Some Things Should Never Be Repeated
Disclaimer: not my characters, not my universes, and I'll put everyone back where I found them when I'm done with them
A/N: Not the typical fanon version of Narcissus ahead. And while I don't feel like it crosses the line to slash, there is some gay content as well as het content that fades out before it gets too detailed, as well as kinky sex that occurs off screen but unfortunatley within earshot of our protagonist.
"I've got the other female," Xander yelled to Faith as the group of Tersha demons tried to split up in hopes that some of them would escape the hunting party of Slayers and Watchers. Following her through the small business district on southern the fringes of San Luis Obispo, he made a turn down an alley.
They couldn't let the Tershas set up a breeding colony in the area. They may not reproduce quite like tribbles, but one female could produce twenty offspring in a two year period of time, and when those twenty offspring hit sexual maturity in fifteen years, there would be even more human deaths that followed. If only they could take them out now, and stop the whole circle of demonic life, it would be so much better for everyone involved. Well everyone but the Tersha.
The Tersha turned down another alley, and Xander almost missed her, only catching the slightest glimpse of a leg as she tried to hook around a dumpster. He shifted his axe from one hand to the other to help him keep his balance as he cornered between trash and building. A month old knee injury still had him wobbling a little bit when he tried to pivot too sharply, but he didn't lose too much distance between himself and the Tersha as he drifted out making the turn.
He could hear chanting in a demon language that he couldn't quite understand even if it did sound familiar coming from just the other side of a different dumpster. That did slow him down. The last thing he needed to do was get himself blasted by some sort of magical lightning bolt. The Tersha tended to be moderately successful at magic and spells according to the information they had.
Using the dumpster as cover, he inched up on the sound of the chanting. Then just as he stuck the blade of his axe out to use as a decoy, the chanting stopped. A sudden gust of wind rushed toward the Tersha's hiding place, and Xander felt his ears pop from a sudden change in air pressure. He decided to throw caution to the suddenly windy wind, and came around the metal to see the Tersha finish her spell, which seemed to have caused the back door to a Thai restaurant to begin to glow. She opened the door and stumbled through it even as he was taking a swing at her with the axe.
He followed right behind her. As he went through the doorway, everything went bright blue in front of his eyes. An instant later, his body felt like it had been hit by lightning, and he managed to think 'Great, not again' before his brain shut itself down.
Xander dreamed. And he had to admit that in terms of happy dreams, this one was definitely at least a nine-five or a nine-six on a ten point scale. All it really needed was a little bit of whipped cream, or maybe some dulce de leche and it would get cranked up to eleven. He could hear Buffy standing behind his naked self, feel her breath against his shoulders as she leaned against him.
"Have you been a good boy or a bad boy? You know it really doesn't matter. What does matter is that we're going to have some fun with you tonight," she said, grabbing his arms and pulling them tightly behind his back. He tried to lean forward to test her hold, but it quickly became apparent that she wouldn't lessen her grip at all.
"Men. You know thaty sometimes they've just got to shut up and deal with what's happening to them. Or maybe not shut up entirely. I do like it when he howls and squeals," Anya said as she walked into the motel room.
Buffy kept holding him tight as Anya ran her hands down his body. The result was that he nearly instantly drew all of himself to attention as her fingers traced around his nipples, abs, and the side of his butt. Her mouth started to follow the trail her hands had followed, but then broke a new path toward his navel. She went southward from there, using her lips and tongue until he felt his own moment of perfect happiness. Maybe it had been worth it for Angel, he thought as Anya began to stand up.
Then he woke up from the dream to discover himself sandwiched between two sleeping men. Two almost naked men. At least they had shorts on, so they were covering up the important parts, but the one to the back of him had his arm wrapped around Xander's body in an uncomfortably intimate way that left his hand not too far from Xander's briefs. His decidedly damp briefs that were the only thing between himself and both the stange hand and the thin blanket on the bed. So what was he doing there, and where were his pants?
Fortunately, the guys were both sound enough sleepers that neither of them had woke up at his own start to consciousness or the couple of strangled breaths he had taken when he had found himself pants-free in bed with two total strangers. While they slept on, he needed to come up with a plan. First, he needed to find some pants to go with the oversized t-shirt he still had on. Step two was to figure out just where he was. He didn't know how long he had been out this time, and the bedroom consisting of concrete-block walls painted white with a pair of high windows that let light into the room suggested he could be in a basement pretty much anywhere. Step three was to check in with the rest of the gang and let them know he hadn't gotten the Tersha like he had hoped.
