Fandom: Buffy/Angel/LA Heat/7 Days/Stargate SG-1/X-Files...
Stopped because: I got stalled on the X-Files bit.
The True Adventures of Xander Harris
by Jade Marmalade
Willow Rosenberg waved goodbye to her best friend as his car disappeared down the street. It was a warm, summers morning in Sunnydale, the small town in Southern California that just happened to be built on the site of the Hellmouth. The flower-scented breeze and the merrily singing birds were in total contrast to the horror that had been Sunnydale just the day before. Yesterday, Willow and her fellow seniors at Sunnydale High School had graduated. Yesterday, the mayor of Sunnydale had turned into a true demon and tried to kill all of them with the help of vampires. Yesterday, the Slayer, Buffy Summers, had killed the mayor by blowing up their school. Today, Xander Harris was leaving on a road trip.
With a sigh, Willow turned to go back into her house. After the last few months, everyone had needed a rest. Summer in Sunnydale tended to be quiet anyway. Willow was going to enjoy some rest with her boyfriend, Oz, and start getting ready for college. Xander had decided he wanted an adventure. He was going to drive to all fifty states of the good old United States of America. She hadn’t had the heart to point out that it would be impossible to drive to Hawaii. Willow sighed again. ‘I sure hope he’ll be alright,’ she thought.
June 2, 1999
“I’m havin’ a really tough week ‘ere, girls, care to cheer me up?” Doyle smiled tipsily at the strippers on the stage. They ignored him and kept right on dancing. He nodded. It figured. Nothing was going right. Now some sort of higher Powers had decided that he needed to help out this love-lorn vampire with a soul. First, he had to find the bloke. The Powers had given him this Angel guy’s whole life story---you’d think they’d see fit to grant him the knowledge of his whereabouts. All Doyle knew was that he was somewhere in the Los Angeles area. Okay, so technically Ventura County wasn’t in the Los Angeles area, but it was close and Oxnard happened to house the best strip club in the state.
“Life sucks,” he commented to himself.
“Hey, I’m with you there, man.”
Doyle turned to see a young man with dark hair standing next to him. The kid had a tray and was carefully taking the glass away from the snoring drunk at the next table.
“Why?” Doyle asked unthinkingly in response and then swore to himself. He didn’t really want to know, but his drunken state had betrayed him. The kid seemed to take his semi-interested question as an invitation and plopped down in the chair.
“Okay, so I escape my home town alive to go on a road trip and what happens? My car breaks down! Now I have to work here until I can get it fixed,” the boy said.
“What’s so bad about yer home town?” Doyle asked despite himself.
“Well, I come from a little town called Sunnydale.....”
“The Hellmouth!” Doyle exclaimed. “No wonder ya wanted out. I would nae go near that place unless the Powers demselves came down and commanded me to. And maybe not even then, if all the stories I’ve heard about it are true.”
“All those stories and more.” The kid studied him for a moment and then stuck out his hand. “Name’s Xander.”
“Doyle,” he grunted and gingerly shook the teens hand.
“So,” Xander said while watching him carefully, “how do you know about the Hellmouth? Most people don’t have a clue ‘bout that sort of thing.”
Doyle shrugged. He wasn’t about to tell a complete stranger that he was a half-demon. “I get around. Ya hear things when ya deal with people who are more comfortable with the shadows. You ever goin’ back there?”
“Yeah. My folks don’t want me back, but I’ve got friends up there that need me, if only to do donut runs.”
Doyle was surprised. The kid didn’t seem bitter about what he’d just said. It was more like he was resigned. Then the light dawned. This was one of the mortals who helped the Slayer out that the Powers had given him knowledge of. Doyle’s respect for Xander grew. This teen was something of a hero’s sidekick by choice, not like him who was being forced into the role.
“It’s good to have friends,” Doyle commented sadly.
The two men sat quietly watching the act. Doyle sipped his drink while Xander appeared to be lost in thought. Their reverie was broken when the bartender called to Xander to get his ass back to work.
Xander climbed to his feet wearily and smiled a little ruefully. “Well, just a few more days of this and then I’ll have enough money to get back on the road. I’m going to see as much of this country as I can.”
“Good luck, kid,” Doyle said. Xander smiled, nodded, and went back to work. Doyle sighed and got up, too. It was time that he did his job as well. He had a destiny to fulfill and a purpose in life. He just hoped he could live up to his lot in life with the same spirit that Xander did.
