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Behind the crystal walls

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Summary: It is a sorta Xover with Slayers. Willow has messed up with the magic big time and now Xander is central figure of a prophecy that will change the world in its fondations.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Anime > SlayersJadeDragonFR15119,655134,18212 Aug 0312 Aug 03No
TITLE: Behind the crystal walls
AUTHOR: Simone of the Zordiak
PART: 1/?
EMAIL: burning_night@hotmail.com
DISCLAIMER: "They followed me home, can I keep them?"
"No, Joss owns them, now give them back." "Sigh."
They folk on "Angel" and "Buffy" might not be mine,
but I still like to play with them.

The concept and figures of "Slayers" the Anime and the
Mangas belong to people with long and unspeakable
Japanese names that I have forgotten how to spell

The gods belong themselves, but the outlook of Ares is
obviously influenced by watching Xena.


DISTRIBUTION: Feel free ... just tell me, I'd like to know where
it goes to.

RATING: PG - 13 (I think)

SPOILERS: Let me see... Doyle is dead, Cordy is vision girl and Wesley's
already appeared, but nothing more on Angel. On Buffy it is
sometime after the Willow-Spelldebacle that was
"Something Blue"

PAIRING: Xander/Angel/Wesley

AUTHORS NOTES: This story is a Work in Progress that had been sitting
on my Harddrive for quite some time before the
writers block finally lifted.
It's a sorta Crossover with a Anime/Manga and I have to
admit I have never before seen a Xover with this
particular Manga and Buffy and I wanted to try it.
Well, it's not really a Xover, I only took the outlook
and abilities of one of the characters and forced it
one another (he wasn't very happy about it but well...)
What I want to say is don't be too confused, just enjoy
it.

Oh and English is not my native language and this story is
not beta'd.

FEEDBACK: Is there a writer who doesn't want feedback ???
Constructive critic always welcomed

Flamers will be cursed with ancient and funny Chinese curses
and tormented with bongo playing mice I specially trained
for these occurrence

****** Chapter 1 Changes ******

He watched a bit uneasy as Willow set up her witchy stuff. Since the
disaster with the My-will-be-done spell, Giles had made her practice
with small spells until she developed the right feeling for magic.
So tonight it was his turn to host her while she was doing her learning
magic thing. "So, what are you doing tonight, Wills?"

She bounced excited. "I found this ability-transfer spell. It is so
neat! I can use it to copy and transfer abilities from one thing to
another! Look, I have brought these roses and some stones and then I
can...." Xander tuned her out, he understood only a fourth of what she
was speaking anyway, so why bother with listening to all the details?
He had to admit that it was impressive to watch her copying the ability
of the stone and transfer it to one of the roses, making it as hard
and solid as the stone, but when she tried to copy all the abilities
and the outlook of the next rose, to transfer it to another stone, he
lost interest, switched on his TV and started to zap.

***

Cordy's vision had been simple this time, a hooded figure being
attacked by three vamps in a nearby alley. It should have been an easy
job. What Angel didn't expected was the hooded figure pointing at the
vampires, shouting "Fireball", in an awful familiar voice. A ball of
flames engulfed the vamps, burning them to ashes in a seconds time.
The figure straightend his shoulders and made a move to went on, when
Angel snapped out of his shock. "Hey," he called out to the figure,
"wait a moment." The figure whirled around.

For a moment both were staring at each other. Angel was trying to
figure out, why the other seemed so familiar. He was sure he had
never seen a creature like this before.

The hooded beings eyes were far too big for a human, they seemed to
dominate his face. A face he couldn't say much about, for most of it
was hidden behind a simple clothmask. The eyes themselves were blue as
sapphires, the few bits of skin he could see were of a lighter bluish
color and the strands of hair that fell into the strangers face were
of a light metallic violet color. But the voice had been familiar...
The moment was over before he could come to a conclusion. The creature
started to run again, running away from him, Angel realized. And finally
he was able to place the voice. "Wait! Xander!" But the strange creature
Xander had become was already gone.

***

"...he's alive, thank Goddess he's alive..." Willow was crying when he
told her what he had seen. Angel had called her, because she was
Xander's best friend. If anybody knew what had happened with Xander, it
would be her. "Yes, Willow, he's alive. But he is changed and I need to
know why and how." Willow started to sob. "It's my fault, it's all my
fault."

*** flashback ***

The stone didn't transform into a stone rose. It simply stayed the
same. Willow almost shouted in frustration, then she wiped the beads of
sweat from her forehead. Magic was always exhausting to her. She looked
to see what Xander was doing... he was watching an Anime. Something
with a small redheaded sorceress, a not so bright swordsman and another
being called chimera. Absentmindedly Willow started to compare the
characters to her reality.
Buffy, Riley and Angel? Or her, Xander and Oz? She shook her head,
banishing her thoughts and started the spell again. But her spellfocus
had been influenced by her thoughts and instead of the stone and the
rose, Xander and one of the Anime-characters were making the transfer.

*** end flashback ***


The being that once had been Xander stared into the flames of the small
fire he had made. It wasn't much, but more than enough for him. His new
form wasn't as affected by the weather as his old, human body.
He looked down at his hands, at the small rocks embedded into his stony
skin. A solitary tear slid down his face. He never had wanted to be
special like this, had wanted for a normal human life, but fate and
Willow had squashed that dream into tiny bitter pieces.

*** flashback ***

The spell hit him and he started to scream as his body was forced into
a new, unknown form. God, what was happening to him? It hurt, it felt
like his skin was ripped away from his body. A howl of agony echoed
through the small basement as his body finished its transformation. He
fell to the ground, panting hard, as the magic released him from its
clutches. "ooohh, my head...," he muttered to himself and rubbed his
forehead. Then he stopped in shock, stared at his hands, at his blue
hands, his blue stone-hands, blue stone-hands with small dark blue rocks
embedded into the skin. He dashed to the bathroom, to the mirror,
already knowing what he would see. Yet still he screamed when he faced
his reflection.

*** end flashback ***


"So you are telling me that you transformed Xander into the living
version of an Anime-character?" Angel asked in disbelieve. A small
sob was his only answer. "It.. it was horrible...," Willow was on the
edge of bursting into tears again, "when I heard him scream, when I
saw what had happened... but I couldn't undo it... there is no way
to undo it. I searched and searched, but nothing helped. And then the
Initiative came, wanting to take him away, and he ran... and it is
all my fault!" Willow was crying again. Angel didn't know what he
could say, should say, but he was saved by Cordelias urgent shout.
"Vision!" "Willow? I have to go. Cordy had a vision. I'll call later
OK?" "ok." Willow said meekly and let him end the call. "Cordy, what
did you see?" Cordelia rubbed her hammering temples. "The same guy that
got attacked by the vamps... he's in a warehouse and there are
soldiers..." "The Initiative," Angel muttered.

***

There was no way out. He was backed into a corner, desperately trying
to find a way out. They had guns this time, guns that could perforate
his stone skin and his shield wouldn't hold any longer. Sure he could
cast an offensive spell, but to do that meant to drop his shield and
then he would be taken out in a matter of seconds. There were simply
to many of them. He needed something do distract them.

"Well, what do we have here?" A voice behind the soldiers said, causing
them all to turn around. That was it, that was the opening he had
needed. He let the shield drop and started to cast. Something simple,
something offensive, something to distract but not lethal. "Flare Bit!"
Satisfied he watched as the soldiers were hit by the balls of light. It
wouldn't last long, but it would be enough. He raced to the person who
had helped him - Angel - then turned to the next wall. "Dam Brass!"
With grim relief he watched as the hole appeared into the wall. A
sound behind him told him that his time was running short. He grabbed
Angel's hand and started to run, through the hole and into the alley.

***

Whatever Xander had become, he was strong, stronger than Angel and
faster as well, Angel noticed as Xander raced through alleys and
shortcuts, stopping only when Angel stumbled with exhaustion. Xander
looked around and only when he was satisfied that there was no one
close by he relaxed. "Xander," Angel started and saw the youth tensing
as if he had forgotten his presence and was now remembered that he
wasn't alone. One hand reflexly reached for his sword... Xander was
carrying a sword?!.. before he forced himself to relax again.

"What happened? Why are they after you?"

Xander closed his eyes and without saying anything he slowly removed
the hood and the clothmask. Angel gasped as he saw what had happened
to Xander. His skin was of a light bluish color, around his eyes and
along his jawline darkblue/green stones were imbedded into his skin.
His ears were long and pointed and his hair was longer and seemed to
consist out of thin metal wire.

"Oh my God!" He couldn't suppress the whisper. Xander opened his eyes,
his sapphire colored eyes with the slit pupils. Demon eyes. Pained eyes.
"Yes, you can say that." Xander murmured bitter. "That's exactly what
I thought when I saw myself in a mirror the first time."

Abruptly he pushed the hood back into place, but left the mask down.
"Giles and Tara tried to help me with glamour-spells when they found out
that there was no reversal for what Willow did, but their magic ... well
it was reflected by my body. So unlike you I'm doomed to look like this
forever." Xander sighed and slumped against the closest wall. "I'm so
tired of it. I mean I'm in this body for only a few weeks and already
I'm so sick of it. Everywhere I go, people are starring at me. And not
only humans, but demons too!" He buried his head in his hands, obviously
exhausted.

Angel didn't know what he should do, he knew why the powers wanted him
to protect Xander, but he didn't know how he could help the distraught
teen. Unsure of Xander's reaction, he held out his hand in an
unthreatening gesture. Xander looked up at him and for one dreadful
moment it looked like his own hand was going to his sword, but then he
took the offered hand and stood up. Accepting Angel's unspoken offer of
help.

****** Chapter 2 Memories ******

When Angel entered the office, a hooded and masked being in tow, Wesley
was instantly alarmed and tried to unsuspiciously grab his ax. Only to
drop it again when he saw the look of bitter disappointment and hurt in
the beings eyes. He didn't know how he knew it, yet he somehow had the
feeling that he hooded being wasn't a threat, but someone they had to
help.

Angel gestured towards a chair and the being sat down, then pushed the
hood back and removed the mask. Wesleys jaw dropped. He never, in his
entire life, had encountered or read about a demon or creature like
this. What kind of demon was that? Which species did it belong to? The
watcher part of him was fascinated with the concept of a new race of
demons, while the hunter part of him tried to make out the weak spots
of the creature before him.

"Can I bring you something?" And wasn't there worry in Angel's voice?
"Coffee," the being said in a familiar voice, "this body practically
thrives on coffee." And Angel went to find some coffee, while Wesley
sat on his chair, stunned and not believing his own ears, as he finally
made the connection between the familiar voice and the unfamiliar creature
in front of him. It couldn't be, yet it looked like it was true.

"Alexander Harris," he stated in disbelieve. The Xander-creature looked
up sharply and he could see one hand twitching towards the sheathed
sword, but then the hand relaxed as Xander recognized him.

"I should have known that you're somewhere around here, Wesley," Xander
muttered, more to himself than to the ex-watcher. "Should have known
it." Then he shook his head like he was shaking of bad memories and
leaned back in the chair, closing his eyes. "You were as unable to let
go and step back as I was. You finally have seen the evil first hand
and now you can't stop fighting it. Just like me," he snorted, "look
what that has done to me." He waved towards his new physique and then
opened his eyes again, pining down Wesley with one icy stare. "Do you
want know who did it, do you? It wasn't any of the evil things we've
to deal with day in, day out. No wizard, sorcerer or evil demon, nooo,
it was my best friend, the only kindergarten-friend I have, that is
still alive.... Willow did this. She was practicing magic, a simple
spell, a nothing-can-go-wrong-with-it spell. And it turned me into
*THIS*!"

