long extinguished."
Riddick stiffened. He'd known the old crone had been keeping things from him. Partially, to appear more mysterious, which if it was for his benefit was wasted, and partially becuase she had her own agenda. But he'd never quite figured out her angle. It looked like it was finally share time.
Riddick stood next to Vaako, staring out into the starfield from the top deck of the flag ship. Once again having given orders to still another uprising.
Vaako glanced at the Lord Marshal. "I believe you're right, sir."
Riddick barely refrained from rolling his eyes. Vaako would agree with anything he said, as long as Dame Vaako wasn't around to goad him into stupidity. "I know I am. So, announce to the minions that I leave for the 'Great Pilgrimage' in a few ship rotations."
"Do you truly believe you shall reach the Underverse," asked Vaako. He'd found that unlike the previous Lord Marshal, the Riddick would answer questions. Well, those he deemed worth his time.
Riddick lifted a single brow, then turned and walked away. Vaako was useful, but in no way truly trust worthy. But then in his experience no one was. He was definitely not about to tell one of the enemy that he was making a trip through the Underverse to stop their New World Order before it began. He couldn't quite believe he was doing it, himself. But it was the only way according to Aereon and her blasted higher powers. He still wasn't sure exactly what the Elemental's agenda was. She'd told him just enough to get him to go through with, and she hadn't lied but there was something she was holding back. Maybe he was paranoid, but there was an old Earth saying, 'It ain't paranoia if they really are out to get you'.
Aereon entered the antechamber of the eldest Elemental. In the shadows the eternally youthful being shifted. The voice came from everywhere, and nowhere. "Have you done what I asked?"
"Yes, though it was a bit difficult," answered Aereon. "The Powers wanted him sent directly to where Samiel was birthed. However, I convinced them to send him where he would receive help."
The aura in the room shifted, and she could have sworn she felt the Eldest's pleasure surge across the air currents.
"Good. Good. Is the Riddick ready?"
Aereon paused before she answered. The Riddick was a complex creature. While she was certain whatever the Eldest had planned would come to fruition, she was just as certain that the Riddick wouldn't play along if he knew he was being manipulated. "I have told him only what the Powers wish him to know."
For a moment Aereon could have sworn she heard the being snort. But certainly not. They were servants of the Powers.
"Oh yes, the Powers. Good. That's exactly what you should have done. You've done well, Aaereon. It's time to gather the others. Opening the Gateway is a delicate matter."
Aereon gave a half bow before retreating, knowing she'd effectively been dismissed.
2. Chapter Two
see chapter one for disclaimer
Xander walked away from the school with only a slight limp, offering prayers to every deity he'd ever read about in Giles books. He couldn't believe he'd actually gotten O'Toole to stop the bomb. Xander slowed to a halt, the bomb. The bomb, he'd just left sitting in the basement of the school for anybody to find. Or accidently set off. With a groan Xander turned back around, and headed back toward the school. Grumbling to himself that it'd be some freak janitor with a grudge against Synder (reasonable in his opinion), who'd decide to blow up the school.
He made his way carefully by the closed library doors, not wanting to draw any attention to himself. If the others didn't want him around, he wasn't going to keep pushing himself on them. As harrowing as tonight had been, he'd taken care of everything without needing Buffy to come to his rescue.
Once again in front of the bomb, Xander stared at it. How was he going to get this thing out of here? He sighed, he was going to have to take it apart. Half way through dismantleing the trigger mechanism he heard an odd crashing noise echoing through the supposedly deserted hall. His eyes narrowed, if O'Toole hadn't left this could get ugly. He cocked his head to one side and extended his hearing as far as it would go. He could hear several odd noises but couldn't quite make out what they were. Pocketing the bits of wire he sighed and quietly left the small room to check out the sounds.
Riddick came through the Gate with a shudder, it was not going to become his favorite form of transportation. His first few steps were just the tiniest bit off balance, and he stumbled into what looked like old-fashioned desks. He caught himself, stilling quickly as he examined the room. He could smell earth, and damp. A hint of sewage, and oddly enough some type of beast. The smell of hormones, and youth. The sound of approaching footsteps caught his ear, and he slid back into the shadows of the room.
Blending into the darkness like he was born of it, Riddick waited for the coming male.
Xander opened the door slowly, poking his head in warily. He was pretty sure O'Toole was gone but better safe than sorry.
Riddick held still watching the human male as he searched the room. Riddick could hear the young man muttering, with the occassionally exclamation thrown in. He bit back a curse as he realized the young man wasn't speaking Standard. The first fuck-up of this fucked up plan. How was he supposed to get this done, if he couldn't understand the natives. As the male came farther into the room, he made the conscious switch to the limited three dimensional sight. The young man was tall, lanky. He obviously hadn't reached his full growth yet. Still, he'd be impressive whenever he did. Dark hair, dark eyes, and a mouth that would have gotten him in serious trouble in Slam.
"O'Toole if you're still here, I'm kicing your ass," muttered Xander. "Fuck, here kitty, kitty." The back of Xander's neck itched. He couldn't see or hear anything but damn if he didn't think someone or something was here. Paranoia Xander, you're taking it too far, he thought. Turning with a sigh he got ready to leave.
Riddick thought about letting the young man just go. But the Elemental had said he was being sent to someone who would help him. He slid out of the shadows.
Xander froze, and spun back around as he caught the glint of silver out of the corner of his eye. "My God, it is me. Not the Hellmouth," groaned Xander as the massive man with the glowing silver eyes appeared out of nowhere. This was an entirely different level of weird. Whether it was a bad weird was yet to be seen. Stepping back slowly, he held up his hands. "Woah, there big guy. Who are you and what are you doing here?"
Riddick ignored the sounds coming out of the kid's mouth, instead focusing on his body language. This was a youth used to fight or flight mode. So, maybe this wasn't a momenutal fuck up. He had no use for scholars, or mystics. But another warrior even a young one was good. If what Aereon said was true he had a good bit of time to train him. Knowing it was useless he spoke anyway. "Riddick."
Xander quit backing away; he hadn't attacked and in fact seemed to be trying to communicate. Of course, the Mrs. French had wanted to 'communicate' as well. "Uh, I'm sorry I don't speak demon. Well, I can read some. But the speaking thing, uh I do well to speak English."
Riddick sighed at the flow of babble. The first thing he'd have to do was teach the kid the art of silence. "Riddick," he tried again, pointing at himself. "Riddick."
Was that his name? Man, this was one strange demon. "Uh, Xander," he said pointing at himself. "Xander. And uh, I hope you're not planning on eating, sacrificing or otherwise doing unpleasant things with my person anywhere in the near future."
Riddick growled, then sighed. He was pretty sure somwhere in that flow of babble was a name.
Xander jumped at the growl; he could practically feel the impatience in it. He wasn't quite sure what to do. He wasn't exactly in the mood to take him to Buffy. He didn't need the hapless Xander comments at the moment. But he couldn't just leave him here either. Not that he thought he could make this man do anything he didn't want to. Frustration was the order of the day it seemed. Xander dropped his head into his hands, rubbing at his temple; unaware of the almost subaudible growl of frustration he gave in return.
Riddick smirked; the kid was just as irked about the situation as he was. Still, he wasn't freaking out. And if what Aereon had said was true, he was in Earth Prime's past. As far as he knew the natives hadn't even known there was extra-terrestrial life let alone see an alien. He slowly approached the kid hand out, he couldn't do harmless but he could try.
Xander tensed, ready to take off at the slightest hint of a threat. But all the man did was hold out his hand, Xander couldn't believe he was doing this but he stuck out his own. The man took it and said the foreign word again.
Well, apparently that was his name. "Xander."
Riddick gave a grin, finally a one word answer. He let go, and waited. The kid obviously wasn't staying here. His best bet was to go with him. The kid would lead him to his team, or home. Either one worked for him. It would give him time to learn the language, and assess his new surroundings.
Xander was bemused. Tonight was one for the record books. Actually, this was it. He was through for tonight. He was going home, going to bed, and try to forget most of this night ever happened. If the demon, mage, man whatever turned out to be a big bad, the gang would deal with him later. If he turned out to be harmless, well then none of them even needed to know about him. "All righty, then. Now that we've exchanged pleasantries. Good night. Good luck. God speed. I'm out."
With that Xander turned and walked away. If he were a drinking man he'd need a drink. Several of them in fact. In one night, he'd faced down killer zombies, hell bitches, and lost his virginity. Fun times.
Riddick followed the muttering young man silently. Up through the halls of what he now recognized as a school from some old holo vids. He kept just out of the younger man's range of senses; which he had to admit where pretty decent for a humans. Nowhere near good enough to catch him, but they'd be good in a fight. As they neared the entrance, a smell began to permeate the air. He frowned; the stench was nearly overwhelming. He'd have said there was no smell worse than Butcher Bay or the pits of Cremtoria but this place.... It smelled of death, blood, fear, and some unnamed unholy thing. Almost reminiscent of the pits of the Necromonger conversion chambers. The threshold of some hell.
3. Chapter Three
See part one for all disclaimers and summary
Once again, Xander had that creepy feeling. He stopped, scratched the back of his neck absently. He glanced around, nothing there. He continued on his way, pace picking up. Cursing the fact that he'd blown the radiator on the car, and that he'd left his last stake in one of the zombies. It would be just his luck to run into a vampire on the way home. He moaned wondering if it were actually possible to kick himself. He should have known better than to think that on the Hellmouth.
Riddick bit back a grin. He might not know what the kid was saying but he could tell he'd had a rough night.
"Of fucking course," Xander muttered when three vampires stepped out of the shadows. He was going to die within ten feet of safety. And here he was just thinking that he didn't need to be rescued anymore. Where was the Buffster when you actually needed her? He fell back into a defensive stance putting his back to a nearby car.
Outnumbered three to one, and he still managed to get in some good hits. Then he zigged, when he should have zagged and a side kick to his knee nearly dislocated it. He hit the ground hard, and he knew it was over even as he tried to regain his feet. Life flashing before his eyes, which took all of .five two seconds. Man, he needed to get a life.
Just as he was offering his good-byes a sound like nothing he'd ever heard echoed through the night. It wasn't like a vampire's growl. More animal, less demon in the sound. Then began the constant thud of bodies, and the what he'd termed a hunting growl grew more frustrated. Xander finally made it to his feet, and turned to see his saviour.
It was the guy from before, he was tossing the vampires around like Buffy. Hell, Buffy could take lessons from this guy. But he wasn't killing them, oh Xander heard the snapping of necks but with a vamp that would only disable. Momentarily at that, if they were old enough. He started looking around, hoping for a nearby tree or even a shrub. Anything. No such luck, except for Mrs. Fren's raggedy fence.
Oh, well. Just add more vandalism to his list of crimes for tonight. Hobbling over he wrenched a piece of the old fence, and waited for the big guy to take down a vamp again.
It wasn't long. Just a few thuds more. Actually, it was pretty amazing. The guy, Riddick, had yet to break a sweat or take a hit. Man, Buffy really needed to ask who his trainer was. Xander lunged toward the body on the ground, driving the stake in and out. Poof. Such a satisfiying sound. Deadboy, begone.
Before he had time to register the guy was on him, and had the stake. Half a second later, poof and poof again. No more vampires. His night was once again looking up. So, he looked up and up. Man, good guy or not those eyes were alarming. "So, rescue many damsels in distress. Not that I'm a damsel or anything," babbled Xander climbing to his feet. Pain shot through his leg, but he ignored it; unaware of the subvocal whine he gave.
Riddick, however, was not. The sound was not enough for normal ears to hear. The boy hid his pain well. Very well for a practically untrained fighter. Riddick studied the boy as he shifted nervously. It was the left knee, he could see the slight variations in heat all ready gathering around the area.
"And I guess I owe you thanks," began Xander hesitantly as another thought occured to him. "Are you following me? You are, aren't you? Great what am I going to tell the 'rents? He followed me home, can I keep him? Yeah, that'll go over real well with Mr. Hit first ask questions never." Of course, his erstwhile saviour said nothing. But seeing as he apparently didn't speak English, what did he expect.
God, he couldn't believe he was going to do this. But, the man had just saved him so...
"C'mon you can crash for the night," said Xander turning away. He started forward, another subvocal whine. Then there was an arm around him.
Riddick couldn't help it. It was an animal thing. This young pup was to be if only temporarily part of his crew. He was hurting, and instinct said to help. It wasn't like it was a big thing. Just letting the kid lean on him.
Xander started, flinching away. Touching. There was unneccesary touching. He pushed away from the heavily muscled arm, until the low growl stopped him. He paused looking up into the man's face, the silver eyes glimmered unreadable. But the impatient, yet chiding growl was clear. Xander was suddenly glad for the fragments of hyena. Without it he'd be scared out of his wits as it was he could just discern the man's intentions. At least he hoped he was. It'd be pretty bad if what he thought was let-me-help-you-stupid, actually meant stand-still-and-let-me-eat-you-stupid.
Riddick waited for the boy to lean back against him; he could tell he was going to from the faint shifting toward him. When the boy gave in he waited until Xander indicated the direction, then guided them toward it.
Yes, tonight was strange indeed. Even for the Hellmouth this was a strange night.
Silver-eyed protectors. Zombie gang-memembers. The Sisters of Jhe. Horny Slayer. And losing the Virginity. He'd had a full, and productive night. The only thing left was to slip Hercules here past the parental units, that were hopefully so inebriated they wouldn't notice a demi-god striding through their home. And Xander had no doubt his saviour strode, the man couldn't do anything less.
4. Chapter Four
Xander slid the door open slowly, peeping around the corner. Right on schedule, passed out, on the sofa and armchair respectively the parents. He turned to Riddick, and mimed silence. And had the brief thought that this charades thing was going to grow old fast.
Xander slunk across the living room, habit made him quick and quiet. He was through and to the stairs leading to the basement in seconds. Riddick was right behind him. He wasn't surprised. The man moved like Deadboy. Except he didn't give him that same creepy feeling. Opening the door, he flicked on the light switch and pointed down the stairs.
Riddick glanced down the entryway then back to the living room. He knew the boy wanted to hide him from his parents. He'd know why the minute he'd taken a breath. They stank of liquor, and from the fear scent coming from the boy they weren't happy drunks. The thought... irked him. While he'd only known Xander for less than an hour, it
was obvious he was an intelligent and resourceful man. And if Aereon had sent him to this young man, an important one. However, now was not the time to get into it. He would save the young man as much hassle as he could, with a nod he slipped down the stairs.
Xander gave a relieved sigh when his impromptu guest disappeared down the stairs. Mission A accomplished. Moving as quietly as when he'd arrived Xander headed upstairs to his bedroom; inside he gathered his sleeping bag, a pillow and a blanket. The basement sometimes got chilly. That done he headed back downstairs, he was
halfway across the kitchen when the light came on.
"W-has wit the sleeping bag boy," croaked Tony.
Xander bit back a curse, and turned to face his father. "Uh, I was gonna check out the basement. See, how I liked it. It's bigger than my room."
"Why don't you gone ahead and stay down there. That way I can rent your room to Rory. He's been asking when we were gonna kick you out anyway," slurred the senior Harris stumbling over to the fridge.
Xander was about to protest when the silver glimmer caught his eye again. "Yeah, sure dad. I'll just move my stuff down this weekened," he said, hurrying toward the stairs.
"Whatever, boy," was the grunted reply.
Xander gave a sigh of relief when his 'guest' vanished back down the stairs. Before he followed him he made sure the upstairs door was shut tight, and slipped a broom in front of it. If his parents ventured down, by some odd chance, he'd hear them first.
At the bottom of the stairs he took in his guest again. Once again common sense tried to rear its head. What the hell was he doing? Taking some strange man, never mind he'd been rescued, into his house? He could be a serial killer or a door-to-door salesman. He hadn't had much luck with those. And now here he was not only with just one sleeping back, but preemptively moved into the basement all on account of this Riddick. Yeah, he was the Zeppo again.
Riddick eyed the material in the kid's hands. It looked like some form of bedding. He supposed it would be to much to ask to sleep in a real bed. Still, it was a lot better than he was expecting. Being back in this primitive time he was lucky he hadn't been burned at the stake yet.
Xander set his stuff on the side table, and moved over to his
parent's old fold-out. The thing really needed a good airing out and there was a spring that tried to gut you, but it was better than nothing. He moved around the room, shoving things out of the way until he'd cleared out a decent size space. He grabbed his abandoned bundle, and spread it out across the floor. Then resorted to the pantomine again.
"Riddick," he said then pointed to the floor. "Sit. Stay."
Riddick stared at the kid, then rolled his eyes. He didn't speak the language. He wasn't mental. Riddick shrugged, he'd had worse. Without further sound, he slid to the floor.
Xander bit back a moan of relief. He was tired, frustrated, and his knee hurt like a sonuvabitch. He just wanted to sleep. Except he wasn't 'cause there was bad touching again!
Xander jerked up to glare at the hand on his knee. The glare Riddick gave him in return beat out Willow's resolve face anyway. He hissed as the hands pressed against the swollen flesh, before he batted at them.
Riddick ignored the hands, he'd temporarily forgotten about the kid's injury until he'd given that low whine again. The area was even more aggravated than before and if it wasn't wrapped tonight it'd be a real bitch to deal with tomorrow. Without thought he ripped up the kid's pants leg.
Xander yelped, and would have moved except Riddick had his knee and he was abruptly reminded of the pain from earlier. Plus, it wasn't like he could go anywhere without it. "Ya know, I could have taken care of that later. No need to ruin a perfectly serviceable pair of dockers. And am I just talking to myself aren't I?" Xander scooted around until he was facing Riddick, then slowly reached out to hold
the man's hands still.
Riddick glanced up. Xander found himself momentarily held by the silver gaze, before shaking himself. "I got bandages. Okay? Bandages." Xander mimed wrapping his leg. Riddick grunted and backed away. Xander shifted to the edge of the bed, but Riddick held him still. He sighed then pointed over to the stand above the washtub. He usually kept an emergency supply downstairs. In the off chance his mother was actually sober enough to ask questions, or notice the
Riddick glanced over, spotting the white box with the big red cross. Xander was once again astounded by how quickly, and silently the man moved. One second he was there, gone, and then back. In short order his leg was wrapped, and Riddick was back on his space on the floor.
Xander eyed him wearily. Exhaustion finally taking over, he dropped back onto the fold-out. Tomorrow was another day. He'd deal with him then. It wasn't long before Xander was out like a light.
Riddick sat, waiting for the boy to slip deeper into sleep. The
answer to the smell that had been disturbing him all night lurking in the back corners of his brain. He knew it meant something. He suspected that old witch Aereon knew as well. Whatever. He'd deal with what was coming like he did everything else. Shiv in hand.
When Xander's breathing became slow and deep, Riddick stood, gliding over to the bed. He slipped in, curving around the younger man. He had no idea what was in store, but he intended for this boy to come through it alive.
5. Chapter Five
see prologue for disclaimers et. al.
Riddick slid from the bed as the sounds of the boy's parents moving around upstairs grew louder. He knew it wouldn't be long before the pup woke. He settled back onto the makeshift bed on the floor.
Xander stirred slowly, giving a jaw-cracking yawn as he sat up. He felt rested, in fact he hadn't sleep so well in years. Disoriented for a moment, he wondered where the hell he was, before memories of last night returned. He spun around to find the silver-eyed man watching him. Riddick. "Err, morning. I trust you found the accommodations to your liking? Umm, breakfast shall consist of whatever I can scrounge up after Tony and Jessica have cleared out."
Riddick said nothing, watching as Xander babbled. He wondered exactly how long the kid could hold his breath. He was betting it'd be for a good while. When he mimed eating Riddick finally had something to attribute the flow of words to. He gave a nod, and settled down to wait.
With a sigh of relief, Xander fled up the stairs as he heard his parents leave out the front. Xander didn't think he'd ever been so uncomfortable in his life. His visitor was evil. Fortunately it wasn't staking level evil, just that of your average cat. Riddick had watched him from the moment he'd awakened, like some giant cat. The silver eyes followed his every movement. He knew he couldn't take that for much longer. He had to have something that would capture the other man's attention. He paused on the basement steps, a thought occurring to him. He hurried the rest of the way up, and headed for the hall closet. He knew his aunt
Melinda had left some of his baby cousin's videos over from their last visit. He shuffled through the things on the shelf until he found the video, The Alphabet Jungle. It wasn't likely the man would learn English from it but hey it was a
start. Heading back through the kitchen he stopped long enough to grab a few granola bars, and a couple of sodas.
Riddick was waiting at the bottom of the stairs. Xander grinned at his guest then handed him their breakfast.
Riddick took the stuff, ripping open the cellophane. He didn't even have to ask what it was. He bit into the bar, and grimaced. It was nearly as bad as space rations.
Xander inched around his guest and headed over to the television. It was old and had rabbit ears but it worked. His parent's used the basement as a den when his younger cousins were visiting. It wasn't often, but it did happen. He turned on the VCR, which was only slightly newer than the television and popped in the tape. He turned to Riddick, and had to bite down a yelp. The man was standing right behind him, and he hadn't even heard him move. "Keep that up, and you're gonna get staked," he muttered.
Riddick's gaze was focused on the television. He could see the images slowly coming in. He supposed it was an older version of a holo-vid.
Xander glanced from Riddick to the television. "Ahh, the power of the idiot box." Moving away, he found a chair and sat it in front of the TV. He motioned for Riddick to sit, when his guest was situated he took the opportunity to
disappeared upstairs to shower.
Riddick watched the plain two-d characters interact on the screen. It was obviously a program for children. But he suspected it was also educational. Normally, he'd object on principal but he needed to learn about this world and
this was a good way to do it.
Xander was ready in under twenty minutes. He didn't think he'd ever taken a faster shower. He didn't want to leave his guest alone for too long. Though how he was going to avoid doing that when he had school was a problem he still
hadn't solved. Xander paused at the bottom of the stairs, but maybe that wouldn't be a problem. Riddick had obviously learned how to operate the television with no trouble. Xander grinned, the electronic babysitter.
"Riddick," he said wanting to alert the man to his approach.
Riddick turned away from the television, gaze taking in the young man. He'd thought the clothing from last night was the result of a particularly long night. Obviously not, but then again he doubted the boy's parents were too keen
on providing anything better. Course he still looked decent, something of his warrior mentality still shone through. He watched as the kid settled onto the edge of the bed.
Xander stilled, the silver eyes were slightly unnerving. Though if he had to admit, they were beginning to grow on him. They looked damn cool. He shook himself, and motioned for Riddick to join him.
Riddick sat down beside him, and waited for Xander's next move. Xander dug through his schoolbag, and pulled out two notebooks. He handed one, and a pen, to Riddick. Using the pen he kept, he wrote down his name. "Xander," he said pointing to the letters. He then pointed to Riddick's notebook.
Riddick grinned; yeah the kid was smart, he thought. He quickly scrawled down his own name. "Riddick," he said, imitating Xander.
Xander dug out some of his stuff from patrol. A knife he'd kept after dusting a vamp. He pulled it out, and held it up. "Knife," he said. "Knife." Then wrote it down. And repeat.
Oh, Riddick liked this kid. A man after his own heart. The second thing established after names, weapons.
He slid out his shiv, balancing the blade on the flat of his hand before sending it dancing across his fingers. "Caedere," he said, holding it beside Xander's
Xander watched as the curved blade played over the man's hands. He'd seen Buffy with a bladed weapon, but her knife work fell short off this. After a moment, Riddick made it disappear again. Then his guest was writing the name down, and repeating its name.
Xander chanced being late to get a few more basic words. Food. Water. Basic body parts. And the numbers one through five. After that he set Riddick up in front of PBS. He hated to leave educating the man to TV, but hey if Big Bird was good enough for him....
If Xander was distracted during class before it was nothing now. He was antsy all day until lunch, and then he headed straight for the library. Except no one was there. He sighed; of course no one told him about the change in plans. As
there weren't many places to take lunch, he headed out to the quad. And there they all were. He hurried over to them. While he was certain that Riddick wasn't a demon, he was still the slightest bit unnerved by his appearance. Because
honestly, just because the man wasn't a demon didn't mean he had no connections to them. If nothing else he might have escaped from one of those hell dimensions
like Buffy had last summer.
"Guys..." said Xander.
"Xander. Boy, you're lucky you weren't at school last night. It was crazed," Willow blurted.
"Actually, I had a pretty interesting night myself," began Xander. "Which is what I wanted to talk to you about." He held out the notebook filled with Riddick's handwriting. "I was wondering if this was a language you recognized G-man?"
Giles took the notebook, giving it a cursory glance. His vision still funny from the blow he took last night. He frowned at the odd symbols. They looked like some child's idea of Latin, with some nonsensical characters thrown in.
Willow peered over Giles shoulder, "Hey, is that one of your and Jesse's attempts at making up your own language. I remember when you guys tried to learn how to write Vulcan."
Buffy scooted closer, blonde head tipping to the side. "Man, Xander your night was just filled with excitement."
Xander bit back a sigh. "No, Willow. I was doing some research and I found this language. Ya' know seeing as I was left out of the action," he snapped. "and I was just wondering if Giles recognized it."
Everyone except Buffy looked a tad guilty.
