Title: Close Encounters 1

Author: BuffyAngel68

e-mail: vg68@msn.com

Summary: Take two characters from different shows but with similar problems or backgrounds, throw them into a room with no way out. Will they learn from each other, or just kill each other? We shall see.....

Notes: Not gonna tell who's crossing over with who. Me to know, you to have fun seeing if you can figure it out before I reveal names in the course of the story. (Of course, if I get enough threatening e-mails or such, I'll start telling, but until then, I invoke a writers perogative to be stubborn and obtuse.)

[But.... this is insane. A fascinating experiment, I admit, but you can't just go pulling people out of their lives....]

[The point is to make their lives better by helping them understand themselves and by showing them they aren't as alone in the world as they might believe. If I can't do some good, what is all this power supposed to be for, anyway?]

[If He finds out, He'll have both our heads for even thinking of...]

[He's already approved it. You worry too much. Just relax. Look at this list I've drawn up for the first round of tests. A few doozies, aren't there?]

[Hmmm. That could be interesting. I'd pay money to see this one..... wait. You can't seriously be thinking of.... she'll kill him before a word gets out of his....]

[She won't do any such thing. Give me a little bit of credit for researching my subjects before I proposed my plan. Trust me, Clarence, it will work. I'm being careful. I'll only do the first one or two pairings on the list, then I'll re-evaluate. If it seems to be working, then I'll continue.]

[When you put it that way..... I can't deny I'm intrigued, especially with these two. Which one first?]

[The dark butthead I think. Here. Let me clear the screen....]

Drunk beyond any level he'd ever reached before, the dark haired man lying under the tavern table lifted his head, belched and solemnly considered his fingers from every angle before deciding that irritating his sibling a little more was of greater interest.

"Hey, big.... I mean little..... I mean.... what are you anyway? Older or younger than I am?"

"Younger chronologically, much, much older developmentally."

"Very funny. If I still had my...."

"Yeah, well you don't, so be quiet for a while would you? I'm trying to read."

"Reading is for wimps like you and your cute little groupie over there. Bring me another drink."

"Groupie? Groupie?! Please, buddy. Let me kill him. It would feel so good..... Just let me hurt him at least. Draw some blood maybe...."

"No. He isn't any more worth it than he was before he regained the ability to drink himself to death. Just take this over to him. The sooner he passes out the better for my concentration." he advised, pressing a cup into his friends hands.

Despite his ire, the smaller man delivered the drink as asked, but by the time he got it to the table the one who had demanded it was out cold and snoring loudly enough for half of the local population to hear him.

"Typical. Absolutely.... typical." he muttered, setting the cup on the table and following his partner out into the sunshine to escape the appalling noise, neither one bothering to look back and see that the object of their consternation had vanished.

"Damn her. Why can't she get that all I want is to.... love her..... to be good to her.... but nooooo..... I don't get to say a word...... I poke my head above ground and it's BAM! BASH! CRUNCH! Not fair. You hear me?! It's not bloody fair!"

Tottering unsteadily down the steps into his current living quarters, the stick thin, bleach-blonde young man squinted, trying to find his bed despite the dim light and the haze the alcohol had left over his eyes. Spotting it finally, he stumbled to the approximate spot and collapsed onto his mattress, closed his eyes and waited for the two bottles of scotch he'd drunk to either kill him or push him over the edge into the blessed canyons of unconsciousness.

"Stupid.... She doesn't want me.... I'm stupid to keep trying......"

Turning onto his side, he pulled his knees up as if he were in deep pain and shoved the heels of his hands into his eyes, trying to force the approaching tears back to their source. "Damn it.....She calls me cruel..... vicious..... pot callin' the bleedin' kettle black I say.....I'm either gonna have her for mine.... or I'm gonna kill the little bitch."

Sensing the merciful waves of dizziness that presaged passing out begin to flow over and through him, the young man surrendered to them and floated off into the darkness, grateful to leave a world of pain and frustration behind. Moments later he truly accomplished the task as he slowly disappeared, leaving not a trace behind.

