AN: The series will include future slash, violence, language, adult situations- all the good stuff. I’m giving it the highest rating just to be safe. This story is part one of a series and will be relatively short compared to the stories that will follow and due to lack of much of the aforementioned material, will be rated lower. Main focus of the story will be Xander, although POV will bounce between various characters. There will be a cross over with Stargate Atlantis, which this story sets the series up for, and later Stargate SG1.
WARNING: the Xander of this series might be construed as Super!Xander, which I’m personally okay with but understand it pisses some people off. Additionally, this series will ignore much of the canon in place, which is why I hide under my bed to avoid canon!zealots.
Disclaimer: Neither Stargate (SG-1 or Atlantis) 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
Buffy wandered into the library, feeling pretty good despite her situation. Angel was leaving and the Mayor was doing something evil that could be apocalyptic, but she had a shiny pink umbrella in her room. For the first time since she made friends in Sunnydale (friends who knew all about her and her sacred duty), she felt good, appreciated. Not like she was just that weird chick that carried around pointy sticks and hung out too much in the library.
Life was good, and she planned on keeping it that way, Hellmouth be willing.
There was a thud and then a sudden swoosh. Buffy ducked a flying book, catching another one as it flew by haphazardly. She blinked, feeling the book try to jerk out of her hands. She gave it one solid whack against the table and it stopped.
Ha, Brute Force 1, Magic 0.
Thinking of magic and books and magic books (but mostly of who said magic books belonged to), Buffy carefully leaned around the shelf, her face fixed in a perplexed expression.
“Willow?” she ventured in her mom voice, one that said both ‘what are you doing’ and ‘you better not be doing what I think you’re doing’. Moms were always good at the double meanings, but not so much the fun double meanings. Like sexual innuendos.
The red head twitched and turned completely around in a sudden movement, her eyes wide in panic. “Buffy? I wasn’t-” She stood up, knocking a pile of books over. She scrambled to catch them but only managed to save one. “I wasn’t doing… nothing.”
Buffy’s eyebrow rose. “Tricky, double negative.” She was almost positive Willow was doing something she wasn’t supposed to. Ascension and demon investigation? Of the good and of the needed. Reading about other forms of witchcraft? Of the bad. Giles had been particularly sore on the idea of children doing witchcraft since Amy made Xander the hottest thing in Sunnydale since sliced bread. What little witchcraft he did condone was often heavily supervised.
But Willow had a distressed look on her face, one that wasn’t born of solely guilt but also of a heavy dash of sorrow and confusion. She had that kicked puppy look on her face that Buffy never liked to see, as she was the type to want to find the kicker and make them the kickee. She didn’t know how to handle this particular dose of sad Willow but hoped her presence would be enough so that the other girl would spill.
Sure, it wasn’t the best strategy but hey! It has worked before!
“Yeah, hi.” Buffy waved the book. “I’m not positive but I think these books are for reading. Not… Frisbee or whatever you have going on there.” Her voice was deceptively light.
“This is not a game, Buffy!” Willow said, her frustration thick enough to take it out on her friend.
“Kinda got that when…” Buffy frowned, reading out the title of the book. “The Tempest Tome of the Mental Magicks nearly came and took my head off.” Buffy shrugged. Whatever. She was a Slayer- she could let that slide. It was Giles who would be having kittens. She leaned against the wall, her arms crossed over her chest and made with the meaningful look. “What’s wrong, Willow?”
Willow’s attempt at nonchalance crumbled in an expression of quiet despair. “He’s not real.” She whispered, groaning as she sunk to the ground. She hid her face in her knees, wrapping her arms tightly around her legs. Buffy sank with her, resting a hand on her elbow. She still carried the book in her other hand but it wasn’t in her thoughts.
“Who’s not real?” Buffy said softly.
“Xander.” Willow moaned with heartfelt sorrow. Buffy let the book fall to its natural place in the universe (on the floor to be stepped on) as she leaned forward to wrap an arm around the grieving girl’s shoulder. They sat together like that, their backs to the shelf.