"I'm sorry, Xander. But I doubt it's a real language," said Giles, handing back the tablet. "Did you find it on-line somewhere? Amazingly enough, Willow's found various demon language listed on sites which include languages from television programs." Giles felt bad about having to disappoint the boy. Especially since it looked like Buffy was going to insist on relegating him to the role of research assistant-slash-snack-getter. He personally felt it was a waste, but then again the young man did have a tendency to end up in harms way.
"Man, Xander you've got to get your research skills up to par," muttered Buffy. "Klingon is not a real language. Demon or otherwise."
Xander stilled, for a minute he wished he could growl as impressively as his guest. Fine. If they didn't want to help, he'd do it on his own. He'd done just fine without them yesterday. He could continue to hold his own. Hell, he was all ready off to a good start. He'd started establishing a language with Riddick. He'd pretty much established he was a good guy. He hadn't woke up murdered in his sleep, though on the negative side his parents had still been alive. But other than that he'd been a good guy. "Ah, well," he said finally. "Better luck next time. I'm gonna grab a snack. Anyone want?"
There was a chorus of nos. And Oz's, "Oddly full."
Xander walked away, head all ready full of plans. He'd skip fifth hour to take a look in some of the more obscure demon texts. Plus, take a lesson from Willow's notebook and check out the internet. He probably should stop by the video store
on his way home, or maybe the library and see what kid videos they had. They were a good way to start.
Xander made his way home by way of Blockbuster and Sunnydale Public library. He hadn't found a trace of Riddick's language on-line or in Giles texts. He'd actually ended up skipping the rest of his classes to search. At first he'd been slightly disheartened. But then he'd decided to focus on the fact that he'd managed some form of communication. Heck, if push came to shove he'd just teach
Riddick heard the kid the moment he'd entered the house. He'd spent the day watching the television; and attempting to learn the language. English. It was just different enough from Standard to make it a pain to learn. A week or so and
he'd have it.
Xander didn't know whether to breathe a sigh of relief or not as he entered the house to find his parents in their familiar places.
"Beer," grunted Tony as he passed by.
Xander didn't comment, just did as requested. He then headed upstairs to grab a few more of the essentials to take into the basement with him. He knew better than to wait for too long. Either Uncle Roary would start appropriating his
things or they'd be tossed willy-nilly down the stairs.
"Alexander," yelled his mother up the stairs. Xander came out of the room with a basket full of things. "You owe your uncle sixty for the tow."
Xander sighed; he hated having to dip into his road trip fund. But he reasoned without a car, there wouldn't be much of a road trip. "I know, ma. I'll pay him Friday."
Jessica nodded, following her son into the kitchen. "Be sure and take a few extra blankets it can get cold down there," she muttered as headed downstairs.
Yet again, Riddick was waiting for him. He had an idea the man knew it was him before he'd even opened the door.
"Xander," said Riddick, giving a nod of greeting. He'd decided meeting the young man was a good thing, no matter what Aereon's ulterior motives were. People like
Xander were few and far between where he came from. He had a feeling it was the case here as well. Hell, if he'd had someone like Xander around he'd probably have avoided Slam all together. He snorted silently. More than likely they'd have both ended up there. The Company didn't like being disobeyed.
Xander shot him a grin. "I see you've had a productive day. Alas, I have not. Spent several useless hours searching for your language but nada. Still, I got you a couple videos and found a primer at the library. So, we should have you
speaking English in no time."
Riddick sighed, a full day of television or not he still wasn't prepared for the flow of babble from Xander. He's pretty sure that even when he can finally understand English he's going to have a hard time keeping up with Xander babble.
At least he was used to it, after months on the ship with Jack he'd learned to tolerate it. The girl, once she'd gotten used to him, had talked non-stop. He figured he'd better get used to it again. The kid babbled non-stop and he'd just
met him. Once they actually got to know each other, Xander might never shut up.
Xander headed over to the tv, digging through his book bag for the videos. He intended to set Riddick up for a video fest, then slip out for patrol. He was supposed to meet the girls at Ryerson Cemetery. Sitting the half dozen tapes on
top of the VCR, he moved over to the table and pulled out a couple of pens, a notebook, and the primer from the library. His guest was obviously intelligent. He figured he could spend the next hour or so getting him set up learning how to at least write the alphabet, then when it was time to leave sit him in front of the TV.
Riddick followed closely behind Xander, and seeing the younger man pull out the writing supplies knew he was going to try teaching him the native language again. He figured it was as good a way as any to pass the time. He really should have gotten a better time table from Aereon. The vague year or so time limit was very annoying. With a disgruntled growl, he settled down to study.
6. Chapter Six
See Prologue for all disclaimers and summary
Xander glanced over to where Riddick was watching the television. The odd man had picked up the alphabet fairly quick. It wouldn't be long before he was speaking English like a native. Give him a couple of weeks... Xander paused at the thought. Was he really planning on keeping this man here? Without telling his friends? Though, in honesty it'd be futile to introduce him before he could talk. So, keeping him hidden until then wasn't such a bad idea. Besides did he really want the gang to get onto him about this? Buffy and Giles would freak over his taking the strange man in. The gangs attitude toward him of late was really beginning to irk him. Also, he really wanted to keep Riddick around. The way he moved. His silent strength. If he could, would teach him.... It'd all be worth it.
Tearing his attention away, he slung his pack over his shoulder ready for a night of patrol. He moved quietly to the outer door. For a moment he paused, staring at the key in his hand, thoughts of his mother making him wince. When he'd come in earlier she'd been sober enough to give him the key to the side door, so he could come and go as he pleased. A part of him wanted to believe it was because she was looking out for him, the larger part, his common sense knew it was because she didn't want to have deal with her kid. With a sigh, Xander headed out. He was meeting the girls at Ryerson in a half hour.
Riddick watched Xander as he moved around the basement. He could see he was loading up for a fight. The kid slid a pair of knives into his pockets. Riddick made a note to acquire proper sheathes for Xander later. Into his bag, and back pocket he put stakes. They were hand carved, and obviously meant for going after the creatures from the night before. He grinned. The kid was trying to sneak out. It wasn't going to happen. But Riddick would give Xander a few minutes head start.
Riddick had been carefully observing Xander since they'd met. It was clear the younger man had senses better than the average human. It wasn't anything obvious, but you could see it in his actions. As they'd practiced the language, the boy had tensed and untensed at the footsteps above them. When they were concentrated on the second floor he was fine, but any sound on the first or kitchen caused the boy's gaze to flicker toward the stairwell. With senses like that he could be nearly as good as him. He'd have to start teaching him soon. Riddick waited until he was sure he'd be out of the boy's range before following his new protégé..
Xander walked behind the pair feeling a little niggle of doubt. Was he really not going to tell them? He glanced between his bestest friend and Buffy. It wouldn't be right. "Buds. Amigos. Compadres," said Xander, sliding up between the girls.
The vampire that Buffy had been stalking suddenly rabbited.
"See, Xander. That's why I don't want you patrolling," muttered Buffy. "All that chatter warns the vamps."
"Huh?" Xander blinked. Him? Buffy's mouth had been going at speeds a Nascar driver would envy since the start of patrol. Xander's jaw snapped shut. Fine. That was just fine. If she was gonna be like that she didn't deserve to know
about Riddick. Xander mimed zipping his lips.
For awhile he followed along behind the girls fuming, and tuning out their mindless chatter. If he thought about it, they reminded him of the Cordettes sometimes. Except Buffy wasn't nearly as clever as Cordy.
Movement caught his eye as Buffy beckoned for them to wait, then took off after a vampire. Willow grinned at him, then leaned against a tombstone to wait. He glanced over at her and felt a tiny bit of guilt. She was his bestest bud. Was he really gonna keep this secret from her? He shook his head; he couldn't.
"Wil's, my bestest bud," said Xander as he slid an arm around her waist. "No touching, Xander," muttered Willow as she squirmed out of Xander's embrace.
Xander was confused. "That wasn't naughty touching, Willow. Friendly touching all the way."
"Not anymore, Xander. We can't," insisted Willow. "Parts for Oz, now." A little frown settled onto her mouth. "Actually, I was thinking it'd be best if we weren't alone together for a little while."
Xander stilled, studying her. Willow's arms were crossed, her resolve face having made an appearance. He'd known she'd been miserable when Oz had been mad at her. He'd known she was desperate to prove herself to him. But willingly put their friendship aside? They'd been friends since kindergarten. Was she really so willing to toss that away? "Willow," he said, quietly.
"No, Xander. I don't want to hear it," she said firmly.
Xander's mouth tightened and his gaze narrowed. So, it was like that was it. He didn't know what to feel. Part of him was relieved his attempts to tell them about Riddick had failed. Another was saddened that his friends so obviously didn't want his company. Or wanted it on their terms, he thought with a sigh.
"I hate that," gripped Buffy as she headed back toward them. The blonde girl was glaring at the grass stains on her skirt. "I ruin more clothes this way."
Willow helped Buffy brush away the grass and dirt, offering sympathy for another ruined skirt.
"All right, guys. Time to get this done," snapped Buffy. "Some of us have things to do. I've got Angel time."
"Yah. Mien Fuhrer," muttered Xander.
Willow glared at Xander. "And I'm supposed to meet Oz at the Bronze."
Xander couldn't quite bring himself to care. He wasn't exactly happy with the two of them either.
"Me and Willow are gonna take the northeast quad," said Buffy tossing the stake she held back and forth. "Xander you can do the southwest. Meet at the entrance in thirty. Okay?"
Xander bit his lip, and counted to ten. Did she really think he was that incompetent? Or stupid? If it wasn't Willow checking the computer, it was him. How hard did she think it was to figure out when and where the newly dead were buried? There hadn't been a new plot in the southwest quad in over a month. Anyone who was going to rise would have done it weeks ago. It was not okay. Xander took a deep breath, and got ready to tell them exactly how much it wasn't when he glanced up. A flicker of silver, then darkness. "Fine. Whatever," he muttered turning away.
Riddick balanced carelessly on his perch, watching the blond. She was obviously the brawn of their group. The girl had a strength hidden in her small frame. Nowhere near his but from what he could see more than enough to deal with the creatures. Of course, her technique really could use some work. She was sloppy, didn't follow through, and lacked any form of subtlety.
He'd followed the trio as they'd moved through the cemetary. Xander had been the only one with any real stealth. The blond had traipsed through the area like she owned it. But then again with that kind of strength at your fingertips it was easy for the foolish to get careless, arrogant. Riddick knew her. She was a solider. Not a warrior, not a predator. He hadn't been able to figure out the red-head's place at first, then she'd floated a branch dusting one of the creatures. She was a Tele. He'd growled at the thought, remembering the Quasi-dead picking at his surface thoughts. He'd always been immune to thought probing from the various species capable of it; until his encounter with them he'd never felt another mind intruding on his. He didn't like it. And though Aereon had assured him the Furyan energy prevented deeper probing, the thought still made his teeth itch.
He tracked them through the trees, watching as they interacted. He didn't like what he saw. The girls treated the boy with disdain. He didn't need to understand what they were saying to know it. In fact, he preferred it that way.
His language was that of the body, the senses. The girls smiled, but there eyes were filled with lies. The blond girl obviously thought the boy beneath her. The dismissive look, the haughty tone. The red-head; Riddick frowned. He could scent the lust of her. She alternately panted after the boy, and rejected him. As the night drew on, the girl's behavior irritated Riddick more and more. Xander's silent acceptance of their actions making him angry on the boy's behalf.
Every once in awhile he could hear a sub audible whine, like a kicked puppy. It always coincided with something one of the girls would say. The various scents rising from the boy drew Riddick in. He could smell the buried rage, the despair and it touched something in him. If he had to deal with these people it would be through Xander.
Xander moved deeper into the cemetery, scanning the trees above him. He knew Riddick was out here somewhere. He'd seen the unmistakable glint of the silver eyes. It was why he hadn't protested Buffy's orders. He paused half way through the southwest quad, something itched at his senses. Nothing he could pinpoint but he just knew it had to be Riddick. Feeling only slightly ridiculous, he called out tentatively, "Riddick."
Riddick grinned in approval. While Xander hadn't managed to find his exact location, it was obvious the younger man knew he was here. Riddick let go of the branch he'd been dangling from.
Xander didn't quite jump. He'd been expecting the man to appear. Falling from the sky was a new one on him though. He couldn't help the grin that curved the edges of his mouth. Riddick's arrival was a pleasant end to an otherwise dismal night. "Got bored, huh? Don't like school much, either."
Smirking at the babble, Riddick moved to stand beside Xander. He tipped is head in the direction he'd seen the girls go.
Xander sighed. "Uh, no. We'll go hit, Meyers. There's a few over there that might rise. And hey this is Sunnydale, just on the walk over we might run into some vamps." Xander headed out of the cemetery, Riddick pacing silently beside him. "I suppose your day was more productive than mine. Though the environment probably wasn't any better. I'm not sure which is worse, sitting over the hellmouth or my parents basement. Probably the basement."
Xander kept up an endless flow of chatter as they made their way to Meyers. He knew Riddick probably didn't understand half of what he was saying, but he figured the more words he heard the quicker he'd learn.
Once in Meyers it didn't take long for Xander to locate the few graves he'd remembered from Willow's search program. The graves were still undisturbed so they probably had a await. Or not, he thought as Riddick cocked his head to the side then turned slowly to fix his eerie gaze on one grave in particular. Man, what he wouldn't give to have this guy's senses.
Riddick frowned as he heard the sound of movement beneath the ground. Which was just odd, he could tell there weren't any tunnels beneath them. So, the sound had to be coming from one of the burial crypts. The sounds of clawing, and growling grew louder and he moved toward them. And yes, it was coming from the crypt. He turned toward Xander.
Xander pointed toward the ground. "Vampire." And pulled out his stake. "Stake."
He grimaced as the hand suddenly exploded out of the ground. It wasn't long before it had managed to claw half way out. Xander hopped off the grave stone he'd been sitting on. The vampire's attention being focused on Riddick made the next part even easier. "Riddick," he said to get his attention. When he was sure he was watching, he thrust the stake into the vampire's chest. "Dust."
Riddick nodded once. It was simple. Easy. Definitely a lot cleaner than most of his kills. It was clear that this was how the kid had learned to fight. And he was good at it. So why were the girls so derisive? It made no sense. But then he didn't know the situation. He glanced over at the boy, waiting silently at the next grave. Still, he'd put his credits on Xander.
Xander tossed his bookbag onto the table, and made for the tiny refrigerator.
"Looks, like I'm all your's again," said Xander grabbing some things to make a sandwich. "Have you eaten yet Big Guy?" He kept up the steady babble hoping one day the other man would respond. He was fairly sure that after the past two weeks Riddick could understand at least half of what he was saying and yet the mystery man still refused to speak unless prompted.
Despite the lack of verbal communication they understood each other pretty well. The last week while on patrol they had held entire conversations using nothing but what he had now deemed primal speak and hand signals. Grunts, growls and the occasional whine, on his part, were actually alot more stealthy and practical while hunting.
Riddick watched as Xander finished two huge sandwiches and placed them on the table. He ate silently wondering what the kid had planned for them tonight. He hoped it wasn't another meeting with the rest of his group. He had followed the kid to a few of them. The need to know who and what he had fallen into drove him to spy on the entire group. He didn't understand the energy that surrounded her and the brunette female but he recognized fellow warrior spirits in them. The blond female treated everyone like they were lower life forms and not quite worth her attention but she treated Xander even worse. He recognized the smell of the brunette female as the scent that had been all over Xander the first night he had arrived, for some reason that irritated him. The red headed female was typical of all mystics he had met. Not only did she act as if her power made her superior but as a hormonal teenaged female she was constantly giving off mixed signals.
And the adult male, Giles, who Xander obviously looked to for guidance saw how the females were acting and yet made no move to correct the behavior. Choosing to take the cowards way and do nothing. Others came and went but this seemed to be the core of the group the younger man hunted with. No, he hoped there was not a meeting with those people tonight.
He watched as Xander sighed and glanced to the door that led up the stairs to the main part of the house. He could hear the kids parents arguing already. If they didn't leave the house soon they would call the kid up. He growled to himself. He really didn't like it when they involved the kid in their drunken brawls.
"Meeting tonight or patrol?" he asked when they had finished eating.
Xander's mouth fell open. "You speak! I mean of course you speak but I mean that was a whole sentence. Like talking speaking. An actual question," he babbled a few more seconds before narrowing his eyes. "Hey, how long have you been able to do that?"
Riddick smirked at the accusing tone. "Long enough."
"For what?" Xander asked cautiously.
"Long enough to understand a bit about this world."
"And you chose to speak now as opposed to before, why?"
"It seemed like a good time," Riddick's smirk grew into a full grin as the boy huffed and sat back in his chair.
7. Chapter Seven
see prologue for all warnings and disclaimers
Xander rolled his eyes at the grinning man. Now, finally he'd get some answers. "So what are you? Mage. Half-demon. What?"
Riddick snorted. "Neither. I'm an all together different animal."
Xander frowned. "Huh?"
"Alien," said Riddick.
Xander sighed. What was it? Why did everyone feel the need to make light of him? He figured he was relatively intelligent. For the most part he was a decent guy. So why did everyone want to screw with him? "Alien. Yeah, right. Fine. If you don't want to answer me then don't. There's no reason to treat me like an idiot," snapped Xander, shoving back from the table.
Riddick growled low as Xander stalked away. He didn't like Xander assuming he was like everyone else he knew. He was quite aware Xander thought he was making fun of him. He'd have to take the time to teach Xander he never treated those who mattered with anything but respect. Especially those who'd already proved themselves worthy of it. "Xander," snarled Riddick.
Xander responded to the command in his tone unconsciously. Turning to face is guest. "What?" he muttered sullenly.
Riddick moved to stand before his friend. "Have I done anything that would make you think I didn't respect you?"
Xander didn't know what to say. Respect was almost a foreign concept. No one treated him with any form of it. Not his parents, not the girls, not even Giles no matter how much the older man seemed to like him. But in Riddick's case... the man had never treated him like fringe. Not that, that was much of a case Riddick hadn't been around very long.
Then again Riddick never questioned him or his right to fight. It was obvious the man had learned the language some time ago, so it wasn't like he really needed Xander. He knew Riddick had been observing the others. Had to have seen how they dismissed him, and yet Riddick never left his side. Could he be telling the truth? He'd trusted his instincts for this long. And they were telling him to trust this... alien. "Alien?" he said hesitantly.
Riddick nodded. "Alien."
Xander dropped down onto the fold out couch. If he were accepting this he had an honest to God alien in his basement. Only him. "And why is an alien on earth? Do you guy's really vacation here?"
"Business. Not pleasure," murmured Riddick, with a hint of a smile. "Yet."
Xander blinked. Had Riddick? Nah, he shook his head. "Okay. What business do aliens have on earth?"
"To stop the coming apocalypse. What else?"
Xander groaned, and dropped his head into his hands. Of, course. What else? "Aliens are getting involved with the Hellmouth now? As if we didn't have enough problems. So what is it? Planets colliding? Black holes appearing? Hordes of invading Martians?"
Riddick gave a low chuckle. Xander's humor as strange as it was, was a good match for his own subtle brand. "A simple matter for your crew. A demon lord is resurrected sometime in the next few years. His ascension is interrupted and when he returns to his time the demon spreads throughout the galaxy like a plague of xenomorphs."
Xander had no idea what a xenomorph was but it didn't sound good. And wait a minute... future? "Exactly when is his time?"
Riddick grinned. "Let's just say a few millennia from now."
Millennia? There wasn't just an alien in his basement. There was a time-traveling alien in his basement. But just to be sure. "His time is your time?"
"And you are here because?" asked Xander.
"Because here is where it starts," shrugged Riddick.
"Here on the Hellmouth or here in my basement," muttered Xander.
"Actually the people in charge weren't even that specific," grumbled Riddick. "Just that the demon arose sometime in the early part of the 21st century. His traveling through the Hellmouth allowed the demon to contaminate millions."
"And he couldn't be stopped on your end," asked Xander.
"No. The worlds don't even know what the hell is going on," muttered Riddick. "The way it was going life was pretty much heading down the shitter."
Xander had a thought. "So your the Chosen one," he smirked.
Riddick growled. He in no way liked being compared to the blond ditz. "Not even. I was drafted. Apparently, I was the only one left to do the job. Last of my kind."
Xander winced. That had to suck. "Not everyone's got the cool orbs, huh?"
"No. It's the mark of a Furyan. Or so I've been told," said Riddick.
"Okay. Here to stop the unstoppable demon. Got that. Why are you in my basement?" Xander was confused. It was obvious Riddick needed help. So why him?
"I was told I was being sent to those who could help me." Riddick held Xander's gaze. "As far as I'm concerned that's you."
Him? Not Buffy. Or Giles. Or hell even Willow. How the crude was he supposed to help? No. No, thinking like that. He'd faced down O'Toole. He'd taught an alien English. He could do this. "Okay, so what do we do?"
"I figured since you're the pro at this, you tell me."
"Pro, me? No pro. Yeah, I'm a pretty decent hand at dusting vamps. Behead the occasional zombie. But the world saving stuff," Xander trailed off.
"I'm an ex-con on a mission to save the universe," smirked Riddick. "I'd say we're in good company. And hey if we don't, what did they expect from an ex-con and a kid."
"Not a kid," Xander replied automatically. "Okay. I can do this. We can do this. We need to research. Do we know what kind of a demon it is? Do we have anything at all to go on?"
"It originated from something called the Deeper Well. It's name is Samiel. That's about it," answered Riddick. "Oh, and I've got some funky crystal thing that's supposed to tell me when the vessel arrives in this time."
Well, hell that was more than they normally had. Plus, it looked like they had time to figure things out. Xander frowned as he thought about the others. He should probably let them know what was going on. Except, he really didn't want to. But he should probably at least ask Riddick what he thought. "Uh, I guess we could ask the guys to help us research."
"I don't trust that blonde not to attack first, and think never. I'd rather not have to kill your *friend*," Riddick sneered as if he didn't think much of the friendship.
If he were honest he had to admit there wasn't much of one. He hadn't patrolled regularly with the guys in nearly a month. The majority of his time spent with Riddick. "That would probably be of the bad," said Xander after a moments hesitation. "We'll hold that in reserve for now."
Riddick tipped his head, though as far as he was concerned contact with the others was not going to happen.
"I guess the first order of business is teaching me how to fight," said Xander grinning at the thought. If Riddick could even teach him half of what he knew he'd be kicking ass in no time.
"Actually, the first order of business is moving you out of this hellhole," muttered Riddick. "I've stayed in better slams."
Oh, great alien jails were better than his home. "Look, I don't know about were you come from but here we need cash. Without it no food, no shelter," Xander said with a shrug. "Bad as it is. The streets worse."
"Then we start acquiring funds," said Riddick.
"How? Steal," squeaked Xander.
"You keep what you kill," Riddick grinned.
8. Chapter Eight
see prologue for all warnings and disclaimers
Faith climbed to her feet with a mild wince. The vampire had put up a pretty decent fight. It hadn't been one of the usual run of the mill minions. She swiped at the hair that had fallen into her face, and turned to take in her surroundings. She'd left B and Fang behind in her sprint. She started to head back toward them when movement in the far left corner of the cemetery caught her eye. She stilled as the dark-haired figure became clear. 'Boytoy' was her first thought. She started to call out then stopped at the sight of the bald man behind him.
Something about the way the man held himself, even the casual way he directed Boytoy's movements in the dark shadows of the crypts, made her well honed danger meter perk up. Not in the vampire sense. In her life she'd run into lots of dangerous people before ever encountering vampires and assorted creatures of the night. This man would definitely have counted as one of them. Even at this distance he exuded an air of menace, of lethal grace. Of *Do Not Fuck With Me*. He was the type she generally steered clear of. There weren't many of those. He definitely wasn't one of those all talk and no show types, thought Faith as she crept closer. She wondered where Boytoy could have met someone like him. And if the others knew.
Damn thought Faith, freezing as the man's head came up. She was a good forty feet away and still he'd somehow sensed he was being watched. The man's head turned searching the night around him. For a second she tensed as a flash of silver gleamed for a instant in the darkness. It was there and gone before she could pinpoint its source. She faded back behind a headstone putting more space between them, watching.
Her gaze narrowed in thought as Xander leaned into the taller man, hand on one broad shoulder as he spoke. Whoever he was Boytoy was obviously comfortable with him. This was new, and different. She'd pegged Boytoy as one of B's tag alongs. Apparently she was wrong and there was something interesting lurking beneath that goofy surface. She'd have to start keeping an eye out on him. He'd been making himself scarce lately. Not that B or the others really seemed to notice. She was certain she wasn't the only one he was hiding tall, dark, and Fuck Me
Xander couldn't keep the huge grin off his face as he contemplated the haul he and Riddick had picked up tonight. He couldn't believe how much they'd made in just the last month alone. Man, if he were actually talking to the gang he'd suggest they do this to bankroll the slaying gig. He just wished he'd thought of it earlier. Of course, Willie and his contacts would probably have tried to cheat him. That wasn't a problem with Riddick hovering in the background. Xander literally bounced as he mentally added up tonight's profit with what they all ready had.
"Hey, we keep this up and we'll definitely be outta here in two months," said Xander as he took the bag from Riddick.
"I don't see why we can't leave sooner," grunted Riddick as he dropped onto the couch. Gaze fixed on Xander as he worked to shove the duffle bag beneath the sleeper sofa.
