Disclaimer: Still don't own them.
Sorry about the incredibly long wait, my inspiration for this story kind of went on holiday for a while. But hey, I started several other fics while it was gone so it's not all bad. Still haven't decided on pairings, if there will be any. This is mainly focusing on Alex and Xander so other characters will come and go. Since I don't like Buffy all that much by the end of the series it is very doubtful she'll make an appearance. Going to jump around a little because I can't write fight scenes very well, especially gun ones.

Wards are a Wonderful Thing

Xander tore down the street, dodging pedestrians with the long practised ease of a predator. The low warning buzz at the back of his head had been escalating for the past few minutes, hence his mad run towards the apartment. Something had triggered the wards all Council apartments had. He should never have left Alex alone in the apartment, not when the other man had admitted there were people who would come after him. Alex was still too weak to do anything to protect himself, even with the gun Xander had managed to get for him, he had trouble lifting and aiming it. He should have ordered the groceries online and had them delivered like he had been doing but Alex had insisted that he'd be fine by himself for a while and that Xander could use the time alone. He should never have listened.

Xander burst into the building lobby and growled at the sight in front of him. Frank, the elderly but kind security guard was dead, bullet had got him right between the eyes. But the killers had made a mistake; they hadn't taken Frank's gun. Xander took it, gently closing the man's eyes and went for the stairs. Either no one had heard the shot or they were smart enough to pretend they hadn't and had stayed inside their apartments, making Xander's job easier. The hyena was throwing herself against her cage, baying for the blood of those stupid enough to kill one under their protection while the soldier whispered more useful knowledge of how to climb the stairs without getting himself killed, how to take his opponents silently, one by one.

Taking a deep breath Xander triggered another part of the apartment wards, letting them feed him the information on how many hostiles were inside and where. It had bee stupid of I not to tie Alex into the wards, if he had he could simply let them fry the bad guys without any risk to himself or Alex but he hadn't so now he'd have to do it the hard way and pray Alex would be all right until he got there. From the information it seemed like Alex was still in bed with thug number one covering both the door and him. Thug number two was in the kitchen and number three was in the bathroom. Unfortunately the wards only gave info on the people inside the apartment, not the ones possibly hidden throughout the building, like the one now taking pot shots at him from a higher landing. Swearing softly he crouched and ducked back as far as he could. At least now he knew why no one had called the cops, they hadn't heard the shots due to silencers.


Xander leant against the door, trying to calm his breathing and ignore the fiery burning in his left calf. He was lucky the bullet had only grazed him, a deep graze sure but it hadn't actually gone in. Just how many people did they think it would take to take out one invalid? They'd obviously waited for Xander to leave so why so many goons? He'd had to deal with three on the stairs alone, no telling how many were in the hall between him and the apartment, at least for a normal person. Closing his eyes he stretched out his other senses, ignoring the smell of blood coming from behind and below. There was slight movement not far from the door and the familiar smell of gun oil. Focusing harder he picked up at least two more bad guys in the hall. He had to hurry for Alex's sake but getting himself killed by rushing was not a good idea. He upped the intensity on the wards a bit, not enough to really hurt anyone but enough to make them uncomfortable. After this he was adding Alex to them and setting them at lethal. Taking one last deep breath he opened the door.


Okay, he was really starting to get pissed off! No he knew why he preferred threats of the supernatural kind, they didn't tend to carry guns! He'd exhausted franks gun back on the stairs and was now using one of the thug guns, not like the idiot needed it anymore. Xander knew what her Highness, Buffy the Great would say about the mess he'd left in his wake. So if he had anything to do with it she would never find out. It was okay for a Slayer to say that they should never kill humans, but it didn't work that way for the rest of them. He didn't have Buffy's Slayer healing if he got shot, that was one thing the hyena hadn't given him. And right know it was something he wouldn't mind having. He'd taken another near miss, this time to his right side and it was burning like crazy. The last thug had drawn a knife at the last minute and he'd barely avoided being gutted. So now he had a gun and a knife and he knew thug number one had the door covered, this was not going to be fun.


Alex lay still on the bed; there wasn't much else he could do anyway. He only hoped they were finished with hi and long gone before Xander got home, he didn't want the younger man to get killed because he'd helped him. But it was starting to look like that was exactly what they were waiting for. He swore silently and in Russian, there was nothing he could do, they'd taken the gun, not that it had done him any good and had cuffed his good arm to the bedhead. It also didn't help that whatever they'd jabbed into his arm was making his head really fuzzy. It was getting harder to concentrate or even keep his eyes open. Although from the looks of things he wasn't the only one feeling like he had millions of ants crawling across his nerves.


