Okay so I admit I was more than a little disappointed with the lack of responses – oh well on with the story.
Chapter 10: Two birds with one Xan
… … … … … … … … … … … … …
… … … … … … … … … … … … …
He pushed the launch button and fired the projectile, the rocket burning at high speed across the short distance straight towards the stalwart demon. Before his very eyes Adam's hand snapped forward and with immense skill and computer aided precision he grabbed the missile out of thin air and held it, muscles working against the thrust of the motor.
"No way man!" Xander exclaimed. "You did not just grab the frickin' missile man! No way!"
engine burned out with a puff of smoke and Adam examined the device,
looking at it carefully.
"Fascinating, this could indeed have harmed me."
"You grabbed it out of the air!" Xander repeated in shocked amazement. "That's just insane!"
"Indeed." Adam nodded, then pulled back his arm to throw the spent device back.
Xander reacted on instinct, reaching into the car to grab his final weapon before sprinting away, even as the missile left Adams hand and hurtled in a grey streak to the car. He threw himself flat as the vehicle erupted, enveloping the area in flame and heat. One of the doors hit the ground beside his head, burying itself half into the ground in a blistering, smouldering heat.
"Not exactly going according to plan here." He muttered, then forced himself up and grabbed the final device he had rescued from the car.
Meanwhile Buffy was also up, bruised and cut but still standing.
"Hey, I hate it when guys quit paying attention to me." She announced. "What am I? Chopped meat?"
Adam turned back. "Soon, yes." Slowly he stomped over. "You are the Slayer, you are so much more than a normal girl."
"Well thanks, and I can honestly say you are so much more than a normal man." She nodded. "Several men in fact, and demons, and a bit of a T-101 going on there."
"Your potential is so great, yet you are blinded by human morality."
"Not blinded, embraced." Buffy said. "This is what I do, what I was born to do."
"And what you will die doing." Adam shot an arm out and grabbed her throat, lifting her up. She stabbed him with her sword, putting all her strength behind it and piercing his chest, but not stopping him.
"You are one thing Slayer, and one thing only." Adam smiled. "Obsolete."
There was a loud bang and Buffy dropped to the ground choking. She glanced up to see Adam staggering backwards. Opposite him was Xander holding a massive rifle.
"Get away from her you bitch!" Xander yelled, chambering a fresh .50 calibre armour-piercing bullet in his Barrett rifle. "Yeah I know, not entirely appropriate for the situation, but when am I gonna get a chance to say it again?"
He fired again, the extremely large and fast bullet punching straight through Adam, ignoring even his heaviest armour. Adams legs buckled and he dropped to one knee. Two more rounds smashed through him, dropping him flat to the ground on his back, a look of pure surprise on his face.
Xander looked down on the paralysed monster. "About being obsolete…" He picked up a device from his pocket, an incendiary Phosphorous grenade. "…Say hi to the guys on scrapheap challenge for me, they'll be seeing you there."
He pulled the pin and jammed the grenade into Adams mouth, then ran, using his body to shield Buffy as the device went off in a cloud of intense burning material, hot enough to melt metal and make short work of Adams control circuits and neural tissue.
Xander looked back at the flaming mess.
"Xander, nobody remembers that movie." Buffy said quietly.
"I remember Cam Diaz in it, yowza." He helped her up. "That looks nasty."
She rubbed her throat. "He had quite a grip."
"This is one of those hospital things." Xander said with concern.
"I'll be fine."
"Buffy, Hospital." He said firmly. "Ah, we kinda lost the car."
"Huh." Buffy grunted. "Sorry Xand, guess your insurance won't cover demon/machine hybrid missile attacks?"
"Not so much." He let her rest on his shoulder. "It's not that far, but hey, did you see him grab the missile? Wasn't that cool? And then actually throw it back?"
"Yeah, Kodak moment." She whispered. "So, hospital."
He agreed and began to lead her away.
… … … … … … … … … … … … …
… … …
… … … … … … … … … …
Four hours later
… … … … … … … … … … … … …
… … … … … … … … … … … … …
"So how is she?" Willow asked with clear concern. "Nasty bruising."
"You know Buffy, she'll be fine by next Tuesday." Xander smiled as they stood outside the room she had looking in through the door. "Plus points of being a Slayer, damn good health plan."
