A Good Start

Author: Ed Scott <EScott92[at]aol.com>

Disclaimer: All characters belong to their rightful owners... none of which are me.

Summary: After Becoming, Xander ends up in Maryland to give a message.

Warning: Crossover (JAG)

Pairing: C/X

A/N: Instead of going as a soldier for Halloween, Xander went as a fighter pilot.

Rating: PG

Feedback, It's the coin of the realm.

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Chapter 1

The first night after Buffy disappeared, Xander started getting dreams. Not the dreams he'd like to have, but dreams about crashing into a jungle and a fear of being taken prisoner. The man in his dream was Harmon Rabb Sr. He's a fighter pilot for the Navy. He was nervous about what was going to happen, but was resigned to his fate. Since advances in aviation were made, fighter pilots on both sides, were considered too valuable to be left in POW camps.

Not wanting to be captured, Rabb decided to get to his allies as soon as humanly possible. He made good time before night fell. When the sun set, he was 12 miles from where he landed. He was stunned when grabbed from behind and felt something bite into his neck. His last thoughts before darkness overtook him were of his family.

"Xander. Xander. XANDER! You fell asleep."

"Sorry, Cordy. It's not you; I just had a hard night last night. Then I get these weird dreams. And before you say anything, it's not one of those dreams." Xander went for a walk to clear the cobwebs. 'That dream was so real, I could almost feel the blood dripping down my neck as that guy was being drained.' Twenty minutes later, Xander re entered the library. There was no one there, so he decided to use what little he could remember about using the Internet.

"OK, let's see here. Web browser up. MIAs. Vietnam War Memorial site. Harmon Rabb, Sr. After high school, he joined the Navy and became a pilot. Shot down in a battle on Christmas Day, 1969. Skipping cause of death. Left a wife, now remarried living in San Diego. And one son, Harmon Rabb, Jr. Joined the Navy and became a pilot, just like dear old dad. Nighttime carrier crash suffered night blindness. Now a lawyer for JAG. I seriously doubt he'll believe me if I tell him his dad was killed by a vampire. Says here, his CO is Admiral AJ Chegwidden. Navy SEAL, two tours of Vietnam. He might believe me."

Xander turns the computer off.

"Now, how do I get to Maryland? I'll clean out my bank account of $1,500. My folks have a few hundred lying around, they'll just think they drank it. That should be enough for a few days." Just then the gang showed up in the library.

"Hey, Xand. You feeling better?"

"Much better, Wills." Xander took a moment to gather his courage. "Look guys. I need to go to Maryland for a few days." There was a lot of shouting going on in the "quiet" library.

"Does anyone remember what happened during Halloween?" They all quieted down, except for Oz. He never said a thing, just raised an eyebrow. "Now that I've gotten your attention. I have a confession to make. I never forgot the skills I learnt as being Maverick from Top Gun."

"As if, Xander." Cordelia rolled her eyes at him.

"Anyway, as I said, I remembered the skills, but until an hour ago, I didn't know his name. Harman Rabb, Sr. Shot down in Vietnam on Christmas Day, 1969. He is officially listed as MIA, but he was really killed by a vampire. He left a wife, who is now re-married and living in San Diego, and a son who is a lawyer for the military.

I would go to San Diego, but his widow would just slam the door in my face. His son would be easier to convince because his Commanding Officer is a former Navy SEAL, who did two tours in Vietnam. I have the money for a week in Maryland, I just have to fly there."

"Xander, what is the name of his son's Commanding Officer?" Giles asked.

"Admiral AJ Chegwidden."

"Are you bloody serious? I met him twenty years ago in a pub in London. He challenged anybody there to a drinking contest. I was there so I took him up on his challenge. He did not know that I cast a spell on myself so that I could not get drunk. Navy SEALS remember you, even admires you, if a civilian can out drink them. I shall call him and let him know that you are on the way, Xander."

"Now that the trip is scheduled, I need Cordelia to help me get a suit. I do not think showing up at the Judge Advocate General's office in a Hawaiian shirt is a good idea."

"It's about time! I've been telling you that you needed new clothing for months. Now that you are going to meet Military Lawyers, you want new clothes.

I'm your sort of girlfriend, why won't you dress up for me?" Cordelia complained.

"I was going to ask you to go with me, Cordelia. Since your parents are out of the country for the next two months, they'll never know that you went to Maryland. At least, until the next credit card bill comes in."

"You were? I could use a vacation from all the weird stuff that happens around here. We're getting separate rooms, Buddy. They'll be next to each other but they will be separate."

Xander and Cordelia leave the library, making plans on what to do when they get to Maryland. They agreed to go see the Orioles play Toronto on Saturday because Roger Clemens is pitching and to an outdoor concert on Sunday afternoon.

Chapter 2

The flight was, to Xander anyway, an interesting experience. Cordelia didn't want to be in coach with Xander, so he sat in coach while she sat in first class. At least, that's where he sat until they leveled off at 35,000 feet. When the fasten seat belt sign shut off and Cordy was certain that no one on the

plane knew them, she got Xander and he joined her in first class.

Their flight was at 8, so they needed to get up at 6. They were tired when boarding, so when the plane leveled, and they joined each other, Cordelia slept, using Xander as a pillow. Xander, content in holding his girlfriend while she slept, drifted off to sleep as well. The last thought they had before the Sandman took them was that they were glad it was a nonstop flight. They were too comfortable to move.

Cordelia woke up and stretched. She was hungry, not having eaten since before they took off. She noticed a blonde flight attendant fixing the drink cart. "Excuse me, but do you have anything to eat? Me and my boyfriend haven't eaten since before we left California."

"Sorry, miss. All we have are pretzels. If it's any consolation, we're landing in 2 hours."

"Xander will be grouchy when he wakes up." Cordelia whispered. "Thank you, Miss?"

"Dubois. Sugar Dubois."

Cordelia was absolutely correct about Xander's attitude when he woke up. She placated him by telling him she'd buy him room service when they settled in. They held each other in silence for the next hour, not sure what to talk about. As they were about to begin their descent, Xander took his seat in coach, so he could get his carry on. The plane landed at Dulles with no difficulty.

Getting off the plane, waiting for their bags, hailing a cab and getting to their hotel took an hour and a half. Needless to say, they were starving when they were checking into the Holiday Inn.

"Sorry, we only have one room left in the hotel. There's a Quantum Leap convention and Donald Bellisario is the keynote speaker."

"We'll take it." Cordelia demanded.


Shoving her finger into Xander's chest, "Look, I'm hungry and I need a shower."

"We'll take it." Xander resigned to his fate of sharing a hotel room with Cordelia Chase.

"By the way, Geekboy, if you think for one second I'm going to go to that convention, you're mistaken." On the way to their room, Xander was rethinking inviting Cordy along on this trip.

Room 314, Holiday Inn

As soon as they entered their room, Xander grabbed the phone and ordered room service. While he was talking to the kitchen, Xander heard Cordelia turn on the shower and he thought of joining her. Visions of the two of them reenacting the shower scene in The Specialist ran through his head. Instead, he

knocked on the bathroom door and yelled, "Cordy, I called room service. They'll be here in thirty minutes." Just then, there was a knock on the door.

Chapter 3

Xander looks through the eyehole, and sees a man with brown hair wearing a suit and long coat. Opening the door, Xander jokes, "Sorry, the X Files convention isn't until next week."

"Mr. Harris? I'm Clayton Webb; I'm an Undersecretary of State. I'd like to talk to you about Gangs on PCP."

Xander just looked at Mr. Webb for a moment, then stepped aside, letting him enter. "OK, Mr. Webb. You've got my attention. What is it that you want?" Clayton went to the window and closed it, before answering. 'He's paranoid. Must be a fed.'

"Just to let you know right off, we know why you appropriated that anti-tank weapon last year. It has been covered up, even though you still haven't returned the launcher yet." Xander audibly gulped. He always wondered why he was never arrested for breaking into a military installation, stealing the weapon then having Buffy fire it in public. He just chalked it up to the Sunnydale Denial Syndrome.

"The US Government has recently discovered that vampires and demons are a threat to National Security. We never hunted them because they never bothered us, to a major extent. When Angelus decided to send the world to Hell, it was decided we needed a presence on the Hellmouth. While we have the personnel and equipment for this, we don't have experienced personnel in this field anywhere. While you've only been doing this for two years, that is still two more years than what we have." During this conversation, Cordelia just put her ear to the bathroom door. Her innate curiosity kept her from interfering, which she'll realize later is totally out of character for her.

"What does this have to do with me, Mr. Webb?"