Head pounding unmercifully and spinning as if it wanted off his body and would not take no for an answer, the dark haired man groaned and attempted to lift his head off of whatever surface he'd allowed it to fall onto the night before, but was immediately warned by his digestive system that movement of any kind would be an extremely bad idea. He settled for slitting his eyes open but was forced to close them again or face the loss of his last meal, as the room, what he could see through the cloudiness and focus problems, seemed to agree with his head.

When he tried opening his eyes again a few minutes later, his stomach seemed to acquiesce, though everything still swam in and out of focus as he tried to make a recognizeable tavern or local ale house out of the chaotic blur. Instead, he found he wasn't alone, although the question of whether his companion was human, centaur or bar stool would have to wait until his eyes began to function as they were intended to. When the fuzzy blur spoke to him, he was able to eliminate bar stool, but was forced to reserve judgement on the other options.

" 'Bout time you came 'round. Thought mebbe you'd croaked on me. Bloody lucky sot you are. I was just about to have breakfast."

"Arrrrrgh! Be quiet! My head feels like the Minotaur stepped on it."

"Whatever a..... mitnor is I think the same bugger got me. Comes in a tall bottle. Burns for a swallow or two and after that you don't much care."

"God..... how did she do this to me? I know it was her. She went looking for a way to make my life even more miserable and desolate than it already was..... and she found it."

"Hmmph. Got one too, do ya?"

"Where are we?"

"No clue, mate. After mine shoved me down a flight of stairs for, like, the tenth time this week, I went on a proper bender. Woke up here."

"She sounds about as high on the social evolution scale as mine is." he replied, trying once again to rise from his prone position and, once again, abandoning it as a lost cause until his body decided he'd been punished sufficiently for his ill-advised wine and ale binge. "Question?"

"Go on."

"If you were drinking as..... ohhhh.... as heavily as I was, then why aren't you down here with me?" he asked, rolling slowly and cautiously onto one side so as to see his environment better

"Well, you know, bein' what I am I shake it off quicker than you weak-sister humans do."

"Humans. Which means you're....."

"Sorry. Forgot the intros din't I? " the other said, running a damp hand over his short blond locks as if to make himself presentable then strolling over, crouching by the other man and extending a hand. "Spike, at your service. Vampire extrodinaire, temporarily out of action."

This piece of information got the dark man moving when nothing else could have. Nearly shooting to his feet he stumbled to the other side of the room.

"You're lying. Vampires are nothing but legends."

Raising one eyebrow, Spike stood again and briefly vamped out, reveling in the fear he saw in the other mans' face.

"In my own time, mate. Known world-wide."

"Holy Zeus...."

"Sorry. Only teasing. Pays to be sure I can still terrify, you know? I can't do any harm except to demons. I tried to blame that on her too, but it's one of the few hassles in my life she didn't cause."

"I'm supposed to just believe you aren't going to try to kill me."

"Believe or don't. It's no enamel off my fangs. I've got a chip in my head. I even try an ' play 'gotcher nose' with a human, I get a massive brain ache."

"Chip? Chip of what? It couldn't be wood or stone, or you'd already be dead.... oh. Right. Still...."

Finally taking a good look at what his conversation-mate was wearing, Spike
re-evaluated who, or what, he was talking to and moved back within a foot or two of the other man.

"What kind of kinky pub were you playin' 'round in before you got stuck here with me, sweet stuff?"

"Excuse me?"

"The leathers, the metal everywhere,.... not exactly my scene but I know two women who might be able to direct you to what you're lookin' for...."

Any further dubious humor from Spike was cut very short when the butt of his joke reached up with incredible swiftness, grabbed him by the throat and moved easily from a sitting position into a crouch. Still holding firmly onto Spike, the dark man rose slowly to his feet, speaking quietly as he did so.

"I'm not so sure I appreciate the tenor of your last comment. You are talking..... to the former god of war. I may not have my powers at this particular moment....but I am still more than strong enough to snap your scrawny little neck without even trying hard, so whatever nasty thing you were implying, I'd say an apology is in order. Wouldn't you?"

