Chapter 7: What I did on my summer vacation.
Disclaimer: I don't own stuff.
“Oh man.” Xander said as he gasped for air.
“That's good Xander. See if you can improve your time by another five minutes.” Giles said as he stopped the timer and noted down the time.
“I'd like to see you do this.” Xander gasped as he pushed the button on the Gott's drink container he'd filled with Gatorade. He drank the fluid down greedily and filled the cup three more times before Giles told him to stop.
“The Speed Rope is a better way to build stamina than running.” Giles said. “You've mastered the double step quite well.” He told the young man as he wrote something down on a clipboard.
“So what's the status Giles?” Xander asked his impromptu trainer
“You're improvements are off any charts I could compare things to Xander, well beyond the scale normal athletes could gain even with the use of steroids. I'm frankly quite surprised you're not eating your parents out of house and home.” Giles told the young man who winced.
“Yeah, about that. I've kind of been pawning things I've been finding in vampire lairs for food money.” Xander told him.
“So you are eating more.” Giles said with a hint of triumph in his voice.
“If you mean a whole hell of a lot when you say more, than yeah. I've been hitting up the local greasy spoon twice a day on top of normal meals.”
“How much exactly are you eating there?”
“Depends on what they've got in stock. Steaks, bacon, burgers, omlettes, waffles, hash browns, meat loaf, the whole menu once.” Xander listed off the top of his head.
“Really?” Giles asked him.
“I sleep like three hours a night now Giles. The whole staff there knows me by name.” Xander said.
“Do you tip well?” Giles asked.
“Of course!” Xander said indignantly.
“I don't know if I should go Xander.” Willow said
“You should go Wills, you could use a break from everything that's been going on this year. Besides, your parents will have to spend time with you.” Xander encouraged the girl.
“But I won't get to see you for the rest of the summer.” Willow said with a sniff.
“I'm going to be pretty busy Wills. You need to go see your grandparents. You never know when you'll get another chance.” Xander told his best friend. “Family is important.”
“All right. But you better behave while I'm gone!” Willow said with her patented Resolve Face.
“No problem Wills.” Xander said with a grin
“Again.” Giles told him as he got into the ready position.
Xander got into the same stance and they began fighting once more. Moments later Giles was disarmed and he had the tip of Xander's foil pressed into his neck.
“You realize that once Buffy gets back you will be her sparring partner.” Giles told the young man.
Xander laughed. “Figured as much. I can take a hell of a beating and get up from it.” He told the watcher as he lifted the foil from the man's artery.
“You've read those books I've lent you?” Giles asked him.
“Yeah, about that. I found something that kind of worries me.” Xander confessed.
“What?” Giles asked.
“Did you know that there is a chance the Master could be resurrected?” The teen demanded.
“There are some obscure methods that could be used yes.” the Watcher admitted. “Which is why we buried his bones in consecrated ground.”
“Yeah, and we didn't destroy the bones because?” Xander asked him.
“Standard protocol.” Giles said before being interrupted.
“You mean its normal for the skeleton of a vampire to remain after the demon was staked? We should have bathed the bones in Holy water or cremated the bones then spread them out at sea or something. Hell we should still do that.” Xander said.
“Why are you so worried about it?” Giles asked the boy.
“I don't want to take any chances Giles. The Master managed to kill Buffy once. I don't want that to happen again. We destroy the remains, scatter them to the four winds. He may still have vampires loyal to him out there.”
Giles stared at the boy for a few minutes. “Fine, but you're digging him up.” he finally said.
“Wouldn't have it any other way.” Xander said with a grin.
It took some convincing and a thousand bucks but they managed to get the bones cremated. Not much happened to the skeleton so Xander and Giles had the guy run the skeleton through the cremulator twice.
Urn of bone powder in hand, they took a brief trip to the beach.
It would be the only time Xander had to go bikini watching the whole summer.
It was a Sunday, and Xander found himself in a place he'd never expected he'd willingly attend.
He'd been focusing a lot on physical training and reading up on various demons and lore, but he had barely put any time into the other half of the equation, the divine.
Holy water worked against vampires so that was proof positive of a higher power of one sort or another.
Plus it would be a good idea in the future to have a source that didn't ask too many questions.
Which is why he was attending church, an Episcopalian one at that. The reason being was simple. The priest here was one of the few that could actually make effective Holy water.
The man believed while others pretended.
So Xander went to church. It was a different experience to say the least.
Father Murray kept his face neutral as the young man who'd been coming to his services the past few weeks entered his office. The boy added to the collection plate, but he still didn't know his name.
“Can I help you?” Father Murray asked him.
“Actually yes, my name is Xander Harris. I'm here because you're a true believer in God's word. I know this because your holy water works.” Xander told the man of the cloth.
“What do you mean works?” Father Murray wondered aloud with raised eyebrows.
“I've sampled your wares Father. The Holy water works great. That's why I wanted to talk to you. I need a fairly regular supply.” Xander told the man.
“For what precisely?” Father Murray asked the peculiar teenager.
“Tell me Father, what do you know about the other side of things?” Xander asked him.
“Are you a Satanist?” Father Murray asked the teen.
