Batteries Not Included
Nothing you recognize belongs to me, as if you needed to be told that.
Original concept is from a oneshot by 3dmaster on XanderZone called Chosen to Destroy.
You lucky people, you get two chapters in one day. The length of this one makes up for the shortness of the other, I hope. If anyone has any suggestions for future chapters or how I can improve past chapters, please let me know.
Most of this chapter is similar to the same chapter in Demon Fighters, with the addition of Dawn and the subtraction of Angel. I also tweaked some bits that work better this way in my humble opinion. Tell me what you think, please.
Future chapters will contain more new material, I promise, but this one worked without much improvement. Now, on with the show!Two Weeks Later
"So, the new principal, Robin Wood, is in the know. I found him and Giles discussing his mother, who was a Slayer in the '70s, when I went to check in before patrol," Xander reported.
"Well, that'll make some things easier. It'll be a bit weird to have an authority besides my dad and Mr. Giles that actually knows what I'm doing most of the time, but I guess I'll get used to it," Dean answered.
"Was your dad okay with that haunting?" Xander asked Dean concernedly.
"Yeah, just a broken arm. The spirit threw him into a table and he landed wrong. He would have had us doing pushups for days once we healed if we'd done it, but he's just going to hole up with Bobby for a couple weeks until it sets enough to use it again. Why did it only take a week to find an apartment here? It really should have taken longer than that,” Dean commented to Xander.
Xander thought about it for a second then replied, “Recent Hellmouth victim, probably. The realtors know that if they let the place sit empty for too long the large vermin move in and they won’t be able to move anyone living in. Not like the vampires pay rent when they squat somewhere.”
Dean nodded at that and they kept walking across the cemetery until Dean put his arm across Xander’s chest and pointed to the gaping hole in the ground in front of them, barely stopping him from falling into it.
Xander looked into the empty grave and then looked at Dean, “I thought we agreed that you were going to take me on the next salt-and-burn?”
Dean looked back at him, “Dude, this ain’t mine, no scorch marks. There are some drag marks over there though.”
“Well, shit. We need to go tell Giles.”
Dean stopped walking at a corner to let a truck pass and Xander stepped up behind him and inhaled next to Dean’s neck. Dean jumped and turned to face Xander. “Dude, are you sniffing me?”
Xander shrugged and smiled, “You smell good.”
“Okay. Let’s go tell Giles about the empty grave without the sniffing, ok?”
They continued across the parking lot toward the school until Xander stopped so suddenly that Dean almost ran into him. “Xan, what is your problem?”
Xander frowned and looked around, “Do you smell that?”
“Again with the smelling,” Dean threw up his hands, “Smell what?”
Xander started walking toward the side of the building, not listening to Dean at all.
“Xan, where are you going?”
"You can't smell that? Smells like dead things."
Dean rolled his eyes, followed Xander, and snarked, "Gee, that's a shock. Dead things in Sunnydale. You say that like the vamps don't outnumber the people sometimes."
Xander walked up to a dumpster next to the building, looked down into the dumpster, and remarked, “Too many parts for just one body.”
Dean sighed, “Even more reason to go see Giles,” and began to walk toward the library entrance. When he noticed that Xander was still staring into the dumpster hungrily, he went back, grabbed his arm, and pulled him along. “Xan, let’s go.”
Dean pulled Xander into the library and pushed him into a chair. “Giles, we have corpses in the dumpster out back and Xander is eyeing them hungrily. Not to mention sniffing me. You’ve got to figure out what’s up.”
“Yeah, and he smelled the corpses in the dumpster from across the parking lot.”
“Well, dead bodies do smell after a while, Dean, it’s--”
“I couldn’t smell them when I was standing right next
to the dumpster, Giles. I think one of them was from a grave that we found dug up on patrol. And then there was the whole ‘didn’t want to leave the corpses’ aspect.”
“Willow, if you would get on your machine and look up the name that Dean will give you, then Sam and I will look at animal possession to see if there are reports of side effects post-exorcism.”
“Possession?” Dean squeaked, staring wide-eyed at Xander.
Willow nodded and asked while booting up her computer, “Are we thinking zombies, cannibals, or flesh-eating demon?”
“Embalming fluid is toxic, so that rules out cannibals. I can’t imagine it tastes good either, so that probably rules out flesh-eating demons as well. Though, it's likely that their tastebuds are different than ours. Look up demons that eat embalming fluid as well, the bodies may have been secondary,” Giles explained while gathering books.
“Did you just squeak? He said post-exorcism, Dean. That means he isn’t possessed any more. I can’t believe you squeaked,” Sam laughed.
“Shut up, Sammy. What possession?”
Xander sighed, “About eight or nine months ago I was possessed by a hyena spirit while we were on a field trip to the zoo. After we ate the school mascot and the rest of the pack ate Principal Flutie, the spirit got put into the zookeeper who was trying to be possessed in the first place, then he got pushed into the hyena cage and was eaten.”
Dean just stared at him open mouthed for a second, then looked away and closed his mouth.
“Xander, are there any other symptoms, besides the increased sense of smell,” Giles asked.
