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 Twinkies.
Author's Note: This is my first story. Constructive criticism is welcome and encouraged.
The children’s section of the Sunnydale Library was eerily quiet; it put Janey instantly on edge. She quickly walked to the reading corner, afraid of what she would find.
What awaited her was a pleasant surprise. Curled up on the listening rug, fast asleep, were Xander and his best friend Jesse McNally. She looked up to see Anneliese, the volunteer reader, smiling at her.
“They fell asleep halfway through Peter Rabbit.” She whispered. “Jesse’s parents should be here soon. I vote we let them sleep until then.”
With a nod of agreement, Janey moved to help Anneliese reshelve some books.
“I’ve never known Xander to sleep through story time. That boy loves to be read do.”
Janey grinned and whispered back, “I know, but he wore himself out at the park.”
“Ah, that explains it.”
“Yeah, hopefully I’ll be able to keep him occupied for the rest of the day.”
The other woman snorted quietly, “Just give him a book.”
Xander’s aunt rolled her eyes. “Tell me about it. It’s the easiest way to distract him.”
They both looked up at the snort from the door and saw Jesse’s parents smiling at them.
“I see you didn’t have any problems today.” Mr. McNally said.
“None at all,” Anneliese answered. “They sat down, talked and laughed with the other children. They all laid down to hear the story and the next thing I know, Jesse and Xander are sound asleep.”
Mrs. McNally smiled indulgently, “As much as I hate to wake them up, we do need to get going.” She knelt down next to her son and gently shook his shoulder. “Jesse, sugar, it’s time to get up.”
Jesse slowly opened his eyes and smiled at his mother as he rubbed the sleep out of his yes. He turned to Xander and poked to his side. “Xan, Mama, Dad, and Miss Janey are here.”
Xander mumbled and rolled over. Jesse scowled at him and poked again.
“Xan! Mama brought a Twinkie!”
The other boy shot up, looking around wildly, “Twinkie?” he asked groggily.
The adults laughed while Jesse smiled and shook his head. “Sorry Xan, it was the only way to wake you up.”
“No Twinkie?” Xander pouted.
“No Twinkie.” His friend confirmed.
“That was mean.” Xander stated.
“OK.” The two boys hugged and all was forgiven.
“Time to go?” Xander asked.
“Yes it is,” Mrs. McNally said. “Come on Jesse, say goodbye.”
“Bye Xan! Bye Miss Janey! Bye Miss Anna!”
“Bye Jesse!” the three chorused as the little boy was led out by his parents.
Xander turned to his aunt. “Is it time to clean up the big people area?”
“Yes it is. All ready to go?”
“Yep!” Xander exclaimed. “Bye Miss Anna, see you later.”
Bye Xander, Bye Janey,” Anneliese replied.
The two entered the reference section and Janey shook her head in dismay.
“Messy,” Xander said, voicing her thoughts.
“Very,” she agreed. “You would think adults would be able to clean up after themselves.” She helped Xander get settled at a table. “Do you have anything specific in mind for today or do you want a surprise?” She asked her nephew.
“Surprise!” shouted the boy.
Janey gave him a pointed look.
“Oops.” He looked down at the table, “I forgot to be quiet.”
“That’s alright kiddo, just be careful from now on.”
He nodded vigorously, “I will.”
His aunt smiled and turned to find a book. Returning a few minutes later, she presents Xander with a book. “How about this one?” She asked. “It’s called A Visual Guide to Greek Gods*.”
Holding the book just out of reach, Janey asked, “What’s the magic word?”
Xander sighed, “Please may I have the book?”
“Yes you may.” Janey handed the boy the book. “Now, you read for a bit while I work. Call if you need me.”
Already distracted with flipping through the book, Xander nodded.
Xander flipped through the book until he came upon a picture of a dark haired woman wearing black, form-fitting leather. The caption under the image read ‘Eris, Goddess of Discord. The twin sister of Ares, God of War, page 57.’
//Page five seven.// Xander thought as he flipped back to find it. //six zero, five nine, five eight, five seven!//
There, on page five seven, was a picture of a man very similar to Eris. Dark hair, black leather, sword, and a goatee. The caption read ‘Ares, God of War. The twin brother of Eris, Goddess of Discord, page 81.’
A frown crossed the boy’s face as he flipped between the two pictures. //They look sad. Why is that?// he wondered. He marked the pages with some scrap paper so he could remember to ask Janey would she returned. Until then, he continued flipping through the rest of the book.
Janey returned a few hours later after finishing with the books. Sliding into the chair next to Xander’s she looked at his book seeing a map of Greece.
“How’s it going kid?”
Xander smiled up at her. “Pretty good Aunt Janey, but I’m confused.”
“Confused about what?”
Turning to a marked page, Xander pointed at a picture, turned to another page and pointed at another picture.
“These two people look sad. Why are they sad?”
Janey pulled the book to her and studied one image, then the other. Her nephew waited quietly while she flipped through the book and read a few sections.
“The Greek gods,” she started slowly “use to be the main pantheon in the ancient world.”
“What’s a panty on?”
She smiled, “A pantheon is what we call a group of gods from a certain region or group of people.”
“These gods had a lot of power and followers. It was the followers, the believers, which gave the gods their power. One day, a new religion was started. It was called The Way. Somehow this religion spread really fast. It turned devout followers against their chosen gods. With fewer believers the gods fell asleep. No one was feeding them power anymore.”
Xander stared at her while chewing on his bottom lip.
“What would wake them up?” he asked.
Janey sighed, “I’m not sure.” She flipped a few pages and came upon a picture of an altar. “I suppose if someone set up an altar and left offerings and prayed the gods might wake up.”
Her nephew studied the image intently. From his perspective it was a table covered with food, flowers, statues, and all sorts of shiny, sparkly things. With a sharp nod he reached over and closed the book.
Smiling up at Janey he asked, “Is it time to go?”
Janey smiled back, “Let me put this book up and we can go.” After putting the book away, Janey lifted her nephew and carried him out of the library. Looking up, she saw they had a couple hours of daylight left.
“What would you like for dinner tonight?”
“Pizza!” shouted the four year old.
“What a surprise. And what would you like on the pizza?”
“Hammie and pie apple!”
“Pineapple and ham it is.” Janey confirmed, feeling proud that she had corrupted her nephew to the joy of Hawaiian style pizza.
*As far as I know this book does not exist... if it does, I want a copy.