“No!” Xander said vehemently, shaking his head. “No, no nothing like that. I meant demons Father. There are actual demons that walk this earth. In town, like all the time actually. That's kind of why I need the holy water. It works great on vampires. Really great.” Xander said as he grinned in memory of how he used the last of his supply.
“It Burns!” the vampires screamed.
“Good times.” Xander said with a nod.
Father Murray eyed the teen with a careful glance. “Son, have you considered getting some counseling?”
“You don't believe me. I get that. I really do. But before you go calling mental health services I have a place to show you.” Xander said with a nod.
“What sort of place son?” the priest asked the teen cautiously.
“Willy's Alibi room.” Xander told him.
“Isn't that a bar?” Father Murray asked in surprise.
“A demon bar actually. Main one in town that I know of. We can go just after sunset. If you don't believe me look at the obituaries in the town paper. This town's death rate is phenomenal.”
“I'll admit I've done more than my fair share of funeral services since I've come here son, but demons?” The priest asked him.
“Are those any more unbelievable than the power of a deity? Your faith gives power to things you bless father. I've seen it. Do you want to doubt your own faith? If you just stay here in your church and ignore the things that kill your parishioners, well that just makes you like most of the other so called men of god in this town. A false prophet. I've gotten holy water from ten different churches, only yours worked. What does that tell you?”
“It tells me you're a troubled young man.” Father Murray said.
“Yeah I have some problems. I'll admit that. Just trust me on this Father Murray, I need your help. Even if it's just a main line of Holy Water, it'll help me out a great deal Father.” Xander said with a face of stone.
“You're serious.” Father Murray said.
“Deathly, I'm afraid.” Xander said in agreement.
“All right. I'll go with you to this Willy's. I'm placing a lot of trust in you on this son.” Father Murray said as he stared at the teen.
“You'll probably regret it Father, but thank you.” Xander told the man.
“How did you do that thing with the twist?” Father Murray asked Xander who was moving his neck side to side popping it. He brushed the broken glass out of his hair.
“I've been training with someone in the know. It's been a rough summer. You believe me now?” Xander asked the man.
“Yes, yes I do. Demons... dear God.” Father Murray said.
“Don't doubt your faith Father. Doubting yourself now mean your abilities in making Holy Water, something that works on the vampires you saw in there.” Xander told the man.
Father Murray took a couple of deep breaths. “You're right. You really fight those.... abominations often?” he asked the teenager.
“I do. But not alone. You see there's this girl....” Xander began as the two began the trek back towards the church.
“Giles this is ridiculous.” Xander said as he struggled to maintain his balance.
“This is the fastest way I can think of to get your balance up to par Xander.” Giles said. “Your ability to learn and your muscle memory are astounding to say the least. Think of it this way, this is the hard part.” Giles told him.
“Juggling eight stakes while standing on a inch wide, one foot long pole is stupid.” Xander defended.
“Yet you've managed for ten minutes, bitching all the while. You can stop now.” Giles said with a grin.
“Thank God.” Xander said before pausing. “And I mean that, huh.” He added with a frown.
“Yes, now let's work on your vertical leap.” Giles told him.
“I can slam dunk, isn't that enough?” Xander asked him.
“Vampires can jump much higher when they actually try to do so.” Giles told him.
“All right fine.” Xander huffed before he began practicing his vertical leap.
“Hhng...” Xander grunted as he pushed out another leg press.
“Good, that's seven times your current body weight. Once you're done we can take a break.” Giles said as he noted down the weight he'd helped load onto the device.
Xander finished his set and locked the safeties back into place. He then returned all of the free weights back to the rack by the leg press. “So do you have any idea why I weigh as much as I do now?” Xander asked Giles.
“Your weight gain may simply be a part of your mutation. Your body adapting to the stresses we've been putting it through.” Giles said as he paused in thought. “As it stands, your muscle tissue and bone density may be increasing a great deal. That alone would cause some weight gain. As it stands you weigh a good hundred pounds more than a person of your size should. While you haven't gained much in the way of muscle size, the strength is there. I honestly am not sure what is part of the mutation and what is from the effort you've put forth this summer.” Giles told him.
“All right. So, what's next on the agenda?” Xander asked the Watcher.
“You should take a week off, rest up. School starts soon.” Giles told him.
“And Willow is due back in a few days. All right Giles. I'll see you in a few days?” Xander asked the Watcher.
“Be ready to train with Buffy once she gets back.” Giles told him.
“Sounds fun.” Xander said with a grin.
Jenny Calendar woke up from her nap because of the knocking on her door. Blinking, she stood up and made her way to the front door and looked through the eyehole. “Xander? What is he doing here?” She asked herself.
“I need your help Ms. Calendar.” Xander told her.
Startled, Jenny opened the door. “What can I help you with Xander?”
“Do you know any spells that can tell a person their ancestry?” Xander asked her.
Jenny stared at the young man. “I have access to a few, why?”
“I'm adopted. Doesn't matter how I know it, I just do. You can't tell anyone. As far as my parents know, I'm their son. They can't know otherwise.” Xander told her.
“Why?” Jenny asked him.
“Bad things could happen.” Xander told her in a serious tone.
Jenny nodded. “I can set something up in a few days, is that all right?”
“Yeah. Thanks Ms. Calendar.” Xander said with a grin.