Changes: For the Better or not?
Please see the first chapter for all the disclaimer and information about the story. Thank youChanges: For the Better or Not?
It took three days to get everything into the five new houses, and that gave Xander enough time to find out who went into each house, and gave Benton enough time to finish the rune warding also. Even though Xander kept his job as the lead foreman of his crew, he still had to move out of his apartment. Moving his things out of the apartment was easy, and he left most of the furniture, giving the landlord and fully furnished apartment. Breaking his lease was simple when Xander explained to his landlord that he had saved up enough money to buy a house.
Xander had talked to Dino and Methos about his job and they had simply pointed out that it was his choice to keep working. While he had mentioned what he went through to get his job, Xander never saw Ranma enter to hear his tale and it was Ranma that spoke up about his choices.Flashback
“It is your choice and your choice alone to work, just like it was your choice to join Buffy in her fight. The fact that you chose to work implies that you are willing to do things for yourself and see where it will take you.”
“Ranma’s right kiddo, you know that there are things that need to be done and your experience with construction and explosives can only improve if you keep doing a job you love. The way you talk about your crew tells me that you do enjoy the thrill of each home you build and the accomplishment that comes once it’s done.” Dino patted him on the shoulder, and gave him a smile.
Xander gave them a smile and left the room after that.End Flashback
His crew begun to notice a few changes in Xander since the eight had come to town and the oldest finally came over to ask Xander about it.
“Hey Harris, you got perky on us again. Anything good you want to share?”
Xander laughed and patted his head foreman on the back. Turning sparkling eyes on his crew he simply gave a Mona Lisa smile.
“I got a few friends in from out of town and they are giving me a hand with a few things. They’ve also got my friends well in hand and have offered to teach me a thing or two.” He gave the foreman another smile, “They also proved to me that they do care more than the two girls that I was with when they told me to keep working because I love the job.”
A Jolly laugh came from the man beside him. “That’s great Harris, now I need your help with something over here…”
John walked away smiling after seeing Xander working with his crew and hearing the young man’s words. Maybe he and his wife could talk to him and start a trend of a new nickname for the lad. It could always help, and she did understand psychology more than he did.
Sitting around the table, Xander smiled at the group of people. Around the table and ignored the glares that Buffy and Willow were sending his way. Giles had apologized to him earlier that day and they had discussed many things that were going on around them. While Giles felt that he was no longer important, Xander had simply smiled and explained that it wasn’t an issue.Flashback
“Giles, there are many things that you can still do. We will still need someone around that knows the amount of demons you do. While we have eight more people, it doesn’t diminish what you do to help us. They also give you something to look forward to, they are all scholars, and can keep up with your knowledge and philosophy. Even though you have been around us for three years and watched us grow, it’s not the same as talking to other adults.” Xander chuckled at Giles’ thoughtful look.
“Also, Adam might be able to put a few things into perspective for you; Dino as well. Both know the horrors of combat, and they can help you in ways that might surprise you.” Xander didn’t want to breach the fact that Giles’ decent into his bottle scared him, but Dino and Methos would help him with that.
“Thank you Xander, you have helped more than you know.” Giles’ eyes were grateful, and Xander would only know later how much his talk had kept their older friend from leaving for England.End Flashback
Xander was pulled back into the conversation as Giles laughed at something Adam had said. Helping Joyce clean up, Xander turned to her for a bit of conversation.
“I have the plans drawn up for who will live were, do you mind if we discuss that in the living room?” He looked so shy that Joyce couldn’t help but agree.
Pulling out the cake and ice cream, Xander stepped out to tell the others what was going on, only to see Buffy and Willow glaring at the newest person. Seeing that it was Ethan, Xander was shocked at the wounds that the man had.
“Tara go get the first aid kit in the bathroom, Jane get some warm water and a cloth, Adam help me get him to the living room.” Dino had taken control and Xander could only watch as the man was carried to the living room.
Xander ran to his things and pulled out a few potions that Tara had made for him and brought them to the living room as well.
“Ethan, do you want a magic suppressor in case your magic lashes out?” Dino looked at him in confusion when a small nod was given.
“He’s a chaos sorcerer Dino, and I think he just got free of the Initiative. When we were there, I looked to see if he was there. I didn’t have enough time to look everywhere, and I think they had managed to get him out when we left after ADAM was destroyed.” He helped the frail man drink the potion that Xander had for if Willow went too bad.