Xander had jumped up from his chair and was now pacing through the
room. "Ohh, she was remorseful afterwards, so sorry, she said. But no
matter what she tried, Giles tried, Tara tried, this spell can't be
broken. I'll look like this for the rest of my life, of eternity!
And they can't help but stare at me, they look at me and see a freak!"

He slumped back into his chair, which creaked dangerously under his
weight. "They are afraid of me now. Afraid of what I have become,
afraid of what I can do now. And then the Initiative found out about
me, wasn't too hard actually, you can't hide blue stone skin that
easily. And the underground, can't forget about the lovely underground
of our 'beloved' hometown. Try to hide what you are from demons with
lots of extra senses.... you know, the vampires in Sunnydale now warn
their fleges about me, since some of them lost their fangs when they
tried to bite me." Abruptly Xander stopped talking, as if he had said
everything Wesley had to know.

A few minutes later Angel came back with the coffee and both men
watched silently as Xander practically inhaled the brew.

Angel couldn't help but look at the teen. Xander had always been the
most human one of them, the one without the special powers, but also
the one who held them all together. He had been the one who had found
humor in every situation and had shared it with the others, he had
been their hope and the reason why they fought. And now he was sitting
here, bitter, physically changed beyond recognition and he could only
guess what kind of mental damage had been done to him. Angel felt a
burning headache coming closer, how would the Sunnydale group survive
without their heart? And what was this business with the Soldiers, the
Initiative? He realized that he had been drifting away mentally and
forced himself back to the topic at hand, back to Xander.

Xander, who was starring back at him now. Angel winced soundlessly as
he noticed the hard look in the boys eyes. Before the change, Xander's
eyes had been open and friendly, true windows to the boys soul. And what
a beautiful soul the boy had. It had driven him almost insane with envy.
To come into the library or the Bronze, only to see a human with a soul
that pure, that innocent, that happy. It always reminded him of what
he had lost, what he could never regain, no matter how many people he
helped.

Now the path to the beautiful soul was blocked. Walled up behind eyes no
longer brown, but a sapphire blue and as hard and cold as the crystal
itself. And Angel couldn't help but mourn for the beauty that was lost
to the world now, the beauty of one innocent soul.

Xander starred at the vampire that was starring at him. His fingers
twitched as he suppressed the impulse to throw the coffeecup at him.
He hated it now, people starring at him. It reminded him of his status
of an outcast, belonging nowhere, not with humans, not with demons,
homeless and hunted. Memories started to bubble up inside him, memories
of torches and pitchforks, of screaming people and swords and blood, so
much blood. Ruthless he squashed the memories, forcing them back into
the dark edge they had crawled from. "Willow did this?" Wesley asked
carefully, as if he was a dangerous untamed beast, that he didn't want
to anger. Xander nodded. "How?" the ex-watcher simply asked.

"Willow had been in a rather depressive mood since Oz left town. So one
night she decided to get rather drunk and then she did a spell. A
My-will-be-done-spell. That day she blinded Giles, almost wed Buffy and
Spike and turned me into a demon-magnet. When we finally found out what
had happened and got everything back to normal, Giles made Willow
practice with small, harmless spells until she would get a feeling for
magic. So that night I hosted her when she practiced with an ability
transfer spell she wanted to use at some stones and roses. I don't know
what went wrong, but suddenly I'm in pain and my head hurts like hell...

*** flashback ***

He don't knew how long he had stood there, starring into a mirror that
showed him the worst of his nightmares. The creature in the mirror is
not him, not the reflection he is used to see. Instead he sees a
blueskinned being, with darkblue stones around his eyes and along his
jawline. His mouth is still half-open from the scream earlier and he
can see the upper and lower fangs where his eyeteeth once had been.
And his eyes were the worst. They were no longer brown, but blue with
slit, catlike pupils. He blinked and the creature in the mirror did the
same. Slowly he raised a hand to his face, touching the skin. It was
smooth, like polished marble and equally cold and hard. He looked back
to the mirror were the creature was touching its own face. Finally he
couldn't deny it any longer, the creature in the mirror was him.

It was then, in this moment of realization, that a maelstrom of foreign
memories crashed down on him, drowning him in the history of another
one's life.

And he covered his face with his hands and screamed.

*** end flashback ***

... and this is how it's happened," Xander closed his story, leaning
back into his chair, mentally exhausted from unearthing so many
painful memories.

The others looked at him in shock. "You have the other one's memories?"
Angel finally asked. It sounded a bit familiar to him. To wake up with
a new set of memories, memories of horrible misdeeds in his case, that
were haunting him forever.

"Yes, I have." Xander stated. "I remember his childhood, he was happy
then, his parents loved him, unlike mine. He was six when he witnessed
their deaths, when they were slaughtered in front of his eyes. His
grandfather took him in. He was a priest, a legend and the child wanted
to make his grandfather proud of him. Yet nothing he did was enough
and the priest barely noticed him... until he needed a new leader for
his personal army. You see, the priest was blind and he was looking
for a mystical cure for his eyes. He turned the teenage boy into this
creature, a chimera, one third golem, one third mazoku and one third
human. Then he made the boy submit to his will, trained him and finally
sent him out to slaughter anyone who stood in his way." Xander stopped
his story, fighting with memories that were not his own.

"And he did it, for a long time he was his grandfathers marionette,
controlled, punished, beaten. Then she came. His ray of hope, a small
hotheaded sorceress with the appetite of twelve men and spells that
could destroy the earth. She and her companion, they freed him, and
when the priest, overwhelmed by a powerful demonlord, tried to destroy
the earth, they killed him, cutting his last ties to his past. For a
while they traveled together, defeating evil things where ever they
went, looking for a way to reverse his condition and making some other
friends along the way. He gave up his search for a cure when the
highest god of their world, the Lord of Nightmare, personally told him
that there was no way to reverse the spell, not without destroying the
Multiverse. Then he simply traveled with his friends for knowledge,
new spells to learn, new books to read. But unlike him, his friends
aged. He had been made immortal by his insane grandfather, eternal by
the hands of LoN, for saving her creation. His friends died, one by
one, leaving him alone, scorned by the world. And that is all I got
from his memories. It is more than the Anime, Mangas or Novels ever
told, but they are his memories." Xander looked up. His eyes were
traitorously wet and while they still looked at him silently, one lone
tear rolled down his check, only to solidify midfall and to land on
Angel's desk with a small 'plink'.

****** Chapter 3 Tangled Threads ******

Wesley looked up from the book he was pretending to read, as Angel
finally climbed up the last stairs from his basement apartment, where
he had brought the distraught chimera-teen, to allow him some rest
and privacy.

"How is he?" He asked the worried looking vampire.

"Asleep, finally," Angel rubbed his temples, trying to relieve a little
of the stress that seemed to have moved in permanently. "He has to have
been through a lot in the last time. He wouldn't go to bed before he
hadn't drawn three different wards around the bed itself and several
others thoughout the room. And when he finally laid down, he practically
collapsed, falling asleep at once." Angel looked up and Wesley could
see just how worried the vampire was about his 'guest', he'd never seen
that kind of worry etched in his face before... not even when the
poison of the Major had swept through his system.

"He's not taking this very well, is he?"

Angel's head shoot up and for one short moment Wesley could see untamed
fury in his eyes. "Wes, think, dammit! In a matter of seconds his
entire life has been changed completely. Drastically! One moment he's
a normal human boy, the next he is a being like no other. It's not like
he became a vampire, no, that would have been easier to him. Vampires
look human, they have their culture, their clans and families, a place
in the demon-world! And what has he? Nothing! There is no other one
like him! He is the ONLY one! And he will be around for a long time.
Didn't you listen? He said the other one was truly immortal, eternal.
That means he, too, will NEVER die!" Angel forced himself to sit down
behind his desk, his hands leaving deep marks in the arms of his chair.
"I know that one day I'll die, all vampires die sometime. We're not
really immortal, just hard to kill. Like any other demons. And that is
good because I don't think anybody is made to live forever. Everything
dies Wes, humans, demons, gods... one day the sun will explode and the
entire earth will die..., but not him. He will live on! Forever! Have
you any idea what that truly means? No, I think not!"

When Angel finally stopped Wesley was speechless. He had never thought
about the problem from this kind of perspective, but was Angel had said
was quite horrible in its own means. Never to die, really never... it
was a dream and for most people thankfully one that would never come
true. But Xander... Xander would never die now. And as Angel stormed
bock down the stairs to his sleeping guest, he left Wesley behind him,
still without words and deeply in thoughts about all the consequences
for the changed teen.

***

It looked like Xander was in the middle of a nightmare when Angel
entered the room. The teen was whimpering, shaking his head and
muttering words... in Japanese. Now Angel knew a lot of languages, yet
Japanese wasn't one of them. But he did knew that the longdrawn 'iie'
Xander screamed before he finally woke meant as much as 'no'.

***

Xander woke in an unknown bed, in an unknown room and for the first few
seconds his panic rose to new highs, before he felt and recognized
his own, still undisturbed wards. Safe, where-ever he was, he was safe.
With that knowledge in mind, he scanned the room, stopped as his eyes
encountered his host.

Angel met his gaze squarely. "Nightmares?"

Xander nodded. "The worst. When I'm awake I can distinguish between my
memories and *his*, but when I sleep it all becomes one." One big and
ugly nightmare about being alone and despised and hunted, but he
didn't told Angel about that, he didn't want the vampires pity.

Fragments of his recent nightmare slipped into his mind. Willow,
wielding an ax, like on Valentine's Day, but instead of a mob of angry
girls, she was leading a mob of villagers, pitchforks and torches
wielding villagers that wanted to kill him. Buffy with a sword, Giles
with a ball of deadly magic in his hands, Oz turning into a wolf and
pouncing at him. And then they fell. One by one. Killed by a glowing
scythe that flashed in front of a bloodred nightsky. The last to fall
was Willow, she died with a look of pure horror on her face. And then
a hooded being walked towards him, a hooded being carrying a bloodied
scythe. A few feet in front of him the other had stopped, had made the
scythe vanish into thin air and had pushed back his hood. It had been
then, that he had woken up, screaming. The other ones face... it had
been... he couldn't remember it anymore. He knew it was important, yet
his mind was completely blank. He shook his head, trying to shake away
the last lingering memories of his dream and yet he couldn't help but
remembering the towering figure who had killed all those that were
trying to kill him.

***

Maggie Walsh was getting annoyed. And when Maggie Walsh was getting
annoyed, heads started to roll, figuratively and literately. This was the
fourth unsuccessful attempt to catch the blueskinned creature! That was
unacceptable! An entire troop of her best soldiers, unable to catch one
single hostile! She was pacing up and down in her office, still fuming
over the failed attempt. It should have been simple. An entire troop of
trained soldiers against one creature. True, the creature had displayed
several rather unusual abilities, like his speed and the ability to
generate forcefields. The creature was strong, well trained in the
material arts and seemingly rather intelligent, but the simple mass
should have brought him to his knees. Instead, it had been her soldiers,
who had been left behind. She was so angry! This creature was what she
had searched for, had wanted. An undefeatable being. The ultimate
soldier. But it should have worked for her, should have been hers to
command! Instead it was running away from her, was fighting for its own
freedom.

Maybe another way would be more successful? From the very tiny bits of
information the captured hostiles had given her on that creature, it
had been seen with the civilian band of "demonhunters" that had blown
up the highschool in the summer. Maybe it had more than helped them? In
all the reports on that creature, non of the other hostiles had ever
mentioned it socializing with them. Maybe it was socializing with those
humans? It was a possibility, a remote possibility, but still, she
could work with it. So if the creature was in a social relationship
with that group of humans, how would it react if she threatend one of
them? She mentally played through several scenarios before she sat down
and smiled. The creature, although ruthless with other hostiles, showed
no signs of violence towards humans, until personally threatend. It was
intelligent and had obviously no other social contacts but those humans.
It would be easy to capture one of them to be held hostage until the
creature was hers.

