Disclaimer: Neither Stargates nor Buffy the Vampire Slayer belong to me. I claim no ownership of them and recognize that they belong to the various people and companies who own them. I do this solely for my own enjoyment and, should our interests mesh, the enjoyment of others. I have made no money off of this and do not ever plan to. Anything that even looks vaguely familiar(such as brand names, culture references, etc) also does not belong to me.
Series: Return to the Blood Lands
Story: The Spell
Willow didn’t think what she was doing was wrong at all. She heard Buffy’s arguments but she didn’t agree with them. With the unintentional arrogance of a teenager, she assumed she knew more about magic than Buffy did because, after all, who did all the research on the spells? Who even cast them from time to time? Certainly not Buffy.
Willow waited until Buffy was completely out of earshot before flipping the book back open. “I’ll talk to Giles AFTER I do this for Xander.”
There’s no way Xander would want to stay in this world. His parents left much to be desired because of their abusive and alcoholic ways, he was failing all of his classes because of the long hours he put in trying to save the world and, to top it off, he kept on getting hurt and put in the hospital because he was a magnet for trouble! Especially that of the supernatural kind.
And she sincerely disbelieved Buffy’s claim that Xander’s home could be more dangerous than the Hellmouth, because what could be more dangerous than that? Besides, you couldn’t develop Xander’s complete lack of self preservation in a place that was any less than perfectly peaceful.
Although she could be affected by magic, magic never worked right when Xander was around, so Willow was pretty sure that their situation (being him not existing in her early memories at all) had little to do with magic besides whatever he must have done in the first place to create the memories.
And there was no way she could have messed up the spell. She had read it twice before doing it. No, Xander didn’t belong here. He belonged somewhere else but was too stubborn to go back himself. Or did he not have the strength to go back?
Her heart went out to him. It would be just like Xander to accidentally get stuck in a Hellmouth dimension and not be able to get back out again. She blamed the Hellmouth, a strange loyalty insisting that Xander must have plenty of powers when he wasn’t contained by the Hellmouth’s vibes. Maybe she should ask him?
No, it was better if Xander went back to his own world with his own people, as soon as possible. Willow had high hopes of seeing Xander again but knew it probably wouldn’t be possible. After all, the world could end on graduation despite all of their attempts to save it. Another incentive to send Xander back: he’d be spared from the apocalypse.
Xander’s true nature was just the excuse she needed to do something she had wanted to do for a while now. Long had she looked for a way to nudge her friend out of the firefight that was soon becoming their every waking hour. Xander was their token human- no more, no less. His lack of super power, or even supernatural powers (as a spirit, he must have got cheated out of that deal), coupled with his extreme stubbornness when it came to standing at the sides of his friends (even in the face of grave danger) made for a very painful formula.
She often had nightmares in which Xander met a violent and sudden end at the hands of their many enemies. It often frustrated her, as she would later analyze these dreams and come up with countless ways she or even Buffy could have gotten out of the confrontation without harm. And yet Xander could do nothing but ineffectively kick his feet, wave his hands, and scream before he was eaten.
He would thank her for this one day. They all would. Best of all, she would be able to go to sleep at night knowing Xander would be safe, far away from the Hellmouth, with his true family in his true home.
“Hello kitten.” She said warmly. “Mummy’s come to visit!”
What a way to end an already bad day. As if Xander didn’t have enough trouble dealing with the regular freaks and monsters of the Hellmouth!
He made an aborted movement to run, fly, bolt, get the hell out of here- but she was there, her head tilted slightly to the side, big dark eyes assessing him. Like a doll, she seemed perfect, fragile, and even beautiful. But Xander knew what lay behind that innocuous façade just beneath the surface.
“Hi Drusilla.” Xander tried for level calm but missed it, hitting somewhere around hoarse and squeaky. He blamed it on the thin hand pressing against his throat. Not hard enough to hurt but hard enough to keep him pinned against the wall. Hard enough to know fighting it was useless. “Come here often?”
“The stars say you’re going far far away.” Drusilla murmured, moving closer. The swing of her hips, in the right context, could have been hypnotic but at that moment, Xander was freaking out because she. Was. Touching. Him. Touching invariably led to death with vampires. That was like, How To Survive On A Hellmouth 101.
Where was a slayer when you needed one? Buffy, help me! And how the hell did she learn about his plans to take a road trip after graduation? Was she spying on him? And he thought she was in Brazil with a chaos demon!
Drusilla leaned closer, breathing in his scent. The angel-like perfection of her face was pulled in an almost sad expression. With the hand that wasn’t pinning him to the wall, she caressed the edge of his cheek bone and along the line of his jaw. Xander had a hysterical thought; she was testing his ripeness, like his mom did when she squeezed fruit at the supermarket.
“But you’ll come back, won’t you?”
