khriskin: (The Secret Lives of Superheroes)
TITLE: On Wings of Ash
FANDOM: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
AU: The Secret Lives of Superheroes
LENGTH/RATING: 100 words, PG
SUMMARY: Ruth doesn't just sense evil...


They were her fallen angels, tarred and tarnished by the world. Cast aside, discarded by those who couldn't see past the mortal grime, couldn't feel the sharp bright core beneath. She found them one by one, scattered across decades of aimless wandering. Sometimes she was too late, and left them be; when help could only hurt, she'd spare them needless suffering. Sometimes the light was only dimmed, not lost, and she paused to scrape away the soot and silt until they found their way again.

And sometimes, sometimes she took them in, because battered wasn't broken, and wings would mend.

_______________________________

"BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER" is owned, (TM) and © by Twentieth Century Fox, Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and the WB Network. All rights reserved. No copyright infringement is intended nor implied.

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khriskin: (The Secret Lives of Superheroes)
TITLE: I'll Tell You No Lies
FANDOM: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
AU: The Secret Lives of Superheroes
LENGTH/RATING: 299 words, PG
SUMMARY: Ask me no questions, I'll tell you no lies... (Exit, Stage Left)


"H'lo?"

Wesley stared at the caller id on the phone in bleary-eyed confusion, Who the hell? It was four in the morning, which meant too early for Gunn and too late for Angel.

"Is there? Anyone? Hullllllllo?"

Who ever it was, they were very very drunk.

"I c'n hear you breathe y'know." The voice sounded almost bemused and it finally occurred to Wesley who was on the other end of the line.

"Xander, it's four in the morning."

"I know."

"Then why did you call me?"

"Wil'o gave me cellphone."

"And?" Because if there wasn't an 'and' he was going back to sleep. Preferably without moving another inch. In fact, if he just put the phone down Xander might not notice--

"Wha'did Spike havin the van?"

There was a long pause, where Wesley hoped desperately that Xander would get distracted by fireflies, or shooting stars, or whatever the hell there was to get distracted by at four in the morning.

"Wessssssssssssssssley. Van, whas in the vaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan. Isit demon?"

"Yes Xander, it's a demon." Because he was much, much too tired to think of a more rational lie.

"Isit purple?"

"Sure, purple, with green polkadots even, can you please, please just go back to sleep?"

There was a moment of dead silence and then a shocked whisper, "ohmygod, you kidnapped Barney."

Wesley unplugged the phone and went back to sleep.

_______________________________

"BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER" is owned, (TM) and © by Twentieth Century Fox, Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and the WB Network. All rights reserved. No copyright infringement is intended nor implied.

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khriskin: (The Secret Lives of Superheroes)
TITLE: Forgotten Rhythms
FANDOM: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
AU: The Secret Lives of Superheroes
LENGTH/RATING: 235 words, PG-13
SUMMARY: It's not the beat, it's the band…


It isn't until one of the victims rudely blurts it out, still in shock from watching his buddies torn apart and a pack of demons pummeled into ash and bone, that Xander remembers. Even then, it takes him a second to process the man's drunken cursing and remember he's fighting half-blind.

It was second nature even before he'd left Sunnydale; the careful dance of keeping everything in view, playing mental Battleship with stakes instead of plastic pegs. So he's used to fighting in the dark, but with Buffy he'd always been aware; always felt his own stuttering beat echoing behind the rhythmic ebb and flow of combat. Felt the others shift around him, compensating, protecting a liability. But it had never been because of his eye.

Here, slowly, he's forgotten. Out in the middle of nowhere, in a blood-soaked parking lot, he's got no one protecting him anymore. He's got Faith and Ruth, but they fight with him, not for him and he hadn't realized how big a distinction that really was.

Until now.

So he flashes the drunks a grin that makes them think he's crazy or invincible, retreats to Ruth's worn bucketseats, and lets Faith take over with her patented spiel of 'you didn't just see this' that gives them all a sane excuse for an insane world.

And he wonders what might have happened if Buffy had just stepped back and let him fight.

_______________________________

"BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER" is owned, (TM) and © by Twentieth Century Fox, Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and the WB Network. All rights reserved. No copyright infringement is intended nor implied.

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khriskin: (The Secret Lives of Superheroes)
TITLE: Exit, Stage Left
FANDOM: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
AU: The Secret Lives of Superheroes
LENGTH/RATING: 409 words, PG-13
SUMMARY: They're calling for an encore...


They wandered the Midwest for almost two months, wiping out what pockets of evil they stumbled across, but never looking too far beyond the pale circle of Ruth's headlights. Sometimes they ran into others, baby slayers, vigilantes, law enforcement who's never quite sure what's going on, and once, a beat-up black Impala with a love of classic rock.

They're moving, always moving, and yet it's stopped feeling like they're running away. There's no sense of urgency anymore, just an inherent momentum rolling them down dusty roads and empty highways. Plenty of time to stop and see, well, whatever catches their attention. The Grand Canyon, flea markets, state fairs, vampires, demons, even a giant fiberglass frog. When he's feeling philosophical, Xander wonders if they've fallen into a comfortable sort of Purgatory; they aren't running away, but they're not running towards anything either.