Xander's grin became completely feral as he reached once again for the wards, the front half of them.


Alex jerked slightly as the two thugs in the front of the apartment began screaming and writhing in agony, dropping their guns. He flinched as the apartment door exploded inwards and a figure came barrelling through. A thrown knife took one thug in the throat while the other received a bullet to the heart. His sight was beginning to become too blurry to make out his apparent rescuer even as the man approached his side of the apartment. He tried to move on the bed but his limbs wouldn't obey him and everything was going dark. The last thing he heard was something that may have been his name in a concerned voice.


Xander kept an eye on the bathroom as he quickly checked Alex's pulse and breathing, both were strong allowing him to relax a little. He easily spotted the empty syringe by the bed and took a quick sniff but didn't recognise the drug, hopefully it was a simple anaesthetic and not something more sinister. Now, how to get thug number three to play? The man was good, he'd ignored his companions' screams and stayed at his post, obviously they had hoped that if anyone got past the others they wouldn't think to check the bathroom. Good thing Xander had a paranoid ex-special ops soldier in his head plus the ward.


Alex was vaguely aware of movement but he couldn't do anything but moan pitifully. His eyelids fluttered slightly now and then but all he got were flashes of light. He wasn't even aware enough to hope that he wasn't being taken to Cancerman or any of his friends; all he wanted was to sleep. Soothing hands were on his face and a distant voice was telling him to relax, that he was safe and he had no desire to argue as he drifted further away from waking.

Xander cradled his unconscious companion closer to his chest as he followed his contact further into the labyrinth hidden under neath the city. His fellow Council members would not be impressed if they knew but right now his priority was to get Alex somewhere where he wouldn't be found by the people chasing him and to do that they had to go to ground, or in this case underground. His contact stopped at an incredibly well concealed door and opened it for him. He stepped through and smiled, it was perfect. Money quickly exchanged hands and Xander quickly made his way to the bedroom, setting his cargo down gently before getting to work on the wards. This time Alex was being keyed in and they were being set at the highest lethal setting they could be, Xander wasn't taking any chances this deep within demon territory. Nothing and no one was getting through that door alive except him and Alex. He knew the Council would clean up the mess he'd left behind and by now Giles would be polishing his glasses in a frenzy of worry but he didn't want to risk calling. However, there were other ways to get in contact with London for field operatives, he'd just have to sleep a bit first, after he tended his wounds though.


Alex snuggled further into the warmth of the bed, clutching the most comfortable pillow he'd ever had as he drifted somewhere between sleep and the real world. He frowned as his pillow moved under him and a warm chuckle reached him, vibrating up through his body. Sleepy green eyes opened to meet a single warm brown one and he tensed, trying to pull away but gentle hands restrained him.

"What happened?" Alex asked, more than a little confused. Why were they sharing the bed when Xander always slept on the couch?

"We had to move accommodations, the last ones got a little too busy." Xander moved carefully out from underneath him and Alex realised why the other man hadn't let hi move away on his own, there were bandages wrapped around Xander's stomach and calf as well as a few scattered band-aids. His eyes widened in horror as the memories flooded back, the men breaking into the apartment, overpowering and drugging him and then settling in to wait.

"You're hurt."

"Nothing too bad, calf's just grazed and one of the idiots managed to nick my side with a knife, he was aiming to gut me but luckily I was faster. What about you? Any side effects from whatever they gave you?" Xander pushed himself up to sit against the headboard and Alex sat next to him, head down.

"No. Where are we?"

"Not sure of the exact location but we're underneath the city. The apartment obviously wasn't safe any more so I found us a nice new bolthole. The wards on this place are set to fry anyone but us so we're as safe as we can get."

"Those men were after me, you should have just walked away."

"No way! I don't abandon friends Alex. Besides that, they killed Frank." Xander growled the last bit and Alex tensed, he knew Xander wasn't entirely normal but he'd never growled like that before.


"The building security guard, he took a bullet between the eyes. He was a harmless old man and they shot him in cold blood. Couldn't let them hurt anyone else. Besides, they were obviously waiting for me to come back."

"Yeah. I didn't do a very good job of protecting myself, never even got a shot off." Alex felt weak and he hared feeling weak.

"It's only been what? A month? Give it time Alex. Until then I protect you, that's the last time I leave you alone like that."

"You have no idea what you're getting messed up in. I'm not worth you getting killed over."

"I disagree. Now, do want anything to eat or do you want to get some more sleep?"

"Why are we sharing a bed?"

"Couch is too small."