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Summary: Set after season 1 of Buffy and just after the 2nd X-men movie. Buffy has recovered from a slight case of death. But her death will change the path of Buffy, Willow and Xander, each life changing in ways they could not have predicted.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Marvel Universe > X-Men > Buffy-Centered(Past Donor)theICEBearFR1812122,9453017958,27716 Sep 0828 Sep 10Yes

Sundering Changes, part 1

Slayer X
-A crossover fiction by theICEBear

Disclaimer: All characters portrayed in the television series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “Angel”, all "X-Men" titles and the Marvel Universe are the exclusive property of their creators and licensees. They are used here without their approval. No infringement is intended by the following work. The story in the following work is the exclusive property of the author indicated in the byline above and this work may not be posted, reproduced or edited without the express approval of the author as named above. No direct commercial gain may come from any reproduction of this work.

Summary: Set after season 1 of Buffy and just after the 2nd X-men movie. Buffy has recovered from a slight case of death. But her death will change the path of Buffy, Willow and Xander, a path leading each of them into the prejudiced and persecuted world of the mutants, each on their own path in a world filled with challenges.

Author's Notes: This is AU of course but I will do my utmost to maintain the integrity of the characters however be forewarned this is mostly set in the X-Men part of the Marvel Universe but I won't be ignoring the Buffyverse and there will be characters involved from both verses. While mostly Buffy-centric this should be more along the lines of a Scoobies fic than a Buffy only fic with all of the emphasis on Xander and Willow aside from Buffy. The aftereffects of Buffy's death at the hands of the Master will be different than in the TV series. I am also moving the Buffy timeline up to be around 2003 to fit in better with the X-Men movies. Another important note is that I while I am very well versed in the X-Men comics universe, it is just too much of a complex world to use as a basis for a crossover so instead I am basing myself off the movies, but I will be using elements and characters from the comic books so in case you get bewildered Wikipedia is a friend. Also don't expect the events of the third movie to happen, because I'd like to have Cyclops and Xavier around. There will be romance in this story but not at first and its not the main component of this story. This is a story written by an adult using no filters. I will use curse words and there will be descriptions of graphic violence and worse. Also note that the following has not been beta'ed (and I am looking for volunteers). This project is my relief project until I start on the next episode in the Buffy Carter series.

Sundering Changes, part 1
She knew something was wrong. It had been wrong since that night. Buffy could feel it. It wasn't even just the knowledge that she had lost, but it was the shame. The feeling of the knowledge that she had given up when he had bitten her. The Master had been her mortal enemy and for a moment she had chosen not to fight out of fear, but also out of something else, something she couldn't consciously remember. She had been weak and he had instantly defeated her. And since that night it had been different. She had felt off. Sure she had gone through that bastard like he was no challenge afterwards. She had felt different, stronger, but now the feeling had faded.

All that was left for her, was the stark realization that one day probably soon her life would truly end in a manner close to the one she had already tried. She could talk herself into enjoying stuff occasionally like when she was with Xander and Willow yesterday or when she had heard about possibly spending the summer with her dad. Although she never told anyone about it no longer felt like being with anyone helped as much as it had in the past. She sighed and stared out the window at the tree shadowing her window. Two more days before her dad was supposed to show up and she had better get at least adept at pretending to be okay. She had to put on a happy face for her dad. He had always been a lot more sensitive about her weirdness than her mom. So much so that he had hurt her more than once with his attitude even if she feared he hadn't even done that intentionally.

"Buffy, honey, can you come down a moment?" her mom yelled.

"Coming," she yelled back wondering what her mom wanted. She kicked off with one leg lightly and pushed off with her arm. She was used to doing it. With her slayer strength it would usually propel her off the bed up to standing.

It didn't. Buffy didn't even make it halfway then fell back onto the bed. She wrinkled her brow. She was used to doing that almost every day. It had never failed before. She wondered for a moment then got up normally and headed downstairs.

Her mom was standing at the front door at the bottom of the stairs looking confused. Giles was standing next to her looking almost dazed and happy to see her. "Buffy, your High School librarian is here to see you," her mom said and raised a questioning eyebrow.

