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

Covert Ops
By EntreNous
For Mary Ellis

After waiting at the small table for an hour, Xander looked at his watch one last time, squared his shoulders, and headed towards the bar. He casually glanced up and down the row of men seated at the stools before balancing his foot on the rail. When he held up his bottle and nodded to the bartender, the man gave him a slight nod back, and after a few moments brought him a fresh beer.

"Kind of crowded tonight," a voice at his side said.

Xander took a breath and turned. The man to his right gave him a small smile before he went back to watching the pint glass in front of him.

"Is it? I'm just in town for a couple of days, so I don't really know the place." Xander took a swallow of his beer and waited.

"More crowded than it was last night," the man said in a careful voice. "Doesn't usually get this busy on a Wednesday."

"Wednesday," Xander repeated. He couldn't stop himself from licking his lips, but he did his best not to bounce on the balls of his feet or drum his fingers against the wooden counter top. Giles had given him careful instructions earlier that night about meeting and talking to the connection that the Council had sent him to find, and he didn't want to screw up.

Unfortunately the instructions weren't the best for identifying said connection.


"He'll be wearing muted clothing," Giles said over the phone.

Xander always felt vaguely disappointed that there was no cackle and hiss when Giles called him from England. Even after a year in Africa and some time in Italy, he still expected some kind of buzzing signal to let him know that he was getting an overseas call, instead of having Giles sound like he was calling the Harris basement from his condo on Oak Park Street.

"Muted clothing, check," Xander said. "Not like people are going to wear purple velvet to a sports bar, so I'm not seeing much with the helpfulness there." He leaned over the edge of the bed and pulled a dark shirt that Buffy had helped him pick out a few months ago from the bag on the floor. If the contact was going to show up in muted clothing, he decided he better not wear anything really wacky himself. In case the guy was as powerful as Giles thought, there was no need to get him all hepped up and spell-cast-y because of a clothing choice.

Giles paused before locating another piece of identifying information. "And he'll have close-cropped hair. Erm . . . I don't know what name he'll go by, because he seems to change his alias frequently."

"Still not so much with the use value, Giles." Xander tossed the shirt to the side and stretched his legs out on the mattress. "Close cropped hair? So I'm looking for a drab-clothing-wearing, army-haircut-sporting guy. I did happen to mention to you ten times that this town has a military base next to it, right? Give me something else to work with here."

Xander could hear Giles flipping through a sheaf of papers, and sighed, waiting for Giles to check another fact in the file.

"He'll make an observation about tonight being Wednesday." Giles said at last.

"But tonight is Tuesday," Xander pointed out.

"Hence the signal that this is the man with whom you wish to meet," Giles said in a strained voice.

"Oh. Right. Yeah, the other guys who are trying to chat me up won't be mentioning Wednesday," Xander said. At that he closed his eyes and frowned. For some reason that sounded weirder coming out of his mouth than it had in his head.

"Oh, and one more thing. The name he gives you will begin with a G."

"As long as that name isn't Giles," Xander replied. "Because that'd be creepy."


So far at the bar, all systems seemed go. The guy who had randomly started talking was wearing jeans and an olive green sweater. He definitely had the buzz cut. And he'd mentioned Wednesdays on a not-Wednesday day. Only one fact left to match up.

"Listen, do you want to get out of here?" the man asked quietly.

Xander looked at him. "Um. What did you say your name was?"


And there was the name staring with G.

"My car's out front." Xander pushed away from the bar and didn't look back. He'd sort of expected that the man would wait a little while before following him outside, standard hush-hush type behavior. But when he reached the parking lot, Graham was almost at his heels.

"Okay then. Uh, we should go back to my hotel," Xander offered.

"Great," Graham said. Now that they were outside, Graham seemed a little nervous as he headed after Xander. He'd seemed so calm in the bar, though, that Xander decided it must just be the anticipation of the deal closing.

Giles had said Xander should take the contact back to his hotel and then offer him the promised amulet. If the contact seemed reluctant to give Xander the information they needed, then and only then was he to hand over the even rarer Thessulian scroll that Giles swore would be the deal-breaker.

Graham cleared his throat as Xander turned to unlock the passenger door. But when Xander went to touch the handle, he stopped short. "Say," he said, turning to the other man. "That name . . . I know you use different ones . . ."

"That . . . what?" Graham asked. His brow furrowed slightly.

"But the one you picked sounds familiar," Xander persisted. Okay, so this part wasn't in the plan. But something about the way this meeting had gone down was giving him that weird Hellmouth-y prickle on his skin.

Oddly, instead of breaking out a glowing sword or suddenly baring a full set of fangs (and he had been doing odd jobs for the Council too long, hadn't he, for that to seem like an expected thing), Graham suddenly grinned. "You know, I thought you were -- at the bar -- you aren't by any chance from Sunnydale, are you?"

"Yeah, I am from Sunnydale," Xander said. So they did know one another.

"That's wild," Graham was saying. "I thought you looked . . . You were a student at UC Sunnydale? Were you in one of my sections?"

UC Sunnydale, students, sections, Graham and his close-cropped hair . . . All at once Xander remembered exactly how he knew the other man.