***

In a place, where time and space where absent, three beings were
watching all the events slowly unfolding. Nearly all the persons were
in the right positions now and they knew that once started, there was
no way of stopping it until it came to its own end.

"He is not ready, yet." A woman with ever-changing skincolor stated. Her
voice was like the wind in the woods, the branding of the ocean waves
and as pure and deep as the untouched earth. Her hair was like grass,
like seafoam and like falling autumn leaves. Her face was timeless, but
her eyes spoke of great age and wisdom.

"No, but he will have help." The only male started. He was parching up
and down in front of the scying mirror, like restricted energy waiting
to explode. A wave of his hand changed the displayed images, showing the
chosen people who would aid the One. The males figure didn't shift, he
was comfortable with the skin he wore. He was tall and tanned, with
black, curly hair and a beard. He wore black leather, pants and a vest
and sheathed at his side was a sword that had once lead entire armies.

"He will be ready when the time is right. He was born to be ready."
The last female stated as the image in the mirror returned to one badly
sleeping man-child. She was tall and willowy and golden. Nobody had
ever seen her eyes, that were hidden behind bangs of golden hair.
"My little one," the woman whispered, touching the mirror gently, "my
chaos-child."

****** Chapter 4 Visions and Scares ******

Sometimes being a seer for the Powers really sucked. You don't get paid,
you don't get working credits, all you did get were those brain-crushing
headaches with pictures, called visions by those who didn't knew it any
better. They were absolutely killer to any attempts of normal life and
in the pharmacy everybody was calling her at her first name. So to say
that Cordelia was not happy with her last vision, was like asking if the
ocean was a little damp today.

At least the Powers were "nice" enough to wait until she had parked her
car, she shuddered at the idea of having a vision while driving on the
freeway. But if the Powers didn't stop sending her visions about those
soldiers and the hooded figure she would personally seek them out and
pummel them to death with her extra large bottle of aspirin. Cordelia
sighed as she tried to recall any details. The soldiers, the hooded
stranger, a yummy looking man in leather, a really freaky creature that
looked like a patchwork-demon, Willow and Giles.... wait! Willow and
Giles?!? That meant Sunnydale. Cordelia groaned. It looked like another
trip to the Hellmouth was in order. God, she hated those trips, they
made Angel more broody than normal... something she hadn't believed
possible until he had come home from his last trip.

She sighed and then climbed the few stairs to Angel's office. He had to
know about the last vision the Powers had "graced" her with.

***

Angel was at his wits end. So far, Xander had woken up screaming three
times, every time refusing to tell what had shaken him and his screams,
his screams before he woke, they were slowly tearing Angel apart.

Right now, Xander was sleeping again and Angel had sought a little bit
of peace in his dark and quiet office... Wesley had gone home to his own
apartment, he surely had enough to think about for now and Cordelia had
wanted to go shopping, so the chances were rather good that she wouldn't
come tonight.

"Angel! Why are you sitting here in the dark?"

Ooops, he guessed he had underestimated Cordelia a bit. He had been so
sure that she wouldn't find the time to come here with all the shops
she could go to.

"Come on, Angel! I got one of those annoying vision-type-things. We've
got to find to strange hooded being. The soldiers are still after him
and now there is this female Frankenstein-Lady with her mad creation,
and Giles and Willow are in danger! Dammit I so don't want to go back
to Sunnydale!"

"What?" Sometimes he really needed a translator for Cordy. All he had
understood so far, was that the soldiers were still after Xander, but
what was that bit about Sunnydale and Willow and Giles? What about the
Frankenstein-Lady? Nothing made sense. Angel sighed, there went his
peace and quiet. And of course in this moment a scream pierced the air.
Xander had another nightmare.

"Angel?! What was that?!" Without really waiting for an answer Cordy
stormed down the steps to his apartment. Angel followed as fast as he
could, yet Cordelias headstart was too big. And so Cordelia stormed
unstopped into his apartment, activating all of Xanders careful drawn
wards, ripping Xander out of his last nightmare, alarming him to an
intruder. He screamed and instinctively called an attack-spell to his
hands. Cordelia came running into Angel's bedroom and came face to
face with a strange, blue-skinned creature with red-glowing fireballs
in its hands. Cordy screamed.

Xander, still caught in the last vestiges of his nightmare, reached out
to throw the deadly attack when Angel fell into his arm.

"Xander, don't! That's Cordelia!"

Xander staggered back, then blinked away the last remains of sleep. His
eyes widened as he finally recognized his "intruder". Abruptly he
canceled his spell, then he started to shake. He had nearly killed a
friend! Cordelia, his former girlfriend! And he had almost killed her.
If Angel hadn't interfered, Cordelia would have been ashes now. His
shakes became stronger, stronger and faster, until he curled himself
into a fetal position, rocking back and forth in a fast, steady rhythm.

Cordelia was still standing at the same spot, everything had happened
so fast, she couldn't really comprehend it. One moment she was looking
death into the eye, death in form of a blue being with red-glowing hands,
the next moment the same being had curled into a tight ball, rocking
back and forth and whimpering softly. And then she realized something
else: Angel had called that being Xander. He had told him only her name
and the blue guy had canceled his attack. So how many people she knew
that were called Xander and knew her? Only one. Only one, but he should
be in Sunnydale... he should be human.

Slowly she crouched down next to him, stretched out her hand to touch
him. His hair had been soft once, she had loved to run her hands through
it during their make out sessions. Now it was hard, stiff wire with
rather sharp ends. His skin was hard to her touch and cold. It felt
like a polished stone, one of those that had lain years in a river,
being polished by the water and small specks of sand. Perfectly smooth.

"Xander? Is that really you? Oh my god, is that really you??"

***

"That doesn't look so good," the male one commented the scene in the
scying mirror. "I think we should interfere."

"You are always so quick with the interference, Ares. Stay back. Wait.
Watch how it all comes to completeness."

"Gaia, we've waited for so long. We have almost lost him three times.
Three times, Gaia!! And even one time had been once too often. If Hades
hadn't refused to take his soul, he would have been dead at his
father's hands. So he spent an entire summer in the hospital, wishing
he *was* dead. Then the business with the hyenas. You sent the spirit
of the matriarch to him, or he would have been eaten before the four
possessed ones had left the hyena-house. And then of course, Halloween."
Ares shook his head. "I still wonder why they didn't realized that only
those, who had worn a full costume of the wizard, had been targeted by
the spell. If I hadn't gifted him, he would have been dead, as well as
the slayer." Ares shook his head at that memory. "What I meant is, that
we've already interfered several times. And now they really need our
help. They need to know what is meant to happen and why."

The golden woman stepped forth. "You will go. Alone. You will talk to
them. But you won't help them otherwise, yet. That time hasn't come
now. And Ares, don't tell him of his heritage, yet."

Ares nodded and vanished in a bluish flash of light.

Gaia turned towards the golden woman. "Is that really wise to sent him
now? He is rather impulsive and tends to be overprotective."

The Lady of Nightmare turned back to the scying mirror. "He is right,
they need knowledge to survive this. And it is better for him to go to
them now. He is better suited to prepare them for the knowledge of our
existence. We tend to frighten the mortals more than him. In his heart
he's more like them then we are. And of course he had that thing about
family. He always wants to stay close to all his children."

Gaia tilted her head. "Then he will have a blast now. How many of them
are related to him?" Laughter sounded in her voice.

"Several. The slayer of course, they are all his girls, but there are
others as well. Everything will be unveiled at the right time. You shall
see." And L-sama smiled, her mysterious smile, that told of many secrets
known only to her.

****** Chapter 5 Before the Storm ******

She looked over the assembled men with a small smile. Her best soldiers,
handpicked for the mission to capture one of the blue hostiles supposed
friends. Maggie Walsh had read through the profiles carefully, had made
her choice based on the facts she knew.

Rupert Giles, British citizen, ex-libarian of Sunnydale Highschool,
previously curator in the British Museum of London and fatherfigure to
several of the ex-students.

Willow Rosenberg, American citizen, previously top student of Sunnydale
Highschool, now student of psychology at the University of Sunnydale,
described as shy and friendly.

Buffy Summers, American citizen, previously student of Sunnydale
Highschool, like Rosenberg now student of psychology at the University
of Sunnydale. She had a history of damaging schoolgoods, even burning
down a gym-hall in her old highschool and one time she had been suspect
of the murder of a girl named Kendra. The charges had been dropped
quickly, but still she didn't strike Walsh as a model citizen.

Daniel Osbourne, American citizen, previously student of Sunnydale
Highschool, previously student at the University of Sunnydale, now
moved to an unknown place.

Alexander Harris, American citizen, previously student of Sunnydale
Highschool, now missing, presumed dead.

From the descriptions and personality-profiles, Walsh had singled out
Willow Rosenberg. She had not many friends, her parents weren't home
very often and she was easy to overwhelm.

She had instructed the team not to harm her, she needed her healthy or
there was the risk that the blue hostile could went berserk. No, better
have her healthy and under her control, that would be the key to
control her future star weapon.

***

Cordelia was upset, really upset. She'd thought Xander was safe, as
safe as one could be as a friend of the slayer, but now her ex-boyfriend
was curled into himself, shaking and making small noises and obviously
neither safe nor ok or even human anymore.
And it was all Angel's fault. Not that Xander wasn't human anymore, no,
but that she had nearly had a heart-attack when she'd seen him, that
she hadn't been warned about the wards and his obvious nightmares. Both
of them could have been spared this situation and it was all Angel's
fault! Oh, he would pay for it later, literally! Her face lit up with
all the possibilities of that extra money.

It was then, that a weird bluish flash appeared in front of her and the
others, only to reform into the shape of the leather wearing man from
her last vision.

***

Ares looked at the scene before him and frowned. That didn't looked so
good. Xander was caught in a deep shock, the seer Cordelia was truly
angry and Angel was feeling helpless because he didn't know how to help
Xander. And right now both of them were looking straight at him,
confused and angry, not a very good combination.

"Who are you?" The seer's question was short and clipped and he couldn't
shake the feeling that she really wanted to vent some pent up
frustrations at him.

"I have many names. Personally I prefer Ares," he shrugged, "maybe I'm
a bit sentimental here, but I really liked the old Greeks. They had a
certain flair while worshipping me. The Romans called me Mars, but most
people these days only know the candy, although having a planet named
after you is a nice touch." He smiled wolfishly at the young woman, who,
regretfully, wasn't impressed at all.

"So. What do you want here?" She snapped at him.

Ares pointed at the rocking frame of Xander. "I'm here because of him."

In the next moment, the seer was tightly warped around Xander's body,
her eyes promising death, should he dare to step closer and the vampire's
position had shifted into attack-mode.

Ares sighed and rubbed his temples. "I'm not here to take him away from
you. If I was, he would have been already gone. No, as strange as this
might sound, I'm here to help you." He waved his hand and then settled
down in the comfortable chair that had appeared.
"Alexander is to be protected under any circumstances. No matter who
attacks him or why or how, he has to survive or everything is doomed.
And I mean *everything*! He is the nexus point in a battle between
light and dark that was already ancient when this world came to be.
This conflict has birthed the light warriors, the dark warriors and
him. He is, or will be, natural balance. He is the Chaos Child, the one
that will save us all."