"Why? I mean. Hi there. So Mr. Giles what is this about?" Buffy asked not really knowing what lie to tell.

"Oh, eh, right, I wanted to speak with you about the damages the library sustained during the earthquake. The Principal came to me claiming that people saw your friends and you near the school and he has made certain accusations that some of the damage was not made by the quake. Now I believe I can convince him otherwise, but I would like to hear all about what you saw that night. Mrs. Summers, if I may talk to Buffy alone for a moment," Giles said.

Buffy tried hard not to protest until she realized replaying Giles' explanation in her head that he was lying to her mom and then decided still to say something. "I didn't do anything," she protested.

"And I believe you, but please I just want to ask a few questions," Giles said.

"Really that principal sounds completely unreasonable. You haven't been in any trouble have you Buffy?" her mom asked.

Buffy winced at the remark. She hated constantly lying to her mom and being thought of as some sort of delinquent. "Mom you've met my friends right. Xander, normal teen without an attitude and Willow, you know cute shy redhaired genius-girl. Not exactly gang-bangers now are they?" she replied.

"No no, of course not, Mr. Giles is it? Yes, well you must understand, my daughter hasn't done anything," her mom said.

Buffy could her mom building her tone up towards asking Giles to do with just that answer. "Mom, it's okay. Mr. Giles is a good friend and one of the teachers I trust. We'll be fine alone," she said.

Giles smiled proudly and Buffy had to fight to keep from blushing. She didn't like telling the older man just how much she appreciated him especially after finding out he had been planning to face the Master instead of her knowing it would have been fatal for him even to try. She still had somehow to find the words to say as a thank you.

"Fine, but just a few simple questions right?" her mom said.

"Right," she agreed while Giles nodded. Her mom nodded and left.

Buffy glanced after her mom. "So is the world ending again," she asked looking once again at her Watcher wondering why he was there. She felt so tired thinking that her calling was probably already asking more of her.

"I'm sorry for coming here like this. I understand we have to do this quickly. Buffy, I am coming from a long phone call with the Council. It is important you understand I have never heard of this happening before. It seems that you really did die in the Master's cave. The powers and the destiny of the Slayer have been passed to another girl. You should be experiencing the effects of the loss already. You'll find that your powers are dwindling as we speak. The need to fight and hunt will be dropping quickly as well. Most importantly a seer, I contacted privately, assured me that you should be experiencing a change in your life and destiny meaning your life will change back to something completely different from the supernatural. Demons and Apocalyptic events shouldn't be continually intruding on your life as long as you don't seek them out," he said.

Buffy gaped. She was unsure what to think, what to say. It was supposed to be for life. She had resigned herself. Suddenly she had been given it all back. Two years of hell fighting nearly every night and now she was out of it. Out of a destiny that was supposed to never let you go alive. You were chosen, you fought and then you died. That was it. Her being chosen should have been a death sentence. Maybe it had. "Is it true? It can't be. I am not the Slayer anymore? I'm old hat, retired, over with. . . Safe?" she asked and couldn't keep from shedding a tear. It felt like a huge weight slowly lifted.

Giles nodded and smiled. "Oh, Giles," she said and embraced him. Buffy leaned back and looked at him. He looked both happy and supremely uncomfortable. She realized this could be the end of their life together. Strangely for all that she resisted her duty, she didn't want to loose Giles as a friend. He had been so good, even stiff as he was, at translating the complications of life into something she understood.

Apparently Giles realized what she was thinking. "No, no, I won't be leaving. Sunnydale is still the hotspot for dangerous activity at the moment. The new Slayer will be dispatched to come here and help. I'll be taking over her training. Her name is Kendra and she comes from Jamaica according to what I've been told. Of course you'll always be welcome in the library. In fact I would be quite cross if I didn't see you there often. And honestly at least for a while I'll keep an eye on you Buffy, I want to protect you from any retribution resulting from your past career," he explained.

Buffy thought about things for a moment. She'd still be living in Sunnydale. She'd be like Willow and Xander. But Willow was a genius and Xander was a guy who could fight. She'd be just a girl with the memories of how to fight and only a cheerleader's strength to defend herself with. She'd be completely useless. Suddenly life in Sunnydale didn't look all that good. The ray of sunshine that had entered her life a moment ago wasn't about to make everything come up roses.