"We want to train you to be a United States Marine. Basic training is twelve weeks. You'll be going through it in four. Afterwards, you'll go to Officer Candidates School, and get your first year done in 2 months. Normally, you'll be second lieutenant after 4 years of OCS, but this is a special case. You'll be a corporal before you go back to high school."

"Why would I go back to high school and not stay until I graduate?"

"This is the summer lull. As you know, vampire attacks are low this time of year. You are needed in Sunnydale. As a corporal, you will be second in command of a platoon stationed at the base where you took the rocket launcher. As a high school student, you won't be staying there. You will have a modest rent free apartment, $750 a month in salary and the use of the military base in the area." Webb hands Xander a folder. Inside is the service record of a very proud career officer.

"Gunnery Sargeant Emil Foley will be in charge of your platoon. You will learn a lot from him. He has eighteen months left before he retires and he wants to help. After graduation, you will return to OCS, where you will complete your studies in 3 months. When you graduate, you will be promoted to major, where you will be the highest-ranking officer, other than the CO of the military

base. The generals in charge thought it best not to make you a second lieutenant because the superior officers wouldn't listen to you."

"That's all well and good, Mr. Webb, but I'm not that smart. I have trouble with math."

"Not according to the psych profile we have on you. You're loyal to those who deserve it, smarter than you give yourself credit for and ingenious on how you can solve problems the smartest ones in your group can't figure out. A major problem our shrinks see is you have low self-esteem. Which is understandable, considering how you were raised. That is one of the things that the drill instructors and teachers are going to work on with you."

Stepping out of the bathroom, wearing a hotel robe, Cordelia jumped into the conversation, "You should do it, Xander. I think you'd look great in that dress uniform. I'd be the envy of the entire school for dating an honest to God


"That's my girlfriend Cordelia Chase, always thinking of others before herself."

"Sunnydale needs to be protected in case the vampires realize there's no Slayer there. More people than normal will die if something isn't done."

Clayton hands over an envelope containing pictures of Buffy and information on her current whereabouts. "That should help." At the same moment, room service entered and Cordelia paid for it, like she said she would. Contrary to popular clichés, the room service guy wasn't an evil agent out to kill anybody in the room, just a college kid earning a little money.

"Quid pro quo? You give me the information I need and then I sign up, is that it?"

"No. We want her to help us, but she can't if she isn't there."

"OK. I accept your proposal. I'm calling Giles and give him the information. Then I'm eating my burgers, then getting some sleep. We'll talk more in the morning, Mr. Webb." Xander and Clayton shook hands.

"I'm glad you're signing up, Harris. Training starts Monday morning. That gives you three days to get your affairs in order before you get very little sleep."

Chapter 4

Xander fell asleep on the floor alone, but he woke up with Cordelia snuggled to his chest. Nothing before this morning had made Xander feel more like a man, than to wake up holding Cordelia Chase. All felt right with the world. Except the movement in his bladder. 'Damn, and I'm comfortable, too.'

The more Xander tried to get out of Cordelia's arms, the tighter she held on. While he was enjoying Cordelia not wanting to release him, his bladder was threatening to burst where he was, if he didn't get to a toilet. Now.

Xander lightly shook her. "Cordelia." She didn't move, except to snuggle closer. "Cordelia!" Xander yelled, but got the same result. After thinking for a moment, Xander whispered, "Cordelia, there's a shoe sale going on, and they're 75% off." Cordelia woke up like a shot, finding her luggage by the bed.

"I've got to get to the mall before..." By the time Cordelia fully woke up, Xander was in the bathroom. "You idiot! Why didn't you just tell me to get up? You wouldn't have had to say THAT."

"I tried Cordy. But you just held on to me tighter. If I didn't have to be in the bathroom, I'd rather hold you all morning. Could you please get my suit out so I can put it on after my shower? Thanks dear."

Cordelia smiled at that statement. "Just be glad that you are in the bathroom, buddy. Or I'd slap you upside the head." Just then the phone rings.

"Hello? Oh, hello Mr. Webb. Yes we are just getting cleaned up. You would like to meet us? OK. Let me check." She walks to the bathroom door and knocks. "Xander? When would be a good time to meet Mr. Webb for breakfast?"

"In an hour Cordy, You need to freshen up."

"In an hour, Mr. Webb. In the restaurant here? That's fine. See you in an hour." She sees Xander exit the bathroom wearing a house towel. She fondly remembers the Speedo incident with a smile. "You wearing a Speedo under there? Remove the towel and let me see." Xander steps away from the bathroom to allow Cordelia to use it. As she is closing the bathroom door, she stops to admire his back and everything else. She is so glad that she came on this trip.


Thirty minutes later, Cordelia finds Xander watching Katie and Matt. She steps out of the bathroom in a full length blue dress with spaghetti straps. "You look beautiful, Cordelia. What do you think of the suit that you picked out for me?"

She looks at him carefully, and thinks for a moment. "You clean up good. Are you ready to go?"

Xander shuts off the TV. As he stands up. "Yup" As they are heading to the elevator, Xander starts confessing to Cordelia. "I want to tell you some things, and I need you not to interrupt me." She nods. "This will be the only time I talk about Buffy while we are here. When you go home, if the subject of Angel's soul curse comes up; I lied to Buffy about what Willow told me to tell her. Think about it for a moment. If Buffy knew that Willow was trying her first spell ever would she fight for all she's worth or would she stall hoping to get her boyfriend back?" The look on Cordelia's face told him that she thought Buffy would stall.

"I thought the same thing. I remembered what Mr. Spock told Captain Kirk in Star Trek 2. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one. I could not trust Willow trying a spell with six billion lives on the line. If it were just me, I would have told the truth. But I made a command decision. I'm just telling you this in case it should be mentioned and you can tell them why I said what I said. And I was not motivated by jealousy."

The Holiday Inn Restaurant

Mr. Webb met Xander and Cordelia at their table. "I am glad that you can join us for breakfast. There are some things you need to know, if you didn't already know." Webb just nodded. "During Halloween last year, I was going as a generic soldier. All I needed was a toy gun. Instead, the shop owner suggested an aviator's uniform. Complete with sunglasses. I thought it would be better going as Tom Cruise from Top Gun." Cordelia laughed at that and Xander just looked at her. "The shop owner cursed all the costumes that he sold. Instead of being a soldier when the spell was cast, I was a Vietnam War pilot. Like everybody else, I was confused. I could see and hear everything, but it was like I was on autopilot. When the spell wore off, I remembered the skills, but I could not remember who I was exactly." Webb was amazed at the story he heard. But he was about to be found speechless.

"A few days ago, I had a dream about a Vietnam War pilot that was shot down on Christmas Day 1969. He survived the landing, but he did not want to get captured. He was 12 miles from the crash site, when night fell, he was quickly killed by 'a gang member on PCP.'"

Webb was speechless. "Who was the pilot in your dream?"

"Harmon Rabb, Senior." Webb's eyes almost fell out of his head. Xander just looked at Webb's stunned face. "Why do you think I am here to see him? If I told him over the phone, he'd think I'm nuts. According to a Vietnam War web site, his boss might be able to verify the existence of the gang members. I need you to help me get into JAG offices so I can tell Junior about his father so he can have closure." Webb thought about it and agreed.

The Offices of the Judge Advocate General, Bethesda, Maryland

The trio enters the lawyer's offices. Clayton Webb just walks into the Admiral's office without asking. Xander and Cordelia waited outside for Webb to invite them in.

Admiral Chegwidden's Office

AJ Chegwidden was just going over some paperwork when Clayton Webb just enters his office unannounced. Without looking up, Chegwidden asks, "What do you want, Webb?"

"And it's good to see you too, Admiral. There's someone in the hall waiting to meet you."

"Who would that be?"

Clayton handed over a file to the Admiral. After he read it, Chegwidden looked at Webb in confusion. "Why isn't he in custody?"

"Did you read the entire file?" The Admiral returned to reading it. His eyes nearly fell out of their sockets when he read about The Judge. He nearly fainted, and SEALs don't faint, when he read about Angelus.

"Why is he here?" Clayton just went to get him. Xander enters the office and salutes Admiral AJ Chegwidden. "Alexander Harris from Sunnydale California to see you, Admiral."

"I hear you have a story for me Mr. Harris." For the next 15 minutes Xander tells Admiral Chegwidden the same story he told Webb over breakfast. "That's an interesting story. Why are you talking to me?"

"Permission to speak freely, Admiral?" He nodded. "If I went to Commander Rabb and told him how his father really died, he'd have me locked up in a padded cell. But if someone he respects told him what I'm saying is the truth, he might think about its validity before making a decision. So I decided to talk to you first."

Chegwidden hit a button on his intercom. "Tyner, tell Rabb and Mackenzie I need to see them."