"I can't remember the last time I saw her so beat up." Willow remained concerned. "You sure this guy's dead?"
"Oh yeah." Xander smiled. "Very, very dead. Well more dead than he was. Like totally dead."
"So not just slightly dead then?"
"No, properly dead and incinerated for good measure." Xander said. "Did I mention the missile thing?"
"Four times." She answered plainly. "About this nuclear power core thing, why is that still worrying me?"
"We killed him just outside the Initiative, their patrols will find him and stick him in concrete or something." Xander shrugged. "They made it, they can clean up."
"Right." Willow was less than convinced.
Xander looked around the clean corridors, a thought in his head.
"You know what, when Mrs Summers arrives we should convince her to get a check up. Now, you know, early to detect stuff… early."
"Detect what stuff?"
"You know, stuff." Xander said guarded. "So they can get it early. If there is any stuff to get. Early."
"Xander, did you get hit o the head?"
"No. well yes, but trust me." He said. "Want some coffee?"
"Coffee makes me ga-ga." She stuck out her tongue. "Ice cream though…"
"On it." Xander grinned. "Back in five."
He set off down the wards with a small smile. Adam had caused a lot of trouble and destruction, killed a lot of people and set in motion events that had almost torn their group apart. None of that would happen now, thanks to a little proactive planning, the future was looking a little more rosy.
That was until he turned a corner and ran into another ghost.
Standing in front of the coffee machine he was heading for was Ben Webber, Intern Doctor of Sunnydale General and, in his spare time, alter ego of the Hell Goddess Glorificus.
"Oh, hey." Ben noticed him stood there. "I won't be a minute buddy, decisions, decisions huh?"
"Yeah, decisions." Xander said, neck deep in his own choices having being confronted with this situation. Glory was one of the hardest foes, and her plans had caused the death of Buffy. Again. In her immortal form she was all but unstoppable, but she had to manifest first, and when she was forced back into dormancy she appeared as Ben, a normal human. Glory was invincible, but Ben was not and if he was stopped, if he was killed, Glory would also be destroyed.
The problem was Ben was just a normal guy, hell he was a doctor, a good person who might not even know what he was at this stage. They still had a year until Glory was strong enough to really show up, until then Ben was technically an innocent. An innocent who held the key to the deaths of scores of people, including Buffy.
If he could stop her death, prevent her fumbled resurrection, keep her whole and human… it was one of the big reasons all this had happened, one of the things he most desperately wanted to change and preserve. He had the opportunity in his hands, but at what cost?
"Say Doc, I wonder if you could help me." Xander said, a plan forming. "My friend was brought in today, pretty bad internal injuries."
"You must mean the blonde student." Ben recalled. "Bunny?"
"Buffy, and yeah." Xander nodded. "Thing is she doesn't like Hospitals."
"Yeah, I get that too." Ben smiled warmly, making Xander scream inside.
"Well she's trying to leave, to sneak out the back."
Ben grimaced. "She can't do that, she needs to stay here and heal."
"Yeah, that's what I said but she doesn't listen." Xander shrugged. "But if a doctor told her, a young good looking ER type doctor…"
"She might find a reason to stay." Ben grinned. "We've got guidelines about patients and doctors getting too close…"
"I know, but it's just a means to an end right? Anything to get her into bed?" He paused. "So she may heal…. That's all, in bed. Healing."
"Yeah, I get it." Ben chuckled. "Okay, where is she?"
"She'll be outside by now, better follow me."
Xander walked away from the wards, down a back corridor and out towards the loading dock. He'd been here enough to know that nobody wandered through this part of the hospital, just the garbage trucks once a day. It would be deserted, out of the way and unnoticed. It was what he needed to do what he had to do.
"So she usually run around with cracked ribs?" Ben asked.
"Well not so much run, as limp and complain." Xander agreed. "But yeah, not a fan of hospitals."
He opened the outer door, held it open for Ben, then closed it behind him and let the doctor walk in front.
"Well I don't see her." He squinted at the trash cans and dumpsters. "Buffy right? Shall I call for her?"
"Wait a second." Xander looked around to make sure they were alone.