They worked in silence as Dino and Adam cleaned and bandaged the wounds. Xander took Tara aside and asked if she had any healing potions. Nodding, she went to her kit and pulled out a vial with a blue liquid in it. Bringing it to the living room, Xander told Methos what it did and he made sure that Ethan knew as well. The wounds on his body slowly melted away, and the look of pain on Ethan’s face slowly faded into a sensation of relief.
Giles sat beside the chaos sorcerer after getting a basin of warm water and began to wash most of the grime from Ethan’s scalp. Both men began to talk in hushed tones and Xander had to plan to change the housing that the group has to share.
Looking at the assembled people, Xander smiled at Giles as he took care of the man he had hurt. Clearing his throat, Xander put up the diagram of the six houses, each holding names in each home.
“Dino had asked me to place people in homes due to how everything is going to be set up. Since this is Joyce’s home, I asked if it was alright if Tara lived here with her. She gave me her blessings, so this is the first home.” Ignoring Buffy’s glare he continued.
“Next door, on the street corner, I was going to put Giles, Willow and Buffy there. Since it is also the biggest house, Ethan will be living there as well if he wishes to stay. If he does stay, Ethan is the High Priest to Janus, and has a lot of knowledge when it comes to magic. He can help Benton if magic needs to be cast from another genre.” He ignored Willow’s glare, and tossed a small ball at her head, breaking her concentration.
“No magical casting Wills. You’re abusing your gift again, and I refuse to have my mind fucked with today.” Benton cast a binding spell on her, making her shriek, and only quite down at Tara’s look of disappointment.
“On the other side of Joyce, Lara and Amanda will live there. Both are highly trained professionals, and I know that they can only help with finding artifacts that we can use or untaint. This also gives them a place where they could work on them alone if they so wish.” The two women smirked at him, and Xander mock bowed in response.
“Behind Laura and Amanda, Jane and John will live there. They get their own place since they are married, and should be allowed to “rest” in peace.” Dino chuckled at the quotation marks around the word rest, but it was good that the lad was relaxing.
“Behind Giles’ place, Dino and Adam will be living there. I know that they like us all, but I thought it best to have them together to plan things out if they have to. Besides, that house has the wicked ass study.” Dino and Adam snorted and got a cheeky grin in response, Xander was too perceptive for his own good at times.
“In the house behind Joyce, Ranma, Benton, Dief and myself shall be living there. Any questions on where you’ll be living?” Looking around only Buffy and Willow looked upset.
He was about to move when Buffy spoke. “Why did you plan this? Besides, Willow and I live in the dorms.”
“Well, if you listened to your mother, you’d know that she has permission to make you live off campus, and Willow’s parents have given her the same authority to do the same to her. Why I made the plans, well, I know who’ll be able to live with whom. For example, while Adam and Amanda may be teacher and student, they can’t live with each other for long without trying to kill each other. Also, none of us want Willow away at the moment due to her magic addiction. You saw yourself that we had to bind her magic again today.” Xander sat down beside Diefenbaker and began to pet him again.
“She’s getting over it, besides we need a magical person, or didn’t you know that?” She sneered at him.
“Buffy, Benton is a shaman, Tara is a pure white witch, Giles used to do magic as well and Ethan is a magic wielder with an affinity for chaos. You have plenty of people who can use magic. Besides, who says that Willow hasn’t been influencing your mind with her magics as well? An addict tries to make the world move to their addiction, and she’s tried it before too.” He spoke simply, making Buffy’s anger rise.
“Buffy Anne Summers, you will sit down right now and stop this childish temper tantrum. The only thing you are proving is that you are a spoiled little girl whose toys are breaking.” Joyce’s voice was waspish and Buffy flinched at the tone and words used.
“But mom!” She whined.
“No buts young lady. You are twenty years old; I want you to prove it to me. Willow has an addiction, and these people are going to help her. I want you near home because you’re acting like your life is pointless and you have to try and kill yourself every damn night!” With that said, Joyce stood and left the room, leaving Buffy gaping at her mother’s words.
“She’s right you know. Every fight that you enter, you seem to fight as if you wish to die. While you are a good fighter, you are lacking the will to keep going.” Amanda’s voice was soft as she spoke, and a horrified look crossed over Buffy’s face.
“Your reaction is similar to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. You’ve all been fighting in an underground war for a few years, and you’ve had not breaks. The entire trauma that you’ve seen is trying to break free, and slowly breaking you down as you fight. If you aren’t careful, one day you’ll be so slow to react that you’ll end up hurting someone you care about, or be too slow instead.” Dino spoke with the voice of experience and Adam patted his hand.
