I recently watched xXx: State of the Union for the first time. I rolled my eyes when they said Xander Cage was dead in Bora Bora. It sounds to me like the producer was pissed because Vin wouldn't come back for the sequel. However, as any fan-fic writer knows, dead isn't necessarily dead. With that in mind, may I present
xXx: Return from Bora Bora
When he was a kid, Toby's favorite TV show was "Mission Impossible" reruns. He always wanted to be the technical genius who came up with the cool devices, the stuff that was beyond state-of-the-art, the neat little contraptions that saved the day. Even now that he was part of the world of espionage and knew better, Toby Lee Shavers still got off on putting together tricky puzzles, making futuristic whatnots and being the Gadget Guy.
Toby's town house, so nondescript on the outside, was a reflection of his interests, from the coffee table piled with semi-assembled gizmos, the rack of science-fiction and spy movies by the DVD player, and the pin-up of Peter Lupus in his bedroom. Tonight, though, wasn't going to be an evening spent sitting on the couch watching "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." and trying to build a laser-guided mousetrap. He hadn't been home in almost a week, and tonight, Toby promised himself, he was going to eat real food and go to sleep in his own bed. Early.
Since the attack on Fortification Farm, as the NSA compound was publicly referred to, he'd been running around with and without Gibbons. With the help of Darius Stone, they'd halted the plot to overthrow the President and in the 24 hours since General Deckert's downfall, Toby and his boss had been busy with the aftermath of the tank-jacking, the assault on the Capitol Building, and the incident with the cheese truck.
Gibbons was directing the initial assessment of what needed to be restored at the facility and taking a series of calls from England when Toby departed the trashed HQ. He has more energy than I do, Toby thought, as he pulled into his garage. Of course, he doesn't have a home to go to any more, either...
The garage door rolled down behind him, and it took a moment to summon enough energy to get out of the car. The connecting door from the garage opened into the laundry area. Beyond that space was the kitchen, and the first thing Toby did after hanging his keys on the hook by the phone was to reach into the R2D2 cookie jar for a Fig Newton.
No Fig Newtons? That wasn't right. He had a distinct recollection of putting a brand new box of Fig Newtons in there the night before All Hell Broke Loose. Those Fig Newtons have been calling my name all week, where the heck did they go? Dishes in the sink? No way I left them a mess like that. Looking into the fridge, he discovered the gallon of milk he'd grabbed at the same time as the cookies was down to an inch at the bottom of the jug. Going into stealth mode, he opened the broom closet and retrieved the automatic from under the stack of ratty tee shirts next to the Lemon Pledge.
No one was in the dining room, but there were crumbs on the table, and an empty glass rimed with milk. No one was in the foyer, either, but the tire-screeching sounds of a car chase emanated from the living room. You mean Goldilocks didn't hear me come in? I get to shoot whoever's been eating my porridge? Lucky me.
Someone was asleep on his couch. As he approached, Toby heard snoring that even drowned out the squealing of tires. When he got a look at the prone figure whose battered boots were scuffing the Italian leather, his jaw dropped. A wave of relief flooded him. For a week, he'd lived with the thought that this guy was dead. Dead men don't snore.
Toby tucked his weapon into his waistband, walked over to the flat-screen and hit the 'off' button.
In the sudden silence, the sleeper started upright, a gun in his fist.
"Yo, Xander," said Toby, holding up his hands with a welcoming grin. "We heard you were dead. What happened? What are you doing here?"
To his surprise, Xander Cage, xXx agent, did not lower the weapon. "That's what I'd like to know. I've been trying to get an answer on that Dick Tracy phone of yours for days and I had to toast five guys to get back from Bora Bora. What the hell kind of test was Gibbons throwing at me this time?"
Toby shook his head, stunned. "It wasn't Gibbons--our compound got trashed, half our section is dead--we've been incommunicado. All we knew about you was, the bad guys said they'd killed you."
"They murdered Yelena," Cage growled, and Toby bit his lip. In the year since their meeting in Prague, the extreme athlete and the former Russian agent had been inseparable."Who's responsible--that's what I want to know."
"The Secretary of Defense was trying to pull off a coup. He kidnapped the President. He was trying to pin it on Gibbons, and he didn't want to leave any loose ends walking around to come back at him. He's dead, the President is safe and Gibbons is trying to see what's left of our HQ...it's been off the chain this week, Xander." He heard his voice break at the end, and blushed. Turkey. That would be just another week at the office for the IMF.
The xXx agent lowered the gun, staring at him. "Get ahold of Gibbons. I want to see him."
There was a phone on one of the end tables. Toby grabbed it and hit the speed dial. It took a couple minutes of persistent nagging to get put through to his boss, but finally Gibbons voice rumbled into his ear. "What's so important, Toby?"
"I've got some good news, sir."
"Good news would certainly be welcome right now. The situation in England is heating up; we're going to have to make a move on our new recruit within the next few days. I have it narrowed down to a specific individual--"
"Sir, Xander Cage--"
"--Would be the wrong man for this job, even if he were alive," Gibbons finished. "He's not on the guest list."
"Sir, he's alive--but Yelena's dead--"
Gibbons response wasn't what he expected. "Hold on, Toby, my other line is ringing."
"He put me on hold," Toby said to Xander in disbelief.
Xander's lip curled, and Toby took note of the way he white-knuckled the hand-cannon. "We're pawns to him, that's all."
A flare of indignation overcame the technician's concern for personal safety. "That's not true! He's under a lot of stress--we lost sixteen people in the assault on the compound, and more trying to rescue the President. Gibbons' house was blown up. Now he's got some new thing he's having to pull together--"
"Bring him with you when you come in in the morning," Gibbons' voice interrupted Toby's defense of his boss. "Something else has turned up in this UK mess, we may be able to use him." He disconnected, leaving Toby to look at Xander and shrug.
"He wants to see you, too. Uh, what did you want to see him for?" He tried not to look at the gun Cage was still holding as he asked the question, but just then, Xander seemed to realize he still had the weapon in his hand. He set it down on the coffee table beside a soldering iron and a can of honey roasted peanuts.
"I want to go back to work for him," Xander rumbled. "Even if the assholes who murdered Yelena are dead, there are more of them out there. There are always more assholes."
Cool! Toby thought, but didn't say it aloud. Xander might not pop a cap into him, but the hot-tempered operative was more than capable of punching him out. Gibbons and Xander had had their share of traumatic stress this week. His week had been a walk in the park by comparison, even if his shoulder still hurt after dangling in mid-air from The Glove...and landing on it when he'd gotten blown over a parked car during the assault on the Capitol Building.
Xander slouched back onto the couch and thumbed on the remote. Two feet away, an explosion from the speakers made Toby flinch---with the surround sound cranked, it was spookily reminiscent of the detonations inside HQ.
"I'm going to run to the store," Toby projected over the next ka-boom. Going back out hadn't been part of his game plan, but then, neither was a house guest who'd eaten all his groceries. "You want me to pick you up anything?"
"Yeah. You're out of milk and cookies."
I don't own xXx (except for the DVDs). I don't own Xander Cage, Augustus Gibbons or Toby Lee Shavers. However, that's not going to stop me from inflicting fan-fic on them!