Title : White Knight, Black Queen - Episode 1 - Tarnished Armor Author : Tenhawk


This is *not* part of the Journeyverse. Some SPOILERS for S7 contained within!! You have been WARNED!!


Disclaimer: All characters belong to their rightful owners... none of which are me.

Summary: Post Season 7, Xander leaves Sunnydale on a mission with an unexpected companion.

Rating : PG-13 to PG-16; for mild cursing, violence, and demonic horror content... in other words a bit more grown up then the series... but only cause I don't have to suck up to censors.


Xander Harris stared into the mirror, frowning. He didn't like what he saw anymore.

It wasn't just the patch he now sported over one eye, though that image still stung him to no end. It wasn't just the fact that his broad form was a lot softer then it should be. It had a lot to do with the fact that he was so close to being alone now, something that always scared him.

Buffy had tried to kill him a while back, something that sadly wasn't a unique event. Of course, this time she had been in her right mind, more or less.

He snorted, considering that placing Buffy in her right mind was a farfetched thought recently. Still, he didn't really blame her for this time anymore then he had for the others. He'd lied to her, she'd found out. He'd known what she'd do if she ever found out, and had lied anyway. So be it.

But his relationship with her, flimsy as it had sometimes been, was over. She didn't want to see him anymore and, unlike before, with the Hellmouth closed she didn't *need* him anymore either. That meant that, for the first time in over seven years, Alexander Lavelle Harris was free.

He was half blind now, his depth perception shot to hell, and scarred on the inside and the out. But he was a free man. Buffy had announced her retirement shortly after the final battle with the First, having finally decided that her fight was over. And said that while she would continue to protect Sunnydale, the responsibility for the world had fallen to a new generation.

"Well screw that." Xander told the mirror as he buttoned up his shirt.

One thing he'd learned watching Buffy stumble and bumble her way to victory, was that the days of the Slayer were over. The Slayer was an antiquated, arcane, and utterly worthless bastion of the old world. An unparalleled footsoldier, to be sure, a warrior without peer in squad level combat. But those days were over, had been over for so long that Xander simply didn't understand how the Watchers Council had survived as long as they did.

In the end, the Slayer was nothing more then a crossbow in a machine gun world.

The First had understood this, however poorly and primitively. It had used modern tactics to its advantage, and made equal use of ancient principles of warfare as well. It had attacked them with the tenants of Sun Tzu, shattering their resolve, turning their leaders against one another, and taking them where they were weak.

In the end, Xander supposed, the First should have won.

Fate was a fickle bastard, or bitch, or whatever the hell it was. And fate seemed to favor humans. On this world at least.

He finished getting dressed and looked at himself in the mirror.

Black jeans, green shirt, tan work boots, and that goddamned black patch over his left eye.

He was ready.



The sound of the fist meeting flesh echoed through the room to the stunned silence of everyone present.

"How DARE you!?"

Xander slowly straightened back up from where he had barely managed to catch himself on a chair. He squared his shoulders away and looked back into the raging eyes of the blonde Slayer. "It might be handy if you told me what you're pissed about before swinging for the moon, Buff."

"How DARE you lie to me!? You told me that Willow said 'kick his ass'!"

Xander winced. Something he hadn't done when she hit him. He nodded, "How'd you find out?"

"That's none of your business! Answer my question!!"

There was silence for a long moment as people in the room tried to understand what was going on. Xander finally spoke, "I made a judgment call. You were too emotional, you'd have failed if you went after Angelus in that frame of mind."

Buffy pulled back to strike again, but her fist was caught by a hand behind her. She spun and glared at the person who had grabbed her. "Let me go!"

"No." Angel said cooly. "I don't know exactly what's going on, but I do know one thing... this isn't helping right now, Buffy."

She shook herself free from Angel's grip and faced off with him. "He didn't tell me that Willow was going to restore your soul!"

Angel glanced over at Xander for confirmation. Xander simply shrugged and nodded.

Angel turned back, "Ok."

"Ok!?" Buffy's eyes widened, "Ok!?"

"Yeah." Angel said, "Ok. We have more important matters now. The First has to be handled Buffy."

"Don't you care!?"

"Of course I do." Angel said. "I left Sunnydale because you weren't able to kill me when I was Angelus. I'm glad someone here understood the difference between him and me."