“Uh, of course, crazy vamp chick lady.” Xander promised quickly, lying through his teeth.
“That’s a good little kitten.” Drusilla purred, her teeth bared in a smile. Even her ‘human’ teeth resembled fangs to Xander, whose heart was beating so fiercely and out of control that he half expected it to jump out of his chest. And wasn’t that a gory mental image?
If she noticed, she gave no hint of it. Reaching into the front of her dress, she pulled out a necklace, a long thing that was simple and plain and completely unlike her to wear. A glowing pink crystal, shaped like a large teardrop but only about half the length of his pinky, hung on something that Xander at first glance called string, at second glance called leather, and at first touch knew was demon hide.
She let go of him to put it around his neck but he knew better than to run away. He wouldn’t be able to outrun her. The vampire lowered it over his head and slowly smoothed it down, patting the crystal as it hung over his heart. She gazed up at him under her lashes, that tiny cruel smile playing on her lips.
“Keep this with you. It will protect you.” Drusilla pouted slightly, somehow managing a scolding tone, complete with shaking finger. “Kitten, you’re so tiny, fragile…weak.” Without warning, she grabbed the side of his head and yanked, exposing his neck. He yelped, feeling without looking that her human face was gone. He could almost feel the light prick of her fangs. “Just a little bite? A little taste of the sweet singing?” Xander started praying to all the gods he could remember and made up a few just in case.
Drusilla suddenly backed away, swaying lightly as she looked at something he could not see. With the awareness that a rush of relief brought, he realized he was nearly one with the wall and back up so tightly that if he tried to back up any further, he’d be crawling up it. Huh, and today he forgot his spidey powers. Of all the days!
“Not yet, not yet.” Drusilla sighed, directing her focus back to Xander slowly but with a sharpness that made it feel like she had focused on him much more quickly than he thought. “No, not yet. But… later, yes. Good things come to those who wait.” She tilted her head at him, humming tunelessly, her thin arms wrapped around her waist, dancing to music unknown. “You may go now.”
“Okay.” Xander said, stupidly. And just in case, “Thank you.”
Xander turned around and walked slowly away, waiting for the inevitable jump, the bite to the shoulder, the expected unexpected attack. The anticipation felt solid, focused between his shoulder blades with an itchiness that said both ‘turn around’ and ‘run away’.
Her voice made him jump a half foot in the air. “Oh and kitten?” Xander turned around with dread heavy on his heart. Her back was to him, slender in the moonlight. She still danced, her embracing arms coming up over her shoulders. Slowly, she looked at him over one shoulder. “Don’t throw away my present.” She turned completely around, her dress swooshing around her ankles. “And tell the stars I said hi.”
He couldn’t even pretend at normalcy. He turned and ran. Behind him, she laughed, a light and terrible sound that dogged his steps even as he put feet, yards, blocks, a half mile between them. Dignity or pride be damned- Xander ran like the bats of hell were after his ass.
He couldn’t believe he survived another encounter with Drusilla. Dumb luck. He glared at the necklace she had placed around his neck. He didn’t need to be magical to sense the energy coming off of the damn thing. He had an urge to just chuck it- outside and as far away as he could.
But even as he curled his hands around the crystal, winding back to toss it, he paused. She had said that it would protect him. He knew well enough Drusilla wasn’t much of a liar- she just wasn’t very sane. And honestly, he was kind of sick and tired of getting the crap kicked out of him. Maybe everyone else could relax a bit, knowing their token human wasn’t going to have to go home on a stretcher or even a body bag.
I’ll have Giles check this out tomorrow. He promised himself, justifying it immediately because it didn’t feel dangerous. And, magic-less or not, a Hellmouth kid knew the difference between the good magic and the bad. And the vibes he was getting from the crystal, while not totally white magic, was still what he’d call a decent sort of magic. Not quite grey but off white.
He slammed the door a little harder than he meant to while coming in. His father jerked out of his sleep, bleary eyes looking around for a half-second before he fell back asleep. Xander shook his head, pulling the half-empty beer bottle out of his loose grip and turning the television off. He tossed the beer bottle out, something in the scent he so hated pulling him out of the numb shock that possessed him while running all the way back home.
Speaking of running all that way, ow! His legs were sore. He would definitely be feeling that one by tomorrow. Oh well, he could always borrow one of Giles’ heat patches that he stashed away for slayer training- not for Buffy, but for himself. Buffy didn’t always remember to pull her punches.
He grabbed an apple (slightly soft with a bruise, but still good!) and turned the lights off, making his way to his room with the lack of concern of a person who knows they are safe in their home. And why shouldn’t he be? Unlike certain friends he could name, he wasn’t big on carelessly inviting vampires in his home and certainly not the kind of vampires who, while slightly helpful today, could be soulless and snarling for your blood by tomorrow.