“I’m stronger and faster than I used to be, but it increased gradually as I worked out, so I figured that it was just the training I’d been doing.”
“Is there a way to see whether the spirit is still there or not? I mean, between the increased senses, strength and speed, and the apparent attraction to carrion, it’s looking more like effects and less of the after,” Willow said carefully.
Xander slumped into the chair and refused to look at anyone while Giles answered her.
“Yes, good idea, but I don’t have the ingredients for the spell here. Why don’t we adjourn for the night and Willow and I will do the ritual tomorrow night.”
Dean ambled into the library at the last minute the next afternoon, ignoring the impatient glare from Sam and the careful avoidance of eye contact from Xander.
Sam broke his glare and looked at his notes before speaking. “We figured that it can’t be zombies because the bodies wouldn’t have been dismembered. And it can't be flesh-eating demons because they wouldn't have left parts behind, so we're looking at magickal ritual or some other practices that I don't want to think about too closely.”
Willow continued the lecture, “I looked up the coroner’s reports and the bodies were dismembered with surgical precision. I made a list of students that would have the anatomical knowledge and Principal Wood helped us search their lockers. Chris Epps had a lot of anatomy books, but the scary thing was in Eric’s locker. He had a picture that was pieced together with different parts from different pictures.”
“Why is that scary? Besides it being evidence that a guy did collage,” Dean snarked.
“The picture is of a girl pieced together with different parts from different girls. And it had Cordelia’s head. We think that Chris and Eric are trying to build a girl.”
Dean shuddered, “Well, that’s creepy. Who would be desperate enough that they would have to build
Sam and Willow looked at each other and agreed, “Eric.”
“Okay. So, where would they be doing this? They’re high school kids, it’s not like they can own a warehouse or have their own apartment.”
Giles contributed, “Well, we had thought of that. The old science building next door is all but abandoned and would have the chemicals and machinery needed to make this work. There are also half a dozen empty warehouses down by the docks, but why would they bring the excess parts halfway across town to dispose of them when they could just throw them into the ocean and be done with it?”
Xander stood up, “So Dean will go over and check it out and I’ll go find Chris and Eric.”
Dean glared at Xander and said, “Change of plans. Sammy, you and Principal Wood watch the body and me and Xan will go find the geeks and bring them back here,” as they walked out Dean commented to Xander, “Are you going to mind if I knock their heads together a few times?
‘Cause this ‘building a girl’ shit is the stupidest, black-and-white horror movie, crap I’ve ever heard.”
Xander and Dean continued down the hall when they heard a rumbling noise from the football field. “What the hell was that?”
“The football game. The other team probably scored,” Xander said awkwardly then perked up, looking down a side hallway. “Did you hear that?” Xander said as he started jogging down the hall, “Sounded like a scream.”
“At least it’s not a smell this time,” Dean grumbled under his breath as he broke into a run to catch up with Xander.
Dean came around the corner and heard Xander’s voice coming from the girls’ locker room, “Stupid idiots. You’re going to take the prison time for kidnapping and murder along with grave robbing or vandalism or whatever the hell you were doing with the bodies. Just because you can’t have the girl you want doesn’t mean you have to build one, just try harder, be a little less creepy, maybe set your standards a bit lower or even wait until you get to college where there are girls that like creepy little geeks…”
Dean walked into the locker room and past where Xander was holding Chris and Eric against the wall by the scruffs of their necks, untying Cordelia and pulling the bag off her head. “Hey, are you alright?”
“Yeah, what--” she stopped at a piece of music that was playing outside and got up to run away.
“Wait a second, you could be in shock or something.”
“No, I have to go. They’re doing the pyramid and I’m the apex,” and she was gone.
“Cheerleaders!” Dean shook his head and turned to where Xander was starting to repeat himself in his lecture, “What are we going to do with them?”
Xander cut himself off midword of his lecture, “Take them to the library and send Willow to get Principal Wood.”
Dean just looked at Xander and then nodded, “Ok.”
Sam and Principal Wood were standing in the shadows when the figure entered the room and looked around, confused. Principal Wood stepped forward intending to confront it and was surprised when it turned around to reveal Mary Shelley’s nightmare made flesh. The thing took a swing at his head that he ducked, grabbing the thing’s arm and twisting it up behind its back. Sam asked, “Who are you? What are you?”
The thing roared incoherently and pushed back, slamming Wood into the wall. It turned around when he let go and rushed him again. Wood tripped him and pinned him while Sam used his machete to cut its head off.
Dean and Xander came rushing into the room, having heard the noise, and found Wood and Sam trying to figure out what the creature was.
Dean asked, “Sammy, you alright? Robin?”
Sam nodded, “Yeah. Xander, do you know who or what this is? I tried to ask him but he just attacked us.”
Principal Wood answered, “Let me get Chris and Eric questioned. We'll meet in the library tomorrow once I figure this out.”
Dawn bounced up when Principal Wood entered the library and asked, "What happened? Willow said something about Chris Epps and Eric? Somebody tell me. I was good, I stayed out of the fighting, somebody tell me!"