"Are you done?" her mom asked walking in from the kitchen.

"Yeah, yeah, we're done. I won't be in any trouble anymore," she replied. In her mind she realized that she had a chance at actually making her mom proud. Go to college, live a normal life. She wondered if she could shake her recent life off as easily as that though.

"Thank you for your information, Buffy. It should be fine. I will make sure the principal understands that you were not in any way involved in any of vandalism," Giles said and nodded politely to her mom.

"Have a good day the both of you," Giles said as her mom opened the door for him.

"Bye, Giles," she called out.

"Goodbye, Mr. Giles, thank you for helping my daughter," her mom said.

"No problem. Have a good day the both of you," he said and walked to his beaten up wreck of a Citroen.

Buffy felt a need for a moment and grabbed her mom into a tight hug. She was feeling elated and happy all of a sudden. No matter the cold shudders and horror the thoughts of that night in the caves beneath Sunnydale the Master had done her a favor and she had done her duty in return. She was free now. She fought back a tear not wanting her mom to ask why she was suddenly tearing up.

"Is something wrong?" her mom asked.

"No, everything is fine. Better than that even. Mom, how about I help with dinner and then we should go watch a movie tonight. I'll pay," she said. Her mom stared at her for a moment.

"Is everything alright?" her mom reiterated.

"Mom, I'm going away for nearly three months to stay with Dad. I'm gonna miss you heaps. Of course I wanna spend a bit more time with you before I go," she said and suddenly thought of Willow and Xander. She wanted to call her friends as soon as possible.

Angel wondered about how Buffy was. He hadn't sought her out since the night she had defeated the Master and prevented his Ascension as well as the opening of the Hellmouth. He was hoping to go sneak a peak soon, but he wasn't sure if it was the best of ideas. They hadn't talked about what happened and how she felt. He knew that it would be wearing on her getting defeated by the Master.

There was a cautious knock on his door. Life in Sunnydale especially as a Vampire was dangerous and so he edged up to the door with a stake in hand. "Who is there?" he called out.

"It's me," the accented voice of Whistler replied.

Angel winced. Visits from the Balance demon could not mean anything good especially since the last time he had seen him, had been the night Whistler had warned him about the Harvest. He unbolted his door and opened it. The short jacketed human-looking demon slipped inside.

"Man, the town is quieter than usual, but I still would rather play tag in a minefield than running around here by night," Whistler said and turned towards him. "Your girl died. Yet she still walks the Earth. I didn't figure that would happen."

"You knew she'd die?" Angel ask feeling both his and his demon's anger rising. Angelus hidden inside him had an unhealthy infatuation with Buffy that often scared Angel.

"Yeah, the prophecy wasn't exactly some big secret in some circles. Buffy was meant to do this and die. She was supposed to be too good for this world anyway. There was an outside chance she might have won the fight, but really she was prophesied to die and we figured then you'd kill the Master after he got to the surface. All would then be well in the world until the next crisis especially with the next Slayer already on her way here. But your love life and the fact that the girl in question is still alive and kicking might have put the world in danger until the Powers fixed that problem," Whistler said.

"How so?" he asked already not liking the idea of where this was going.

"Your Buffy doesn't have the Slayer destiny and its associated perks anymore. She is no longer destined to wrangle with the supernatural on a nightly basis. She's out of our play. . . I should tell you that the different powers can actually get really pissy about their rules and little play pens. So they're looking at you in a way I don't like. Either way when your -- shall we call him an acquaintance -- brought the girl back she got pushed out of the Slayer roster and is actually free to have a longer life expectancy than a fruit fly. However this doesn't let you off the hook. You're still needed here because this next Slayer is going to need you even more than the last one. She, I am told, doesn't have the old one's creativity or a life to make her want to stay in the fight for long. You also need to get this into your head right now. What kind of life can you offer a girl who is not even the Slayer anymore? Even worse what life could you have offered a Slayer? You should have thought on this a long time ago. But you didn't think with your head did you. You're forgetting why you're suffering. I know I know. Love. A grand concept. Not meant for you," Whistler said.

