Confrontations and Discoveries
Confrontations and Discoveries
Once again, new record! 3349 hits with 58 reviews…and this story is now officially my longest and most popular. Of which, I am really surprised, but I’m basking in it! *cookies and kisses to reviewers!*
Thanks to spanderfan for the nickname! *still laughing*
Standard disclaimer (do I really have to do this every chapter?) applies like normal.
I’m also looking for a beta, if anyone is interested. I try to catch my mistakes, but no one is perfect. On that note, I found two different spellings for magi. Doing some intensive rewinding and listening to context, I have concluded that “magi” refers to the collective whole and “medjai” is a single magi. If this is incorrect, please tell me so I can fix it. Thanks!
Also, currently I am in college taking 17 hours. While I have gotten the next several chapters mapped out, I haven’t actually written them yet, and it might be awhile between chapters at some times, while at others I’ll have them out the next day (like with the first 3). Just bare with me please, this story has turned into my saving grace, so it will continue…it just might be a little bit between chappies.
Now, on to the fic!
Ardeth-Bay faced the council of what was left of the twelve tribes. Since they had helped defeat Anubis’ army, only two-hundred Magi remained and eight tribes. While he was still the leader of those tribes, even he was subject to scrutiny and currently, his sanity was being decided.
“You are working for the creature! How do we know you are not under his spells?”
“What were you thinking?”
“How could this happen?”
“Our leader has lost his sense—“
“Preposterous, it can’t be—”
The assembly quieted down immediately at Ardeth’s cry. His glares kept them silent as he gathered his thoughts to adequately explain himself. “I have spent a sennight with the creature and the man named Xander. In that time, I have observed the interaction between them and have come to several conclusions. Xander is the prophesied One Who Sees, and is in almost constant telepathic contact with the creature. Xander is the only one who can control the creature to any extent. He is the only one who can kill the creature, and he is the only reason the creature has not already taken over the world. What the man Xander has
done is admirable. He has started to make Egypt a better place, for all of us. Xander has shown honor, compassion, and humility in the face of all the riches the creature has tried to give him.
"I do not protect the creature. I protect Xander. Xander is the only
reason any of us are still living, and I plan to make certain that man lives a very long, healthy life.” Ardeth turned on his heel and walked away. Let them chew on that. He had more important things to do.
Like making sure his charge didn’t do anything stupid.
* * *
It had been a week since Willow had gotten the call from the O’Connells. What they said was preposterous. Xander kissing a demon? Okay, that wasn’t that unusual, but Xander kissing a guy
?! That was just…not Xander! He had to be brainwashed, or under some spell, or possessed…or something. Cause Xander just doesn’t do those things!
After a week of trying, Willow had finally found a spell that would teleport her and one other person into Egypt. These days, it wasn’t so easy. The head honcho had somehow made it impossible for anyone with any type of supernatural connection on their side of the barrier. Which was really cool, if she was on the same side as Xander!
So, with Buffy beside her armed to the teeth with various weapons hidden all over her person, Willow said the final phrase and sprinkled the power. Both women vanished in a puff of green smoke, on their way to rescue their friend.
* * *
Ardeth had requested time to speak to his people, and Imhotep was seeing supplicants. Which meant Xander had some free time, at least for the next few hours. He made his way through the Cairo marketplace, usually it wasn’t that hard. People parted and bowed before him like he was some kind of king. It made getting to places easier, but if he just wanted to sight-see, it sucked. So, he was in camouflage.
Xander had on one of his servants white wrap-arounds, kohl around his eyes like everyone else, and he tried to blend in. He wasn’t doing that bad a job either as no one seemed to recognize him. He kept silent as he made his way through the crowd, listening for comments on the new leaders.
“Master Xander fixed my house yesterday!”
“Ever since Lord Imhotep came, there has been no crime, did you notice?”
“Of course I noticed…and did you realize that no one has gotten sick?”