“If you’d like, we could listen to you. All of us have been in situations where it could be considered hazardous to mental stability and made it out alive and relatively sane.” Adam spoke quietly.
Buffy nodded and looked around the room. She knew she had been feeling off for a while, but she thought it was a new downswing from the Initiative mess. Now that she knew that she could get help, Buffy finally began to hope that she could get better.
Willow was the only one that looked angry, but Xander was pleased that everyone was content with their placements. Offering Giles in assisting him with Ethan, he wasn’t surprised at the decline, but was pleased when Buffy moved to help instead. Xander found Joyce in the kitchen and wished her a good night, leading Ranma, Benton and Diefenbaker home. As they all went asleep, Xander felt as if a small part of him was picked off. No one noticed the green flash in one of Joyce’s rooms, and it would only be a week later that they realize that someone screwed with their heads.
The group trained hard as the new changes came to rest. The two immortals kept mentioning that they felt something odd, but after exhausting all searches, the group went back to their training.
Xander soon became Alex to the eight, and his Shaman abilities were growing at an exponential rate. When he wasn’t sitting with Ben he was training with Methos, John or Dino. The crew at his site was the first to notice the new people that kept coming around to talk with him around lunch.Flashback
“Hey, Harris; who’s the new people you keep bringing around to the site?” The lead foreman finally asked after Dino left.
“I’m helping them remodel their homes, and they’re helping Mrs. S while she recovers from brain surgery.” The brown eyes sparkled and watched as his crew took the news with a laugh. Patting his foreman on the back, he thanked him wordlessly for his concern, and mentally reminded himself that his crew was a bit more perceptive than most, so he would have to be a bit more careful.End Flashback
It was Adam who was the first to notice the change. The young girl that appeared at Joyce’s home was the Key that he had saved a thousand years ago. Looking at the others, he noticed that the young girl, Dawn, was completely immersed in the illusion that she was real. Only Amanda was wary, but he knew that she was too young to understand why.
“Alex, I need to talk to you.” Methos saw the concern on his face and knew that he looked tired and drawn.
“Is everything alright Methos?” The brown eyes looked him over with worry.
“It is about Dawn.” He raised his hand. “I know something about her that might make things a bit strained, but I know of a way to keep her safe.”
“What do you mean?” Xander looked back at Dawn as she learned to defend herself with Ranma’s help.
“A thousand years ago a Hell Goddess came to Earth looking for the Key to take her home. We managed to seal her off once, and the key was kept safe. The only issue was that the day we thwarted her, a small loophole was made. The day we stopped her from leaving, one thousand years later, she could try again.” Methos saw the understanding and horror dawn in Alex’s eyes.
“You mean Dawn is going to be used to open a portal?” Alex’s voice was begging Methos to say no.
“There is a way to prevent her from arriving. I was there with the Monks when we stopped her the first time. Right now, we can stop her from coming even before she gains a foot hold in a host’s mind.” Methos watched as Alex paced back and forth.
“Will it hurt her?”
“No, the enchantment is very simple and painless. The only thing we have to worry about is finding out who Dawn is made of.” The confusion on Alex’s face made Methos elaborate.
“The Monks would make the Key of those who would protect her best. Normally it would be the Slayer, but with there being two and all of us here, I am not sure who they made Dawn of.” Methos looked a bit sheepish at that and Alex nodded, leading him back into the main room.
“So we get Ben to cast the family spell, after you tell them what is going on.” The occupants of the room heard Alex’s words and looked at Methos in confusion.
The Immortal sighed and began to tell them about the Hell Goddess and the Key. He explained that there was a very simple enchantment that would protect Dawn from Hell Goddess, whose name can only be mentioned once the Key is safe.
As Methos spoke about the dangers that the Hell Goddess can cause, Ben cast the spell and two names floated above Dawn’s head.
Buffy Anne Summers and Alexander Lavelle Harris
The group stared at the names and then at the two young adults. Sighing, Alex poked Methos until he got his attention.
“We got your names, now please cast the enchantment?” His voice was weary, as if he knew why he was chosen with the Slayer.
Nodding at his friend, Methos cleared a section of the room and placed Dawn between the joined hands of himself, Buffy and Xander. Chanting the spell that the witches had made for him the first time, Methos felt his Quickening shift and a small part moved to protect Dawn. The Quickening was too pure for the Hell Goddess and would keep Dawn safe until the next time the loophole comes to pass.