Angel felt white hot anger and grabbed Whistler's collar: "Since when is my choices, my interest in Buffy any of your business."

Whistler looked him in the eye something telling him that the demon was not intimidated at all and said, "You're a creature of darkness Angel. She was a Champion of the Light. That was bad enough. Do you really understand what damage you could do to her? She's a kid. You were supposed to be the adult. Alright I will give you a carrot for good behavior. One day maybe you can offer her something after you've had your time as a Champion."

"What do you mean?" Angel said the demon in him struggling to be let free and fight. His face had turned vampyric.

"I've been allowed to tell you this only if you can keep it a secret from everyone. There is a prophecy of a vampire, who has a soul, which will gain the chance at redemption and a human life if he acts as an agent of the powers until one day he is forgiven for his sins. Quid Pro Quo. But you won't get your shot at this for free. If you run off after your former slayer and so-called romantic interest it will disappear and you can't have her for real later. Remember you both have time to be apart right now. You can have that little kitten later... And it would be less like cradle robbing too," Whistler said.

Angel frowned a little and forced himself to think about it. He didn't deserve Buffy, he had known that all along. He had tried to fool himself to think differently but still she was not meant for a life at night. But now Whistler said there was a hope. If he let her go. Then he wondered, where would she be going? "What do you mean by run off after? Is she leaving" he asked.

"She isn't in our department anymore, but before she got out from under our umbrella, I sneaked took a look at her future. Little Buffy is going to be a serious player in another part of the human world. She is still destined for great things, that a little change in direction couldn't change. This is all something about another path her life could have taken had she not been the Slayer. Now her life is veering down that path. All very much non-mystical. But let's say you let her go do her thing and that is definite: she is going. Then you might have someone waiting for you when you get a chance to collect your reward. If she survives. If you survive. But let's stay positive here. There will be dark times ahead for her too, but it is not the guaranteed death sentence that a Slayer's life would have been for her," Whistler explained.

"So she's not safe," Angel put him back down and back away.

"Not completely, no one ever is. Nothing you can do would change that for the better either. Holding her here would be a mistake. Sooner or later she'd get involved in our world again and in that case she is destined to be killed or corrupted sooner rather than later. I can tell you that for sure. For her sake you need to help her realize that when she needs to leave this town for good. And when that time comes you should prove your love to her by making her go. Prove to the powers that you love her enough to give her up for her benefit," Whistler said while rearranging his clothes.

Angel sat back. "I can do that," he said.

"Good, of course if I was you looking at your potential future, I'd let that sweet thing down easy so there is something to return to. I mean I have had a look at her recently. Wow, she is a hot little Betty," Whistler said.

Angel jumped up yelling, "You said what you had to! Now leave! Run before I decide to test out your demon blood." Whistler grabbed his hat from the floor and ran out heading up the stairs in a few moments. Angel looked around his apartment and sighed before putting his face into his hands. Soon tears were flowing from his eyes.

Buffy edged into the still smashed up Sunnydale High School library. It was nearly noon and the weather outside was beautiful. The faint smell of Giles' tea wafted towards her, but not in the hall like it used to. She was inside almost at the desk before it dawned on her. Her senses were dulling. It fit with her experience early in the morning. She had been unable to screw a sealed cap off the peanut butter jar. Something she'd barely have noticed doing a few days ago. The restlessness that had filled her evenings and nights for years, had also left her now. She felt a bit of sadness over the loss of what made her special. But what she had gotten in return, a future, far outweighed what she had lost in her estimation.

"Hi Buffy," Xander called out. He was sitting next to Willow on the steps to the library mezzanine.

"Hi guys," she said. She had phoned up her friends this morning calling for this meeting. Neither Xander nor Willow had any idea, what she had called them here for. Buffy looked to the left and saw Giles bent over a book lost in his reading until she arrived. He looked up and smiled. He picked up a still steaming cup of tea and came out to join the fun. Buffy guessed that her former watcher probably already knew what she was going to say.

"Hello Buffy," Giles said. She nodded and smiled at her watcher.

"So what's up? I thought you were already half-way to LA by now," Xander said.