Xander couldn’t help but smile. That last one had been his idea. After the airplane incident, he had wondered if Imhotep could make drugs not work, which had lead him to think. If there weren’t any drugs, people wouldn’t be able to treat sickness…but what if there weren’t any sick? He had talked it over with the mage, who had admitted that it hadn’t occurred to him, and he immediately put it into practice. Imhotep even made special modifications to that specific spell so that, while no one would get sick, they would still develop immunities. That way, if anyone wanted to visit relatives or go outside Egypt for whatever reason, it wouldn’t kill them.
Xander glanced down at his wristwatch and grimaced. He was about out of time; Ardeth would be coming to look for him soon. He liked Ardeth a lot, he was a good bodyguard and even helped him once in a while when Imhotep started to be unreasonable, but the man was like pennies. He was everywhere that Xander was, and it was starting to drive him up a wall. He never got any private time anymore. Even when he was in the bathroom, Ardeth was right outside the door! It was annoying…not to mention embarrassing.
The second-in-command for all Egypt was about to head back toward the palace when he caught sight of something very distinctive. Bright red hair. Willow! He took off after his best (and only) childhood friend, running to catch up. Vaguely, he heard his name being called and people looking around for their leader (one of them anyway), but paid neither any heed. He had to get to Willow!
* * *
Ardeth-Bay, one of the only people allowed black clothing, stood in the middle of the marketplace, staring intently at the crowd, looking for one particular head of hair. When he had gotten back to his charge’s rooms, he had found a note. Fortunately for him, he knew how to read English. Unfortunately, Xander had decided to go to the largest gathering of individuals within a thirty-kilometer radius. The best place to hide is in plain sight, and Xander was doing a wonderful job.
Ardeth finally let himself breathe a sigh of relief as he finally saw the Consort’s distinctive hair in a sea of black and white and tan. He set off for the far corner, intent on getting Xander safely back to the palace and not so close to so many people. Didn’t the boy know how dangerous a crowd could be? Ardeth growled softly under his breath as suddenly, Xander took off running. Since he knew that the boy couldn’t have known he was there, and was therefore not running from him, Ardeth called out him name. Several times, loudly enough that most of the marketplace hit the walls to see their rulers. It gave him room to run after his charge, but all that was going around his mind was what could have happened that would make the normally level-headed man act so strangely?
Not for the first time, the Medjai wished he had some way (beyond yelling) to contact either Xander or Imhotep.
* * *
Willow felt the compulsion spell take effect as soon as Xander was within range. Buffy was a hundred yards ahead of her, making sure that neither of Xander’s constant bodyguards showed up to crash the party. It was sheer luck that they had come on one of the only days where Xander was alone for more than a few minutes. Then, all they had to do was find him…which had admittedly taken a bit. But now that they had, everything was running smoothly.
Then she heard Xander’s name being called. Willow knew Xander wouldn’t pay any attention because of the spell, but she heard it loud and clear and cursed under her breath. This would take fast work. All she had to do was trigger the ready-made spell to take them all back home, but anyone touching her would come to, and if either Xander or Buffy weren’t
touching her, they would be left behind. Neither option was particularly appealing.
The red-head headed toward an outcropping that had very little people and felt Xander closing in on her. Buffy would be coming too, and as soon as they were all together, she would activate the spell.
Willow saw Xander fully now as he came through a section of several people and she had to bite back a cry of denial. He looked like a sex-object. The close-fitting kilt barely came down to his knees, and was tight enough that it accentuated almost everything. His face was outlined in kohl like some regular servant, but with some added red tinge that gave him a come-hither look. Xander was a slave. Willow had to admit it to herself, and was cursing how long it had taken to find the right spell to come after him. She could only imagine what he had been through. Poor Xander!
Xander was finally within reach and Willow pulled him into her arms as she felt Buffy drop down from above. Apparently, the slayer had found the roofs to be the most strategic spot, and Willow had to agree as she commented, “Black Arabic dude coming this way, shouting for Xander.”