Los Angeles, California
June 10, 1999
“Whoo hoo!” Chase MacDonald wouldn’t admit it to anyone, not even August, but this was his favorite part of the job. Being a cop in the car-chase capital of the world was a the fulfillment of all his dreams. At the moment, he and his partner were after a drug dealer named Jorge “the Slip” Gonzales. Jorge managed to consistently slip away from police, thus the nickname. Chase was determined that this time that wasn’t going to happen. After a speedy car chase, which had ended with another cruiser totaled, Jorge had grabbed a bike. Chase had commandeered another one and was pursuing their suspect through Griffith Park. August had called for more backup and was circling around to cut “the Slip” off.
Suddenly, the tire on his bike blew and Chase went down. Hard. “Ow!” he screamed. “Stupid bicycle!” Chase saw Jorge getting away and swore. He yelled “Stop that man!”
Much to his surprise, someone did. A teenage boy launched himself at the suspect and knocked Jorge off the bike. Chase scrambled up painfully, running to where they were. He quickly took control of the suspect and read him his rights. He handed Jorge over to a panting August who had finally caught up and turned to the boy.
“Hey, thanks. What’s your name?”
“Xander. Alexander LaVelle Harris. What’d he do?” Xander asked, nodding at Jorge.
“Drug dealer. Thanks again for helping us out. The L.A.P.D. owes you a debt of gratitude. Just give your statement to uniformed officers along with residence information in case we need to contact you.”
“Uh, I don’t live around here.”
“Well, I guess so. See, I’m driving around the country over summer break. I won’t be back to Sunnydale---where I live---for a couple of months.”
Chase thought for a moment and then said, “That’s okay. Just tell Officer Dodds that. We probably won’t need you anyway.”
Xander nodded and went to talk to Officer Dodds. Chase tracked the dark-haired boy for a moment before following his partner down to the waiting squad cars. The world needed more people like Xander who were willing to go the distance and help out their fellow man.
Las Vegas, Nevada
June 21, 1999
“Stick with me, Xander. You’re about to change my rotten luck.”
Frank Parker wended his way through the mass of people to the blackjack table, towing an enthusiastic Xander Harris behind him into the casino. Two days ago, Frank had landed right in front of Xander’s car on a lonely stretch of Nevada highway. The kid hadn’t been fazed by the sudden appearance of the Sphere or the chrononaut inside it. Xander had driven Frank to the nearest town where Frank had used a phone to call in as Conundrum. He’d thanked the teen and left to prevent the kidnaping of an Army general who was privy to all sorts of State secrets and apprehend the criminals. It had been a piece of cake. Ramsey had grudgingly let him, Olga, and Donovon off the secret Backstep base to celebrate.
Frank had run into Xander again outside of the casino. Without the boy’s help, he would have never made it to a phone in time to save the general. Frank had decided to treat the kid to a night on the town in gratitude.
“Not to look a gift horse in the mouth or anything, man, but are you sure I’m old enough to be in here?” Xander asked while looking around at the bustling gambling den.
Frank grinned and whispered conspiratorially. “Nyah, so’kay. If anyone asks, just point ‘em towards me and my government-issued, limitless funds credit card.”
Xander laughed and followed him to the games. Frank promised himself that he’d give the kid a night he’d never forget.
“So, Xan, ever played blackjack before......?”
Mount Cheyenne, Colorado
June 26, 1999
Daniel Jackson breathed in the fresh air of the forest and breathed in peace for the first time in weeks. SG-1 had just gotten back from a particularly tough mission. Daniel had been severely injured and only the Sarcophagus aboard Aphopis’ ship had saved him. They had saved Earth from the invading Goa’uld, but it had almost cost them their lives. Now Daniel just wanted some time away from the hectic Stargate Command. He’d come out to the forest to find peace and quiet.
Daniel wasn’t usually an outdoors person. His allergies usually prevented him from enjoying the full range of nature’s beauty. In his time spent on Abaydos, however, Daniel had learned to enjoy the natural world. Not that a North American forest was anything like the desert world that he had called his home for a year, but it generated the same sense of peace for the anthropologist.
Doctor Jackson wasn’t one to sit idle, though. He’d brought some old tomes with him on his hike and some notebooks. Daniel smiled wryly to himself. Just a few years ago he wouldn’t even have considered hiking this far, let alone with a backpack full of books strapped to his back. His exposure to the Air Force and the Stargate had changed him beyond all measure. He was in better shape now than he had been at any point in his life.
He’d brought the books to this quiet place for study because he seemed to recall some sections in them about “demons” that sound suspiciously like Goa’uld possessed hosts. He found a good spot under a tree and spread out his papers. Daniel became absorbed in the books, translating portions of the ancient text into his notebooks. Suddenly, a man literally tripped into his lap.
