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22 October 2012 @ 12:48 pm
The Hive, Chapter 4  

THE HIVE

By Fangstress

Chapter 4

Fandom: Buffy The Vampire Slayer crossover Angel the Series

Warnings: Violence, Slash, Rating R, Spangel, Eventual Spander

Xander's life changes forever when he tries to help a deranged Slayer...

To read Chapter 1, click here:  http://fangstress.livejournal.com/10764.html

To read Chapter 2, click here: http://fangstress.livejournal.com/11426.html

To read Chapter 3, click here: http://fangstress.livejournal.com/11695.html

Feedback: Yes, yes, YES! 



PREVIOUSLY:

Xander Harris lay in the dark, knowing he was bleeding out. And there was nothing at all that he could do to stop it. He couldn't even move his head out of the way of the leaking pipe that dripped water onto his face, trailing down the side of his nose, landing in the puddle of his own blood spreading all around him.

He had been murdered in the worst heat of LA by a deranged Slayer, and it was all his fault.

Earlier that day, Xander, ignoring any common sense he'd ever possessed,  had trailed the runaway Slayer from the sweltering heat of downtown LA,  into the cool darkness of the old waterfront warehouse. He had hoped that his ability to tell uncomfortable truths in his soothing, yet denial-piercing way would reach the young girl,  bringing her out darkest madness into the light.

Once he'd found the girl, things had rapidly gone downhill.

**

Angel had worriedly pulled a card from his breast pocket, and handed it to Xander.

Xander flinched, not tracking Angel's movement on his blind side.

Angel had immediately looked contrite. "Sorry. Look, Xander--- there's been some odd reports-- and some deaths..." He'd continued, ignoring Xander's negating head shake. "I'm not getting very much with my intel, but it looks like it could be a rogue slayer. Not a cake walk."

**

LAST WEEK:

Xander's brain had flashed from yellow to RED ALERT, blinking ominously in his mind. Battle stations, then.

He hunched a little, trying to make himself seem a little less imposing to the girl. She was a tiny little thing; again, with the reminding him of Dawn. He'd quirked a sideways grin at himself. She was a slayer. He wasn't going to intimidate her! His smile had faded, as the obvious question had occurred to him. What could have happened to frighten a baby slayer like this?

"What's your name, honey?" He gave her a reassuring smile.

She looked up at him, on the raw edge of panic. "C-Claire."

Xander resolved right then to help, however he could. "Claire, what's wrong? Are you in danger?"

The girl had burst into tears. "I don't want to be here.! They're making me into something I don't want to be!"

And now...

The Hive

By Fangstress

Chapter 4

He'd been a little put off when he'd arrived at Willow's opulent, Tudor- meets- techno-meets hippie- style office, and had found her there with the New Girlfriend, Magda. The air smelled of incense, and Xander had to stop himself from sneezing. Sweet, perfumey scent. It just irritated him more.

He'd really wanted to talk to Willow alone, have a heart to heart like they had in the old days; but here was Willow's new girlfriend, lounging in one of the posh seats across from Willow's desk.

He'd heard that they were joined at the hip in a way that reminded him of the early days when Willow had been dating poor, sweet, murdered Tara. Xander didn't really do change well; he still missed Tara, and it hurt to see Willow with this new woman-- tall, blonde and very slender. The flowing green ensemble she wore only accentuated her straight carriage, and made her look rigid and overtly privileged. She'd looked like Pure Watcher in New-Ager clothing.

Willow had seemed glad to see him, at least; that had put Xander a little more at ease. He relaxed, grateful that the old friendship seemed intact, even after such a long lapse.

"Xander!” Willow had said with her old bounciness -- "What is it, like six months? Why don't you come to any of the meetings? We had a party just last week for just the Scoobies-- you didn't come--"

She'd led Xander into her sanctum, sitting him down in one of the overstuffed velveteen chairs across from her desk. "Buffy and Giles were so disappointed." She mock scolded. "You didn't even return our calls..."