***

In a labroom, deeply buried in the complex of the Initiative, a
strange demon-hybrid opened it's eyes for the first time... and they
were glowing ruby-red.

****** Chapter 6 Secrets ******

Safe, he was safe. Nobody could hurt him. Wrapped in the security of his
own mind. Nothing could reach him here, nothing hurt him. But on the
other side it was also awfully lonely here.

Xander drifted through his own mind, floating slowly, randomly shifting
directions now and then. The outside world was a pale shadow to him now,
a fogged over memory, already halfway forgotten.

***

Carefully she placed the candles in a circle around her. Everything had
to be perfect or all her work would be wasted. Twelve candles, each of
them carefully molded and blessed, to be used in the purification
ritual. She lit them and then placed small bowls with incense between
them. The smoke of the herbs and aromatic woods wafted through the room,
as Willow prayed to the goddess.

After she had turned Xander into a mythical being, Giles had tried to
block her magic, but without real success. Instead things had started
to explode around her, bursting into flames when she looked at them or
sometimes dissolved into a strange black dust. Finally Tara and Giles
had scanned her magic center, only to find it tainted by an unknown
power. A wild and untamed power that seemed to use her as a conductor.
So now she was trying to free herself from that power. Magic, her normal
magic, was all she really wanted, but this was too scary for her.

Willow closed her eyes. Before her inner eye the landscape of her mind
arose with all its paths and strange forms and she started to travel
towards her center. Only at the intermost core of herself she had a
chance to understand and then remove the taint. The taint that had cost
her best friend his humanity.

Deeper and deeper she sank into herself, never noticing the soldiers as
they entered her dorm room, never feeling the tiny prick of the dart as
they shoot her with a tranquilizer. But she did notice her loss of
control as she spiraled into unconsciousness, slipping and falling
uncontrolled into the core of her mental self.

***

"Xander is WHAT?"

"Didn't you listen?" Ares was slowly, but surely loosing his temper with
the seer. He couldn't fault her, she was only worried for her friend,
but if she raised her voice like that again, he would gag her.

"Alexander, such a fitting name, is the Chaos Child. Long before mankind
came to be it was destined to be. I quote:

'And Chaos will send out her Child,
hidden behind the face of an innocent
will it grow and learn.

In the time when Light and Darkness come to head,
the Chaos Knight will wake the Child.

And the Child shall seek out its mates,
Life and Death incarnate.

The three shall be the only hope
to quell the Battle of Light and Darkness
or that battle shall destroy balance
and everything will fall into the Abyss of Nothingness.'

Which simply translated means that if he don't stop the battle from
happening, we all will be in deep shit." Ares ended his explanation.

Cordelia opened her mouth to ask another question, but Angel was faster.

"So Xander is the Chaos Child, but who is the Chaos Knight and who are
the two mates of the Chaos Child?"

Ares grinned wolfishly. "That is for me to know and for you to figure
out." And he leaned back into his chair.

***

Buffy was pummeling her punching bag merciless. Ever since Willow had
gotten so terribly out of control with her magic her life had become
steadily worse. First she had almost *married* the bleached blonde
childe of her ex-boyfriend (and she was still shuddering with disgust
when she remembered the kiss she had shared with him), then Willow had
turned Xander into some kind of freak. Buffy still wasn't sure what he
had become, but he was giving her the wiggins. Somehow he felt off to
her, not demon, not human, but something else that was so different
that she failed miserably to describe it. And of course, as if that
wasn't enough, the Initiative had found out about him and was hunting
him for their own little reasons. Ohhh, and not to forget that Riley,
her then boyfriend, was a member of the Initiative and had told them
about Xander... not that he knew that it was Xander, but he told them
about the blue being that had helped her. She had given him the lecture
of his life when she'd found out and then had kicked him out. but the
damage had been already done and Xander was now on the run and she
didn't know if and when she would see her xandershapend friend again.

Anger fueled her movements and with a furious kick she ripped open the
covering of the punching bag, letting the stuffing fly through the
training room.

She stood there, panting in anger and for one short moment her eyes
glowed eerily silver.

***

~Sweet Child of mine~

He was safe, rocked in the warm embrace of golden glowing tendrils
of... something. Xander's mind was fuzzy, but he could have sworn that
he knew that golden glowing stuff from somewhere.

~Laughter~
~Oh, dearest Child of mine~

The voice was here, somehow. He heard it in his head, with his heart,
it sung to his entire being. And it filled him with longing for
something he had never experienced in his mortal life, but he didn't
know what it was.

~My poor Child~
~How much did you suffer at the hands of mortal beings~

The voice sounded so sad now, so sad and so close to him. And still he
didn't know who it was.

"Who are you? Where are you? And why do I feel like I should know you?"
He shouted into the seemingly emptiness around him.

~I'm here Child~
~I'm around you~
~I'm with you~
~Finally~

"But who are you?"

~I'm everything~
~And nothing~
~I was before the Light~
~I was before the Darkness~
~I will be there when both of them are long gone~
~I am Chaos~
~Chaos Incarnate~
~And you Child, has to return now~

And with a startled gasp Xander returned to the real world.

****** Chapter 7 Discoveries ******

~Flash~

His mother was cowering in a corner and his father was stumbling towards
him, one hand already risen to beat him in a drunken rage.

~Flash~

He was driving straight into a rail on his skateboard after seeing the
new girl.

~Flash~

Jesse's face as he crumbled into dust, the stake still in his hand.

~Flash~

Buffy lying facedown in a pool of water, lifeless. He frantically tried
to revive her.

~Flash~

Ampata, beautiful Ampata. He had really loved her, had been ready to
die for her, when she'd crumbled into dust.

~Flash~

Angelus holding Willow in a viselike grip, threatening the Slayer and
her friends.

~Flash~

Guarding the hospital room. Angelus so close, the white roses crushed
against his chest.

~Flash~

Shy, bashful Willow, coming after him, wielding an ax.

~Flash~

Being checked out by the girls while being undercover in the swimteam.

~Flash~

Willow, comatose in the big hospital bed.

~Flash~

Helping a bleeding and almost broken Giles out of the mansion.

~Flash~

Watching the demise of the fake female Watcher.

~Flash~

Cheating on Cordelia with Willow.

~Flash~

Defeating the zombies and the final stand off with Jack.

~Flash~

Trying to help Faith, but being almost choked to death.

~Flash~

Planning the battle of Graduation day, knowing that some of his friends
and classmates might not survive, knowing that he might not survive.

~Flash~

Anya, as she seduced him in her unique way.

~Flash~

An obviously drunken Willow wailing over the loss of Oz.

~Flash~

Willow, smiling at him as she explained her newest spell to him.

~Flash~

Pain, unbelievable pain, as he was forced into a new form.

~Flash~

The reaction of the other Scoobies.
Anya, screaming and running away from him.
Giles, worried and always cleaning his glasses while searching for a way
to undo the damage.
Buffy, edgy and eyeing him suspiciously as if she expected him to switch
sides.
Willow, tearful and unable to really do something, always apologizing,
always close to tears.
Spike, he'd tied to hit him, only to break his hand at his stone skin.
Tara, she'd been the first to really touch him. She hadn't known him in
human form for long and she was the first to accept his new appearance.

~Flash~

Being hunted by soldiers.

~Flash~

Angel, coming to his help.

~Flash~

Waking to a screaming Cordelia, almost killing her.

~Flash~

With an almost audible snap Xander returned to reality. He uncurled from
his fetal position and sat up, rubbing his forehead.

That, he decided, had been really weird. He had thought that those
moments, when you saw your whole life on fast forward were reserved for
those times when you were in a life and death situation, but his life
hadn't been in any danger, or had it?
Xander looked around. There was a stranger sitting in a chair, who was
looking like the proverbial cat who had gotten the canary, but he
couldn't feel any threats emitting from him.
For some reason Cordelia was hugging him, hugging him so hard that he
could feel it despite his stone skin. And Angel looked like he was
going to attack someone the next moment.

The stranger looked at him and nodded. "You are awake. Good."

Xander couldn't help but feel confused. "Who are you. And what do you
want here?"

A longsuffering sigh. "As I already told your friends, I prefer to be
called Ares. Before you ask, yes I mean it as in God of War. And I'm
here to help you, because you have to survive or everything is doomed."

Ohh....

***

She had a headache. A really big headache and there was a cottony
feeling in her mouth. She felt strange. Really strange, in a bad way.
And her head hurt, badly.

Willow opened her eyes and in the next moment wished she hadn't done so.
There was hash white light stabbing down at her, that felt like it would
burn out her eyes. And her surroundings.... white tile, three solid,
white walls and the one in front of her made out of glass... she knew
where she was. Spike had described the place where he had been hold
prisoner very clearly and now she was here. Caught by the Initiative
for whatever reason at all.

Slowly she sat up, trying to suppress the panic that was bubbling up
inside of her, yet without success. Why was she here? And how had those
people gotten her? The last thing she remembered was... the purification
ritual. Anger overruled the panic. Those bastards had taken her while
she had been meditating, disrupted her inner cleansing.

That meant all her hard work was for naught. Her powercenter was still
tainted and she was still dangerous to her friends. And why? Because of
those people that shouldn't stick their noses into something they didn't
understand. They were like dumb little children, poking at something
until it bit them. And their experiments, she shuddered. Spike might be
a vampire and they normally staked vampires, but they didn't crippled
them and then experimented with them. That was wrong, that was inhumane.
Willow the witch might be wiccan, but Willow Rosenberg was still a
Jewish girl, who had been told of the horrors of Bergen Belsen,
Theresienstadt and all the other deathcamps of the Nazis. Her
grandparents had survived the horrors and made sure their children and
grandchildren did not forget.

Right now Willow remembered the tales of her Nana only all to well.
Those people were like the Nazis. Locking up others, judging by
appearance only (she could see several harmless demons, plant and
carrion eaters in other cells) and conducting inhumane experiments at
them. Willow Rosenberg was very angry. And the temperature in the
Initiative complex started to rise.

***

He had found it. Finally. Now he wished he hadn't.

"Oh my..."

Ever since Xander's change at Willow's hands and his discovery of the
taint of Willow's powers, he had been secretly researching for a reason
to it all.

Now he had found it. A prophecy. Or better said: The Prophecy.

'And in the times, when the lines between good and evil becomes
incredibly blurred, when evil is done in the name of good and
evil creatures fight for the light, the great forces of
Light and Darkness shall gear up for the finally battle.

The Innocent that harbors Chaos Child shall be woken by the
Chosen of the Golden One to quell the battlelust of the
warriors of Light and Dark. Guard the Chaos Child or all
will be lost. For the battle will wipe out everything.

The Chaos Child shall flee for those in liaison with the
forces of Darkness, searching out the two mates that will
awaken the final power of Chaotic Balance. Death Incarnate
and Life Incarnate shall stand with him and the Power of
unguarded Passion shall aid them with word and deeds.

Together they will come to the side of battle, each with
their chosen force and only the decision of Chaos will
save or damn all creation.'

The taint, the strange power interwinded with Willows own, it was golden.
He cursed himself for not realizing it sooner. Hell, in his misspent
youth he had done some chaos magic himself, how could he not recognize
the signature of Chaos. Willow was the Chosen of Chaos, of the Golden
One. She was the Chaos Knight whose coming the Watchers had feared for
centuries, for it was a sign for the Final Battle between Light and
Darkness. And if Willow was the Chaos Knight, that meant... that meant
that Xander was the Chaos Child, World Saver or World Damner.

Xanders change... the waking of the Chaos Child, meant that the time
was near. The Battle.