Dawn stood and looked herself over. She didn’t feel any different, but she could always try to see what would happen around vampires and other demons of the Hellmouth variety. Giving the three a quick hug, she made her way over to Joyce and curled into her mother.
Xander watched Dawn as she sparred with Ranma and smiled. It had taken a few weeks, but they had gotten used to Dawn’s presence now that they knew why she was with them and that nothing would come to attack them for her now. Adam had explained to everyone about the beginnings of the Key, and Xander had to hold back a shudder.Flashback
“The Key was not always a mystical ball of energy. When I saw the Key for the first time a millennia ago, it was a wizard who had to close a Hellmouth in one of the forbidden cities. Many other mages and Wizards had wanted his powers, so he went to the monks and begged for their help.” Methos sighed.
“Before we could turn him into the Key, Glory showed up, and it was a close call. We were able to get her away from the temple and protect the Wizard from her. We quickly changed him into the ball of energy, and were all surprised at the green color. You should know that magic changes with intent. Black is dark and destructive magics, white is healing and protective magics, and green was raw magic. Seeing that the magic could be harnessed, we created a body using one of the monks as an anchor and we used the quickening that I held to protect him from harm.” He drank some of the beer beside him.
“We then let him live his life, and when he died, he became the key again. The monk had placed him in a special room, and it was made to keep those who seek the power of the Key to do as they wished. While the person the Key becomes has little magical talent, they can become a great focus. This is what makes them still desirable, but they let the person be, as they can still protect themselves in other ways.”
Adam watched as Xander pulled Dawn close and practically demand Ranma to teach her to fight.End Flashback
Sitting back he could watch as the two groups interacted. Dino was sitting with Buffy, talking about the dangers of Post Traumatic Stress disorder and how she could get her friends killed. He had talked to Dino the night before and found out that his friend was also suffering from the same issues. His friend, Terry Thorne and his crew were the ones that pulled him out of his funk. That and his cousin in Miami, who looked just like him apparently, were all there to help him when he needed it. Buffy, while she had them, Xander knew that they couldn’t understand the stresses that she did. They did look to her and seem to believe that she is indestructible, but the way she was trying to prove them wrong was not only damaging to herself, but everyone else as well.
Willow was seated by Benton as he went over magical lore and respect for the powers that one could wield. While Willow may be upset with the fact that she was blocked off from casting magic, Xander could tell that his friend was slowly coming to understand that she was becoming addicted to the power that the magic gave her. As he went over the three fold rule, Xander saw as the final piece clicked into place and Willow ran from the room, only to be heard throwing up. Giving Benton a sad smile, he watched as the Mountie followed the sounds, and to offer some comfort to the young witch.
Giles was seated with Adam as the two talked. While he knew that Giles wasn’t an alcoholic, Xander was still wary of talking to Giles right now due to his liberation in drinking. So, he watched at the Watcher discussed and worked out his reasons for drinking so much scotch and whiskey. He had a feeling that he was feeling as if he had failed the group, and only after he found the root causes that led him to the bottle, that Xander would know what had upset his first good father figure.
Joyce was seated with Amanda, John and Jane. He knew that she wanted to find a way to protect her business and see if there were any other good places to sell and show art. She knew that her store was well catered to and liked by the upper class of Sunnydale and surrounding towns, but she always wondered if she should try and get more out.
Tara was seated with Lara, and Xander couldn’t help but smile. The two women were getting closer, and Xander was glad that Tara would have a good friend and protector in the artifact hunter. He knew Tara would be afraid of letting herself love again, but he knew that, if she tried, Lara could get past her defenses. He was glad that the pair was getting closer; it reminded him of Joyce and Benton’s slow dance at getting together as well.
As Xander watched the room, Diefenbaker watched the young shaman. Xander could watch the people around him for hours, and the wolf knew that it was his attention to detail that helped them set up the six home defense posts. It was also he that knew where Giles had taken both girls the day that the eight of them had come down.Flashback
“Should we go after Giles and the other two young women?” Benton asks, a bit worried about the situation.
“Giles has the girls in hand. He knows that we’ll have to be safe with you guys first and foremost. If he and the girls are here to provoke you, then you’ll never have a chance to get to know us.” Xander spoke as he helped Joyce cook.
“Then where did he take them?” Dino’s voice came out making Xander look back with a smile.
