Disclaimer: All characters belong to their rightful owners. I do not own any of them.
Tru Calling characters created by Jon Harmon Feldman
Forever Knight characters created by Barney Cohen and James D. Parriott
The Dresden Files characters created by Jim Butcher
Newford Tales characters created by Charles de Lint
His jacket stank of stale smoke and beer. It was warm, though, and green. A soft contrast with the faded, threadbare, blue of the jeans he wore. A bright flowered shirt peeked out from beneath his jacket. A tourist type of shirt. The kind old people and fathers wore when they went anywhere they thought was tropical.
No one looked twice at the dark haired young man as he made his way through the night; down dark streets illuminated by the soft and well spaced light cast by a scattered handful of street-lamps. Each step he took was sure and confident. His footfalls muffled by the thick rubber, lining the soles of his shoes.
He could hear sirens off in the distance; the shrill sound fading as quickly as it began. The low rumble of the city entered and soothed him, chasing away the remnants of his nightmares, filling his mind with images of another place, an earlier time. For a moment he was at peace. All self doubt forgotten; the fears that might have possessed him were cast to the side. The only thoughts filling his mind were of Willow and Buffy.
He had not seen them for a month and he missed them. The only contact he had had with them since he started his trip was one phone call. Willow was excited about starting college in the fall, and wanted to know everything that he had done and seen so far. And Buffy; well she was Buffy. She was happy that he was having a good time, but reminded him to stay out of trouble. Willow apparently agreed. It rankled him a bit that they thought that he could not take care of himself; but they were his best friends after all. They just did not want him getting hurt.
“Hey baby,” a voice cooed from behind him. “Penny for your thoughts.”
Xander stopped in mid-step and spun around. His eyes widened and his breath caught in his throat. A vision stood before him. A raven tressed angel with emerald green eyes and a glimmer of a smile forming in the corner of her well formed mouth.
A beautiful woman out alone, after dark, in the rough part of town. Most guys would jump at the chance to play the Knight Protector. But then most guys weren’t from Sunnydale, California. He took a step back as she took a step forward. All his senses were screaming for him to run, to get away as quickly as possible. But his body failed him. He was stuck like a deer in the headlights with a cougar coming at him from the other side.
“Don’t want a penny then?” she asked as she ran a pale hand down the side of his face. “What do you want, I wonder?”
“To leave,” Xander gulped regaining his voice.
She raised her left eyebrow and cast a disapproving look his way. “Not very friendly,” she said. “Wanting to leave before the party’s started.”
The feral expression sharpened on her face as her eyes began to glow with an inner light. Her cuspids lengthened into fangs that she grazed his neck with in a very familiar way. “Stay awhile longer,” she whispered, sending chills down the young man’s spine.
“No, please,” he whimpered. “I’m too young to die.”
“I am not here to offer you death, ma chere,” the vision chuckled. “But to offer you life, eternal.”
Some people say that at the moment of death your life flashes before your eyes. Xander did not know what that really meant until now. In one instant he saw himself as he had never seen himself before. He saw every wrong action that he had committed in his life. Every tear he caused. Every moment of pain he had inflicted. He felt them all. Despair filled him as the weight of his sins bore down on his soul. The night itself seemed to be pressing in on him from all sides, eliminating any hope of escape.
Hope. He clung to that word like a life preserver. Dug his claws into it and refused to let go. It was all he had left. Everything else got stripped away, but hope remained. It offered redemption. Sought forgiveness. It gave him a fleeting glimpse of Heaven and peace. Like floodgate opening in his mind all the good he had ever done began to surface. It tempered his guilt with mercy and lessened the burden on his soul.
“No,” he whispered, as he felt the sharp prick of her fangs against his throat.
He heard her laugh, low and throaty, as she began to feed. He was powerless even to struggle. Then his world went black.
He awoke to the sound of Goth music and the smell of roses. His head throbbed with a dull ache and his throat burned with thirst. With a groan he opened his eyes, squinting against the sudden glare. Everything seemed strange. Like the worst hangover he had ever had multiplied by ten. He glanced around letting the sight of his unfamiliar surroundings filter into his minds eye.
There were pictures on the wall. Period pieces by the their look. Scenes out of old novels complete with people wearing the uncomfortable fashions of their day. Each photograph showed the same three figures. Two gentlemen and a lady. The lady. His eyes widened in memory of his encounter. He struggled to sit up, feeling the fine threads of the cotton sheets slip beneath his fingers, only to fall back onto the large bed in a fit of weakness. He lay there barely able to move. The whitewashed walls and the antique furniture seemed to be pressing in on him. Keeping him there, immobile, like a fly caught in a spider web.
"Hello," a voice said off to his right.