“Yikes! Um, sorry dude. Didn’t see your backpack there.” The figure extricated himself from Daniel’s lap and fell over backwards on his butt. Daniel straightened his glasses and peered at the stranger. It was a young man, no more than eighteen or nineteen years old, with dark brown hair. The strange man was dressed for hiking like Daniel was and he had a look of embarrassment on his face. Daniel instantly sympathized. He knew what it was like to be a klutz.
“No problem. I’m okay. My name is Daniel Jackson,” he held out his hand.
The teen leaned closer and shook it. “I’m Xander Harris. Hey, wha’cha got there?” Before Jackson could protest, Xander had grabbed up one of his books. “Ah, Gorich’s Study of Demonic Anatomy---in the original German, no less! Kinda dry stuff, but the section on the mating habits Marrow Demons was pretty neat.......although, I never cared much for Marrow Demons........”
Doctor Jackson stared at Xander in disbelief. He’d actually read Gorich’s work?! It was a rare and esoteric book that was most definitely not within the purview of mainstream literature.
“You--you’ve read it!?” Daniel blurted out.
Xander looked up and blushed. “Oh, um, yeah. Sorry for carrying on like that.” The teen shrugged. “I read a lot of weird things.”
Daniel realized he was being rude. “No problem! I just haven’t met many people who are willing to wade through stuff like this......”
Daniel was slightly flustered. Xander gave him an intense look. “Why are you reading this?”
“Oh, I uh, I’m a researcher. I have this theory about the cross-pollination of cultures and I’m looking for similarities between the myths and legends of various peoples. Specifically, similarities between the ‘creatures of the night’ of popular folklore.” It was almost the truth, and it was the best explanation that Daniel could come up with on the spur of the moment.
“Oh.” The young man untensed and Daniel let out a breath of relief. His story had been accepted. “So why are you ‘researching’ out here? Too much going on at home to concentrate?” Xander asked.
“Yes,” Daniel answered in surprise.
“Hey, I know what you mean. What with one world-shattering event or another, sometimes you just need to get away to hear yourself think.”
Daniel nodded in agreement. Oddly enough, Xander sounded like he had much the same experience that Daniel did. The anthropologist studied the young man closer as they both rose to their feet. He couldn’t be sure, but there was something of a military posture in his movements. Xander also carried himself like he expected to be attacked at any moment. And in his eyes was the look of a man who had seen things that would have sent a lesser man running from sanity. Daniel was intrigued. ‘How did someone so young come to have the look of a battle-hardened soldier about him? Why do I think that he has seen as much as I have? I don’t think knowledge of the Stargate or the Goa’uld would fluster him,’ Daniel thought in wonder.
“Well, nice talkin’ to ya! I just stopped for a quick hike and I have to get back on the road. Oh, and you might check out the earlier version of De Profundus or the works of Gregori Sekma. Might help you with the research.”
“Thanks, I’ll do that. Good day to you.”
Daniel watched as the young, enigmatic man hiked towards the road. ‘Hmmm, hope I meet that Xander Harris again someday. I’d like to know the story behind those eyes.’ Daniel Jackson laughed at himself. That was the scientist in himself talking---always wanting to know what made people tick. His instincts told Daniel that whatever made Xander Harris tick would be very interesting to know about.
May 2, 1999
“C’mon, Mulder, surely you don’t think that some spleen-sucking mutant is loose in Jackson County, Kansas!?”
Fox Mulder smiled to himself. After all these years and all the things she’d seen with him, Dana Scully was still the consummate skeptic. Their partnership worked well, though. His extreme beliefs and her extreme reliance on empirical proof balanced each other out.
“Why not, Scully?”
“Grrr,” she barred her teeth at him in a most un-Scully-like manner in frustration. Mulder laughed and she glared at him. He found himself glad that she didn’t believe in the ‘Evil Eye’ either, or else he would be toast.
“Why can’t you ever just postulate the simplest theory? Why do you always go straight to little green men or monstrous mutants?”
“First off,” Mulder said, warming to his subject, “you know as well as I do that, while they may be little by our standards, the aliens are grey, not green. And second, just how often have I been wrong, Scully?” He gave his partner his most ingenuous look. It usually worked on her, but apparently it wasn’t going to do the trick this time.
She harumphed in exasperation. “I’m going to do the autopsy. I’ll meet you at the Medical Examiner’s office later.” She walked off and Mulder sighed. He and Scully went through this every few months or so. It was hard for her to believe that the world really was a scary place that often defied logical and rational explanation.
Someone called his name and Mulder turned to see Sheriff Dodds walking toward him with a young man in tow.
“Agent,” the Sheriff said stiffly in greeting.