"Well I am leaving early tomorrow so that's still totally on, but I got some news yesterday from Giles that are way major," she said.

Willow righted herself studying first her then Giles. Buffy guessed the red headed genius was probably thinking all sorts of things at that moment.

"The Master killed me in that cave and when he did the Slayer destiny and power moved on to another girl. I'm just plain old Buffy now," she said.

Willow jumped up and ran over to give her a hug. Xander followed although a bit more carefully. Buffy noticed this and wondered if it was because she wasn't special anymore or because he was still smarting from her choosing not to go with him when he asked her to the dance. She hoped their friendship would recover. After a few warm moments they split apart and stood there looking at each other. Buffy noticed Xander seemed to take a moment to wince over something. He did look a little pale too.

Xander was the first to speak, "so how are we going to stop the vampires now?" The boy looked to Giles.

"You'll be quite safe. The new Slayer will be arriving in a few weeks from Jamaica. I will take over as her field watcher. I haven't decided if we'll continue with the current arrangement basing ourselves out of the library even if it looks likely, as the Hellmouth is a few feet away and I like to keep a close watch on it," Giles explained.

"Buffy that is just wonderful for you," Willow said while drawing her aside.

"Yeah, I know. I'll get to go to college, get a job, live," she whispered not wanting Xander and Giles to know that a lot of her life's dreams so far had been fixated on how life as a regular person could have been.

"So have you told Angel yet?" Willow asked.

Buffy thought about it. She really ought to go and see him, but she was iffy about going out at night. Especially now that a wrong step down a dark alley could mean instant death for her. Life seemed a whole lot more dangerous if you couldn't defend yourself and knew what was out roaming the night. "Not yet, but if I do I have to go early," she said.

Willow glanced and her before nodding in understanding. Xander sauntered over with a smile on his lips and said, "So Summers no more I am the One from you eh. Now you're a common slob like the rest of us," he said.

"Xander!" Willow said and slapped his arm.

"At least recognize that Buffy has done a wonderful job," Giles said while walking back towards his office.

"I didn't mean it like that. But she's just like the rest of us now right?" Xander asked.

"Just like you except Buffy will probably remember what training and knowledge didn't come to her intuitively meaning that she will still be a very good martial artist when you think about it," Giles replied.

"What he said," Buffy added. She felt a little weird being in the room with the table that had killed the Master. His skeleton was gone, probably taken away by Giles.

"I think we should celebrate at the Bronze tonight," Xander suggested.

"Sorry, but I have to pack tonight and I guess I'll have to go see Angel as well... I guess I'll have make sure he brings me back home in one piece. We'll celebrate when I get back I promise. And I swear I will call and write," she said. Willow looked happy to hear it, while Xander remained all boy and looked indifferent.

"Oh oh, I can't come either. I forgot to tell you on the way over Xander. My mom and dad are going to Washington University to lecture and then to other cities on the East Coast to promote their books. And they want me along. I'll be back in two weeks, but at least Buffy won't be the only one getting to travel this summer," Willow said.

Buffy noticed Xander looked a little annoyed for a moment, but he didn't say anything negative either.

"Cool, congratulations. So if we don't get to talk before let me be the first to wish you a good trip," Buffy said and smiled as did her best friend. Buffy decided she should spend the afternoon with her friends so that they could at least enjoy some time together before they all split up for the summer.

Buffy quickly walked down the alley towards the flight of stairs leading down to Angel's basement apartment. She hated to admit it especially given that she was almost certainly going to be afraid most of the time, but she was actually afraid to be out at night. She hadn't been in the past. She hurried down the stairs to the heavy door and had to fight to get it open. She walked down the lighted corridor leading to Angel's. She knocked and waited. Her friend wasn't sure to be awake. A half minute passed before she thumped the door again. There was a noise of a bolt getting shoved aside. Angel opened the door. His skin pale almost white in the light from the corridor. "Hi, can I come in?" she asked.

"Please do," Angel said and looked around in the hall as she walked past him.

"Are you okay?" Angel asked before Buffy could get around to speaking as she admired the beautifully decorated room.

"What do you mean?" Buffy asked after turning.

