The Battle of Sunnydale 1

The Battle of the Appalacians

Author: Norgco (aka. Shawn Dorca) <norgco[at]>

Sequal to the Battle for Sunnydale

Summary: With Sunnydale secure the fighting has moved, but not really changed. Xander ponders it all.

Rating: NC17 for violence - probably not needed, but better safe than sorry.

Warning: Death and destruction mentioned, including Scooby death.

Feedback: In the name of my muse yes. Also, does anyone else think this needs more violence, am I restraining my violent impulses too much? Please do tell.

Disclaimer: No I do not own any of it. Joss owns Buffy and co. The US taxpayer owns their marine corps. Does anyone want more, less, what?

Authors Note: My comments about Russian weapons are meant mainly seriously. They really do still teach how to use and entrenching tool for hand to hand combat over there, and design them with that in mind, for example.

When Generals start being listed as Killed In Action, you know things are going badly. We lost 7 saving southern California from the demons. Colonels and Majors were going down like Second Lieutenants, who normally have the most dangerous job on a battlefield. But the 173rd Airborne finished the fighting around Sunnydale at 9% of its original strength, and the brass had to stand up and lead in the most literal sense to prevent collapse. That units as badly chewed up as some of the National Guard battalions were actually willing to advance after these sort of casualties is remarkable.

Or maybe not, motivation is crucial to fighting efficiency, and the troopers all knew the alternative to victory was not simply death. Hell had come to our Earth, and they were required to stop the ultimate evil from ruling the world. 'There is nothing as dangerous as a man with nothing to lose', a cliché but the truth in those terrible days. Having had to wash off the blood of my oldest friend and the goo that was all that was left of my former fiancé I have some expertise on this matter. My memories of having my left arm bitten off by the thing that killed another of my friends also influenced my attitudes.

All the dead have yet to be counted, and frankly the task is just not my taste. I went from head of the carpentry crew of a construction company to Captain in the U.S Marine Corps, losing almost everything I ever valued and acquiring so much fatigue that to this day I don't remember if it took a week, a month or six months. Presumably more than a week, but when all that is left of your life is a father figure and the psychotic killer slut who tried to kill you the last time you tried to help her, well, time becomes fairly relative.

Oh, and Faith insists she is really sorry for trying to kill all my friends and, in fact, the whole town of Sunnydale. The fact that she is now a member of the Corps too, and that they insist on handing her the most dangerous killing implements they can find, would really worry me otherwise. But she seems to fit in well, and the tight reign she is under does not seem to chafe. Her C.O. told me that he has seen it before, in ex gang members. He tells me not to worry.

"After all, given our casualty rate none of us will be around to cause trouble much longer anyway."

A comforting thought, that the outbreaks of open demonic attack make worrying about peacetime redundant. Of course, if the ammunition shortages continue that end of troubles will come a whole lot faster. We are currently fighting in the Appalachians, coal mining towns with not much of a future even before the inhabitants were eaten. Cleaning out the mines is slow, bloody work, and house to house isn't much fun either. "And Captain, another shipment of LAW rockets arrived, so the RPG's have been sent to the Guard."

The LAW rocket is obsolete, and replaced long ago by the Javelin. But it is considerably lighter and handier to use, and fine against anything smaller than an elephant. Demons that large can't hide inside buildings, so building clearing teams don't need the javelin and do need something short and easily swung around in hallways. The backblast usually sets fire to the building, but, heck, I don't own them. The old Soviet equivalent, the RPG-7, is bulkier and heavier, being wood and steel. In fact Faith beat a Kiroth demon to death with one a while back, something no-one would attempt with the flimsy LAW launch tube.

She impresses the hell out of the grunts when she does stuff like that. That we were fighting these things with not much more than sharp sticks for years, often hand to hand, awes people who have never dealt with them without anti-tank equipment. She received a Katana from a Japanese Master Swordsmith, who is apparently pleased beyond measure his creations are being used as more than museum decorations now. It's never out of arms reach, even during sex, like my double bladed boarding axe. Some of the visiting Washington types look at us funny, I really don't know why.

The RPG's were a gift from the Russians when they realized we were running out of anti-armour rounds for the grenade launchers. The mangled remains of the one Faith used as a club is sitting in the company sales office now, the only payment they have asked for. They insist Russian weapons are DESIGNED with the possibility of being used like that in mind, why else is the AK-47 rifle still made so heavy and sturdy? Faith and I got into a really lively discussion with the company representative about how to use an entrenching tool- a small folding shovel - for hand to hand fighting by sharpening the edge. When we started arguing about whether you can actually take the top of someone's head off with one, or have to settle for just sticking it half way into the face, we started getting those funny looks again. What is the problem with these people?

All I really have left in the world are Faith, Giles, and my duty. My duty is partly as 'advisor', really a reality check on officers who thought demons were only in movies a few months ago. Partly I am to 'co-ordinate' with Giles and the New Watchers Council he is now running, when he is not chief demonologist to the Pentagon. Ultimately I have a central duty to Faith, who, despite the Psycho Killer Slut reference - and SHE came up with that title - is actually the closest thing I have to a friend here. Casualties are too high for new friendships to form properly, or for anyone to want to form them, even in the headquarters area where I work.

"Mmm, Xman, what are you doing up?" She mumbled from the double sleeping bag we share.

"Just trying to sort out a few things in my mind before the John Woo interview tomorrow." Movies were being prepared already, and we were told in no uncertain terms to co-operate. I have this image of Buffy being played by Lucy Lawless, and Jet Li as me, or something equally stupid. Still, it was orders, and a percentage of the gross to my depleted bank account. She was out of the bag now, naked as always when she slept.

"Well it's good your up, I need to relax, all that tension from a hard day's slaying"

Faith and I are not in love, and do not pretend to be. But she needs me, and being needed by Faith is the best thing that has happened to me in a long time. As I said, I have a duty to Faith, to 'help keep her on an even keel,' as Giles phrased it. It is the most enjoyable part of my life now, and for a time I can forget the sight of Buffy bitten in half, and the same creature taking my arm straight after. I take the dark slayer into my arms and kiss her, feeling her soft warmth, not allowing myself to lose control here. Being a good lover is a duty, as well as pleasure, and the start of another day in the Corps.