Giles' hands were shaking as he dialed a number all watchers dreaded to
dial. A small part of him, Ripper, found it hysterically funny, that he,
an ex-watcher who didn't want to have anything to do with the council,
was the one to inform them of the coming of the Final Decision.

****** Chapter 8 First Tremors ******

Magarethe Walsh was studying the intel from the capture of Willow
Rosenberg. Obviously the girl had some hidden secrets. When her men had
captured her, she'd been sitting in a circle made out of candles and
incense bowls, meditating... floating one foot over the floor.
Which was quite fascinating, because due to all her preliminary tests,
the girl was 100 percent human.

What a pity that she needed the girl for something else, studying how the
girl was able to levitate would have been rather useful. On the other
hand she doubted that the girl would be cooperating with her enough to
repeat the levitation episode in the controlled surroundings of the lab.

She started to pace in her office. If the Rosenberg girl had been able
to hide her secrets before her, what about the other demon hunters? Was
that the secret to their success? She pulled out the files of the
civilians again. Maybe inside of these files was the key to finish her
special project.

***

The office was dark and empty, so he slowly walked down the steps to
Angel's basement apartment. He had tried to go home, but somehow he'd
been drawn back here. And so here he was, confused and without any idea
why he should be here, only knowing that it was important.

Voices were coming out of Angel's "living" room, he identified Angel and
Cordelia and there was another one, an unknown male voice.
Curious he stepped down the last of the stairs, entering the room.

They were there, Angel and Cordelia he'd known to be there, Xander's
presence was more of a surprise, he'd assumed the changed boy was still
sleeping. Yet here he was, sitting at the table, following the strings
of conversation around him while being absolutely silent. And the other,
the unknown one. His presence seemed to dominate the room. Somehow he
seemed to be more. More real, more alive, more everything. And he had
noticed him.

The unknown male turned around to him and for a split second their eyes
met. And he saw armies, men with their swords raised high in the air,
screaming triumph and vengeance, fighting, blood, struggles as old as
the being before him. Quickly he looked away.

"So you are finally here," the man said with a smirk, "I almost sent out
search parties. Sit down, Wesley, you all have a lot to learn."

***

The demons were the first to notice it. Something was going to happen,
something big, sometime soon. First the temperature in the complex had
risen several degrees and the faint scent of magic had wafted through
the air and now the ground was trembling faintly. It was like something
was testing its bonds before breaking loose and the demons knew that.
And they waited.

***

He was bound, but the bonds were weakening. Soon he would be free, soon
he would walk towards his destiny. He could hear the call, could feel
the pull in his blood. The ground was trembling. He closed his red
glowing eyes. He would be free, eventually.
Soon.

***

She was walking through the streets, not knowing where she went, not
knowing where she was, not even knowing who she was. The only thing
she knew was that something was waiting for her at the end of her
way. Something she yearned for, something she hated with all her might,
something that was the opposite of her.

She walked through the cemetery, always towards the pulling feeling and
the creatures of the night fled from the slayer with the eerily glowing
white eyes.

***

The Lady of Nightmare frowned slightly as she watched the images unfold
before her. This was happening too fast. The mates hadn't recognized
themselves now and her Child wasn't ready. Ares was doing a good job
preparing them, but they didn't have the time anymore.
She turned around to Gaia and nodded.

Gaia vanished, going straight to Sunnydale to prepare the battleground.

Nightmare looked into the mirror again. She had waited for this moment
for so long and now that it had finally arrived she was unsure how to
react. Finally she could claim her Child, could tell him of his true
heritage and family. But how would he react to all of that? Could he
forgive her the knowledge that he had been left with mortal parents that
hated him? Could he accept his true parents, his destiny?

She didn't know and for a being that normally did know everything, that
was quite unsettling.

One last time she watched her Child through the mirror and couldn't help
but feel the quiet hurt he emitted. Her poor child.

She closed her eyes and vanished from the room.

And in the now empty room, one single tear fell onto the carpet where
she'd stood one moment before.

***

Something was happening. He could feel the energies unraveling and for
him this was an unsettling feeling. Then SHE was here, standing in
the middle of the room like she belonged there.

He jumped up from his chair.

"Nightmare? Why are you here now?"

"The forces are moving faster than expected. We have to prepare them now
or everything will be lost."

****** Chapter 9 A Crack in the Wall ******

There were a lot of people, colleagues and other semi-important people,
who would describe Quentin Travers as an absolute asshole. He was rude,
not familiar with the most important works of the Watcher's huge library
and he didn't know when he should shut his big mouth. Unfortunately, his
father was an important member of the Watcher's high council, so there
wasn't that big a chance to get rid of him.

Since the last fiasco in America, where he failed helping the young, now
ex-watcher, Wesley, he was doing desk duty... badly. So it seemed that
fate was laughing like a loon when he answered the phone-call of his
father who told him of the earlier call of another very worried
ex-watcher, who was telling him that both, Chaos Knight and Chaos Child
had been woken and seen on the hellsmouth in Sunnydale.

Quentin's mind was racing. The Chaos forces, the most powerful forces
of Earth, they were only woken when something really big was happening.
Something like the final battle of Good and Evil, a battle that could
leave the Watchers unemployed, should the Chaos Child make the wrong
decision. Quentin really didn't like the idea of being unemployed, even
if the work was crappy sometimes, he liked being a Watcher, specially
when he lead a team against someone or other. He liked the feeling of
power it gave him and the payment wasn't shabby either.

So something had to be done about the Chaos Child and the Chaos Knight.
Something to make them see his point of view, to guide them to make the
right decision. Unfortunately, the ex-watcher hadn't said who the Child
or the Knight was, or he could have tried to find their weak spots. So
he was left with one real option, fly to Sunnydale and try to find out
who was who. If he was lucky, he could score some good points with the
council and they would give him back his old position.

***

There was something about this woman, this woman that had appeared
moments ago in Angel's living room, something that felt achingly familiar
to Xander.

~Sweet Child of mine~

A voice he didn't heard with his ears, but felt. Familiar, soothing.

Who are you?

~I am Chaos~
~Chaos Incarnate~
~Sweet Child of mine~

The woman emitted a steady golden glowing aura, like the golden tendrils,
that had rocked him while he was in his own mind. The voice had been
there, too.

It had felt good, he remembered. For the first time in his life he had
felt loved. Like he belonged somewhere. And she had called him her child.

The memories of the other one became active and he was flooded with
memories of the same golden woman. She had been a part of his life, too.

Her name was Lord of Nightmare, LoN or L-Sama for short and she was the
living Chaos. People had called her a devil or an angel, but neither of
them were right, for she was everything.

More memories swamped his brain and his breathing grew ragged as he
remembered....

*** flashback ***

He hadn't started a fire this night. Why should he? He didn't needed it
and the only people who would have needed it were long gone, only
memories conserved in his mind.

Gourry was the first one to go, he was only mortal after all and unlike
his companions, the swordfighter had no magic abilities, nothing that
would slow down his aging process. He died peacefully, of old age,
something so rare in this times. A shallow comfort.

Sylphiel had barely lasted longer than him. They had been in love and
married for so long and while she still looked young, her heart had been
broken the night he had died... she had died of heart failure only three
weeks later.

Amelia had become the good queen he had always knew she would be. After
her justice loving period had calmed down a little and she had realized
that the world wasn't always black or white, she had been exactly what
the people of her kingdom had needed. A wise queen, ruling with wisdom
and not by force. She had married. Not him, but he hadn't expected it
otherwise. Her crush on him had been only that: a crush. She had found
her true love and went on. She, like Gourry, died of old age, peacefully.

Filia and Val had lasted for a long time, several hundred years, but
when they tried to help the Dragon Lord Milgazia against an uproar of
the mad Dark Lord Dolphin, they had died alongside of most of the other
Dragons. Pretty, caring Filia, the Golden Dragon that could match his
strengst and with a quick temper like Lina, she had died by a powerful
blast of Dolphin herself, trying and failing to protect her little Val
and the Dragon Lord Milgazia.

And then, Lina. She had been around for nearly a millenium, her aging
process had nearly stopped completely. But that didn't stopped the
assassin who finally took her down. Cowardly, with a poisoned dragger to
her back.

The only one left of their little group had been him, him and Xellos,
who popped in sometimes to visit him. He never could figure out the
mazoku, but after a while, he stopped caring. There weren't that many
people who would become friends with a chimera and Xellos, strange and
twisted as he was, was still a friend. He had never thought he would
lose Xellos to death, but even the ageless mazoku had died, fallen in
the second Kouma war.

Now he was alone, completely and utterly alone. His appearance scared
away any human being and neither mazoku nor dragons were interested in
his friendship. And thus, he didn't need a fire this night... or the
night before or the next and the next. He squashed that train of
thought, it only made him depressive.

Into his quiet brooding, a woman appeared. A woman he knew, but hadn't
seen in almost 500 years.

"L-sama," he bowed. Even depressive as he was, he still felt compelled
to show the world creator his respect.

"~My little one.~"
"~So lonely.~"
"~I never meant for this to happen.~"

He remained silent, unsure how to reply.

"~This world is ending, little one.~"
"~It has become too unstable.~"
"~And no one is here to balance it.~"

She stroked his head, like parents would caress little children.
He leaned into the touch, it had been so long since someone had touched
him without revulsion.

"~I'm going to call everything back into me.~"
"~There will be a new start.~"
"~A new world.~"
"~A new chance.~"

He listened up. Why was she telling him all of this?

"~There will be conflicting forces again.~"
"~But also a force to balance them.~"
"~I want you to be that force.~"
"~Be reborn through me.~"
"~Become my child.~"

His breath stopped at her proposal. He had never imagined something like
this could happen.

"~You will live as a normal mortal being.~"
"~Until you are needed.~"
"~To restore the balance.~"
"~Your other friends will be there as well.~"
"~You will not be alone.~"

"~Do you accept?~"

Zelgadis swallowed. Then he looked around. There was nothing that was
truly holding him here and the chance to meet his friends again....

"Yes." He mumbled with a dry throat.

L-Sama unfolded her arms and embraced him.

He was wrapped in tendrils of gold, golden energy. He felt warm, warm and
safe. And for the first time in over 1500 years he wasn't alone anymore.

*** end Flashback ***

It was clear now. He understood everything.

Xander stepped forwards.

"Hello Mother."


****** Chapter 10 Old Friends Return ******


"Hello Mother."

The words echoed through the room and in a single eyeblink everything
was different.

When L-Sama had heard the words, she had rushed forward and was now
holding her child in a tight embrace. It had been so long for her.

Angel, Wesley and Cordelia were starring at Xander in shock as he
claimed the Ultimate Power of the universe to be his mother.

Ares was smiling indulgently, secretly hoping that he would be allowed
to claim his own halfmortal children after the battle was over.

***

She was holding him in her arms, finally. L-Sama was happy. To be
finally able to hold her child, her only child, it was something so
wonderful she could not describe it. And yet she knew it would have to
end soon. Her son had a destiny to fulfill and she still had to wake
his friends and unite him with his mates.
Reluctantly she released him from her arms.

"~You remember everything now, my Child.~"

Xander nodded. All the heartbreak of his former life, all the times
with his friends and the loneliness after they were gone, L-Sama's offer
and the feeling of safety as she had carried him inside her.

"What about my friends? Are they awake, too?"

She shook her head.

"~Not yet, Child.~"
"~We had hoped to have more time to prepare everyone.~"
"~But the Forces of Light and Darkness have chosen their hosts-bodies~"
"~quicker then we thought they would.~"
"~I'll wake up your friends in a moment.~"
"~They all are needed on the Field of Decision.~"

L-Sama stretched out the fingers of her right hand and ribbons of golden
power started to float away, each of them searching for a specific soul
and waking the small seedlings deeply buried in the subconscious, returning
to them what had slept so long.