"You know, maybe we should just get in the car," Xander said quickly. Giles might have had no heads up that their contact was someone who had been a part of the Initiative, but this was something that could easily make the entire thing tank. The last thing Xander wanted was Graham (and what kind of covert operative used his real name?) getting a clue where Xander had been the night the Initiative fell.

"All right," Graham agreed.


They drove to the hotel in silence. When Xander gestured towards the lobby, then into and out of the elevator towards his room, Graham followed without a word. Which on the one hand, fine, because there was much less chance of messing up everything if Xander didn't give away exactly who he was. Still, it was weird to have this guy, one of Riley's buddies from the fraternity and the group of soldier boys, show up as a magical information dealer. And weirder still not to come clean about how Xander wasn't so much in his sociology section as he was part of the bunch of teenagers who had brought that demonically-oriented government research project to a screeching halt.

So when Xander had closed the door gently behind him, he faced Graham and began talking. "Hey, before we start, I should tell you --"

Except he didn't get any farther than saying those words. Because Riley's military buddy had pressed Xander up against the door and was now giving him one of the most inventive and amazing kisses he'd ever received in his life.

"Don't worry about it," Graham said in a hoarse voice as their lips parted for a second. "Tell me later, okay?"

Graham's soft lips, his body, warm and hard against Xander's, the way Graham sighed when his lips parted -- everything about the kiss swept Xander up into kissing back. Before he knew it, he had Graham's jaw cupped gently in his hands, and was making little needy sounds as Graham's hands slid around his torso to clutch at his back. Then Graham's hands dipped in the back of his waistband, slipped around to the front, and Xander realized that he was pushing his hips forward while Graham undid his belt buckle.

"Wait, hold on, wait," Xander gasped. Graham pulled back a little and let go of Xander's belt, but that didn't stop him from mouthing along Xander's neck. "Oh, fuck," Xander groaned. He went ahead and let his head fall to the side, seeing as how his better judgment had been left somewhere back at the sports bar.

"Kind of the point," Graham muttered.

"No, I mean -- we really -- oh god, can you stop that for like five seconds so I can finish a sentence?" Xander asked weakly.

"Okay. What's up?" Graham loosened his hold and took a step back. His face was impassive, but his eyes moved quickly, scanning over Xander as though he was doing a rapid-point assessment of what had gone wrong with their make-out session.

"Um. I've never . . . with a guy. And . . . we're supposed to . . . with the amulet . . ."

Graham stared at him blankly. "You can start making sense any time now."

Xander felt his hysterical reaction meter surge into overdrive. "Don't you remember that I was one of Buffy's sidekicks and that all of us saved you from Adam but also totally ruined the whole military dominance thing in Sunnydale that you guys were trying to pull off?"

Graham's jaw fell open. "Wait. You've never hooked up with a guy before?"

Xander pointed at him. "Hey! That is not supposed to be the sticking point here!"

Graham laughed. "Sorry, just . . . you seemed like you knew what you were doing."

Xander paused. "Really? I mean . . . I did? Huh, that's . . . but let's be fair. You were really good at that kissing thing a second ago, with the hands and the tongue, so that helped lots, and . . . stop looking at my mouth!"

"Why?" Graham asked simply, taking that step back closer to bring him up against Xander once more.

Xander bit his lip. "Because, um, I have to talk to you about the whole thing that the Council set up this secret meeting for in the first place, and . . . " He trailed off as Graham slowly finished undoing his belt and flicked open the first button on Xander's jeans.

But then all of a sudden, Graham was stopping and giving him a funny look. "Council? And did you say something about an amulet?"

Now it was Xander's turn to gape. "But you . . . Wednesday!"

Graham's eyes widened. "I know that I said the wrong night of the week back at the bar, but you didn't say anything at the time, so I didn't think you'd noticed. Just . . . I was kind of distracted when you were standing next to me."

"Because you were making sure I said the right coded things back?" Xander asked with hope in his voice.

"Because you looked really hot in your jeans," Graham explained.

"Oh no," Xander whispered.

"That's not supposed to be bad news," Graham said mildly. "And the patch over your eye, that really does it too."

Xander's hand flew up to his eye-patch. "Uh . . . really?"

"You know, the whole dangerous and hot thing," Graham explained.

"Huh," Xander said with a frown.

Graham sighed. So this is all some misunderstanding?"

"Kind of," Xander said. He shook his head. "I'm really sorry."

Graham shrugged. "Okay. Can't say it wasn't interesting. But I guess you should give me a ride back so I can pick up my car back at the bar."

"Yeah, all right," Xander said slowly. "Wait . . . no."

Graham paused. "No?"

Such a simple word should not have sounded so sexy. "I guess whoever I was supposed to meet is gone by now," Xander said.

"Probably," Graham said with a half smile. "Not like I'm any good at covert ops myself. But even I would have taken off at this point."

"So there's really no point in rushing back," Xander finished.

"Right," Graham agreed. "Sorry I wasn't the one you were looking for." His gaze focused on Xander's lips again, but this time Xander didn't mind at all.

"That's okay," Xander managed. Graham reached up and stroked the back of his neck with his fingertips before drawing his head back down for another kiss. When their lips parted for a brief moment, Xander murmured, "This is turning out to be way more exciting."