"'Cause it's not part of the plan. The plan was we 'acquire' funds for three months. Then move out," explained Xander. "It gives us time to find a decent place. To get it set up. And you to get used to being here."
Riddick snorted to himself. He didn't want to get used to being here in this whole in the ground. He'd had better cots in slam.
"Yeah. Yeah, I know," said Xander with one last shove at the duffle bag. He turned to glance at where Riddick perched on the bed's edge. "It's not the best but..."
Xander winced as his mother's voice screeched in the kitchen above. He'd been hoping they were either asleep or too drunk to notice he'd come in. "Yeah, mom?"
"Get up here," cried Mrs. Harris. "I need you to run to the store."
Riddick's gaze narrowed. If Xander wasn't so sure the Harris' didn't know about Sunnydale night life, he'd have sworn they were deliberately attempting to get their son killed. "Xander," growled Riddick softly.
Xander petted one muscular thigh, unconsciously. "It's okay. It's not like you won't be going with me," said Xander climbing to his feet. "Besides you barely got any exercise tonight. Maybe we'll get lucky and something'll try to eat me on the way there." Xander froze. Not quite believing what he'd just said. He was actively hoping something would attack. Oh, no his life wasn't strange in the slightest. But then again watching Riddick fight... it was a happy of its own. He flushed at the thought, and hurried up the stairs.
Riddick watched his boy go with dark eyes. Oh, yeah the kid was coming around. And Aereon thought he couldn't do subtle. A month of training Xander, hands on guiding and he hadn't pounced yet. He so could do subtle. And it was working. Before Xander would jump or flinch at the touches. Now, he actually moved into them. Actively initiated them. Riddick grinned as he looked at his thigh. He could actually see the fading heat of Xander's palm print. Riddick stood as the familiar sounds of violence reached his ears. In a flash he was across the room, and up the stairs.
Xander schooled his face into a neutral mask. Something that was actually becoming both easier and harder to do. Riddick's growing influence was constantly affecting his perspective when dealing with his parents. He'd always known they weren't the best but Riddick's undisguised contempt was slowly showing him his parent's treatment of him was a flaw in their character and not one in him.
"Alexander, why didn't you go to the store like I told you," snapped Mrs. Harris the unlit cigarette dangled unattractively from the corner of her mouth.
"You didn't leave the money," Xander explained quietly. There was no way in hell he was spending his and Riddick's hard earned cash on his parent's booze.
"You said you gave him the twenty I gave you," growled Tony as he shoved the few objects inside the fridge around again. As if, if he did it enough times beer would magically appear on the shelves.
"I did Tony," insisted Jessica eyes darting around the room.
Xander didn't bother to contradict the lie. From the way his mother fidgeted nervously, he knew she'd spent the money on her own vice. He'd bet dollars to doughnuts there were a couple cartons of smokes stashed somewhere in the house.
Preoccupied with his growing disgust at his parents, he never saw Tony swing.
Caught off guard by the first blow it took Xander a few seconds to react. In that time Tony got in a few good hits, before Riddick's training kicked in.
Xander ignored his mother's screeching instead concentrating on trying to subdue his father before Riddick decided to intervene. He made a mental note to ask Riddick to teach him more moves for subduing an opponent as he went over his lessons. Most of them were kinda death oriented. As much of a pain in the ass as his father was, he really didn't want to kill him. He'd just resolved to knock him out when the weight suddenly disappeared. His mother's angry screeches turned to frightened whimpering.
Taking a deep breath, he sat up and saw Riddick. Ignoring the pain in his ribs he lunged to his feet. "Riddick stop," he cried.
Riddick paused mid slam. Tony Harris dangled from one hand like a trapped rat. He gave him a shake and the man moaned in fear. The smell of ammonia filled the air. Riddick's lip curled in a sneer of disgust. "Why can't I ghost him?"
"Police, Riddick. Questions we don't have the time. And I know you don't have the inclination to answer," explained Xander as he ignored his mother's gasp of shock.
"Alexander," cried his mother hurt and rage in her voice.
"Please, mom. Be quiet. Anything you say is more than likely going to make him want to kill you too," said Xander his eyes never leaving Riddick's. "Also jail. I know they suck as human beings but no killing of the parental units."
Riddick snorted. "Like any of the jails here could hold me. No slam has ever held me for long."
Xander sighed. "Please," he finally said. Not appealing for his parent's sake but his own.
"One condition," growled Riddick as he tossed the elder Harris to the ground. Tony groaned in pain, and tried to crawl away from the man. "We go tonight."
Xander glanced over to where his father lay, his mother crouched beside him. The faded blue eyes filled with venom. It wasn't like they could stay here anymore
either way. "Tonight," he agreed through a lip that was all ready swelling.
Riddick moved closer hand reaching for Xander's face. Xander didn't even think to protest. He was used to this by now. Anytime he got even the faintest scratch Riddick looked him over like a mama cat with her only kitten. "I should still ghost that motherfucker."
"Yeah, I know," sighed Xander. He reached out grasping Riddick's shoulders and turning him toward the basement. "Go start packing."
Riddick didn't move. Xander rolled his eyes. "I'll be fine. And right behind you."
Riddick finally relented and headed down the stairs after one last murderous glare at the Harris'.
Xander turned back to his parents. His mother spoke first. Her voice full of accusation. "How could you stand there and let that... that convict do that to your father?"
Xander shook his head. This coming from the woman who'd stood there and let her husband beat on her child. "I only wanted to warn you not to call the police."
"Why shouldn't we?" growled Tony. "Our faggot son's convict of a boyfriend just assaulted us."
Xander blushed but didn't bother to confirm or deny his father's accusation. He'd believe what he wanted to. "Because next time I won't even try to stop him," said Xander, then walked away.
9. Chapter Nine
Xander slung the duffel bag higher up on his shoulder alternately glaring and bouncing. On one hand the man had gotten them kicked out of the only living accommodations they had, on the other hand what he had done to Tony was fuckin' cool. Riddick moved ahead with a determined stride. Xander wondered if he even knew where he was going.
"What's the plan?" Xander bounded up next to the older man.
"Don't tell me you don't have motels now," Riddick grunted.
Xander grimaced, "None of the better ones will be taking customers this late at night. Not in Sunnydale." The only one he could think of was the one that Faith was staying in. "There is one on the East side," he said reluctantly. "I guess we could go there."
Riddick gave a grunted assent and angled his steps in that direction. Nearly an hour later they approached a flea bag motel.
"I'm going to need to decontaminate after staying here but okay I'm adaptable," Xander sighed. "I tell you what, tomorrow I will ditch school and look for a better place."
Riddick hesitated after getting the key for the room trying to figure out the smells coming from the kid. Xander had insisted on getting a room on the far side of the complex and the embarrassment had over powered the arousal. Interesting. He wondered if it had anything to do with the dark haired female he had smelled on the kid the first night.
Xander dropped his bag at the foot of the *one* bed in the room. This was just getting better and better *not*. He was completely unaware of the huge smile on Riddick's face.
This was going better than planned as far as Riddick was concerned. There would be no more slipping into bed after the kid had gone to sleep, and no more hurrying out of the bed before Xander woke. Hopefully sometime during their
temporary stay Xander would become accustomed to the sleeping arrangement if not enamored of it.
"Ok I can do this," Xander flopped back on the bed lost in thought. "Plans can be changed, schedules adjusted. I'll stay out tomorrow and get some papers from Willy. We talked about getting them in a few weeks but there shouldn't be any problems with getting them earlier. Then I'll go check some of the more questionable places that might have empty apartments. But I can't stay out of
school more than that. The gang would notice."
Riddick grunted, like he cared if the others noticed.
Xander rolled his eyes. Who knew aliens spoke caveman. Why had he gone through all the trouble to teach the big guy English if he still resorted to grunts and growls all the time.
Giles looked up from his tome when the children filed in during their lunch hour. Everyone looked alright, no broken bones or new bruises in sight. Everyone except Xander. Xander wasn't there at all. Come to think of it he hadn't seen the young man since the hellmouth had opened nearly a month and a half ago. With the Mayor's ascension coming ever nearer they would need every able bodied Scooby, he rolled his eyes at the term.
He glanced from Buffy to Willow, "Where is Xander?"
The two girls exchanged a guilty look before Buffy spoke up. "Well, we did decide that he shouldn't be involved in the slaying. Right?"
"And if we hung out with him all the time he would insist on going on patrol," Willow chirped in.
Giles's gaze narrowed, "When was the last time you saw Alexander?"
"Friday," Willow smiled.
"He wasn't in school today?" Giles nearly hissed. Almost satisfied as the red head's smile disappeared.
"Um, no," Willow frowned. A little niggle of worry worked itself into her brain. She hadn't seen Xander at all today, and they had three classes together. In fact she hadn't spoken to him when she had seen him on Friday.
"So you have no idea if Xander is still amongst the living?"
"He should be fine. Buffy said this was best for him," Willow huffed.
"Hey, we all agreed he needed to be kept safe. We didn't make him stop coming around," Buffy said unconcerned as she flounced over to her seat at one of the long tables.
"And did you at all make it know he was still welcome and in fact needed at the meetings and in the group?" the older man admonished.
Willow taking her cue from Buffy's attitude, sat beside her friend. "He should know that he is still our friend. Of course we want him here."
"Then I except to see him at the next meeting." Giles ended the conversation with a stern glare at both of his charges.
Xander groaned as he sat up. Riddick was a relentless trainer. Having been thrown to the ground more tonight than in the entire past year or any other training session with the big guy he wondered what was going on in Riddick's head. Was he just trying to up the training because they were on their own now or was there something more to it? Not that it mattered much either way despite the obvious beating he had been taking he always walked away with less bruises than training with Buffy and he always felt like he had learned more. Not to mention he trusted Riddick. Whatever the reason for the intense workout tonight he knew Riddick would not really hurt him. The big alien knew his own strength and never threw at him more than he could handle. Xander just ended up on the ground a lot.
He was even getting used to the way Riddick always checked him out afterwards. At first he had been uncomfortable with the big hands roaming and touching anywhere and everywhere. Riddick seemed to have no sense of personal boundaries. He had to admit if only to a small tiny part of himself that he had come to enjoy the soothing touches. Every session ended with Riddick looking him over like a momma cat with its kitten. He didn't even want to think about waking up in the big man's arms. That way led to cold showers and lots of mental babbling.
They had to find a new place soon before he completely embarrassed himself. If only Riddick would give any of the places a chance.
*Xander rolled his eyes at the third straight grunt. It seemed the alien had been reduced to non-verbal-ness again. The first place they had looked at he had to admit was a dump but the second had had possibilities. As long as you didn't have very high standards. Which after a few months in his parents basement no one would ever say Xander had any standards at all.
This place was a bit better than the second one, smaller but brighter. Obviously he wouldn't be able to satisfy whatever it was Riddick was looking for with these cheap places. Xander threw up his hands and walked backwards in front of
"What are you looking for? A palace? We aren't going to find the perfect place in just one day," Xander snorted.
Riddick glanced around. Personally, he had no problem staying in any of these rat traps. He'd been in worse. He just wasn't willing to let Xander stay in any of them. The boy needed some place decent, where they could train. Someplace where the stove wasn't a fire hazard. And despite what the boy said about there being good demons he wasn't to thrilled with the boy living amongst them. He was sure the kid could deal with vampires. He was rather proud of how the kid was coming along with his training. No matter what he threw at the younger warrior the kid just bounced back up ready for more. He would however need to step up the intensity of their sparring sessions if he ever intended to let the kid out of his sight. Not because he didn't trust the kid to take care of himself but because he didn't quite trust his ability to defend himself yet.
"Ugh, your going to force me to get a real place aren't you," Xander sighed. That meant spending more time in the roach motel. More chances to run into Faith, something he had managed to avoid since that night. "Fine but like I said last night, I can't take off too much time from school. The others will notice and Snyder will get nasty and call my folks. I so do not need that hassle."*
The cemetery was quiet other than the harsh breathing of the two fighters going through their traditional cool down. Xander stood still as Riddick ran his hands over nearly every inch of Xander's body. Xander couldn't quite recall when the bad touching had become something he looked forward to. But sometime over the last few weeks he had started actively leaning into the petting.
Faith watched from across the cemetery. She couldn't believe her luck. She had been hoping to run across Boy-toy and his lethal friend. Tall, dark and Fuck Me, Please. She couldn't believe that she knew something the others didn't. She gave a little snort of disgust at Buffy's presumptuousness; she hadn't known Boy-toy long but even she could tell he wasn't the type to cut and run.
Faith herself was confused as to why she was watching them. Was she watching to get blackmail material or because she wanted to join them? She could sense that there was none of the pretense that ran rampant among the rest of the Scoobies. None of the drama of B and her star crossed love. Or Little Miss Perfect and her mooning over the Wolf-boy. Honestly the only ones in the gang that she actually liked was Jeeves and Boy-Toy. Now that Boy-toy was gone messing with Jeeves wasn't nearly as much fun.
The entire gang was gathered again in the library. Again without Xander. Buffy looked worriedly to her only real female friend. She saw her worry echoed in Willow's eyes though they were directed at Giles. Neither of them had been able to contact Xander all week. Well in between classes anyway. Buffy really hadn't done much to tract down the errant Scoob. He was Willow's friend, besides the
Harris's gave her the creeps.
Willow hadn't had the time to go to Xander's house this week. Between studying her witchcraft and listening to the Dingo's practice a new song she just hadn't found the time. And really why should she? This is what they had agreed on and she knew Xander much better than the rest of them. If he was included in these meetings it would be twice as hard to get him to stay away from patrols.
"Yet again, where is Xander?" Giles asked rubbing his glasses.
"He's being childish and avoiding us," Buffy rolled her eyes.
"So you still haven't spoken with him," Giles voice was clipped in aggravation.
"He keeps disappearing after class. I can't ever seem to find him," Willow offered as an excuse.
Cordelia snorted to herself. It was obvious to her Willow hadn't even tried, she wasn't even dating dweeb boy anymore and she knew he had been spending his free time in the office. Though she wasn't interested enough to find out why. But then again she'd never claimed to be his best friend. Her gaze narrowed as she studied the other girl. She'd always known the red head was manipulative. She'd
clung to Xander as long as she'd needed someone to protect her but the minute she'd gained even a hint of a life she'd dropped him without a second thought. And they thought the Cordettes were brutal.
Faith rolled her eyes and leaned back in her chair. She thought it ironic that she knew more about Boy-toy's whereabouts and actions than his supposed friends.
And who he was keeping company with, she smirked. She couldn't wait to see B's reaction to his new hunting partner.
Giles resolved to go to the Harris's sometime during the next week and speak to the boy personally. He needed to let young Xander know that despite Buffy's attitude and whatever the two girls might have said, he was still welcome at these meetings.
10. Chapter Ten
See Prologue for all disclaimers and summary
Xander glanced over at Riddick amazed that no one seemed to notice the strangeness of the man. Not exotic, no way was he thinking anything as girly as exotic. He knew that the Sunnydale syndrome was rampant but really someone like Riddick walking down the street in broad daylight should have garnered some attention. He exuded don't-fuck-with-me but then again there was your answer. People didn't. So it was with an amazing amount of confidence that Xander entered Willy's bar. "Hey, Willy," he said making his way to the bar. "You have those papers we ordered."
As usual the customers ignored his entrance, they'd learned the hard way not to fuck with Xander. The big male didn't like it. What he didn't like he had a disturbing tendency to kill.
"Yep, got 'em right here," said Willy digging out the stack of papers the Harris kid had requested for his friend. It seemed the boy was moving up in the world. Or down depending on who you were asking. "So uh... does the Slayer know about this?"
With a only a low growl for warning Willy found himself dangling from the male's disturbingly tight grip. "No. And she won't will she, toady?"
"Oh, no. Won't hear anything from me," Willy rushed to assure the creature. "I wouldn't squeal on my buddies."
Xander snorted as he flipped through the paperwork, heading for the door. "Riddick, put the nice snitch down," he said absentmindedly. He frowned taking in the name on the driver's license as he stepped onto the sidewalk. He glanced over at the big alien keeping pace beside him. "You'd think being an alien from the future you'd have some cool name, or designation. Something. No. You're just Richard B. Riddick. Not very alien if you ask me," grumbled Xander, the teasing tone evident to anyone who cared to hear.
"If it helps Riddick is more of a title," the words seemed to rumble up out of the big man's chest.
"Oh great so I don't even get to call you by name," muttered Xander glaring at his friend. And yes odd as that sounded they were friends. In the last month he'd found himself growing attached to the enigma that was Riddick. He had that element of *cool* that Oz had. Except in Riddick the animal, despite the fact he wasn't a were, was even more apparent. What made it even better was he attained his own level of cool just by association. Yeah, still a bit of a side kick. But more Robin than Jimmy Olsen. And hey Robin *the real one* eventually became Nighthawk.
Riddick snorted. "No one calls me anything but Riddick. Possibly the Riddick. Though you may call me Socius."
Xander paused mid step, something like a shiver had crept down his spine. Not entirely unpleasant. "What does that mean?"
Riddick only grinned and kept walking.
"What?" cried Xander hurrying after him.
Giles had the world's biggest headache. Karma was quite frankly a bitch. And so where her sisters. Two slayers. Angelus. An Ascension. That nancy-boy Wesley. Idiotic twit of a deputy mayor. And now he had to deal with his boy gone walkabout. Somehow or other Xander always managed to give him the slip between classes and with everything that had been going on his intention to contact Xander's parents had kept getting pushed to the side. That was until now. With Faith's accidental slaying of a human things had just taken a distinct turn for the worse. Of course, Buffy's holier than thou attitude probably hadn't helped matters much.
*Ya think, snorted Ripper.* Oh, shut up you, he muttered before rubbing at his temples. This job was going to drive him insane. He climbed the steps, and knocked. Even though it was just after lunch on a Thursday he knew someone was home. He'd heard Cordelia twittering on to her sycophants earlier in the week about Xander's father having lost his job. Which didn't explain Xander's
increasingly frequent absences from school. It was one of the excuses he planned on using to explain his presence here. If anyone ever answered his knocking. Just as he raised his hand again, the front door swung open. And Giles was hard pressed to contain the automatic sneer that wanted to curl on his lips at the sight of the elder Harris. The man fairly reeked of liquor. "Mr. Harris," said Giles, tightly.
"Yeah," muttered the slovenly man.
"I wished to speak to you about your son, Xander," began Giles.
"What about that little bastard," growled Tony.
Giles blinked but pressed on. "He's been absent--"
"Got nothing to do with that," muttered Tony.
"I beg to differ. Truancy equals one hundred days in jail for the parent and one hundred days of juvenile detention for the child," said Giles pausing. "Unless of course I speak with him now."
Tony stiffened at the implied threat. "Boy, ain't here. Got too big for his britches. 'Specially with letting that convict of a boyfriend assault me and his mom. He had to go."
Giles pulled of his glasses and slowly began polishing the lens. "Say, again." It was more of an order than a request as the hazel eyes flashed.
Tony slunk further behind the door. "Just what I said. He's hooked up with some convict. Big, bald, sonavubitch. The fucker blind-sided me. Was banged up so bad couldn't go to work. Reason I lost my job," whined Tony shifting from one foot to the other. Something about the foreigner on his porch making him almost as nervous as the convict.
"Yet, you let your son go off with this man," growled Giles slipping the glasses into his pocket.
"Hey," Tony gave an indignant cry. "Wasn't much I could do. Man was boasting about how no jail could hold him. The kid as much as said he'd stand back and let him murder us in our sleep."
Giles snorted. Like Xander was capable of that even toward this waste of human flesh that called himself a parent. "I don't suppose he made mention of where he was going."
"Probably a motel not much of a choice," shrugged Tony. "Seeing as they left in the middle of the night."
Giles frowned. Not many places were open in Sunnydale after sundown. More than likely Xander was staying at the same motel Faith was. This was not good. "Good day, Mr. Harris," Giles snapped turning away, he pulled on his glasses as he headed toward the Citeron.
As soon as Giles returned from his lunch hour visit he made his way down the crowded hallways heading directly for Snyder’s office. He breezed past the secretary and stepped into the troll's office, closing the door behind him.
Snyder glanced up as one of the banes of his existence came to a stop before his desk. "Yes, Mr. Giles. May I help you?"
Giles glared down at the little troll, who he knew was involved in some form of the cover-ups around here. "I need you to send Mr. Harris to the library as soon as he's spotted on campus," snapped Giles.
"Isn't that waste of space normally there anyway," muttered Snyder.
"Mr. Harris has been distressingly absent of late," said Giles. "I wish to be sure he is in good health."
"Then I suggest you do what most other teachers do," said Snyder. "And track him down yourself."
Giles gaze narrowed and he was suddenly looming over the desk. Snyder bit back a shriek. "It'd be good for your health, if you helped me ascertain Mr. Harris' condition."
Snyder nervously straightened his tie. Not quite able to hold the other man's gaze. "Of course, I'm happy to help the staff in anyway that I can."
"Good. I'm glad we understand each other," said Giles pulling back. "Thank you for seeing me. Have a good day."
Snyder watched the man walk away warily. There was a man in need of serious decaf.
Xander bounced; he couldn't help it. It was a nervous bouncing. Normally when they returned to the hotel it was after a couple hours patrolling or terrorizing Willy's customers. But not tonight.
When they'd swung by the snitch's he'd been really antsy, and the place had practically been deserted. Willy had insisted there was something strange going down. The sudden appearance of an influx of Brits. and the Slayer's gang seeming on edge. He'd suggested staying in might be a good idea.
At first Xander hadn't been too sure, if it had anything to do with the Ascension he wanted to help. However, with the mention of the new Brits. Xander had grown nervous. He wasn't exactly trusting of the Watcher's Council and he
definitely didn't want them around Riddick so a night in was in order.
Which led to where he was now, bouncing nervously around the hotel room. Where there wasn't much room to bounce.
Riddick watched Xander hiding a smile at his behavior. The kid was like an overgrown puppy even now. He wasn't sure he'd ever develop a lethal facade, but then again Riddick liked the kid the way he was as long as he could take care of himself.
Xander finally found himself yawning after consuming two pizzas to Riddick's three and a marathon of cheesy sci-fi movies. He wasn't even up to his usual panic about sleeping next to Riddick.
Riddick rolled his eyes as the kid's energy finally gave up the ghost. How Xander had managed to run himself ragged in a ten by fifteen foot space he'd never know. When the manic energy had been exhausted he collapsed in a boneless heap beside him like the puppy he sometimes resembled. Riddick fought the urge to reach over and scratch his belly. Riddick grinned at the thought of the boy's leg actually twitching at the touch.
He was awake. Why was he awake? Xander turned his head to glance at the motel's alarm clock and groaned. Three a.m. He had three more hours before he had to be up for school. Xander paused as his body began to take note of exactly where he was. He slowly turned his head and noticed the spot of drool right in the center of Riddick's chest, where his head had been just moments before. He took a quick count of his limbs; yes both legs seemed to be pinned by Riddick's. He was effectively caged by the larger man. One of Riddick's arms was wrapped around his shoulders the other his waist. And it didn't look like the big alien was letting go anytime soon.
Xander waited for the mental panic. And waited. It should be here any minute now. After several minutes, he gave up on his survival instincts and gave into the urge to snuggle back down into sleep.
As Xander's breathing deepened, a glint of silver flashed in the moonlit room, and a ghost of a smile passed over the impassive face before both of the room's occupants were once again asleep.
11. Chapter Eleven
See Prologue for all disclaimers and summary
Giles wasn't quite pacing the library. If anyone had asked, he would have assured them he was diligently working. But the books he held never seemed to make it to a shelf. His thoughts were taking a turn toward chaotic. Worry about Faith, the Council's wet works team and the Ascension working to make his normal reserve nonexistent. It had only been a day or so since the incident and Faith had pretty much made herself scarce. He knew however it wouldn't be long before the Council tracked her down. He really wanted to get to her before then. He wasn't exactly sure how to approach her. After talking to Buffy and Willow yesterday, he knew it wasn't a good idea to have them involved in anyway.
Snyder's unannounced arrival had him swinging toward the door. "Mr. Harris as you requested," muttered Snyder ushering a bewildered looking Xander into the library.
Giles stared at the young man speechless for a second. Every worry that had tried to take root in the last week attempted to make itself known but all that came out was... "Convict!"
"What? I am not," snapped Xander. "I haven't done anything-"
"Not you," said Giles. "Your boyfriend."
"Boyfriend," yelped Xander glancing around with a startled look of surprise. As if this fictious character would suddenly spring out of mid-air. "I don't have a boyfriend," he rushed to assure Giles. Though if pressed and under threat of violence he might possibly admit a certain pair of silver eyes might have flashed through his thoughts .
"According to your father," began Giles, pulling off his glasses.
Xander stomped down on the urge to squirm at the thought of what his father might have said to Giles. "Uh--"
Giles held up a hand. "Supposedly you and your convict of a boyfriend beat him and threatened their lives before fleeing into the night."
Xander groaned. Technically all of that was true. "He's not a convict now," said Xander mulishly. He found himself saying in defense of Riddick. "And hey, not a boyfriend! Friend who is a boy."
"Oh, yes. That certainly gives me a great deal of comfort," muttered Giles. "How exactly can he not be a convict now? That's entirely not the point. How did you meet this convict person?"
Xander's arms crossed feeling defensive. Where did Giles get off complaining about his not boyfriend? Especially since no one seemed to even want him around. "What's with all the concern suddenly?"