"I heard a rumor about you losing your power," Angel revealed.

"You heard... How? Did you talk to Giles?" Buffy asked having just come from her almost party-like goodbye for the summer meeting in the library with her friends.

"I heard it from one of my contacts. Apparently the word is out in the mystical world that you've been replaced. Is it true, I thought maybe you were just feeling sick?" Angel asked.

Buffy didn't really know what to say. A part of her wanted to step closer to the man she was infatuated with just to feel the warmth of his eyes if not his body. But another part of her, one that maybe had been numbed by the Slayer in the part, warned her. It was now telling her that at least part of her potential boyfriend was all predator and not human in any way. Finally she said, "It is. Giles and the Watchers are sure. I'm not the Slayer anymore. I'm just Buffy now. It's so strange not being the Slayer anymore. It is good but I also feel so helpless. I was almost scared I could get here and back home before dark. Me. I feel so pathetic."

Angel took hold of her, but he didn't hug her like she wanted him to. He held her out from himself. "Buffy, you have to distance yourself from all that used to be a part of your Slayer life now. There are hundreds of demons and vampires out there who want to kill you, just because you have done what you did and lived. They won't care you're not the Slayer anymore. I think you should be more than afraid. You should be protected. You have to stay away from Giles and the next Slayer if she comes here. Maybe try to convince your mom to let you move back to stay with your father," he said.

Buffy pulled back. "I can't just abandon Giles or my mom. And what about Willow and Xander. Or you. . . What if that leaves Giles without any help with the new Slayer. Of course Willow and Xander will still want to help him, but I can help more. I was a Slayer. I know how it is. I can help the new one find her way around all the same problems I had," she said feeling angry that Angel would suggest she would even consider not helping her mentor and her friends.

"Buffy, please, you have to consider it. You're just a girl now. Just a tiny ex-cheerleader," Angel said sounding like he almost looked down on her. Buffy wondered if he had lost all respect for her already. Was he that fickle? She knew she didn't know Angel all that well, but she never expected to have misjudged him so badly.

"What. How can you say that?" Buffy wanted to hit him. Buffy wanted to be stronger again just to prove him wrong, but earlier this afternoon she had realized that she was no stronger than a regular teenage girl. And that thought brought her up short. Still she was angry.

"Buffy, please I am sorry for telling you like this, but it's the truth and you have to be mature enough to see it," Angel said.

Buffy held up a hand. She didn't want to hear any more. "I didn't come here for that. I just wanted to tell you, before I left for LA. I'll be gone for three months," she said.

"And I understand what you're saying. I will keep an eye out for your friends and Giles while you're gone. But really you should consider staying away completely," Angel explained.

Buffy knew she wanted to say something else. She wanted to tell Angel she was glad he would protect her city, but she didn't want to. She was too angry at his arrogance, too proud to say anything but goodbye.

She left feeling a bit like angrily hitting something, but she knew that wouldn't give her the satisfaction or have the power it would have had in the past.

Angel watched Buffy go with a heavy heart. He hadn't wanted to drag out what he believed was Buffy's sore spots so that she would get angry with him. But Whistler had been right. He had been foolish to believe he could allow himself to have any sort of happiness for even a short moment. He hoped he could make Buffy hate him just enough to leave but no more than if what ever future Whistler had dangled in front of him was achievable, he could win her back one day.

He was honestly worried about Buffy being in danger from the vampires of Sunnydale once the news of her loss of power spread around town. He almost wished she would leave the town permanently as he had told her. Not because of what Whistler had said, but because of what feelings the thought of her invoked in the other vampires in Sunnydale. Her story hadn't reached far yet and so she wouldn't have many enemies away from what until recently had been mostly the Master's domain especially since she was now essentially powerless.

In the distance he heard the door giving access to the basement he lived in slam. Angel grabbed his coat and headed for the sewer entrance that was at the other end of the basement. The sun would go down soon. He would be damned if he would let Buffy walk around Sunnydale on her own for now.

