The girls were falling, as were their support. The waves of demons were making a last stand, and Willow knew that she wanted one of her friends to live. Sending another volley of magic at the demons to kill their spell casters, she thought over her options. Buffy deserved her rest. Willow had been selfish once and now understood why Buffy needed to be here, it was her time. Dawn, while it would be good for her to have a normal life, she wasn’t normal like she wanted to believe. It wasn’t that she had anything against Dawn, but sending her away would be too tempting for the other demons to follow. Giles deserved his rest after a full life. He had finally gotten Ethan off of his addiction to Chaos Magic and both were attacking the demons with a mixture of magic and brawn that would make any Slayer proud. Faith was a slayer, and to send her off would be a punishment more than a reward for the dark Slayer, and Willow refused to hurt the reformed Slayer that way. That left Xander; her best friend. He had gotten his eye back after hunting down Slayers, rogue or not, protecting several shaman. His Hyena was a bit more active, but now he had use of both eyes, and he was using the gift given to him to protect some of the Slayers from the demons surrounding them. Smiling sadly, Willow began to chant a specific spell onto Xander and gave him a small shove after he saved one of the Asian Slayers from a rather nasty looking demon that was all arms and no head.
“Help him, keep him safe, tell him we love our Xander-shaped friend and want him to have the life he should have had.”
With those words, Willow let out a pulse of magic, forever blocking the demons from finding Xander, and removing the last trace of anything magical in their dimension. This was their last battle, and while they would die, she knew that she sent the one who deserved the gift of a second chance to live the life she knew he deserved in the first place.
Seven men watched in shock and awe as a blue shimmering circle appeared in their work area. As the small circle grew bigger, each man slowly moved a bit closer, hands on their weapons, and waited, still partially hidden to stay safe, to see what the circle was going to show them. The sight and sound of a body and metal hitting a carpeted floor was loud in the quiet room, and it startled the youngest as he looked at the body in shocked horror. The figure on the ground seemed to be dead as a soft voice was barely herd, begging anyone who was listening to keep the man, if that was what landed in the lobby was, safe from harm. As the voice faded from the minds of the people in the room, a soft groan had them all assessing the lump on the floor. The body shifted, and allowed the assembled people to gape at the wounds on the man. He was covered in blood, dirt and other things that made the men in the room want to vomit, and bruises were blooming on the golden skin. The clothes were ripped and torn limply hanging off the man, showing off hidden scars and gashes that needed to be cleaned. The man slowly sat up and opened his pain-filled eyes to look around the room.
The fall had been painful, but at least the ground was clean. That was the first thing that registered into the mind of the young man. Slowly getting his bearings, glazed brown eyes opened and looked around at everything and nothing. Brown hair was matted down with blood, slime, dirt and paste. Everything he fought for was gone. His girls, all his beautiful, strong and willful girls were dead and gone. Sightless, haunted eyes looked everywhere to find any trace of his girls, but he couldn’t see through the blood that was obscuring his vision. He raised his hand slowly to wipe away at the blood and finally got a good look at his surroundings. He was confused, wasn’t he dead? He was in a room, possibly that of an office as there were desks. Frowning at the sight, his mind slowly focused onto the bits of conversation that he heard. He tried to latch onto it, for he was more afraid of being alone in a new place than being dead.
“…Nasty looking head wound…”
“… Needs medical attention…”
Focusing on the voices, he could make out the shape of several men around him. They were all dressed in good clothes and suits, making him wonder when the Feds had shown up to bug them about another apocalypse.
“… Came out of …. Not normal…”
He snorted softly at that then winced at the pain it caused to his ribs and back. What was that man talking about? He’s the normal one, the Zeppo, the useless one.
“…Wicked looking axe…”
That was his axe thank you very much mister hyper person. It got him through many battles and helped him kill many demons and vampires that were trying to destroy the world, or take over countries, cities, and even people.
“…Seems to acquire…Relief is on its way…”
The tone was off, but the words were comforting. Big words reminded him of friends and family, and apparently held common sense too as he called for help.
Of course he looked lost. Where were his friends? His girls? The battle? He wasn’t supposed to be here, and he’d know if he was dead, wouldn’t he?
The last question made him look up into concerned blue-green eyes. A glass of water was given to him, and he gave the man in black a small, humorless smile.
“Others?” He asked once he drank a bit of the cool liquid. “Where are they? Alive? Safe?”
Blue-green eyes looked him over with a dark assessment and gave him a small, sad smile.
“You appeared alone. Something shimmered here in the lobby and you fell with that axe in your hands, startling all of us.” Brown eyes blinked in shock as the green eyed man continued. “There was a soft voice that seemed to whisper at us to help you and to keep you safe, but other than that, nothing else came.”
“I’m Chris Larabee, you are?”
“Xander, Xander Harris.”
Xander shut down after that and simply let his mind wander over what the man had said. He was alone in a new place, and it was probably Willow that sent him away. He could only hope that they survived, and that if they did die, that they took as many of the sons of bitches down with them. He was so deep into his thoughts on how the rest of the battle could have gone when he heard his name being called.
“Xander, our medic, Nathan, wants to look at your injuries before the ambulance gets here to take you to the hospital.”
“Ummm… Ok…” His tone was hesitant, but before he could change his mind, the black EMT pounce to look him over.
