An Explanation - of sorts
For those of you who felt the story was incomplete – which, in retrospect, it is -- sorry - hopefully, this fills in some holes.
Chapter 2 - Explanations, of sorts.
As the bus turned the corner, Xander dropped his hand to his side and sighed. He sent a quick prayer to whoever -good- was listening that Amy got to her father's safely. Turning, hands shoved deep into his pockets, he slowly made his way from the bus station to the school. The others were probably going to want an explanation of where he had gone and what he had done. He sighed softly to himself and tugged on the green over-shirt he wore, ensuring the battle ax was hidden from casual view. He knew that he shouldn't have brought it to the bus station, but no way was he leaving it at the Madison's. No telling what funky mojo might infect it.
“Think they'd believe she accidentally set her book on fire herself?” He shook his head, “No. Mrs. Madison was too smart for that.” He sighed again, shuffling his feet along the sidewalk. “Guess I'll have to tell the truth. I set it on fire.” A swift glance confirmed the street was empty and he glared at a leaf hanging from a branch above his head. As he watched, the leaf curled, blackened, and fell to the sidewalk as ash. “Well. Most of the truth, anyway.”
* * *
“So, exactly what did you do, Xander?” Rupert Giles sat across from the teens at the Library.
“I figures, if you were confronting Mrs. Madison here at the school that her spell book would be left unattended. So I went over to destroy it, burn it if I could. Unfortunately, Mrs. Madison, in Amy's body, had come home to look up something in her book. So, I created a diversion in the kitchen and when she ran to take care of that I took one of the lit candles and swoosh!” He thought for a moment, “It went up quicker than I expected.”
“Yes,” Giles nodded absently. “Since most spell books are usually only vulnerable to a specific medium, such as fire, they tend to be most susceptible to that medium.” At the blank looks, he sighed, “If fire is what destroys it, then it'll go up quick.”
Giles' lips twitch, “So, what happened next?”
“She tried to put the fire out with her hands. Burned them pretty bad. Once the book was destroyed she screamed and collapsed. I waited a bit and it was Amy who woke up. I bandaged her hands, helped her contact her dad, got her packed and saw her off at the bus station.”
“That was quick thinking, Xan,” Buffy grinned at him, thumping him lightly – for a Slayer – on the shoulder.
He suppressed a grimace, “Thanks. But, what happened when the spell ended? What happened to Amy's mom?”
The three exchanged looks. “Well. We're not exactly sure,” Buffy began.
“Mrs. Madison – who we thought was Amy -” Xander winced at that, he hadn't thought that with Amy back in her own body, Mrs. Madison would be back in hers as well, and within striking distance to his friends. “Suddenly started shrieking and cursing,” Willow blushed at the memory of some of the words used. “She glared at us, said we wouldn't stop her. That's she'd still be popular.”
Giles interjected, “She seemed quite unhinged. She attempted to cast a spell at Buffy. From some of the words I could understand, it appears she was trying the body-swap spell.”
“And?” Xander prompted when all three fell silent.
“I pulled the hallway mirror off the wall. You know, the half-circle one? The spell bounced off the mirror, hit her and ricocheted someplace.” Buffy shrugged, “Not too sure where she ended up, but we haven't seen her since. I'm thinking: Problem Solved.”
Xander frowned a bit, “No way to – I don't know – track the magical signature to see where it went?” At the looks of surprise, he threw his hands up in defense. “Read it a 'Doctor Strange' comic.”
“There might be. I'd have to research. Unfortunately, by the time I find the spell the 'signature' may have dissipated. But I shall endeavor to try. It's a good suggestion, Xander.”
“It's just that I promised Aims I'd try to let her know how things went. It'd definitely be a load off her mind if her mom's whereabouts were known.”
“Quite right. I get right on it. The three of you should head home. It's been quite a day.”
“Coolness,” Buffy leaped out of her chair. “So ... Bronze?”
“I'm in. Xander?” Willow glanced at her oldest friend.
“Sorry ladies, gonna have to take a rain check. The Xan-man's beat. See ya tomorrow.”
“Okay. Night, Xander.”
He headed home, he really was beat. Creating fire took a lot of energy. He didn't do it very often, and he usually paid for it later either with exhaustion or a mega headache.
Ever since he was really little, small fires had a way of popping into existence around him – especially when he was angry or scared. But it wasn't until shortly after his 7th birthday – when he'd desperately wanted a fire truck and his neighbor's house had caught fire – that he'd figured out he was the cause of the fires. At first, he believed that Willow had caused the fire, knowing how upset he'd been about not getting a fire truck for his birthday – but when a week later a glass of whiskey on the kitchen table had caught fire when his dad had cornered him ... well, that's when 2 + 2 equaled Xander.
He made it upstairs without incident and quickly readied for bed. Turning off the lights he wondered if he'd ever tell his friends about his ability. 'They might be okay with it. Or they might decide it's demonic in nature and then I'm a Xander-pancake.' He sighed, pulled the covers up, and stared out the window. 'Maybe someday. But not today.' With that final thought, he fell asleep.