The circus was silent, people either sleeping or dead. It was a while before even Spike woke up. Xander stood before the wall of weapons that the slayers had made and grabbed an axe without a second thought. Then added a quiver of arrows and a high power modern bow, Buffy had hated it and gave it to him. He thought it was a great weapon to use here, in homage to Buffy. He wasn’t going to let her die in vain. Looking at the full length mirror that stood just to the left of the wall in true slayer style Xander smiled sadly. He looked like a killer, a person on a mission.
He was going to finish this, even if he died. The bond with Spike was as thin as he could possibly make it, he hoped that if he died Spike wouldn’t. Steeling his resolve Xander walked towards the main door and began his way up the stairs.
“I was wondering when you would be here.” Came the voice of Richard who stood at the top of the stairs trying to look intimidating.
“Move Dick, or I will make you move.” Xander said getting on equal footing with the man. For the first time Xander realized that he was the same height as the other man.
“Can’t let you leave here, sorry.” Richard shrugged, still blocking the path.
Xander sighed and looked at Richard in the eyes, the green sheen on them flickering to yellow in his rage. With shifter swiftness, mixed with the training he had put himself through he punched Richard square in the face, knocking the wolf into the large metal door. Within a second Xander was on top of him throwing him down the widely spaced steps behind him with ease.
As he listened to the wolf falling down the stairs he opened the outer door and stepped into the fading sun. Willow had foolishly told him where she sense the vampire/ wereanimal legion dwelling. He had agreed to wait until that night to act, but truthfully, he couldn’t not in sound mind. Staring down the cars in the lot he pressed the button on the keys he stole and was pleased to see a black truck light up with a loud beep.
When he had hoped in the cab, recognizing the smell of the Rat King Xander turned the ignition and listened to the purr of the truck before pulling out and heading in the direction of the group, only a few miles away from the wolf meeting place, like Willow had said.
The traffic was normal, and he sat in its flow feeling the same way he did before every battle, a little jumpy and wanting to chatter. Even if it was only to himself. When the traffic cleared he began to speed up slowly, never breaking above the limit but pushing it. He wanted to be as far off before anyone realized he was gone.
Spike woke suddenly, and felt through the link for Xander, but he was closed down tight. Dread sunk into his gut and he launched himself out of bed with the grace of a big cat. Asher seemed to jolt into life on the bed, sitting up just as quickly.
“What is wrong?”
“Xander, he’s gone to the fight.” Spike dragged a hand through his hair and stalked out of the room, and began making as much noise as possible.
“Get the fuck up!” he screamed kicking on doors and getting grumpy looks form slayers and shifters. When he finally made it to the main room there Richard lay unconscious and starting to stir.
“What is it Spike.” Quipped Giles from a doorway.
“The Whelp is gone.” He snarled and threw the closest thing near to him against the wall. The scoobies stared aghast, horror settling over their faces.
“He’ll die.” Said Faith in a pained mumble.
Spike roared, an inhuman sound that echoed off the walls.
Xander stood on the edge of the forest and breathed in and out trying to calm the boil of rage in him. He’d take as many of them down before he went down. The sun shone behind him, and he turned and lined up in hand beneath it, measuring two hand widths, two hours before compete darkness.
Two hours before all hell would fall upon him like a tidal wave. Smirking darkly he pulled his beast up and let the hunt fill his senses. His enemies would die.
Crouching behind a tree, Xander took in the monstrous size of the army and growled. Packs had gone missing it seemed, disappearing from around the country and he had found them.
“I shall free them.” Came a regal voice from within his head, and the lash of power greater than he could even imagine lashed out and furred bodies began to curl and turn human. Most turned, but some larger beasts turned to look right at him over the ocean of convulsing bodies.
“Show time.” Xander growled before jumping out a savage Hyena laugh ripping from him.
His axe met a beast midair and he slashed trying to incapacitate, but ended up killing the first, and the second. He wanted the kill, he wanted to rip them apart until no one stood. He moved in a flurry of movements, blurring from one to the next.
He knew there were too many, too many to hold off on his own. But he wouldn’t give up, on less beast was one less enemy. Then there was a flash that slowed the battle, for only but a second and a roar of female voices rose up, and the crackle of Willows magic swept the field in a torrent.
He was glad they were here, and also glad he had eliminated a good chunk of the enemy for them. They were of course, going to be angry with him but it was worth it he believed. Not many people could do what he did, hell he didn’t even do it. Fueled on by his now present friends her let loose a roar of fury and dove into the battle, axe flying as if it has a mind of its own.