"Yes, Admiral."

Chapter 5

Lieutenant Commander Harmon Rabb and Major Sarah Mackenzie noticed Clayton Webb and two teenagers as they entered the Admiral's office. "You wanted to see us, sir?"

"Yes. Commander Rabb and Major Mackenzie, allow me to introduce Alexander Harris and Cordelia Chase. Commander, Mr. Harris has a story to tell you, and I'm here to tell you that what he is saying is accurate and not suffering from delusions. Mr. Harris?"

"Commander, I am from Sunnydale California. It is built on top of what early settlers called La Boca del Inferno. Translated The Mouth of Hell. Judging by your reaction, Major, you have an idea of what I am talking about. Inhabiting the city other than humans, are vampires, demons, and anything else that goes bump in the night. On Halloween last year, an old acquaintance of my mentor decided to play a joke on him. He thought it would be fun if all the children that bought costumes from him turned into the costumes they wore. He sold me an aviator's suit. After the spell was stopped, I remembered the skills but not who I was that night. Until a couple of nights ago, that is.

What I am about to tell you, you might not believe, but it is the truth. I dreamt of the man that inhabited the suit once before. Not to sound like Darth Vader, but it was your father. He crashed as you know, but he wanted to get away before being captured. He was captured but not by whom he thought would. When night fell, he was grabbed and killed by a vampire. I can tell you that his last thoughts were of you and your mother before he died."

Rabb looked at Xander funny, but the looks on everybody else's faces told him that what he was hearing was the absolute truth. "Is he serious, Admiral?" AJ looked at him and nodded. Webb and Sarah also nodded their heads. Harm looked at the young man that just told him this story, trying to see if there was anything in his body language to tell him if Xander was lying or not. After a couple minutes of quiet contemplation, he decided that Xander was telling the truth.

"OK, Mr. Harris."

"Call me Xander. I prefer it."

"OK, Xander. If I believe what you are saying, why tell me?"

"Unlike most MIAs, at least you know he's not a POW. I know you must have been searching for him for years, but the chances are he was fed off of then left to rot in a cave somewhere. I know that's not what you want to hear, but the truth of the matter is if he was turned into a vampire he would have shown up years ago."

"Admiral, if it is OK with you, I would like some time off to think about this."

"Permission granted. Xander, would you join him so you can answer any questions he has."

Xander saluted the Admiral, "Aye aye, sir."

Xander finds Harm in his office getting ready to leave. "You're insane Mr. Harris."

"I have been told that before, but I haven't been locked up yet."

"That can be easily arranged. Tell me about yourself."

For the next half-hour, Xander talked about Sunnydale, Jesse, Willow, Buffy, Giles and Cordelia. He explained how he got involved in the fight against the darkness. Even embarrassing himself about the skateboard incident. He spoke about apocalypses, powerful demons and a certain portal to Hell. "Because of the portal, I have been offered a job. I go through accelerated Marine training and schooling. After which I will be a member of a platoon in charge of defending the Hell Mouth. I think that you might not believe me, but in my dream, while your father was being drained, he said 'Good-bye, slugger. Take care of your mother for me.' Does that mean anything to you?"

"That's what my father said before he shipped off for Vietnam. You really were my father for a night. Thank you, Xander. I just don't know what I am going to tell my mother." They shook hands, and when they had shared a lopsided grin, it amazed Rabb how Xander reminded him of himself fifteen years ago.

"What are you going to do while you're here, Xander?"

"I'm going to see Roger Clemens pitch tomorrow, and I'm taking Cordelia to an outdoor concert Sunday. Then it's off to work for me. Before I leave, I want to spend as much time with Cordelia as possible."

"Sounds like a plan to me. Doesn't beat what this one girl did for me the weekend before I started in the military. We never left her hotel room." 'Father and son' shared a good laugh over that.

"If I suggest that to Cordy, she'd rip my head off like a female praying mantis, reattach it, then rip it off again."

Chapter 6

Xander reflected on the fun he had during the weekend. Roger Clemens pitched 8 innings, giving up 2 hits while striking out 13. Why Dan Duquette thought he was past his prime is a mystery that not even the Watchers could solve. That night was one he'd never forget for a long time.


Xander and Cordelia were walking to a restaurant where the employees didn't wear paper hats. There was a club where three women were leading three guys into an alley. Having seen this technique many times, they just looked at each other and followed the six club goers.

"The vampires are the girls, Xander. They're wearing LA Gear shoes. I'm glad the shoes will turn to dust with the vamps." Lo and behold, as the Californians followed the vampires and their intended victims, there was a 3-foot long wooden pole just sticking out of a trashcan. Xander was going to break it in half so the ends would be sharp, but noticed that the end that was in the trashcan was already sharp.

Xander held his staff like he remembered Buffy and Donatello held theirs. Xander snuck up on the group and staked one of the females, luckily she turned to dust. "Excuse me. Is this a private party or can we join you?" The group looked to see who has interrupted them.

"Listen blood bag. Run along or we'll have to hurt you when we're done here and turn your girlfriend to replace Tammy." Vamp #1 was answered by Xander's staff hitting her in the face, followed by a quick staking. As #1 was turning to dust, #2 started to run at Xander but ended up running into the pointy part of the staff. Xander looked at his staff and said, "I have chosen a name for you, and I shall call you Sting." Cordelia just looked at him like he was an idiot.

Xander casually threw the stick away. "Don't look at me like that, Cordy. Would you prefer I reenacted Robin Hood Daffy?" She laughed at the thought of Xander hitting himself in the face. As they were walking away, the three guys Xander rescued yelled to them. "What the hell is going on here?" Cordy and Xander sighed as they turned around.

"You were attacked by vampires and we just saved your lives, and more importantly, your souls. By morning, you'll think it was just a bad dream. If you must talk about it in public, call them 'Gang Members on PCP' that way if people overhear you, they won't think you're insane."

"Who are you?"

"I'm Xander Harris and this is my girlfriend Cordelia Chase. And you are?"

"I'm Riley Finn. The guy on my right is Graham Miller and this suave motherfucker is Forrest Gates. We're grateful for the save. Had we known what was going on, we might've been able to help."

"It's possible, but I doubt it. Vampires are four times faster and stronger than a normal human."

The three friends looked at each other in confusion. After a few moments Graham asked, "How were you able to beat them?"

"I had suprise on my side. There's also a little bit of skill involved. Vampires' speed and strength is no good if you can use skill. Just don't go looking for them. You'll end up hurt, dead or turned. Now, if you'll excuse me, my girlfriend and I are going to dinner. See you guys later."

They left the three beleaguered friends at the alley of the club, but stuck around in case other vamps were in the area. When Riley and company left unharmed, Xander escorted Cordelia to a nice restaurant that Webb said had a live band for dancing. When they entered the restaurant, to Xander, it was like being transported into the dinner scene in Caddyshack. Cordelia saw that Xander

was about to recite every Al Czervik line, so she smacked him in the back of the head. "Don't embarrass me, Dweeb Boy. I want to have a nice meal and dance with you."

The food was perfect, the conversation was lively. The house band played soft, slow music. When they danced, they stayed as close to each other as legally possible. The night was perfect, and nothing interfered with it.

"Xander, I had a wonderful night tonight. When you return from your training, I'll let you take me out publicly." Xander silently agreed, but on the inside was jumping for joy. He finally had a serious girlfriend. Life was good, and Alexander LaVelle Harris intended to make the most of it.

Chapter 7

Clayton Webb silently drove a sleeping Xander Harris to Quantico. When they reached the Virginia border, Webb woke Xander up. After a few mumbles, Xander stretched and was as awake as possible. "OK, Harris. The CO's name is Col. Masters. Only he and the Senior NCO know why you're really there. I don't think I need to tell you of the secrecy that is needed." Xander nodded at this.

"Who will be the one training me?" Webb just smiled.

"You'll like him. He's the best counter terrorism DI we have. He'll help you out. We have faith in him in training you and in you learning from him. We 'll stop at a diner and get you some real food before you get fed military food." The two occupants shared a laugh at that statement. Only Webb knew how accurate that was.

Two hours later, Webb and Xander drove to Quantico and were directed to Col. Masters' office. Upon entering the office, Xander noticed how physically intimidating the Colonel was. Col. Walter Masters stood at six foot four inches and 220 pounds of solid muscle. Xander stood at attention and saluted him.

"Alexander Harris reporting, sir."

Masters returned the salute, and said, "Welcome, Mr. Harris. Are you prepared to do what needs to be done?"

"Yes sir. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to help my friends. That includes any and all military personnel that I work with." While Xander was answering the Colonel's question, a slightly older gentleman wearing a dark mustache enters the office.