But first, he had to get away from his bedmates. Carefully and slowly, he moved the arm off his stomach, placing it along the rib cage of its owner. The next step was to ease himself up from between the two men, then he used a modified push-up position to climb over the man in front of him without touching him. He slipped as his feet hit the ground. There was something wrong with his center of balance, and he just barely managed to quietly avoid landing on his decidedly lacking in cover ass. There was movement from the men on the bed, but to his relief, they were only closing the gap he had left behind rather than actively noticing he wasn't there anymore.
Doing his best to remain quiet, he opened the door, imagining that every small creak and click of the handle would be the one that alerted someone that he was up and on the prowl. He closed the door behind him just as quietly, and discovered he was in a short cement block corridor with several other doors along the way. One odd things about the doors was that the knobs seemed to be higher than what they would usually be on a standard production door.
The first two rooms appeared to be bedroom similar to the one he had woken up in, though at least they were empty. He hit pay dirt with the third door, discovering it was a supply closet for what looked to be a well-stocked medical clinic, and quickly closing the door behind him. Wedged in between the boxes of scissors, bandages, towels, and clamps was another box containing surgical scrubs. And plain green scrubs at that. He had been in one too many hospitals where the nurses had gone for the cartoon character look, and he had no desire to plaster Hello Kitty all over his ass. It wasn't quite as good as blending in as jeans would have been, he found himself thinking as he put the pants on and folded up the extra long legs of them into a cuff, but he could more or less pass in a crowd in a wore them home from work meets eccentric fashion choice sort of way. Now if he could only find some shoes, he would be all set.
Make that shoes and his eye, he thought, noticing the empty socket for the first time since he had woken up. Though worst case, he could probably get away without it. Squint like it seemed like the world was too bright, and not many people would notice that one eye was totally closed and not quite the shape it should be, and during a dark enough night, people noticed faces even less than that. Or maybe he could just go back and ask the ambiguously gay duo back in the room. If he really was a prisoner wherever he was, he would have thought that someone would have locked a door or two in the basement to keep him in one place. Or at the very least, not left him access to a supply closet with any number of nice sharp objects. After all, he was one dangerous dude when he got to run with scissors.
Speaking of which, he located a box of scalpels, all neatly packaged so that every one of them had a blade guard so he wouldn't stab himself when he put a couple of them into each pocket. He had just decided on three on each side would do to start when it all hit him.
Suddenly the supply closet was too small, all the walls closing in on him. He needed to be out of there, needed to have space all around him. He needed to run, needed to run free under the sun and feel the dirt and grass between his toes. He needed out of there, needed away from it all, needed to chase instead of feeling like the hunted one...
Then there was a knock at the supply closet door that sharply dragged him back to reality.
"Hey, Alexander, is it? Are you doing okay in there?"
From what he could smell, the voice matched up with one of the guys he had woken up in bed with. Hold it, smelled like? There was something weird going on beyond the previous known weirdness.
"Depends on how you define okay, but I've felt and been a lot worse. Right now, I'm more confused than anything else."
"It's not really surprising to hear that since you were apparently pretty out of it when we found you."
"What do you mean?" The last thing he could remember was chasing the Tersha through a sparkly doorway.
"You were stumbling through the employee parking lot of a local strip club called Guilty Pleasures. Jason nearly hit you with his car. When he got out to see if you were okay, he said you seemed to be dazed, told him that it was funny how this didn't look like Pismo Beach to you, and then you passed out on his hood. Doctor said you were suffering from shock, and that you'd broken the orbital bone near your bad eye."
"Okay, Guilty Pleasure is in what city?" Damn sparkly doorway must have been a portal.
"Damn. I'm far away from home then."
"You probably are. Your driver's license said California on it, and we're assuming you're at least from there, even if it's a bad enough fake id to misspell Sunnyvale as Sunnydale. But it'll be okay. The blackouts go away the better you get control of your beast."
"So you've got the rest of my wallet then too? And what do you mean by control of my beast?"
"Crap, why did Ari have to be the one to go get you lunch? He's so much better at giving the talk than I am. You've apparently been recently infected with lycanthropy."
