It was a very tired and distraught looking Xander that made his way into the school's library through it's back doors that morning.
“Xander, are you all right? Is Marcie with you?” Giles asked the haggard looking teen.
“She's gone Giles. She... left. Something broke inside her last night and she left before she hurt someone.” Xander said softly.
Realizing there was more to this than what the young man was saying Giles sat down across the table from the teen. “Are you going to be all right?” he asked the young man.
“I don't know. I... need to clear my head. Tell the girls I'll be back in a week or so okay?” Xander said before standing up.
“Xander,” Giles said
“I'll be fine. I'm just going to go camping out in the hills around Sunnydale. I've done it on my own before I found out about demons. I'll be back, and when I do it'll be during the day okay?” Xander told Giles.
“All right. If anyone asks though...” Giles said
“I've suddenly come down with a bad case of shingles or something.” Xander said before heading out of the library.
Giles stared at the door Xander had left from and his heart went out to the young man. He'd been hurt by someone he'd only known a short time.
His pondering was brought to an abrupt halt as Buffy came into the library. “Giles, Angel is a vampire!” She said.
“What!!?” The watcher exclaimed.
Xander came back to the school a week later. He had a bit of a tan and seemed to be a bit better.
“Hey guys.” Xander said as he came into the library. He was surprised to see the number of students in there along with the computer teacher.
“Xander, you're back.” Giles said as he moved past a student who was taking a book out of a crate.
“What's going on?” Xander asked.
“We're scanning some books.” Willow said from where she was sitting, too busy with the project to give him a hug.
“Oh.” Xander said before setting his backpack down and heading out of the library to get a soda.
When he'd gotten back, Willow was off the computer and another student he didn't really remember was at the station.
Xander peered over the student's shoulder and opened the can of soda and took a sip.
“Don't drink that here.” The teen said.
“Oh, sorry.” Xander said before taking an exaggerated sip of his soda.
“I miss anything?” he whispered to Willow before taking a swig of his soda.
“Angel is a vampire.” Willow whispered in his ear.
“PBBTHTHTHT!” Xander said as he sprayed soda all over the book that was about to be scanned.
“Xander!” Giles said admonishingly.
“Sorry.” Xander said honestly. “Don't tell me stuff like that when I'm drinking.” He told Willow who blushed.
“Sorry.” Willow said.
“I'll set this book aside for now. Giles said as he looked at the stain, not really seeing the words. As he handled the book he thought he felt... something. He'd remembered something his father had once told him. “Some books aren't for reading.” he muttered as he headed towards his office.
It would only be later that he would realize just how dangerous that book really was.
“Let me get this straight.” Xander said before pausing to collect his thoughts. “Angel, a slightly older and mysterious guy who has mainly stuck to the shadows since you've met him is in actuality a vampire. He's also cursed with a soul for being such a bastard of a vampire right?”
“Yeah.” Buffy said. “That's the gist of it. There was this whole thing where another vampire tried to frame him for draining my mom some, but that's over.”
“Exactly how bad of a vampire was he?” Xander asked.
“Do you really want to know?” Giles asked him.
“What have you got?” Xander wondered
Giles came back a few minutes later with a very tall stack of books.
The three teens stared at the stacks of books.
“Not it.” Buffy said.
“Not it.” Willow mirrored.
“Not... damn it.” Xander said before banging his head into the table.
“Hey Giles?” Xander asked as he finished reading another chronicle on Angelus.
“Yes Xander?” the watcher said.
“Exactly why haven't we had Buffy slay this guy? If he's this bad why haven't we done something?” Xander wondered.
“Well, he was cursed with a soul. What happened to him after that is fairly sketchy at best. However once that happened, the atrocities that were easily seen as his stopped.” Giles told him.
“Do we know what has done since then?” Xander asked.
“No.” Giles said with a frown.
“Why did he show up here? Also, exactly how reliable is the curse that was placed on him? Are curses permanent?” Xander asked, thinking back to the things Mrs. Madison had done while in Amy's body.
“I don't know about why he came here Xander. Also curses aren't permanent. There is always a way to end one, even if it is a convoluted solution. Oh dear, I suppose this will require a lot of research.”
“Ahh... crap.” Xander said.
“It isn't that bad.” Giles said.
“For you maybe, these things read like The Last of The Mohicans.” Xander said with a frown.
Giles winced. “They're not that bad.” He said again in defense of the chronicles.
“Say Giles, is there any way you can teach me to fight as well?” Xander asked as he set down his backpack in the library.
Classes had ended a half hour ago and Buffy had yet to show up for training, a pattern that Giles had reluctantly come to accept.
“I understand your sentiment and willingness to help Xander, but fighting demons is something more suited to the Slayer than a regular person.” Giles told him.
“Is that a no?” Xander asked him with a bit of a growl.
“If you're really serious about this, the best thing I can recommend for you at the moment is being able to run. If you can run you can live.” Giles told him.
“So you want me to just run away every time we have vampires attack us?” Xander asked.
“Running is a great way of building stamina Xander. Without that you'll be next to useless in a fight no matter how strong you are.” Giles told him.
“So you want me to run?” Xander asked him.
“If you can run say five miles, I'll start teaching you how to fight. How does that sound?” Giles asked the boy, not believing he'd be willing to put forth that level of determination. Besides, it would take him weeks of training to build that level of stamina.
“Yeah, fine.” Xander said before leaving the library, passing Buffy on his way out.
“What's he so mad about?” Buffy asked Giles.
“Difference of opinion.” Giles told her as he adjusted his glasses.
“Run five miles huh?” Xander said aloud as he stood at the Track that went around the High school's football field, wearing his gym clothes. No one was using it since the track and field team had been done for a few weeks at this point and time of the year.
Steeling himself he began running around the track. He had to stop after a half mile.
“Oh god.” He said before drinking from the water fountain. “I suck at this.” He said while getting his breath back.
It didn't take very long for him to recover. He got up and ran around the track again. He made it farther this time. He drank some more water and thought about it. “Increased recovery rate. This is going to suck but I will run five miles today.” He said to himself.
It was a fairly tired Xander that made his way back to the school locker room. He'd managed six miles but he was getting pretty hungry. He decided to head home to grab some food. He'd wait until he could run much farther than he could now before talking to Giles. He wanted to get stronger as well. He'd see what he could do in the school's weight room after he'd gotten used to running long distances. Judging by how much he'd improved in a day. It probably wouldn't take that long.