Chapter Five – Junkyard Afternoon
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 Five – Junkyard Afternoon ==-
Xander stood outside the gates of the Sunnydale scrapyard uncertainly. The yard was locked up tight and surrounded by a twelve foot fence topped with razor-wire. Apparently, whoever ran the place was a bit paranoid about people getting in. A thick metal chain was wrapped heavily around the gate and locked with a brand new, high-quality, heavy duty padlock. Xander wasn’t even sure that a pair of bolt cutters could do more than scratch the hasp of that monstrosity. Of course, climbing over the fence was an option, if he didn’t mind shredding himself to hamburger on the wire.
“Maybe Mjolnir could break the lock,” he thought aloud.
“It could,” Eve’s now familiar voice said as she stepped into view on the other side of the gate from Xander, “but it would be a sad use of a noble weapon. You could just as easily break the lock with your bare hands if you’re determined to destroy it.”
“If you have a better suggestion on how you want me to get in there, I’ll happily listen to it,” Xander shot back with in an exasperated tone.
“Jump over the fence,” she answered simply. “It couldn’t be more than fourteen or fifteen feet, even with the wire. You should be able to clear it easily from a standstill.”
“You’re joking right? I mean, I can’ just jump over a fifteen foot fence,” he protested.
“I can jump it and you’re far stronger than I am,” Eve answered with a grin. “Shall I demonstrate?”
Xander nodded dully and watched with no small amount of curiosity as Eve crouched down and sprang into the air. It was an impossible jump, one that even Buffy could never have made, and yet the Valkyrie cleared it with room to spare. She landed gracefully and shot him an amused smirk. “Satisfied, Godling?” she asked.
“I am not a God,” the teenager responded automatically. “Gods have worshippers, temples, priests and the like. No one worships me, so I’m not a God.” He blinked a couple times after he spoke, as though surprised by his own argument. The response had been reflexive and unconscious, as though it were a repetition of a truth so fundamental, so universal, that it required no thought at all.
“Very good, Alexander,” she said proudly. “Already your mind is making connections and grasping concepts that most mortals never consider. You are not a God, strictly speaking.” She grinned, “Though you could readily become one if you desired. One mortal already practically worships you and another fears you, or fears for you.”
Xander frowned, somehow knowing she referred to Willow and Giles. He realized suddenly that Willow thought she was in love with him, despite the fact that he certainly couldn’t see her that way. And whether he wanted to admit it or not, Giles had been terrified of the thought of anyone wielding the power of a God, especially Xander.
“This is real, isn’t it?” he asked faintly. “I’m really descended from Thor. I’m really wearing Mjolnir around my neck and I really have Thor’s power…”
“I have told you nothing but the truth, Alexander,” Eve confirmed with a nod, knowing that his doubts were plaguing him still. “I will never lie to you, not even to protect you.”
“I appreciate that,” he said after a moment’s consideration. “So I guess I need to jump this fence so we can get started.” He turned his attention back to the fence that separated him from the scrapyard.
“It’s easy, Alexander,” she encouraged gently. “Just picture it in your mind, see yourself jump over it and then do it.”
He nodded, concentrating on the task at hand. Flexing his legs, he shoved off the ground hard, sending himself into the air. He grinned widely, sailing well over a hundred feet above the fence before he began to fall back toward the ground. A moment of panic surged in his breast as the scrapyard rushed up to meet him.
He landed squarely, forgetting to bend his knees and absorb the force of his impact, which resulted in his legs driving into the soft ground like nails into a board, burying him to his waist in the earth. Surprisingly, the pain he expected from hitting the ground never came. Only a slight, painless jolt marked his landing.
“Okay, jumping is easy,” he said with a grin, “Landing is a little trickier…”
Eve chuckled as Xander looked over his shoulder at her. Amazingly, she rose gracefully into the air as he watched, sailing up and over the fence in a slow, easy arc.
“You can fly?” he asked, shocked.
“So can you,” she replied evenly, “or at least, Thor could. But flight, like teleportation and inter-dimensional travel is a difficult ability to master. These abilities require an understanding of the way the universe works that you will take time for you to acquire. They also demand a level of physical maturity that you have not yet fully realized.”
“So,” he said with a grunt as he placed his hands on the ground and shoved, wrenching himself free, “there are things that I won’t be able to do ‘til I grow up?” He chuckled, “I guess that makes sense.”
“Mjolnir will help,” she offered. “Wielding it will increase your powers and give you access to some abilities that have not manifested on their own yet. It will also increase your physical strength a hundred-fold.”
“I thought Thor had a belt that did that?” Xander asked as he climbed back to his feet after extricating himself.
“He did,” the Valkyrie confirmed. “Its powers became part of Mjolnir when the Thunderer was exiled.”