“Well, he’ll take them to the mall for a bit then they have a demon we’ve been hunting the past few days to get. It’s easily dispatched with the right weapon, and I know Giles needs to pick it up at the mall today.” Xander shrugged and went back to work, missing the confused look on the faces of the others, and Tara’s giggles.End Flashback
It was only after the groups had begun to work together more, did the eight see why Xander was so valuable. The fact that Xander could diffuse any tense situation with a few words and spot a weakness faster than most made the eight go to him for a bit more tactical information on the town. While Giles and the girls could give them a hand with anything demon or magic related, only Xander knew the town like the back of his hand. That fact had saved their lives several times when it came to fighting and getting the fighters home faster.
It was also interesting to see that Xander hardly ever got hurt on patrol, unless he was outnumbered. Since there were now enough of them to fight one on one with the vampires of the Hellmouth, it was rare that someone got hurt. Buffy had tried to embarrass Xander once with the fact that he was always getting hurt, and she was shot down with the question of how many times was it because she tried to run him off for his own good. The silence that had met that statement made Buffy and Willow look over their past actions even more, showing them things that they didn’t like about themselves.
Only after that final soul searching did the two girls realize that they needed help. Both were afraid to ask, but after a significant amount of time with them, Xander had them with the people they needed to talk to. Giles would have spoken up, if Xander hadn’t made the Watcher talk to Adam about his problems. With everyone looked after, Diefenbaker noticed that Xander didn’t got to anyone himself for the help he needed as well.
Yes, Xander did talk nightly with Benton about Shaman magic and abilities, and sparred with Ranma at the house, but other than that, the young man simply sat down and watched as he planned. Dief knew that Xander was a warrior at heart, and that the need to keep an updated lookout on the people with them was critical, but he wondered if he opened up to anyone. Seeing everyone too busy, Dief decided to talk to the pup himself. It would allow the others to realize that Xander needed someone as well.
//Talk to me Pup, what is bothering you?// Xander jumped at the wet nose that poked his hand and he smiled down at Diefenbaker.
“Nothing is really bothering me Dief, I’m just thinking over the past few weeks and seeing how we’ve all changed.” The wolf snorted and Xander frowned down at his companion.
//You may seem to be thinking about the times since we have joined, but you smell like sadness. Why?// A sad chuckle made Diefenbaker nuzzle Xander’s hand.
“I was wondering what would have happened if we had all this help when I was in tenth grade. I know it’s not something that I should do, thinking about what if’s and all, but there is a small part of me that hoped that we had this help then, if only so that…” Xander trailed off and moved to sit on the floor with Diefenbaker. “If only so that Jesse was still alive.”
Diefenbaker let Xander hold him close, knowing that the pup had to grieve for his fallen friend, and waited for the tears to stop before asking any more questions. It took a few minutes, but he felt the tears end and he nuzzled the young man’s chin.
//Jesse, was he a litter mate? If we had been around then, I would have been honored to meet him.// Xander gave a small watery smile.
“You could say that Jesse was a brother to me. We both came from less than stellar homes and we mainly felt safe with each other. In kindergarten, Willow’s home became another safe haven for us, and while we couldn’t always get there, we knew that she would try to help us out if we asked.” Diefenbaker licked away a few of the tears on his chin.
//It is always hard to lose a litter mate. Many of my fellow ones were killed and hunted as well. If it wasn’t for Benton, I too would have been gone.// Xander petted the shiny silver fur and smiled into the warmth.
“Yeah. Buffy’s arrival did save us in a way. Even though we couldn’t save Jesse, we still saved Willow, and that is at least some consolidation.” Dief let out a small grunt of agreement, making Xander chuckle.
As Xander spoke to Diefenbaker the rest of the room began to smile. Joyce knew that Xander needed to talk, and while she would love to help him out, he knew that the one that could help him the most would be Benton, Dino, Adam or Ranma. She gave the others a nod, and the room went back to their conversations, and other duties, but Ranma stopped Dawn for the moment. He had heard what Xander had said about his family life and he decided to talk to him about his own similar lifestyle that night instead of the new fighting technique.
Ranma led Xander onto the roof where they could sit and talk. He had told Xander that tonight was to be for a sharing of words, to help the mind work with the body better. Xander had simply shrugged and let Ranma take the lead in telling him what he needed to know.
“I will be honest Xander,” the martial artist looked to the sky before looking at his friend. “I heard parts of what you were saying to Diefenbaker, and I know now why some things are difficult for you to grasp.”
Xander looked at Ranma with a confused and worried look.
“Do not worry, I will still teach you. It is that your words reminded me of Japan, and what had happened to me in my home life.” Ranma sipped some of his tea, and offered a mug to Xander, getting a shake of his head in return.