"It is not suddenly," barked Giles, pinching his nose. This conversation was really getting out of hand.
"Really? That's news to me. I've been fray *adjacent* for weeks now and not one of you has bothered to say so much as a how do you do," said Xander gaze narrowing.
"That was almost entirely the girls decision. No one desired your complete absence of late," said Giles. "We, I just wanted you out of harms way."
Xander snorted. "Living on the hellmouth Giles, not possible. Is that all you dragged me here to say? 'Cause really I got the message. You want me fringe with no benefits as far as I can see."
"Wait. Wait," Giles said slowly, hands up in a calming gesture. "This is not how I wanted this to go. Xander sit." He added a please when Xander's face took on a familiar stubborn look.
Xander rolled his eyes but settled down at the library table. "Well," he muttered.
Giles sat down across from him. Taking the time to study the young man. There was something different about him. He seemed taller. Giles shook off the irrelevant thought. "First, I never requested you stop being a Scooby."
Xander had to bite back a laugh at the look of disgust using such a word created on the older man's face.
"Buffy and Willow were presumptuous in their actions. Your input has often proved invaluable. I believe if we are to have any chance of defeating the mayor your continued contributions will be needed," said Giles holding Xander's gaze with his.
Xander ignored the little surge of pleasure Giles words brought. He wasn't going to cave over some pretty words. They had really hurt him.
"Second, there have been some recent developments that you need to be aware of. It is possible that Faith has gone rogue."
"Rogue," Xander asked quizzically.
"There was an incident," said Giles and begun telling Xander what he'd missed over the last two months.
After Giles finished speaking the two sat in silence for several minutes before Xander finally spoke. "It sounds to me like Saint Buffy is as responsible for what happened as Faith."
"Be that as it may, Faith has shown no remorse for her actions," began Giles.
"Yeah, well. You guys don't exactly come over as big with the understanding," grumbled Xander. "Maybe she'd be more willing to respond to a neutral party."
"And who would this neutral party consist of," asked Giles sitting back.
"And Angel," suggested Giles.
"Yeah, that's real neutral. Take Deadboy to go talk down a slayer," snorted Xander.
"More like for pro--"
"If you finish that sentence I will leave," growled Xander glaring across the space at Giles. "Besides I have my own protection," Xander sneered the word.
Giles frowned at the reminder of the convict. Whoever this man was, he obviously was having a considerable influence on Xander. Whether that was for good or ill remained to be seen. And how much protection could one man be against a slayer. "While I'm sure your boyfriend," began Giles
"Those words are entirely too close together. Boy space friend. No. No, man. Man friend," interrupted Xander.
Giles hid a sigh of relief. This was more like the babble he was used to. Less of the bitter cynicism. "Your friend," he tried again. "Is capable of handling himself against human thugs. A slayer is another matter."
Xander dropped his gaze, shrugging. "Yeah, sure." Knowing that Riddick could take on Faith and two more like her without breaking a sweat.
Giles frowned there was something off about his agreement. "So, you agree with me. You'll take Angel."
"Not in this lifetime G-man," grunted Xander slouching in the chair. He couldn't decide what to do. He really didn't want to let the others in on his Riddick. Xander frowned. Not that Riddick was His but he was ya know his. He supposed he could allow Giles into the know, sort of. Seeing as how he was going to need Riddick to even get anywhere near Faith.
"Xander," said Giles quietly. He could tell the young man was thinking exceptionally hard. He wondered exactly what had been going on in Xander's life of late.
Xander decided an edited version of events was in order. And if Giles made some assumptions then well that was on him. "Socius is," Xander couldn't even begin to fix his lips to form the word harmless. "a good friend. I met him while patrolling. He saved my hide and has been doing so ever since." Xander lifed a brow, eyeing Giles as if debating whether or not to say what he was thinking.
"What," asked Giles curious.
"Unlike some he manages to do so while teaching me how to do it myself," finished Xander dark eyes boring into Giles.
Giles looked away. There was no denying what Xander had said. He had been lax in his duties. Not only as a watcher but as a teacher. There was nothing he could say to that except... "I am sorry, Xander. I would like a chance to make amends," said Giles softly. "Maybe you and your friend could come to the next meeting."
Xander remained silent. He couldn't say he wouldn't like to have the G-man around again. But he was done bending to the others whims. If he was going to be helping again it would be on his terms. Plus, it wasn't something he could just decide on his own he needed to run it by Riddick first. "Have to see how he feels about after dealing with Faith," Xander offered.
Giles nodded once. "Even if he chooses not to come, you are still more than welcome. I for one would like to know you are amongst the living."
"I'll think about it," said Xander standing as the bell rang. "Either way, I'll be back to let you know how it goes with Faith."
"All right. Until then," said Giles.
Xander walked away.
12. Chapter Twelve
See Prologue for all disclaimers and summary
The Chronicles of Riddick: The Underverse
Riddick watched as Xander paced the hotel room. He could smell the librarian on his boy, and was waiting patiently for an explanation. The soft whines of frustration were barely audible, and mostly buried beneath the occasional growl of anger. Xander smelled of worry, and a bit of embarrassment. After a few more minutes of silent pacing, his patience gave out. When Xander crossed in front of him again, he caught his arm and tugged him down beside him. "What happened?"
Xander sighed, unconsciously leaning into the half embrace. "Giles and I talked today."
"About," asked Riddick, leaning forward so he could see Xander's face.
Xander shrugged. "Buffy and Willow kicking me out. Faith going bad. You being a convict." For a second a little grin appeared on Xander's face.
"How did he find out?" Riddick could feel the occasional shudder run through Xander. As Riddick rubbed slow circles across Xander's lower back he could feel the trembling lessen.
"Apparently, he was concerned enough to actually go by home sweet home," said Xander.
Riddick snorted he could just imagine what the drunkard had said, especially after their one and only meeting. "The girl?"
Xander blushed, looking away. "Giles says she's killed someone. But it sounded like a case of friendly fire to me. Except she's panicked, and running. I said we'd try to talk to her."
"Why," Riddick nudged Xander, knowing their had to be more to it than that.
"Uh, well. See there was... we had a thing," stuttered Xander. He could feel himself turning a deep red. This was not something he wanted to be talking about to Riddick.
"I know," growled Riddick. Which was why he was wondering why Xander had volunteered them for the job.
"It's just... she could be me," Xander muttered. He'd felt a connection with Faith almost from the beginning. Sure she was gorgeous but that wasn't what had really drawn him to her. He'd seen beyond her bravado, and knew that they'd both come from homes that were not so good. They'd both been fighting the good fight without any training. He because those around him hadn't deemed him worthy of training, Faith because she'd lost her watcher. Either one of them could have walked at anytime, except not really. They'd chosen this life, for good or bad.
Riddick studied his mate, sensing the sincerity beneath his words. Noting, also that the faint sense of arousal that had previously accompanied thoughts of the brunette were gone. He supposed if this was what Xander wanted he could help the girl. He'd just have to make sure she realized Xander was his now. "All right."
Xander gave a startled look at Riddick, before shaking his head. This being accepted for a valued partner was going to take some getting used too. "Anyway, I told Giles we'd go and talk to her. He wants her under his protection before the Watchers get her. I figure that's what had Willie's customers freaked the other night."
"Human," asked Riddick, standing.
Xander nodded once.
"Am I allowed to handle things my way," asked Riddick getting geared up for the night.
"Have fun storming the castle," snickered Xander, moving to get his weapons as well.
Riddick laughed; remembering the line from one of the vids they'd watched last night. While he understood Xander's reluctance, he hadn't liked restrictions on what he could do to protect what was his. "How do you want to do this?"
"She's in the room across the courtyard," muttered Xander leaning against the door as he waited for Riddick. The other man always took a bit longer to get ready than he did. Of course, Riddick also carried an arsenal. "I figure we go over there let her tell her side of the story. Offer her support, let her know she's got someone at her back."
Riddick gave his usual grunt, and Xander headed out the door.
Faith thought about ignoring the knocking but she figured if it was B again she could just as easily slam it shut again. Tugging on a pair of pants, she made her way to the door. B was such a prude. "Whaddya want?" she growled yanking open the door. She froze, eyes wide at who was on the other side.
Riddick stilled, gaze narrowing. He'd been smelling this girl's scent a lot lately. He'd originally attributed it to the slayer just happening to have patrolled the same cemeteries they were. A few times he'd felt someone watching them, but had just figured it was one of the usual creatures that had crawled up out of the Underverse. However, that was clearly not the case. Know that they were face to face he could tell she was what he'd been sensing. Plus, the girl obviously recognized him.
"Hey, Faith. Haven't seen you around much," said Xander.
"Could say the same about you Boytoy," replied Faith. She gave Riddick a long, hard look. "'Course if I had that at my beck and call I wouldn't be available either." She smirked, locking eyes with the big man.
Xander blinked. Had she just? First Giles and now Faith. Him and Riddick? What was with these people? Was everybody's mind in the gutter?
Riddick held the girl's gaze, stepping forward until he was pressed against Xander's back. Blatantly staking his claim as Xander babbled a denial.
Faith tipped her head in acquiescence. There was no way she was challenging this being for anything. Something about him made the slayer in her feel not so Alpha. Whatever he was he was stronger than her and definitely the better killer. "So what bring's you to my humble abode?"
"I-we needed to talk to you. Can we come in?" asked Xander, glancing between Faith and Riddick. He could tell something had just passed between the two but not what.
"Whatever," answered Faith stepping back. She didn't know what Boytoy and his Boytoy wanted but she figured it didn't matter as she wouldn't be staying at the motel for much longer.
Xander followed Faith inside and took up a perch beside the window. Studiously avoiding looking anywhere in the direction of the bed. "Look, I heard what happened and figured you might need a friend."
"Then go talk to Buffy," growled Faith as she glared at Xander. "She's the one that killed that guy."
Xander sighed. "There's that version yes..."
"Version," snapped Faith.
"That's how it works, kid. Three versions; yours, theirs, and the truth," grunted Riddick.
Faith blinked turning back to face Xander's friend. "And what do you have to do with any of this, demon?"
Riddick laughed. "Been called worse, by better. Personally, could care less who the fuck you've killed. Done worse, for less reason but Xan thinks you need help. So here I am."
Faith was speechless. Who the hell had Boytoy fallen in with?
"Okay, we are not here to play who's the better killer," snapped Xander. "We are here to let Faith know someone's on her side. That what happened wasn't your fault," he said quietly, trying to catch Faith's gaze.
"Buffy," started Faith again.
Xander cut her off. "Buffy," he emphasized. "fucked up by tossing the guy at you. She didn't warn you that he was human and you staked him. It was an accident. Friendly fire. You are not a murderer."
Faith flinched. She didn't want to hear this. "I didn't..."
"Quite lying to yourself," growled Riddick. "If nothing else admit the truth to yourself. Cowardly doesn't become you."
Faith snarled. She was no coward. But if she admitted it was her fault.... She whirled away, fist slamming into the wall. Xander winced at the hole that appeared. That'd cost her her deposit.
Faith howled, and Riddick moved to stand in front of Xander. But the girl just slumped to the floor with a tired sigh. "What the fuck do I do? B and her bunch of pansies ain't gonna help me. The Council, they're gonna wanna take me out."
"And we're here to prevent that," said Xander peering around Riddick's broad shoulder. He gave the other man a nudge, and Riddick grudgingly moved aside. "Well, he is," grinned Xander.
Faith looked up at the two of them, a little warily. "What's it gonna cost me?"
"Uh, huh?" Xander asked confused.
Riddick rolled his eyes. His mate could be so naive. "Nothing, kid. I got what I want. And Xander doesn't need nothing you got."
Faith nodded, finally relaxing.
Xander just looked even more confused. He knew there was a conversation going on that had completely gone over his head. But there was time to pry that from Riddick later. Right now they needed to get going. He had a feeling the Council wetworks team was closing in faster than Giles thought. "Listen, we need to talk about this elsewhere. I'm pretty sure this place has been compromised."
Faith nodded, and grabbed the bag she already packed. "Where we headed?"
"Giles first," answered Xander. They needed to get Faith situated. Then deal with the Council.
13. Chapter Thirteen
The Chronicles of Riddick: The Underverse
See Prologue for all disclaimers and summary
Faith trailed slowly behind the two men. She was in no rush to get to the watcher's house no matter what Boytoy had said. Still, there was something about him she trusted so she was willing to see how this played out. Plus, she couldn't wait to see how the others reacted to the big guy.
Xander glanced over his shoulder at Faith, then back to Riddick. He frowned feeling like he'd forgotten something. He stopped abruptly when it hit him. Duh, no introductions. "Hey, Faith."
She quirked an eyebrow at him.
"This is Riddick. Riddick. Faith," he said nodding in her direction.
"So Tall, Dark and Fuck me has a name," purred Faith. "Been wondering."
"Huh? What," sputtered Xander. Suddenly, not liking the gleam in Faith's eye.
"Not the first time, I've seen you two together," said Faith, gaze darting between the two. She could tell her revelation wasn't much of a surprise to this Riddick. However, he had a surprise or two for her she was sure. Starting with the fact that his eyes were a deep brown now, instead of the silver she was more familiar with.
"Patrol," growled out Riddick as they entered the watcher's courtyard.
"Oh," said Xander fighting the urge to squirm. He wondered just how often she'd seen them. And what exactly had she seen. Not that there was anything to see. There was absolutely nothing going on between him and his man space, must remember the space, friend. Muttering to himself, Xander knocked on Giles' door, bouncing on the balls of his feet. Ignoring the heat against his back as Riddick hovered behind him.
Giles fought the urge to pace as he spoke. Xander's arrival with Faith had been shocking enough but the addition of the convict was enough to upset even his calm. He knew he should really have been focusing on the matter at hand but Xander's new friend would distract anyone. First of all, he was quite certain the man was in no way human. No matter what Xander implied. Second, Xander had yet to give any satisfactory explanation for this Riddick person.
"G-man," snapped Xander.
Giles' head shot up as he tuned back into the conversation. A question, Faith had asked a question. "Yes, I've set up a meeting with the Council's wet works team for later tonight. After Buffy's patrol. To let them know I have the situation well in hand."
"And they're just gonna take your word for it," snarled Faith.
"Of course," muttered Giles.
Xander held up a hand. "Uh, aren't these the same folks that fired you and brought in Wussley?"
Faith nodded in agreement. "Not too trusting here, G. In fact," she glanced from Xander to Riddick. "I'm not going unless Boytoy and his Boytoy are there."
"What is with you people?" cried Xander as he fought a blush. "Minds in the gutter."
Riddick grinned at his flustered mate. He could smell the embarrassment and the hints of arousal beneath it.
"Faith, I assure you we will not allow the Council," started Giles.
"Yeah, well I ain't trusting you or Buffy to look out for what's best for me," snapped Faith cutting him off. The implication that she only trusted Xander and Riddick.
Riddick smirked. The universe just kept getting stranger, and stranger. A year ago he was in slam. One of the 'verses big Evils. Now, here he was a bona fide white knight.
"I told you Faith if you wanted me and Riddick would be there to protect you," said Xander shifting to face her.
Giles looked at Faith, incredulously. "You can't expect Xander to go against Buffy?"
Xander frowned. Okay, yeah he wasn't Captain Forehead. But he could hold his own. Might get a little bruised but that didn't make him useless. He opened his mouth to say just that when a familiar growl echoed in his ear.
"What makes you think she'd get anywhere near him," growled out Riddick. "Besides aren't your precious slayers supposed to protect humans. Isn't that why we're here?"
"That's not the point," sighed Giles. "If Buffy goes after Faith, there's nothing Xander could do to stop it."
Riddick chuckled. "Oh, you'd be surprised. Not that it matters. Wouldn't let her near him anyway."
Giles paused, glancing between the two. *Boy space friend, my ass,* growled Ripper. Xander might not have any intentions but Riddick clearly did. It was obvious the man was down right protective of Xander. He just knew the man wouldn't tolerate Buffy and Willow's treatment of Xander. All though... a hint of grin tried to make it's way onto Giles face as he thought of Riddick's likely response to Angel's attitude toward Xander.
Giles sighed as he slid one of his more expensive weapons behind the kitchen counter. This was not good. After ten minutes in the man's presence he'd been rather glad Xander had been so adamant about Riddick not having to meet Buffy. The two of them were going to be like oil and water. Now, Faith wanted him there. It was almost a reassurance even considering that Faith was a little off. Though he trusted her abilities as a slayer a bit more than he did Buffy's. She at least could sense demons. Still, he knew this wasn't going to end well. The Council. Faith. Buffy. Riddick in one room. As the children would say, this was a fun that was not. He would have to make sure Riddick stayed in the background unless he was needed.
Giles leaned against the counter watching as Xander, Faith and Riddick conversed. Xander's convict was a mystery. He didn't have much to go on, and from what he could tell that wasn't going to change anytime soon. Xander had apparently found his nitch. He had the feeling that if he tried to force a confrontation about Riddick he'd lose. He had to admit if only to himself, that despite some concerns, Xander's association with the convict had obviously done wonders for the boy's self-esteem. Ripper snorted, *self-esteem. Is that what they're calling it nowadays?*. It might have been a while since he'd been with Ethan but he could recognize a seduction any day of the week.
Riddick stilled, head tipping to the side, eyes turning to the door. Faith turned as well though it was another minute before she tensed.
Giles gaze narrowed, watching the two of them. He suddenly got the feeling that maybe this wasn't the first time that the two had met. He could tell Faith rather than having actually heard anything had instead reacted to Riddick's reaction.
"Company," grunted Riddick as he stood. He gave one last dismissive glare at the door, before disappearing behind the stacks.
Faith stood, moving to stand beside Giles. Xander moved to follow suit but stopped when Giles waved him back.
"I think it'd be best if you were to wait with your," Giles paused. "friend."
Xander shrugged then followed Riddick.
The next few minutes were unpleasant as Giles tried to convince Buffy to leave. But his slayer insisted she needed to remain for his protection. At that moment, Giles could understand the frustration Xander had to feel on a regular basis dealing with someone who automatically assumed you were weaker just because you lacked brute force. Unfortunately, Angel and Oz's arrival cut their argument short.
Riddick growled. Xander glanced over at him. That wasn't one of his usual, 'You-called-these-your-friends' growl. This was a feeling threatened growl. Xander peered around the corner of a shelf. The wet works team hadn't arrived yet. No one was there except Buffy, Willow, Oz and Angel. He frowned realizing this was the first time Riddick and Angel had been in the same room. The two had always seemed to miss each other before.
Angel paused halfway inside the library door, head turning to the stacks. He shifted on edge suddenly. Something dangerous was back there. He sniffed, smelling Xander and something other.
Oz tipped his head to the side, sorting through the different smells coming from the library as he waited for the vampire to move. He could smell Xander, Giles, and Faith. And someone new. He wondered if the Council had arrived before they had. Then dismissed the thought. Whoever this was wasn't human and he doubted the Council was that open-minded. Plus, the Xander scent and the new scent were intermingled. Tired of waiting on Angel he slid past the vampire, brow lifting in surprise at only seeing Faith and Giles.
Angel growled, fighting the urge to go into game face. "Giles," he grumbled.
Giles pinched the bridge of his nose. Of course, this would happen. "Just sit Angel. It's an associate," he muttered. "Nothing to worry about."
Giles cut him off quickly. "Nothing to worry about. I know exactly who's here."
Angel moved further into the room but avoided his customary seat at the table. Instead leaning warily against the book cage, gaze locked onto the stacks.
Xander didn't argue as Riddick shifted him around until he was behind him. One muscular arm keeping him in place. "What," he whispered.
"Necromonger," growled Riddick, eyes shifting.
"Oh, no that's just Buffy," said Xander.
"Necromonger, not necrophiliac," snorted Riddick.
"What? Where," asked Xander, moving to peer around the broad back. Grumbling when the arm held him still.
"The dark-haired one," grunted Riddick attention divided between the threat and his mate's warm breath brushing past his ear.
"Deadboy," muttered Xander. "Nah, he's just your typical vamp. Except for the whole soul-champion-hero type thing."
"Soul," asked Riddick. Not so much wanting an explanation as much as to feel Xander's mouth moving against his ear.
"Yeah. Big bad a couple centuries ago. Cursed by gypsies, so now he fights for truth, justice, and the American way," sniped Xander.
14. Chapter Fourteen
Riddick studied the creature. It wasn’t exactly a necromonger but close enough. Dead body with the soul still attached. It made his skin itch. He wondered if Xander would be upset if it was accidentally dusted. “He a friend?”
Xander huffed. “Yeah. Only I don’t like him.”
Riddick filed that fact away, turning his attention back to the group.
Xander leaned against Riddick, trying to see around the bigger man. He was definitely not thinking about the fact that he had no wish to move. Even if he didn’t it wasn’t because it was warm and Riddick smelled good. No, it was because this was a strategic position. For spying, yeah that was it. He was not thinking about the press of the hard back against his chest, or that whole area where the legs meet the back. Not thinking about it at all.
Riddick grinned, taking a deep breath. He could smell the growing arousal, feel Xander actually pressing closer. He shifted and his grin turned into a leer as Xander gave a low whimper. The boy was almost ready. But that would have to wait. Time to go to work. He regretfully pushed Xander back and straightened.
Xander frowned, glancing around. There was something just on the edge of his hearing. It looked like the Council had arrived.
Oz glanced from Angel to Giles then shrugged. Whatever was back there was clearly being handled. He settled into his seat, tugging out a bottle of black nail polish.
“No more discussion,” snapped Giles pointing towards a chair. “We will present a united front.”
Buffy pouted but dropped into the seat. She pointedly ignored Faith.
Giles didn’t bother to correct her at least she was being quiet. Taking a seat on the other side of the table, he glanced around the library. Noting everyone’s position.
Oz and Faith had taken the last seats at the table with their backs toward the stacks. Faith was leaning back in her seat, balancing against the rail guard. Willow sat next to Oz watching the musician paint his nails. Buffy was perched in the chair next to her but turned to face Angel who leaned against the book cage. He assumed Xander and Riddick were still lurking somewhere in the stacks.
When Faith tensed, dropping her seat back down on all four legs Giles turned his attention to the door. It wasn’t long before Collins, Weatherby, and Smith, the Council’s wet works team appeared.
“By order of the Watcher’s Council, Slayer Faith is to be taken into custody until such a time--” started Weatherby.
Giles stood, only to settle one hip on the table arms crossing. “I don’t believe there’s any need for the speech Weatherby. I’m sure things can be easily sorted out without becoming all formal.”
“Slayer Faith has killed,” snapped Collins.
“There was an accident,” said Giles firmly. “In the course of a night’s patrol a civilian fell to friendly fire. Faith has acknowledged her part in the incident and as she is my slayer I will see to the matter.”
“Your slayer,” snorted Weatherby. “You’ve been fired. Where’s Pryce?”
Giles refrained from rolling his eyes. As if that wet behind the ears ninny would have the guts to see through the repercussions of his actions. He’d nearly wet himself the one time he’d been in a dangerous situation. “Pryce has seen fit to leave the matter in my hands. As such I’ve made my decision. You can return to Travers and let him know everything is being handled.”
There was the sound of steel clearing leather. Faith shot to her feet.
Giles tensed but didn’t move. “Collins you don’t want to do this,” he said slowly.
Riddick dropped the body by the back door, handing the restraints to Xander. He slid silently past him heading past the stacks.
Faith gave a sigh of relief as she felt the big man approach. She glanced over as he dropped down beside her. She couldn’t help returning the grin he gave her. He jerked his head back toward where she knew Xander was waiting. Giving a nod she boosted herself over the rail and went to join him.
“Who’s that,” snapped Weatherby.
Giles groaned. It was all he had time for.
Riddick blurred across the room. Sending the one named Collins through the library doors. Weatherby swung the gun toward the moving figure, too late.
Faith was torn. Part of her wanted to be out there defending herself. But the other part was terrified of killing another human, no matter the circumstances. It didn’t quite sit right with her leaving Riddick to fight alone. She glanced over at Xander. “Should I--”
Xander shook his head. “This isn’t even a light workout. Hell, we’ll probably have to hit a few cemeteries before we go home. Shush, now. Watching. Thing of beauty.”
Faith grinned, and settled into watching. She had to admit Boytoy was right. She’d seen them out on patrol. But usually from a distance. She’d never been this close. “I can see that.”
“Oh, this is nothing,” whispered Xander. He hurried to the back entrance and flipped the light switch. Plunging the library into shadows.
Riddick grinned as the lights went out and slowed down. He knew Xander was enjoying this. So there was no point in rushing. Though there weren’t many left. Smith had been disgustingly easy to dispatch. The half a dozen or so who’d rushed in after he’d tossed the other one out the doors weren’t much harder.
“Damn, Boytoy,” muttered Faith.
Xander bounced on his heels. “Beautiful isn’t he.”
Faith turned a knowing look on him. Oh, yeah Boytoy had it bad.
Angel couldn’t move. He was literally frozen with indecision. Angelus screamed in his head. Fight or flight. The problem was if he moved at all he was certain to attack their apparent ally. Which would get him killed. Whoever this creature was, he was definitely lethal. In the space of a minute he incapacitated nearly a dozen men and that was after slowing down. In the dark.
Xander seeing Riddick had the only man still uninjured dangling from one huge fist moved back to the light switch.