“Why did that happen anyway?” he questioned curiously. “As I recall, Thor was Odin’s favorite son, the golden boy of the Norse Gods. What did he do that was bad enough to be cast out?”
“Loki deceived Thor into participating in a plot to assassinate Odin and usurp the throne of Asgard,” Eve answered softly. “The laws of Asgard demand that all treason be punished by death. Thor alone of the conspirators stood to face the punishment for his actions and was exiled to die a mortal man on Midgard. He lived out a mortal life, before he finally fell in battle almost 50 years later. I personally carried his soul to Valhalla to join the Einherjar.”
“Why didn’t Odin let him off?” The appalled shock in his voice could not be disguised. “I mean, he was tricked into breaking the law right? Didn’t that count for anything?”
“The laws of Asgard are not like your mortal laws, Alexander. They are the fundamental principles on which the entire pantheon is built. To allow any breach of them to go unpunished is to invite Ragnarok,” there was a cold steel in her voice as she spoke. “Was the life of Thor worth risking the destruction of all of creation? The All-father showed what mercy he could, condemning his favored son to the life and death of a mortal man. Further, he ensured that Thor’s divine essence, his very Godhood would survive, to be passed on to one of the Thunderer’s own children. To do aught else would have been madness.”
“Oh,” Xander replied softly, stunned by the harshness of Asgardian law. “I didn’t realize… Are there laws I should know about to stay out of trouble?”
“There are precious few laws in Asgard to begin with, but you are not bound to follow them. You were not born or raised in the golden city, a fact that places you beyond their reach.”
“Good to know,” he said with a grin. “So… training? Just out of curiosity, what powers do I have? Or should I say, what powers will I have when I grow up?”
“Already you have been blessed with the physical gifts of the Aesir,” she said with a broad grin. “You have the reflexes of a warrior-god and the full strength of Thor, one of the mightiest deities to ever walk the face of any world. You have the stamina of the Aesir as well and a supernatural immunity to any poison or disease of non-magical origin. Heat and cold, even that of the most intense fire or the deepest chill of the void you call outer space, will not affect you. You could hold your breath indefinitely if need be, without ill-effect.”
Eve watched his face as Xander intently listened to her, hanging on every word. “Only those beings with some bit of supernatural power can truly harm you, such as those who possess a measure of divine or demonic blood, or those who have been altered to no longer be truly human. Even then, you will be extremely resistant to injury and those injuries you do sustain will heal with incredible speed.”
“What about magick?” he interjected.
“Magick is the rawest form of supernatural power, Alexander. Even the weakest witch or warlock’s spell can affect you as though you were merely a normal mortal, that is the price of having been born a mortal,” she cautioned seriously.
“So, magick is bad, got it,” he said simply. “Let me guess, the rest of what I can do is like flying and the other stuff, it’ll come in time?”
The Valkyrie nodded, “Yes, though with Mjolnir you should already be able to call down lightning and command the weather, you do possess the powers of the God of Thunder, after all.”
“Anything else I should know about the hammer? Like maybe no one but me can lift it?” he asked, remembering the incident at Giles’s apartment earlier.
“Mjolnir answers only to your will,” she explained. “No matter where it is, so long as your are on the same plane of existence and it is not in the grasp of some being more powerful than it is, you have but to will it to your hand and it will appear. Anyone who is strong enough can lift it, but only you can use its powers.”
“So, you’re going to teach me what exactly?” he grinned as a full-size Mjolnir appeared in his hand in response to his mental command, exactly as Eve had said it would.
“How strong you really are, with and without the hammer. How to fight against frail, mortal foes without killing them and how to focus your power and do battle with beings who are your equal in strength and ability. And finally, how to call and command the powers of the storm,” she answered with a smile. “The rest you will learn on your own, in time.”
“On my own?” Xander repeated questioning her words. “You aren’t going to be around?”
“My duty is to set you on your path, Alexander,” she said emphatically, “not to walk that path with you. There are others who help you on your path: friends, family and loved ones who are far better equipped to aid you over the long run than I am.”
“You said you would teach me how to go see Jesse,” he pointed out. “You can’t do that if you aren’t here.”
“On the contrary, I can’t do that from here,” she countered. “Only after you learn how to get from here to Asgard under your own power will you be ready for that lesson. And I will be glad to teach you how to do so in the golden city.”
“What do you mean? Why can’t you do that from here?”
“No living being may breach the planar barriers to physically enter the heavenly realms from here,” she explained patiently. “But Asgard, Olympus, Heliopolis, and the homes of the other pantheons are accessible from here and do allow such access.”
“Oh, so the only way to get there directly from here is to die?” He smiled in understanding as she nodded. “Alright then, so where do we start?”