"That's impossible." And why did his voice sound higher than it was supposed to?
"Not impossible. Jason said you smelled like a hyena when he found you, and the Doc ran a blood test on you when you were unconscious. Test results were positive if you want to see them."
"But I haven't been anywhere near so much as a werwolf since the last full moon, much less a werehyena." Werehyena was a first. Any if they had those in this dimension, just how many other types of shapeshifter did they have?
"Do you remember having any sorts of bite marks or scratches on your body that you couldn't explain or remember how you got them? Sometimes the brain shuts down and makes you forget a traumatic attack or injury. Helps to keep you somewhat more sane."
"Unless you count the girl on the dance floor back in Barcelona, I definitely have not been bit by anyone or anything in the past two weeks, and I'm positive she did not break the skin." Maria had been a babe and a great dancer, but in the end, she hadn't been evil enough to want to go on another date with him beyond that, no matter how good the chemistry had been.
"Okay, how it happened doesn't matter so much as how you live your life from this point on. And there are a lot of people who are going to help you adjust to your new life as a lycanthrope. Don't think I went over the names before, but I'm Hector, and the other guy out getting lunch is Aurelian, though everyone except for Narcissus calls him Ari."
"Alexander Harris. That part of my driver's license is right at least. Everyone calls me Xander. And is this some sort of trick to get me to unlock the door to shake your hand?"
"No trick. We want you to trust us so we're not going to try something like that early on. Besides, you're eventually going to want to walk out of the closet on your own anyways, if only because you're going to have to take a piss."
Because you never ever wanted to sully the den, and for better or worse, the supply closet was his den for now. Hold it there. He had spent enough time travelling through Africa and central Asia in the past couple of years to have lost any sort of squeamishness about discharge of bodily fluids in any given place. So why was the idea of finding a bottle to pee in if need be suddenly so freaky?
Because you didn't leave waste in the den. It was an absolute in his mind, even if it wasn't quite one of his thoughts. It seemed like something the hyena would have thought. For all that he claimed he didn't, he remembered bits and pieces of that whole mess. And maybe one or two of those kibbles and bits of memory had helped him plan out an attack or two over the years, but there had never been another time when he had come close to feeling like the hyena had tried to make a return trip to his skull. The spell that had driven the primal out of him had worked very well.
At least until now. Because he was starting to realize it was starting to feel a lot like hyena again. But it was different than it had been for the primal. Had the portal he had gone through spit him out in one of those places that made the magic go all weird? It could be, if it was already weird enough that you could pick out a werewolf by a blood test.
He was interrupted in his thoughts by another knock at the door.
"Ari's back with food. We promise not to rush you if you unlock the door."
He could smell the other man at the door, and more importantly, could smell the food. Okay, maybe it wasn't the smartest thing to do to let them in, but they seemed to be trying to be honest with him, and the smell of the food was starting to make his stomach growl.
"Okay, I'm unlocking the door just a little. You better not have spiked my punch," he said, opening the door just enough to get a glimpse of the men as they passed him a paper bag and a sealed water bottle. The one he identified as Ari seemed to have put on clothes since Xander had seen him last. At least they didn't always walk around almost naked.
"I didn't know what you'd like, so I tried to get a bunch of things," Ari said as Xander closed the door and took a seat on the floor to spread the food out.
"And a large bunch it is," Xander said as he eyed the two bags of chips, and three different sandwiches- roast beef, turkey, and shrimp salad.
"Eat as much of it as you can. A full stomach is always going to make you feel better," Hector said.
Not wanting to be rude, Xander followed the instructions vigorously. The hyena couldn't seem to get enough of the meat, and the human side of him had been out cold long enough that it was famished as well. He caught bits and pieces of conversation between Hector and Ari as he ate, mostly involving someone named Narcissus, who seemed to be some sort of leader to the two guys.
"How's he doing?" A third voice, female, entered the conversation just as he finished up. She smelled different than the two men, and it wasn't just because of her gender.
"He says he's doing okay so far, and he smells like he's telling the truth about it. But I'm not sure how much has really sunk in for him yet," Hector said.
"Hello, right here, and the door is thin enough that the whole talking about me in third person thing seems kind of unnecessary."
"So how are you doing then, Alexander?" her voice was pleasant enough.