With a rough voice, he states, "Is this the guy, Walter?"

"Alexander Harris may I introduce your trainer Sergeant Slaughter." Xander turns around to introduce himself to the Sarge and looks into his large chin.

In remembering how upset Sergeant Hulka was when called Sir, Xander states. "Alexander Harris prepared for training, Sergeant." Slaughter looked at Xander and he wanted to be tough with him, but for some reason he couldn't do it. And it shocked the hell out of the tough Marine.

"Pleased to meet you, Harris. We will get you a bunk and then the fun begins. I hope you're not used to sleep. You won't be getting much. If I'm not sleeping than you're not." Xander was used to not getting much sleep at night, but he had school to get naps from. Apparently, that strategy is out the window. Xander let out a slight moan over the lack of sleep he will be getting the next month.

The barracks that Xander was led to had two bunks and two foot lockers and nothing else. "Welcome to your new home, Harris. This is where you will be staying for the next month." Xander wanted to say, "I don't know some flowers, and a few throw pillows." But he thought better not to. He didn't want to upset his drill instructor on the first day. It took Xander ten minutes to get his stuff put away.

The first thing on the agenda was the utter destruction of his hair. Needless to say, the crew cut look wasn't really him. He knew he had to lose his hair, but he didn't have to like it. Getting his uniform was exactly the way Stripes showed it. The only difference was that he was alone. He really wanted to meet a guy like Ox. Sergeant Slaughter was waiting outside for Xander who was wearing a full pack. Xander was moving slow because he wasn't used to having fifty pounds stationary on his back. Well, at least this fifty pounds wasn't squirming and trying to kill him.

"Come on, Maggot. Double time. We have another twenty miles to go before lunch. That is if you can make it to the Mess." Xander made it the Mess Hall with no problem. At least he appeared to not having to run twenty miles with a fifty pound pack on his back. On the inside, his muscles were screaming from pain and he was exhausted. But he put his 'I'm OK' mask, the one he wore the next morning after getting beat up by vampires or his dad.

"How's our boy doing?"

"Even though this is his first day, he's impressing me. I've run him as hard as I've run anyone and he didn't moan, groan or complain. He just did it. It looks like he has a need to prove himself. I see guys like that once in awhile here. They always work out. Knowing what he's fought the last two years, I want to see if he's built up any strength or how much he can take fighting me." The Colonel and the Sergeant watched as Xander quietly devoured his lunch.

Chapter 8

A tired yet well fed Xander Harris left the Mess Hall curious about what will happen next. He sees Sgt. Slaughter drinking coffee with Col. Masters. Not knowing what else to do, Xander walks over to them and stands at attention, waiting for them to finish their coffee. Xander was glad they were talking. The way his body was feeling, if he tried to do too much, he might faint from the exhaustion. He hoped to get into better shape soon. Or else he won't survive the training.

The two friends took pity on Xander, somehow knowing that his body was nearing exhaustion. So they drank their coffee slowly. The program that Xander was involved in was unique, to say the least. You had to be a special person not to crack. They would push him as hard as they could, and hope he succeeds.

"Ok, Harris. The physical portion of your training is over for now. Right now, there are questions about the enemies that you are fighting that our experts would like answers to. Please answer them honestly. But not with complete honesty. There is no clue what these lab coats will do with your data." Colonel Masters was adament about this.

"Yes, Colonel. I will answer as best I can." Colonel Masters, Sgt. Slaughter, and Xander walked to a nondescript building. In a room in this building were two people, Dr. Walsh and Dr. Angleman. The utter disdain on the faces of the two scientists was evident to Xander as he met them for the first time. 'Oh, boy. This is going to be fun. Just by looking at these two, I don't trust them. Maybe if I tell them about the Watchers Council in London, they might realize how much they need to catch up with the rest of the world. But, I doubt it.'

"Private Harris, would you tell us about vampires. How are they created. How are they killed. Stuff like that."

"This world is older than any of you know. Contrary to popular mythology, it did not begin as a paradise. For untold eons demons walked the Earth. They made it their home, their... their Hell. But in time they lost their purchase on this reality. The way was made for mortal animals, for, for man. All that remains of the old ones are vestiges, certain magicks, certain creatures and vampires. The books tell the last demon to leave this reality fed off a human, mixed their blood. He was a human form possessed, infected by the demon's soul. He bit another, and another, and so they walk the Earth, feeding... Killing some, mixing their blood with others to make more of their kind. Waiting for the animals to die out, and the old ones to return. Every generation, there is one girl in all the world with the destiny to find vampires and reduce their numbers. She is the Slayer. Or else, she would be the only one, but with me performing CPR on her when she died, called another. The second Slayer died a month ago. There is another out there somewhere, but with six billion people on the planet, it will be difficult to find her. There is a group of individuals in England called the Watchers Council. They have taken the responsibility to find, educate and train Slayers. They have been doing this since before the written word. Of vampires, this is all I know on how they are created.

To kill vampires, Bram Stoker had it right. Wooden crosses, or any religious icon, repels them. Holy water burns their skin like acid does ours. The most effective way to get rid of vampires is a stake through the heart. Setting them on fire and beheading works as well. Knowing that you are scientists, what I am about to say next will fall on deaf ears. But, I have to say it anyway. Vampires can not be controlled. It is better to kill them. There is one in particular, but he is roasting in Hell. Vampires, demons and supernatural beings are usually trying to kill us or end the world. Against those, they deserve to die. There are some, I'm not sure which, but there has to be balance, benevolent demons out there that just want to live and be left alone. No matter how curious you are to study them, others of their kind will get violent if attacked."

This is a lie, but they don't know this. If Xander can get rid of Angelus unarmed, he can lie convincingly to military scientists.

"Thank you, Private Harris. That is all." Walsh and Angleman left the building, not really listening to Xander talking about peaceful demons. To them, a demon is a demon.

"That went well, Colonel. I seriously doubt they were listening to me after I told them about the peaceful demons. This is mythology. Science can not explain what goes on at night. Whatever scientific data you come up with, will be proven wrong when fighting them. Unless, the data is on how to kill them. If there were beneficial uses for demons, the Watchers would have figured it out by now."

"I'll let the General who is in charge know about this. He knows what to do with information. He always does the right thing. Either for his men or his country. Or in this case, the world." This made Xander feel good about what he signed up for. The first thing he feared about this, was someone in charge who had no idea what they were doing or what nearsighted or far fetched ideas would lead to. This was a tremendous weight off of Xander's mind. Now, he can train with his full cooperation of his mind and body.

Chapter 9

The routine was very trying on Xander, at first. He'd get up at 5 am, go for a 5 mile run, then eat breakfast. After eating, he had 2 hours of weight training. He spent most of the time that wasn't on weights on the heavy bag. He was dreading going home, fearing that Buffy might kick his ass when he got home. That bridge would be crossed when and if it appeared.

After 3 hours of learning to shoot like a Marine, there was lunch. Like every new recruit, Xander loved guns. He took to them rather quickly. On the third day of training, Xander could disassemble, clean then put his M-16 back together. The shooting course was the most difficult part of the shooting school. He kept hitting the woman being used as a shield. The first time he did that, he just shrugged it off like Keanu Reeves did when he shot Jeff Daniels in Speed. He had to do 100 push ups for that. He never hit the woman again.

He spent the next two hours after lunch learning strategy. These classes were to help his mind when he went to school the following month. The instructors were surprised how easily he was able to see the big picture when coming up with strategies. Xander just shrugged off the compliments, saying anyone could have come up with the same answers as he did. Instructors that he had took years to get the results Xander got.

The training went well for two weeks. He had written Cordelia telling her how much he missed her and how his training was going. He also needed to give her his mailing address, so she could keep him updated on what was happening in Sunnydale. He got a letter from Giles, which made Xander nervous. He did not know if Giles knew the truth or not. He hesitantly opened the letter.

Dear Xander,

I hope your training is going well. Before I became a Watcher, I wanted to be a fighter pilot. I could only imagine what you are going through right now. I know what you told Buffy before she faced Angelus. Cordelia told me this, and I must say I applaud your decision. The world was at stake and you realized that Buffy would have stalled if she knew Willow was trying the curse again.

We found Buffy in a small apartment in Los Angeles. When Joyce opened her door, she saw Buffy crying. It took us two days to convince Buffy to come home. Her and Joyce are still talking it over, however slowly, but I believe Mrs. Summers will come around to Buffy's calling soon.