Buffy was feeling weird. Not just emotionally, but she had a strange feeling in her stomach and her head felt heavy as if it was gearing up for a migraine. Still she couldn't focus on it. She was more concerned with being happy to see her Dad and to be going with him back to her old home town even if it was to her Dad's new bachelor pad, something she didn't really want to contemplate. Her mom was fussing as usual these days whenever her dad was around as well. It was like she wanted to prove something to her dad. And Buffy feared it was all about her. Her mom kept mentioning how good her friends were, how happy her teachers were with her, how much her grades had improved. Even when Buffy thought that it hadn't gotten that much better, but of course Willow and Xander were extreme improvements than her own cadre of Cordelia wannabes back at Hemery.

"Are you ready princess?" her dad asked.

"Of course, looking forward to it," Buffy said ignoring the belittling nickname only her dad used for her, once she had liked being called a princess, but that had been before she had realized what she had been meant to do with her life and how many lives depended on her actions. Buffy turned in her seat and waved goodbye to her mom as her dad guided the latest addition to his currently growing car park, a big heavy SUV with all the extras. Her dad smiled, slipped on his sunglasses and put the car into gear.

Xander wasn't trying to count the ceiling tiles. But there wasn't a lot else to do. It was baking hot in their small home and the TV was broken. Buffy had left for LA in the morning and Willow had actually gone along with her parents on one of their lecture tours. Those things and the fact that both his parents were home meant he had nowhere to go. There was also the fact that he needed his quiet. His ability was still trying to exude its fallout. But Xander didn't dare let go it all at once this time.

No one not even Angel had discovered what Xander had done to Buffy. Angel like Buffy had just thought Xander had given her CPR. But he had done a lot more than that. He had done the biggest thing he had ever tried with his power. He had brought Buffy's dying but not entirely dead body back to life repairing it completely. It had been a strangely massive undertaking. He had expected her to need blood and maybe CPR for real, and it had required more of him than he had ever done and he had been paying his dues since. Healing was the good side of his gift. The difficult part too.

Xander almost wished he had the guts to tell Buffy the truth because maybe that would have finally made her consider him more than just a friend, knowing that he wasn't as regular as he professed to be. Jesse had known. Ever since Xander had repaired Jesse's broken legs when they were only twelve. It had been the first time he had healed anyone. Jesse had helped him discover the other things about his power too. That for every thing he healed Xander stored up some sort of energy in his body, some sort of destructive energy that he had to bleed out as it hurt to keep inside. The energy would harm or kill anything living he projected it into. He could of course just kill living things from a short distance without having healed first, but that didn't count against the energy in him by any healing unless he had already healed some.

Jesse had been the only one in his life who had known about his abilities and accepted them. And Xander had always religiously kept it a secret. Because he didn't want to end up like those kids they told about on TV. And he feared that if he told Buffy or worse Willow they would react like his parents.

It had not always been like this at home. At least Xander didn't remember it like that. His parents had always drifted from job to job, but they had never mistreated him. Sure he had learned the rules of having alcoholic parents. Don't keep cash at home. Don't trust your parents to make dinner. And don't expect that the house you lived in was the same one you'd live in next month. But then he had fixed Jesse's knee after a month of feeling sick and killing plants left and right without really noticing. He had gone on to make the fatal mistake after Jesse. He had told his dad all proud about being a potential hero like Captain America or the Fantastic Four. He had barely survived that day, but he had at least found out that he could heal himself too.

Since then everything had been different. His dad had gone from tolerant indifference to outright hatred of him. His mom had taken longer, but now it felt like she was only just tolerating him too. He was as infrequent a guest at home as he could get away with. Xander wondered if it was pride that kept him from telling his two other friends about this too. They didn't know that he had practically lived with Jesse whenever he could. They had been inseparable and yet Willow still wondered, why Xander mourned him every day.

And no one knew that he was staying in Sunnydale only to fight and protect the only two things he held dear now. Willow and Buffy. A cute genius and the vulnerable seeming Slayer. Or ex-Slayer now. But he was getting tired. He was tired of hiding his true nature. He was tired of the war they could not win even if they kept protecting Sunnydale. And he knew the fight was changing them. Willow had seen and done things already that were things he would have wished on anyone. It had made her more assertive, but also increasingly fascinated by the mystical world they had discovered. Meanwhile Buffy had returned from each fight a little bit less innocent. He could see it in her eyes. She was building up an armor hiding inside herself. Or at least she had been. A new Slayer would be taking her place and he wasn't sure he was ready to care about another one. He wondered what Buffy would do about it all.