“My father was not a caring man. He was more interested in the next dollar he could make and where he could get the best deals from. While I traveled with him, I became a bartering chip to getting good places to stay, having him offering me for marriages at each turn. I must have over twenty wives back in Japan, but since my father didn’t care, I was the one that had to tell them what my father did to make it easier for him in life.
“At one point we got to the home of one of his old friends. I had been betrothed to his daughter since birth, and I was to wed her upon my twenty-first birthday. Akane, the one I was to marry, hated me on sight. She believed I was a chauvinist pig, and enjoyed trying to attack me or make me flounder. When the others that I was forced to be betrothed to came, she didn’t see that I was as much as a victim, maybe even more, as she was.” He sighed and drank some more of his tea.
“I finally got all of the other offers for marriage taken away, and when I was free and ready to marry her, she refused. He father was infuriated and blamed me, so I left. I had been in the AGMA circuit for a while and I saw her at a match. She had wanted to get back together, but I reminded her that she had made her choice, and that I was leaving Japan for good.” He smiled. “I was sent here a week later.”
Xander chuckled at the irony of the situation and looked at his friend. As he spoke, neither saw Benton standing by the open window with a recorder. He knew that the girls would have to hear the pain they put Xander through,
“My parents live in a bottle. They start their day with Gin and end it with whatever is left. They used to be good parents, but then they started getting fired job after job. The last good memory I have of them, I was four. It was then that Jesse and I began to hide. Jesse Dad was creepy to the pair of us, so we were never near him without another adult nearby. He would try to get us alone, but it never worked. Now that I think back, I can tell that he was a pedophile.
“I learned to dodge and hide at a young age thanks to my father’s drunken rages. The few times that he was sober, I could tell that he was ashamed, but when he was back in the bottle, it always got worse. The day that Jesse was s-staked I didn’t move fast enough, and didn’t go to school for a few days. After three days the worst of the bruises were gone, and I could go to class. No one noticed.” He sighed and looked up at the stars.
“Some days were worse than others. The days that he was really bad, I made sure to hit the gravestones a bit too many times and made sure that the bruises overlapped. Giles and the girls never noticed. I think Joyce suspected it, but she never asked. Tara knew right away that I was an abuse survivor to and we bonded over that. While the abuse she suffered made her shy away, I hide behind laughter and jokes. If no one could see them, then all was fine. But if someone, anyone had asked, I would have answered.” Xander looked over and saw the understanding and shared pain in Ranma’s eyes.
“Soon the girls began to cause more rifts in my soul by their attitudes. It hurts when your best friend from the age of five tells you that you’re worthless; or that when she initiates a kiss, when you both have a significant other, only you get blamed. It hurts when a friend uses you to make someone else jealous and then mocks everything you’ve done to help her. It especially hurts when your friends mock you about attracting demons, and then proceeds to inform the world that you can’t find a good date. I think the worse thing is, is that when I did date someone I liked, they refused to even accept my choice and mocked me for it.” Ranma pulled Xander into an embrace and held him as the tears silently rolled down his cheeks.
Benton left the window as the pair continued to talk about their similar childhoods and went to ponder about letting the girls hear what Xander had said. Deciding to let Xander make the final choice, Benton put the tape in a locked drawer and went to sleep.
It had taken Benton a week before he could ask Xander about telling the girls about the pain they had inflicted onto him with their attitudes. Giles had taken Xander to the side a few days before and had mended the fences that both had broken over the years. Ethan had offered to help with Xander’s magic tutorial when Benton was busy, and soon the trio could be seen together at times when everyone else was busy.
When he finally caught up with Xander one morning, he walked with him to the park.
“I’ve come to ask your permission to tell the girls what they have done to hurt you since this all began. I know that it is personal to you, some of the hurts, so I am asking if it would be alright to have the three of you share your hurts with each other, or have each one of us hear the hurts that you feel have been performed to you, and then we tell the other ones that need to know, the pain that was caused.
“We would give you a few days, separate from each other, to think it over, and then tell us why you did what you did. If the reasons are concrete, we will tell the person in your stead. If the reasons are not satisfactory, then we will explain why they are not and have you apologize when you understand why it is wrong.” Xander looked at him in shock.
“You mean I get to hear why they did what they did?” The awed look made Benton wonder how the girls could hurt Xander, helped him agreed to it.
As they walked back, Benton could only hope that Xander, Willow and Buffy could get past this. He knew that Xander would be crushed if his friendship couldn’t be fixed.