Xander was quickly stripped of his shirt while Nathan checked over each wound.
“Damn, we’re going to have to clean off most of the dirt and gunk off of you. It’ll be too hard to treat your injuries otherwise.”
As Nathan spoke, three of the men had left the room and came back a few minutes later with two bowls and a bag. After setting down the items, Xander noticed that one bowl was filled with hot water, and the other was probably filled with warm water. Also, the bag had a pair of sweats, a white t-shirt and a pair of sandals. As the men worked with Nathan to clean Xander up, the brunet looked at the assembled men around him in confusion, and with a hint or wariness. Why were they helping him? What did they want in return for their services?
Chris watched the young face before him and silently raged at the ancient eyes looking warily at his team. He saw that his undercover agent, Ezra Standish, was also looking at the young man, but his eyes looked at him with an understanding look.
It took the group a good half hour to remove all the traces of blood, dirt and demon guts off of him, and just before Nathan was about to do a serious check on his wounds, the paramedics entered the office. Not wanting Xander to be alone at the hospital, Chris was about to order someone to go when Ezra stood.
“I’ll join you gentlemen in escorting our young friend to the hospital. It would be callous of us to leave him to his own devices while he is in a foreign city.” Xander blinked at Ezra and gave a small chuckle. The chuckle is what caused Chris to nod and watched as the pair left the building to go the Mercy’s General Hospital.
“Alright, JD I want you to start to set up a background for Xander. Once we see him at the hospital, we’ll be able to set up the rest of his identity while he’s here. Vin, Buck I want the pair of you to finish the reports from our last bust. The sooner we get those done, the more time we’ll have to helping our new friend. Josiah I want you to begin a profile on Xander, and Nathan can help you with the minimal medical background that he noticed while cleaning the gunk off of him.” Getting nods from his men, Chris picked up the axe and placed it in his office before going back and cleaning up the items on the floor. Making his way to the bathroom, he dumped the water down the sink before putting the dirty rags in the plastic bag and putting it in the garbage. Now all that was left was informing AD Travis. That wasn’t going to be fun.
The ride to the hospital was tedious as Xander told the paramedics the least amount that needed to be said about his injuries. Ezra watched in awe as Xander babbled on about anything and everything, yet didn’t say anything of importance to the paramedics. Upon arrival at the hospital, Ezra waited for the doctor to arrive and inform him about the extent of the injuries that ailed the young man. Xander Harris was a puzzle to Ezra, and it had been a good long while that he had a decent puzzle to work with.
The energetic young man seemed to be biding his time and Ezra knew that he would run if given the chance. He had a feeling that Xander could find what he needed to survive and get on his feet in, what was obliviously a new world and life. Putting his musings aside, Ezra smiled at the doctor as he came in to lead the way to the brunet’s room to give him the diagnosis of the newest patient within the walls of what Buck had dubbed ‘The Magnificent Seven Room’ as they always got this room when one of them were injured. Upon seeing the doctor and Ezra, Xander frowned and looked between the pair in confusion.
“What’s going on?”
“I was just about to inform Agent Standish about your injuries and the precautions that you need to take while you are healing. You are going to be in a lot of pain, and while I know that you want to leave, you have to remain here over night at the least.”
“No buts Mr. Harris. I know that your team will take care of you and that you really want to leave, but we just want to monitor your health for the night to make sure that there are no complications with your wounds.”
Ezra sat heavily into the chair by Xander’s hospital bed as he was given the young man’s diagnosis. He had three broken ribs on his right side, his left arm was cracked in four places and he sprained his left knee and right ankle. He also had a concussion as well as minor abrasions and many bruises.
After weathering the grumblings of the youth, Ezra had to hide a smile at the sight the brunet was in the hospital bed. The nurses had wrapped him up in blankets. Sitting there in bandages and a cast, Xander had a dangerous pout playing about his lips, and his eyes shone with his displeasure at being stuck in a hospital bed.
“It could be worse. You could be stuck here for a week, eating the slop that they call a meal.” Xander shuddered at that and gave Ezra a dirty look.
“I hate hospitals. I mean, yeah I might be hurt, but I’m taking up a bed that someone with injuries worse than mine could use. Besides, I would have been fine with a bed and a shower, maybe a couple of bandages, but other than that, I didn’t need a hospital.”
Ezra could only smile sadly at the young man with his casual mentioning of his wounds. Like himself, Xander obliviously preferred to deal with his injuries in private. The only reason that Xander was in here at all was because he was in a strange place, and he had arrived in front of Chris and the rest of them.
“Well, if we are lucky, the others will arrive before the evening repast and bring some decent cuisine so that we can get some substance into you. Ah’m not sure about you, but Ah do not believe that they serve food in these establishments. Ah think of it as a reason not to return.”
Xander laughed softly at the words spoken with a southern drawl, nodding at the wisdom of the man beside him.
“I know that it’s supposed to be good for you, but that guarantees that it’ll never taste good.”
Ezra smiled and nodded at the bed ridden man and smirked.
“Ah do believe that you speak the truth.”
“Amen to that.” Ezra and Xander looked at the door way and saw the others slowly shuffle in.
Nathan reached for the clipboard at the foot of Xander’s bed and whistled at the injuries. Now that he could see the others better, Xander began to commit each man to memory.
The eldest sat by the window watching the room at large and gave Ezra a small smile.