His bed wasn’t comfortable but it was a bed, meaning he’d worship it simply for not being the ground. The pillow was lumpy under his pillow but he hardly noticed, staring up at the ceiling as he absently chewed on his apple.
Xander wasn’t one for philosophical thoughts but when you lived on a Hellmouth, you eventually start thinking about your mortality. For a teenager, he was sure he was a strange specimen. Instead of wanting to live forever, he was okay with dying.
O’Toole was a teenager who played with death but in the end was too scared to face it. Xander… he ran away from death. He ran to death. He even ran in circles around death on occasion. But if death was to take him, he’d be fine with it. He knew his emphasis should be on living, and normally it was, but sometimes the inevitability of death struck him and he couldn’t stop thinking about it.
Death, he thought, was like fighting a master vampire without a slayer in the wings. Oh, he’s stronger than you, for sure. And he could kill you without much effort. You know that and he knows that. However, you can’t help but fight him for it, for your life. For your friends. For the many people in Sunnydale who had no clue what went bump in the night.
The idiot who gave up and offered his neck to the vampire without a fight deserved to die.
The phone rang with a sudden scream. He hauled himself to his feet, dropping his apple core… somewhere… and moved quickly to the phone, managing to get it before the third ring. He picked it up, coughed to the side, and murmured a less than polite greeting.
“Xander?” the tiny voice called out on the other end. He straightened up unconsciously.
“Buff! Hi!” he said, leaning against the wall. “Sorry, I just got back.”
“I thought you were going to patrol with me.”
“Ugh, I am so sorry.” Xander said, realizing he forgot. “I ran into a vampire on the way.”
“Did you stake it?” He should have expected that question but he still laughed, startled by the concept.
“Are you kidding me?” he shook his head. “No, I ran off. Not the bravest thing to do, I know…”
“But the smartest.” Buffy said firmly. “I don’t want you to get hurt doing my job.”
Xander bit his lip, knowing he should tell Buffy who he ran into but dreading the topic he knew would come up as a result. Deadboy was never his favorite topic of conversation and yet, somehow, he always got dragged into it. Like now, when his conscience won the brief battle in his head and prompted him to speak. “Buffy, it was Dru.”
She didn’t gasp but he could hear her intake of air. “I should tell Angel.” She said finally, prompting Xander to roll his eyes at the predictability. He didn’t like that guy, especially now that he had a taste of Angelus.
“Maybe.” He said, a touch of sullen coloring his tone. Xander shook his head, hearing it himself and not liking it. “You know, if you think it will help. She might be gone already. Spike isn’t here.”
“Maybe.” She said, sounding dubious. “I’ll have to check it out.” There was a silence in which Xander mentally cussed Angel out. He really didn’t like that guy! “Oh Xander, I just remembered!”
“What is it?” he asked, glad for any topic that pulled them away from Sir Broods A Lot.
“Did you speak to Willow recently?” she asked.
“Uh, no… She was incommunicado Willow today.” Xander paused. “Is she mad at me or something?”
“Oh, no. She’s just…” Buffy seemed to be at a loss for words. “She’s just going through something right now.”
“Is it a girl thing?” he asked, clueless. “Because if it’s not, I’m all for the sharing and healing. And if it’s because Oz is cheating on her-“
Buffy laughed. “Oz isn’t cheating on her.”
“Oh, good. I was going to say that I’d kick his scrawny little butt but, you know, there’s three days in the month where he really scares the shit out of me.”
“Don’t worry, it’s nothing like that. She just needs to figure something out. Don’t push her, I’m sure she’ll tell you.” There was a pause. “She’d better.”
“We’ll talk tomorrow.” Xander said confidently. “Remember, research party? I’ll bring the donuts. Bavarian cream, right?”
“I only eat the sprinkles.” Buffy insisted, haughtily.
“Hah, you lie. You may eat the sprinkles because you think it’s the healthier donut but you covet the Bavarian cream, with all of its creamy goodness.” He leaned his head against the wall, grinning. “And then when you think no one is looking, BAM! Ninja slayer strikes and oh no, Willow must have eaten the Bavarian cream donut, or Xander or Giles? Because Buffy would NEVER eat that yucky donut.”
“Quit mocking me. I know I have issues.” He could hear the smile in her voice, which was enough to upgrade his grin to cheek splitting proportions.
“Don’t we all.” Xander’s smile faded when he realized what time it was. “I got some homework I need to catch up on. If I fail this class, Snyder will kick my ass.”
“Ugh, me too.” Buffy said, mutual disgust apparent. She sighed gustily. “I guess this is good night. Sweet dreams and all that rubbish.” There was a pause. “Oh my god, keep me away from the British man. I think it’s contagious.”
Xander laughed. “Only a little bit. Good night, Buff.”
“Good night, Xander.” There was a pause. “Please be careful.”