Buffy stared in shock as Angel brushed past her and clapped one hand on Xander's shoulder as he walked past. There was a long silence and Xander looked around at the assembled SIT's and clapped his hands.

"Alright! Weapons check in five!"

The girls broke from their stunned poses and grabbed for their weapons to be certain everything was ready.


Xander sighed as he pulled his SUV into the house at Revello drive and stopped. It had been a long hard battle, but they'd won. He wasn't certain how, but they'd won.

He got out of the vehicle and walked up to the house, hoping that Giles had been right when he said that Buffy wouldn't be here at this time.

"Hello Xander."

"Hey G-man." Xander said quietly, his voice a little flat. "I understand you have some things for me?"

Giles nodded, not even noticing the G-man crack. He handed the young man a fat manilla envelope. "Here."

Xander accepted it and checked inside. He quickly verified the contents, noting the passports, various ID's, and credit cards. He nodded, taking Giles hand. "Thanks."

Giles shook his head, "No need, Xander. I wish I was going with you."

"You have work in London." Xander said seriously. "We need to use the time we've won to rebuild. If we waste it..."

"Yes," Giles nodded, "I'm aware of the consequences. This Hellmouth is closed, others are merely laying in wait."

Xander nodded, "Thanks. I'll be..."

"Wait a moment," Giles said, "Wesley sent some things up for you."

"Wesley?" Xander frowned, "How'd he...?"

Giles smiled, "Angel elected him to be our California representative."

Xander chuckled, "Ok. What'd he send?"

Giles motioned him to a large crate that was sitting in the place of the Summers coffee table.

"Whoa." Xander muttered, walking up. "What the hell is in here?"

Giles shrugged and handed the ex-construction worker a pry-bar.

Xander accepted the bar and made short work of the crate, forcing it open and looking inside. "Whoa."

Xander lifted out an odd looking device with a simple note attached.

'Place this on your right arm, under your shirt.'

Xander frowned, rolling up his shirt and fitting his arm into the odd device. He strapped it closed and looked around. "What does it do?"

Giles shrugged.

Xander moved to remove it, accidently flexing his arm, and the device snapped out instantly. A three piece blade unfolded and snapped together and a nylon covered pommel fitted itself into Xander's hand.

"Shit!" Xander cursed in shock as he stared at the three foot blade that was coated in a flat black finish. "God damn."

Giles had jumped back in shock, and was now approaching cautiously. "A... fascinating piece of weaponry."

Xander smiled slightly, sweeping the weapon through the air for a couple strokes to test its feel. "Cool."

He hesitantly let go of the pommel and the blade instantly snapped back and vanished into the odd contraption he wore. "Very cool."

He carefully rolled his sleeve down over the device and button it up. "Alright. Anything else?"

Giles looked through the items, "Most of these are for me I believe... what's this?"

Giles pulled out a small envelop marked with Xander's name and handed to the young man.

Xander opened it and dropped the contents out. He looked them over and whistled.

"What is it?"

Wordlessly he handed a slip of paper over to Giles, then continued to examine the contents.

"A firearms certificate?" Giles frowned, "With a... my word."

"Wesley's become quite the counterfeiter hasn't he?" Xander grinned, pocketing the papers.

Giles shook his head, grinning ferally. "I do believe that he and Ripper would have gotten along famously."

Xander nodded and chuckled. He sobered quickly, shaking his head. "I'd better get going before Buffy comes back and sees you consorting with the enemy."

Giles looked down at the ground, "She doesn't mean..."

"Don't." Xander said quietly. "Don't defend her. She's made her stand, I've made mine. Now we both have to live with it."

Giles nodded sadly. "I see. You know that the others don't agree with her."

"Willow does. Mostly anyway." Xander said, "But then Willow always was a romantic. I've learned to be a pragmatist, and that doesn't sit well with her."

"I suppose not." Giles said, "For what it's worth... I understand why you did it."

Xander nodded, "I know you do. You were prepared to do the same thing to Spike."

Giles nodded, "Funny wasn't it... That she'd be right about that one."

Xander sighed, "Spike doesn't blame you for it, Giles. You know that. He was ready to leave himself for the same reasons. Buffy was playing with fire... just cause she didn't get burned that time, doesn't mean we don't have the scars from all the other times."