If I were you, I'd be wary of coming home. Buffy asked Willow about the curse, and Willow said you were to tell her she was trying it again. I'm glad they had their explosion over your answer at Buffy's house, because if they had it at the library, they would have destroyed it. I'm sure if you were here, Buffy would have severely hurt you. I have not given Buffy your mailing address, but Willow found it using that infernal device of hers. So, you might want to let your base's security know. You can try to reason with her, but I seriously doubt it will do any good at this point. I hope you can send her home relatively unharmed should she decide to confront you.

Your good friend,
Rupert Giles

Xander thought about what Giles wrote to him. He was glad that Giles agreed with him about lying to Buffy. He was worried about Cordelia, because Giles never mentioned her in his letter, except to say that she told him the truth. He had considered going AWOL, but thought it was better to call her and see how she was doing.

Colonel Masters' Office

Xander entered the Colonel's office, stood at attention and saluted him. He stayed at attention until the Colonel started talking to him.

"What can I do for you, Harris?"

"I need you to alert security that they might have a potential problem. Does anybody here, besides you, me and Sgt. Slaughter know about why I'm here, sir?" The Colonel shook his head. "Well then sir, you will have to tell them that any blonde teenage girl looking for me should not be allowed to see me unless accompanied by a member of the security detail. Tell them you don't want her getting lost. That's the best idea I can come up with, sir. Can you think of any other reasons for escorting the Slayer around a military base, sir?"

After thinking about this for a few seconds, Colonel Masters replied, "No, I can't think of a better reason. That is a good idea. If she should come here looking for you, let's hope it is while you are at the rifle range, so she'll know not to attack you. I read her file. She seems rather impulsive. If she were able to control her aggressive tendencies, she would be a valuable asset to the United States Military. We have some of the best shrinks in the world. Since she is a minor, her mother can force her to get psychiatric care. It might do her a world of good." The silence in the room was disturbed by the Colonel's phone ringing.

"Masters. Really? OK. Wait ten minutes then have security escort them to Training Room Bravo. Tell the MPs to wait outside until I order them in." Colonel Masters hung up his phone and looked at Xander. "I have a joke for you, Harris. A blonde, a brunette and a redhead are at the front gate of Quantico."

Xander chuckled at the joke. "I am so dead, sir."

Chapter 10

Quantico Front Gate

"Look Buffy. I got you here, now remember. You are to behave while here. If you attack Xander there will be guys with guns pointed at you. So keep those homicidal impulses in check."

"Ok Cordelia. I'll behave. But, he should not have lied to me. I'm the Slayer. It is my job, my call to make."

"You are not a leader, Buffy. You are a soldier. The Watchers are the leaders. Xander is here to learn how to be a leader. Right now, you could not lead a Girl Scout Troop on a cookie sale. You have the potential to be a leader, but you are too impulsive. You need to think before you react. If you can see the big picture, you would see why Xander lied to you. I'm sure he will say the same thing I said that started all the arguments, but he was thinking of the entire world. Where you just wanted Angel back. Before we see Xander, think about this. And I know I said it before, but if you knew that Willow was going to try to resoul Angel, would you have stalled to give Willow time to do the spell?"

Buffy was going to deny that she would stall if she knew, but it would be a lie. After talking to her mother, Mrs. Summers made her realize that she was risking the world for a murderer. She did not want to remember all the things Angelus did, but it was difficult when he killed or tortured her friends. Knowing he was responsible did not lessen her feelings for Angel. To an outside observer, this thinking is absurd.

Ten minutes later, the girls were escorted to the training room that Xander was using. They saw him hitting a heavy bag, wearing his usual fatigues, minus the shirt. The girls were stunned at Xander's physique. The added effect that he was starting to sweat made them even more speechless. Xander stopped hitting the bag when he was forcibly turned around. Only to look down and see the glare of an angry Slayer and an upset redhead. Cordelia was smiling, picturing him in his dress uniform and the envy of all the girls when they see him for the first time.

Buffy took a swing at Xander, which he easily dodged. He's known since he joined up that violence would be Buffy's first reaction when she sees him. Xander backed off, waiting for Buffy to attack again. He knew he could never beat Buffy on strength alone, but he had a little bit of skill. Some from watching her, and some from training here. Wanting to hurt Xander, Buffy struck with a kick to Xander's ribs. Xander grabbed her foot, but before he could decide what to do next, Buffy tried to kick him in the back of the head.

Xander realized that this was her only option, considering the slight rage she was in. So, he ducked. Xander, still holding on to her foot, bent her leg, trapped it with his legs, then grabbed her around her head and pulled back. Causing her to stop due to the sudden pain in her neck. Granted the Step over Toehold Face lock (STF) is not a valid hold against a vampire, but against an irate Slayer, it might get her to calm down enough to talk like a civilized human being.

"Well, Buffy. You're tied up at the moment. I can hold this all day." This is a lie, but she doesn't know this. While Buffy was attacking Xander, Cordelia held Willow in place so she doesn't interfere. "Are you willing to talk this over, or do you want to go to the stockade? A civilian attacking a trainee at a military base is a felony. Do you want to go to jail? It's hard to be a Slayer behind bars, or on the run from authorities. The choice is yours."

"Ok Xander. I'll talk." Xander released her. She stood up, rubbing the back of her neck. "You want to tell me why you lied to me and had me send Angel to Hell? Were you that jealous of him? Did you think if Angel was gone, that I'd jump into your arms?"

"Get over yourself, Buffy. I did when you danced with me when you returned from LA last year. After that dance, I realized that you would never see me the way you saw Angel. I was upset with you over that, but I could not hate you. I eventually, thanks to the Order of Tereka, found a woman who can make me happy. As happy as I will try to make her. And she is the brunette that brought you here. I hope you can find someone with a pulse that can make you as happy as Cordelia does me or Oz does Willow."

"It still doesn't excuse you from lying to me. Couldn't you trust me enough to save the world?" Buffy tried her doe eyed look. That look always got her what she wanted. And she wanted Xander to apologize for sending her boyfriend to Hell.

"How could I trust you, Buffy? You were unable to kill Angelus after he killed Miss Calendar. He left her in Giles' apartment, in a romantic setting. You were unable to kill Angelus when he killed Theresa. Or any of the sixty other people that he killed when you were too afraid of doing your job. I made the correct decision when I lied to you. And I will not apologize for it." The two military guys agreed with Xander. Xander told them this story, and under the circumstances, he made the right choice. The type of choice any leader would make.

"But Xander," Willow chipped in, "They were in love. Couldn't you let them be happy? You should have told her the truth."

"For being so smart, you are naïve. The world was about to be sucked into Hell, and you're thinking of storybook romances. Think with your head, and not your heart Willow. I've stated this before, and I'll say it again. It was either the world or Angel. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one."

"Listen Xander. I've been saying that for days now. And all they think is that you lied out of jealousy. Apparently, they can't get over the fact that you no longer have that crush on Buffy anymore. I guess that first impressions are difficult to forget. Even after all of the times you've either saved their lives or helped them save the world."

"When did he ever do that?" Buffy asked.

"Well, he helped you the day their friend Jesse was captured and turned into a vampire. He is the one who forced Angel to take him to the Master's Lair so he can perform CPR on you to save your life. He's also the one that got the rocket launcher to defeat the Judge. And do I even need to bring up becoming the swim team's favorite bathtub toy? Face it, he has helped you as much as you have helped him. So he lied to you. Big deal. Get over it. Move on. That's it I'm done ranting now."

Xander grabbed Cordelia and kissed her with all the passion he could. Buffy and Willow were jealous. Their boyfriends were never that passionate. And Willow was even more envious. That passion was supposed to be hers. Not Cordelia's.

"Thank you Cordelia. Your appreciation is appreciated. And I love how you speak whatever is on your mind. Don't ever change. You wouldn't be you if you changed that part of your personality." Cordelia just molded herself into the slightly sweaty Xander. She enjoyed the feeling of his arms around her. Now she feels like a woman in a romantic story that you buy at a bookstore.

"Now, that the discussion of me lying to Buffy is over for now, I need to get back to work. If you want to stay and help ladies, we would be grateful. But, if you don't just go home and I'll see you when I return before school starts again. I have talked it over with Colonel Masters, and he has agreed to put you on the payroll, Buffy. And you too, Willow. You will be earning $750 a month, on the condition that you two seek psychiatric help. I will be getting help as well, but if you want to get involved with this project, that is the only condition. As well as following orders from superior officers. You will not be in charge, Buffy. Sergeant Foley will be, until I get back from finishing my training after graduation and before you three start college. We need your answers before you leave this building."

The fact that the United States Government was willing to pay her for doing her "duty" made Buffy happy. Those cheapskate Watchers never paid her a dime. A little extra cash would not bankrupt them. She really didn't want to talk to a shrink, but if it was the only way to get paid, there is no harm in it.