A few days after the frog they run into Spike, scowling at a pump in the middle of the night, trying to figure out how to buy gas for a van with tinted windows. They carefully don't ask him what's making the muffled thumps and curses in the back and he doesn't ask them where they’ve been. Instead they trade amiable complaints about the trouble with staying dead in a world that loves heroes, Angel's obsessive pursuit of martyrdom, and Buffy's tyrannical micromanagement of the world in general (and Spike in specific). All in all it's one of their more pleasant conversations.

A week later Buffy and Willow roll in to save Xander from himself. He'd expected them to show up, ever since the gas station; not even Spike could keep secrets from those two for long. But it's depressing, rather than ironic, that they wait until he's almost happy again to charge in and save him. He keeps waiting for Faith or Ruth to go on the offensive, but they don't, and it's only after Buffy starts laying the foundation for the guilt trip to end all guilt trips that he figures out they're waiting for him to choose.

So he stops Buffy in mid-lecture, declines politely, and it's back to two against three instead of two against one. That causes all sorts of headaches (figurative and literal), but in the end Buffy and Willow agree to leave him be.

Spike shows up two weeks later to apologize; Faith's forgiven him but Ruth's still furious and the vampire makes a quick retreat, nursing burnt fingers and cursing.

_______________________________

"BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER" is owned, (TM) and © by Twentieth Century Fox, Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and the WB Network. All rights reserved. No copyright infringement is intended nor implied.

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khriskin: (The Secret Lives of Superheroes)
TITLE: Driven
FANDOM: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
AU: The Secret Lives of Superheroes
LENGTH/RATING: 256 words, PG-13
SUMMARY: Xander's tired of riding shotgun.


Faith never lets him drive and that rankles, at least until he realizes she's not really in control. Ruth may let her steer, but in the end they go where the mustang wants. Once he's looking for them he catches the small corrections that drift them from one lane to the next, and curves them onto offramps; changes in temperature that coax them to sleep or eat; music in perky beats or lulling melodies providing emotional soundtracks to the monotonous scenery. All subtle enough that Faith doesn't notice, or can pretend she doesn't.

It doesn't take him long after that to figure out the random encounters they keep having aren't random at all. Ruth has a knack for finding people in distress, and a keen sense of pragmatism when it comes to who's worth saving and who isn't. On one hand comforting, on the other just downright creepy. But that means the first night it was Ruth who rescued him, even if it was Faith who did the fighting.

It's a little odd, having his life dictated by a car. So the next time they stop he waits until Faith is asleep and whispers to Ruth about life and destiny and happily ever after, and how Faith has always been too willing to follow and how he's getting tired of never being able to lead.

The next day Ruth lets him drive, and when they end up playing caped crusader yet again she doesn't say I told you so, but he hears it just the same.

_______________________________

"BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER" is owned, (TM) and © by Twentieth Century Fox, Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and the WB Network. All rights reserved. No copyright infringement is intended nor implied.

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khriskin: (The Secret Lives of Superheroes)
TITLE: Same Song, Different Verse
FANDOM: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
AU: The Secret Lives of Superheroes
LENGTH/RATING: 100 words, PG
SUMMARY: Some things are just a question of semantics...


There was a certain irony in a possessed car that insisted magic was evil. And not evil with a little 'e', oh no, Ruth was adamant on that point. Even when Xander pointed out that magic might be simpler than divine intervention when it came to escaping a 1969 mustang. They compromised on blessings instead of wards, although the pastor gave them more than one odd look when he read their list of requests.

Two nights later, when she rammed a demon and he turned to ash on her hood, Xander had to admit Ruth might have had a point.

_______________________________

"BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER" is owned, (TM) and © by Twentieth Century Fox, Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and the WB Network. All rights reserved. No copyright infringement is intended nor implied.

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khriskin: (The Secret Lives of Superheroes)
TITLE: Instinct
FANDOM: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
AU: The Secret Lives of Superheroes
LENGTH/RATING: 238 words, PG
SUMMARY: Some things you can't unlearn...


He'd pleaded 'force of habit' afterwards, when Faith was not so gently mocking his knee-jerk response to midnight cries for help. But he hadn't been the only one that hit the ground running when they'd heard the screams, and he wasn't the one basking happily in the awe of mundanes less prepared for Faith than they had been for vampires.

He leaned against Ruth's hood, waiting for the adrenaline to ebb and making mental lists of what they'd need to add to their next Wal-Mart stop. A part of him wanted to cling to the idea that this was a one-shot deal, a fluke, that he'd left this part of his life behind in the ruins of Sunnydale.

Because wasn't this what he had been running from? The whole Slayer gig; the Spider-man dogma of great responsibility?

He was supposed to be Xander, ordinary guy, with ordinary friends and ordinary dreams. Then Faith said something he couldn't hear, and suddenly the rescued teens were looking at him with awe as he stifled the urge to say 'I'm Batman!' because that's all he was to Faith's Superman. Just an ordinary guy doing his best in a world built for superheroes. He could still remember when vampires had terrified him, but he couldn't put his finger on when he'd started running towards the screams instead of away.