"Maybe she isn't here yet, or went a different way." Ben frowned. "Or maybe…"
He stopped in his tracks as he heard a click. "Don't turn around." Xander said flatly.
"Is that a gun you've got buddy?" Ben asked hesitantly.
"Yeah, so no sounds, no sudden moves."
"Okay, you're the boss." Ben raised his hands. "What do you want?"
Xander held the gun steady, but noticed he hadn't fired. He urged himself to do it, to end it quick before doubt overcame him, but still he hesitated.
"Is it money? I…I don't have my wallet on me."
"No, not money."
"If you want drugs I can't help you, I don't have access to the pharmacy or store rooms, I'm sorry but I can't…"
"Not drugs doc, this is something personal."
"Personal?" Ben exclaimed. "I only just met you! I don't even know your name!"
"Yeah, but it seems like we met years ago to me." Xander replied. "I know your secret, I know what you are deep inside there."
"Look, you got the wrong guy. I'm just a doctor!"
"No, no you aren't." He placed the gun right against Ben's head.
"Please, I can help you!" Ben pleaded. "Don't do this!"
Xander struggled with the trigger, his hand slick with sweat. He knew what was coming, he knew it, it had to be done.
"Sorry man, needs of the many, you know."
"Glory, I know you can hear me." Xander said. "When you get back to hell, tell them Xander sent you."
"What?" Ben shouted. "No, wait!"
closed his eyes and pulled the trigger, not able to see what he had
done. He heard the thump of the body and just turned away, eyes still
shut and not opening them until he was facing the door again.
When he looked into the world again the first thing he saw was the twin green eyes of his friend.
"Buffy…." Words failed him.
"Xander." She said in equal shock. "What the hell…?"
"It…it isn't what it looks like."
"Oh? Because it looks like you just executed the doctor who treated me this morning!"
"He wasn't a doctor Buffy, he wasn't human."
"Looks human to me." She said. "Does he look human to you?"
he look human to you?" she demanded forcefully. "Look at him
Xander, look at him!"
He forced himself to turn to the body, a growing pool of blood flowing from his wound.
"Yeah, he looks human." Xander said. "He was human, but he's going to change."
"He's going to change? Into what? A six foot blonde evil beauty Queen?"
Xander blinked. "Wow, good guess."
"He was a human and you killed him." Buffy accused. "That was murder, you Xander, my friend, you are a murderer!"
"It's not murder!" He protested. "He was going to kill people, your sister, he was going to kill you!"
"My sister? What are you talking about?" Buffy frowned. "Xander, you need help, you've been like this a lot."
"I can explain." Xander said. "One year from now he will start changing into a hell god called Glory."
"Not anymore." Buffy said flatly.
"Yeah, yeah that's right, I stopped it from happening."
"By murdering him?"
"By destroying the human vessel and saving lives. One life to save many."
"Guess that's alright then." She scoffed. "So who made you judge, jury and executioner?"
"You don't know what I know Buffy, trust me."
"Trust you?" She said. "Like he trusted you?" She pointed at Ben.
"That isn't fair Buffy."
"No, I'll tell you what isn't fair." Buffy snapped back. "Getting a bullet in the end for no damn reason! What happened to you Xander? Where are you?"
He shook his head. "You wouldn't believe me if I told you." He began to walk past.
"No." She grabbed his arm. "You tell me what is going on."
"Just let go!" He yanked his arm away causing Buffy to stumble. On instinct she lashed out, her hand catching Xander across the face.
She gathered herself and paused. "Xander, I'm sorry, I didn't mean that."
He wiped a line of blood from his cheek. "What the hell was I thinking coming back here?"
"Xander, I don't know…"
"Why did I think I could do this, make it all better?" He chuckled grimly. "Just turning out worse."
"Xander, just listen."
"Go lay down Buff, take it easy." He turned. "I have to go."
"Just go." He said sombrely. "Take care Buff, don't look for me."
"Xander?" She called after him. "Xander!"
He did not look back, he couldn't, he was too filled with pain and loathing to let her see into his eyes. He couldn't see why it had all gone so wrong, but all he did know was that it had broken him inside more than anything else had done. He had tried to make it better, and he had. It just cost him his friends to do it. For their lives, for her life, it was a price worth paying even if it broke his heart.