“Xander.” Buffy echoed after a moment, skeptical but trying to understand. She nudged Willow. “Our Xander. Our demon magnet, puppy eyed, token normal human. That Xander?”
“Yes.” Willow pulled her face out of her knees and let them slide down until her legs were straightened out.
“Okay. I’ll bite.” Buffy said after waiting for Willow to think about what she just said and recant. “Why is Xander not real?”
“Okay, last night I was looking over my memories with that spell-” She started, waving her hands as emphasis.
“You mean that spell that Giles told you not to do?” Buffy headed her off, knowing where this was going. Willow gave her a slightly impatient look.
Last week, Willow announced to the group that she thought she had read a book somewhere that had a spell that could stop the Mayor but she couldn’t remember what book it was in, or if it was in a book at all. It sparked a ten hour search into various magical tomes but no one found it. Xander did, however, find a spell that could clear up her memory of the exact book. Willow was willing to do it. It was an easy spell.
However, Giles immediately put his foot down. “Certain spells, like love, lust-” Giles gave Xander a dark look, to which the boy merely smiled apologetically. “And memory spells should not be used except in the most dire of situations. And we’re not there yet. I won’t allow you to do a spell that could be potentially harmful to us all simply to make researching easier.” He pressed his lips together in a flat line but something in his eyes softened. “We’ll keep looking.”
Buffy agreed with him, to a point. She still remembered coming on to Xander but worst yet, she still had dreams of being chased by a humongous cat lusting after her little rat body. Although a spell could be made in the best of intentions and the results of it could be innocuous, what could follow had the potential to be very deadly to the unwary.
“It was safe, one of the easiest spells in the book. But so not the issue!” Willow insisted, running a hand through her hair. She looked exhausted, like she hadn’t slept the night before. “I was looking over my memories and when I went back a few years, it was like all I could sort of, you know, vaguely remember from before.” Willow turned to Buffy, her eyes wide. “Only Xander wasn’t there!”
“A Xander-shaped hole in your memories?”
“No! It’s like… he was just added in at the last minute, you know? There was no hole because he had no place.” She was frowning deeply, trying to make sense of it. “And some memories! Some memories weren’t even there. Like the yellow crayon, or the insane homeless man Stanley, or the dolly, or the mudpie mansion-” Buffy was feeling more and more confused with each rattled off event. “Or that time I lit the house next door on fire so Xander could see a real fire truck!”
“Wow.” Buffy intoned, an eyebrow rising. “I always knew you were a pyro at heart.”
“Look who’s talking!” Willow said, almost pouting. “And not the point!”
“Okay, so… You did a spell and now you think that your memories of Xander are fake.” Buffy summarized slowly.
“Ah-ha!” Willow interjected, tapping her head. “I don’t think. I know. The spell was specifically made so that I might see the truth while looking over my memories. Not colored by bias or viewpoint or anything, just facts.”
“Maybe you saw the truth then but don’t you think that now, as you’re thinking about it, you are changing it from the truth? I mean, maybe your interpretation of the ‘facts’ is wrong.”
“It’s not!” Willow insisted, shooting to her feet with such speed that Buffy was left on the ground, confused and half-admiring. She rose slowly, following the red head as she stormed to Giles’ backroom. It jerked open without her laying a hand on the knob.
Buffy had to get Willow to calm down. That kind of wild magic could be dangerous. Not only might the red head accidentally start a fire but she might also be attacked by any number of demons who attracted to such power.
The slayer cleared her throat, but Willow didn’t acknowledge her. She had what Buffy had privately named The Mission Face, the one the red head normally wore whenever she was researching the end of the world, concentrating on a spell, or generally doing her part to save the world.
Willow was flipping through a large dusty book that was ominously titled Spells You Shouldn’t Be Doing. The slayer thought it was funny, in an abstract way, the book’s last gasping attempt to appeal to a witch’s sense of morality and ethics.
“What are you doing now?” Buffy asked cautiously.
“You see,” Willow said very earnestly, her nose still in the book. “I figure Xander’s not a bad person.”