"Yes..." Giles said, "Quite. Still... She's forgiven me... You should talk to her..."

Xander shook his head, "No. I've talked to her enough for this year. I've talked at her, I've talked through her, I've talked around her. Maybe she'll be ready to listen... next year."

"Perhaps." Giles said.

"Are the potentials all gone now?"

Giles nodded, "Except for Kennedy. She's moved in with Willow."

Xander nodded, "I'm glad Wills has someone new. If they ask... tell them I said goodbye, ok?"

Giles nodded.

Xander extended his hand, and Giles gripped it strongly, and the two men stared at each other for a long moment before either spoke again.

"Well then... Good luck."

Xander nodded, "Thanks, G... Giles. I'll be in touch."

With that Xander turned and walked out of the home on Revello Drive and thumbed the remote starter on his SUV.


He half turned, looking down the street to the source of the voice.

"Hi Dawn, Amanda." He said to the Key and the Potential Slayer as they walked toward him.

Dawn approached timidly at first, "You're leaving aren't you?" Xander nodded. "Yeah."

"Why can't you stay?" Damn asked, her voice plaintive. "You and Buffy have fought before... No one stands up to her like you do... you always come through ok..."

"It's not about the Fight, Dawnie." Xander said gently, "It's about a lot of things... I've stood by Buffy's side for seven years... and I swore that I'd never leave her..."

"Then why are you going!?"

"Because she left me, Dawn." Xander said after a long silence. "She's walking away from the fight... and I understand that... she's more then earned the rest. But I'm not ready to walk away yet."

"She still needs you..." Dawn tried, "There are more thengs then the hellmouth for her to deal with."

"Well... I guess you'll have to take my place." Xander said with a sad smile. "Make her laugh when she's feeling down... you know... do my whole bad joke thing."

Dawn and Amanda giggled nervously. "No one can replace you, Xander."

"Someone else needs me now, Dawn." Xander said finally. "Buffy's retired... she's survived... I've done what I swore I'd do... Now I have someone else to walk the night with."

Dawn shook her head, "I wish I was coming with you."

Xander smiled, "Finish up school first, Dawnie."

She rolled her eyes, "Right."

"Bye, Dawn."

Dawn lunged in and hugged him, and Xander hugged her back.

"Bye Xander."


Anya was waiting when Xander pulled into the lot, her foot tapping the ground impatiently. She smiled as he got out, "So... are you leaving yet?"

Xander smiled slightly in return. Anya was still, after all, Anya. He nodded and tossed her his keychain, "Yes, Ahn... I'm leaving now. The apartment is yours like I promised."

Anya stared at the keys for a moment, hesitating before nodded. "Well... good. I deserve it."

Xnder nodded in affirmation, "You do at that. And a whole lot more, Anya... don't ever forget it."

She nodded, looking sad suddenly. "I won't..."

Xander smiled, "Here. One last gift between old loves."

Anya frowned as she accepted the envelope Xander was handing her. "What's this?"

Xander shrugged, "Just... clearing a debt."

She opened the envelop and pulled out paper in side. It was an invoice marked for Xander's old construction company. It was invoiced to the Magic Box, and it was marked 'paid in full'. She paled, "I... I... Is... this what I... think?"

"Yeah, Ahn..." Xander nodded, "The Box is yours again, and in primo shape."

"But... why?"

"I told you," Xander replied, "Clearing a debt."

"But you didn't wreck the shop..."

Xander turned and got back into his black SUV, "I never said it was my debt, Ahn."


Xander pulled the vehicle to a stop outside a ratty hotel and shook his head.

God dammit. Why did she insist on living here again?

He got out and walked over to the room, the same room he remembered and knocked on the door.

"Come in!"



"I'll steer you around the curves." She promised, pushing him down onto the hard bed and climbing up onto him.

His heart caught and actually seemed to skip a few beats as she straddled him and made short work of her shirt. His breath was next as her bare breasts came into sight as she grinned mischievously at him.

He reached up slowly, his hands hugging her curve of her hips as she ground down against his crotch.

"Ummmmmm...." He groaned out, his eyes closing automatically. When he opened them again he looked up to see her face just above his, the twinkle in her eyes even more pronounced.

His slid his hands up her bare sides, sliding one along her back as he gently applied pressure to bring her lower. Her eyes laughed at him as she resisted for a moment, just to prove that she could, then allowed him to draw her down and capture her lips with his own.