Spike squeaked out the required words around the fist that had seized his windpipe and was released to fall into a ungainly heap on the floor, coughing and wheezing.

"G... god of war?! Now who's playing m.... myths and legends?"

The taller man advanced on Spike, forcing him to retreat as Ares had done earlier.

"Oh, little man, if I had even a trace of my power left, I'd show you the real meaning of the word legend..."

"Yeah, and if I was fully functional you never woulda woken up. Games a push, mate.You could still beat the tar out of me if you feel like, but that would leave you here all by your lonesome, and I can't see you likin' that very much."

"Too right, unfortunately. Damn! How did she do this to me? She had to have had help, but I'm the only Olympian left as far as I know. Little brother never had anything but the strength. Who could have helped her?"

"Tell ya what, mate. Why don't we have a seat and I'll trade you my 'love is a bitch' story for yours. Just to avoid the silence and fatal boredom, of course."

Though he had already begun to detest the vampire, Ares was slowly beginning to see that he was right. They were stuck together with nothing to do but talk and he might not find a better opportunity or an objective ear again. Sinking back to the floor, his legs crossed, he ran his hands through his closely shorn ebony curls, musing vaugely that he missed having longer hair, and considered where to begin.

"She loved me once. It was a long time ago, but she did love me. I felt it every time we looked at each other, even for the briefest second.... I was a god, in the prime of my power, and so naïve that I believed I was all she'd ever want or need. I loved watching her fight, seeing her kill. She was a more powerful warrior than any man I've seen before or since. Except me, of course. She still is. She battled without thought, killed without mercy and I couldn't get enough. I swore I'd never let her leave me."

"So? Wha' happened?"

"She developed a conscience. On the edge of becoming the most influential warlord in Greece.... hell, in the world, she walked away. She just.... gave it up. She trashed everything; the position, the army I'd given her.... just threw it all away. I've come so close to enticing her back to my side a million times. She wants nothing to do with it or me anymore. I still can't stand it."

"What's her name?"


"Lovely. Arabic, right? Means Daughter of the Blessed One or some such thing."

"You speak Arabic?"

"Hey, you hang around for a couple hundred years you learn stuff. So you don't see any hope, then? No hint that she might come around someday?"

"No. She's been playing the good girl too long, plus she has a daughter now; someone to fight the good fight for. I still love to watch her battle. In quiet moments she'll deny it until Zeus comes back, but she still loses herself when she fights. It's beautiful and terrifying at the same time. She's a natural. To watch her move is to watch something pure.... almost sacred."

"You almost sound like you'd go over to her side of the war in a heartbeat just to be with her."

Staring intently at the man sitting across from him, Ares wondered about vampires having the ability to read minds. The man had either read his mind or his feelings, neither of which had ever been exactly accessable before, even to him.

"I've considered it. Enough about my unrequited love. What about yours?"

"Bizarre thing, that. You could have been describing mine just as well as yours. Buffy's her name. She's a slayer. The slayer actually; one born in each generation, chosen and trained to dispose of vamps and demons and other such baddies as I. "

"She must be stunning. I can hear it in your voice."

"Oh, yeah. Long golden hair, perfect body, disposition of a psychotic hyena when it comes to dealing with me. She's busted my nose no less than fifteen times. It's her new favorite way of getting my attention when she wants questions answered. Course sometimes she does it just for fun or when she's frustrated and can't find anything or anyone else to flog."

"Getting beat on just because she can? It does sound vaguely familiar." Ares replied ruefully, recalling the many times Xena had released her anger on him.

"I really get what you were sayin', though,.... about watching her fight I mean. Buffy..... she's incredible. It's like a dance. She's fast, graceful, makes it look like she could keep it up for days and never break a sweat. I know different a'course. She's strong, but not unbreakable. Definitely not unbreakable."

"You've had to watch her get hurt."