“Now he’s a person again?” Buffy crossed her arms and leaned against the doorway. “I thought we decided he wasn’t real?”
“Oh, he is real. Just some of the memories aren’t real. Like, the memory I have of him in the hospital when he had appendicitis. That was real.”
“When did that happen?” Buffy tilted her head, feeling that itchy feeling of being left out.
“We were ten.” Willow paused, thinking back. “Or maybe eleven.”
“Okay.” Buffy drawled. “Didn’t know kids could get that.”
“I thought he was going to die.” Willow said sadly before she shook herself back on track. “Anyway, we’ve had – or rather I’ve had, but I guess you too, sorta…” Buffy gave her a look. Willow took a deep breath and redirected her thoughts. “We have and know the real Xander and he’s a nice person. He just might not be a person person.” Buffy stared down at the redhead, wondering if all smart people were this incoherent, like their brains were moving too fast for their mouths to keep up. “Like a human person. It makes perfect sense in my head.”
“I’m sure it does.”
Willow ignored her wry tone. “I don’t think Xander is a demon or anything, maybe just a lonely spirit. That he would go through so much to make a past with me… it’s kind of sweet.” Willow’s never quite resolved crush on Xander was definitely talking now, Buffy realized. “But I think he needs to move on.” She dropped the book on the desk heavily and shoved the spell she was looking at over towards Buffy. The slayer gave it a cursory look but didn’t dig deeper. It was written in a heavy hand in a language that looked vaguely European.
“And this is?”
“Oh, right. The spell is just as good in English, you know.” Buffy sincerely doubted that. Nothing in a foreign language meant what you meant it to say in English. Her failing French grade was a testament to that. “Um, well, this will send Xander back to his home.” Willow pointed to the spell at a particular line. “See here? It translates roughly, ‘Return thyself, oh lost son, to the blood lands.’”
“’Roughly’ concerns me.” Buffy admitted, frowning at Willow. “But blood lands? It sounds like a vampire paradise.”
“Oh no, it’s more like… land of your blood. Like, land of your birth, your family.”
“Still sounds pretty ominous, if you ask me…” Buffy had a strong feeling this was going somewhere and that somewhere wasn’t a good somewhere.
Willow knew that tone of voice. “But-”
“Willow.” Buffy said quietly, her voice somehow both sharp and gentle. “There are so many reasons I could give you not to do this.”
“What if the spell was compromised and what you saw wasn’t true?” Buffy saw the stubborn expression on Willow’s face before it had a chance to form and quickly went to head it off. “Or… or what if Xander prefers it here rather than there, wherever there is? What if there is dangerous, more dangerous than the Hellmouth? Or what if there’s really another spell involved in all this and he turns out not to be a… spirit person and you end up sending him to a hell dimension. Good intentions and all, right?
Willow was shaking her head. “You don’t understand but-”
“Willow.” This time Buffy’s voice was low and earnest. It made Willow listen up. That and the hand that landed on the book over the spell with a thud that sounded almost final. “I don’t want to have any more magical mishaps. Let’s just get through the month without one?” Her hand moved under the cover of the book and closed it shut. “I realize this means something to you. You wouldn’t have broken into Giles’ backroom if it wasn’t important.” Willow blushed, looking around guilty. “But please. If it’s that important, talk to Giles. Tell him about the spell you did, tell him what you think it told you about Xander. But please don’t go through this spell until you’ve talked to him or, at the very least, Xander.”
“Okay…” the red head said, avoiding her gaze.
“Good. I’ll see you later.” Buffy said, relieved. If anyone could handle this latest crisis, it was Giles. Because she was certain Willow would talk to Giles before doing anything drastic, she didn’t feel guilty about leaving. Had she realized Willow was fibbing, she would have bodily dragged her from the room and away from that dangerous book with that dark spell.
As it was, she trusted her friend in this. It was a trust that Buffy would later feel was grossly misplaced. Willow’s choice would create a rift between them that would take years to fully mend, as guilt is as strong as a motivator as anger when it comes to the fate of loved ones.