Willow, on the other hand, wanted the money but did not want to see the doctor. She thought she had no mental problems. But the intellectual in her told her, "Those who think they don't need help need it more than they think." After considering the government's offer, Willow agreed as well.

Cordelia agreed instantly. Seeing as how Xander is doing in his training, Cordelia decides that she wants to help in any way she can. If that means being his emotional wall, she will do that. If he needs a good kick in the butt, she'll gladly do that too. She could stay with Xander while she goes to the local college. She was planning on going to UCLA, but if her new boyfriend was in Sunnydale, so was she.

When the girls told Xander they agreed, he and Colonel Masters walked them to his office. Cordelia walked with Xander, holding his hand. The catcalls and wolf whistles would have been louder, if there wasn't a Colonel nearby.

Chapter 11

Annapolis Naval Academy

In one of the windows of one of the dorm rooms, there was a broken window. The two cadets that had returned to get extra studying in were found ripped to shreds and their blood was everywhere. The investigators on sight did their best not to throw up. This was beyond their level of expertise.

Navy Criminal Investigative Service- Washington, D.C.

Special Agent Jethro Gibbs was at his desk when a call came in from Annapolis.

"Gibbs. You're kidding me. Alright, we'll be there as soon as possible. Caitlin, Tony. Get moving. We have to get to Annapolis."

"What happened, Boss?"

"Two cadets were found butchered in their dorm room. We have to find out who did it."

Caitlin Todd and Anthony DiNozzo looked at each other wanting to say something, but nothing was said.

"Tony, don't forget to get Ducky. It's your turn driving." DiNozzo groaned at this. Riding in a car with Ducky is like being tortured by the music that Abby listens to full blast. While Ducky was one of the nicest guys around, he can bore anyone to death with his incessant rambling.

Annapolis Naval Academy That Afternoon

The three NCIS agents entered the crime scene, and were stunned at the sheer brutality of how the cadets were killed.

"Whoever did this has serious impulse control problems."

"Tony, just take the photos. After you do, we will let Ducky tell us what the hell happened. Other than the obvious." Caitlin and Tony took their time taking photos and being careful not to step into anything and thus contaminating the crime scene. There were some footprints outside of the broken window. After they were done, Ducky started his preliminary examination.

"My, someone has been having some fun."

"What do you mean, Duck?"

"With this level of brutality, you had to be disturbed. Judging by the marks on the bodies, the attacker or the attackers prolonged their assault. Other than the blood here, where is the blood trail? No one saw anyone enter or leave?"

"There was some blood on the window sill. But only on the inside. There was broken glass on the outside of the building, and two sets of footprints leading away from the building. But no blood, you'd think with the amount of splatter, there would be."

"This reminds me of the time …." While Ducky was rambling, the agents searched the room looking for anything. Their search was interrupted when Ducky yelled for Jethro. He had something to show him.

"What is it, Duck?"

"All three victims have two puncture marks on their carotid artery. I'll have to check, but unless I'm mistaken and I never am, these men were killed by vampires."

"Vampires? Unless it's my phobia, vampires are not real. They are just entertainment. They do not exist." Tony was adamant about this. Not knowing his world and those of his friends were going to be thrown a major curve ball.

"They are very real, Tony. There is a group of men in England that study the supernatural. They are the most uptight, boring and anal retentive bunch I have ever known. I would shutter and advise against asking them for help. They do not play well with others." If Ducky thought you were boring, you were. Gibbs would believe his friend about the Brits. Vampires, on the other hand, he needed more proof before he would sign off on it.

"Ok, bag em and tag em. I'll be at the office. Tony, Caitlin, you two do interviews." Smirking as he was walking away, "Don't stay out too late."

Caitlin and Tony looked at their boss with groans on their faces. That was a joke they did not need to hear.

"According to the records, there is only one other person on this floor. An Alexander Harris. And according to this, he should be training." The two agents locked the door to the crime scene, and left two MPs to guard the room and make sure no one disturbs it. It took them five minutes to find Xander. He was jogging around a track. It looked like he had been at it for awhile, as he had a good coat of sweat. Caitlin Todd was missing her current boyfriend.

"Alexander Harris?"


"I'm Special Agent Caitlin Todd and this is Special Agent Tony DiNozzo. We want to talk to you about what happened on your floor. Did you hear anything last night?"

"Sorry, Special Agent Todd. I was at the library all night and when I returned to the dorms, I did not see a thing out of the ordinary. What happened?"

"The two cadets were found butchered. There was blood all over the place."

"There are no cadets on that floor but me, Special Agent Todd. I'm involved in an accelerated course. There are others at this school, but I have the entire floor to myself."

"Are you sure? There were two dead bodies found in a room five doors down from yours. The room list says the room is shared by the two cadets who we think are the dead bodies. Their faces were mangled. You're absolutely sure it was not them?"

"From what I was told by the base commander, all of the regular cadets are on leave for the summer. Since my courses are accelerated, I just needed a bed to sleep in and a desk to do my work. Other than that, I can't tell you what I don't know. Is there anything you can tell me about what happened to them."

Tony laughed a little, and said, "It depends whether or not you believe in vampires."

'Shit. Not here too. I'm supposed to be learning, not fighting these assholes everywhere I go.' "Vampires don't exist, Special Agent DiNozzo. Now if you will excuse me, I have to go shower and then go to the library for a couple of hours. Unless there is anything else you want to ask me?" The agents shook their heads, and Xander left them to think about what he told them.

"What do you think, Tony?"

"He knows something. I just don't know what. When I said vampire, he straightened his posture. He cannot be 18. Why is he getting accelerated training here? Let's keep an eye on him, until we find out what his involvement is."

Base Commander's Office

Xander went to his assistant and asked, "Is Captain Stillman (A/N: Not THAT Stillman.) in? I need to talk to him about the incident near my dorm room."

"He assumed you would, eventually. Go right in."

Xander entered the Captain's office and saluted. After returning the salute, Captain Stillman said, "Do you know anything about what happened?"

"You know why I'm here, Captain?" He nodded. "Then you have your answer, sir. Apparently, two cadets who weren't supposed to be here, were in their room. They were found butchered this morning, and a Special Agent DiNozzo joked that it might be a vampire. I did not get a look at the bodies, but two puncture holes in the neck are kind of hard to miss. If it is ok with you, sir, I would like to call Clayton Webb and ask him to tell the Special Agent's boss that I can help him with his case. If he wants it, sir."

Captain Stillman picked up his phone, and dialed Webb's phone number. "Clayton? Jim. How are you? Look, Clay, we have an incident here at Annapolis. Two of my cadets were murdered, and one of the investigators joked the killer might be vampires. The murder happened five rooms down from the one Harris is using. He was questioned, and he would like to help. The agents names were Caitlin Todd and Tony DiNozzo. Their boss is Jethro Gibbs. They are NCIS. Let them know what they need to know. Ok. I'll tell them. Bye Clayton." Xander took from this side of the conversation, that Webb would tell the investigators about him and his willingness to help. He just hoped he would be able to, before something bad happens. And, since he is from Sunnydale…

Chapter 12

Gibbs was on his way back to the office when his cell phone rang. He wasn't really paying attention, and when it went off, it made him swerve his car. After he got control of his car, he answered it.

"Gibbs. Webb? I've heard of you. What can I do for you? No, I haven't heard of him. Really? Well, I can use all the help I can get. I'll let my people know, and talk with him when I get back to Annapolis." It took him fifteen minutes to find a legal way to turn around on the highway.

"Caitlin? Gibbs. I understand you interviewed a student by the name of Harris? I'll tell you later. He is not a suspect, he is the only one in the area that might know what really is going on. Now listen to me very carefully. Be nice. I repeat he is not a suspect. Tell this to Tony."

Annapolis Naval Academy

Caitlin Todd hung up her phone. "Well, that was odd. Hey Tony!"


"Gibbs just called. He says that Harris is an expert in what is going on. And he repeated this twice. I quote, 'He is not a suspect.'"

"I was right? Vampires did this?"

"He didn't necessarily say that. Just that Harris is an expert. And that we are to be nice to him. I don't know how he knew, but he told me he would tell me later. Now let's find this Harris guy and be friends." It took them ten minutes to walk to the campus library. It would have taken them five minutes, but Tony DiNozzo got them lost.

The library was empty, except for Xander and the librarian. The two agents would be arguing, but you have to be quiet in the library. So, they just looked annoyed at each other. They found Harris in the Military History section. They heard him mumble something about "Research Boy at Work. I'm glad Giles helped me out." They wondered who this Giles was. As they were walking towards him, Xander never looked up at them. He was engrossed in the book he was reading. So, Caitlin and Tony just sat down across from him.