“I -uh, I've been kinda preoccupied with some stuff--" Xander answered lamely. "I've just been dealing with--"

Willow gave him a pitying look. It made Xander cringe.

"You know we don't care about your ...your eye, “Willow said softly. "Or the...work you've been doing...”

Xander just sat, looking between his friend and the other occupant of the office. But Willow had handed him an excuse, and he took it. "I don't need anyone's sympathy. Over, done." He'd found himself trying to keep from snapping, but his lies had contained a little too much truth. He hadn't been able to stop himself from fiddling with the damn patch. But his ruse had worked, and he'd been able to see that Willow had bought it.

“I haven't seen Buffy or Giles... or Dawn, in a really long time--", He said, "--it...just got to be too much. How they look at me."

"Xander," Willow began, trying to comfort him." -It’s not--"

He took a breath and cut her off, grinning stupidly. "How is the Dawnster, by the way? She was dating that guy-- the one that kinda reminded me a little of Riley-- talk about soldier -vibes- squared..." He trailed off.

Willow just looked at him sympathetically, then said, "Buffy and Giles are fine. They've asked about you. Why you never come to the meetings."

There it was again. Meetings. The meetings. Were they on a loop, or something? He opened his mouth to ask about Dawn again, but Willow gave him odd look, then oddly, like a switch had been tripped, gave him a bright smile.  Okay, that was weird.

Willow cleared her throat, and sat behind her desk. “Uh, you remember Magda, don't you, Xander?" Willow said, gesturing to the woman sitting in the other chair, across from Xander. “We met last fall at the Magitech Conference--"

Xander had nodded at the woman. "Nice to meet you, Magda.” he said civilly enough.

Something about her had set his teeth on edge, even as she nodded back at him. Something about the eyes, gray, almost colorless and rimmed with thick dark lashes. Those eyes should have been beautiful. Instead, they were flat, dead and predatory. What could Willow have seen in someone like this?  On the other hand, he'd   wondered that about Kennedy.

"Willow's told me a lot about you." She'd said, regarding Xander with an openly speculative gaze. "We missed you at the party; I was looking forward to meeting you." Her voice was low, slightly husky. “She had leaned forward.”You're almost a legend." Her compliment dripped with condescension.

"The tales of my amazing feats with emergency carpentry precede me. Not to mention my abilities at being not-quite-fatally wounded during just about every Apocalypse..." Xander had leaned indolently back in his seat, quirking an insolent grin at the woman.

Magda had stared at him with... well; Xander had felt that it had been an acquisitive kind of look. Like she was about to ask him to open his mouth so she could check his teeth or something.

The woman was scary. Xander was seriously considering just leaving; talking to Willow be damned. Maybe he could talk to Giles. Maybe not. What if he was on his own?

Willow, always quick on the uptake, had noticed his discomfort, and got to the topic at hand. Whatever that actually was supposed to have been, Xander wasn't quite sure, at that point. She'd sat behind her desk with her elbows on the antique desk, fingers steepled before her, a steaming cup of tea beside her. "So, uh--what can I do for you, Xander?"

Xander steeled himself and tried not to fidget. "Well, you see -- it's the slayers. The recruits."

Willow had seemed puzzled. "What about them? Did one of them do something--?”

"No, no-- it's just that--" Xander had paused, suddenly feeling like a bug under a microscope. “Have you noticed that they're-- well, acting a little-- odd? I mean, lately?"

He'd stopped, stared at his scuffed work boots and then back up at Willow. "They seem a little--too focused? Like scarily focused? Cruel, even?"

Willow's brow furrowed. She frowned, looking like a severe teacher about to give a lecture. But it wasn't comforting. There was something sly, knowing-- about the look Willow gave him. She shot a look to Magda, then back at Xander.

Xander had paused, dismayed, as he watched Willow's demeanor change. His heart sank. He'd been so very wrong to come here.