He felt her hands running down his bare chest and easily unbuckling his belt and then felt the grating feel of his zipper being pulled down. "Oh... um... Faith..."

"Relax, X." She grinned, "Enjoy the ride."

So he did.


Xander looked around the ratty old room as he walked in and shook his head. "Faith. Why the hell did you move back in here?"

She grinned up at him as she hefted her belongings, the one entire duffel bag that contained them, and shrugged. "Must be all the hot memories, Lover boy."

Xander smirked and shook his head, "You ready?"

She ran one hand down her hip and grinned at him, "You propositioning me?"

"To go." Xander said, speaking slowly, "Are you ready to go?"

She rolled her eyes and sighed, "Yeah. I'm ready."

"Good. Come on."


It was evening and the sun was going down when Xander made his last stop. He pulled up to the old mansion and got out. He smirked to himself, considering how often monsters had squatted here and never knew what they were sitting on.

"What the hell is in here?" Faith asked him.

"My equipment stash." Xander replied, "I figure we might need some of it."

As they walked in he smelled a faint whiff of smoke and turned around.

"Spike." He said, his voice neutral. "What are you doing here?"

The ensouled vampire shrugged, flicking away his cigaret. "Thought you might come this way, Droopy. Hiya sweets."

Faith smirked at him, blowing the ensouled vamp a kiss.

Xander rolled his eye, "What do you want?"

The bleach blond vamp shrugged again, walking up to him. "I'm coming with ya."


"You heard me."

Xander sighed, "Look, Spike... I'm not leaving for a few days here. I'm kicking out of SunnyD, maybe for ever."

"I know that."

"Spike, I thought that you and Buffy..." Xander trailed off as a shiver ran up his spine at the words he was speaking.

Spike smiled, "That really bugs you, huh? Me and the Slayer?"

Xander nodded, "Yeah. It does."

"Why? You still got the hots fer her?"

Xander shook his head, feeling Faith tense up slightly beside him. "No. No... I got over those feeling a long time ago. It's just... Spike, you're bad for..."

"Her." Spike finished, nodding. "Yeah. I know. I got that on my own. That's one reason why I'm leaving."

"You love her." Xander said in surprise, realizing that the vampire had finally stepped past his obsession and onto a different level.

Spike looked at him, letting out an amused chuff of air. "Don't you?" Xander laughed, remembering an old conversation, and shook his head. "In a way, I suppose. She's family, I always will."

Spike nodded.

"What's the other reason?"


"You said that Buffy was one reason you were leaving..." Xander said, "What's the other reason?"

Spike looked around, his face tense. "She's giving up."


"She's not fighting no more." Spike said after another moment.

Xander frowned, "That's it? You're coming cause you still want the blood rush??"

Spike shook his head, "No. It's not that. I... I've got a lot to atone for, Droopy... I killed a lot of people. I can't get redemption kickin around here and watching the Slayer go to PTA meetings, now can I?"

Xander fell silent for a long moment, then nodded. "Ok. You can come."

Faith grabbed Xander by the arm, frowning. "Can I talk to you?"

He nodded, and then looked at Spike.

The vampire rolled his eyes and nodded. "I'll be right outside."

After the vamp had left, Faith hissed quietly. "Do you think this is smart?"

Xander shrugged, "I don't know."

"Then why the hell are you letting him come with us?"

Xander looked around for a long moment before answering. "You know what it's like to need redemption right?"

She nodded slowly.

"I... well, I don't like him. And I don't know if I really trust him either... but he did save my life when I got this." Xander said, his fingers brushing the patch over his left eye. Faith hesitated, remembering that night. "I... I'm sorry I didn't..."

Xander shook his head, "Relax. I don't blame anyone. I rolled the dice, I made the bet. I can handle the loss. But he did pull that freak off me..."

"That's it?" Faith asked, frowning. "That's the reason?"

"Not only that." Xander sighed. "I want to get him away from Buffy. He's no good for her... He knows it, I know it... but Buffy can't seem to figure it out."

"So this is about B?" Faith asked, getting a little huffy. "You still protecting her? Being her Knight in shining armor!?"