"As I told Hector, I'm okay, but not great. I've had both better and worse days, and all that fun stuff. And it's Xander."
"And I'm Lillian. I'm the doctor for the St. Louis lycanthrope clinic. If there any questions I can answer for you, let me know."
"Okay, if you're in charge here, I don't suppose you know where my eye ended up?" He figured he'd ask about his axe when he had a better feel for the situation, but for now the eye seemed like a safe topic.
"I've got it right with me, but I want to have a look at your face before I give it back to you. You came to me with some facial damage, and I don't want it resting against anything that's still damaged."
Okay, that sounded fair enough. Maybe they were trying to lure him out of the closet, but in the end, he agreed that he couldn't stay in the supply closet forever. He sighed, bagged up the trash from his lunch, dinner, or whatever meal the sandwiches were, and opened the door.
"Here I am, then," he said as emerged from the room. Hector took the bag from him, and nudged toward a pleasant looking older woman wearing a white lab coat.
"Let's see what we've got," she said, stepping closer to him as she fished a pen light out of her lab coat. She had to bend down to look at him. She was taller than he was, just like both Hector and Ari were. Was everyone in this dimension six inches taller than everyone back home? "Any memory of how the recent facial injury happened?"
"I got hit by someone who really knew how to throw a punch," he said. It had been one of the male Tershas he had gotten just a little too close to.
"I figured as much," she said as she seemed to examine his empty eye socket. "I'm going to carefully touch your face now. Let me know what you feel."
Lillian's fingers were gentle, but the end result was still an assortments of ouches and yows.
"It looks like it's healing well enough, but I want you to go au natural for the next forty eight hours or so. Easier for the bones in your face to heal like they need to if nothing else is resting against them."
"I can do that," he said.
"Then later on, we can figure out the right way to go so you don't need it any longer. Healing up wounds that old can be tricky sometimes," she said, passing him a small plastic baggie from another one of her coat pockets. The seal on the bag noted that the contents of it had been sterilized for his own protection. He started to ask her what she meant by the last comment, but was interrupted by the arrival of another pair of people in the basement hallway. One of them smelled like hyena. The other was closer to what Lillian smelled like.
"Narcissus," Hector said, suddenly going into full flunkie in sight of his master mode. Ari seemed to do the same as well.
"Thanks you, gentlemen," the smooth voice arrived in the hallway slightly before the hyena did.
Then the people rounded the corner, sending the human side of him into confusion. The one that was like Lillian was a Latino-looking guy. How he carried himself proclaimed bodyguard, soldier, hired muscle, or something else similar. For all that he smelled weird, it was straightforward enough to figure him out. But the other man, make that other woman, make that simply other person, was not nearly as ordinary. The best way Xander could think to decribe the other person was pre-op transsexual. The smell was mostly male, but at the same time partly female, and the person's breasts under the sixties-style halter top were definitely more than just man boobs. The rest of the person was dressed in sandals, capri pants right out of a TV Land sixties sitcom, and the perfect strand of pearls around his/her neck. It was all so very Laura Petrie it had to be intentional.
Yet for all the she-male weirdness, some part of him was relieved to see the person that had to be Narcissus. What he was coming to realize was the hyena worming its way into his brain liked something about Narcissus. He had no idea if he was supposed to think of Narcissus as a him or her or whatever, but the hyena firmly insisted that Narcissus was somehow safe, and that Xander would be safe as long as he was close by.
"Thank you, Lillian, as well. And I will give my regards to Richard since it was one of his people that found one of mine," Narcissus said. Xander noticed that Hector and Ari had slid behind him to block him from heading beck into either the supply closet or the bedroom. No matter how much some part of him claimed that Narcissus was safe, their actions still made him nervous.
"So what's going on here," he said, trying to reach into his pocket for one of the scalpels without having it look like he was trying to dig something out of his pockets.
"That is what we are all trying to figure out, Alexander," Narcissus said, coming even closer to Xander. He, might as well go with he, Xander thought, since Narcissus smelled like more of a guy than a woman. He wrapped his hands around Xander's biceps, effectively stilling Xander's arms. Then he sniffed close enough to Xander's face that he could feel Narcissus' even breaths against his cheek. "I can smell that you have never been a part of any other hyena clan, and by all indications, you are very recently infected. The rogue shifter that infected you needs to be dealt with as soon as possible, and you are the only one who can help us make that happen."
