Chapter One – A touch of destiny
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 One – A touch of destiny ==-
Xander Harris threw a rock angrily into the incoming surf. ‘Some summer vacation this is,’ he thought bitterly. ‘Buffy off in LA with her dad for the entire break and Willow gone to some computer camp her father and mother picked for her. That just leaves me and my alcoholic parents for the entire summer…’
It was moments like this one when he most missed Jesse. It was as though he’d lost a part of himself on that day, just a few short months ago, when he’d watched his friend crumble to dust on the point of a wooden stake he, himself, had held. Willow was his best friend, but Jesse had been like a brother to him. On days like today, he wished he could just go back to pretending that the world was a safe, fair place.
With an angry sigh, he threw another rock. The beach had emptied some time ago. The residents of Sunnydale seeming to instinctively seek the safety of their homes before the sun went down, even if they didn’t really know why. Xander, however, ignored the common wisdom, staying put as the sun sank below the distant horizon and painted the sky a virulent red color.
‘A storm is coming,’ a part of Xander whispered in his mind. ‘Gonna be a big one too.’ He snorted at the thought. Somehow, he always knew when it was going to rain or storm. It was like he could feel it deep down inside and was never, ever, wrong.
‘Too bad being a human barometer is absolutely worthless hunting vampires,’ he thought morosely.
As the night closed around him, Xander smiled. In the few weeks since the Master’s abortive attempt to open the Hellmouth and bring about hell on earth, there hadn’t been a single vampire sighting in the ‘dale. The Hellmouth was still there, Giles had assured them all, but it was likely somewhat dormant in the aftermath of its recent opening. As its power began to build again, so too, would the vampire and demon population.
For now, however, the Sunnydale nightlife was at a low-point and it was fairly safe to be out at night. Or at least, that was the general consensus. A distant siren echoed through the quiet of the late evening, proving once again that safety was a relative concept.
As the summer heat quickly faded in the cool ocean breeze, Xander finally decided it was time to go home. An hour or two had passed since sunset and with any luck his parents would be drunk enough to not hear him come home. After all, if his father didn’t notice him, he couldn’t beat on him for ruining their lives by being born.
“My life sucks,” he said with conviction as he stood up and brushed the sand from his clothes.
“Not for much longer,” a menacing voice growled from behind him.
A chill shot through him as he realized suddenly that he wasn’t as alone on the beach as he’d thought he was. Turning quickly, he was confronted by not one, but three vampires in game face, all of whom he recognized as former Sunnydale High students who were well known for bullying under-classmen. “Uh, sorry guys, I already used my lunch money today…” he said with a half-grin, unable to resist even though he was certain he was about to die horribly.
“That’s real funny, Harris,” the lead bully answered. “But it’s not your lunch money we’re after…”
“It’s lunch-time and you’re the appetizer,” another growled.
“I was afraid of that,” he responded, feeling strangely calm as he whirled around and took off at a sprint along the water’s edge. The steady wash of the surf had packed and hardened the wet sand making it somewhat easier to run across than the loose sand of th rest of the beach. Combined with the momentary head-start he’d managed, he quickly put a score of yards between himself and his pursuers.
‘Can’t outrun them,’ he realized desperately, ‘can’t fight without a weapon either. Gotta think… I need a plan.’
A muffled curse behind him told him that at least one or two of the vampires had stumbled and fallen, buying him a few more precious seconds to try and come up with a way out of this mess. A wave carried a bit of flotsam into his path and Xander promptly tripped over it, falling heavily to the sand. He scrambled quickly to his feet and as he did, his hand closed on a hard piece of smooth wood, just slightly thicker than the stakes he made for Buffy to hunt vampires with. ‘Weapon,’ his brain supplied automatically. Grabbing it tightly, Xander stood and whipped around to face the vampires.
The stick turned out to be about four feet long and felt pretty solid as Xander shifted it to a two-handed grip and swung it with all of his might at the lead vampire. Surprised that his supposedly helpless prey came up swinging with a weapon he didn’t have a moment ago, the demon ducked a split-second too late, putting his head squarely in the path of Xander’s swing. The staff connected and an explosive thunderclap tore through the night followed by a brilliant blaze of golden light that forced the teenager to close his eyes against it.
Power surged through his body and strength flooded his limbs as an incredible feeling of vitality filled Xander. Suddenly, he felt better than he ever had before. The stick in his hand had changed as well. The wood was now cool metal, wrapped in leather. His eyes snapped open to see that the wooden walking stick had become a heavy, short-handled war-hammer made of a strange blue metal that seemed to radiate power. Sparks of lightning played over the surface of the weapon and Xander’s hands tingled pleasantly where the small bolts encountered his hands. The back of the hammer’s head swept into a maul-like blade and a simple loop of metal chain dangled from the end of the handle itself.
