Chapter Nine – Grim Revelations
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Smallville, or any of the Norse Mythology that I am about to mangle to suit my own twisted purposes. Frankly, if you recognize, I don’t own it. This work may not be sold or used for profit in any way shape or form for that very reason. Please don’t sue me because I don’t have anything worth taking…
-== Chapter Nine – Grim Revelations ==-
Giles seemed more than mildly surprised when Xander walked into the school library that afternoon. The fact that the teen had been avoiding him for the last couple of weeks had not escaped his notice. Since he was no closer to having a real answer for the boy about what was going on, he had chosen not to press the issues between them any further.
As he watched the youth’s approach, he noticed the grim set of the young man’s face. Something deeply troubling had had clearly happened to display the teen’s usual, cheerful disposition. “What’s wrong, Xander?” he asked, making no effort to mask the concern he felt.
“Tell me about sorcerers, Giles,” Xander replied grimly.
“Sorcerers,” Giles repeated, looking mildly confused. “They’re human beings who traffic with demons for magical power. They’re among the most powerful, singular practitioners of magic.”
“What can they do?” he asked in response.
“Almost anything is possible for them. It all depends on how skilled they are at negotiating with the dark forces…” the Watcher answered, “and on what they are willing and able to sacrifice for their power.”
“So there’s no such thing as a good sorcerer. They’re all evil?”
“By definition, yes,” Giles said with a nod. “Now why the sudden interest in sorcerers?”
“I think we have a serious problem. I’m pretty sure that Richard Wilkins, the mayor of Sunnydale, is a sorcerer powerful enough to interfere with my ability to control the weather.” Xander’s tone was grim as he explained. “Eve was concerned enough about a sorcerer with that kind of power that she went to Asgard to consult with the All-father. Then, this morning, the mayor caught up with me at the Espresso Pump. He knew that I was the one who broke through his control of the weather last night and knew a hell of a lot about me. I have a bad feeling about this Giles.”
Giles took off his glasses and began to clean them as he considered Xander’s words. “You were responsible for last night’s storm I take it?” he asked, his voice tight.
“Uh, yeah, about that…it wasn’t really, entirely my fault. The mayor’s spell interfered and by the time I broke it…” the younger man began to explain.
“That’s not the point, Xander!” Giles cut him off forcefully. “You have no business tampering with the weather to begin with. Just because you have the power to do something doesn’t give you the right to do it.”
“Okay G-man,” Xander said holding up his hand. “You can stop right there and climb off the soap-box. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to accept that I possess the powers of the God of Thunder. At some point, my abilities are going to develop and if I haven’t learned how to control them I’m going to do a lot more damage than you can imagine and unlike last night, I won’t be able to stop it. So back off about it.”
“We still don’t have any proof that you actually have Thor’s powers, Xander,” Giles shot back, his own temper slipping a bit. “You’re taking everything this woman, Eve, says at face value. She has yet to give you any concrete evidence to support what she’s told you!”
“I called down a freaking thunderstorm last night Giles, despite the interference of powerful magick. And then I dissipated the worst of it before it became the first hurricane in history to hit Sunnydale!” the youth shouted back. “I think that’s pretty damn convincing evidence. It’s not exactly like I chose this G-man; I had no more control over finding that hammer than Buffy had over becoming the Slayer. Would you really rather that I feign ignorance and wait until I completely screw something up… maybe even kill somebody because I didn’t do what I could to learn how to control this?”
“Xander, that’s not what I mean,” the Watcher answered, trying to reason with the angry young man. “It’s just that you’re tampering with powers that no mortal was meant to tamper with…”
“Believe me, Giles. I get what’s bothering you. The bottom line is that you don’t trust me and that’s what I don’t get. I’ve never given you a reason to not trust me.” He shook his head. “I saved Buffy’s life, Giles. I’ve done nothing but pitch in and help out the best I could since Buffy came to town. Why can’t you trust me to do the right thing now?”
“You’re young Xander,” the Englishman practically spat back at him as he jammed his glasses back on his face. “It’s not that I don’t trust you, I just know all too well the temptations presented by having power. The fact that these so-called ‘gifts’ don’t terrify you just proves how naïve you really are.”
“Oh that’s such a load of B.S.,” Xander retorted with a snort. “If you don’t think that having these powers scares the crap out of me, then you really, really don’t know me at all.” Xander grit his teeth, making one of the toughest decisions he’d ever made. “My parents are alcoholics Giles, certified drunks. My father’s been using me as his personal whipping-boy and punching bag since I could walk. My mother just lets him and then tries to make it up to me.”
The teenager flopped down into a chair at the research table. “You really think that it took me being handed superpowers to tempt me to do something colossally stupid? I’ve thought about killing that bastard more times than I can count, about running away, getting the hell out of dodge. Yet here I am, and my father’s still alive, or was when I left the house this morning anyway. Not everyone is corrupted by power, Giles.” Xander swallowed hard. “The thought of losing my temper, of the things that could happen, especially now, terrifies me beyond belief. But running away from my gifts won’t change the fact that they’re there. After everything that’s happened to me in my life, after everything that I’ve lost, I still just want to help people.”
