Hell's Knight, Dark Guardian
YAHF (and I swore I would never do one of these)
Disclaimer- I own none of the characters contained within, unless specifically mentioned.
This comes from being in a creative mood and just having seen the premiere of the Ghost Rider Movie. Some changes here and there, influences from the movie and from the comics.
Thanks to Greywizard, Cacklesmadly and Cyclone Knight for looking this over.
Lingering Embers and a Choice
November 1, 1997
Morning came to Sunnydale.
Xander seemed to avoid many people that day, the day after Halloween. His costume was something he had not expected to wear, but it worked. He'd gotten a good deal on it from Ethan, but Ethan had ended up paying the true price.
The Ghost Rider had walked the streets of La Boca del Inferno the previous night. The evil present was the clarion call to battle that had summoned him. The Ghost Rider was the Devil’s Bounty Hunter, sent to collect on contracts, collect escaped denizens of Hell, and to punish the guilty in the name of Vengeance for the innocent blood spilt.
Ethan was found unresponsive on the floor of his shop, when Giles and Willow had determined who was responsible.
Xander had left the costume in his room --the biker leathers, the skull mask, the fake chain, all of it, but he still felt the heat of the Hellfire that once covered his body. He felt the hate for evil, the rage at innocents paying the wages of so much sin.
It had not left him, even after the spell had expired.
“Of course, why should it not, Alexander?”
Xander turned to face the voice, and found an older man with a skull capped cane. He was dressed in ornate black attire, finely tailored. The lines on his face and white hair would have made him look like a kindly old man, if Xander had not looked in the old man’s eyes.
The eyes were windows to the soul, and no one was home here. No soul, no humanity.
He knew. He felt the power, the Ghost Rider within him felt the call of its master.
“Why should it leave you, as you are now My Rider?”
“I don’t remember signing any contract, in ink or blood, Old Man.”
“Very true, young Rider. Very true. Still the Spirit has chosen to linger within you, something in you calls to it, claims the power as your own. Now, why is that?”
“Might have something to do with my Primal Possession.” Xander could not lie to the being before him, even if he had wanted to. He knew that lies just would drive him deeper into the web of the Dark One before him.
“Ah yes, I remember that now. So, it seems we have a quandary. You retain a power that is Mine to allocate, without a contract. Of course, you have only a fraction of the power available as My Rider. I can give you the rest.”
“Why would I do that?”
“It seems that I have been remiss in My actions here. It seems that the Other Side has placed their defenders here, to prevent, well, let us say certain nastiness from occurring.”
“With you so far.”
“Well, it now seems that I should have placed a guardian of my own here. I of course do not wish the Hellmouth open anymore than they do. The game is not over.”
“This is no game.”
“Oh, but life is the ultimate game. And there are rules, even if you mortals do not know or recognize them. So, I will need someone to enforce My side. As My Rider, you will be a guardian of this gateway. You will prevent any third parties from opening the portal. I will let you retain your soul, your free will, to a certain degree.”
“What is the catch?”
“Very astute, young Rider. You will go far. The catch, as I said, is that you will be bound here. You will guard the portal. You will also perform tasks as I need them, but none of that will interfere with your duties here. You will collect escapees from My realm. You will collect on My contracts. Simple enough.”
“Why you? Because, you have had a taste of the power. You know it, and it knows you. And you will not risk another to use it as wisely as you would. You are my choice as you will do what is necessary, no matter the cost. The cost to you, and to those around you. You will do what is necessary. That is why you.”
“Let me think it over.”
“Of course. Here is the talisman. Touch your blood to it, and it will bind you to our deal. You protect your friends, your town, and protect the portal for Me, as well as perform the odd task that I place before you.” The old man gave Xander a medallion, a palm sized coin with a death’s head engraved on it. Just holding it, he felt the power.
“Think it over, Alexander. I will be waiting.”
Xander looked up from the medallion, and the old man was gone.
The choice was now in his hand.