Taking Initiative

Author: Cyclone <cyclone[at]citynet.net>

Feedback: Please be gentle.

Distribution: Gimme credit and a link. Plus, archived at http://fanfiction.net/profile.php?userid=62966

Rating: I'm gonna go say PG.

Spoilers: Up to Graduation, then AU version of events after that.

Disclaimer: The characters depicted herein belong to the almighty Joss. I'm just borrowing them for a while.

Summary: During his unwilling stay in Oxnard, Xander receives a visitor.

Author's Note: Yes, I know. I should be working on my current WIPs rather than starting something new, but this plot bunny just wouldn't leave me alone until I wrote _something_ on it.

Xander shook his head as he stepped out of the Fabulous Ladies' Night Club and began the trek to the tiny studio he had rented for the summer. It was humiliating. Still, as embarrassing as his current employment was, he had to admit: It did wonders for his ego and pocketbook.

He was about halfway to his temporary home when a shriek split the night air, and Xander moved without thinking, sprinting toward the sound.

*I'm gonna get myself killed one of these days,* he thought as he skidded to a halt and turned down the alley.

Vampires. Two of them, game faces on and apparently about to make a meal out of a middle-aged blonde woman who stood between them and didn't look nearly as terrified as her earlier scream suggested. Well, he'd figure that out later.

"Hey, bloodsuckers!" he called. "How 'bout some fresh meat?"

They turned, and one licked his fangs, "Well, well. Two for one special tonight."

"Bring it on, fang face," Xander said, drawing his stake.

The first one charged him, and Xander snapped a kick out at the vampire's knee, breaking the joint, before plunging his stake in its back as it passed.

He whirled around as fast as he could, but it wasn't fast enough. The other vampire slammed him against the wall, and he saw stars as the back of his head struck the brickwork. Collecting his senses, he dropped to the ground and swept the vampire's feet out from under it, then twisted and slammed his heel into its gut in an abbreviated axe kick.

He rolled over and plunged his stake into its heart, then rose carefully, steadying his breathing.

"Very good, Mister Harris," the woman said, and he spun.

"How do you know my name?" he asked suspiciously.

"I know a great deal about you, Mister Harris," she said, extending a hand. "You first came to our notice when you appropriated a rocket launcher and several rockets from the National Guard base in Sunnydale."

He backed away and demanded, "Who the hell _are_ you?"

"I'm Doctor Margaret Walsh," she said, smiling, "and I'm about to make you a _very_ good offer."