Rupert Giles stood staring slack-jawed at the young man for a long, silent moment. “Xander, I…I’m…sorry…I didn’t realize. You never told anyone…”
“It’s not exactly something that I go around advertising. If they took me away from my mother, or if I left them, I think it would kill her.” he replied with a sigh. “But that’s not the point, the point is that if I was going to go over to the dark-side, I wouldn’t have needed special powers to do it, and if I was going to use my gifts for evil, I wouldn’t have told you about them at all. Now what do we do about this sorcerer, Wilkins?”
Giles nodded, focusing on the issue at hand. “Well, a powerful sorcerer is definitely a dangerous adversary. Are you absolutely certain the mayor was the one responsible? Is there any chance at all that he was merely the sorcerer’s employer, or its puppet?”
“Yes. And no,” Xander frowned and sighed exasperatedly. “The mayor was definitely behind it, whatever ‘it’ was. He said specifically that he wanted to know what gave me the power to overcome his spell. Do I know for sure that he’s a sorcerer though? No.”
He ran his hands through his hair, frustrated by his inability to explain himself easily. “I feel like I should know him, Giles. Like I should recognize him, and it’s more than just the fact that he’s the mayor of Sunnydale. Though, I can’t actually recall there ever being a mayoral election now that I think about.”
“I’m certain that you’ve just seen him on election posters or some such, Xander,” Giles said trying to soothe him. “And it’s hardly as if you were likely to pay much attention to politics when you were younger, so it’s not surprising that you wouldn’t remember it.”
“That’s just it Giles,” he said, looking thoughtful. “The whole Aesir upgrade package came with one really cool perk. I can remember everything I’ve ever seen or done. All the way back to my fifth or sixth birthday with very few exceptions, and I don’t remember ever seeing or hearing about any mayoral elections in the last ten years.”
“So you’re saying that there wasn’t one? That would be difficult to believe,” the Watcher said skeptically. “Though, I suppose that particularly powerful spells could make everyone believe that it had happened. Still, spells that would affect the entire city would require tremendous power…”
“Like the kind of power it would take to interfere with my ability to control the weather?” he shot back.
“Uh, well, yes,” Giles said sheepishly. “But if he’s capable of such things, we need to be exceedingly careful how we approach this, Xander. We can’t risk him finding out anything about you that he doesn’t already know.”
“And in the meantime, I need to get to know my enemy,” Xander said with a frown. “You have any books on sorcerers and maybe some general magickal theory? Anything that might help me prepare for dealing with him?” The Watcher nodded. “Then I’ve got some reading to do before I start seeing what I can find out about Wilkins.”
After a couple of hours, the young Aesir had moved on from the Watcher’s extensive collection of books on magick to researching Richard Wilkins himself and subsequently had gotten a crash course in the history of Sunnydale. Apparently, for almost a century now, Richard Wilkins, his son and now grandson had been the mayor of Sunnydale, a fact that did nothing to settle his fears.
“Okay Giles,” he said finally pulling up an old archive picture of Richard Wilkins, the founder of Sunnydale and comparing it to a recent photo of Richard Wilkins III, the current mayor of Sunnydale, that he found on the internet. “I think this may be a bigger problem than one family of sorcerers. I think we’re dealing with a single sorcerer who is at least a hundred years old.”
“Given the source of their powers, it’s extremely unusual for a sorcerer to manage to extend his life beyond that of a normal human,” Giles said as he walked over to see what Xander had found. “Eventually, the demons with whom a sorcerer deals will trick the sorcerer into a bargain that he or she cannot keep, and claim their life as payment…”
“Apparently, Dick is a better sorcerer than most,” the teen said showing the Watcher the photos, “’cause if that’s not the same guy, I’ll eat my own shoe.”
The Englishman stared intently at the two pictures before reaching the same inexorable conclusion that Xander had reached. “Dear Lord,” he declared, shocked. “I believe you’re right, this is far beyond any mere family resemblance.”
“So we either have someone who is not human and incredibly powerful or a sorcerer who was both powerful enough and clever enough to bargain himself into at least a hundred years of life?” Xander stated simply. “The fun just keeps leaving. Is there anyway to figure out what he is? And is there anyway to stop a sorcerer that doesn’t involve killing them, because there weren’t any in your books?”
“There are spells and incantations that could be used to determine if he was a sorcerer, though they do require a bit of his hair or skin to work,” the older man answered. “And the only way to stop a sorcerer is to kill them, Xander, or to break one of their demonic pacts and allow the demon to have him.”
“Well, since we don’t have any of his hair or skin, I guess it’s time for plan B,” Xander announced, standing up from the computer desk.
“Plan B?” Giles questioned politely.
“I’m gonna go have another chat with our illustrious mayor,” the young man declared with a grin as he walked quickly across the library toward the exit. “After all, I can hardly play his little game if I don’t know the rules.”
Before the Watcher could respond, Xander was out of the library and on his way, leaving Rupert gaping in his wake. “So much for not drawing attention to himself,” he muttered angrily, turning back to his research.