He turned his head and there she was. Just as cold and beautiful as from their last meeting. Her eyes glowed with an inner luminance; lit from a fire that burned from within. They held and captivated him drawing him in so deeply that he could not tell where he ended and she began.
"You look famished," she whispered, gliding closer to his side. "So weak. You must feed to make yourself stronger."
"What," he began but was silenced by her finger on his lips.
"No, ma petite. Do not speak," her whispered words came gentle and soothing. "Feed. Be strong."
Xander sighed as he felt her warm body pressing into his. He wrapped his arms around her pulling her closer into his embrace. Her smell was intoxicating. A hint of jasmine mingled with strawberries. He could feel her heartbeat. Hear the blood pulsing through her veins. Her life a brief melody in the deafening symphony of creation all around him.
His thirst was almost unbearable now. He felt his gums tighten as his teeth began to lengthen. The scent of fear was aphrodisiac and with a roar he sank his fangs into the slender throat before him. Hot wetness flooded his mouth with a sweet, metallic, taste. As he drank he could feel the hunger abating as a new strength begin to fill him. He felt more alive now than he had at any other time in his life.
As the hunger receded he took a final swallow of blood. With the frenzy gone his mind began to clear. Awareness of what he had done began to trickle into his consciousness. He stared down at his blood covered hands in horror; realizing at last what he had become. A tiny crimson droplet formed in the corner of his eye and ran down his face.
"No," he whispered. "Dammit. No."
A soft chuckle caught his ear from behind and he spun around to confront the source of his new condition. "You!" he screamed. "You're responsible for this!"
"Of course, my darling," she cooed. "Why state the obvious. You may repay my kindness later."
"Kindness?" he took a step toward her. "Kindness! You turn me into a soulless hell spawn and I'm supposed to consider that a kindness? I think I'm gonna be sick."
"A bit melodramatic, no," she said. "After all, I have gifted you with eternal life."
"I never asked for this. I never wanted this. I kill parasites like you, me, all the time."
"You," she laughed, a look of disbelief written on her face. "You were a hunter of vampires? I can hardly believe it."
"Hey, I helped," he muttered defensively.
"Anyway that's not the point. I just killed a person, lady! Drank their blood. And I liked it!"
She frowned and pursed her full lips. "First of all my name is, Janette, not lady. Secondly you are a vampire. It is natural for you to "like" it, as you say."
He just stood there gaping at her; the pain in his soul mirrored on his face. Guilt for the death he had just caused twisted like a knife in his stomach. The fear of being separated from his friends and loved ones was overwhelming. He was as trapped by the darkness within as he was by the night itself.
A chill swept over him as the soft click of a door opening sounded from behind. He felt an overwhelming presence enter the room. It felt ancient. Powerful. Incredibly evil. His legs began to tremble; then his whole body shook.
"Janette," a voice said. "What have you done."
Janette rushed past him to greet the newcomer. She had an excited look on her face that lent her an innocent beauty. "LaCroix," she breathed. "Come and meet the newest member of our little family."
"Family," Xander giggled hysterically. "What do you know about family!"
LaCroix raised an eyebrow and looked at his childe. "He is new," he stated.
"Yes, LaCroix," Janette purred. "He just recently awoke."
"Has he yet fed?" he asked.
"The corpse is cooling on the bed," she pouted. "Really, LaCroix, after nine hundred years I think you would have more confidence in me than that."
"Shh," he whispered, drawing her close. "You know how special you are to me."
"I know," she said. "But sometimes I like to hear you say it."
He smoothed her hair back from her face then gently kissed her on her forehead. "This is what it means to be family," he said, turning his gaze on the newcomer. "Caring for one another. Being there for one another. That is family. Anything else is a lie."
Xander stared at LaCroix, transfixed by his gaze; his fear growing stronger with each passing second. He fought the urge to run, to escape, to be anywhere but where he was now. Having the two vampires so close, in such an intimate setting, was too much for him. They were mocking something he had always longed for. Family. Ties which bound one person to another. Something he thought he had found with his friends. All of that was gone now. Erased as if it had never been.
His stomach clenched with pain and he felt moisture on his cheeks. Tears shed for his lost humanity. He ran his hand across his face to wipe away the tears, cringing as his fingers came back covered with blood. He was no longer on the side of the angels. Not now. Not with the evidence of his damnation drying on his fingers.
Despondent and filled with self loathing he turned and launched himself through the small, covered window; not knowing if he would survive the fall and not really caring. His head spun with vertigo as the ground rushed up to meet him. Pain. That was all he deserved for what he had become. For what he had done. Closing his eyes he prepared for impact. He spread his arms wide as if to embrace the earth. Visions of his face meeting the pavement played through his mind.
His direction changed without warning. He hung his head low, cursing, as the ground began to rush away, robbing him of his penance. Sighing, he accepted his fate, and flew off into the night. Crossover: