Title: Steel Knight (1/1)
Feedback: Please be gentle.
Distribution: Gimme credit and a link. Plus, archived at http://fanfiction.net/profile.php?userid=62966 or http://fanfiction.net/~cyclone
Rating: I'm gonna go say PG.
Spoilers: Up to Graduation and the Reign of the Supermen.
Disclaimer: The characters depicted herein belong to the almighty Joss and DC Comics. I'm just borrowing them for a while.
Summary: Xander's Kerouac trip takes him quite a bit farther than Oxnard. DC crossover.
Author's Note: Blame Tenhawk and cobra_7422000 for this. With Red & Gold, Tenhawk gave me the idea, and Cobra suggested how I could do it. Also, I'm far from familiar with the DCverse -- most of what I know comes from the Batman/Superman animated series and The Return of Superman graphic novel -- so bear with me. Also, familiarity with the Reign of the Supermen arc would be most beneficial to readers, since I'm only gonna skim that.
* * *
Xander slowed the car as he entered the city. Still scarred by the battle, the landscape was still a long way from recovery, but he could tell. People were rebuilding.
He shook his head. So different from Sunnydale. There, the fight was fought in shadows, but here... here, it was fought on Main Street and broadcast on the six-o'-clock news.
An involuntary shiver ran down his spine as he wondered what the world was going to be like now.
* * *
Xander looked around and checked the address. Yes, this was it.
He'd grown to appreciate Metropolis. The bustling... well, metropolis... was nothing like the small town of Sunnydale, and he'd done a little sight-seeing first. The Daily Planet. LexCorp Towers. Centennial Park. The battle site between Superman and Doomsday.
He shook off the thought and knocked on the door.
The door opened, and Xander looked up at the imposing black man at the door.
*Jesus!* he thought. *He's built like a freakin' mountain!*
"Uh, Henry Johnson, sir?" Xander asked tentatively, using the man's current name. From what Willow had told him, the man was... not very popular with his former employers. "My, um... I think my dad knew you, a long time ago. Uhh, his name's... Anthony Harris?"
The huge man frowned, and he looked around. "Tony's boy, huh?" He stepped back and said, "C'mon in."
Xander stepped in hurriedly. He did _not_ want to piss him off.
Closing the door, Henry Johnson -- once known as John Henry Irons -- turned and asked, "How'd you find me?"
Sticking his hands in his pockets, Xander shrugged, "My best friend's really good with computers."
"How is Tony doing, anyway?"
Xander deflated, "He's..." he paused, unsure how to put it, "...he drinks. A lot."
John grimaced and shook his head. "Sorry to hear that, kid. What's your name, anyway?"
"Xander," the Sunnydaler replied. "Xander Harris."
* * *
Xander smiled as he listened to John regale the three boys about his namesake's story. It was a good story. In the end, you didn't need superpowers to win.
Though they did help, obviously.
"Later, kids!" Xander waved as they hurried off.
He saw the car. He saw the huge gun.
Time seemed to slow as he spun and tackled Zoid, knocking the young boy out of the way. His back exploded in searing pain as the shot grazed him, and biting back a howl, he rose and looked around.
To his relief, John had gotten the other two out of the way.
Time accelerated again, and he looked down at Zoid, "You okay?"
"Y-yeah," Zoid said shakily.
Xander looked up and saw John launch himself after the car, and the young man followed.
*Man,* he thought when he saw John rammed against the wall. *That guy's tough as a Slayer.*
"John!" he called, rushing over and kneeling by him. "Jesus, you're hurt." The big man didn't respond, staring. Xander tracked his gaze.
It was a gun. The same big-ass gun that had nearly killed him.
And suddenly, as if summoned by the thought, the pain shot back, sending him to his knees.
"What's going on?" he demanded. "What the hell kinda gun is that?"
"It's a BG-80," John's face dropped, and he closed his eyes, remembering. "Your father and I used to work together, designing weapons for the government. The BG-80... it was gonna be our miracle gun. Someone sold prototypes for an earlier model, the BG-60, to the Quraci government; they slaughtered whole villages. That's when your father started drinking. We destroyed the prototypes and blueprints." He shook his head, "Looks like we missed some."