Xander hesitated, "You know... it's not the first time I've been called that. But yeah, I'm still trying to protect her and keep her happy. Maybe I'm an ass for forcing myself on her life when she doesn't want me there... maybe I'm an idiot for taking her abuse... but... you know, she's family. And I hope that maybe she'll change back to the girl I once fell in love with if maybe she can shed some of the darkness that's in her life."

"You mean Spike."

"He's part of it." Xander said, sighing, "But it's not all him... A lot of it is me, and Willow... we didn't do her any favors when we brought her back. I... I'm hoping that maybe without all the stress she can be... happy."

"You're right." Faith said finally.


"You are an ass." The Dark Slayer said, shaking her head with a grin. "And if B finds out about this one, I don't think that Angel will be there to keep her from knocking your head off."

Xander smiled a little, "Come on. Let's get the stuff and get a move on."

"Sure." Faith said, her expression a little troubled. She turned to the door and let out a yell, "Come on, Bleach boy! You coming along on this haunt then you're damn well gonna carry your weight!"


Two figures grunted as they shoved the last box into the black SUV.

"Cor. What the hell was in that?" Spike asked as he leaned against the vehicle.

Xander shrugged, "A couple assault rifles, ammo, and a dozen grenades." "What!?"

Xander smiled, "You remember when we took out the Judge?"

Spike nodded, chuckling as he sat down on the ground and leaned against the SUV. "Sure. Angelus was cursing about rocket launchers for weeks."

Xander laughed and slid down beside the vampire. "Glad to hear it."

"So... What about it?"

Xander looked over, "You really think that's the only thing I... 'requisitioned' from the army?"

"Cor..." Spike whispered in surprise. "Why the bloody hell didn't you use it?"

Xander shrugged, "We did... some of it... whenever Buffy decided that it was 'appropriate'."

Spike rolled his eyes, "I get the picture."

Xander chuckled.

"Hey, how come we do all the work and she gets to sit in the car?" Spike asked, jerking a thumb over his shoulder.

"You want to be the one to tell her to get out and help?"

Spike snorted, "Pass."

Xander nodded with a grin and got up, "Come on. Let's get moving."

"You want me to drive?"

Xander frowned at the vamp, "Do you have a license?"

"Technically? No."

"I'll drive."


'You are now leaving Sunnydale.'

"SO..." Spike said as the sign flashed by. "What are we doin?"

Xander looked over at him oddly, "Driving." "I know that." Spike muttered, "I mean, what's the plan... why you leavin town?"

"You don't know!?"


"Then why are you tagging along??"

Spike flashed him a grin, "You forget, droopy. I saw how you got back at the guy who gave you that..."

Xander's hand reached up and touched the patch for a moment, "So?"

"So, I know you ain't retiring." Spike said, "And I want to go where the action is. I *have* to."

Xander shook his head, "With the Hellmouth sealed here in SunnyD, it turns out that the bad guys don't have a place to gather anymore..."


"So, they're starting to crop up in places that were quite before..." Xander said, "Places that have some of the same qualities as the Hellmouth, but on lower levels."

Spike nodded, "Oh yeah... I knew a couple places like that before... Angelus kept track of some of the more powerful ones."

"Right." Xander confirmed. "Anyway... we have a potential Slayer and a neophyte field watcher on a dimensional tear in New Orleans who are reporting an upswing in demonic activity."

Spike was silent for a bit, "Cor. You're talking about being what? A mobile troubleshooter?"

"Exactly." Xander replied.

"Bloody hell."

"What's the matter, Big Bad?" Faith grinned at the vamp. "You got a problem with that?"

Spike shook his head, his eyes unbelieving. "You blokes do love to bite off more then you can chew don't ya?"

Xander shrugged, "With the Watchers Council in shambles we don't have many reliable field agents left. Right now, we're the only team the good guys can put in the field with more experience then the SIT's who survived the fight with the first."

"Bloody hell." The Ensouled Vampire cursed again. Faith smirked at him, "Just think Bleach boy... you asked for this."



If you want more stories/faster updates in this and/or the Journeyverse series don't ask me. Just go to my Yahoo group and check it out for DAILY updates. I only post here when I get around to it... which can be any stretch of time at all. FF.Net simply isn't a priority given the recent uncertainties in posting here. So far I've been lucky, only a couple of my fics have been deleted, but a lot of stories are biting the big one for little to no reason.