***

Angel screamed as his demon was unceremoniously kicked out of his body
to make place for his true self. His mind was filled with dragons and
wolves, with power and darkness and with memories of a life so long and
strange that he couldn't really compare it to anything.

Then the pain was over and automatically his hand closed around his
staff as he straightened up and looked around.

***

Responsibility was filling Wesley's brain. Responsibility had made him
take the leadership of the clan, responsibility had lead to his death.
And yet he wouldn't have done anything different. His body was changing,
internally and externally. He knew that he now could take on an other
form, his real form, but he didn't, this room was too small.

***

She had been a queen. A real queen. Living in a castle, having servants
and everything. But that hadn't been important. Fashion hadn't been
important and status hadn't been important, just the continued happiness
of her people. Cordelia realized that her old self was a lot more mature
then her now self and yet she couldn't help but grin a silly little grin.
She had been a queen, wow!

***

Giles had been talking to Spike when the golden light hit them both. He
had been worried when the chipped vampire claimed that the Slayer was
running around in Sunnydale with weird glowing eyes.

But nothing like that mattered anymore, when the memories of not one,
not two, but three different past incarnations reasserted themselves
into his brain. Three different existences with one and the same body.
A body he felt returning to him.

***

Spike was not very happy. First the wanker's of the Initiative had taken
his bite and now the Slayer was running around like she wanted to
personally ring in the apocalypse. Hell, her eyes had scared him silly
and he wasn't one to be frightened easily.

Then the light hit him and he suddenly was awash with strange memories.
She was a temperamental girl, always carrying a mace with her to hit
people that annoyed her. Filia, that was her name and she liked tea,
pottery and weapons... and she was a dragon. A real dragon.
Spike looked up just in time to see Giles change into someone else.
Someone she knew. Her foster son, last of the Ancient dragons. Then
the light released Spike.

The first thing he noticed was that he couldn't feel his demon anymore.
The second thing made him completely forget about the first one: he
wasn't a he anymore, he was a she!

Spike screamed.

***

Oz winced silently as he was dumped unceremoniously on his behind. He
looked around and found himself in an only all to familiar graveyard.
Somehow he had gotten back to Sunnydale, but how? Did Willow do a spell
to bring him back? He doubted it.

His doubts were forgotten when the light surrounded him. Memories of
a rather childlike character filled him. A man-child, not very bright
and yet the best swordfighter on the entire planet. One who had been
traveling with a redhead for a long time before he had settled down and
married his one true love.

"Sylphiel," he whispered as the light vanished again.

***

Something had to be wrong with Willow. Tara was worried for her new
friend. They had met regularly for the last few weeks and Willow had
been always on time. But not today. Actually she couldn't remember
seeing the redhead the entire day and she should have, they had classes
together and Willow never missed a class.

All the thoughts and worries were forgotten when the light came. The
light that woke the memories of a shrine maiden and healer priestess.
Shy, unselfish and so in love.

Tara barely noticed the grow-spurt she just had had or the fact that her
hair was now of a bluish black. All she knew was that her love was
somewhere close and waiting for her and she couldn't let him wait any
longer.

***

The taint in her powercenter was vibrating. Something was happening.
Then the power was there, power of the same energy that tainted her.
It was invading her, changing her, rebuilding her body and mind.
She remembered all the foolhardy things she had done, all the enemies
she had beaten. And her death, the coward that had stabbed her from
behind.

Had Willow been angry before, now she was livid. And now being able
to control her powers, she set into tearing down the Initiative piece
by piece. First she unlocked the holding cells, releasing all the
captured demons, then she started chasing the idiots that had brought
her here, Fireballs crackling in her hands. Nobody, absolutely nobody
could lock down the poster child for chaos and destruction!


****** Chapter 11 Hidden Love ******

Xander watched, half excited, half worried, as L-Sama's power reawoke
the sleeping parts hidden deep in his friends souls. He was excited,
because he knew the beings that were sleeping inside them, had called
them friends in another life and yet he was worried, because he
remembered only all to well how he had felt when his body had been forced
into a new/old form and his mind had been swamped with memories of
another life. Now his friends would have to work through the same changes.
But he would be there for them, he would help them and then he wouldn't
feel so alone anymore.

Angel was groaning and his attention was drawn back to his changing
friends. He watched them carefully. Outwardly Angel wasn't changing much,
but Xander knew this to be a lie because of his astral senses. To them
Angel was changing rapidly. Changing into someone very familiar. When
his hair grew down to his chin and changed color to a purplish black,
when Angel's hand closed around a very familiar staff, Xander knew. And
wasn't it funny that sleeping in Angel's soul had been one of the most
feared mazoku of his previous life, one that could make Angelus appear
like a cute fuzzy kitten. Xellos, general and high priest of the Dark Lord
Xellas, the Greater Beast. And even while he had been rather annoying
and downright dangerous sometimes, he had been one of his best friends
later on, because he knew about the loneliness an extended life could
bring with it.

From Angel, his eyes wandered to Wesley. And like Angel, he immediately
recognized the old friend within him. Tall standing, with an aura of
power and responsibility, with long blond hair and broad shoulders,
Xander remembered the Dragon Lord in an instant. Milgazia, ruler of the
Golden Dragons of Dragon Peak, protector of the Clair Bible and loyal
friend. Other memories tried to push to the fore, but with remembered
ease he pushed them back. Xellos and Milgazia, he had wanted to be more
than a friend to them, but he had never dared, had never tried, too
afraid he would even lose their friendship. It figured that it had
happened in this life, too. Only this time he had been the annoying one
and Angel/Xellos the silent broody type.

Still musing about the strange ways of fate he looked towards Cordelia.
He was surprised by the fact that he wasn't really surprised. Cordy had
always been a queen, well a spoiled princess sometimes, but if she was
like anything as the Amelia of his old life, she would become a good
and regal queen in her own time.

He turned around to L-Sama, who was standing beside Ares now.

"The others..., are they...?"

"Your other friends are on the place of battle. They are in Sunnydale,
waiting for you." Ares answered his question. "But before you can go back
to Sunnydale, there is something that must be done first." Ares stood up,
walked towards him until he was only one or two feet away. "You have to
stop hiding your feelings and join with your mates."

"Mates?" Xander asked confused.

"Yes, mates. Death incarnate and Life incarnate. The two opposite forces
that will balance *you*, so you can balance everything else."

"oh..." Xander managed to reply. He was stunned. Mates? Two of them? But
who would want to be mated to him? Deep inside he knew this was the
experience of his old life, making him so glum and depressive, but he
couldn't help it. He *had* been a freak, an unlovable, unsocial and
rather lonely chimera and before he had been turned back into this freaky
existence, his time as a mortal boy hadn't been rather happy. His parents
had hated him, he had been a looser at school and the experience he had
with girls were not so nice. Let's face it, he thought angrily to himself,
no matter what you are, you are still the one at the sidelines, the one
who will never be loved back.

He stiffened and his head hung low as he came to this conclusion.

***

Angel was feeling strange, really strange. The changes in his body, the
loss of his demon and the new/old memories assaulting him, it all left
him wishing for some quiet time to figure it all out, but he knew he
didn't have those time. Not yet anyway. His new senses could feel
something big building up in the direction of Sunnydale. Something that
had to be stopped.

Something Xander had to stop.

His thoughts abruptly changed towards Xander. His secret obsession.
During his last life, when he had been the beast priest, his master
hadn't given him the permission to take a mate. Quick fucks, yes, but
no serious relationships had been allowed. And he had wanted the chimera
to be more than a quick sexual adventure. He had wanted him to be *his*.
Mind, body and soul, he had wanted him, but it wasn't meant to be as he
had died, leaving Zelgadis/Xander completely alone.

Then, when he had met the boy in this life, he had been drawn to him like
a moth to a flame. His joy and happiness had attracted him, but it didn't
remain at that. The more he learned about the boy, the more he had wanted
him. Even when he had lost his soul, when he had been the now banished
Angelus, he hadn't killed him when he had had the opportunity. No, that
hadn't been his plan, would have been too easy. He had wanted him in his
twisted, demonic way.

A wave of misery washed over him, not his, but Xander's. It was strange
to feel peoples emotions again, strange to feed of the negative emotions.
He remembered doing it, but that had been in an other life, another time.
The misery became stronger and he shuddered. No matter how good it tasted,
he never wanted to feel that from Xander again.

He had to do something about it.

***

She watched, pleased as one of the mates decided to act on his feelings.

Now she only had to give the other one a tiny nudge and then her child
would never be alone again.


****** Chapter 12 Death Incarnate ******


Wesley's head was swimming with information. Milgazia, he had been
Milgazia, a golden dragon. Not only a dragon, but the leader of his clan.
One of the few survivors of the attack of the Greater Beast's general.
And now he was Wesley, ex-watcher and co-worker of Angel, Angel who
obviously had harbored the essence of the mazoku that had nearly wiped
out the golden dragons single-handly. He didn't know if he should laugh
or cry, this sounded so insane, yet was the truth.
And from the way things appeared, it looked like Angel was one of Xander's
mates. This was so unfair. In his last life, the laws of the dragons had
kept him from the chimera and now it looked like he would loose to Angel
in this life.

Wesley sighed and watched the scene unfolding before his eyes.

***

Somebody was touching him. Touching him, gently, like a caress. Surprised
Xander looked up, straight into the normally closed eyes of the mazoku.
Demon eyes met demon eyes and he couldn't really believe what he read in
the eyes of the other. Xellos was, well he was Xellos, eternal trickster,
keeper of secrets and mysterious priest. And in this life, as Angel, he
had the complete star-crossed lovers thing with Buffy going... a small
part of him wondered if Buffy had harbored one of his friends as well,
but he couldn't really think about that now. Not when Angel was touching
his face like this. It felt like... like... he couldn't compare it to
anything, it felt better than anything else.
Long, slender finger ghosted over his face, caressing the stones around
his eyes and at his jawline. He shivered and leaned into the touch,
wanting to feel as much as he could get.

"You know," Angel was so close to him, that the air of his words tickled
Xander's sensitive ears, "in my last life, Xellas, Greater Beast-sama had
forbidden me to take a mate. She wanted all my attention concentrated on
the work I was doing for her. I saw you. I wanted you. Yow were so young,
so unique. So full of life and spirit, yet you always his it beyond a mask
of indifference. I could feel it, you know. I could feel your feelings,
your emotions. For the longest time I watched you. And I wanted you. So
badly I could taste it. But I wanted you for more than was allowed to me.
I wanted you as my life-mate, my bonded one."

He was standing behind Xander now, one hand caressing the tip of one
pointed ear, the other was possessively wrapped around his waist.

"I knew, sooner or later she would allow me to take a mate, I was waiting
for her to do so. Waiting and watching you. Then finally, she said I could
take a mate after the war. You know which war I mean. The second big one.
The second Kouma war. I don't know what killed me, yet I lost my life on
the battlefield, so close to my personal goal, but I left you behind.
Unclaimed. Then, when I met you in this life, you were so young and I
believed that I had no right in seducing you. I had been evil for so
long and felt like I would taint everything I touched. No, I didn't
deserved you. So I took up with the Slayer. And I lost my soul and my
demon had gone completely insane. You know, I went over the entire curse
afterwards, after my return from Hell. True Happiness, as the gypsies
meant it, was to sleep with a virgin woman."

Angel shrugged and Xander could feel the movement through the hug.

"What can I say, the curse was obviously made by gypsy men, otherwise I
would have lost my soul the moment I realized I was back from Hell, that
was a true moment of happiness for me. By then I thought you hated me
and so I finally decided to leave."