Oz paused mid tightening of the nail polish top. He glanced around the lit room taking note of the many bodies sprawled around. Then began unscrewing the top again; he obviously wasn’t needed. Just as he moved to start on his left thumbnail the big man moved. So swiftly Oz wasn’t sure what he’d done.
The sound of shattering glass filled the library, followed by a screech of pain and a body tumbled from the skylight. It landed with a painful sounding thud on the other table.
Oz glanced from it to the bald man. “Huh,” he muttered then brushed the lacquer onto his nail.
Giles blinked shaking himself out of his stupor. The man was unbelievable. He’d never seen anything move like that. He knew without a doubt Buffy would not survive an encounter with this being. He supposed he’d better start thinking up silencing spells for when Xander made his reappearance. He figured the convict wouldn’t take much umbrage at an insult to himself but he did seem pretty protective of Xander.
Buffy blinked, staring around at all the bodies. “What just happened?” she screeched.
“Buffy do be quiet,” snapped Giles, moving to stand beside Riddick. He stifled the grin that tried to appear at seeing Collins dangling like a rat from the big creature’s grip. He shook his head sadly. “Didn’t I tell you, you didn’t want to do this,” said Giles tsk-ing slowly. “Some people. Ah, well. Perhaps you’ve learned your lesson. Now shall we have a civilized conversation.”
Collins sneered. “Go to hell, traitor. Consorting with demons. First Angelus and now this thing. The Council will not stand for this,” he spat.
Giles pinched the bridge of his nose. Some people really were too stupid to live. He waved his hand at Riddick. “If you would,” he sighed.
Riddick lifted until the man could meet his eyes. “You will leave the girl alone. You will return to the hole you crawled from. You will inform the other slime that they are not to return.”
“We don’t take orders from demons. We kill them,” snarled Collins. “You haven’t heard the last of this. We--”
Collins speech ended abruptly as Riddick snapped his neck. There was a stunned silence. No one moved. Riddick reached down to grab Smith. “You will leave the girl alone. You will--”
“I get it. I get it. Message received,” babbled Smith frantically.
“You always were the smarter one,” said Giles. “Now take your trash and get out.”
Riddick dropped the squirming man, standing arms crossed and eyes narrowed as he watched the wet works team gather up their wounded and dead.
“Don’t forget the one back here,” yelled Faith from the stacks.
Riddick growled as two men started back that way. The men froze. “I’ll get it,” he grunted. He glided past the two laughing as they jumped at his passing. He smirked at Faith who smirked back. Then moved to Xander.
Xander rolled his eyes. It wasn’t like he’d even been in the fight. Still he submitted quietly to the checkup. Then did the Mexican hat dance on any naughty thought that even tried to sneak past him. Now was not the time.
Faith bit back a giggle. It was really cute. Which was kinda disturbing. The man had just been committing wholesale violence and now he was hovering over Xander like a mama cat.
After making sure Xander was still in one piece, Riddick moved quickly gathering up the unconscious and cuffed man. Returning to the front he dropped him at the others feet. A few minutes later and the Council team disappeared into the night.
15. Chapter Fifteen
see prologue for all disclaimers and summary
For several seconds there was nothing but silence in the library. Riddick glanced dismissively at the gang and turned to head back into the stacks. He hadn’t gone more than a few steps in that direction when his way was blocked by a short blonde yappy thing.
“Hold on there mister,” said Buffy as she moved to face the stranger. She stared up into the silver gaze. There was an urge to cower that she fought to ignore. Something in her wanted her to drop her gaze and back down sensing this man’s strangely familiar power. But she couldn’t… wouldn’t she was the slayer.
Riddick stared down at the girl. Before he could act the librarian was there pulling the girl away.
“Buffy, please. Mr. Riddick is our ally,” said Giles embellishing just a little. He was in his way an ally, just more Xander’s. But Buffy didn’t need to know that.
“Giles he killed a human,” screeched Buffy as if he hadn’t been standing there.
No really, Ripper sneered. Giles held his tongue for a moment to be sure nothing accidentally slipped out. “There were extenuating circumstances,” Giles explained.
Faith glanced at Xander. “Do you think B’s buying it?”
Xander shrugged. “All I can say is she’d better. Riddick doesn’t take kindly to being attacked,” he muttered. “I guess we’d better get out there.”
Faith nodded and trailed Xander from out behind the stacks.
Riddick gaze moved from the annoying blonde to his mate as he emerged from the stacks. His appearance sending the tension in the room spiraling up another level.
Oz looked from the stranger to Xander. He gave a sniff, one eyebrow lifting at the pheromones. Well this was new.
Willow’s gaze went wide. “Xander,” she cried half standing in her seat before she caught herself. She dropped back down, scooting her chair closer to Oz’s as if to prove a point.
“Hey,“ said Xander shortly. His attention focused mainly on Riddick. The man hadn’t even broken a sweat. A Xander tried to fight the grin that wanted out but then gave in. How could he not. Riddick was amazing. Ignoring the curious gazes he moved to stand beside him.
Buffy’s gaze narrowed. “Xander do you know this man,” she snapped.
“You could say that,” replied Xander as he leaned into Riddick imperceptibly.
“Do you have any idea how dangerous this creature is,” growled Angel.
“Dangerous? No, really,” Xander cried in mock surprise. “I thought he was just a cuddly teddy bear.” Xander snorted. Did they really think him that hapless? What was he thinking of course they did. “I’m very aware of Socius unique qualities.”
Riddick gave a pleased growl that had Xander automatically shifting closer. Riddick reached out, catching Xander’s arm and without another thought headed for the door.
Oz sneezed as the scents in the room shot skyward.
Knowing Riddick was not going to be deterred, he glanced over his shoulder calling to the dark haired slayer. “Faith it appears it’s time to say goodnight,” he said.
Faith spared a glance for the others but quickly followed behind the disappearing couple.
Buffy moved to intercept but once again Giles stopped her. “Buffy, I’m handling this,” he said shifting so the only way she could get out was to go over him.
“But Giles, Xander’s in trouble,” said Buffy her gaze locked to where the trio had just exited.
Oh, yeah. Now was a fine time to worry about it, sniped Ripper. Giles fingers went to his temples. “Buffy. Xander has been just fine with Mr. Riddick for the last few months. One night’s not going to make much of a difference,” he muttered.
“Months,” yelped Buffy. “Months,” screeched Willow. “Giles,” growled Angel.
One night with those two… hell fifteen minutes could make a lot of difference from what he’d smelled. The shadow of a facial expression drifted across Oz’s face.
Giles did not need this tonight. He’d had a ridiculous amount of stress laid on him the last few hours. Right now he just wanted to go home, maybe have drink and pass out. “Let’s all just calm down,” said Giles. “It’s being handled.”
“You keep saying that,” snapped Buffy, arms crossing. “But things just keep getting weirder!”
“Giles,” said Angel again. “How can you trust Xander’s safety with that creature--”
“Stop, right there. He is no more dangerous than you, Angelus,” murmured Giles one brow lifting.
Angel stilled catching the look in the librarian’s eye. He knew pushing this would lead to a place he wasn’t ready to go. Angelus gave a amused laugh. Loathe though he was to admit it that creature was more dangerous than he’d ever been. A part of him wanted to turn this Riddick. To watch the havoc a childe of his caliber would create. Angel snorted as if he would let us live afterwards. Angelus reluctantly agreed. It would have been beautiful though.
Buffy gasped at the implication that her Angel was a demon like that creature that had just left. “Giles, how can you say that? Angel’s good! He doesn‘t kill humans.”
Giles pinched the bridge of his nose. “That does not negate the fact that Angel’s dangerous. Buffy you are dangerous.” Giles sighed in frustration. “That doesn’t make him evil.”
“Killing humans does,” Willow piped up.
Giles barely refrained from bring Angelus up again. But he just didn’t want to get into this tonight. He was tired. “Okay, that is it. I have said I’m handling this. So as far as I’m concerned the discussion is over. Go home. I will see you all tomorrow if you insist on beating a dead horse.”
With that Giles walked away, muttering beneath his breath. Knowing that the repercussions from this night were going to be felt for a long time to come. They hadn’t heard the last from the Council. Though a part of him, no matter Xander’s association with Riddick, was pleased at Riddick’s actions. The Council would inevitably focus on the greater threat. Riddick was a powerful unknown. Hopefully, they’d be so busy concentrating on him they wouldn’t have time for Faith. Plus, if the Council had grown as ostentatious as he thought Riddick’s possible culling of the herd couldn’t hurt.
Faith watched the two men walking ahead of her. They were an interesting pair. Hanging with Riddick had definitely proved good for Boytoy as he‘d gained a new maturity. A comfortableness in his own skin that seemed to include a new backbone and fighting skills. Which if she didn’t know for a fact that Riddick hadn’t already staked his claim, she’d be making another play for Boytoy.
“Hey, where exactly are we hea…” Faith’s voice trailed off as she caught the sound of footsteps just on the edge of her hearing. Damn. They were being followed. Picking up her pace, she hurried to Riddick’s side. “Being followed,” she murmured.
“Of course we are. Have been since the school,” growled Riddick. Xander nodded in agreement. “Not to bright,” he added.
“Well, what are we gonna do?” asked Faith glancing around.
“We. We are going to do nothing,” said Xander slowing to a halt.
Faith stilled her eyes darting between the two. She stomped down on the instinctive wave of distrust. Xander had been nothing but straight with her. “So…”
Riddick hushed the two of them. Xander ignored him. “He is going to do,” began Xander waving his hand. Faith blinked as Riddick seemed to disappear before her eyes. “You mean he’s going to kill,” she grimaced.
Xander rolled his eyes. In his opinion they were committing ritual suicide. Really, they had been warned. It was perfectly natural for them to defend themselves. Law of the jungle and all. Was it their fault Riddick was the better predator? “Look. I figure they just nominated themselves for the Darwin award,” said Xander bouncing on his feet. He could just hear the sounds of the fight. Catching only glimpses of movement in the shadows.
“Darwin award,” asked Faith eyes tracking Riddick’s movements. It was like watching a cat toy with a mouse.
“If they‘re not intelligent enough to leave Riddick alone… at least they‘ve removed themselves from the gene pool,” explained Xander.
Faith was momentarily stunned by Xander’s casual disregard for the human lives his Boytoy was taking. But only momentarily as a quiet voice reminded her that it was her or them. If it came down to it she was choosing herself.
Riddick dispatched the last of their trails with brutal efficiency. He headed back to the others.
“Done for the night,” asked Xander taking a long look at Riddick.
Riddick paused. While he knew Xander was nearly ready, he was pretty sure his boy wouldn’t want to do anything with the slayer in the room. If he was going to get any sleep tonight he needed more of a work out. “Patrol,” he grunted.
Xander gave a nod and fell into step beside him. Faith on his other side.
16. Chapter Sixteen
prologue for disclaimers etc.
Faith paused in the doorway as she stared into the hotel room. The place only had one bed. She looked over at Riddick and cocked an eyebrow.
Riddick motioned for her to come in, shutting the door.
Xander flopped back onto the bed, before sitting up at the odd silence. It was then the problematic sleeping arrangements registered. He didn’t want Faith sleeping on the floor but he and Riddick weren’t sleeping their either. Just the thought of what was possibly growing in the shag carpets… eww.
They’d have to share. “I call dibs on the left side,” he said climbing to his feet. Riddick gave an approving nod before heading into the bathroom.
“Left side,” asked Faith kicking off her shoes.
“Furthest from the door,” shrugged Xander. He was used to Riddick’s over protectiveness. At least in his case it wasn’t demeaning like the other Scoobies.
“Gottcha,” nodded Faith. She began tugging off her pants, stifling a giggle when Xander turned away.
Faith slipped beneath the covers, claiming a pillow. Back turned toward Xander.
Xander finished stripping of his pants. Glad that Faith wasn’t looking, he needed no comments about his Smurf boxers. He lounged against the wall waiting for Riddick to emerge from the shower.
Riddick stifled a smirk as he took in the scene. Xander’s face flushed red in embarrassment as he chewed on his bottom lip. Riddick headed toward the bed, catching Xander’s hand and tugging him in beside him. “Sleep,” he muttered pulling the covers up over them.
Xander exhaled sharply as he fell flush against Riddick. He held himself still for all of a second then melted bonelessly into the warm embrace. He could so get used to this.
Late afternoon sunshine and a ringing phone woke Riddick. His movement to sit up was halted by the weight of two warm bodies. Curled on his right side was the brunette Faith and on his left side Xander’s brunette head. He watched as sleep retreated and Xander opened sleepy eyes. With one smooth move he shifted from beneath Faith and pinned Xander.
Xander froze. One moment he’d been stretching lazily, the next he’d had a Riddick blanket. He found himself staring up at the familiar warm brown gaze and a wicked grin. Or was that a supremely pleased grin. Yeah, he was gonna go with supremely pleased. The parts that were touching attested to that.
Riddick stared down at his mate, leaning in until his nose was pressed against his neck. The first faint hint of panic had faded quickly. Replaced with the usual scents of arousal and curiosity.
“Good morning,” he growled into the ear near his mouth.
Xander’s brain shut down with a whimper.
Riddick pulled back slowly. He turned his head to see Faith staring at them with a leer. He glanced back down at Xander who’s brain appeared to be trying to come back on line. His boy was turning a bright red as eyes darted from the girl to him. Couldn’t have that. Riddick climbed off of Xander making sure every intimate part that could touch, did touch.
Xander whimpered again as every part of Riddick seemed to rub against him. He gave one long exhale, half regret and half relief when Riddick was finally standing.
Riddick shot Xander a look before heading into the bathroom.
Faith waited until Riddick had left then sat up, a wicked laugh bubbling off her lips. Even though she could see Riddick was in a playful mood, she hadn’t wanted to accidentally challenge the claim that he was obviously still making. “Damn, Boytoy! You’ve been claimed.”
Xander opened his mouth to refute Faith’s remark. But he wasn’t entirely sure he could. It was pretty obvious what Riddick had in mind. If he were honest with himself it had been pretty obvious from the beginning. And why shouldn’t he be honest? Okay, yeah he hadn’t really thought about switching teams but it wasn’t like he’d had any luck with the female persuasion. He was actually in bed with the only woman he’d ever…. Oh my God! He leapt out of the bed, dragging the cover with him as he backed up to the wall. “Faith… shut up!”
Faith snickered. “Oh, come on, X. Really. I’m pretty sure if I hadn’t been here you’d be getting your second cherry popped right this minute.”
“Faith!” he screeched. He covered his eyes with one hand. He was certain other people, people not him, did not find themselves in positions like this. Trapped in a small hotel room with an ex-lover and the newest applicant for the position in the bathroom. Though he had to admit to a certain feeling of smugness, Faith and Riddick were stunning specimens of their respective genders.
Faith shrugged, climbing out of bed. She executed a long back cracking stretch. Riddick came into the room clad only in a towel.
Xander threw his hands up. Some people had no shame. “Did I hear the phone,” he asked gaze moving from Riddick to Faith. He’d given up trying not to look. If there was eye candy you had to look, especially if it were on display. Xander was suddenly struck by the thought he was a Penthouse story in the making. Here he was in a skeezy motel room with two of the finest people ever, both nearly nekkid.
Faith and Riddick exchanged looks as Xander turned a deep shade of crimson and made a dash for the bathroom. The door shutting with a resounding thud.
Faith collapsed on the bed giggling helplessly.
Riddick chuckled knowingly as the shower came on and a tiny yelp made it through the closed door. “Ready to head over to the watchers?” asked Riddick yanking on a pair of pants. Uncaring of Faith’s watchful eyes.
Faith sighed. She was in no big rush to go but she had the feeling Riddick was. “I guess so,” she grunted.
“You worried about the blonde,” he asked dropping onto the bed. He pulled on his boots and settled in to wait for Xander.
“No. Maybe. Yes,” shrugged Faith moving to tug on her own pants. “B’s kinda black and white. Well about everything but her vampire. Even if Jeeves says everything’s good, she’s still gonna have lip.”
“What you saying you can’t take her,” he snorted.
“Hell, no. I can take her,” Faith growled. “It’d just be do or die. Slayer’s are pretty much evenly matched on the supernatural abilities. It’d pretty much come down to experience and style.”
Riddick grunted from what he’d seen the girl was a crap fighter. But then he hadn’t seen the brunette fight. He knew he could take her. Then again there probably wasn’t much on this ball of dirt he couldn’t take. He glanced up as one hand stuck itself out of the bathroom door.
“Clothes, please.” Xander was not going out there unless he was fully clothed.
Riddick snorted but moved to get Xander his things. Riddick paused mid shuffle, one of Xander’s hideous print shirts in hand. He put it back with a smirk and dug out an outfit. He handed it to Xander with an innocent look.
“If you want me to actually leave this room you’ll pick something else,” yelled Xander.
The phone rang again. This time Faith answered it. A distressed sounding Giles on the other end. “Boytoy, we’ve been ordered to move posthaste.”
“Time to go, Xan,” growled Riddick.
Reluctantly, Xander emerged from the bathroom. Faith gave a low wolf whistle. Whatever Xander and Riddick had been up to, it did a body good. The threadbare white t-shirt clung to the lean, muscled form and the dark jeans looked painted on. You could bounce a quarter off that ass.
Xander frowned down at his clothing and turned a glare on Riddick. Riddick ignored it. Instead, he moved to circle Xander. One hand trailing possessively over a shoulder and down his spine. Xander couldn’t stop the shudder that rippled through him at the touch. He glanced over his shoulder at Riddick meeting and holding the now silver gaze.
Faith cleared her throat nervously at the silence fraught with tension. “I can run down and get a soda if you need a few minutes.”
Riddick gave a low laugh. “Would definitely need more than a few,” he growled out finally turning away from Xander. “Let’s go.”
Xander let go the breath he’d been holding. Faith shot him a look as he gave a little nervous laugh. “I’m gonna get devoured,” he muttered following Riddick out.
17. Chapter Seventeen
disclaimers etc. in prologue
Ripper was ready to commit murder. Buffy and Willow had been yipping in his ear since nine that morning. Somehow the Irish bastard had managed to make it to his apartment despite the bright bloody lot of California sunshine. The only person he hadn’t heard from was Oz and he had to keep one eye on the lad. He was far too interested in his record collection.
“Giles are you listening to me,” cried Buffy.
There was a knock on the door and he was saved from answering. He rushed for it in defense of his sanity. Here was somebody else for them to bedevil. “Faith,” he cried. “Lovely to see you. Have a good night?”
Faith shrugged eyeing Giles warily. She glanced over his shoulder to see Buffy standing arms crossed in the living room. Red was perched on the couch her mouth twisted up into a frown. Fang was pacing just out of the reach of the sunlit windows. She glanced back at Giles. “Better than you,” she smirked moving past him into the room.
She ignored Buffy whose nose had managed to go even higher into the air at the sight of her, nostrils flaring. She dropped onto the couch opposite Willow. “So what’s the what?”
Just outside, Xander stilled at the hand on his wrist lifting a curious gaze to Riddick. “What?”
“Restraints,” growled Riddick.
“Huh,“ Xander sputtered turning purple.
Riddick grinned but didn’t pursue that particular line of thought. “Your friends. What? Death and dismemberment. Or do I have to play nice.”
“Nice, please. I don’t think Giles would get his deposit back if there were too many bloodstains,” said Xander patting one big shoulder. Patting became unconscious petting and was swiftly heading toward naughty touching when Giles’ voice snapped him out of it.
“Space getting smaller there,” said Giles as he ushered the two into his apartment. Giles glanced at his speechless slayer at least Riddick’s arrival had managed to do some good. If he’d had to hear one more yip.
“Huh,” said Xander trying to shake off the hormones.
“The space between boy and friend,” replied Giles smirking.
Faith snorted. “Every second, Jeeves. If there was a space to begin with.”
Xander didn’t bother to protest. “Are you enjoying your selves at my expense?”
Giles and Faith spoke at the same time, “Yes.”
Angel had been pacing all morning, narrowly avoiding the sunlight. He’d been trying to convince himself last night was a fluke. He’d been near to succeeding until It walked through the door. He stilled unwilling to draw it’s attention. Giles had insisted this Riddick was an ally which meant attacking the creature was out. His internal struggle was almost a direct repeat of last night. Angelus’ response had not changed. Riddick was to be challenged or fled from. There was no middle ground. Angel didn’t know what to do. This was the first time the demon had ever been so conflicted. It wanted but it feared. He couldn’t quite describe what it was he was feeling from the creature. It was almost like being in the presence of a greater demon.
Oz glanced from Xander to Riddick. He sniffed discretely though it wasn’t really necessary. Xander emitted a before sex nervous expectancy, not an after sex calm. From the not conversation between Giles and Faith, Oz was sure that condition wouldn’t last much longer.
Riddick surveyed the room; gaze passing over the vampire lurking in the hallway, the blonde yappy one currently scowling, the mystic staring hungrily at what was his and the wolf. His paused as the boy met his gaze.
Oz held the other man’s gaze for a long moment before dropping his eyes. He’d never been much for posturing. But he needed to let the other man know that while he wasn’t alpha, he wasn’t going to be a bitch either.
Riddick nodded once. He appreciated anyone willing to stand up for themselves.
Angel watched the silent staring contest. He frowned at Oz’s silent show of deference. It was more than the wolf had ever shown him. Angelus snarled remembering how the wolf had once actually challenged him over his newly turned minion.
Riddick’s head turned toward the vampire hearing the nearly sub vocal snarl.
Buffy stepped up before Riddick could do much more than glare in Angel’s direction. “What’s your problem?”
Xander rolled his eyes. Of course, Buffy was rushing to the defense of the helpless vampire. Catching Riddick’s arm he tugged him toward the staircase. He settled onto the landing, planting Riddick in front of him. “No prob, Buff. Just here to support a friend.”
Giles ignored the ongoing displays of dominance. Instead concentrating on ways to keep Buffy from being a smear on his carpet. Boy space friend my ass, snorted Ripper. Giles squashed the rest of the inappropriate thoughts and sighed in relief as Xander managed to corral his convict.
“All right enough pleasantries,” snapped Faith pushing to her feet. She crossed the room without thought to lean against the banister beside Xander and Riddick. “Let’s get down to business. How is this going to work?”
“Wait,” said Willow. “Shouldn’t there be introductions? Possibly explanations.”
“Why,” asked Xander. “I’m fray adjacent remember. Just because my frays happen to temporarily interact with yours doesn’t mean I owe anybody explanations.”
Riddick smirked. Giles pinched the bridge of his nose. He could tell meetings were just going to a delight from now on. “Everyone this is Xander’s man space friend,” smirked Giles. He couldn’t help it. He had to get that jibe in, after all the trouble Xander went to, to make the point. “Introductions done.”
Faith snickered. “How are you today, Man space friend?”
“Five by five,” grunted Riddick. Faith belted out a laugh at his response. Oh, yeah she was liking this Riddick.
He was never going to hear the end of that Xander thought hanging his head. What had he done? His karma really shouldn’t be that bad.
“Giles,” snapped Buffy. “How can you have him in here? He killed someone last night.”
Oh gods, thought Giles. Not this conversation again. “Buffy, just no. Not again.” He was fed up. Narrow-minded little wench. “We are here to discuss Faith’s place.”
“She has no place here,” sniped Buffy. “I’m the Slayer.”
“Actually,” started Xander. “Faith’s the Slayer. You died. I was there. Kendra was called. She died. I was there. Faith was called. Faith have you died?”
“Nope,” Faith answered.
“There you have it,” Xander said. “Slayer Faith.”
Buffy gaped, jaw flapping. Xander lifted a brow. His logic was irrefutable. Flawless victory.
“Buffy’s the slayer,” insisted Willow.
“Maybe a slayer but not with the capitals,” replied Xander, shrugging.
Giles glanced from Buffy to Faith. Bloody fucking hell! The boy was right. He hadn’t even thought about that. He knew logically that the other girl had been called. But he hadn’t taken into account that it’d been Kendra’s death that had done it. This was a whole new situation. Faith was the Slayer. While he wasn’t about to toss Buffy aside, more’s the pity growled Ripper, Faith had to come first. He’d all ready made the decision to take Faith under his wing. This bit of news just reaffirmed it.
“Giles,” cried Buffy.
“He’s right,” Giles said crossing the room to stand beside Faith. He had to make his stance clear. If he didn’t back Faith now Buffy would make her life miserable. “Faith is the Slayer. Her place is here. You will just have to accept that.”
Faith eyes nearly popped out of her head. Jeeves was siding with her against B? He actually believed she was the Slayer. She hugged herself for a second before shoving the thought to the back of her mind. Straightening unconsciously as she met Buffy’s gaze. “It’s your call, B.”
Buffy frowned, glaring at Giles. “So now you’re harboring murderers?”
“Oh, please. You started it,” muttered Xander.
“What?” Buffy turned a fierce look on Xander.
“Uh, Angelus,” explained Xander pointing at the vampire in question. “Your ex. Scourge of Europe. Supposedly ‘reformed’,“ Xander added making the air quotes. “Ringing any bells here?”
“I thought you were supposed to stick the wood in him. Not let him stick it in you,” interjected Riddick as his gaze moved from the blonde to her vampire.
Oz couldn’t help smirking. A full on facial expression ’cause that was good.
Xander smothered a laugh, swatting at the broad back before him. “Behave,” he muttered.