‘I shouldn’t be able to even lift this,’ Xander realized as his brain managed to overcome the shock. ‘It must weigh a ton…’ And yet in his grip the hammer felt like an extension of his arms, light-weight and fast. “Where’d the vamp go?” he asked aloud, suddenly aware of the fact that only two vampires, two slack-jawed vampires that looked as though they’d just seen a ghost, still stood on the beach nearby.
“What the fuck are you?” one of them asked in a shocked voice.
Confused by their response, Xander looked down at himself to make sure that he hadn’t undergone the same kind of transformation that the stick-turned-warhammer had. Aside from his strangely improved night-vision, he couldn’t see where anything had changed. “Just a guy,” he answered with a shrug before stepping into a fierce upward swing of his hammer and throwing all of his might into the blow.
A sickening crunch-thud echoed through the beach as the blow caught the vampire solidly and the demon sailed backward in a high arc with such force that he seemed to have been shot from a cannon. He crashed into the ground several hundred yards away where the impact appeared to break every bone in his body, judging from the anguished screams.
That was all that it took for the remaining vampire to shake off his shock and flee madly across the sand in an attempt to get away from the man that had just destroyed his friends. Xander was stunned, alternately looking at the strange hammer in his hand and the distant impact crater left by the vampire he’d struck.
“What the hell?” he asked in a shocked voice.
“You do realize that one is getting away, right?” a female voice asked softly from behind him.
Shaken from his contemplation by the voice, Xander’s eyes snapped to the fleeing blood-sucker. “Crap! I’ll never catch him over this…” he exclaimed, seeing the vampire had covered well over a hundred yards in the time he was distracted.
“Throw the hammer at it… aim for the head,” the voice suggested.
With a shrug, Xander drew back and threw with all of his might. The hammer sailed end-over-end through the night like a guided missile. It struck with such force that the vampire’s head exploded from the impact, dusting it instantly. A moment later the hammer reappeared in his hand, eliciting a low, “Whoa!” from the surprised teenager.
“Okay,” he began a moment later as he turned to face the source of the voice, “Who are you and how did you know that would work?”
The words had no sooner left his mouth than he saw the speaker. The woman was dressed in plain brown boots, tan cargo pants, and a navy blue tank top that did nothing to detract from her physical beauty. Her long brown hair was plaited into a single long braid that was swept across her shoulder and still hung nearly to her waist. Her features were very Nordic, with a pair of ice-blue eyes, the classic high cheek-bones, and an almost chiseled cast to her face. It was her eyes, however, that immediately captured Xander’s attention. An almost ageless wisdom shined in her eyes, as though they had seen many, many years… a life far longer and more somber than her apparent age would allow.
“You can call me Eve, Alexander Harris,” she said with a smile that warmed even the chill depths of her eyes. “And I knew because I’d seen the hammer’s first master throw it like that.”
“Well, that really doesn’t tell me much that’s helpful, except that you know something about this,” he waved the hammer vaguely in her direction. “You want to make with the explaining what’s going on here?”
“It is something of a long story. Are you certain you wish to hear it here and now?” In the silence that followed the pitiful screams of the still alive vampire were clearly audible.
“Hold that thought,” he said with a grin. “I should put fang-face out of his misery before someone comes to investigate.”
“Do you often hunt lamias, Alexander Harris?” Eve asked as they walked across the beach toward the gravely wounded demon.
“Llama what’s?” he responded flippantly. “And please, call me Xander.”
She frowned for a moment, as though looking for a more familiar word, “Lamias… the blood-drinking demon corpses…”
“Oh, vampires!” he said, catching on suddenly. “Uh, sometimes…. Usually I just help Buffy, she’s the Slayer.”
“It is good to see the line of Slayers has not been broken and that they are not alone in their fight,” the mysterious woman answered.
Xander couldn’t help but smile at even the faint hint of approval from the beautiful stranger. A few moments later they were staring into a three foot deep impact crater at the bloody, crushed remains of the vampire Xander had taught to fly. He grimaced at the sight. He’d seen road-kill that was in better shape. “Any suggestions?” he asked blithely, uncertain how to kill such a mangled wreck of a creature.
“You could strike off its head with the edge of Mjolnir,” Eve stated calmly, “or you could try to call down lightning to set the beast aflame…”
Xander didn’t appear to hear the last part of her statement, having instead fixated on a single word. “What did you call this hammer?” he demanded.
“I called it by its name: Mjolnir,” she replied simply.
“Mjolnir? The hammer of the thunder god, Thor?” Xander stared in awe at the weapon in his hand, recognizing its name from the countless hours he spent reading Norse mythology as a child. “How did it wind up here? And if it’s here, where is Thor?”
“That is part of the long story, but yes, that is Mjolnir, the hammer forged by the dwarves for the Prince of the Aesir, Thor Odinson,” she answered with a smile, “and it is here because it has been waiting for centuries to find a mortal worthy of it, worthy of the legacy of Thor. It has been waiting for you, Alexander Harris.”