The blur of the battle flew past him, fueling the fire that raged beneath his skin. Then the sun dipped, and a cold magic pours over the field and many of the furless bodies began to rise and meet it’s call. The vampire magic rolled and spread like a plague. Behind him, he heard the roar of his mate and it sent a chill down his spine and Xander threw his marks open. A tendril of happiness tickled threw the rage and joy of fighting but soon disappeared. Spike was happy that he was still breathing, but there would be hell to pay. Cutting through another animal Xander got his first eyeful of the vampire council standing together. Above the clatter of weapons and claws, a large roar rocked the battle field from a man ripping beast apart golden flames dancing around him. People were droppin and Xander was getting ever closer to the heads of the army. He would rip them apart and feed them to their own dogs.
When he got close enough, covered in mud and blood, some, which was his, own he yelled. “Hey bitch!” Regina snarled and snapped within him, teeth bared.
Dru turned to face him and he gritted his teeth angrily. She smiled and he felt her power plunge onto him and drum against his skull, but Regina was there bracing him for it. Running faster, feeling the sting of cracked and bruised limbs and ribs. The flaming man took down another vampire that jumped at him, another stopped harmlessly a few feet away from him and gestured him on, another wave of power swept the field aimed at the others who fell, moans and gasps of pleasure. Xander surmised that it was council members, the three who had come to visit him.
Jumping over a low striking animal Xander reached Dru and slashed at her, only to have her move like smoke. A growl burst from him mouth as he attacked, more and more, but she moved and swerved with grace. Then he smirked, Dru was still under this ‘mother’ and he had an idea.
“Hello, my dark princess.” He whispered, and the mother faltered a joyed expression coming over her features.
“Kitten.” She said in Dru’s wispy voice. But the coldness in her eyes returned and Xander had to dodge a fury of energy swipes. He could feel the warm stream of blood run down his left leg, but he didn’t give up, he couldn’t not with his friends fighting for their lives behind him.
“Do you honestly think you can take me down, filthy mortal.” Hissed a voice from Dru’s mouth.
“No, but I have a good chance.” Xander doudged another whip of energy and smiled. “Don’t you miss Ms. Edith Dru?” Xander swiped at the thin vampire.
“The stars.” Dru’s voice came back through, drawing out the word.
“Spike has her here.” Which wasn’t true, but ti was the best he could think of.
“My Spike is here?” The wispy voice was stronger, and the harshness in her eyes was fading to the fogginess of Dru’s eyes began to return.
“Yes, and so is your Daddy.” It felt weird calling Angelus that, but it happened to be true.
“You will not win human!” She snapped the hardness returned a little and Xander knew that it was almost time. So he called for Spike through the marks, he would tip the scales hopefully. The battle seemed to be dying down a bit, and both Spike and Angel were there and Dru’s eyes caught them, widening into the expression that Xander was used to.
But a yell came from her and energy burst from her knocking all three of them back by a few yards. Regina was getting angry, she knew that her vessel wanted to do it alone, but this being was going to fall. With a roar, that burst from Xander she threw her energy into him and urged him forward. He didn’t want to kill Dru, but it was what he could do to save the people he loved.
As he jumped forward time stretched and seconds turned into minutes, and he snapped the marks closed like a vault door. It hurt to close it so completely but he pushed against it to keep Spike from bursting through. The power that Regina poured into him filled him up and he felt it pushing him on. Ripping at her throat, he felt pain in his chest but pushed through it.
A power wave burst through the air, a back lash as Dru fell and her head rolled slightly away. The world was still slow, and the commotion was muffled, pain suddenly rocketed through his body. The world spun and came suddenly into focus, the fighting was quiet, just a few growls and crashes in the background. Xander felt the soggy grass against his cheek and a body under his chest. Breathing came in labored gasps and he clenched harder at the marks between Spike and himself.
“Xander!” he heard a voice, which was most definitely his Spike, but he couldn’t find the energy to roll, or even keep his eyes open.
“Don’t sleep!” yelled the voice, and Xander tried to push his eyes open, but even Regina was fading, a bare whisper in his mind.
“No, no, no, no, no, no, no.” He felt his body as if he was floating within it, not really connected as he was rolled. “Xander.” Came a pained whisper.
He wanted to open his eyes and smile up at that angular face, but he was so tired. His breathing wheezed in and out of his body, accompanied by the gurgle of something else with each breath.
Spike knelt over his lover trying to cover the gaping hole in his chest with his hands, even though his innards were bubbling out of the wound. It was horrible, the smell of blood and bile that rose from the wound. He looked over the battle, Angelus pulled Dru’s body away from Xander’s, though his eyes never left Xander’s chest.
“Red!” Spike yelled, voice cracking. “Red!” He felt his throat tighten. He couldn’t feel Xander at all, the marks were slammed shut, like he was hitting a steal wall. It wasn’t fair, that he had found Xander and now he was gone. He was finally his, and now he was fading.
“No!” Willow screamed as she came to kneel beside Spike he black hair fading red in an instant. “Goddess please,” he hair bleached white and she reached out a hand placing it on top of Spike’s trembling hands. She would save him, she had to.