Faith buried her face in Giles side nearly choking on snorts of laughter. She’d had more honest laughter in last two days than the past year. God, she hoped this was all real and not some dream.
Ripper dissolved into incoherent howls. Giles patted Faith unable to respond for several seconds until he was sure he had his tongue under control. “Breathe, dear.”
Buffy’s outraged screech could only be heard by dogs.
Willow gasped in dismay. How could her Xander be associating with someone who said things like that? What was wrong with him?
Angel snarled taking a step forward.
Riddick tensed, eyes flashing silver for an instant.
The tension in the room ratcheted up another notch.
Xander could feel the muscles shifting beneath Riddick’s skin. He knew if the older man made it to his feet there’d be bloodshed. And he wasn’t quite ready for that. Without thought he shifted closer until he was pressed up against the broad back, sliding one leg around until he was practically wrapped around him. Riddick stilled but Xander could still feel the violence humming beneath the skin.
“Back off, Deadboy,” snapped Xander lifting his head to meet Angel’s gaze.
Angel hesitated meeting Xander’s gaze. The boy appeared almost apathetic about the situation as if whatever happened was all on him. He could read the outcome of the confrontation in the dark eyes. Angel had a momentary flash of déjà vu. *Xander standing in his apartment cross held between them. The choice to help Buffy or die. Xander standing in the hospital corridor weaponless before Angelus. ‘You’re gonna die. And I’m gonna be there.’* He had a feeling if he didn’t back off… today would be that day. Shoving Angelus back in his cage, he stepped back.
“Angel,” snapped Buffy in disbelief, glaring at Xander. Wondering at his nerve in copping an attitude when clearly the killer had been the antagonist. Unaware of the silent conversation that had just occurred. Her focus on Xander. “Did you not hear what that killer said?”
Willow was speechless. Her thoughts torn between the sight of Xander clinging to the stranger and what the man had said about Buffy. She knew she should be defending her friend but she couldn’t get her mind to focus on anything other than the fact that Xander was touching… naughty touching someone besides her.
Giles cleared his throat stepping forward as the tension between the three males suddenly dropped. Though he was quite aware of the looks shooting between Xander and Angel. He wondered what exactly it was Xander had on the vampire. He half scowled at the reminder of his negligence regarding Xander. However, now was not the time to dwell on it.
“While I realize some of you are still in high school,” he muttered. “I ask that you at least pretend to act like adults.”
Riddick shrugged settling back into Xander’s hold, clamping one hand on his mate’s knee when Xander tried to pull back. Xander gave up on maintaining any dignity and remained where he was. Pretty sure he wouldn’t be standing up anytime soon anyway.
Willow waved her hand in the air. Giles sighed but said, “Yes, Willow.”
“Xander. He‘s… they‘re… naughty touching,” she finally sputtered out.
Faith’s head snapped toward the pair. Before she gave a huge sigh of disappointment. “That’s not naughty touching,“ she pouted. “Now this morning that was naughty touching.“
“What,” shrieked Willow. Oz tried not to growl at the reminder that his girlfriend still lusted after her best friend.
“Uggh,” Buffy said looking disgusted. “Not a visual I needed.”
Faith leered, “Don’t know what your missing, B. Lovely flashing of hot man flesh and rubbing. Enough to get a girl all worked up.”
“Faith, please,” Giles sighed, rubbing at his forehead. He took another long glance at the rooms occupants. “I suppose adulthood was too much to hope for,” mumbled Giles. He fell silent for several seconds, taking a few calming breathes. “Now is not the time for this. We have serious business to discuss. The sooner we can get to it the sooner you can all get out.” His patience had just given out.
Faith smirked, impishly but quieted. Right now things were definitely going her way. Wouldn’t do to irritate Jeeves to much.
Seeing he had their attention Giles began, “After speaking with the Council….”
Xander pretty much tuned Giles out after a couple minutes. Participation from them wasn’t really needed, once he’d agreed to Faith joining them on patrol and the occasional report to Giles, but they remained to support Faith. Fortunately, he and Riddick would have almost no contact with the rest of the gang. Which was a good in everyone‘s opinion. Buffy wouldn’t have to deal with him and Riddick. And Giles would be kept informed about Xander’s life.
Ignoring the chatter in the background he let his mind wander back to that morning. Everything had happened so fast it hadn‘t really had time to settle in. Oh, he wasn’t totally clueless. He’d realized a few months ago that Riddick had more than a passing interest in him. All though it was all unspoken, though it wouldn’t be for too much longer if this morning was an indication. Was he ready for that? He knew certain parts of him definitely were. He was all for being up with Riddick. But Riddick was a guy… and that was giving him pause. On one hand, he could appreciate Riddick’s attributes. Very much so. He was tall and well muscled and smelled good. On the other hand, male. Very much so. He’d barely known what to do with his and Faith’s interlocking parts. He had absolutely no idea what to do with his and Riddick’s. But of course if Riddick kept doing what he was doing to his leg it wouldn’t matter much longer.
Riddick leaned back against his mate. All his senses tuned into the body behind him. He could feel the nervous shifting behind him. Smell the various emotions. Confusion. Curiosity. Worry. But always interlaced with arousal.
Xander hated to say the words since they made him feel like the biggest girl. But he leaned forward until his mouth was near Riddick’s ear, “We need to talk, Socius.”
Riddick stiffened. It had been amusing at first to hear Xander unknowingly calling him mate in Standard. Eventually, it had just pleased him. But now to hear it murmured in his ear as Xander pressed against him… it was like his ear had a direct link to his cock. It was past time for talking. He stood abruptly, holding his hand out. “Time to go.“
Xander let himself be pulled to his feet. Faith glanced up, climbing to her feet. Riddick’s head turned to her and for a second she saw a flash of silver. “You. Sit. Stay.”
“Arf,” laughed Faith as she sat back down. She glanced over at Giles. “I think that space just vanished.”
Giles rolled his eyes. “Like it was ever there to begin with.”
Xander had blushes on top of blushes. He opened his mouth to retort then just shrugged. What could he say?
Riddick ignored the commentary as he pulled Xander out the door.
18. Chapter Eighteen
Disclaimer et al previous chapter
Xander fidgeted. He’d deny it till his dying day but that’s what he was doing.
Riddick dropped back onto the bed, eyeing Xander. His boy was nervous. Working himself into a state. He stood moving right into his space. “Something you wanted to say, Xan.”
“Uh,” Xander squeaked then tried to take a step back. His brain just refused to function with Riddick being all *there*.
Riddick caught Xander’s arm with an amused look. Not giving him time to think he dragged him over to the bed. Dropping back he pulled Xander down with him until they were lying in their usual positions. Legs intertwined, spooned against Xander’s back.
Xander relaxed into the familiar position, giving a relieved sigh. It was so much easier not being face to face for this conversation. The words came out in a rush. “There’s something between us. I need you to tell me what that something is. Is it a one time something? Been there, done that. Somewhat pleasurable if humiliating. Pretty much a blur though. Wouldn’t mind a long time something. Even if I’m not entirely certain of the mechanics of it. Brand new roads. Or am I simply embarrassing the hell outta myself?”
Riddick inhaled his mate’s scent deeply then rolled Xander onto his back. He moved to cover and still the smaller man’s movements. His eyes shifted back and forth between silver and brown. He stared down into whiskey eyes for a moment before responding. “Are you with me Xander?”
Xander stared up at the ever changing eyes. His mind refused to co-operate with his mouth and he wanted so much to not fuck this up.
Riddick stilled the flow of words before they could escape. One finger pressing against lips he couldn’t wait to taste. “Are you with me?”
The silver gaze trapped him. ’Are you with me? Was he? With Riddick. Was this love? Was this some great star crossed romance? Were they some alien version of Romeo and Juliet? Hell no. He knew Riddick. Was well aware of his homicidal tendencies and all his faults. He was no Buffy and Riddick was no Angel. His eyes were wide open. So was he with Riddick? Yeah, yeah he was. “Always.”
Riddick growled, “Good answer.”
He leaned down to finally taste his mate. All of his instincts told him to just claim. The mate was his for the taking but the nervous almost fear smell was wrong. First he had to calm him. He took his time memorizing Xander taste. Months of waiting finally paying off at the first whimper beneath him.
Xander drew a shuddering breath as he was pressed down into the bed. Riddick’s body rubbing in all sorts of delicious places with every breath. A big hand ran down his side stopping just at the edge of the thin shirt dragging it back up and pulling it over his head. He flushed as the intense gaze seemed to devour every inch of skin as it was exposed. What did Riddick see when his eyes flashed silver like that? Goose bumps rose as a warm mouth lowered to taste him.
“Gah,” he exhaled loudly, hips bucking up as teeth scraped pebbled nipples.
Riddick’s laugh, deep and rough shot straight through Xander and before he knew it he was close to coming. “I can’t.. I’m gonna,” he gritted his teeth with the effort to speak coherently.
“It’s okay, Xan. This ain’t over, not by a long shot. We ain’t done ‘til I say we’re done,” his breath ghosted over Xander’s belly button.
Xander let go in a rush of air as the warm tongue fucked his navel. His hips flexed seeking friction but the body above him followed the movement. He relaxed as the tremors finally subsided. He flung on arm over his face embarrassed beyond words. “You.. I.. God,” he finally muttered. Humiliation. Come on down.
“Hush, like I said this ain’t over,” Riddick stood pulling Xan with him.
He grabbed a few essentials he had picked up weeks ago in anticipation of this moment and threw them on the bed. Turning back to Xander reached out and trailed his hands over tan shoulders. Finally able to touch the skin the way he had wanted to this morning. Stifling the urge to throw him down and fuck him senseless was becoming increasingly difficult. After torturing himself a bit more with the innocent touching he stripped his boy down to his boxer shorts. Then shed his own clothing being more comfortable with his own nudity. He laughed when he caught Xander’s eyes stutter and halt at belt level. It wouldn’t do to let the boy think about it too much though, he might work himself up into a panic.
Xander swallowed back the nervousness as Riddick stepped close again. Wow, Riddick was… just wow! He knew the basic mechanics of what they were about to do, he just wasn’t sure about the fit. There were hands and touching again. He felt himself being lowered back to the bed. Okay, here we go. He swallowed. How much like a girl would he sound if he asked Riddick to be gentle. He swallowed back a snicker.
“Breath Xan,” Riddick smirked as pulled the soft material of the silly boxers down his mate’s hips. He tasted the skin as he exposed it. Tugging them down further with every lick. Seeking out remnants of his mate’s release, learning the taste. As with everything else Xander tasted clean. Clean like the air after a storm.
Xander took a deep shaking breath. “Yeah okay. Breathe. I can do that. Been doing it my whole life, right. I can’t seem to do it right now. But yeah, breath. Sure,” Xander babbled. There was a mouth right next to his dick. Yeah breathing. Should be easy, right?
Riddick smiled against quivering stomach muscles and licked his way back up to seal his mouth over Xander’s. It seemed the only way to shut the boy up. He should have expected his boy would be a talker. The shorts had to go he decided when his cock brushed the material. He distracted Xan from what he was actually doing with tiny bites along his neck and jaw line. He grinned at the mewling noises and soft breathy pants when he finally palmed Xander’s sex.
He couldn’t breathe. This was so much more than anything he had experienced with Faith. It wasn’t even comparable. He was already hard again. He needed to move. To be able to touch but he couldn’t make his body work right. Every nerve ending seemed to be tuned to the movements of the hand on his dick. Muscles clenched with every down stroke only to release again as the hand moved back up. Even his breathing seemed to be under the control of the hand.
“Easy, just relax,” Riddick breathed.
“C-can’t,” he answered breathlessly.
“Then just breathe.”
Xander gave a whimpering moan. Riddick was just too much. Too there. Every touch he lost himself a bit only to be brought up short before plunging off the edge of consciousness by the shear presence of the man. He knew he needed to get a grip on himself, participate in some way. He hadn’t liked being a passive partner the last time he’d done this. Not like he’d had much of a choice, but still he knew Riddick wouldn’t stop him if he could just manage to get his head together.
Riddick settled between Xander’s legs and sat up on his knees. His left hand never leaving the boy in front of him. Stroking, watching the muscles bunch, feeling the quiver of every breath. His right hand opened the small tube of lubricant he had stashed on the bed earlier. As he stroked he let a small amount of the clear greaseless slippery stuff dribble down the shaft under his hand, warming it and spreading it with every caress. Down over tight balls, back up over the deep red head around down and back again. Every stroke adding a bit more lubrication, treading fingers a bit lower, a bit further back finally reaching his goal. That small pink pucker that he longed to bury himself in. No one had been there before. This was no slam whore that had been passed around too often, who no longer cared who or what was being done to him.
This was a first in Riddick’s life. This was his Mate. Someone for him alone. He was going to do this right. Slowly he spread the heated gel back around circling the tight opening barely letting his finger linger a moment before circling again. When he had enough of the slippery stuff coating his Mate’s opening he quickly spread what was left on his hand over his own neglected erection. He glanced up into trusting dark eyes then continued sliding his finger around and over the small pucker.
Xander tensed slightly when he felt the fingers on his ass. He had to open his eyes and remind himself that this was Riddick. He trusted Riddick. Instincts he usually fought hard to suppress reared up and screamed Mate. He relaxed and flexed his hips up the next time the fingers circled back. He watched the muscles in Riddick’s jaw tighten as his Mate attempted to control the Mating frenzy he had to be feeling.
He pushed one finger in slowly watching for any signs of discomfort. In and out. First knuckle. Slow and easy. A bit deeper, second knuckle. Watching as Xander’s breath became shaky and the boy started trembling. One finger deep as he could then twisting just as he was pulling out, rubbing against the sweet spot he had identified but neglected until the boy was ready for it.
Xander came again with a strangled scream. Long spurts of come hit his chest and face. He licked his lips before thinking about it. Riddick growled and descended and claimed his mouth.
“Mine,” Riddick growled out his claim. The erotic sight of Xan licking come off his lips nearly driving away the last bit of control he had.
“Y-yours,” Xander panted his agreement.
Two fingers entered quickly while his mate was relaxed. His body still clenching and relaxing around him. He imagined what that would feel like around his cock and groaned. This is taking too long, the beast inside screamed. He scissored his fingers stretching as quickly as he dared.
Xander felt Riddick’s entire body shudder through the fingers buried in his ass. He struggled to lift his eyes, the boneless feeling spiraled out from the connection between them. Knew his lover’s control was about to break. Dark whiskey gaze caught and held silver. He pulled his knees up and pressed himself into the next thrust.
“More,” he croaked.
Three fingers. Full, so full, but not as deep. Twisting and stretching, curling and hitting *that* spot. More he needed more. He needed Riddick. He needed his Mate to claim him.
“Now, please Socius,” Xander’s voice hitched and caught as his legs were immediately shifted up and over broad shoulders. His eyes closed as the fingers were removed. No! He needed that connection, that fullness. So empty.
Riddick willed himself still, cock rubbing the slick opening. “Look at me,” he demanded.
Brown eyes flew open staring up into the now brown eyes. They were full of emotion Xander couldn‘t even begin to describe let alone name. Something like possessiveness, ownership came close but fell so short. He felt consumed. Devoured. Soon the thought was lost as with one swift smooth stroke he was entered and claimed.
The smooth even strokes took his breath away. He managed to meet several thrusts before he gave up and just reveled in it. Before long he was lost in the rhythm of claiming and claimed. Which was which he couldn’t tell anymore.
Riddick had never been with another who could bury themselves so deep in instinct that he could tell when their next breath would be. Xander was so hot and tight he felt like he was being poured into the body under him. Melted and remolded. Sweat rolled off his shaved scalp as he bent to lick his mate’s throat, used his teeth to nip lightly at the skin. Tasting the air around them learning their combined scents. Hips flexing fast now, out of his conscious control. He knew he should slow down, should be a little more gentle with virgin ass, knew but couldn’t control it anymore. He only hoped Xander was as accepting of this side of his animal nature as he had been the rest of it.
Xander was lost. It was a good thing Riddick was holding his legs in an iron grip because he honestly couldn’t tell he had legs anymore. The only thing he could feel was the nearly unquenchable desire in his ass. Boneless and wet with sweat and come. His come, Riddick’s sweat. His only movements were to expose his throat to his Mate, shoulders lifting with every thrust. Breathing was a luxury, one he felt he could honestly do without as long as that lovely heat and fullness continued. Riddick shifted above him and bit down on his shoulder just above his collar bone. He saw stars as that spot inside was hit again and again.
Whimpers, moans, indefinable aborted words. All of it committed to memory. He couldn’t hold the tide back forever though, not even with his indomitable will. His Mate had come again while he had been buried deep inside him. He could feel it building again, one more little push and he would let them come together. He reared back and caught Xander’s shuttered gaze once more growling out his possession before striking.
Xander felt teeth sinking into the already bruised mark on his shoulder. The pain exploded along his nerves combined with the constant pounding of his prostate. Once again he let himself implode, explode, fall off that precipice. He was gone. Nervous system overload.
Riddick’s ears rang with the scream his Mate let out before giving into the exhaustion. He laid panting unable to move for a minute before sliding out of that heat. Knew he wouldn’t be able to resist it’s siren’s call now that he’d had a taste of it. Xander’s body continued to twitch in the after shocks of such an intense orgasm. He turned the boy in his arms into the familiar spoon position licking the bite mark once before succumbing to the same exhaustive sleep.
19. Chapter Nineteen
Sorry so short.. it's been a bad week!!
see prologue for disclaimers etc...
Riddick’s head came up at the first soft whine of pain. He sat up, taking in his mate. Arrogance, and self-satisfaction darkening his gaze. This was his. His mate moved again. Again the whine. He couldn’t bring himself to regret taking his mate like he had but he could definitely help him with his problem.
Xander woke to pleasure. He moaned as the insistent pressure breached him. It was like nothing he’d ever felt. Wet, warmth and… He forced his eyes open as he realized exactly what he was feeling. He bit back a whimper as he caught sight of the shaved head between his thighs. “Riddick,” he moaned out as his lover’s tongue pushed further inside. That, that was… no, no, no. If Riddick started again, he’d never get to do anything. And he really wanted to explore what was now his which was impossible with Riddick touching.
Riddick forced himself to still. He wanted nothing more than to drive his mate wild. Just the feel of Xander trembling beneath his touch brought out every possessive urge he’d ever felt. But he could also see the plea in the brown eyes. And while he had no problem with keeping Xander overwhelmed with pleasure, he knew his lover wanted to explore. Reluctantly, he pulled back.
Xander collapsed back onto the bed with a sigh, throwing one arm over his eyes. He needed to get it together. Being driven down new roads was all well and good. Very good. Very, very good. But he wanted a chance to drive. “You. Sit. Stay,” he muttered.
Riddick chuckled then slid up Xander’s body until he was covering the younger man. “You’re awake,” he growled out.
“Yeah, and what a way to wake up,” Xander grinned, as he turned his head to face Riddick. He was pretty sure he could look at him now without wanting to come. For the most part. Xander stomped down on the urge to thrust up. God, who knew he was such a slut. He pushed at Riddick until his lover rolled off him with a grumble. “Quiet you. Rules,” he muttered sitting up.
Riddick snorted but fixed his attention on Xander with a expectant look.
“No moving,” said Xander holding up a finger. “I want to explore. You move. I come. This has been established.”
Riddick grinned the expression at once smug and lustful.
Xander couldn’t take exception with it. Riddick was good. Very… okay no getting distracted. Settling onto his knees he took in the bounty before him. He hadn’t gotten to really take it in earlier. Yeah, he’d been right in his first impression. Riddick was a demi-god. There was just acres of muscles. All just for him, a grin spread across Xander’s face as the thought hit him. Now where did he want to start. He snickered as his gaze landed on the part of his lover that had given him so much pleasure. Carefully, he reached out trailing one finger down the length. That had actually been in him. It was a good thing his brain had pretty much shut down at the first touch ‘cause if he’d been in his right mind he just might have freaked. As it was he was amazed, and eager to do it again.
“Not going to break,” growled Riddick as Xander’s hands stroked him feather light.
Xander tore his gaze away to mock glare at Riddick. “Do I have to add no talking as well?”
Riddick growled a warning. Xander flushed. Right. Didn’t actually need speech. He turned his attention back to the dick in his hand, head bowing.
Riddick clenched the sheets though everything in him wanted to grab Xander’s head and just fuck his mouth. His mate was going to drive him insane. The initial tentative licks had turned into enthusiastic sucking. He’d known his mate had a cocksucker’s mouth but Goddamn the boy was a natural.
Xander could feel the thighs straining beneath his hands. He hummed in pleasure knowing that he was making Riddick feel good. With Faith he hadn’t known whether or not she’d been pleased until she’d thrown him off. This… Riddick’s growls of pleasure echoed through the room as he moved beneath him.
The shrill ringing startled him so much his teeth grazed flesh as his head shot up. Riddick snarled hands coming up to clutch Xander’s head. He got the message and tried to regain his rhythm. Except the damn phone kept ringing.
Riddick reluctantly lifted one hand and shoved at the offending noise, sending the phone tumbling to the floor, as he sunk his hand back into the dark hair.
Distraction gone Xander got back to business. Except he didn’t have much to do. Just letting his lover move his head. He let his hand slide down to stroke his lover’s balls. Xander thought he was in love with the sounds Riddick was making. The animal like howl Riddick let loose when he purposely caught him with his teeth again had to have been heard by the entire motel. An unconscious growl of triumph rumbled through his chest. He ignored the hands urging his head up. No way was he not getting to taste too. As he swallowed the last of Riddick’s come, he sat up licking his lips.
Xander got ready for his brain to melt again as Riddick pinned him. Except there was a familiar, annoying sound trying to make itself heard. He shook his head in disbelief. There was no way. But there it was again… a tinny voice. Giggling. “Riddick, tell me I don’t hear, Faith.”
“You don’t hear, Faith,” growled Riddick attacking the mouth beneath his.
Xander’s brain was melting. He’d never been kissed like this. It felt like Riddick was trying to eat him alive. He groaned as he thrust helplessly against the heavy body. He was about to embarrass himself again. But at least he’d gotten to give his first blowjob.
“Riddick,” he moaned in desperation. He wanted to come but that giggle…
“Nobody here but us,” growled Riddick nuzzling Xander’s neck.
“yeah. Nobody but us.”
Xander groaned and pushed at Riddick. “I hear, Faith.”
Riddick snarled but let himself be moved. “I’m gonna kill that girl.”
“Not if I get there first,” muttered Xander as he sat up. He looked around for the phone. There it was. He grimaced as he picked it up, wondering just what she’d heard. He hadn’t exactly been paying attention when Riddick had silenced it. He hung up the phone quickly not quite ready to deal with a giggling Faith who had heard- that!
Giles looked up from his tea. The warm liquid usually calmed him after having dealt with life’s little complications like an overly dramatic Slayer. What in the world was the girl doing that could make her sound so, so… well for lack of a better word innocent. A word he’d yet to associate with Faith. Was the young woman actually giggling? A small smile crossed his face when he quietly spied her sitting on the floor phone glued to her ear.
“Are they coming?” he asked inquiring about the nights sleeping arrangements.
“Not yet,” Faith exploded into peals of laughter.
“Dear Lord girl,” Giles blushed as he grabbed the phone from her. As he brought the phone to his ear he heard a growl and then the line went dead. “I believe the linen in the guest room is clean.”
Echoes of Faith’s laughter followed the blushing man back to the kitchen and his calming tea.
20. Chapter Twenty
disclaimer et. al chapter one
Xander couldn’t suppress his grin. There was a veritable bounce in his step as he approached the not so sainted halls of Sunnydale High. Though to be honest, he had a reason to strut. He’d just spent the weekend performing every imaginable sex act possible. He knew. He’d checked the back of Penthouse forum just to make sure they hadn’t missed anything. As he walked down the hallway he grinned at his fellow students. Ascension or not he was in the universe’s best mood. There was nothing that was going to bring him down. As he passed Larry, he shot the other boy a knowing look. Larry gave a startled look but grinned in return. He was nearly to homeroom when he was accosted.
Buffy planted herself firmly in front of Xander. “Xander, you have some explaining to do.”
Xander quirked an eyebrow. “I do?”
Willow nodded emphatically. “Buffy and I talked all weekend Xander. We realized that our trying to protect you, might have made you feel neglected. But you don’t need to cling to the first person who seemingly offers affection.”
“It’s not exactly like your dating choices have been all that bright,” Buffy pointed out. “You’re like a demon magnet. And this guy is bad news.”
Xander nodded absentmindedly as his thoughts wandered back to the night before. When he’d claimed Riddick, he’d been surprised that Riddick had been just as aggressively into being taken as he was into taking. Hadn’t that been a wild experience.
Xander shifted from foot to foot, grinning at the slight ache. He’d have sworn he’d be walking bow-legged today. But Riddick had sure he was always well prepared. Still, he’d used muscles he hadn’t even been aware of this weekend.
“Hey,” snapped Buffy, fingers clicking in the air inches from his face. “Are you even listening to me?”
Xander blinked. He didn’t think saying, ‘not in the slightest’ would go over well. He considered his options. He really didn’t want to have to keep doing this. It was time to tell them the way things were gonna be now. New sheriff and all that. “Are you done yet,” he asked head tipping to the side.
Buffy glared. “Not if you haven’t been listening.”