Xander answered the first question, “Some Frankenstein-looking thing attacked Sam and Principal Wood over in the old science building and they killed it. Wood was going to explain what they found out from Chris and Eric and hopefully what the creature was when we got here.”
Wood sighed and scrubbed a hand over his face, “According to the confessions that Chris and Eric signed, that was Daryl Epps. He used to be a football player until he died a year ago in a mountain climbing accident. His brother Chris couldn’t let go and brought him back to life. Daryl got tired of being alone so Chris and Eric agreed to build him a girlfriend.
Eric was planning on building one for himself as well, if they could get the process to work, or taking this one for himself. He wasn’t too clear on that part. The only problem with that was that they couldn’t get an unembalmed head so that it would be viable because formaldehyde destroys brain tissue. They tried to kidnap Cordelia, but Xander and Dean saved her. They are going to be expelled for the attempted kidnapping, and probably do jail time for the grave robbing. I’m going to push for them to get counseling as part of their sentence, but other than that it's up to them really.” With that, he left, going to do the paperwork on the expulsions and arrange for Daryl Epps' body to be reinterred.
Giles broke the thoughtful silence with, “Well, if we are going to do this ritual, we should do it now.”
Xander sighed heavily, “Where do you want me?”
“Lie down on the table and make yourself comfortable. I am going to put you to sleep in case the magick has an adverse effect on the hyena. The spell itself is an aura revealer. If the hyena is still present, there will be a green spot present.”
When Xander laid down on the table, Giles nodded to Willow and chanted a short phrase while she waved a smudge stick around Xander’s head.
Xander fell asleep quickly and Giles finished drawing the containment circle. After another, considerably longer, chant with Willow, Giles, and Dawn in harmony, Xander was surrounded by a nimbus of red and blue light with swirls of bright green running throughout. Giles sighed and collapsed into a chair. “Oh bloody hell!”
Dean looked from Xander to Giles while Willow, Dawn, and Sam just stared at Giles wide-eyed. “Mr. Giles, what does that mean?”
Giles opened and released the circle. “Dean, can you wake him up? I am going to make myself some tea and then we are all going to discuss this calmly and rationally.”
Dean woke up Xander and they cleaned up the spell remnants while waiting for Giles. He came out of his office and sat down, cleaning his glasses.
“The hyena spirit was never exorcised, apparently. It was weakened and bound, not exorcised. Xander’s drawing on it to fight has strengthened it while merging it with his own soul and consequently weakened the bindings."
"So what do we do? How can we help him?" Dawn interrupted.
"There isn't anything we can do. It can never take over again because there are not two separate spirits. It is not fully merged however. There is no way to tell how this will affect your personality, Xander, but I believe that, as we haven't noticed a large difference, it will merely strengthen the compatible instincts and personality traits you already possess.”
Dean was speechless in the face of Xander’s complete lack of surprise.
“So he’ll still be Xander, just with hyenay extras?” Willow asked nervously.
“Yes. You may notice an unwillingness to associate with others that are not in your "pack" and a protectiveness of those who are, for example.”
Dean popped up out of his chair and asked, "What about the sniffing? He's not sniffing anyone else."
Giles looked at Xander, who blushed bright red and answered hesitantly, "Well, that would depend on Xander's and, more importantly, the hyena's reactions to you. Have you noticed any other behavior?
Dean looked at Xander, whose blush was spreading down under his shirt, and said, “Sammy, I need to see you for a minute,” while gesturing toward the door with his head.
The brothers stepped out into the hallway for a few seconds and when they came back, Sam said, “Mr. Giles, can I stay in your spare room for the night?”
Simultaneously, Dean walked over to Xander and said quietly, “Will you come to my place after we’re done here? We need to talk about this.”
Xander just nodded in response while Giles granted Sam’s request with a worried glance toward Dean and Xander.
“I believe it would behoove us to sleep on this information and discuss it tomorrow.”
Everyone agreed, got their things together, and left.
Xander was sitting on Dean’s couch while Dean paced in front of him.
“How long have you known that it wasn’t gone?” Dean asked, agitated.
Xander thought for a second, then sighed, “I never lost the memories from the possession. If I was dangerous, I would have brought it up but I wasn’t then and I’m not now. I attacked Buffy the first time, I didn’t want to lose their trust and make them watch me, waiting for me to snap.”
“Why should I trust you?”
“Because in the 9 months since I was possessed, I have done nothing with these abilities but fight evil. The only difference now is that you know," Xander responded, sounding hurt. "You, Willow, Sam, Dawn, and Giles are my pack and I would never hurt any of you. I would fight to protect any of you, I would die
to protect any of you."
“Okay,” Dean sat down on the coffee table in front of Xander, “What’s with the sniffing me thing? It can’t be because I’m new, because you don’t do it to Sammy. So, what is it?”
Xander stood up and walked across the room. “The hyena part of me says that you’re my mate. The Xander part doesn’t know what to do about that yet. Until I figure it out, smelling you makes the hyena stop trying to convince me to just grab you.”