The arms around Xander hugged him closer to Angel's frame.

"But now I can feel you and I don't feel hate. Just longing and need and
despair. But there is no need for despair. I want you, have wanted you
for a very long time."

Xander was turned around so that he now faced the ex-vampire. One gloved
finger was outlining the shape of his lips.

"You know, I always wondered, what your kisses would taste like. And now
I'm myself again and I am free of Greater Beast-sama. Free to love you."

And Angel lowered his head to kiss the chimeric youth.

Tendrils of multicolored light appeared around them, wrapping them in a
cocoon of light and power and Xellos' staff, floating half-forgotten
behind his owner, started to shake. Then a three foot long scythe blade
shoot out of the red jewel that was topping his staff.

"~Behold of the Power~"

L-Sama declared dramatically.

"~Behold of the Power of Death Incarnate~"


****** Chapter 13 Life, Death, Balance ******

Angel shivered as the multi-colored energy coursed through him, changing
him anew and binding him to his life-mate. It felt good, powerful,
strange yet familiar. Like he had felt something like it before. And then
he noticed that both Xander and Wesley were emitting small amounts of
power with similar energy patterns. When he turned to L-Sama to ask her
about those patterns, he received his biggest shock. The Golden Chaos
was emitting power on a level so high and with a pattern, so complex that
he felt it was beyond his comprehension. The War God, standing next to
her, was emitting power on a level similar to his own and with a similar
pattern. Patterns, that looked like simplified versions of L-Sama's
complex one. His legs almost gave out as he made the connection.

"You are... I... the pattern..." he managed to gasp out.

"~Your observation is correct, young one~"
"~You are a power now~"
"~Like Ares is and Wesley will be~"

"What?!" Wesley felt faint. He couldn't have heard this correctly. It
was impossible.

"~You have heard this right, young Wesley~"
"~As Angel here is Death Incarnate~"
"~You are his Opposite~"
"~Life Incarnate~"
"~For Death without Life is only Destruction~"
"~And Life without Death is Stagnation~"
"~Both need the other to balance themselves~"
"~And both are needed to balance my Child~"

Her open hand pointed towards Xander, who was still half-embraced by
Angel.

"Xander?" Wesley asked half in shock. He was meant to be the second mate
to Xander! He was going to have him! Even if he had to share with Angel,
but that wasn't such a hardship. The dark ex-vampire was someone he could
learn to love rather easily. But back to the topic at hands.

"Is Xander a power, too?"

"~Yes and No~"
"~He is my Child~"
"~Born out of me~"
"~Flesh of my flesh~"
"~Soul of my soul~"
"~He is a new being~"
"~Something that had never existed before~"

L-Sama stopped, paused for a moment before she continued.

"~Everything that is, comes through me~"
"~The Powers, the Planets, Suns, everything~"
"~I am Chaos~"
"~I am everything~"
"~There were only two states of being~"
"~Chaos and Not-Chaos~"
"~Nothing in between~"
"~Whenever both states met, there were violent clashes~"

"~Alexander~"
"~My Child~"
"~He is meant to be the In-Between~"
"~Balanced by two opposite Powers~"
"~Balancing everything~"
"~But this has to be his choice~"

Now she looked square at her Child.

"~On the field of battle~"
"~The Site of Light and the Site of Darkness will approach you~"
"~Both will justify their Existence and ask you to join their fight~"
"~I can help you with your decision~"
"~That has to be your own~"
"~But either way it will influence the Existence of Everything~"

She fell silent, stepped forward and hugged Xander close to her. To her
finger, his hair was soft and his skin not as dense as it felt to the
fingers of his soon-to-be lovers. L-Sama could feel his mind whirling
and she could also feel memories of old hurts and abandonment's trying to
dig through his mental walls, to influence his final decision.
But as she had said, she couldn't help him with that, it had to be his
own choice.

"~Don't plague yourself with what might have been~"
"~Or what might will come in the future~"
"~Release your thoughts from the endless circle~"
"~Join with your second mate~"
"~Embrace your destiny~"
"~No matter what will happen~"
"~I am already proud of you~"

She smiled as she nudged a suddenly very shy Wes towards him and as the
multi-colored energy bound Life to Balance and Death and Wesley received
his staff, formed like an Egyptian Ankh, she started to fade from their
view. It hurt her a little to go now, but she was Chaos and if she
stayed on the mortal plane for too long, she would cause great
imbalances in the powerflow.

"~I will see you again, Child~"

She whispered before she unraveled into fast vanishing bands of gold.

***

Xander was a bit dazed. First the joining with Angel as his life-mate,
then his mother's revelations and the joining with Wesley as his other
life-mate... it was all a bit sudden. But all this was forgotten the
moment the connections to his mate had fully formed. It was the moment
when something inside of him stated to bubble and boil. Something very
powerful. At first he fought against it, tried to suppress it deep
inside of him, but the force was too strong to be put away and too
violent to simply let loose. What to do?

Carefully he let a small drizzle of the power raise to the surface of
his being and then infused it into the links to his mates. Slowly, but
steadily he raised the level of the power until the bubbling inside
him died down.

When he opened his eyes, the world around him had changed... or was it
him, who had changed so much? He didn't know and for the moment he didn't
really cared. The way it was now felt right to him and he knew that no
matter what was coming next, he wouldn't face it alone. His being
vibrated with the mental connections of two others who couldn't be any
more different, but exactly their differences made them perfect for him.
For the first time in two lifes he felt whole and so alive.

Ares stepped to them.

"You are in balance now. I really hope you can put an end to that battle,
it is the only war that really shouldn't happen, with the End of All and
so on. Well, are you ready? ... Here we go!"

The room was brightened by a blue flash of light and when it dissolved,
Angels living room was empty.


****** Chapter 14 Gathering at the Battleground ******


She wondered where it had all gone wrong. One moment she was sitting in
her office, reviewing the files of the civilian demonhunters, the next
one the alarm klaxons in the entire base had started to howl and the
earth was shaking. The base was under attack and she couldn't figure out
why, how or even who it was that was attacking.

Prof. Walsh was not having a good time as she watched her best soldiers
running around like headless chickens. Someone had opened all the cages
and now the hostiles were free to do whatever they wanted to do. Some of
them where hunting the personnel from the Initiative, wanting to take
their revenge, others simply wanted to flee, making the chaos even worse.

And still she had no idea who had done it... and how.

A shrill scream disrupted her train of thought and when she looked into
the direction where the scream had been issued, she paled to a ghostly
white as she witnessed a huge, furred and horned hostile eating one of
the Initiative's scientist... alive.

At this moment she realized that she wasn't safe in this building anymore.
The cages were open, her men helpless and dramatically outnumbered and
none of these hostiles had yet been chipped. The only hostile that had
been chipped had escaped and afterwards she'd into recapturing him and
into finding and capturing the blue hostile.

Now here she was and all of her hard work had been for nothing, had it?
Of course! Why hadn't she thought about this sooner? Even if he wasn't
really finished yet and not even close to perfect, A.D.A.M. would protect
her. With quick steps she rushed to the door to room 314 and the few
seconds the system needed to identify seemed like hours to her as she
saw several hostiles coming into her direction.

The door opened with its characteristic hiss and she slammed it shut
after her. Then she released a shuddering breath of release. Safe, she
was safe here. She opened her eyes.

The feeling of safety abruptly left her as she starred at her own creation
that was looking back at her with red glowing eyes.

***

Spike was not happy. You could say he was downright and bloody pissed.
At the world at all and specially at the tosser that had done this to
him. Whoever that was.

Angrily he started to rub his head, only to encounter the longish blond
hair that grew there now instead of his normal short and bleached one.
He nearly had another fit. He, what a lie! He, Spike, Bad ass, Master
vamp and Slayer of Slayers, he was a bloody she!! A FEMALE. Spike could
feel the back of his dress moving and nearly screamed in frustration.
Not only was he a she now, no he was a bloody nonhuman, nonvamp,
tailpopping dragon-she!

The memories of a past life tried to bubble up inside of him, but he
suppressed them ruthless. He was the only one in his head, even if it
was a female head. This body was his and he wouldn't tolerate any
intruders!

Then he felt it, a tugging feeling. Something was urging him to go to
a special place, something would happen there. He was needed there.

Spike wasn't one for long outdrawn plans. He shrugged and went into
the direction the tugging feeling lead him.

***

He was Giles, Rupert Giles. He had to remind himself of that fact. His
name was Giles, not Val Agares, not Valgaav, not Valtira. And yet he
couldn't deny the fact that in the seconds or hours he had been in the
golden light, his body had changed. But still, his name was Rupert
Giles, he had been a watcher for the last 24 years. He couldn't be an
ancient dragon. He simply couldn't.

Buried in his mental mantra, he never noticed that he had stopped to
wander around randomly and was now walking straight into one direction.
Always hanging on one single thought, that he was Giles, Rupert Giles.

***

Oz was happy. He was home, where he needed to be and he was with his
love, his true love.

On one level Oz knew he had never seen the girl before and he had no
real idea why she was the One for him and yet the memories of a life
he had lived before where rather clear in that point. Sylphiel and he
had lived together, happily married until he died in his old age.
And now they where here, in this new life, with two different sets of
memories. He wasn't the one he had been in his other life. Gourry had
been rather simple and childlike until it came to swordfighting. He had
been the best swordfighter on the planet. Now he wasn't dumb like in his
last live, only a bit lazy sometimes. And still madly in love with the
beautiful girl in his arms.

A flash of light interrupted his thinking. When his eyes had cleared he
saw several people standing not too far away. They looked familiar, yet
he couldn't really place them.

The blue guy stepped for. "Oz, Tara. You are here!"
He said with Xander's voice.

"They are all coming." Another man stepped to him. "They are drawn to
this place, the battle will be here."

What battle, Oz thought, before the arrival of a blond and seriously
angry woman captured his attention. There was something about her that
was disturbingly familiar.

The blonde stormed right to the man with the closed eyes and the scythe.

"I should have known that you were involved in this you bloody wanker!"
She screamed in his face while swinging a mace. "It wasn't enough what
the wankers at the Initiative did to me, but no you had to add your own
fan-fucking-tastic touch!"

Xander gasped at her in shock.

"Spike?"

***

Willow felt something was needing to be done. Inside her, power was
welling up and she closed her eyes... and released it.


****** Chapter 15 Force of Darkness, Force of Light ******

The ground started to shake as huge amounts of power were forced into
the earth and bedrock. Inside the corridors and rooms that made out
the Initiative, everything was going to hell.

Gaia watched silently as the young redhead pushed more and more power
into the ground, reshaping the bowels of earth at the necessary points.
She didn't like having others playing with the physical manifestation
of her, far too often humans had damaged her in the past, but in this
case, she was silently helping the child, mentally guiding her spirit
and wordlessly pointing out the places where the redhead needed to push.

Slowly the earth opened, like a budding flower, releasing the underground
section of the Initiative, spitting it out like something very foul.
When the last of the complex had been ejected, the ground slammed shut
again, smoothed over as if all this had never happened.

Gaia sighed. Her work was done here for the moment. She would come back
later, if there was a later, to repair the damage of the surface and of
the cave system she had so lovingly designed so long ago.

***

She stood in front of the newly unearthed complex, her eyes glowing
silverwhite and she was smiling. Inside was the other, the one she had
to fight, her opposite. And he was coming, she could feel it.

***

Spike was about to rip into his sire when the ground started to shake.
With wide eyes they watched as the formerly hidden Initiative complex
arose from the earth to rest in the open.

"It's about to start," The man who had introduced himself as Ares said.