"Looks like," Xander nodded. Struggling to his feet, he said, "C'mon, we both need to get to the hospital."
With Xander's help, John got to his feet, then looked at Xander and asked, "Why'd you jump in like that, kid? You could've gotten yourself killed."
Xander shrugged, "It's what I do. I can't just stand by, y'know?"
"Yeah," the big man said thoughtfully. "I know."
* * *
Xander looked back at the burning building, "John!"
The Man of Steel caught his shoulder, "Don't worry, kid. He's fine."
Xander froze at that, then turned slowly, "John?" His face split into a smile, "Nice threads."
"Save it," Xander said. "I recognize your voice. If you can build one suit, you can build two. And you can do something about the voice. I'm not letting you out there on your own."
* * *
"That's the car," Xander said.
"The Sharks," John replied, his voice low.
Right now, they were hovering over Metropolis with the aid of their rocket boots.
Xander's suit was very different from John's. For one thing, it was a lot smaller, to match his own build. He had decided against wearing Superman's shield. He didn't have the connection to the legendary hero that John had.
Instead, he took the hammer as inspiration. Where John's suit had Superman's shield, his had a modified version, with the letter T where the S was. Decorative horns emerged from the helmet, and he'd also made a few other suggestions. Instead of rivet guns, he had pneumatic stake launchers, and the shaft of his hammer ended in a wooden stake. A stylized M decorated either side of the hammer's head.
With the suit, he was Thor, and Mjölnir was his hammer.
John had given him a strange look when he'd suggested the stakes, but Xander had been adamant about it. You never know when you're gonna run into a vampire, after all.
"We going in?"
"No, let's wait," the Man of Steel replied. "See where they're headed."
* * *
Xander pulled off his helmet, "The White Rabbit, huh? So, what? We off to Wonderland next?"
The Man of Steel did not reply.
* * *
"John?" Xander called.
"Got it covered, kid," came the reply over the scrambled radio frequency. "Just wait for me."
Xander looked up, watching as his... mentor vanished into the sky with the so-called Last Son of Krypton.
"You got it, man," he muttered. "Good luck cooling off that hothead." He crouched down, ready to take off.
He turned and straightened. "Miss Lane," he said, "can I help you?"
"Yeah," she said, "I'd like to talk to you. In private."
Under his helmet, Xander grinned. Picking her up gently, he rocketed away until he found a nice, isolated rooftop.
He landed and let her down, "So, Miss Lane, what would you like to talk about?"
"Your partner, for one," Lois said, folding her arms.
Xander shook his head, "Not my secret to tell, ma'am."
The reporter shook her head, "That's not what I mean. Listen, Thor, of all the Supermen in this town today, your partner's the only one I trust. He might not have the face or the powers, but he's got Superman's heart. I... just let him know that I believe in him."
Shaking his head again, Xander said, "He's not Superman, Miss Lane, and he never claimed to be. He wears that shield in Superman's memory, not to take his place."
"Maybe not," she said, "but he's doing better than any of the other pretenders to the throne." She turned away, then shot a look over her shoulder at him, "See ya 'round, Thor."
* * *
Three men and one teenager hovered over Metropolis. Two of the men wore suits of armor, and the other two needed no such things. The boy and two of the men wore the familiar shield on their chests, but the fourth man, one in a suit of armor, wore a variation.
"So, you're leaving?" Steel asked Thor.
The other armored knight nodded, "Yeah. I wanted to tell all of you at once. With the three of you here, Metropolis hardly needs a rookie like me, and the folks back home could use the help."
Superman -- the original and in remarkably good health for a man who was supposed to be dead -- rested a hand on Thor's shoulder, "If you ever need any help..."
Xander shook his helmeted head, "Don't sweat it, S-man. It's an easy fight there. Well, easier than around here, anyway. The stakes are just a little high."
* * *
Well, that was the easy part. Now I just need to figure out how much season four would change with Xander in a suit of powered armor...