Do You Believe in Magic?
Title: Xander's Imaginary Friends
Pairing: none yet, eventual canon pairings
Summary: A young Xander makes some very special friends.
Spoilers: Complete series for all 3 shows.
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xena the Warrior Princess, Hercules the Legendary Journeys, or their characters. I also do not own anything else that has trademarked names in this story.
Author's Note: This is my first story. Constructive criticism is welcome and encouraged.
Notes: *points up* whoever was so kind as to nominate me for an award, thank you! I certainly didn't expect it and I'm filled with warm fuzzies! :)
Do You Believe in Magic is a song by the Lovin' Spoonful.
And one more: I'm am very sorry for taking so long to update, here's a quick explanation: wasn't sure how to write this chapter, didn't have time to work on it (I work in retail, Christmas time is uber busy) there was a death in the family, another family member had a stroke, and I'm exhausted. But I'm back on track! :)
This is my version of the Witch, I'm not sure how y'all will take the way I wrote it, but I'm experimenting. Hope you enjoy it anyway :)
Xander was sitting at the table with his father while his mother prepared breakfast. He was busy trying to finish a worksheet for his math class and his father was reading the newspaper when a sparkle of light appeared next to the table.
Tony lowered a corner of his paper and grunted a hello to the god that had just arrived.
Jess looked over her shoulder and smiled, “Good morning Ares, would you like some blueberry pancakes?”
With a slow blink at the surprisingly warm greeting, Ares agreed to have breakfast with the Harris family.
The pancakes, bacon, and toast were quickly distributed. Jess swatted at her son with a towel and he quickly shoved his homework on the floor and tucked into his food with zeal.
“So what’s up Arie?” he asked around a mouthful of food.
“Apparently not your ability to chew with your mouth closed.” The Greek sneered.
The teen just grinned and continued to eat.
“Just popped in to arrange time to train your parents.”
“Oh, right.” Jess and Tony shared a look. “I uh, I suppose anytime after work is alright?” Jess answered hesitantly.
“Except Mondays, I have a meeting that night.”
“Right” Jess cheerfully agreed. “Except Mondays.”
Ares nodded. “Someone will be here to train you once you get home from work. Do what they say; they know what they’re talking about.”
The elder Harris’ nodded their agreement, both looking forward to and dreading their training sessions with the gods.
“So, honey,” Jess said turning to her son, “Anything special planned today?”
“Mmgrhg.” He said, swallowing quickly at the glares he got from the other three. “Not really,” he repeated. “Buffy wants to try out for cheerleading and me and Willow are goina go support her and all that.”
“Right.” His father snorted. “It has nothing to do with a gym full of barely dressed girls.” He paused. “Way to go son.”
Xander blushed a deep red while the adults chuckled at his discomfort. “Anyway,” he said, desperately trying to make them stop. “I got Buffy a good luck charm thing, you think that’s a good idea?”
“That depends on what it is, sweetie.” His mother answered.
“Oh,” he pulled a bracelet out of his pocket. “I found it at the thrift shop the other day, it was three dollars.” He held the bracelet out to his mother proudly.
Jess gingerly took the piece of jewelry and turned it around in her hands. On the back was engraved ‘yours always.’ She frowned slightly at that, but smiled up at her son as she handed it back. “It’s lovely Xander, and I’m proud that you’re letting her know of your interest, and if it doesn’t work, you can claim it’s a friendship thing.”
Xander accepted the bracelet, but kept his eyes on the table. “You really think so?”
“I do. Are you all set for school?”
“As ready as I’ll ever be,” her son sighed.
“Good, now Ares, keep him safe! We’ll see you both later.”
Xander collected his book bag and the two left for the high school.
“You’re doing a brave thing kid.” Ares said after several minutes of silence.
“Admitting to a girl that you’re interested, it’s a brave thing.”
“Well,” Ares replied with a shrug. “For a mortal it is.”
Once school was over, Xander sat on the steps leading to the basement with his mother while Ares helped his father learn the basics of self defense. Xander took the time to fill his mother in on the events of the day.
“It was so weird mom, one minute Amber’s doing all these weird flip things and the next she’s on fire! They ended up canceling the try outs… and Buffy didn’t get a chance to go yet.” He frowned at that, upset that he didn’t get to see how flexible the blonde was.
“What did Mr. Giles have to say?”
