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[personal profile] moscow_watcher
Title: Black Magic White Lies
Chapter 10 - Xander Squirms. Xander Shoots. Well, He Mostly Squirms
Timeline: BtVS, alternate season 5
Genre: drama, mystery, action
Characters, pairing: general, Xander/Faith
Rating: R (for intense situations).
Summary: Xander thinks he has a little secret. He doesn't know that his little secret is a part of a big fat conspiracy.
Disclaimer: They all belong to Joss. He said I could play with'em, so there.
Author's notes: Much thanks to my wonderful betas [personal profile] lusciousxander and [personal profile] deird1 who encourage me, help me with character voices, fix my bad grammar and style. All mistakes are mine. This is my first plotty multi-character fic, so concrit is very welcome.




The story starts here

Soon. He will see her soon.

The wind fans Xander's flushed face. He leans back in the seat of Giles' red convertible and hopes nobody notices how nervous he is. And even if they notice, it's okay, because he has a lot of things to be nervous about. He's never participated in a jailbreak before. Well, technically, it's not a jailbreak in the strict sense of the word, but...

"Just be natural," Willow repeats for the hundredth time. "All the papers are in order and they can't refuse to let her go. If they start asking questions say that they should contact her lawyer and give the number the Council provided. Everything will be all right."

Xander nods automatically. He feels like the car's moving too slowly, like Giles is driving too cautiously, like Willow's distracting him with her talking. Xander clutches the bag with the clothes he bought for her. Black maternity overalls and a white t-shirt. White fabric will hug her chest and belly, and the black fabric will cover the white one. Very symbolic, he muses, as he gazes at the Northern California Women's Facility compound in the distance, getting closer and closer. Soon. He will see her soon.

As the car stops at the parking lot, he mentally repeats his mantra. Be natural. Give the Council phone number if they start asking questions. Oh - and warn Faith that Giles doesn't know who the father of her child is. Hopefully they'll have enough time to talk. Maybe when they're filling in the forms. Or walking from the prison gates to the parking lot.

Everything goes unexpectedly smoothly. He goes through all the formalities like a sleepwalker and then, finally, sees her, walking down the corridor, escorted by the already-familiar doctor. She's holding her stomach possessively but drops her hands as soon as she notices him.

Awkwardly, he gives her the bag. "Your clothes."

She avoids his gaze. Without saying a word she takes the bag and withdraws into the change-room. Doctor gives Xander a quick once-over. "I hope she's worth it," he says matter-of-factly.

Xander can't figure out if "it" means his help or their forgery, so he wisely changes the topic. "How is she, doctor? How's the baby?"

The doctor shrugs. "She made an amazing recovery, but you should be very careful. Avoid stress as much as possible. I'd recommend that you to check into the hospital. She may go into labor at any minute."

Instant panic sweeps through him, but he braces himself, because he hears the door of the change-room open. Faith still doesn't look at him. She nods to the doctor.

"Don't hurt your boyfriend, Lehane," the doctor smiles at Xander. "He looks like a decent guy."

She grins. "You like him? I'll call you if he's ever available."

They walk out of the gates and Faith swaggers to the car. Xander couldn't imagine that a pregnant woman could swagger, but Faith is sauntering, all attitude. She immediately spots Willow and Giles in front of Giles' car. "Oh, a welcome committee. How touching. Where is the chairman?"

"I'm the chairman," Xander says.

"You're a proxy. The chairman will always be Buffy. Where is she? Hiding in the shadows somewhere?"

"I asked her not to come," he says tersely.

Faith laughs derisively as she approaches the car. He suddenly remembers that he has to warn her - but it's too late. Giles steps forward, and nods awkwardly. "Faith."

Willow gives a small wave. "Hi, Faith. You look, um - good, given all that happened to you."

"Yay, let's bond," Faith deadpans.

Giles looks at his watch. "We'd better go if we want to reach Sunnydale before sunset. Help her get in the car... daddy."

Xander freezes in horror. A moment later he realizes that Giles means it in an ironic way and sighs in relief. It takes him another moment to realize that Giles' irony is totally lost on Faith and now she's sure that Giles knows. Shit.

Faith grunts as she makes herself comfortable on the back seat. "I didn't know that the Council had a private prison in Sunnydale." Xander tries to help her, but she pushes him off.

"You will be living at Xander's place," Giles says, starting the ignition. Xander and Willow exchange glances and she quickly takes shotgun. Xander plops down next to Faith, acutely aware of her closeness. She turns away from him. "Great," she mutters. "Just great. A dirty basement is the perfect place to raise a baby."

"Xander got an apartment recently," Giles says. "It's small but pretty comfortable."

"Oh, I'm the luckiest pregnant Slayer on earth. I can't find the proper words to express my gratitude."

"Actually, I think you should be grateful to Xander for his hospitality," Giles says coldly as he steers his car on the highway. "Xander is forgoing his own comfort and peace to help you. He doesn't have to clear up your mess, you know. But he's a decent man who took it upon himself to help you. You should be appreciative."

Xander ducks his head as he desperately tries to come up with anything to stop this train wreck - but his mind is blank.

"Oh, really?" Faith says cheerfully. "Man, why are all men such pricks?"

