Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project
Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project

house with unlocked doors
By K
For Charles

"I feel relaxed," Xander looked over his shoulder, scanning quickly for anyone approaching from behind. "And yet so alert." He spun around and pulled a stake from his belt, aiming directly for the heart of the vampire that came into view a second later.

Theodore rolled his eyes at the computer screen where Xander was cleaning dust off his shirt. "Always with the witty repartee."

Xander adjusted his eye patch and shook some dust out of his hair, wrinkling his nose, before turning back and talking to someone off screen. "It's amazing how much better at this I've gotten."

A female voice replied, "Losing everything really hones the killer instinct."

"Okay, okay, I get it." Graham reached out and turned off the monitor. "He's your guy?"

Riley nodded. "He's my guy." He looked down at a stack of papers on the desk in front of him. "It really is amazing how much better he's gotten at this."

Theodore moved away from the desk and plopped down in a chair. "Or you could just not retire, sir. Then we wouldn't have to go recruiting anyone. No matter how much 'better' they are." He crossed his arms and scowled. Or, Graham thought that was a scowl. It looked a lot like Theodore's regular expression. "Also, you're aware he only has one eye?"

Riley smiled. "I am. And I'm also definitely retiring. Twins on the way and this business is too risky for a family." He looked up at Graham. "You two can handle things and I'm telling you, Xander's the guy to bring in."

Graham looked over Riley's shoulder at Xander's file. "You said he had military training? I don't remember that."

"It's a long story. But yeah, he has a little."

Graham scanned the paper. Since Buffy and crew had left an obliterated Sunnydale behind, Xander had been helping Faith and Willow's proto-Slayers kill the things that went bump in the night. It did look like Xander had gotten better. Graham didn't remember much about Xander other than that he mostly stood behind Buffy a lot. But, Graham trusted Riley, so Xander was the guy.

"Okay, then." Graham nodded at Theodore. "I'll go see what I can do. You're in charge."

Theodore rolled his eyes and Graham half-hoped his mother had been right and they just might freeze that way. "Yes, sir," he muttered and Graham and Riley laughed.


Graham was bored. Not just right now, sitting in a rented car in Cleveland, though that was none too exciting either. But in general. The missions were getting fewer and Riley leaving felt like the end of something. Graham wasn't sure he shouldn't retire himself. With the money he had stocked away-- mostly legitimately gained-- he could live like a king in South America. He shivered and turned up the heat. He definitely preferred South America.
Still, he couldn't retire and leave their whole little militia to fall apart. He and Riley had managed to put together something out of the disaster that was their original experience with the Initiative and he wasn't going to abandon it to Theodore. He didn't trust the uptight bastard to withstand any Pentagon policy-maker who decided to fuck around with things. So he was in Cleveland trying to think up the right recruiting pitch for Xander Harris, formerly of Sunnydale, California.

Graham had been following Xander for three days and every day was the same. Out with Faith at ten p.m. sharp, back around two in the morning and then he slept for a few hours before going in to his construction office. Home again for dinner and then TV until Faith showed up. The second night, Willow and Kennedy came over for dinner, but that was the only time Graham saw Xander do something that might qualify as fun. And Graham had thought he was bored.

After almost getting driven off the road by Faith when she noticed him following them the first night, Graham waited outside of Xander's building while he was out patrolling. On the fourth night, two came and went and Xander still hadn't returned. Graham surprised himself by being relieved when Xander finally got home just after dawn, hopping out of Faith's car and running a hand across a cut on his jaw as he dug in his pocket for his keys.

Graham watched the lights go on in the kitchen, then the bedroom. Bathroom light on and then off again. Graham watched Xander pull off his t-shirt and slip out of his pants before the window went dark and Graham couldn't see in anymore. He probably didn't need to watch that, but Graham figured he deserved a little show. Especially since his coffee was now as cold as the air around him and he couldn't really leave to get any more.

At three-thirty in the afternoon, Xander appeared on the building's front porch, jeans unbuttoned on his hips and no shirt. Graham only stared at his abs for a few seconds. The guy must have been freezing, but he just stood there, mail clutched in his hand, frowning and staring at the street. Eventually, he looked down at the envelopes he was holding. There was an electric bill, two postcards from Europe, a confirmation of a dentist appointment next week and a flyer for Jack's House of Meat. Graham had gone up and flipped through it two hours ago. Xander left the flyer on top of a stack of abandoned phone books and went back inside.

Graham still hadn't come up with a pitch he thought would work.


Graham turned toward the passenger side window before Xander knocked on it. Graham nodded and rolled it down. "Hey."