For all that Narcissus' grip was restricting, there was something calming about his touch. It was weird and freaky on the surface, but it was also safe. He looked up into Narcissus' mascara-lined eyes, and gosh darn it, he was going to have to trust someone on this world to get everything sorted out, especially if the Terhsa had ended up in the same dimension he had, and the hyenas and whatever Lillian and her friend were seemed to be trying to help him for now. So after Narcissus gave him one more squeeze then let go of him, he turned so that he could see the whole group of them before beginning to talk.
"Just to warn you, the truth in this case is far stranger than what you're going to expect it to be." It was probably even stranger than what a she-male hyena shapeshifter would have come up with on the first ten or twenty tries. "And this is going to be a long story, so is there someplace we could go and sit down. I mean like at a table, and not back into the bedroom because it's been a really long time since I've been drunk enough to wake up with someone I didn't remember starting off the night partying with."
Something about what he had said in that last bit set wrong with the crowd. He saw Hector shoot Lillian a brief questioning look, who in turn, mouthed that there was no evidence of that kind of activity. Whatever that kind of activity was.
"The waiting room out front might work best," Latino guy spoke up.
"Lots of chairs in there," Hector confirmed. "And it's right around the corner."
The group made its way further down the block corridor, passing more doors that probably contained more bedrooms and supply closets. Hopefully one of them contained a toilet, since that was something that would become an issue before too long. They made one more turn and Xander got a look at what seemed to be the waiting room. Then he got a look at himself in what was probably the shiny part of a one way mirror, and everything began to fall apart.
"Shit. Fuck. Merde. Fuck, Fuck, Shit, Merde," he began, as he started to put a lot of little pieces together. The way everything seemed to be six inches shorter than it was supposed to be. The return of nighttime fantasies for the first time in a long time. A little part of his brain provided the voiceover done in perfect Giles-speak. 'Time distortion in unstable dimensional portals is not an uncommon occurrence. Although the subjects in those cases normally show signs of forward aging, there have been reported cases of what is best described as backward aging.'
No. He couldn't go through that part of his life again. No fucking way. He just couldn't, especially what with knowing how long it got worse before it got better again. He had to get away from it, had to get away from that place. He needed space and air and to chase something and kill something. That would make him feel better again. And all he had to do was let the hyena out of himself and it would all get better. All he had to do was to let go of it all.
He screamed. He could feel the hyena trying to push itself of it body, and it damn hurt. His arms and legs ached as they tried to bend in ways the human arm and leg wasn't designed to, and he crumpled to the ground. He could feel the bones in his pelvis try to reshape themselves, and the twisting of bones in his neck as his spine tried to morph into something that supported the rest of his body entirely differently. Worst of all was his empty eye socket. It was worse than when Caleb had hurt him that first time. Now it felt like someone was driving nails into what was left of his eye socket. Even his fingernails hurt, and it was bad enough that it was the number two pain after his eye as claws tried to force themselves out of his finger tips. As claws actually did force themselves out of his fingers. What had been a metaphysical hyena back when was now showing up as very very real.
"Easy there, it's going to be okay. You're going to be okay," Narcissus said. Xander could feel him down on the floor next to him, could feel Narcissus pushing his shirt up and wrapping arms around Xander's torso.
"Hurts," he managed to croak. Because even if the touch did send the hyena part of him into some sort of little happyland, it didn't really do much for the increasingly excruciating pain his physical body felt.
"I can help you if, dang, you're going to be strong one when you grow up." As Narcissus spoke, it was like Xander felt something brush against his face. "I can help make the pain go away if you let me in, and don't fight me."
"Help me," he managed as the pain in his eye grew even worse.
"Let go of everything. Don't fight the hyena, and don't fight me, even though it's going to get worse before it gets better."
"Understood," he managed to gasp through a throat that was starting to have trouble with human sounds.
Narcissus was right, it did hurt all over again. The parts of him that had been trying to bend one way felt like they were rebroken and reassembled into another form. His hands burned as the claws retreated back into his fingertips. The pain in his eye remained at nail gun level. But then finally it was over, and in the few seconds he had before he passed out again, he was amazed at just how good he felt underneath the tiredness.