“Please, Red.” Spike whimpered head hung low almost touching the blood that was drying around Xander.
Willow pushed what was left of her power into Xander and hoped it would work. She watched happily as the wound closed placing everything back where it was supposed to be, but Xander didn’t move. His breath was shallow and weak, but he wasn’t waking up.
“We should get him to the circus.” Angelus spoke, the voice of reason tearing through their worry and grief. “The slayers are getting clean up started, and council clean-up crews are appearing here soon. “ He continued.
“I’ll teleport us.” Willow rasped, but found she had drained herself to exhaustion. “I can’t, I’m too tired.”
“I’ll get Xander.” Spike scooped up the limp form and looked down at willows kneeling form.
“I’ve got her.” Angelus said picking up the exhausted and distraught witch. “Let’s get to the cars.”
Xander stood in the Magic Box, and he was confused. He was pretty sure this had sunk into the ground. Turning around slowly in circles it was exactly the same.
“Merciful Zeus, what is going on?” Xander whispered, not exactly sure why he had. Turning around again he found the front of the store had changed into a wooden door, and a dirt floor. Stepping up and towards the door he felt his bare feet sink slightly into the soft dirt.
Reaching towards the door he swung it open and the savannah lay in front of him. In the distance he saw a shade tree and headed there. He could hear things walking around him, and he continued to glance left and right trying to spot whatever it was but he couldn’t. The tall grass ended and the tree was still far off, but next to him stood a figure. Her dark skin and white painted face was not unfamiliar to him.
In his head a rough voice spoke gutturally “You who split the line.” She bared her teeth at him. “You tip the balance,” then the voice changed getting lighter and more American. “I miss you, Xander.” The dark woman faded to be replaced with Buffy, who looked healthy and happy.
“Buffy.” He gasped flinging his arms around her shoulders.
She hugged him back and laughed into his Hawaiian shirt. “Trust you to be in a ugly shirt , shorts and barefoot here.”
“I’m comfortable this way Buff.” Xander sighed into her hair.
“Yeah.” She pulled away and grabbed his hand. “We have to go this way. Come on.” She grabbed his hand and pulled him through the dry and cracked earth towards the tree. He followed happily; glad to see one of his girls again.
When the tree came into view under it lay a woman draped in silks and lounging on pelts. Xander took her in from head to toe and stepped forward a bit more.
“Alexander, come to me.” The milk and honey tone couldn’t be anyone but his piggy backer.
“Regina.” He sighed and came closer to her and sat down on the cushions that she motioned to, only to realize that Buffy was gone.
“Alexander, my vessel, you are weak. Close to death, it pains me so.” She sat up, and her yellow-green eyes flickered slightly. “My power is fading in you, but I could bring you back if you were to become a follower of me. This would not be much.” She held up and hand when Xander made a move to ask something. “It wouldn’t be much my dear, just an offering every full moon and a pledge to protect those who were pack.”
“Offerings?” Xander squeaked.
“Herbs, or meat.” Regina smiled. “A hunt in my honor. Your red witch could help you figure it out.” She waved her hand. “Time is short, splitter of the line, one who sees, answer my offer.”
“I accept.” Xander said without even a thought, he had grown attached to the primal goddess, and the motherly smile that spread over her face warmed him more than any of his own mother’s had, and just as much as Joyce’s had.
“I am very glad.” She lifted her left hand, which held a rod made of a bone and decorated with beads. “Now wake!” she shouted and hit him on the head with the staff.
Xander woke up lying in at bed, his bed. The beeping and whirring of machines made his ears pulse, and his eyes winced at the light that was on the bedside table.
“So bright.” He rasped in a dry whisper.
“Xander!” Spike’s ghastly face came into view. “You’re awake!”
“What time is it?” He grumbled.
“8pm.” Spike said as he buried his face into Xander’s shoulder.
“Wow I haven’t been out that long.” Xander quipped happily.
“Eight days is long pet.” Spike smiled as he pulled away.
“What’s the damage?” Xander croaked.
“That can wai-”
“Damage?” snapped Xander.
“Three wolves, a hyena, two rats, three vampires, and three slayers.” Spike said. “What ever you pulled help a lot pet, but don’t ever do it again.”
“Okay.” Xander sat up slowly and looked around. “Can I get some food?”
The days after Xander had woken up were filled with funerals and grieving. But also celebration and healing.
The scoobies plus St. Louis additions lounged in the main room, laughing a carrying on like they did after other apocalypses. Xander stretched like a cat between Asher and Spike.
The power vacuum created by the death of the mother had been filled quickly with Belle-Morte who took the head of the council, with Angelus stepping into another position. Life was better, at least until something reared its head like it was bound to.
No one thought of that, because they wanted to be happy at least for a few seconds, minutes or maybe even weeks. But they were on edge, waiting for something to hit the fan.