Willow didn’t really need to be told, as the man in black was close enough that she could see him clearly. Making sure no one but Xander and Buffy were touching her, she said the magic phrase, the one thing she’d never say without a damn good reason, “Frogs!” and the three of them vanished in another puff of green smoke.
* * *
Ardeth cursed violently and fluently in several different languages. While he had gotten a pretty good picture of what the two kidnappers looked like, he hadn’t seen where they went, or even in which direction. They had simply disappeared. It was instantaneous, and complete. There even weren’t any footprints leading away from the area! In all his long years of fighting, Ardeth had never seen anything like it.
Shaking his head in anger and dismay, Ardeth took off in the opposite direction to head off Imhotep. The creature had to have known the second Xander was no longer in the vicinity, and would be after the villains immediately. If he could only reach the mage in time, he would be able to keep most of the world safe from Imhotep’s wrath. He just had to run a little
* * *
Xander was hugging Willow for all he was worth, laughing as he picked her up and spun her around. His bestest bud in the whole world had finally come to see him! Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Buffy and pulled her into the hug as well.
He started talking in a professional Willow-babble as soon as he could pull two thoughts together, which was even before he had let them go. “It’s so good to see you! How have you been? Any apocalypses I miss? How’s Tara and Dawn? Where’re the others? What’s going on with the triple twerps?” By this time, the two girls were standing in front of Xander, both grinning widely and Willow had happy tears glistening in her eyes. “Oh, it so nice to you bo—” His brain had finally taken the time to absorb what his eyes had been seeing and hearing and his brain stuttered as his orbs darted around, getting wider the more they roamed. “Uhh, guys? Why are we at the Magic Box?” His voice was small and hesitant of the answer.
“I teleported us here with a trigger-spell. Buffy stood watch while I got you…we rescued you.” Even though Xander had known what the answer would be before he asked, it still made him want to grab the edge of the nearest table and groan. In an effort to stave off any other “rescue” attempts (mainly from Imhotep), he went into his mind, closing his eyes to help with the distance, and reached for the man that had been his constant companion for over a week. Xander’s eyes snapped open when he realized that he couldn’t feel Imhotep at all…not even a little. This had never happened before! Never! Imy was always there when he needed him…where was he?
Xander’s voice was almost too low to be heard, sounding equal parts hollow, angry, and panicked. “Why can’t I feel Imy?” A week ago, when he had woken, Imhotep had been there, and since then their link had constantly been open. He had told Imhotep that it was for safety reasons, but now that he wasn’t there, Xander had to admit, to himself at least, that he had fallen for the guy, hook, line, and pitchfork. When Xander looked up at Willow, he knew his eyes were a little “misty” and tried to put all of his emotions into that look, to help Willow understand whatever she had done.
He saw Willow blanch a little and nodded, both to himself that she had understood and to her, acknowledging what she suspected. “Oh goddess, Xander…I didn’t know. I never would have…not if I had known…I’ll fix it.” She practically ran out of the room, up into the loft where the more black-magicy-type books were kept.
Buffy was looking at him intently, almost as if she were staring through him. When her eyes refocused, she smiled at him gently before taking him into another hug, this one much gentler and more congratulatory. “I’m happy for you, Xander. Don’t worry. Willow will fix it.” She brushed a tear away from his cheek with a hand as she led him over to a chair and pushed him into it slightly. “I’ll go see if I can find Giles.”
And that easily, Xander lost track of time, he had more important things to ponder, while he almost constantly had his eyes closed, trying over and over to reach out to his…his love…his
* * *
Ardeth came to a running-halt as he stared at Imhotep, who was staring off into space from his throne. Ardeth’s eyes frowned as he stepped closer and waved a hand in front of the creature’s face, getting his attention and focus. “Lord Imhotep?”
“Xander’s gone again.”
“Yes. Two women took him in a puff of green smoke. I tried to track them, but there was no trail to follow.”