"Have a seat, why don't you?"

"Thank you. Interesting book?"

"Yes, if I learn how people messed up in the past, I won't make the same mistake they did."

"Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it." Caitlin and Xander looked at Tony like he should just sit there and not speak. Nothing intelligent rarely comes out of his mouth.

"Our boss is on his way back here. He said that you are the resident expert at what happened last night. Why is that?"

Smiling, Xander answered, "If I told you I would have to kill you. But seriously, you would never believe me if I told you without proof. I would be locked up and in a straight jacket faster than you can say, 'Yes I would like fries with that.' Looking at your friend there, he looks like he wants to believe, but you on the other hand, need evidence. If I wasn't stuck here, I would take you two out tonight and give you your proof. When he gets here, let me know? I have some reading to do." Caitlin and Tony left Xander alone so he could continue his work.

An Hour Later

Jethro Gibbs entered the Annapolis Library and found Caitlin Todd reading a book on submarines. Tony DiNozzo fell asleep. His feet were propped up on the table, and Gibbs knocked his feet off the table. This woke him up.

"Alexander Harris? I'm Special Agent Jethro Gibbs. I'm in charge of the Navy Criminal Investigative Service. A Clayton Webb informed me that you might be able to help with this case. So, what can you tell me?"

Xander put his book down as Gibbs introduced himself. There was something about him that Xander liked. He wouldn't mind becoming friends with him. "Well, Agent Gibbs. Sorry, Special Agent Gibbs. If what the snorer told me is true, you're in deep trouble. Before I started my training, I wasn't book smart. But, I am life smart. It occurred to me after talking to your two agents, that if there is blood in their mouths, it might not be theirs. If it's not, you're in for a world of hurt. Now, I want you to stop me if I say anything wrong." They nodded. Xander stood up and started pacing.

"Like any cops, you have a lab. Since you are military, you have a high security lab. Or two, one for forensics and one for dissection? Maybe, your labs are air tight? If your morgue is air tight, I suggest that you evacuate it immediately, seal it up and have two guards armed with shot guns. With orders to shoot on sight. Preferably the head. Do you know the approximate time of death?"

"Around one a.m."

"Good. We have a few hours if they were sired. Just to make sure, see if the blood in their mouths are actually theirs. Other than that, I can't help you. I'm tapped out." Gibbs went outside to make a phone call.

"Abby? Do you know if Ducky took some blood samples out of the victims mouths? He did? Thanks Abby. That's all I needed to know."

"Well, you were right Harris. Now what? I'll have the lab sealed up as you suggested and guarded. How do you suggest we handle this?"

Xander thought about it for a moment, and said, "Can you get me to a lumber yard? I need to make a stake. I will inform Captain Stillman that I will be going off base to help you out and I will be returning shortly. Then you can take me to your offices."

Todd and DiNozzo looked at Gibbs to see what he was going to do. "Ok. While we are heading there, you can tell us what is going on. Clayton said you can trust us."

It took thirty minutes for Xander to put his books away, and inform the Captain. It would have been less time, but the Captain was in a meeting and could not be disturbed. Xander was asked to ride with Gibbs.

"So, how did you get started in all of this?"

"Like everything else, it started with a girl. When I first saw her, I fell head over heels. In this case, figuratively and literally. I found out it was her destiny to fight the darkness. On her first night in my town, my best friend since childhood was kidnapped by vampires. He was turned into one. The next night, I killed him. It was more of an accident. In a mob, someone pushed him onto my stake. Since then, I have been fighting so that what happened to me, losing a brother, doesn't happen to someone else. I know I can't save everybody, but if I save one person, that's good."

Jethro Gibbs listened to this story. It was unbelievable to him. If vampires are real, what else is? "What about werewolves, mummies, Frankenstein, invisible people?"

"I know a guy who is a werewolf. He is dating a girl who is like a sister to me. I've met one mummy. She was a life force sucking Incan Princess. Some idiot tried using the woman I'm seeing as part of a girlfriend he was creating for his resurrected brother. We were enemies for a very long time. She is the rich, popular girl and I'm the class clown. Or I was. We did have a girl turn invisible because no one paid attention to her. Any other questions?" Jethro just sat in silence, trying to figure out what in hell is going on. If he thought about it too much longer, he'd have a migraine.

Caitlin spent thirty minutes trying to get DiNozzo to shut up about him being right. She thinks the fact that he is rarely right is why he keeps talking about it. She was praying for her cell phone to go off just to shut him up. "Shut up! Yes you were right, now give it a rest."

The two cars heading back to NCIS were quiet. Jethro, thinking about the new world that has been thrust upon him. Xander, on the fact that he is losing precious study time because of the damn vampires. Caitlin, thinking of the same things as Gibbs. She just needed more proof to be absolutely certain. Tony, because he did not want to be yelled at again. He could not believe that vampires are real.


Chapter 13

Previously on A Good Start

"Gibbs. Webb? I've heard of you. What can I do for you? No, I haven't heard of him. Really? Well, I can use all the help I can get. I'll let my people know, and talk with him when I get back to Annapolis." It took him fifteen minutes to find a legal way to turn around on the highway.

"Caitlin? Gibbs. I understand you interviewed a student by the name of Harris? I'll tell you later. He is not a suspect, he is the only one in the area that might know what really is going on. Now listen to me very carefully. Be nice. I repeat he is not a suspect. Tell this to Tony."


Caitlin Todd hung up her phone. "Well, that was odd. Hey Tony!"


"Gibbs just called. He says that Harris is an expert in what is going on. And he repeated this twice. I quote, 'He is not a suspect.'"

"I was right? Vampires did this?"


Xander was asked to ride with Gibbs.

"So, how did you get started in all of this?"

"Like everything else, it started with a girl. When I first saw her, I fell head over heels. In this case, figuratively and literally. I found out it was her destiny to fight the darkness. On her first night in my town, my best friend since childhood was kidnapped by vampires. He was turned into one. The next night, I killed him. It was more of an accident. In a mob, someone pushed him onto my stake. Since then, I have been fighting so that what happened to me, losing a brother, doesn't happen to someone else. I know I can't save everybody, but if I save one person, that's good."

Jethro Gibbs listened to this story. It was unbelievable to him. If vampires are real, what else is? "What about werewolves, mummies, Frankenstein, invisible people?"

"I know a guy who is a werewolf. He is dating a girl who is like a sister to me. I've met one mummy. She was a life force sucking Incan Princess. Some idiot tried using the woman I'm seeing as part of a girlfriend he was creating for his resurrected brother. We were enemies for a very long time. She is the rich, popular girl and I'm the class clown. Or I was. We did have a girl turn invisible because no one paid attention to her. Any other questions?" Jethro just sat in silence, trying to figure out what in hell is going on. If he thought about it too much longer, he'd have a migraine.


And now…

Xander couldn't believe his dumb luck. The two dead students had risen faster than he expected. When he got to NCIS headquarters, the morgue was in shambles. Luckily, the vampires were locked in and the guards stayed where it was safe. Xander exited the elevator to see two guards aiming their shotguns at the secured door. On the other side of the door, the two vampires were hitting it with all of their demonic strength.

Jethro looked at Xander and asked, "Can we use gas on them?"

"No. They don't breathe so gas is not effective. However, if you are able to get flash bangs in there, that might disorient them enough for you to kill them. But, seeing as how you have no way of getting those in there, we'll just have to wait them out." Xander walked to the door. "Hello, my name is Xander. What are your names? Or do I just call you Dead and Dying?" The vampires answered by slamming into the door. Xander turned to the guards.

"I guess I got my answer. Alright, this is what we'll do. Special Agent Gibbs will open the door. As the door is opening, you Mps will empty your shotguns into them. Try to take out limbs if possible, if not, go for the head and the heart. After they're down, I'll go in and finish them off. Is that ok with you, Special Agent Gibbs?"

"Well, they never covered this in the manual. Alright. That's what we will do." The plan went through without a hitch. The rest of the NCIS staff watched what happened on the security monitors. Caitlin was going to analyze the tape to see what happened. Tony was happy. He was right about vampires being real and he saw them being destroyed. Abby was happy because she wanted to test the dust that was once a human being. Ducky was bored. He had seen a vampire turn to dust a few times in the 1970's in New York City. When all was said and done, all Xander wanted to do was get back to Annapolis. He had studying to do, and he lost a few hours because of these two idiots.

"Well, that was all the fun that wasn't. Now, if you would be so kind as to give me a ride back to Annapolis, I'd appreciate it. I have a lot of studying to do and I don't have much time left until I go back to high school." This last statement shocked everybody. Gibbs immediately got over the shock of hearing that Xander was still in high school.

