Disclaimer: Not mine, never will be. I'm just playing in a pretty big sandbox.
Notes: Written for the BBBFic challenge set by me and Bill. Challenge was to have the story set post-Chosen, feature at least one character from the show in a city on the list Bill and I compiled, and to include a song title also from a list we compiled. The city I've used here is Gdansk and the song title is "Should I Stay Or Should I Go?"
A/N: I mean no disrespect to Olympic athletes across the world, especially the Polish ones. This is in no way a dig at them!
A/N 2: I may pick up from the ending and carry it on into another story - I'll see how the time goes. This is unbetad and was written in about an hour this afternoon so all mistakes are my own, as are the really bad attempts at humour!
He really wasn't sure what he'd been expecting from this city. Whatever it was, it certainly wasn't this. With Willow's weird new all-seeing Slayer-radar all the Slayerettes were rushing all across the world to new and exciting sounding places. Buffy had somehow managed to corner the market on the glamorous locations - Xander paused for a second as he worked out where she was this week, Rome he thought although she might have left there for Austria already.
He'd been stuck in America for months, hospital appointments and surgery on his eye forced him to put a hold on any plans to leave the country. He'd been grumpy about that to say the least, and as soon as he got the all-clear he jumped at the first chance to leave. He kinda hoped Willow hadn't taken that the wrong way, she`d stuck around the whole time he was recovering. It made more sense to everyone for her to be based in one place while she sent everyone else on these retrieval missions, and since he was pretty much chained to a hospital bed for days on end it made sense to everyone for her to stay close to him.
To start with that had been fine with him, Willow had been part of everything that had happened to him his whole life so it only made sense for her to be part of this
Only… they'd grown so far apart over the years that they really didn't have a whole lot to talk about any more. They hadn't actually argued, not as such, but he was grateful that he could blame the pain killers for some of the things he'd said.
He'd been getting so tired of hearing everyone's success stories from all over the world, the Slayers they'd found, the fun they were having, that he'd snapped at his best friend more than once. He figured she was just as glad to get the chance at some time apart as he was.
So he'd gone into research mode, she'd done her mojo scrying thingy and between them they had come up with a list of places he could go, places that might have a newly called Slayer but that didn't seem to be too dangerous. The resentment that had built in him at the latter part was the clearest indication that they needed time apart before one of them said something that could never be forgiven.
He'd taken the list, picked the first city that grabbed his attention and booked a flight all in one day. He almost hadn't told her where he was going but then decided that that was just being childish. So he'd left her a note.
And now here he was, freezing his butt off in a shipyard waiting for a girl who might or might not be a Slayer, and wondering why the hell Gdansk had sounded so interesting. He still had the list Willow had given him and right now every other city on there sounded like heaven compared to this particular corner of the world. At least he wasn't alone though, almost as soon as he'd arrived in the country he'd bumped into his current travelling companion, and he kinda figured Willow would feel better about this whole thing if she knew about that, but then again, maybe not.
He glanced at his watch before quickly shoving his hand back in his pocket, damn it was cold! And she was late. Probably wasn't coming. He'd asked around, trying to be discreet but stealth had never really been a strong point of his. Seemed there were all sorts of stories springing up about this girl, this Petra, and how she could suddenly bend girders with her bare hands. Xander figured that was probably an exaggeration but then, he'd never really seen Buffy come up against she couldn't manhandle, maybe it wasn't all that far fetched. Sounded like she was plenty strong before she'd been called, if she had been. She was a shot-putter on the national team and apparently was in with a good chance of making the Olympics.
His 'discreet' questioning had helped him work out Petra's training regime. She was pretty reclusive most of the time, spending most of her time in a training complex and only emerging once a day at dusk for a 10K run through the industrial sector of the city.
It was past dusk now. She should have come through this way by now, had she somehow found out someone had been asking about her and varied her routine to throw off any possible attackers?
He rocked back on his heels, keeping moving in a vain attempt to warm himself up, and started humming under his breath. The last thing he wanted was to be arrested on whatever version of stalker laws they had here in … what country was it again? Oh yeah, Poland.
He looked around again, maybe she'd just gone a different route and was even now heading in his direction. Nope, no sign of her.
The humming was annoying even him so he started singing quietly, fairly confident there weren't any amulets around that might lead to any kind of musical demony weirdness.
"One day it's fine and next it's black,
So if you want me off your back,
Darlin' you got to let me know..."
"Should I stay or should I go?" He didn't look round as a familiar voice finished the line for him. "Definitely the second choice I figure." She carried on.
"She's not coming is she?" He asked despondently.
"Nope." Faith appeared at his side and handed him a newspaper. "She's not. But look on the bright side. She's also not a Slayer. Matter of fact - she's not even a she."
"Huh?" He turned to look at her in confusion.
"Read the paper, s'all in there. Our Petra was a very naughty... well, boy as it turns out. She grinned at him as he turned his attention to the paper in his hand.
He spotted the picture of Petra instantly but the headline made him groan. 'Olympic Hopeful Arrested in Gender Fraud Scandal'
"She's a he?" He asked. It wasn't unheard of he knew, hadn't there been some sort of scandal about the same thing in the 80s? "So I've been stuck out here freezing my ass off for nothing?"
She nodded, still grinning widely. "Hey, all this fresh air's good for you, ya know?"
"Fresh air? If hell ever freezes over it'll look just like this." He looked across at her and took in her outfit. "How come you're not dead from pneumonia or been turned into a block of ice yet?"
She laughed at him, "C'mon, it's not that cold. Must be at least 45 degrees out here."
"Exactly." He agreed. "Too cold to be wearing... that! His gesture took in her denim jacket and skimpy top combination.
"Weakling." She teased, "C'mon, there's not much point hanging round is there? Wanna hit the next place on your list? Maybe it'll be warmer there."
"Yeah I guess, and it *will* be warmer than this. There is no way there is anywhere on Earth colder than this place."
"So?" He looked her with a raised eyebrow. She sighed, "You've got the list. Where's next?"
"Oh right." He fumbled in his pocket for a minute, he was beginning to think his fingers had been replaced by icicles. Finally he got hold of the sheet of paper and squinted at it. "Um, looks like the next best one is Oslo."