“Researchy stuff. Ask questions; see if something like this has happened before. I don’t think it has though. I mean me and Willow, we’ve been going to school with these people forever, wouldn’t we have noticed if they caught on fire?”
Jess gave her son an odd look. “Honey, not everything that goes on in this town is talked about, or have you not noticed how Jesse has only been dead for a little while, yet no one speaks of him?”
That brought Xander’s train of thought to a sudden halt. He stared in shock at his mother. “Wow, you’re right. I hadn’t thought about that.”
Jess laughed and bumped her shoulder against her son’s. “I do tend to be right about some things. How are Buffy and Mr. Giles taking to you and Willow helping?”
“They seem thrilled to have Willow’s computer help.” Xander sighed. “Not so thrilled with me, but at least they aren’t completely pushing me out or anything!”
“That is good.” She watched her husband sparring with Ares for a moment. “You’ll be careful though?”
“Yes Mom. There is always a God in yelling distance, and if not, I won’t do any fighting, I’ll curl up on the floor and scream for Buffy… or you and Dad.”
“Good. I can’t help worrying about you, it’s a Mom thing.” She paused again, unsure how to broach the next topic. Sighing, she plunged ahead. “How did Buffy like the bracelet?”
Her son grinned. “I think she liked it a lot! She smiled and everything. It was nice.”
Jess smiled and patted her son on his knee. “I’m happy for you, definitely a step in the right direction.”
The next day Xander trudged into the house after school. Jess looked up from the sword she was polishing and was immediately on guard because of the look on her son’s face.
“Xander? Honey, what happened?”
He sighed and plopped onto the couch next to her, careful of the sharp blade in her hand. “Is there a cure for putting your foot in your mouth?”
“Not that I know of… What happened?”
“They finished up cheerleading tryouts. Buffy and Amy are alternates and I didn’t know what that meant, but it upset them when I congratulated them.”
“Well, they have to start somewhere, and as long as they’re alternates, they can only move up, not down. Wait, who’s Amy?”
“Oh, Amy Madison, she’s a friend of Willow’s.”
“Madison?” Jess thought for a moment. “Catherine Madison?”
Xander looked up, “You know Amy’s mom?”
“Yeah, she was a freshman when I was a senior. She was a real witch, but she was good for the cheerleaders. It must be tough having a mom who’s a legacy like that.”
Xander nodded. “Amy is always complaining that she’s not good enough for her mom. It’s kinda sad.”
Jess turned a stern look towards her son, “Before you even start thinking it, you are always good enough for your father and I. Sometimes we’re not good enough for you, but only very rarely.”
The two share a smile and sit together on the couch in silence.
The following morning Xander was a bundle of nervous energy as he bounced in the kitchen, trying not to get in his mother’s way.
Having had enough of his hyperactivity, Tony snapped. “Sit down Xander.”
His son sat, and immediately began jiggling his leg and playing with his fork.
“Do you have something you would like to share?” Tony asked, trying to remain calm.
“Um, yeah, I think… I think I might ask Buffy out today, you know. Maybe see what Willow thinks first, she’d back me up, don’t you think? I’m nervous, am I supposed to be nervous? I don’t want to be nervous. I hope she says yes…”
A large hand covered his mouth, cutting him off.
“Thank you, Ares.” Tony said with a smile, he turned back to his son. “Yes, it is normal to be nervous, I hope she says yes too, but you need to calm down or the only thing you’ll do is puke before you can get any words out.”
“Eww!” Xander scrunched up his nose. He pulled Ares’ hand away from his mouth and glared at the god. “I’m better now. Meany.”
The god raised an eyebrow, “Someone had to shut you up. You’ll be fine, just remember to breathe, you don’t want to pass out, do you?”
“Uh… no…” Xander took a couple deep breathes. “Ok, I’m good. I can do this. Yep. All is good. Right… Someone point me to the school?”
Ares rolled his eyes, “I’ll make sure he gets there. Don’t forget that we’re training tonight.” He called over his shoulder to the elder Harris’.
That night found Xander once again sitting on the basement steps. This time he was watching both of his parents do their best to hit Ares with a stick and Eris was sitting next to him, heckling the three on the floor.
When she finally grew bored, she turned to her young friend. “So, I hear you’ve been having an interesting time at school. Something about cheerleaders and fire… sounds like my kind of fun really.”