"What do you mean, you have to go back to high school?"

Xander thought about it for a minute before answering. "Alright, I'll tell you. But, you cannot tell anybody or write it up. No one would believe you anyway. I am from Sunnydale California. As I'm sure you already know. What you do not know is that it is located on what the early Spanish settlers called La Boca del Infierno. In English, it means the Mouth of Hell. It is a mystical convergence where evil likes to migrate. One of the really big bads tried to send the world to hell. It was stopped. I was in Bethesda on personal business and was approached for a job by Clayton Webb working for the US Government keeping an eye on the Hellmouth. That is why I'm still in high school. I'm a senior. Other things I've told Special Agent Gibbs on the way here. There is one thing I can't emphasis enough. Do not go hunting vampires and demons on your own. You will just get killed or worse. If you must talk about vampires, call them gang members on PCP. This way, people won't think that you're crazy. Now, about that ride?" Jethro stood up shaking car keys in his left hand. Xander followed him to the car.

"There are things you're not telling me. Will you tell me as we are driving back?"

"Sure. There are teenage girls given by fate to have the strength, speed, endurance and healing abilities to fight vampires. They're called Slayers. I work with one back home. At first, I fought with her to make her notice me. But, when I realized that she would never see me that way, I fought to prove something to myself. That I was better than the drunk that raised me. I have found a purpose in life and a loving girlfriend as a bonus. Everything else I already told you."

"There is one thing that puzzles me. Do Slayers fight on their own, or do they have some sort of backup?"

"There is a group of desk jockeys called Watchers. They live in England. They find, train and guide Slayers. Before Buffy came along, Slayers always fought alone. Except for their Watcher. When Buffy came to Sunnydale, I found out, my best friend found out and we've been with her ever since. Why are you laughing?"

That's who he meant? Our Medical Examiner called them the most boring, anal retentive and uptight people he had ever known. And he bores the hell out of us. Thank you for your help. I'll do my best to make sure Tony doesn't go overboard about this."

"Please do. Once he matures, he will be a valuable asset. And coming from me, that's ridiculous. Have a good night, Special Agent Gibbs." Xander exited the car and headed back to his dorm room. He wasn't going to get much sleep. It was 2 am and he had to get up at 5.

Chapter 14

Sunnydale, Chase Mansion

Cordelia had been crying. Her parents found out she was dating Xander and they forbid her from seeing him. She pleaded that he was working with the US Military, but they didn't believe her, saying he was laying on a beach somewhere chasing a girl.


Xander was busy taking his exams, too busy to be chasing anything other than sleep. When he finished, he passed The Room to his room, saw the bed and fell asleep as soon as his back hit the mattress. After what he has gone through in the last 3 months, high school was going to be easy.

Sunnydale High School Library

Buffy, Willow, Oz and Giles were sitting around the table when Cordelia entered crying her eyes out. The first thought on everybody's mind was something happened to Xander.

"M…my folks f…found out I'm seeing Xander and they threatened to cut me off if I kept seeing him. They didn't believe me when I said he was in military training. I promised him I'd be there for him when he returned, but if I don't have my money, will he still want to be with me?"

To no one's surprise, Willow defended Xander, like it was a reflex. "Do you really think Xander is that shallow? Sure, the other guys you dated were only with you because of what you are, but Xander is with you because of Cordelia Chase the woman, not Cordelia Chase the richest and most popular girl in town. Look, Xander will be home in a week. I can e-mail him and let him know about your family, and then the two of you will decide what to do."

Thinking of Xander being home soon, Cordelia felt better. She remembers what it felt like to be held by Xander. Smiling at Willow, Cordelia says, "Thank you, Willow. Please tell him."


Xander was glad that all his exams were over. He was exhausted. He was awoken from his nap by a knock on his door. Sighing, he reluctantly went to the door. On the other side of the door, was a smiling Clayton Webb.

"Hello, Mr. Webb. To what do I owe the honor?"

"I'm here to congratulate you on your accomplishments during the summer." Xander was pleased to hear somebody give him praise. His instructors had been tough but fair and they had done an impressive job in building his self esteem. "I know you're headed home in two days, but I thought you might like to see your son again." Xander got a chuckle out of hearing that.

"You're right. I would like to see Junior again. I need to pick up my dress blues from the cleaners first. After I get cleaned up in the morning, we'll go."

Clayton and Xander shook hands. "See you tomorrow then, Harris." Before Webb left, Xander gave him a perfect salute, which was immediately returned.

Annapolis The Next Day

Xander had just finished getting dressed when Webb knocked on his door. Xander grabbed his hat, held it under his left arm, and answered his door. Beside his door, was all his gear in two duffle bags. On top of them, was a change of clothes for the next day. Xander stood at attention when he saw Webb. Webb looked at Xander in his uniform, and was very impressed.

"Looking good, Harris. I see you're ready to go tomorrow. Ready to go to JAG?" Xander nodded. He closed his door and followed Webb to his car. He was going to miss Annapolis when he left the next day, but he would be back in a year. Provided he lived that long.

Office of the Judge Advocate General, Bethesda Maryland

Xander stopped at the entrance of the offices. He saw Harm and Mac arguing about something, and smiled. He turned to Webb, "See those two? That's me and Cordelia before we find a janitor's closet. It's nice to know my son has good taste in women." Webb got a chuckle out of that.

Webb's cell phone went off. He answered it and walked off. Xander took the opportunity to see some people. His first stop was Major Mackenzie's Office. There was nobody in there, and she was not on the phone. So he knocked.

"Come in!" Xander walked in and saluted. Sarah looked up, smiled then returned the salute. With a smile on her face, she spoke to Xander. "Good morning, Corporal. How are you this morning?"

"Very good Ma'am. I'm headed home tomorrow and I thought I would come by to bid you all good-bye. So, good-bye." The Major got a laugh out of Xander's humor. Her laughter stopped when Xander said, "Sarah, you have my blessings to date my son. Don't forget to send me an invitation." With that statement, Major Sarah Mackenzie was stunned. Xander saluted her, and left her office. Smiling, he walked to Rabb's Office. On his way there, he was bumped into from behind by a guy with boxes higher than his head. The files in the boxes fell out on to the floor.

"Oh, man. This took me all night to organize. Now I'll need another night to put these all back. And I promised Harriet I'd be home tonight."

Xander started helping Lt. Roberts put the files back. "I know how you feel, Lieutenant. I'm unlucky with balance at times myself. Corporal Harris at your service." The two shook hands.

Bud's eyes bugged out. "The Demon Hunter?"

Xander was confused. "I have no idea what you mean, Sir. I'm just a corporal in the United States Marines. Demons only exist in movies, books and folklore." Xander leaned in and whispered, "We call them gang members on PCP. That way, if anyone hears us, they won't think we're crazy." Xander helped Bud put the files away and put the boxes into another office. Before Lt. Roberts could ask anymore questions of Xander, Xander had disappeared. "Where did he go?"

Xander silently entered Harm's Office. Harm had his back to his office door, when he heard, "Hey son, want to have a catch?" Rabb looked up from the file cabinet and saw a Marine Corporal standing at attention saluting him. He immediately returned the salute. There was a moment of silence, until "Father and Son" smiled at each other and shook hands.

"So, what are you doing in town, Corporal?"

"Well Commander, I'm headed home tomorrow and I thought it would be nice to see you all again until I return next year. I've already seen Major Mackenzie and Lt. Roberts. I've seen you, now I'm going to see the Admiral. If he's not too busy to see me. If he is, I'll leave a note. I'm all packed and ready to go, I'm just waiting for my flight." Just then, there was a knock on the door. Xander and Harm turned to see Webb entering.

"Sorry to bother you. I need to take Xander home right now."

All sort of scenarios ran through Xander's mind. And none of them were good. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing major. It's just that the Slayer is about to do bodily harm to your girlfriend's father."

"Give me your phone, Webb." He dialed the high school library. "Come on. Pick up! Giles! What's going on? No I haven't checked. Why? That bastard! Is Cordy there? Put her on please? Cordy? It's Xander. I just found out what your father said. I'll be there in a few hours. Is Buffy there? When you see her, tell her thank you for the sentiment, but I will handle your father. Don't worry. I won't kill him. I'll see you in a few hours. I love you." Xander hung up with a smile on his face. He returned Webb his cell phone.

"Commander, I need you to tell the Admiral that I was here and I wanted to see him, but a family emergency needed my attention." He turned to Webb. "Let's go." Xander's bags were waiting for him at the Military Base for him to pick up. He was on a non-stop flight to Los Angeles. He had a few thousand choice words he wanted to say to Cordelia's father. "It's a good thing I'm a Marine."

The End