“Hmmm…” Imhotep went back to staring out into the vast room, the sound more of an acknowledgment that he had heard, than of thinking. He was only halfway paying attention. When he finally did speak again, some minutes later, it was almost in absent thought, as if he had forgotten Ardeth was even there, “That’s not Xander’s barrier…I can feel that he is there and thinking of me, but I can not reach him.”
Ardeth’s eyes widened a little. Something stronger than the creature? He sent a prayer that this new something was on his side. While his tone never changed, his question was a little hesitant, “What could be stronger than you?”
Imhotep glanced at him, one eyebrow raised in a don’t-you-know expression, “Xander, of course. He has shut me out before, but never on purpose and it came down when I asked, but this…it is as if he shut me out for an entirely different reason and something else is warping the original intent to prevent either of us from taking it down again. Simple, but effective if you wish to separate us by more than distance. To answer your unasked question, I did not go to his rescue because the two women you saw are his friends, and would not harm him. I was waiting for his return when I discovered that I could not reach him, and while I know the town’s name in which he grew up, I do not know where it is to teleport there.”
The Medjai stared at the crea—ruler, the pharaoh before him. Imhotep had gone and gotten a conscience when no one was looking. He gave the man a small smile, “You got your powers from the Hom-Dai and your knowledge of magery, how did Xander surpass you?”
Imhotep gave a fond smile for the man that was his mate. “When I discovered that the telepathy between us was not mine to command, I did some research on the One Who Sees. From that I found that my mate is not entirely human. Only enough to confuse things in spells and other things designed for humans only, but that small bit is there. That is what gives him his abilities, such as telepathy and my understanding of English. Soon, he will come into more, gradually at first, and he will become less and less Xander and more Alexander. Eventually, he will no longer be human at all, but that will be a while yet.”
“But the only beings that are more powerful than you are—” Ardeth stopped cold as he realized just what he had been about to say, and all pretense of a stoic Magi left him, eyes wide with disbelief he could only stare as Imhotep, He-Must-Not-Be-Named, the Creature of Darkness, the Immortal Dark Mage just smiled at him and nodded.
“Xander is the descendent of the gods.”
* * *
Giles came around the corner. He stopped to polish his glasses, put them on again, looked around and gave a heart-felt “Good lord.” His statement brought the attention of everyone in the room but Willow, who was staring intently at a bowl of clear liquid that appeared to be water, but he knew by the smell in the air exactly what it was and that the book beside her was not
in the normal magic section. “What is she doing?”
Xander, dressed very seductively for someone who was supposed to be a prisoner, and he was not going down that thought path! Xander looked up at him, and Giles had to rethink his previous conclusion. The boy looked as if death would be a welcome gift, all his spirit and the vitality that was a normal part of his character was gone. What was left was only a shell of itself. “Willow’s taking all of the spells off of me.”
Giles glared at the red-head, for all the good it did him, and the blatant lie she had told. “That’s not all she’s doing. Why is she doing it?”
“Something is blocking me from talking to Imy and it’s not her.”
“It’s the Hellmouth,” the Watcher in him rose to the fore, after so long suppressing this side of himself, Giles knew that this happened only as a defense mechanism, but he would care about that later. “It’s very nature is to warp and block all manner of natural occurring things, from spells to genetic mutations to personalities. Take your standard vampire—”
Giles forced himself to stop his monologue when he saw that no one was listening anymore. He knew the spell the young wiccan was trying to perform and was wise enough not to interrupt her. If he did, the results would be even more disastrous than if he let her finish. He sighed, “How long has she been like this?”
He nodded to himself, showing that he had heard. In a few more seconds Willow would be done and then he could batter her with questions on how much of an idiot she was.
* * *
Since he was the focus of the magic, Xander felt the spell like a cool breeze on his skin. He knew the instant it was done by the lack of it…and then he dropped to his knees and pain shot through his entire body. In his twenty-one years of life, he had never felt anything like this. It was all-encompassing. It ruled him, pouring through his body and mind like liquid lava, drowning out all but the sound of the rushing in his veins.