"How do you mean?” Willow's voice dropped in tone, still soft, but now there was something frankly annoyed under it. "They're doing their jobs, they're training. Buffy's in charge of that anyway. What have you been doing with the slayers, anyway?"

"Look, Wills, I know this isn't really my area anymore--not since I quit doing field work--but there's something...really-- off about some of the slayers.”

Xander had watched Willow and Magda exchange more speculative glances.

"One of the new ones seemed kinda scared."He said.

"Scared?” Willow asked quietly. “Of what? Of us?" She looked at Magda. Magda's eyes narrowed. Neither of them spoke for a long, long moment. Then Magda chin went up, her eyes flashed a command. That's at least what it seemed like to Xander.

Xander had just tried not to move, not to breathe. Which was a good thing, because whatever incense Willow had been burning in that office was beginning to make him feel a little lightheaded. It made him feel panicky.

He'd known he needed to get out of there, right then.

Willow spoke and again, her expression had changed-- again, like a flipped switch. Her eyes had seemed cloudy, unfocused. "Well, you know, Xander," she said dreamily, "you should definitely come to the next meeting. We'll all be there. There are some new developments happening in the Council and with the Slayers-- but we can't talk about it now. It's--it's classified. Come to a meeting.” Willow said. "We could really use your insight."Willow's eyes darkened.

If Xander hadn't seen it with his own eyes, he would never have believed it.

There had been something about the way she spoke, they way she looked--that had Xander flashing back to a time he'd rather have forgotten.

To what had happened to Willow following Tara's murder. When Willow went Dark.

There was a taste in the air, a faint tang of darkness. And Xander, being Xander-- who had known his limitations, after all-- decided to retreat to safe ground. Which meant anywhere but in that office.

Willow's eyes had shaded back to their normal hazel. She'd looked as if she'd had something else to say, but had forgotten what that was. She'd shaken her head, as if to clear it, and Magda had reached for Willow's hand, across the desk. Willow had stretched hers out and they clasped hands. They stated into each other's eyes for a long moment. Willow's eyes flashed, as if a pulse of electricity traveled behind them.

Xander had seen enough. They knew. He'd blown it.

"Willow?"

She just looked at him. It had been chilling. So he started grinning like a fool. He remembered thinking that he had to make her think she'd won. That he'd given in. "Okay, Wills... I'll do it. I mean, come to the next meeting. We're on. Do you need me to bring donuts? Pizza?” He'd said, too quickly, with only a hint of bitterness. That bitterness leaking out was probably what saved him.

Willow went from Dark and Scary to her old and very welcome "resolve face" in the blink of an eye. "You, better, Mister!" There had been no trace of the Veiny Black-Haired one to be found, and Xander had almost wondered if he'd imagined it.

There had been hugs and firming up of plans to get together, and then Xander had been free. Xander had exited the office as gracefully as possible, trying not to show how much the entire exchange had shaken him.

He'd paused a moment, as he'd heard the ominous murmuring between Willow and Magda behind that closed oaken door.

**

Well, folks--that’s all for this week! I hoped you enjoyed the story! Feel free to give me feedback; I can use all the help I can get to improve my writing.

See you next Monday!



 
 
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jujukittychickjujukittychick on October 22nd, 2012 10:15 pm (UTC)
gah! you do know howw to give us cliffhangers. yikes, so they've all drank the koolaid huh? wonder how xander's going to manage to fix this one, well, assuming a certain avenging vampire...angel *snicker* comes to his rescue. keep up the great work :D
fangstressfangstress on October 22nd, 2012 10:19 pm (UTC)
Why, thank you, my dear! Well, I think Xander's definitley going to have his hands full....
sparrow2000sparrow2000 on December 17th, 2012 01:24 am (UTC)
More and more sinister. Congratulations, you gave me the shivers. *g*
fangstressfangstress on December 18th, 2012 04:48 am (UTC)
Yaaay! :-D

Thanks for reading!