“Risy!” Xander groaned.
Eris huffed. “It’s true. So, any new developments? And how did asking the Slayer out go?”
“How did you know about that?” was the suspicious question as Xander glared at his friend.
“Oh? Didn’t you know? We keep a bulletin board up on Olympus to let everyone know what you’re doing. We’re considering putting in a big screen TV but haven’t completely worked out the logistics yet”
“You can’t be serious.”
“Well, no. Not really. We have a seeing mirror set up so we can check in on you whenever we want.” She leaned in and lowered her voice. “And he may not look like it, but Ares is a huge gossip.”
Xander stared at her, causing her to cackle.
“So, what happened?”
“If you have this mirror thing, don’t you already know?”
Eris rolled her eyes. “That’s not the same as hearing you tell it, and actually, no. I was off causing some… discord in the world. It’s a tough job you know, but someone has to do it.”
She bumped his shoulder with hers, “So how did asking the Slayer out go?”
A depressed sigh was her answer. “It didn’t, she got distracted by Cordy. Which led to more weirdness with this witch thing.”
Eris gestured for him to continue.
“It was just… weird. Cordy went blind, her eyes were all white and she couldn’t see anything. She was freaked out big time. But we figured out that the witch is probably Amy, ‘because she wants to be a cheerleader so bad for her mom. Giles found a spell thing to figure out if it was her. We got the stuff together in class and Buffy managed to pour this goo on her and it turned blue.”
They were both silent. “What does the blue mean?” Eris finally asked in frustration.
“That she’s our witch. Right after that we found out she took away Lishanne’s mouth. But I don’t get it; she looked just as freaked out as the rest of us. Didn’t make any sense.”
“That is unusual.” Eris conceded with a thoughtful face. “Maybe Hecate will know something about it; I’ll ask when I see her next. What are you guys going to do now?”
The teen shrugged. “Not sure. I think Buffy and Giles are going to go talk to Mrs. Madison, but me and Willow aren’t included in that.”
“Don’t worry about that too much.” Eris said, gently patting his shoulder. “From what we’ve learned, very few Slayers had friends and even fewer Watchers had anyone other than the Council to call on for help. You’ve thrown poor Rupert for a loop.” She grinned wickedly. “I love that.”
Xander grinned back. “Anything to make you happy Risy.”
The next evening Xander came home before the sun set. Long before the basketball came should have been over. His parents were sitting in the living room talking with Ares, Eris, and another god.
They all smiled in greeting as Xander settled onto the couch next to Eris.
“How did it go?” Jess asked.
He sighed. “It was weird. Turned out that Amy was her mom, her mom really was a witch and wanted to be a cheerleader again and was slowly taking out her competition. She got to Buffy this morning, but Giles managed to figure it all out and fix it all before the game was over. So I came home.”
“Well,” Tony said after a while, “that was brief.”
Ares’ lips twitched, he turned to Xander and indicated the unknown god. “Xander, this is Hecate. She is the goddess of magic and witchcraft; we thought she could answer your questions.”
“It’s just… vampires were bad enough, but now witches? What next? Werewolves?”
Hecate raised an eyebrow. “You call a number of mythological gods friends, yet think that witches are a bit of a stretch? That’s just silly.”
“Okay…” was the slow reply. “You’re right.” Xander closed his eyes and took a deep breath. When he reopened them, he was slightly calmer. “So witches exist. Giles could do magic, is he a witch?”
“Rupert is a bit of a dabbler, or was in his younger days. I can’t say I entirely approved of his… choices, but humans tend to do what they want.”
“Wait, you were there? But how, everyone else only just woke up!”
Hecate smiled serenely. “Some of us did not fall entirely into the Twilight. Hades didn’t, he was needed to oversee the dead. I didn’t, because witches still prayed to me, I am much stronger now, but I have always been around.”
“Oh, that musta been lonely.”
“It was.” She cleared her throat. “Anything else you would like to know?”
“Is it all bad? I mean, Mrs. Madison used it to get what she wanted, she hurt people with it.”
“No, not all magic is bad. It’s all based on intent; Catherine wanted to be young again and didn’t care about the consequences.”
Xander nodded. “Do you know where she is now? She disappeared after Buffy blocked her spell with a mirror.”
“She’s contained for now, in the one place where anyone who looks at her will be reminded of what she did for your school.”