Suddenly, he felt a presence that had not been there before, or he had not felt them before, hold him close to their light. The pain receded some, but still lapped at his mind. He looked up into the light, wondering who had saved him and found a face that he felt he should remember. He knew that face, he knew he knew it. The name eluded him but still he reached up with one hand to cup this light’s cheek. He knew this being…and it felt right somehow that he reach up and, following his instincts, kiss it deeply.
Sometime between the start of the kiss and the end, the pain that had caused this being to appear abated and disappeared. It was then that Xander’s memories came back to him and he put at name with the face of light that held him so close. He smiled up at the man, looking deep into his eyes as he once more let his emotions—all of them—for this man shine through. “You came.”
His rescuer, that in his fearful state had been received so readily for what it/he was, smiled down at him gently and nodded. “You needed me. I will always be here when you need me.”
Xander felt a tear roll down his cheek as he smiled, “I’ll always need you.”
“Then I will always be here.”
He kissed him again, even more deeply than before. When he pulled back, he let his forehead rest on the taller man’s chest. “I love you.”
“And I you, my lifemate.”
Xander nodded again and closed his eyes, even knowing that all of this was occurring in his mind, he knew that it was real enough for his to smell that distinctive cinnamon and hot desert scent of his love’s. “I have to go back now.”
“I will be there when you do.”
The One Who Sees smiled up into Imhotep’s face, kissing him one more time before letting his consciousness go back to the “real world”.
* * *
Willow smiled as she finished one of the few silent spells that happened to be one of the most dangerous to cast, but her Xander-shaped friend was worth the risk…
Xander let out a blood-curdling scream…and didn’t stop. Her eyes snapped open, staring in horror at Xander’s body started convulsing on the floor in front her, Buffy holding him as firmly as she could without hurting him, and he was still shaking and screaming himself hoarse, bucking in the slayer’s arms.
Willow’s mind refused to recognize what she was seeing for several long seconds, and before she could do anything, sand came out of nowhere, creating a miniature storm in the store. Between one blink to the next, a very handsome man was standing in the sand’s place, though a thin coating was over everything, and in another eye blink, the man was shoving Buffy aside with no difficulty and he gathered Xander into his arms, closing his eyes and both men went very still.
Willow watched in silent horror as an even more chilling thing than Xander screaming began to occur. Xander was glowing. Only faintly, barely more than a this-needs-new-batteries flashlight, but it was there. After another minute, it disappeared and both men opened their eyes. She saw Xander smile slightly, barely able to hear him. “You came.”
“You needed me. I will always be here when you need me.”
“I’ll always need you.”
“Then I will always be here.”
Finally, Willow’s mind had a chance to process the event and tears fogged her vision. Her best friend had finally found someone who would love him as he was, no matter what, and would always be there for him. Everything would be alright.
* * *
Some time later, after many hugs (and a few kisses between two particular guys), introductions, threatenings with shovels, and admissions of lies where a certain spell was concerned and forgiveness freely given, things began to settle down. Xander was back to his normally bouncy, goofy self sitting in the lap of the new pharaoh of Egypt when he spotted a book in Giles’ hand, forgotten before now. He gestured, “That for the new apocalypse?”
“Hmm? Oh this, no. I was doing research on you actually. I finally found a more specific passage in an obscure Latin dialect that I was coming down to try and translate more completely when I walked in on Willow’s spell.”
“Hey! I said I was sorry for that…and it worked didn’t it? Now Xander has no spells on him, and no spells work on him.”
“No earth-based magic works on him because of that highly dangerous spell. He and Imhotep have told us that Xander was immune to soul-based magic already.”
“I still find it hard to believe that there are two kinds of magic.”
