20 In Which A Pledge Is Made
Xander eased the door open and realized what he was doing, snorted at himself and entered normally. Can't sneak into a house full of Immortals. He wished Oz had come with him, but the were had headed back to Giles place. He seemed to think that they needed the Twins permission before he moved in with them. Any other time, Xander might have spared a thought or two to how fast they were moving, but frankly, they'd known each other for years, they liked and respected each other, and quite frankly, the hyena and the wolf weren't going to leave them alone. Xander sighed. It would be nice to have someone of his own. And he could offer understanding for Oz's animal instincts and vice versa. In time, they could love each other. The like and the passion were already there.
"Alexander?" Delvin's voice asked.
"It's me? Did I wake you?" he asked the voice.
Delvin's body and face joined his voice coming down the stairs. "No, I was waiting."
"Sorry, I didn't know..."
"It's fine," Delvin said. "Are you angry with me?"
The Quickening. With the Primal and Oz and the confusion, Xander had nearly forgotten what had started it.
"No," he began slowly. "I'm not angry, but I am confused. Why did you do that?"
Delvin nodded. "Lets go to the kitchen and get you some coffee or something and I'll explain."
Xander followed his Teacher into the kitchen and sat while Delvin prepared a chocolate mocha for him and a plain coffee for himself. When they both had they're respective drink, Delvin began.
"First off, are you alright and is your friend alright? Is the hyena back under control?"
"I'm fine, Oz is fine, the hyena is...well, she's not trying to control me. I think we've worked out a deal. She didn't appreciate the entrance of yet another being into what she considers her home and it enraged her, but she's calmed and I think we're starting to merge. She agrees that we'll be stronger if we do. She has Claimed Oz as her mate, and his wolf has accepted that Claim. He and I have decided to see if we could have something together, and wanted to discuss him moving in so we can be together. Your turn," said Xander, hoping that that wasn't really babble.
A faint smile touched Delvin's lips. "I have no objection to Oz moving in with us. I don't know him very well, but what I've seen and heard of him has impressed me. His presence here cannot interfere with your training, however." He waited for Xander to nod before drawing a deep breath. "Now for the explanation on my part. Alexander, if I had said, come take his head, would you have done it? Could you have?"
"No," Xander said, faintly.
"I saw the relief in your eyes when I "let" you go kill demons instead, and while I understand, that is something that will end in your final death. You will NOT be able to live long without taking heads, unless you plan to live all your life on holy ground. The challenge was made to YOU, YOU were winning when the demons interrupted, the Quickening was, by rights, YOURS. You needed to know what it was like to subsume a Quickening, to feel that life-force trying to overwhelm yours. Granted I wasn't at all prepared for the primal's reaction, but as yours is a unique situation, I think I'll forgive myself for that.
"I could have taken the Quickening myself, but...I don't think you realize what it means to have survived as long as I have. I have taken so many...I can take more, but I'd rather not. Not to say that I won't, but my style and my knowledge won't be affected much. You, on the other hand, will profit from these foolish headhunters' death for the next hundred years. You'll find, the next time we spare, that you have a few new moves. Nothing drastic, but something to help you. Sometimes you will learn whole new languages. And best of all, you get to live another day. Don't think that's something to sneeze at, Alexander. Immortality can be a wonderful thing, but not if you let the guilt of killing in self-defense rob you of that. The Hellmouth won't shield you forever. Atwater was an aberration. You likely won't see another Immortal here for years. But you HAVE to be prepared, just in case. Next time, I won't make the final blow. You'll have to. Do you see why I did what I did now?"
Xander shivered. He hated the picture that Delvin painted of his new life. But, "Yeah, I get it. But, Delvin?"
"I don't have to like it, right?" Xander's voice was small as he stared into mug as though it was the bottomless well that he'd just dropped his wallet into, and he hated the lost quality in his voice, but what could he do? Delvin would only be there for so long. Eventually he'd realize how hopeless Xander was and leave. He couldn't do this alone.
He didn't hear Delvin move, but he flinched when the strong arms wrapped around him from behind.
"No, copilul meu," Delvin said softly. "You never have to like taking a life, but you must not allow the hatred of the act stop you from living. Challenge will come, it is unavoidable, but like the demons you kill, you must realize that headhunters have become addicted to killing their own. They are not good people and would gladly kill you. And I would rather you live than they."
"I don't think I can do this," Xander whispered. "I don't think I can BE this."
"linişte, micuţule," Delvin said fiercely, pulling Xander to his feet. He tilted Xander's face to make him meet his eyes. "You can, and you are. You are a fighter. You understand kill or be killed. Think of us as demons if you must but do not do this to yourself, Alexander. I will not let you fail. I will not abandon you if you falter. When I became your teacher, you became my student, and in four-thousand years, I have only lost one student."
Xander was silent, and Delvin stared at him for a moment. Xander didn't know what the ancient Immortal saw, but he found himself wrapped in those arms again, wondering if this was what a father's touch felt like. Hesitantly, he returned the hug, feeling safe for the first time in a while. He didn't know what Delvin was saying, but he listened anyway and was comforted.
"Nu te voi abandona acestei vieţi niciodată, copilul meu. Voi fi acolo pentru tine atâta timp cât trag suflare.."
AN: Hey, I figure Xander was due for a bit of a break-down. He's been handling this a little too well.
Edited note. It was pointed out to me that my Romanian was terrible, and I was given some more accurate phrasing. Thank you very much and any additional help would be lovely.
copilul meu--my child
linişte, micuţule--quiet, little one
Nu te voi abandona acestei vieţi niciodată, copilul meu. Voi fi acolo pentru tine atâta timp cât trag suflare.---I will never abandon you to this life, my child. I will be here for as long as I draw breath.