“Not going to matter either way. You’ve got nothing to say, that I want to hear,” answered Xander. He straightened to his full height. Just shy of six feet, he still towered over the two girls. “I’m with Riddick. That’s it. Final. Finite. Done. Get used to it. Or not. Doesn’t matter to me anymore.” With that Xander walked away.
Cordelia walked slowly over to the gaping pair. A smug grin lighting her face. “You just got read,” she smirked. “Thank god, someone finally had the balls. Well, aside from me. Looks like your lap dog, decided to grow a set.”
“Guy! Concern should be had here,” Willow stammered out.
Cordelia blinked. Well, that was a new one. But then… “Well, after me. He’d just be ruined for every other woman.” With those parting words she sauntered off into the crowd.
Buffy bit back a snarl, glanced at the clock. Then took off for homeroom. Willow made to follow at a slower pace, but a hand catching her elbow stopped her. She turned to see the new girl, Anya looking at her hopefully.
Giles rubbed at his glasses, taking a moment to think. This was not good. It was sheer chance that Mage Ilvead owed him a debt. If Mayor Wilkins had contacted any other mage or demon, Angelus would be rampaging at this moment. Fortunately, he hadn’t. But how to turn this to their advantage? “Angel, do you think you can pretend to be Angelus,” he asked turning to the vampire.
Angel grimaced. He could see where Giles was headed with this. “Yes. But it can’t be for too long. Sooner or later, they’re going to expect bloodshed.”
“Any information that can be garnered would be of assistance,” said Giles.
Angel nodded, agreeing reluctantly.
Giles turned back to the Mage. “Is this all right with you, Ilvead?”
“Yes. However, this clears all debts between us,” said the Mage.
“Agreed.” He turned back to the group as the Mage faded away. “I have to leave now, if I’m going to catch the demon whose selling the Books of Ascension. Inform Faith of this newest development,” Giles ordered as he hurried out of the library.
There were vague grumbles of assent.
“If she actually showed up for the meetings she wouldn’t have to be informed,” muttered Willow.
“Giles, usually keeps her informed now that she’s living with him,” said Angel.
“Which is so unfair,” grumbled Buffy. “He cuts her so much more slack than he did me.”
“I believe Mr. Giles has been far too lenient with the both of you,” Wesley muttered beneath his breath.
“Don’t you have busy work to do,” snapped Buffy.
Wesley huffed but stalked out of the library. Angel gave Buffy one last look of longing, before following.
Faith slinked into the library fifteen or so minutes later. Having spent the last hour working out with Riddick. She felt relaxed, and sated like she hadn’t in a long while. Sparring with Riddick was nothing like sparring with Buffy. Riddick was poetry in motion. Violence made art. He upped her game by association. “What’s the what?” she asked leaning against the counter. Normally, she wouldn’t even be here. Usually after her patrols with Xander and Riddick she went back to Giles. The G-man was, if not anxious, reluctant to allow interaction between Buffy and Riddick. With very good reason, as far as Faith was concerned. She was good. Buffy just might be better. But Riddick was off the fucking chart.
“Still trying to dig up information on the Ascension. Angel’s working an angle,” said Buffy. Barely refraining from glaring. She still couldn’t understand how Giles could allow her in his home. The girl was a killer. Accidental or not. She hadn’t shown any remorse at first. She doubted the remorse she’d heard about but not seen. She was not willing to trust her with Angel’s safety anytime soon. It wouldn’t hurt to keep her in the dark.
Faith waited for whatever it was they were holding back. She caught the look between Buffy and Willow. Then snorted. Fine. Wasn’t like she gave a damn. Giles would tell her later.
“I should be in school,” Xander muttered, unconvincingly. He hadn’t been by the library in a day or two. Just patrolling with Faith during the evenings. He’d even missed his usual check in with Giles.
“We’re breaking in our new place,” growled Riddick.
Xander looked up at the living room ceiling with a silly grin. He was pretty sure he’d be able to identify every room in the apartment by ceiling alone now. Still, missing a day of classes wouldn‘t hurt. He could catch up with Faith later. “All right. Since you twisted my arm,” he mumbled.
Riddick leered and flipped Xander over.
Xander had a brief second to reconsider his previous thought. Ceiling or carpet. Then his brain was melting.
Xander slunk through the shadows almost as silently as his lover. His stealth abilities had certainly taken a turn for the better ever since he’d met the alien. Of course, playing this particular game of cat and mouse had it’s own perks. Riddick was always very enthusiastic once he’d tracked down his mate. He grinned at the thought, slowing to a halt as a familiar figure appeared a few feet away. Having ditched school earlier he’d not been able to get his usual update from Giles. He hadn’t run into Faith either. Maybe the vampire knew where she was. He picked up his pace to catch up with the vampire. “Hey, Dead-boy. Where is Giles? I swung by the library and--”
Pain. Darkness descended.
Riddick stilled. Something was wrong. He lifted is head, sniffing the air. Blood. Xander’s blood. A low snarl rumbled out as he broke into a run. He hurtled around a corner thoughts awhirl. Xander had only been a few feet in the lead. What could possibly have hurt him that fast? Without alerting his boy to the danger? The sight of Xander laying sprawled out in the street sent a surge of wrenching pain through him. He’d just found his mate. He couldn’t lose him. Not now. His gaze darted around the stretch of street searching for the threat. There was nothing. Only the souled-vampire disappearing around the corner. He crouched down beside Xander and had to fight back a scream of rage. The vampire. The vampire had dared lay hand on what was his. Death was too good for the creature. Gently, he swept Xander up into his arms. His vision allowing him to see the rising heat and swelling all ready developing along the strong jaw. Though part of him longed to hunt down the foul creature, he had a mate to take care of. With one last venomous gaze after the vampire, he turned toward home.
Riddick kicked the door shut with a growl, then headed straight for the bedroom. He stripped Xander quickly, sliding him between the sheets. With one last examining look he headed back toward the kitchen. An icepack would help numb the pain. He was loathe to give Xander any pain meds, he didn’t trust the drugs of this time period. Besides he had no idea how they would interact with the Furyan energy he could even now feel coursing through the bond. He dreaded to think of how his mate would be feeling if he hadn’t. A broken jaw would have laid his mate up for weeks. As it was his mate would probably sleep through most of the healing. By tomorrow, his jaw would still be bruised but the bones would have mended.
This was why he’d finally pushed past his reluctance to take a mate. He could not stand by while Xander hurt. Oh, he’d recognized the potential… what could be, immediately.
*Riddick sat on the sleeping mat, listening to the boy breathe. His scent overpowering, even over the mold and mildew in the dank basement. The scent was like nothing he’d ever smelled. It was home, warmth, and wild. It called to the Furyan in him. Stirred something. For a moment he regretted not listening more to Aereon’s lectures. He’d thought them a waste of time. He was the last Furyan, what need had he to learn of Furyan bonding? Or Mates?
Except now, it looked like he maybe should have listened. Or not. Because whatever this was, he’d handle it his way. Just like always. He climbed to his feet moving to stand beside the bed. Beautiful. His. Riddick slipped into the bed. Mate.*
Still, he hadn’t wanted to bond. Especially, after Kira. He’d been alone for a very long time. It was the way he liked it. No one to care for. No one to worry about. Even after the first time he’d acknowledged Xander as mate he hadn’t wanted to bond with him. That hadn’t come till they were on their own and he’d seen the potential for disaster. His mate could be seriously harmed and on this world he had no resources. Nothing to ensure his mate’s survival. Nothing that could compare to what the bond could *would* accomplish. It was that incentive that pushed him past his hesitancy.
He returned to the bedroom, easing the cold pack against Xander’s swollen jaw. He growled again as thoughts of the vampire surfaced. This transgression would not go unpunished.
21. Chapter Twenty-One
*Chapter Twenty One*
Xander ached. And not a good ache. His head felt like someone had been playing basketball with it. He gave a low moan as memory returned. He lifted his hand to touch his face but was stopped by a firm grip on his wrist.
“Don’t. It’s still healing,” growled Riddick.
Xander blinked open sleep heavy eyes. He looked up into Riddick’s concerned gaze. He opened his mouth to question him then groaned. Damn, but that hurt. Ignoring the pain he whispered, “Angelus?” The worry clear in his gaze. If Angelus was loose things were going to get very bad. There would be stake-age and pissy Buffy.
Riddick snarled. He understood what his lover was asking. He debated on what to tell him. The truth? That it was still the same vile creature from before. Or that the soul was gone, so the kid would finally let him dust it. He would not lie to his mate. “It was still the souled vamp,” muttered Riddick.
Xander’s gaze narrowed at the reply. If it were Angel why had the vampire hit him? Yeah, they didn’t get along, he snorted at the simplification. But this was going a bit far. Some elaborate plan? To what end? Well, there was only one way to find out. With a pained hiss he pushed himself up until he was sitting.
“Where do you think you’re going,” asked Riddick, eyes glinting silver.
“School,” grunted Xander, pushing to his feet. He swayed alarmingly for an instant until Riddick slipped an arm around his waist.
“No,” snarled Riddick.
Xander tipped his head to the side careful of his jaw, to meet Riddick’s solid gaze.
“I didn’t trust those fuckers before. Now…” Riddick’s mouth curled into a feral grimace. He would not allow Xander into enemy territory. Not alone. “Not alone.”
Xander stilled for a moment as the image of the unmitigated chaos that would occur if Riddick were on campus during school hours emerged. Not good. Though just the thought of Snyder coming face to face with Riddick was enough to make him grin. And ow, ow, ow, that bastard had damn near broke his jaw. He really didn’t want to have to make conversation anytime soon. He was in no condition to yell at the others, either. He turned to his gaze to Riddick who was already in mama cat mode. And decided to give in gracefully. Besides, it wasn’t like spending the day in bed was any kind of hardship.
Riddick hid a grin as Xander turned big puppy dog eyes up at him. He knew his mate was still in pain but it was obvious he wasn’t going to let that stop him. Not if the hands currently working their way down his sides were any indication.
“Bed,” hissed Xander. Riddick growled and eased them back. There was plenty of time to take care of the vampire. Right now he had a mate to pleasure.
Giles was not in a good mood. He’d arrived at the motel only to find the demon book-seller dead. The mayor was very efficient. Their only hope lay in what Angel had discovered. What the other’s had been able to glean from the Hall of Records had been sadly lacking.
He glanced at the children slouched around the table. He wondered where Xander was. Usually, the young man would have arrived before the others. He liked to check in and depart without interacting with Buffy or Willow. “Faith, have you spoken with Xander?”
Faith shook her head. “Nah. Talked to Riddick. Said something came up,” she pouted. Riddick had called her early that morning to let her know Xander wouldn’t be going out on patrol for the next couple days. She’d appreciated the head’s up. In more ways than one. There was something in the man’s tone that had let her know he wasn’t pleased. She wondered who’d been dumb enough to piss Riddick off. She had no doubt their end would be unpleasant.
Angel slipped into the library ignoring the disgruntled voice in his head. Angelus had been disturbed since last night. Initially, he’d cackled gleefully as he’d pretended to be soul-less. Taking great joy in the pretense, in terrorizing the mayor’s flunkies, acting with disregard for the humans around him. Until Xander. Until Angel had struck *Its* mate. Angelus thought it was a particularly stupid thing to do. Not when the creature was obviously more deadly than they. Angel snorted at Angelus worries. As if they were in any danger. With the ascension looming sacrifices had to be made. Buffy and the others would understand that and back him up. Angelus growled in disgust, leave it to the soul to hide behind a slayer’s skirt. He shuddered at the thought of what they’d been reduced to.
Giles leaned against the counter flicking through his books. Searching for any mention of major demonic transformation. At least they now had a date. Graduation, how ironic.
Willow shifted nervously beside Oz. Angel’s news was bad. Graduation was supposed to be a good. Stupid mayor. She glanced over at Buffy who only had eyes for Angel. The vampire was pacing restlessly between the counter and the table. She knew things were strained between them. Even the hint of Angelus was scary.
Cordelia leaned against the railing beside Wesley. She shot him a look. “So, am I just wasting my time here? I mean if we’re all gonna die come graduation what’s the point of taking my finals.”
Wesley glanced over at the unfortunately underage girl. “I believe we will prevail.”
Faith stiffened as the animal growl reached her ears. She glanced up just in time to see a blur and a flash of silver. Then the sound of flesh hitting flesh before the sounds resolved into a picture.
Angel pinned to the office wall with a metal spike shoved through each shoulder and his heart. The room was silent for another second, then the screaming began.
“Remember how easy this was,” Riddick purred into the vampire’s ear, giving the spike in the un-beating heart one last vicious twist. He ignored the turmoil surrounding him. Easily avoiding the blonde as she hurtled toward him. Dismissing the annoyances as he stalked back over to Xander’s side.
Buffy forego pursuit, at the moment her main concern Angel's well-being.
Faith glanced over at the G-man. Giles stood frozen for a long moment. He’d never seen anything move like that. One second there’d been nothing, then Angel pinned to the wall. He turned to demand answers then stopped as his surrogate’s child face registered. An immense bruise colored the entire left side of Xander’s face, a spectacular array of blues, purples, and greens. “What the hell happened to you,” snapped Giles.
Buffy winced as she yanked the last spike out of Angel. Carefully, she held the vampire as he slid down the wall. When he was seated she whirled around advancing on the creature. She’d let this go on for too long. It was obviously a threat. One she intended to eliminate.
Faith leapt to her feet crossing the room quickly to stand by Xander. She had a pretty good idea where the bruise had come from. Personally, she was amazed Riddick had been so restrained. She’d figured anyone laying a hand on Boytoy was a dead man. Her gaze darted to the red-heads. Oz had his girl backed into a corner but seemed intent on staying out of it. Cordelia was staring in wide-eyed appreciation at the new-comer. Faith could not believe it but she was going to have to be the voice of reason. “Kay. Everyone just calm down,” she said stepping in front of Xander. Halting Buffy in her tracks.
“Calm down,” snapped Buffy. “That thing just staked Angel!”
“He’s not dust is he,” muttered Xander. He wasn’t sure whether that was a good thing or not. He wasn’t exactly thrilled with the vampire at the moment.
Buffy shot Xander a glare then tried to shove by Faith. But Faith was not to be deterred. “I’m sure there’s an explanation,” she said patiently.
“Yeah, he’s a demon,” barked Buffy.
“Xander,” said Giles more forcefully. The younger man turned to face him. “What happened to your face?” He stepped closer but stopped as Riddick’s gaze shifted toward him. The man looked particularly murderous. Instinct was already telling Giles what had happened he just wanted it verbalized. Before he commenced with the verbal thrashing. Anyone stupid enough to hit Xander deserved that and worse.
“Oh, this lovely gift was courtesy of our very own blood-sucker,” muttered Xander, wincing in pain. Riddick growled, turning a silver-eyed glare on the entire room.
“Shiny,” muttered Oz, taking in the strange gaze. He tugged Willow toward the stairs, pushing her down before sitting in front of her. This was clearly between Riddick and Angel. He shook his head at the vampire’s apparent death wish.
Faith glanced from Buffy to Riddick. Then Xander. If Buffy was dumb enough to press this then it was no skin of her nose. She stepped back beside Giles.
Leaning against the railing, Cordelia was watching the ensuing drama with avid interest. “Where’d the hottie come from,” whispered Cordelia. She was very still. She had no intention of drawing his attention. The man did not look happy. And if he was who she thought he was, he had every reason not to be.
Just as eager not to draw attention Wesley’s reply was whispered as he explained the situation to Cordelia. “He’s Xander’s.”
Buffy clenched the stake tightly in her hand. “Are you implying Angel had something to do with you being hurt,” she growled out.
“Implying,” Xander snorted. “I’m flat out saying. I don’t know what game you’re playing… but your vampire decked me last night. Without rhyme or reason.”
“He was undercover,” snapped Buffy. “If you actually attended the meetings, instead of consorting with that thing--” she hissed stepping closer.
Riddick moved to cover Xander. He hadn’t been fond of these people before, however he’d deferred to Xander’s wishes. Now though, that was over. Xander rolled his eyes at Riddick’s back.
Buffy glared at the creature blocking her. “Move,” she snapped. “I’m talking to Xander.”
“I said move,” snapped Buffy a finger coming out to poke the man.
The sound was startling. The sharp crack reverberating around the suddenly silent library.
Buffy screamed as the pain hit, clutching her hand to her chest. It had been years since anything had managed to break a bone. The shock of it had her stumbling back as tears rose.
Angel staggered to his feet, the sight of Buffy in pain galvanizing him. He couldn’t let Riddick do this. He started forward only to find himself incapable of movement. Angelus struggled wildly, exerting all of the control he could. The demon hissing madly in his head, threats and warnings if he dared approach the creature again.
Faith whistled slowly. Stunned by the careless show of strength by the big guy. As a slayer she knew what it took to break their bones, that the man did it without thought was awe inspiring.
Ripper grimaced. *Wasn’t that just bloody fucking great, thought Ripper. Stupid chit. No better than she deserved.* Giles sighed sadly. He truly despaired of the girl learning any type of common sense. You don’t provoke an unknown predator. This was just lovely. Now, not only did they have to deal with an Ascension but a wounded slayer. He also had the feeling their new ally, who appeared to be even more formidable than he’d thought, would gladly see quite a few of them in their graves. One vampire in particular. The refrain from the old Kansas song drifted through his thoughts for a brief second,* ‘Dust in the wind.’*
Xander heaved a huge sigh. This really wasn’t the time for it. Despite his renewed animosity toward Angel, he knew they all needed to at least attempt to work together. Though once the Ascension was over, he was pretty sure all bets were off.
Riddick moved back to his side, giving him a slightly sheepish, if unrepentant look. “Oops,” he growled.
“Oops?” yelled Willow shooting to her feet. Oz yanked her back down. He was well aware of how on edge the other man was. He wouldn’t be to overjoyed either if the vampire had dared lay a hand on what was his.
Buffy forced herself to straighten up. Eyes narrowed, teeth clenched against the pain. She took a step forward.
“Don’t, Buffy. You went too far,” said Xander pushing Riddick behind him. Ready to defend his mate's actions.
“Too far,” she yelled.
“You touched him,” Xander pointed out calmly.
“So what,” she bit out.
“Just in case you haven’t figured it out yet, he doesn’t like it when people touch him,” Xander explained.
“That’s just ridiculous,” screeched Willow. “You and Faith touch him all the time.”
“Uh, yeah Red. I don’t poke, prod, or attack,” answered Faith. She shot a look at Xander. “And uh, he likes it when Xander touches. In fact, I’m pretty sure he demands it.” She leered.
Giles pinched the bridge of his nose. This just got better and better. “I’m sure this can be resolved without further violence.”
“The vampire touches what’s mine again and he’s dust,” growled Riddick, wrapping an arm around Xander’s waist. “As for the blonde, it was instinct.”
“Don’t you think you should at least apologize,” cried Willow.
“No.” “I’m sorry, Xander.” The separate replies came at the same time.
Xander turned a curious gaze to Riddick. “All that screaming couldn’t have been good for your headache,” said Riddick slyly.
Xander tried not to grin. It still hurt his jaw.
22. Chapter Twenty-Two
“I can’t believe Giles sided with them,” Willow grumbled, pacing beside her friend through the cemetery. “He hurt you, Buffy.”
Buffy winced, turning her gaze down to the finger still in it’s brace. “I can’t, either. But with the Ascension looming we don’t have time for petty differences..”
Willow gaped in disbelief.
Buffy held up a hand. “Giles words not mine. And whether I like it or not, Giles and Faith are right. Riddick doesn’t read demonic.” Her mouth twisted into a sullen pout. There was no good reason to pound the creature into a paste. Yet.
“Not even a little,” Willow asked, tone almost pleading. There had to be something wrong with the man. Or he wouldn’t be all over her Xander. Turning Xander against them.
“Nope. If anything he registers on the slay-dar like Faith. If I didn’t know better I’d swear he was a male slayer,” muttered Buffy. The thought not settling well with her. The very idea of the possibility of there being such a thing, repugnant. She was the Chosen one. Not even Faith’s appearance changed that.
“How’s Angel,” Willow questioned, hesitantly. The subject was a sore point with her friend.
“Weird,” mumbled Buffy. “He says he can’t be around It. I can’t get any good explanation out of him. If I didn’t know better I’d say he was afraid.”
“Not Angel,” Willow said hurriedly. She couldn’t imagine the vampire being frightened of anything.
Buffy shrugged. It wasn’t like she was in a big hurry to go at it with the bald jerk either. Not that she thought she couldn’t handle him. But she needed more intel. There was a score to settle. Though it could wait for a time. First the mayor. Who knows he might by it in the fight. Hope sprang eternal. “I--”
Whatever she was about to say was cut of abruptly by the sudden impact. She arched her back keeping her body from being pinned to the ground. Bucking upwards she tossed the demon off her. Willow scrambled back away from the second demon, pulling out her stake. She glanced over its shoulder to see Buffy tearing into the other one. Concentrating she managed to levitate the stake and send it hurtling toward the one threatening her. It screeched, lunging back from the weapon. Sweat beaded on her brow as she tried to keep the stake between them. A screech of pain distracted them both. Heads turned in time to see Buffy yanking the knife out of the first demon in it’s death throws.
Before either girl could react the second demon sped off. Buffy glared after it but was too tired to give chase. Scratching at the back of her hand she moved to Willow’s side. Holding a hand out to the downed girl, Willow grasped it letting Buffy pull her to her feet. “Another lovely night on the Hellmouth,” sighed Willow.
“Yeah,” muttered Buffy. “Do you suppose he could be a warlock?”
“Aren’t they still on the no kill list,” Willow pointed out, reluctantly.
“Darn,” huffed Buffy as they continued patrolling.
The pep rally was still going strong when everything clicked for Buffy. She knew Oz was a man of few words. So this repetition thing had to be mind-reading. Oz was not the type to repeat himself. Buffy glanced from Oz to Willow then grabbed the other girl’s arm. Willow shot her a confused look but allowed herself to be pulled away.
“I think I just figured out what this aspect thing is,” she whispered tugging Willow away from the crowd.
“Really, what?” asked Willow almost bouncing with nerves. She hadn’t seen Buffy this excited in awhile.
“First tell me this. How many times did Oz say cool?”
“Twice. First when that one cheerleader nearly brained the star forward. And once when Cordelia did brain the center.”
“I heard it four times,” she said, grinning widely.
“How…” Willow trailed off, her eyes getting big. “No mouths. Telepaths. Oh, Buffy that’s cool. What am I thinking?”
Buffy rolled her eyes. “That it’s cool. Duh!”
Willow paused mid bounce. “Xander,” she gasped.
“Where,” asked Buffy, head turning to search out the ex-Scooby.
“Not here. But Buffy, think about it. We could have Giles call a meeting,” began Willow.
“And then we can finally find out just who or what that big bruiser is,” finished Buffy.
“We can find out what he’s really doing to poor Xander,” cried Willow her eyes narrowing. “My Xander would never have a man-space friend.”
Buffy nodded, half-heartedly. Already deep in thought. This telepathy thing was going to come in handy.
Buffy hurried into the library, fingers crossed. Okay, so the whole reading Angel’s thoughts was a no go. Didn’t mean it wouldn’t work on Xander’s honey.
Giles glanced up as Buffy burst into the library followed by Willow. He had no idea why the girl had called this meeting. Things were to say the least strained between the majority of the group. Xander and his friend, Giles winced unconsciously reaching to clean his glasses, no longer came to the library. Instead, joining Faith at the start of her patrols then returning with her to his apartment. Though it galled him that he had almost no information on this being associating with his son, he couldn’t help but form a grudging tolerance for him. If nothing else Xander was the center of the man’s thoughts. And as long as the boy didn’t show up with prison tats, he was willing to withold judgement. Calling them here was certain to strain an already tenous situation. If things got any worse the Mayor wouldn’t have to worry about taking them out, Riddick would kill them all.
Cordelia was the first to show followed closely by Wesley. Giles fought the urge to roll his eyes. He’d really being hanging around the children for far too long. Oz sidled in. Giles frowned as his gaze turned back to Buffy, who was leaning in close to Willow whispering. He frowned harder as a thought began to form. Before it could solidify, Faith followed by the terrible two arrived.
Faith rolled her eyes at the sniggering airheads. B and her flunky were up to something. But as of now she officially didn’t give a fuck. B didn’t have anything she needed. Not anymore. Faith had her own friends now. And Jeeves was just as much her watcher as B’s. In fact, with the way B had been acting of late, she was pretty sure she spent more time with Giles. Which was fine by her. The watcher was almost as cool as Linda. Even if he was planning to enroll her in school next term.
Faith lounged against the counter, knowing Boytoy wasn’t going to sit at the table. She didn’t bother moving when he hopped onto the counter beside her. Riddick moving to stand in front of Xander almost on point. She didn’t think the big guy was ever going to forgive the others. She grinned as Xander heaved a huge sigh. She shot a glance over at him and grinned wider, watching as Boytoy began the unconscious petting. The two couldn’t keep their hands off each other.
“Why are we here,” growled Riddick. He didn’t trust the blonde. As far as he was concerned the enemy of his enemy was not his friend. It was just someone he wasn’t planning to kill. Yet.
Giles turned to Buffy. “I have yet to learn that myself, though I do have my suspicions.” He turned a dark glare on his slayer. “Buffy, if you have gained the aspect I believe you’ve gained this is highly inappropriate.”
