Children of Destiny
-I'm still alive! And still writing!-
“Wait a sec,” Dawn was almost hyperventilating. “My Key-ness is back?”
“No,” Katherine hastened to reassure her, “No, believe me, the attributes of the Key are not back. The PTB are stupid, but they’re not suicidal.” She halted for a brief moment. “Huh, I almost expected there to be a sudden booming of thunder, maybe a lightning flash to strike me dead…” snickers rose around the room; the mutant shrugged. “Anyway, you don’t have to worry about your blood activating any interdimensional portals any more, Dawn. The ability to form portals is no longer linked to your blood.”
Dawn frowned, her mind racing. No longer linked to her blood…what was the young woman trying to tell her? No longer linked to… “I can open portals?” the teenager’s voice rose to an extremely high pitch, and several people cringed.
“WHAT?!!?” Several people shouted. Katherine’s eyebrows rose as Buffy, Willow, Giles and Dawn all began babbling.
“Are they always like this,” the mutant asked Xander over the confusion. The young man smirked and nodded in reply. “Remind me not to introduce Dawn to Jubilee,” Katherine told him. “The mansion would spontaneously combust with those two in it.” His grin was answer enough. “By the way, Xander, have you thought about what I just told Dawn?” The one-eyed man looked at her in confusion. “I thought not. Remember what I said about the PTB activating abilities linked to your personal history?” He nodded. “Think, Xander. What abilities might possibly be lying dormant in you?” His expression was blank for a moment, then paled.
“Oh, crap.” The others in the room quieted as they noticed the expression on their friend’s face. “I’m still the Powers’ buttmonkey,” Xander groaned, slumping in his seat. “So, question: is it the Soldier or the Hyena?” Sounds of horror filled the room as the others caught on to what was happening.
“Um,” Katherine smiled hesitantly, “Both?”
“Crap,” Xander said again, his voice filled with defeat. Katherine winced slightly as waves of distress and fear hit her. "So..." Xander dragged the word out slowly. "When are the Asses That Be going to give me these abilities?"
The mutant rubbed her hands together slowly, trying to ignore the fact that she was starting to get a headache from the emotions swirling through the room. "Well...ah...you already have them." Xander froze, his brown eye wide. "All of us in our little group got the upgrade at the same time, Xander," Katherine tried to explain hurriedly. "The abilities are there, they just haven't manifested themselves. Dawn, your abilities are definitely present and working...you probably didn't notice, but Xander's door was locked, and you just walked right in. Did you even hear it unlock when you turned the handle?" The teenager stared at her in confusion, but several of the Scoobies were looking at Dawn in sudden horrified realization. "You're a mystical Key," Katherine spoke bluntly. "You open every kind of doorway, portal, entrance, exit, and gateway in existence and out of existence. I suggest yelling before you go into any room, because locks no longer work for you. I rather doubt that you want to walk in on someone making out, or worse."
"What about me?" Xander demanded. "I'm pretty sure I would have noticed if the Hyena was showing up inside my head. Even Soldier Guy has a pretty damn strong presence, which I am so
Katherine struggled to contain a smirk. "Tell me, Xander, what was Buffy doing before we were rude enough to interrupt everyone's evening?" The young man gave her an odd look. "Just guess," the mutant encouraged.
Xander cast a confused look at the petite Slayer in question; Buffy looked decidedly uncomfortable with the conversation all of a sudden, he noted. He drew in a deep breath, ready to ask what was going on; he froze, then inhaled deeply once more. What was
that smell? Smelled...delicious; spicy, with a hint of tang...Xander's entire body seized up as his eyes locked in on the eldest Slayer. "Buffy?" He was slightly embarassed to note the high pitch of his voice. "Were you..." Slayer reflexes kicked into high gear as the small blond woman slapped a hand over his mouth.
"If the PTB expect to keep their champions healthy and with all body parts intact," Buffy smiled with venomous sweetness, "You will not finish that thought, much less that sentence." Xander briefly contemplated licking her hand just to shock her into removing it from his face...self-preservation kicked in with all the strength of a Slayer, causing him to almost bite his own tongue in two. Buffy glared at him for a long minute, then slowly released him so he could breathe.
"Um," he breathed in another spicy-scented air and almost choked at the images that sprang to mind. Bad thoughts, bad brain, evil, evil
Katherine! "She was, um, exercising...with...swords..." He clamped his eyes shut at the dirty thoughts that swamped him, and he knew
swords were phallic symbols, but, really, did his brain have to bring that up just then? "She smells, sweaty, and, and," he gulped at the glare from Buffy, "And she smells like that polish rag that Giles uses to clean the swords!"
There was a brief moment of silence. "Buffy was practicing with...a sword...in her bedroom," Willow repeated, her tone slightly skeptical, eyebrow cocked slightly in amusement. Xander gritted his teeth in a bare approximation of a smile and nodded. There was a small snort of amusement from someone in the room, but when Buffy whirled around to pinpoint the source, everyone looked innocent. Too innocent.
"So, I smell really well," Xander blurted out, desperate to return to the previous topic and away from what Buffy had been doing in her bedroom...Ahem. Katherine gave him a grin, but was willing to help out, despite the fact that she'd started the mess in the first place.
"Your senses are heightened, yes," she nodded. "You are, for all intents and purposes, a feral mutant."
"Like a werewolf?" Willow piped in, all teasing pushed aside for the moment. "Except, a hyena?"
Katherine shook her head firmly. "No, feral mutants are not linked to the lunar cycle in any way, and very few actually shift forms. I am, to a very
minute extent, feral; that is, I have access to an animal frame of mind, with animal instincts and animal desires. But, that access is very weak. I barely register above the norms on the senses, and my animal instincts are about limited to acknowledging other ferals as alpha or beta, and to being extremely distracted by birds." Dawn giggled, and Xander cracked a grin. "I only really count as being feral because I have a carnivorous animal form." She paused. "Xander, however, is a true feral: you have the instincts, the desires of a hyena. You also have the abilities, or will once you've trained yourself with them. I would imagine the more you train with your feral aspects, the more your body will bear evidence of them."
"Your teeth will probably get sharper, your musculature will change slightly to accomodate a more canine strength, and your nails will probably get significantly harder." Xander settled slightly; that wasn't so bad. Katherine grinned and added, "And you may develop freckles and a wacky hair style. Many hyenas have spots, you know."
"Of course," Katherine added impishly, "Many other hyenas have stripes, instead. But I don't think the PTB would do that to you, Xander."