Title: Red, White, and Blue (1/1)

Author: Cyclone

Feedback: Please be gentle.

Distribution: Gimme credit and a link. Plus, archived at http://fanfiction.net/profile.php?userid=62966 or http://fanfiction.net/~cyclone

Rating: I'm gonna go say PG.

Spoilers: Canon up to Grave. Slightly AU up to Empty Places.

Disclaimer: The characters depicted herein belong to the almighty Joss. I'm just borrowing them for a while.

Summary: They've fought without Xander, but now, he's back. Sequel to Shield.

Author's Note: The scene wouldn't go away, and I thought I'd do a tribute to what is reputedly one of Cap's most defining moments in the comics while I was at it.

* * *

"We're going back in."

"What?" Willow stared at her in shock. "You want us to go _back_?"

"Listen, I know what you're thinking..."

"Buffy! Kennedy _died_ in there! So did five others, and you want us to go _back_?"

"There's something there, Willow!" Buffy snapped back. "Why else would he be guarding it like that? Besides, we'll have help."

Faith chose that moment to speak up, "Help? From who? In case you hadn't noticed, B, we're on our own here. What, did you call Angel?"

"No. She called me."

The voice had come from the front door, and Faith stared, "Boytoy? _You're_ the backup she was talking about? You've really filled out, gotten buff. But still, what are ya gonna do? Drive your car into the vineyard?"

"Why don't you come at me and find out?" Xander asked evenly, lowering his bag to the ground.

"Oh, please," Faith laughed, then frowned. "You're serious?"

"As a heart attack."

"Your funeral," the dark-haired Slayer shrugged, then launched herself at him, intending to take him out quickly without hurting him.

_That_ plan underwent revision as Xander simply leaned his head to the side, letting her fist fly past, and caught her wrist, flipping her over him and out onto the lawn with one fluid motion.

Faith rose and eyed him more cautiously, "Been takin' lessons, huh, X?"

"Something like that."

Then Xander moved, faster than Faith had thought possible, sinking a fist in her gut with unexpected strength. She grabbed his arm and hurled him around, but he rolled back to his feet almost the moment he hit the ground, then spun to face her.

Faith rerevised her assessment of him, and as they circled each other, she commented, "Not bad, boytoy, but I'm still not impressed."

Xander smirked and said, "I'll fix that." He slid toward her and lashed out with a punch combo that she easily blocked, but she didn't see the kick that caught her leg and threw her off-balance. She involuntarily turned and found herself in a headlock.

"I could break your neck right now," Xander said calmly.

"Heh," she said. "Now I _am_ impressed."

Xander released her and stepped back. Her fist lashed out but was easily deflected.

She grinned, "You know me too well, boytoy."

They stepped back into the house, but Rona was still skeptical, "So he can beat a Slayer, but Caleb's tougher than a Slayer. We saw that. How's one man gonna turn the fight?"

Xander exchanged looks with Buffy and Willow and picked up his bag. He pulled out his shield, and the potential Slayers stared as they recognized it.

"When that man is Captain America," Buffy said proudly.

Willow nodded and hugged him fiercely, "Oh, God, Xander, I _missed_ you, you big dolt! When I heard about that thing with HYDRA and the nukes, I was so _worried_ about you!"

"Hey, hey!" he said. "I said I was fine."

"You _always_ say that."

"Holy shit," Faith murmured, stunned at the revelation. "I popped Captain America's cherry."

"FAITH!"

* * *

Caleb hurled Faith across the vineyard floor. She slammed into the opposite wall in a crumpled heap next to Buffy. Potential Slayers lay battered and beaten across the room.

"Well," he said, "looks like I win again."

"Not yet," came a challenging voice.

Caleb turned to see Xander struggling to his feet. The preacher snorted, "Oh, you must be joking."

Xander shook his head as he strode up until he was nose to nose with Caleb. He stood tall, proudly wearing the red, white, and blue outfit, despite his injuries. He held his shield in a loose grip at his side.

"As long as one person stands against you, Caleb," he said, "you'll _never_ be able to claim victory."

"Nice speech, from someone who's about to die."

Caleb swung at Xander, but the new Captain America ducked the blow and came up...

CLANG!

...slamming his shield into Caleb's face. Caleb stumbled back and tried to shake his head clear from the shield blow.

Then Xander called out, "Finn! Now!"

A dozen people, decked out in camouflage and armed with submachine guns poured in, and it was then that Caleb belatedly remembered that he wasn't bulletproof...

* * *

Author's Postscript:

Not exactly the superheroic way to deal with a problem... but Xander's always been a bit more practical when it comes to tactics, and I just couldn't let go of this opportunity to underscore the stupidity displayed by the pod people pretending to be the Scooby Gang in season seven. And sure, Caleb's no Thanos, and he sure as hell doesn't have a freakin' Infinity Gauntlet, but with the way he tosses Slayers around (and the lack of backing from the rest of the Marvel world to even things up), I thought it was appropriate.