Buffy frowned. Giles not registering on her radar. All her thoughts focused on the creature before her. She was getting a big fat nothing. Which was impossible. In the short time since she’d realized what the new power was it had already grown stronger. He wasn’t a vampire she should be getting something. But nope. Nada. Zilch. Brow furrowing, she turned her attention to Xander. If she couldn’t probe the big pain in her ass, then she’d try the little one.
Riddick grimaced as he felt something skittering across his senses. Someone was trying to get into his head. Eyes narrowing he examined the room, gaze finally settling on the yappy one. It was her. Xander frowned at the tension he could feel gathering beneath his fingers. Unconsciously, he moved to soothe his lover stroking the bare skin along his arms. Barely refraining from nuzzling at his neck.
*Hope she finishes soon we’ve…* Buffy frowned as some sort of static sound reverbrated in her head. *ooh skin…* She grimaced as the sound faded in and out.
*Mmmm weekened in bed…* Buffy’s hand went to her temple. Reading Xander was actually hard. She only caught every other thought. Maybe not even that much.
*acres of skin… man I love the thing with the… tasty skin… I think I’d better start stretching first I nearly… sweaty skin…* It was like there was some sort of interference and what she did get was…
“God! Do you think about anything but sex,” screeched Buffy.
Xander blinked gaze moving from Riddick’s back to Buffy. “What? Huh?”
“Buffy, enough!” snapped Giles. “I can’t believe you would even contemplate what you’ve done.”
“What? What has she done,” asked Faith. Gaze darting from one to the other.
Buffy turned her glare on Faith.
*Man she keeps that up she’s gonna look forty before she’s twenty. Mmmm, I wonder what Giles is making for dinner. Patrol, tonight. Hope the boys put on their usual show. One of these days, Riddick’s not going to stop after one of the Xander safe-checks. Ohhh, floor show. Man, I need to get Jeeves outta the house sometime soon. Bring back a boy toy.*
“What’s wrong with you people,” snapped Buffy. “Is sex all you ever think about?!”
“Buffy, in my office now,” ordered Giles as he held the door open. His glance caught Willow. “You too young lady.”
Willow opened her mouth to protest but the gleam in Giles eye silenced her and she scurried inside.
“Giles, I just…”
“No, Buffy. Inside.”
Buffy glared but stomped by her watcher.
“Okay, Jeeves. What the hell was that?” barked Faith.
“The blonde’s developed some kinda Tele ability,” growled Riddick, silver gaze flickering for an instance.
Giles sighed, reaching up for his glasses. “I believe so. A demon she fought the night before has infected her with it’s aspect--”
The office door swung open as Buffy stuck her head out. “Just thought I’d point out, I could read every human mind in here. Except his,” she said pointing an accusing finger at Riddick. A pinched look settled on her face. “And Xander’s was hard to read. Like there was some kinda static. Almost couldn’t.”
Giles paused mid reprimand. Turning a wary gaze on the other man. He was no closer to discovering anything conclusive about Riddick than what he’d first been told by Xander. All he knew was that the man wasn’t demonic. That however didn’t mean he didn’t have any demonic ties. This new bit of information was something that made him wary, no matter Buffy’s methods. It was obvious the man had some time of mental wards or protections. Protections that were bleeding over to Xander. He’d never encountered anyone with that level of power. Ethan’s ability to protect himself from mental attacks had taken develing into the darker magic’s. It was a reciprocal thing. To keep out, you had to learn how to get in.
“Xander?” he said, slowly.
“What? My mind’s an open book! Sex goes in. Sex comes out,” blurted Xander, blush rising.
Faith giggled. Riddick smirked. That’s his boy.
Giles pinched the bridge of his nose. He knew entirely too much about his charges ‘relations’. “That I did not need to know. However, I am concerned. Buffy, as reprehensible as her behavior was, has raised a worrying point. There is interference in her ability to read you. Care to explain why?”
“No,” growled Riddick. There was no way in hell he was explaning anything to these people. Xander glanced from Riddick to Giles. Okay, there were obviously things he needed to discuss with his mate. But now was not the time.
“Xander,” said Giles, questionly.
“Not open for discussion, G-man.” Xander said with a shrug.
“If he’s capable of magics…”
“Not that again,” Xander growled out. “Not being duped. Used. Mislead. Or mind-scrambled. And as there is no point to this meeting, we’ll be going now.”
Riddick smirked and stepped aside as Xander stalked by him. Then followed him out of the room.
“Well that went well,” muttered Faith.
“Not now, Faith. I’ve got to deal with Buffy,” groaned Giles. He hoped this was as bad as the day got. If things kept going at this rate he’d die of an ulcer and save the Mayor the trouble.
Xander paced the length of the apartment. His gaze moving restlessly around the room as he tried to think. He couldn’t look at Riddick for too long or thoughts of sex distracted him. And right now he needed to think. Something Riddick had done was changing him. He hadn’t given it much thought before. Who could blame him? Broken jaw verses sore jaw. No brainer. But this wasn’t just enhanced healing. There was something going on in his brain. He ignored the snarky Cordelia voice that said that was a first. The question was, was there a problem? And the answer was no. Whatever was going on he knew Riddick meant him no harm. However, it would be nice to know just how far into the weird this was going to take him. So….
“What exactly is the bond doing to me?” he asked turning to face Riddick.
Riddick shrugged, a casual rolling of the broad shoulders as he slouched down in their only arm chair. “Don’t know for sure.”
“You don’t know,” squeaked Xander.
“Never took a mate before,” said Riddick, letting his eyes roam over Xander as the lean form resumed it’s pacing. “You know as much as I do about what I am.”
Xander switched direction, coming to stand before his mate. He knew that Riddick had never known his family. That he was the last of his kind. There really was no way for his mate to know what was normal for his people. He sighed. Xander bit down worrying at his lip as he thought about how alone Riddick had once been. “The people who sent you here must have known something….”
Riddick growled low in his throat at the thought of the Elemental. He’d never trusted the woman. Anything she’d told him was suspect. “The Elemental I told you about. Her every word hid a greater agenda. What she told me was just enough to get me here. Not that I trusted anything she ever said.”
“Okay. Well, what do you think could happen? I mean you didn’t really seem surprised Buffy couldn’t read you.”
“I know that Furyan energy keeps out the Quasi-dead. Pretty much the ultimate in Tele’s. Only able to get immediate surface thoughts, when they tried to scan deeper it seemed to hurt them. Started screaming about Furyan energy. Figure no Tele or Mystic is getting anywhere in my head and by extension yours. When I bonded us, it created a link between us. My Furyan energy became our Furyan energy.”
Xander pressed closer, pushing between Riddick’s legs. “So, enhanced healing. No spooks in my head. Ooh do I get the eyes?” He dropped to his knees, leaning close staring up into Riddick’s eyes. Smirking as they flickered from silver to brown.
As his mate’s hands slid further up his thighs a predator’s gleam filled Riddick’s eyes. The smell of lust was almost overpowering. He shifted in the seat as his cock thickened. “I like your eyes just like they are,” his voice husky and low. Riddick reached out and drew a line from Xander’s brow to the lush mouth.
Xander tasted the finger drawing it into his mouth and curling his tongue around the salty appendage. He craved the taste of his lover. His eyes never left Riddick’s as he slowly began his sensual assault. Hands quickly managed the fastenings of the black cargo pants Riddick seemed to prefer. Before he could slip a hand inside Riddick was moving, the room was spinning and Oh, bedroom. He recognized the carpet.
AN: Aewnaur threatened bodily harm if we didn't write something. Hah! Like she's capable of it... she's still recuperating from surgery. Granted I'd better be prepared to run in another week.
23. Chapter Twenty-Three
Xander stood in front of the stage. Riddick crouched on it, just behind him. The seniors milled before them nervously. Not quite as oblivious to the dangers of Sunnydale as most thought, they definitely recognized the predator in their midst.
“All right, Harris. What the hell is going on,” barked Percy. Varied questioning mutters accompanied the basketball’s player question.
Harmony scowled as she glared at the former social pariah. “It’s bad enough you actually have the nerve to show your face after what happened with Cordy. But to--”
A low growl made the blonde cheerleader look up and her mouth snapped shut abruptly.
“Oh, shut up, Harm,” ordered Larry, straightening from where he’d dropped onto a nearby seat. “Everybody knows something big is going down. I’m thinking if Harris is here now, talking to us, it’s pretty crucial.” He turned to face Xander. “So, what do you need, Harris?”
“Graduation,” said Xander. “Basically, we’re all in deep shit.”
The crowd of students tensed. “I knew we’d never make it outta here alive,” muttered Jonathan.
“If I have anything to say about we will,” said Xander. “That’s why we’re here. We have a plan. And this time you guys are going to help save yourselves.”
“All right, Harris. What do you need us to do?” asked Larry.
“It’s basically a three fold plan. First, how many of you know what the gangs on PCP really are?” Xander asked leaning forward, letting the others see just how serious he was.
After a moment, a few hands went up. There was low mutterings and much shuffling of feet. Then more joined. Before long a good three quarters of the room had raised their hands.
“What?” cried a bewildered Harmony.
Larry sighed before gesturing at a couple of teammates. “Explain for the brain-dead, okay.” They nodded then herded the few with no clue away.
“Graduation the Mayor plans to make a buffet out of us, basically. He’s going to have vampire back-up,” sighed Xander. “We don’t need you guys to do much except protect yourselves and get your family members out of the way. We’ve got heavy-hitters for everything else. The way this is playing out, we won’t be able to protect civilians and take care of the bad guys.”
“How do you expect us to do that,” asked Percy. “Wouldn’t it be better if we just didn’t show up?”
Xander paused stunned by the possible evidence of Percy actually having a brain. “Because this is going to happen either way. But at least this way we know where and when it’s going down. And we’ll be there to stop it.”
Larry glanced around the room, taking in the curious but reluctant looks from the crowd. He knew he wasn’t the only to be aware of how strange Buffy Summers and her crowd were. Or just how much Xander Harris had changed this year. Seeing as this was the first time the weird that was Sunnydale was being acknowledged might as well take the time to get some answers. Especially as it looked like they were going to be dragged into it whether they liked it or not. “Exactly, who are the heavy-hitters and just what’ll they be doing?”
“Buffy and Giles are going to handle the Mayor. Your job is to avoid being eaten. Faith, Angel, and Riddick will take care of the vamps. Avoid the strays. Oz and I will make sure there’s a clear escape route for all of you,” Xander explained.
“Seen the dark-haired guy? Hangs around Buffy. Not me,” muttered Xander.
Several of the cheer-leaders nodded their heads. “Buffy’s boyfriend, Angel. Also, lovingly known as Dead-boy.”
“Uh? Dead-boy?” asked Percy tentatively.
Xander was thinking of reevaluating his world view. Percy had the sense God gave a gerbil. Who knew. “Vampire. Souled. On our side,” he stated, reluctantly. Not quite able to fix his mouth around the word ‘good’.
There were doubtful looks. But he’d done his duty. They’d been duly warned.
“And uh, Riddick,” stuttered Jonathan eyes darting to the person behind Xander. There was something off about him.
Riddick rose from his crouch were he’d been silently watching his lover as he took control of the crowd. In time he would make a good leader. Aside from a few, he automatically commanded the respect of his fellow students.
“Uh. Yeah, okay,” squeaked Jonathan taking in the huge man standing so close to the other boy.
Eyebrows went up all over the room and curious eyes widened but no one said anything. Not quite sure about how the man would take it. And not quite willing to risk it.
Larry’s gaze moved from Xander to Riddick and back. He grinned. Xander blushed and grinned back. “Moving up in the world, hunh?”
“Definitely,” Xander answered smugly. “We’ll have weapons waiting for you in Oz’s van. Willow’s in charge of distribution. Be sure and see her before the ceremony. Any questions?”
The students exchanged looks. No they understood what was going on and what was needed. The only real question was would they survive it.
Giles opened his front door and blinked in surprise. When he’d extended the invitation he really hadn’t expected anyone to accept. Therefore he was fairly, if pleasantly, surprised at just who had turned up on his doorstep.
“Well Giles you gonna let us in or what,” asked Xander, shifting the pizzas he was carrying into a less precarious position.
Giles rolled his eyes but stepped back as Xander bearing pizzas, Faith what looked like a six-pack and Riddick, something that glimmered faintly in it’s bottle moved past him into the room. “Yes, quite,” muttered Giles as he pulled of his glasses, searching for a cloth with a distracted air.
“We the first here,” barked Faith as she dropped onto the sofa, already aiming for one of the boxes.
“More like the only ones,” answered Giles as he headed toward the kitchen. “I believe Buffy has chosen to spend as much time with Angel as possible. While Willow and Oz have their own plans.” He added coming back into the room with several glasses. Sitting them on the table before procuring a slice of pizza for himself.
Faith shrugged, carelessly. It was no skin off her nose. She knew B and Willow avoided Giles as much as possible now that she was living there. She’d pretty much know everyone else was gonna be a no show when Giles had the audacity to extend his invitation to Boytoy and his Boytoy. “Ya’ know normally, I’d find a guy have a couple spins just in case this was the end. But doing this ain’t half bad.”
Giles shot the young woman a pleased smile. But remained silent knowing if he called Faith on her sentimentality, however vulgarly phrased, he’d embarrass her. “I dare say a shot of whatever Riddick’s carrying would set the evening pretty much right.”
Riddick gave a grunt but cracked open the bottle. He lifted one brow at Xander’s offered glass and snorted.
Xander opened his eyes wide and tried a pout. Chin quivering. Faith giggled. Riddick ignored it. Pouring himself and Giles a good two fingers worth.
Xander sighed but took the can of soda Faith handed him. She gave him a smug look. If she couldn’t have a drink, he sure wasn’t drinking either.
Eventually, when it was apparent the Fey Absinthe had gotten the better of Giles, Xander and Riddick packed it up. Leaving Faith to get her watcher bedded down for the night.
“What an asshole,” growled Xander as he watched Angel sneak off into the shadows.
Riddick turned a questioning look to his lover. Really what else had he expected the vampire was cowardly and unnatural to boot.
“He could have at least let her know he was still undead,” muttered Xander in answer to the silent question.
Riddick shrugged then pulled Xander close. His boy had been a sight to behold. Commanding, calm and capable as he lead his classmates to safety. Instead of the bloodbath they’d anticipated, they’d come away with very few casualties. Of course, one or two of the stupider ones had been culled. The blonde air-head, for example. But at least they were all dead and not undead. Or holy half dead. He still wasn’t too clear on what made a necromonger. But by now he was pretty sure they were some type of demon. And he still wasn’t sure that abomination Angelus wasn’t the first. He gave a little growl at the thought but let it go. There was time to deal with him later.
Faith sauntered up to the pair, leaping onto bench beside them. “We kicked ass.”
“Serious ass-kick age,” Xander agreed. “But most importantly, I never have to come here ever again.”
Faith grimaced, “Lucky you.” Giles had already enrolled her in summer school. If she didn’t like the old guy so much, she’d strangle him.
Riddick smiled at the thought. It was definitely a pleasant one. He’d have his boy with him at all times now. He really hadn’t liked letting him go off alone. Too much weird shit in this town. Even if he was still the baddest fucker around.
Xander glanced over catching sight of Giles talking to Buffy. “What do you say to me and Riddick walking you home, Faith?”
Faith peered over his shoulder taking in the sight as well. At one time that might have made her gut twist up in panic. Or resentment. Not now. Sure enough in her place in Giles life to let Buffy have her moment. “I say there’s pizza left and Giles weird Brit-coms to make fun of.”
Xander climbed to his feet and with Riddick and Faith flanking him they headed off.
24. Chapter Twenty-Four
Giles glanced at the two men sitting on his couch. He’d been very patient. When Xander had asked him to trust him concerning Riddick, he’d decided to do just that. It didn’t mean he wasn’t curious, or just the slightest bit worried. The man was a convict after all. However, Riddick had proved instrumental during the Ascension. And even before that in dealing with Faith. Reluctant, though he was to admit the man had become a part of their strange little family. Eventually though, even In-laws had to be explained. It looked like Xander was finally ready to. Xander had a look in his eye, very similar to the one just after the Hyena incident. Like he knew something that was just bound to upset everyone. Him in particular.
Giles couldn’t help but note that Xander had waited until after Buffy had left to spend the summer with her father; Willow had left for computer camp just the night before. He glanced down at the shot of whiskey then set it aside. He’d probably need it afterwards. “All right. Out with it.”
Xander tried a puzzled yet innocent look. “Out with what?”
Problem was he just couldn’t pull it off anymore. He sighed. “If I were to put forward the purely hypothetical theory of alien life actually existing, what would your response be?”
Faith sat silently pondering Xander’s words. She went over them in various permutations and no matter how she changed them it still came out the same. Xander had never lied to her. She had no reason to doubt him. So that meant….
“Alien,” she squeaked. Her eyes widening as she struggled to maintain her cool.
Giles took a deep breath and pinched the bridge of his nose. Aliens. Was the boy actually suggesting that this being was an alien? Granted he wasn’t like any demon Giles had ever seen or read about. But alien? Wasn’t some type of half-breed demonic more likely? There was something oddly familiar about the man. Though not enough to actually be a demon. Of any sort, currently with access to this plain. Still, alien? However it was extremely presumptuous to assume Earth held the only intelligent form of life in this universe. It was already a given that other dimensions held varied forms of intelligent life why not other planets? He peered over the rims of his glasses, taking in the slightly sheepish look on Xander’s face. The smug assuredness on Riddick’s. Alien. Good lord. His boy was involved with an extra-terrestrial life form. Okay. “You didn’t think you needed to mention this sooner?”
Xander tipped his head to the side before giving a careless shrug. “After the first Klingon joke I was quite content to keep my alien to myself.”
It was Giles turn to look slightly sheepish at the reminder of Xander’s past exclusion.
Faith gave up and her barely restrained excited wiggling, quickly turned to bouncing. There was a real live E.T. sitting in Jeeves living room. Oh, man being a slayer was just the shit. “Can I get an autograph?”
Xander blinked. “Uh, Faith. It’s not like you can tell anyone.”
“Who cares? When the truth finally comes out I’ll have the only bra signed by an alien,” she grinned.
Giles rolled his eyes and turned his attention back to the…. alien. That was actually going to take some getting used to. “And just what is your business here?”
“Originally, he asked to be taken to our leader,” said Xander. “But when I told him I was his people decided we weren’t worth taking over.”
“I guess he decided to stay and conquer you anyway. Huh, Boy-toy?” laughed Faith.
“You know what they say ‘Conquer the leader. Conquer the world,” Xander said smugly, leaning back against the couch. Arms crossed smugly over is chest. An owner-of-all-he-surveyed grin on his face.
Faith whapped him with a couch pillow. Riddick eyed Xander, an amused smile curving the corners of his mouth.
Giles sighed. “Children, please. Now, Mr. Riddick.”
Riddick lifted a brow. “I’m on a mission to save the universe. What else?”
Giles bit back the automatic sarcastic comment. He didn’t need Ripper stirring up any kind of trouble. He’d grown past the need to be the alpha male in the room. Ripper snorted, yeah right. “That entails what exactly?”
Riddick leaned back, gesturing at Xander as he did. “That’s his department. I’m just here for the violence.”
“And the sex,” giggled Faith. Riddick gave a teeth baring grin and as his gaze drifted over his lover.
Xander glared at her but then winked. It wasn’t like she was wrong. He leaned down and grabbed his book bag, pulling out several books and his own notes. Feeling justifiably proud of the research he’d done. Granted, there wasn’t exactly a dearth of information available but he’d discovered who or actually what Samiel was. “From what I’ve been able to discover Riddick has been sent here to stop what I believe is an Old one. One of the First One’s.” He briefly considered mentioning the time travel bit but quickly discarded the idea. No need to send Giles to an early grave.
Giles decided now was the time to have that drink. It was never simple with Xander. He tossed it back then quickly poured another one. “And you know this how? Do you know for a fact it’s going to happen here?” He couldn’t believe he was saying this but, “Was there an alien prophecy?”
“It wasn’t alien to me,” muttered Riddick. “Look, some old biddy spouted some crap about this being coming from the Underverse. What was once thought of as the mouth of Hell. I was told ‘Stop it’s rising. Save the universe.’ There was some mystics chanting and boom I’m here.”
“Mystics?” asked Giles. “No ship,” pouted Faith.
“I don’t go in for all that mystic, holy man shit. It’s not my thing,” growled Riddick.
“So you just volunteered. No questions asked,” drawled Giles, incredulously. Having never forgotten Xander’s parental figure’s ranting about the convict.
“You could say that,” Riddick shrugged. “Wasn’t a lot of other options at the time.”
Giles took a moment to finish off the last bit of liquor in the shot glass. It was apparent beating around the bush wasn’t going to get the job done. Best to just come straight out with it. “Were you conscripted?”
“You could--” Amusement clear in his tone as he stared down the older man.
Xander elbowed his lover. He knew what Giles was hinting at. Obviously, the man had never lost his worry over that bit of information gleaned from his father. “Riddick was… is the leader of his people. He was chosen to save them.”
Faith rolled her eyes at all the tip-toeing around the subject. Sheesh. “Were you a convict?” she asked, head tipping to the side.
Xander groaned and dropped his head into his hands.
“You could say that,” Riddick growled out. “Been a lot of things. Some would say convict. Other’s dissident. All means the same in the end. History’s written by the winners.”
An alien convict. Giles opened his mouth then shut it. At least he wasn’t undead.
Faith held up a finger. “Why send a badass like you? On one hand,” she held up her right. “There’s no doubt you kick ass. Yet on the other,” she said holding up her left. “It’s obvious you follow no one’s rules but your own. Wouldn‘t it have made more sense to send someone more… oh say biddable.”
Riddick shrugged. “When I say there weren’t a lot of other options. I mean there weren’t *any* other options.”
“Hey, can I get back to my report here? I did good work. If I do say so myself,” Xander said.
“Of course. Continue,” Giles said, waving a hand at Xander.
“At some point in time the Old one, Samiel, is to be released from the Deeper Well,” explained Xander. He was willing to go with Giles assumption that this was a prophecy instead of foreknowledge. “Once that occurs he, it, whatever will spread across the worlds like a plague. Riddick’s old biddy wasn’t too clear on the time frame though. We’ve got a vague time estimate of sometime between now and the next decade. Which is more warning than we usually have.”
“Do we know if there are any current worshippers,” asked Giles reaching for one of the books Xander had laid on the table.
“I’ve found three or four sects but most of them are defunct. There aren’t even any high priests in this dimension at the moment,” Xander frowned. “As far as I’ve been able to discover the Well’s guardian is still well… guarding. You’d think he’d have raised an alarm if someone was messing around.”
“Unfortunately, physical proximity is not always needed in spell casting,” Giles pointed out. “We’ll just have to stay alert. Now, that I’m aware of the situation I’ll be sure to keep an ear out for any stirrings in the community. Re-connect with some of it’s shadier aspects. They usually get a head ups first.”
“Okay. Okay. What’dya need me to do,” cried Faith, fairly buzzing with the urge to do *something*.
“Actually, umm aside from keeping our eyes open there’s not a lot we can do,” Xander muttered. “We do have sorta of an ace in the hole. A crystal to let us know when Samiel has been released.”
“And why wasn’t this mentioned earlier,” asked Giles with a pointed look.
“ ‘Cause it only alerts us to his rising nothing more. Heck, we don’t even know what kinda time frame the stupid crystal has. Whether it’s an hour or a week,” Xander bit out. “It might be a proximity alert as far as I know.”
Giles turned his gaze to Riddick.
“What did I say,” grumbled Riddick. “Far as I’m concerned when it lights up then it’s time to bring on the violence. Till then I’m concentrating on the sex.”
Xander preened like a cat being stroked at the lascivious look directed his way. “To that end, we’re taking a road trip.”
Giles refused to gape like an idiot. “A road trip? An impending apocalyptic event and you‘re taking a road trip?”
“Cool,” yelped Faith. “Can I come?”
“No,” snapped Giles before Xander could even respond. “Summer school for you, young lady.”
Faith slumped back against her chair with a pout.
“Hey, I was planning this thing long before possible imminent doom reared it’s predictable head. Seeing as my life span might be regrettably short with the life I live, I intend to enjoy it while I can.” Xander dropped back onto the couch, curling without shame into Riddick’s side.
“I see,” mumbled Giles, wiping at his glasses. He couldn’t fault Xander’s logic. The boy had a point. “Of course, I expect regular contact while you’re away.”
“A postcard from every state,” promised Xander.
“And phone calls,” added Faith, sadly resigned to becoming a school-going member of society again.
“And phone calls,” agreed Xander.
“When do you leave,” asked Giles. “I can jot do a few places that you might find interesting.” Thinking of a list of various sites he could write up for Xander to go see. Things any child of his should at least have experience once in his own country.
Xander shot Giles a wary look. He could see educational things in his future if he gave the librarian too much time to think. “Tomorrow. First thing. Before you wake up even.”
Faith snickered at Giles disgruntled look.
Giles gaze turned sly. “I’ll walk it over. I’m sure I can come up with something tonight.”
Riddick ignored the on-going banter. He really didn’t intend to let Xander out of the motel rooms for the majority of the trip anyway. He wrapped an arm around his mate and settled back into the couch. Content to let him spend this last night with them before they left.