Xander rolled his eyes, though his smile stayed in place, at the banter between the Watcher and the Wicca. “So what’s it say about me?” He reached over to the huge book, it opening automatically to a page that appeared as if it had been referenced often. His eyes scanned the page briefly before going back to Giles, some confusion there. “You must be rusty on your languages, because this isn’t Latin, or any sort of derivative. This is the root language Latin derived from.”
He watched as Giles’ eyes widened in shock, “You know it? You recognize it?”
“Recognize? G-man, I can read this easily.” He failed to mention that he had known this particular language for as long as he could remember. He had tried to teach Jessie once, but his friend couldn’t get past the weird symbols, asking why he had made it up, so he hadn’t even tried to teach Willow. Until this moment, he had virtually forgotten about the childhood mistake. For years, he had to consciously force himself to write like everyone else. Then, for no reason he knew of, he had simply quit having to force himself and began to forget that he even knew it. Perhaps this was one of the Sunnyhell-influenced things that had been disbanded?
Giles’ voice pulled him from his thoughts, “Really? Please, start there.” He pointed and Xander looked, glancing over the passage when his eyes halted and then raced back up the page to the beginning.
“The One Who Sees as the Protector of Man will not know his abilities or his heritage, both being lost to the generations. He will use his abilities, with the help of the soul that resounds with his, to bring back balance to Home-That-Was and to Home-That-Is as well as to the rest of the stars.
“Before his twenty-second year, the Protector of Man will have brought back balance uncounted times to the place where all non-science intersects. If born in this place, his abilities will be suppressed more so than if not. If born in the place of his Responding Soul, these abilities will be brought forward, though he will not know how to control them and will suppress them of his own free will. If he does not find his Responding Soul before his twenty-fifth year, all will be lost and he will be born again.
“When the One Who Sees does find his Responding Soul in time, it will be revealed to him through any number of ways that he is of the Ancient line and will then be told to seek out the Legacy. If a Ring has not been found, he will have to begin again. If it has occurred that a Ring has resurfaced, he must seek out his heritage and claim that which is his.”
Xander stopped reading, his mind spinning crazily from too many facts at once. All of the subtle nuances of this particular language couldn’t be fully expressed in English, but the author was not only cataloging prophases in this very, very, very old book, he was sending out a welcoming hand. The words were chosen ever so carefully to have all the impressions of a coming-home, welcoming him into the fold of his ancestors. The author went on to tell him exactly where this Ring would most likely be, and the basics of how it worked so that all he had to tell him was the name of a few places he could go that the Imposters didn’t know about (though it did explain the Legacy had been designed so that the Imposters couldn’t use it) that he could access the Legacy. What it didn’t say was what the Legacy was, who the Imposters or Ancients were, and half a dozen other things that would only make sense to someone who knew enough. Which Xander didn’t.
Xander choked as he realized something. “My name is Alexander.” His eyes went to Giles and Willow, who had been staring open-mouthed at him as he read, willing them to understand and connect the dots. They just gaped.
When they finally could find words, both said the same thing, “What happened to your eyes?!”
With a sense of dread in the pit of his stomach, he looked up into Imhotep’s face, using their telepathy as a mirror. He saw himself, the emotions from his soulmate indicating that no matter what he looked like, he would still love him. Xander gave him a small smile and concentrated on his eyes, and his brow furrowed in confusion. They were still brown, but now they had small golden flecks of color around the iris. Not big enough to be noticeable from far away, but as close as the five of them were, all could easily see. Why hadn’t it shown itself before when the pain had stopped?
Imhotep smiled down at him and leaned slightly to kiss him, “They are very becoming, Alexander.” He had seen the eyes long ago, when he had held his love in the floor, but when he had read the book, the golden specks had become even more prominent, enough the others could see. He also knew why his mate was stutter on his own name. A very interesting detail that someone who didn’t know any better would have missed completely, or even miss interpreted.
Xander’s name actually meant “protector of man”.
It's finished! But don't worry, I'm already working on the sequel...it's just in an entirely different crossover universe and I didn't want people to get confused. Please review, I would love to hear what you think! You guys keep me writing!