"Guys, we have to talk about some more urgent stuff," Willow says hastily. "Faith, those creatures that assaulted you - could you describe them in detail? It's important. I have a couple of clues but I need more information."

Faith snorts but complies. She obediently describes her attackers, and Xander slowly relaxes and everything goes smoothly until Willow spots the first horseman in a rearview mirror.

"Giles?"

"I see them," he says and speeds up.

Xander looks back. At first he thinks he's hallucinating. Three... no, four horsemen are galloping after them. They're wearing medieval armor, and carrying swords and crossbows.

"Nearest town is ten miles away," Willow says as she checks the map. Her implication is clear. They pass a deserted place, not a single car in sight. They're an easy target - four people in a convertible.

"Maybe they're already shooting "Gladiator: part deux" and a bunch of extras got lost?" Xander suggests.

"Their weapons are from later period," Giles notes. "Faith, do you know who they are?"

"Never saw these clowns. Never saw "Gladiator" - they don't show that kind of movies in a women's prison... Shit!"

An arrow suddenly slams into the back of Giles' seat. Instinctively Xander grabs Faith's shoulders and brings her down, her head on his lap. Another arrow scratches his arm.

"Xander, duck!" Willow shouts, raises her hand and sends a ball of fire into the nearest horseman.

Faith gasps and clutches at her stomach. Xander hugs her, trying to cover as much as possible. She breathes deeply. "Fuck," she murmurs. "It was like a knife in the gut."

They hear the sound of hoofs approaching and see Willow raising her hand again. Energy streams from her fingertips.

"Hang on, guys!" she warns and shoots another fireball.

Faith wails in pain again and suddenly it strikes Xander.

"Don't, Will," he screams. "Your magic's hurting her!"

"Hold the wheel, Willow," Giles barks. He bends down, snatches a shotgun from under the seat and shoves it into Xander's hands.

"You told me once that you'd kept your military experience from that Halloween spell," he shouts as he grabs the wheel again.

Xander isn't sure if it's his memories or survival instinct - but the gun feels surprisingly familiar, its weight is reassuring. He clicks the lock and looks back. Two horsemen are still following them.

"Don't hurt the horsies," Willow asks.

He shoots and misses. Shit. He is one lousy Billie the Kid.

"Kill the horsies!" Giles snaps. "They can't be normal horses, or they wouldn't be able to keep up with the car!"

He tries to aim better, but the car jolts and he misses again. The horsemen are almost invisible in the dust, too far for aimed fire. If only they were closer...

As Xander reloads the shotgun, Faith looks at him and something in her eyes makes him decide.

"Faith, Willow - duck and hold on tightly! Giles, brake!"

"What?"

"We have to let them closer."

"You know you'll be a perfect target?" Giles asks as he tries to slide down in his seat to shield his body from arrows.

"Thanks for the reminder," he shouts, high on the adrenalin rush.

Two silhouettes appear through the cloud of dust. Time slows as Xander draws himself up, aims, pulls the trigger, and the first horse rears and falls, throwing its rider off. Xander shifts the gun in the direction of the last horseman - whose crossbow is already aimed at his heart. Xander takes his last shot and time stops.

It stops, doesn't it?

Because the arrow's standing still, an inch from his chest.

Then it falls down - and, at the same time, the last horse drops dead. The rider wallows helplessly, trying to reload his crossbow. Giles slams down on the accelerator and they leave him behind.

Still dazed, Xander looks around. Faith's face is contorted with pain and Willow slowly lowers her glowing hand. Her eyes are darker than usual.

"I'm sorry," Willow says thickly. "I didn't want to hurt you, Faith, but I couldn't let him die."

Faith nods as she struggles to sit up. "No sweat, I'm okay," she mutters through clenched teeth. Xander helps her and this time she doesn't mind his help.

For several minutes they drive in silence.

"Remind me to thank Ethan Rayne if I ever see him again," Giles says suddenly. "Looks like the after-effects of his Halloween spell just saved our lives."

Xander laughs shakily.

"I didn't know that riding shotgun in your car meant the back seat," Faith says.

Willow giggles hysterically. "Oh, Xander, is your middle name Rambo or Terminator?"

He shakes his head. "And I thought surviving Sunnydale High was the biggest feat of my life. Who knew that adult life could be so wild and unpredictable?"

"Well, yeah," Faith sniggers. "You should have thought about unpredictable before you stuck your dick into me."

The car swerves. Does the Guinness Book of Records have a "most stupid death" category? Does a car crash caused by the driver's shock at the news about the actual father of his passenger's baby qualify? Brakes screech. Xander glimpses Giles' furious eyes in the rearview mirror, as he steers the car to the roadside. Shit.

"Did you want to tell me something, Xander?" Giles asks without looking at him.

"Um, guys," Willow murmurs. "The sun sets in half an hour. We barely have time to get to Xander's place. Maybe we should talk when we're home?"

Giles' jaw drops. "You knew?!"

Faith snorts. Giles looks daggers at Xander before he starts the car. Xander doesn't avert his eyes because Faith snuggles up to him, so close he could hear her heart beating, and, for a moment, he feels okay.

"You will tell Buffy yourself," Giles says, and Xander doesn't feel okay anymore.

Next: Chapter 11 In Which Buffy Finds Out About Xander's Secret
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