But it was only habit, not instinct. Only habit because you could break habits, and somewhere down the line from broken was normal, and he just wanted to be normal again.

Didn't he?

_______________________________

"BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER" is owned, (TM) and © by Twentieth Century Fox, Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and the WB Network. All rights reserved. No copyright infringement is intended nor implied.

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khriskin: (The Secret Lives of Superheroes)
TITLE: And Suddenly
FANDOM: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
AU: The Secret Lives of Superheroes
LENGTH/RATING: 213 words, PG
SUMMARY: Just like that, everything changed.

He watched the mile markers spin by in hypnotic rhythm, running on too much caffeine, too little sleep, and the free-falling sensation of having left everything behind. Only what had he left? Clothes, knickknacks, an apartment billed to the Council who wouldn't notice the Xander-shaped hole for months. So nothing really. A nothing three states, sixteen hours, and a lifetime away.

At some point, when the sky had been shading into dawn, he'd asked Faith were they were going, but all he got was 'anywhere but here.' Before the pit he would have snapped back with a witty retort, but now-- now he just relaxes into the battered seat and watches the markers count off the miles between them and nowhere.

Because 'here' was the story they'd both been living, nothing but supporting roles in Buffy's fairy tale. Who they were was what they were, and he was tired of fitting into a mold carved by someone else.

Somewhere, out there beyond the bounds of here, was another Xander-shaped hole and eventually they'd find it. And even if they didn't, he'd find a different hole and make it fit, because he was tired of going home again.

And the mustang's wheels hummed over the patched pavement, harmonizing to the rhythms of the markers and the quiet determination of anywhere but here...

_______________________________

"BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER" is owned, (TM) and © by Twentieth Century Fox, Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and the WB Network. All rights reserved. No copyright infringement is intended nor implied.

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khriskin: (The Secret Lives of Superheroes)
TITLE: Old Wounds and Time
FANDOM: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
AU: The Secret Lives of Superheroes
LENGTH/RATING: 201 words, PG
SUMMARY: Title is actually a pretty good summary. ^_^;;

Five days spent aimlessly wandering into the heartlands. Five days heading down highways, and byways, and old dirt roads leading nowhere, except that they never actually did.

Five days-- five nights sleeping stretched out in seats that never quite reclined far enough for comfort. Listening to echoes of Faith's nightmares and the muted tones of Ruth's biblical lullabies.

Some things he could handle, the road, the seats, the second thoughts, but this-- this.

On the sixth night, when her dreams took her back to the pit, back to where being the best hadn't been even a shadow of good enough; he risked Ruth's anger and Faith's sometimes violent independence and slipped in beside her in the backseat.

And he wondered what it meant, that she didn't wake, didn't lash out in the midst of a nightmare all the more powerful for being real. Instead she quieted, still whimpering, but softly now, without the urgent notes, as if he'd muted it somehow; pulled the memories back from 'now' into the 'then' where they belonged.

After a while he slept, propped up against the door with Faith's head cradled against his hip, and Ruth sang them soft low psalms that felt like home.

_______________________________

"BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER" is owned, (TM) and © by Twentieth Century Fox, Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and the WB Network. All rights reserved. No copyright infringement is intended nor implied.

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khriskin: (The Secret Lives of Superheroes)
TITLE: Four Wheels and a Prayer
FANDOM: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
AU: The Secret Lives of Superheroes
LENGTH/RATING: 100 words, PG
SUMMARY: Possession is nine tenths of the law...


To his credit, it only took Xander three days to figure out the car was haunted. Faith stubbornly maintained that the mustang's obsession with Christian radio was a dead giveaway (pun intended), but she admitted later, under duress, it'd taken her over a month to come to the same conclusion.

Two towns, a Wal-Mart, and an Ouija board later, the mustang had kicked them both out with a snarl of Christian rock and a chorus featuring hellfire and damnation.

It was the first time Xander had ever apologized to a car; he had a feeling it wouldn't be the last.

_______________________________

"BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER" is owned, (TM) and © by Twentieth Century Fox, Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and the WB Network. All rights reserved. No copyright infringement is intended nor implied.

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khriskin: (The Secret Lives of Superheroes)
TITLE: Grimm Futures
FANDOM: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
AU: The Secret Lives of Superheroes
LENGTH/RATING: 100 words, PG
SUMMARY: Xander was never good at fairy tales.


It was supposed to be 'happily ever after', only no one else had gotten the memo and Xander was stuck with just 'ever after'. They'd gone their separate ways, leaving him trapped playing hero in someone else's story. Happily ever after was supposed to mean it was over, not another forty years (twenty, when he's feeling honest) spent narrowly avoiding death.

Then came Faith, fishtailing out of the night in a stolen white mustang; and it was still 'ever after', because Faith's story had ended long ago, but now, maybe, he'd a chance to start a story of his own.

_______________________________

"BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER" is owned, (TM) and © by Twentieth Century Fox, Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and the WB Network. All rights reserved. No copyright infringement is intended nor implied.

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