"Too damn many times and in more ways than one. She keeps fallin' for jackasses that can't handle who she is.... what she is, and end up breakin' her heart. There's two have done her that way now. Every time it's just a tad harder for her to come back to where she was. I see her shuttin' down a little more with every big hurt, pullin' back and buryin' herself in slayer stuff; trainin' and such. If I thought I had a chance at killin' either of the bloody arses that did her that way...."

"Xena's only ever let one person close enough to hurt her that way, and she'd never do it in a million years. Gabrielle. You'd like her. She looks like a pretty blond ball of fluff but she can kick your ass from here to Athens if you piss her off. That's thanks to Xena. The more I see those two go through together the more I envy the strength they seem to give each other. I doubt either one could survive alone at this point. They're.... I don't know, vitally connected somehow."

"Buffy could use that. She's got friends, yeah, but none she'd die for, no matter what she says. She would for her mum a'course, but they're different, ain't they? It's a "have to/supposed to" sacrifice 'stead of a "want to/need to"."

"She has noone outside her family? Absolutely noone?"

"No. Ya know, I love the little git, but she can get me so bleedin' mad I wanna..... She thinks she's supposed to be this great solo act. 'You stay behind, loyal friends and true, while I stride into danger and risk and icky stuff and bleed and get all crunched up on your behalf.' It's absurd. She's gonna face somethin' one of these days she can't handle on her own and all her power an' super-speed healin' won't save her. With my luck either I won't know or I won't get there in time. I have nightmares about that very thing."

"So? What are we supposed to do? We can't stop loving them. I've tried.It just isn't an option."

"Nothing we *can* do, mate. Seems that way to me, anyhow. We just have to wait in the wings until they want or need us. I think mebbe if we just....let 'em be, they'll come to us when they're ready."

"It could work. I've been trying to change Xena back into what she was instead of accepting that what she is now could be her true nature and loving her for it. Hmmm. Makes more sense than what I've been doing all along."

"Yeah. Work with their natures and not against 'em. We've been pushin' and forcin' when we should have just been bearin' 'em up and bein' patient. When her mum was sick back a while, Buffy actually let me put an arm around her. She wasn't focused on me right then, a'course. Id've lost the arm if she had been. Still and all...."

"Yes. Still and all. I think I'll give it a shot, if we ever get out of.... Uh-oh."


"Aren't you beginning to feel strange?"

"Now that you mention it...."

Staring down at his hands, Ares saw they, and the rest of his body, were becoming translucent.

"It appears we're leaving again."

"Yeah. Maybe we got through our thick skulls what we were supposed to, hey?" Spike reasoned, noticing that he, too, was fading away.

"Perhaps. It was... interesting, Spike. Sorry we didn't have more time to talk."

"Regrets all 'round. See ya."

"Yes. If I find a way to regain my powers and you can manage to stay away from sharp wooden implements we might just see each other again....."

"Yeah. We just may....."

Ares, the former god of war, woke up under the table he'd been sitting at when he passed out, his senses reeling from his onrushing hangover and from the tangible reality of the dream his pickled brain had provided him while he was unconscious. Desperately, he tried to recall the essence of the message he'd received in the dream that was beginning to feel more like a relevatory vision. When the information he sought slipped clear of the residual alcohol haze that hung in his head he began to laugh, his voice booming through the tavern and startling townsfolk passing by the door.

Spike, onetime savage and morally bankrupt vampire, sometime pain in the collective behind of the town of Sunnydale, California, awoke on the mattress in his current lair, on which he had been sulking and brooding when he had surrendered to the less than subtle charms of two fifths of whiskey a short time before. Stunned by the dream he'd been having, he sat straight up, eyes wide with wonder at the idea that the world created by the alcohol and his imagination wasn't real.

Recalling, after a moment or two, the revelation he'd broken through to just before his dream ended, he snatched up paper and pen that lay beside his makeshift bed and began to scribble furiously in his haste to record the ideas, frightened of losing the thoughts that would bring him his lady love.

Finished, he tossed the pad down and snatched up a forgotten bottle on the floor beside him, hoping to find a few stray drops left in the bottom that might soothe his ferociously aching throat.......