Xander nodded back. "Yeah. I'm going out soon, so if you wanted to go get dinner, this would be a great time."

Graham's lips turned up in a bit of a smile. "Anything good nearby?"

"I hear Jack's House of Meat can't be beat." Xander was looking at everything in the car, probably taking a little inventory. Graham wondered what Xander thought of the stun gun and box of bullets on the back seat, but his face didn't give anything away. Graham suddenly wondered what Xander looked like without the black square over his eye.

"Probably not many vegetarian options, huh?" Graham leaned back and let Xander see the gun stuffed into the waistband of his pants.

"Do most vegetarians go around with a car full of weapons?"

Graham shrugged. "I'm not really sure." Looked like Riley was right about this guy. "I'd have to do some research."

Xander checked his watch with studied casualness. "So, you're what? Cop tracking down Faith? 'Cause I don't know anyone by that name."

Graham laughed. "Not a cop."

Xander nodded, "Angel send you? He's got all sorts of goons with weapons nowadays."

Graham shook his head and frowned. "Definitely not from Wolfram and Hart either. I think that whole operation closed shop, anyway." Angel had disappeared after his big fuck you to the senior partners, but this didn't seem like the time to tell Xander that.

"Are we going to keep playing twenty questions, then? Because I've never been good at it." Xander rubbed the back of his neck and his thin coat lifted a little. "I get bored easily."

Graham nodded. "Fair enough. I'm here with an offer." Xander didn't respond, just narrowed his eyes. "We've actually met before."

Xander stared at him for a few seconds, confused, before getting it. "The Initiative."

"Ding ding." Graham clicked the button to unlock the door. "It's slightly warmer in here."

Xander opened the door and climbed in. "How's Riley? Still married?"

"With baby on the way. Babies, actually." Graham closed the window and turned the heat up even higher. The windshield fogged up a little.

"Of course. Even his sperm would be super." Xander unzipped his coat and sat back in his seat. He wasn't relaxed, though, and Graham could see the outline of the knife in his jacket pocket. "Well good for him. I assume you know that Buffy's not here, so can I ask why in the hell you're sitting outside of my apartment building?"

"Babies aren't exactly compatible with paramilitary demon hunting." Graham watched Xander's face as he talked. "So, Riley and the wife are retiring. Or, at least taking an extended hiatus. Leaving us with a leadership void."

Xander shook his head. "You want me to join the Initiative?" Graham didn't nod, but he didn't disagree either. "Did you forget about how we kicked your ass that time?"

Graham shrugged. "I don't know that I'd say you kicked my ass in particular. The whole thing was a little fucked up. Anyway, we're different now. Buffy worked with us since then and it was fine."

"Buffy's not calling the shots anymore." Xander looked at where his hands rested in his lap. "I'd have to go to wherever your secret base is?" Graham nodded. "And you can't tell me where it is unless I agree to go." Graham nodded again. "Can you tell me anything at all before I commit my life to your shady military operation?"

"You'd be doing the same thing you're doing here." Graham gestured out the window to indicate Cleveland, the demons, the good fight. "But, without all the baggage. It'd be a fresh start. New place, new people, new demons. Also, we've got really big guns."

Xander laughed, a dark sound that wasn't really about amusement. "You've done your research." He tipped his head and studied Graham's face. "Would I get time to say good-bye? Because I'm really not one to just disappear."

"I can arrange that. We want you in the organization. On your terms." Graham hadn't really thought that Xander was this ready to leave the remnants of Sunnydale behind. He'd thought this would be a little harder.

Xander shrugged. "You thought I'd say no?" Graham nodded. "But you came anyway?"

"You were Riley's guy." Graham shrugged for what felt like the hundredth time since they'd started this conversation. "And I was bored."

"Ah, so you couldn't turn down a trip to Ohio. I can't wait to get to your secret, less-interesting-than-Cleveland base." Xander grabbed the door handle. "I need a week to get shit in order. And if I want out, I'm out. No lifetime commitment or anything. Those are my terms."

Graham nodded. He had been willing to give more. He turned off the car completely and restarted it, thinking about getting a nice warm hotel, as Xander stepped onto the curb.

"You're going somewhere?" Xander's mouth twitched a little and he was smiling. "And I was just starting to enjoy you watching me get naked every night."

The car door was shut and Xander was headed down the street before Graham could respond. He grinned and thought that maybe Riley had more reasons for picking Xander than he'd let on.

Either way, Graham thought, things were definitely about to get interesting again. He turned off the car and waited for Xander to return.