"What? What the fucking hell is going on here?" Spike screamed in
frustration.

Ares sighed, but it was Xander who answered his question.

"They say it is the final meeting, the ultimate battle between Good and
Evil."

Spike opened his mouth, but it seemed all words had left him for he
stood there speechless and rather silly looking with his jaw almost on
the floor.

***

He ignored the woman, huddled in a corner in his room, she was
unimportant. The only thing that mattered was that he was finally free.
Free to meet his other, free to battle and to win.

And A.D.A.M. stepped out of the door.

***

They could feel it, the coming of two opposite forces. It burned in their
blood, wormed its way through their scalps, itched on their skin and made
their hearts race.

Then the first of the two vessels appeared on the battleground and those
who knew her couldn't help but gasp at the changes in the slayer.

Her eyes were glowing solid white and a misty nimbus of manifested power
surrounded her, forming the shape of a ghostly dragon. Buffy's face was
completely devoid of emotions and looked like craved out of ice. Her
fingers ended in sharp talons now and on her back were two bat-like wings
in the same gleaming white as the nimbus around her.

And she had a tail.

The sound of someone opening a door made them turn around and they saw the
second power set foot on the battleplace. None of them knew him or had
seen him before, they would have remembered.

He looked like a wild mixture of human, demon and cyborg and his eyes were
a solid red. The nimbus around him, of a ghostly red color, was forming a
dragon as well. None of them knew if his tail, wings and talons were part
of the alteration by the power that had invaded him or naturally his.

He stepped forwards. "The time had come/"

Buffy met him in the middle of the field. "/This will end today."

And without further words both opponents lashed out at each other.

***

Xander knew he should do something. If his mother was right, then he was
born, created to stop this from happening. But how?

The backlash of the power created by the fighting of the two hit him and
he knew he had do something quickly for the world wasn't meant to
take blows of that kind of power.

Xander stepped forwards.

Both opponents turned towards him.

"/Greetings, Child of the Golden One." The White power said formally.

"We've awaited your appearance./" The Red power said no less formally.

"/We knew, no matter how long we fight,"
"/The battle will be decided,"
"/By the decision of the Chaos Child."

"You have to make the choice/"
"Between the two of us/"
"Which one of us shall perish/"
"And which shall prosper./"

"Chose me,/" the White power said,
"For I am the Goodness of the World./"
"Chose me and I will wipe out everything Evil and Foul./"
"Chose me and the World will be without pain and darkness./"

"/No, chose me," the Red power said,
"/Because, while I'm the Darkness, I'm pushing forward Evolution."
"/Without me, there will be only stagnation."
"/Without me, no one would learn."

Both forces gave each other the evil eye and then turned back to Xander.

"/The Time has Come./" The said together.
"/The Time to choose./"
"/Make your Choice, Child of Chaos,/"
"/Lord of Destiny/"
"/Worldchanger/"

And Xander stood there.


****** Chapter 16 Battle of Balance ******


His thoughts raced. What could he do, which decision was the right one?
With a look of utter helplessness Xander turned to his friends. They were
all here. Tara, who once had been Sylphiel and Oz, the reborn Gourry
Gabriev. Willow, the calmer form of Lina Inverse, but as powerful and
sometimes as impulsive as her former self. Spike, who didn't look very
happy to be returned to Filias body and Giles, the Ancient dragon Valtira,
foster son of Filia and last of the race of the Ancient dragons. A role,
very fitting for the rebellious ex-watcher. Xander's eyes wandered onwards,
to his mates, standing side by side, each with the symbol of their office
and holding hands.

Of course! The relevation hit Xander like a bolt of lightning.
No life without death, no death without life.
Now he knew what he had to do.

He turned towards the waiting opponents.

"I have made my decision."

"/We are listening, Child of Chaos./"

"I choose neither of you and both."

"/That is not possible./"
"/One of us has to perish, so the other can prosper./"

"You are wrong. Both of you need the other to survive. If one of you
dies, so does the other. See, every yes is also a no, every light creates
shadows, every good thing for one, is a bad thing for another, every end
is a beginning of something new."

Xander pointed at his lifemates.

"Look at them. One is Death, the other is Life. Without Death Life would
be meaningless and become stagnate and without Life Death would become
oblivious. Both complete the other in an endless circle of Life, Death
and Rebirth."

He stooped and took a deep breath before he continued.

"Look at yourself, at your real forms. The color might be different, yet
both of you manifest as the same creature. That is because you are the
same being, just different sides of the coin."

"I am Xander, reborn Zelgadiss and Child of Chaos. I balance my mates
and now I will balance you."

With knowledge he didn't knew he possessed, he reached out towards the
two and removed them from their host-shells. Their power surged and he
almost dropped to his knees as he let it flew through him, searching for
the point of balance. The earth shook ominously and thunder rolled like
the heavens itself were ripped open.

***

"Shit!" Ares cursed as his powers violently flared alive. Whatever Xander
was doing, it was like a war and every war fed his godhood. With his
senses he could feel mircofractures in the fabric of reality and if he
didn't do anything to stop them, there would be no reality left for Xander
to continue his work.
He reached out with his entire power, holding onto the fabric of reality
with all his might and at the same time calling out to every other deity
he knew. And they came, each and everyone knowing that the entire
existence of the multiverse was in danger and so they put aside their
petty squabbles and helped as best as they could.

***

It felt like something inside was trying to burst through his skull while
something else was attempting to squeeze his head into a bloody pulp.
Unimaginable forces were tearing at him, trying to rip him apart.
Yet he couldn't let it influence him. Currents of Light and Darkness were
running through his veins and danced through his head. If his new/old
body had been able to sweat, he would have drenched the earth with
torrents of water, but since he was unable to do so, his painful clenched
facial muscles were the only outward sign of his distress.

Light and Dark, Good and Evil danced through him, shifting, merging and
then breaking apart again.

Somewhere there had to be a point of balance, a place where they balanced
each other.

And his search continued.

***

More and more gods and goddesses appeared, each clinging to the fabric of
everything, trying to hold it together until the new balance had been
found.

The hundred-armed Kali, Goddess of War and Destruction was there, just
like the Japanese God of Death Shinigami, the Norse God of Light Balder,
Ometeotl, dual Creator deity of the Azteks and the Earthdragon Tiamat
and thousand others that the watcher recognized and could name. They all
where here, working together, to hold reality together until Xander was
finished with his work.

***

He had, had to leave his body to balance them.

Xander knew how to do it, yet he was a little bit afraid. What if he
didn't find his way back? On the other side, if he didn't find the
balance soon, he wouldn't have to worry about something like that
anymore.

Like a butterfly out of its cocoon he slipped out of his body to finish
his work.

***

His friends watched worried as his body crumpled to the ground. A bluish
mist rose from his still form to solidify into the most beautiful dragon
they had ever seen.

Tendrils of white and red surrounded the dragon and it looked like he was
weaving them into a pattern so complex that even the gods couldn't
understand it.

Then suddenly the dragon roared and the weavings disappeared in a flash.
The earth stopped shaking and the night cleared. The fractures in the
fabric of time and space knitted themselves back together and after a long
pause, the gods disappeared in the same manner they had come.

Finally there were only those left that had entered the field first.

Wesley and Angel rushed to their fallen lifemate.
Angel could feel that he wasn't dead, Wesley felt his strong lifeforce,
but he wasn't moving.


****** Chapter 17 Restringing the Loom ******

"Why doesn't he wake up? It is over, we've won, so why isn't he waking
up?" Angel asked distressed.

"Because his mind isn't here, yet. He's found the balance and now he is
spreading it through the entire multiverse. And it isn't over yet either,
the change has just begun and it will take a very long time until the
scales will be finally balanced. You will soon find this world changed
beyond your wildest dreams, as the spreading balance is rewriting the
book of destiny and the fates' loom is restringed to weave a brand-new
pattern into history." The oldest among them said simply and for one
short moment they all got a glimpse of the true age and wisdom hidden
behind an eternally youthful face and a stormy temperament.

For a moment Ares watched as the two lifemates of Xander started to
understand just what the Chaos Child was doing for each and everyone of
them, before his attention was taken to someone else. After the Force of
Light had left her body, Buffy had collapsed on the soft earth of the park,
her body thankfully returned to her former state. He walked towards her
unconscious form and carefully picked her up.

"I should have expected that you were drawn into this." He said to the
unconscious girl as he gently cradled her in his arms. "Always in the
middle of chaos, you remind me so much of her." Memories of another
warrior woman flashed through his head as he compared her to his
stubborn, raven haired child he had had so many hundred years ago.

Giles looked up at this comment. "What is she to you?" He asked as he
saw his Slayer cradled in the arms of the God of War.

"She is my daughter, like all previous Slayers before her and all the
Slayers that are yet to come. When the religion of the Jewish God took
over, they had a problem. All the monsters, demons and other nonhumans
didn't simply went away like the gods. They remained and without the old
gods sleeping with humans and having demigod children which later always
became heroes and demonslayers, their followers were in great danger.
So they approached us, three of his messengers and asked for our help.
The Fates told us we had to help them or the world would be destroyed.
So Athena and I sat together and worked out a system. Athena trained the
first batch of what would later become the Watchers and I went to Earth,
to choose a woman. Her child became the first Slayer. After a while the
Christians took over the Watches Council and managed to ruin it in a
couple of years. They made a lot of rules regarding the Slayer, because
the old men were afraid of them. They tried to completely control them,
something that is not really possible with my girls, they all have a
thick head and are stubborn as hell and when the old men manage to train
all the individual thoughts out of their brains, the girl in question is
as good as dead and I have to watch another of my daughters die. You see,
while Athena's job was done with the training of the first Watchers, I
still go down to Earth, choosing the mothers of new Slayers. Always
married ones, those that want to have children and will care for them. I
appear to them in the form of their husbands and after it is done I plant
the memories of that night in the husbands brain. And their daughter will
be born and grow up having a normal life, until the day she's chosen. At
least," and now he threw a dark look towards the watcher, "that was the
way we planned it to be. That way the girls had something to fight for,
family and siblings to protect, not the detached robots the council is
brainwashing them to be. Now that the world has changed, we will be
active again and I know that Athena had been seething and bitching about
the watchers stupidity for a long, long time and the first thing she's
going to do is kick their collective asses!"

The anger of the Wargod was an almost tangible thing, surrounding him
with a flamelike aura of power. The others could feel a rising of power
and there was not much needed to ignite the famous short temper of Ares.
Thankfully Xander choose that moment to wake up.

***

He blinked several times, the light of the moon hurting his eyes, eyes
no longer accustomed to light. How long had it been since he had had a
body, how long since he had left his other halves behind to spread
balance through the multiverse? Xander didn't know, he had lost all
sense of time and space as he had been drifting through all layers of
reality and fantasy. His brain hurt as he tried to remember everything
he had seen.

Slowly his eyes adjusted to the dim light and he looked around.
The place... the place seemed familiar to him... someplace he knew he
should know. His lifemates were here, with him and there...
Suddenly he knew why he should know this place, it had been here,
where everything had started... but that had been so long ago, hadn't
it? It seemed so long, so long ago. His fingers clawed into the soft
earth and wasn't it strange to have a body again, to feel, to be.
Angel's fingers were softly caressing his face. Yes it was strange to
be in a body again, strange but so good. He sighed and everybodys
attention turned towards him.

"He's awake!" Wesley exclaimed. "How are you feeling?" His voice was
full of worry... and love.

"Strange, I feel strange," he muttered, "but good."


****** Chapter 18 XYZ ******




tbc

The End?

You have reached the end of "Behind the crystal walls" – so far. This story is incomplete and the last chapter was posted on 12 Aug 03.

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