There was a knock on his door. Xander kept it locked just to be sure he wouldn't get jumped without warning. "Xander! Open this fucking door now!" his dad screamed. Xander jumped in his bed only to feel his entropy stuffed body jolt in pain.

"What is it?!" Xander screamed back.

"I told you. I want no fucking locked doors in my house. Now I want this door open this second. And I want you out in the yard cutting the grass as you should have done weeks ago!" his dad screamed.

"I mowed the lawn last week," Xander yelled back and mumbled, "you drunken bastard."

"I heard that! I'm gonna have your hide you lazy freak," his Dad hammered into the door with enough force to break the wooden frame. The door sprang open.

"Dad, stop! Please!" Xander begged. He didn't want to get beaten up again. It was too much. Still he had jumped out of bed and faced his dad, ready use what fighting knowledge his life with Buffy as a friend had given him.

"You should do as you're told," His dad said and hammered a blow onto Xander's shoulder. Xander had raised his block too slow. Another jolt of pain shot through him blocking out even the pain from his shoulder. Xander fell to his knees. This attack was destroying his concentration. The energy was getting away from him.

"What the fuck is wrong with you," his dad barked and pulled him up after grabbing the front of his shirt.

"Shit, you're eyes are fucking black. You're no child of mine. You're a mistake. No child of mine could be a disgusting thing like you," his dad slapped him across the face. Xander lifted his hands to ward himself. He was rewarded with a punch in the gut.

Xander vomited onto his dad's feet.

"You disgusting piece of shit. Why haven't you killed yourself. What reason to you have for living?" his dad screamed and hammered a blow into the back of his head.

Xander felt the pain rise again. The energy in him fought to be free. Xander flashed back to other beatings. Other times when he had the chance and the anger like he felt at that moment. The anger that was always there. The betrayal he felt as a strike hit him. Xander looked up at his dad and realized that he didn't feel betrayed anymore. He no longer wanted to do good by his dad. He just wanted the attacks to end. He had the power to do so for a long time now. Maybe he had finally found the truth. Another blow struck his back and the decision was taken. Xander started to black out and so he let go of his pain.

"Wake up! Hey wake up!" Someone yelled as Xander came too.

The air tasted funny he thought as he opened his eyes. A uniformed cop was standing over him. He could hear a helicopter outside. Xander fought to get up, wondering if he should move after his beating. As he moved Xander realized he had probably already healed himself.

"He's the only one left alive. It had to have been him. Look he's probably a mutant," someone said from nearby. Xander looked over that way as he got up. Another cop stood there. He noticed there were several police cruisers outside as far as he could tell from the multicolored lights flashing across the walls in his room.

"Listen son, explain what's going on here. What happened?" the cop asked.

Xander looked around and saw a withered husk of a man on the floor. It wore his dad's clothes. "Oh god," he said and realized what he had done. "Dad, I killed my dad," Xander knelt down then realized what had to happen now.

"If you did this you killed more than your dad. Kid there is nothing and no one alive in the house, in the yard. Your neighbors all nearly dropped dead as well but so far most seem like they'll live. What the hell were you doing?" the cop asked, but looked a bit nervous now as he realized what he was facing. Xander felt like throwing up. Then the cop in the door pulled out his gun.

"You're under arrest for the murder of your parents and the reckless endangerment of your neighbors. You have the right to remain silent... " The cop started reading him his rights. And Xander didn't want to do anything. He knew he could have run. He could have paralyzed the two cops if he had been able to touch them. But he didn't want to. He had just killed his parents. He didn't even want to think or really exist at that moment. He let the nervous cops arrest him. He wondered if he would get the chance to explain himself to Willow and Buffy before they were told horrible things about him.

Willow looked out over the approaching night as they flew East. Her parents had done something unusual this morning. On hearing that Willow had no extra study sessions, extra courses available and really was too old for Summer camp they had decided that it was not healthy for her to stay home in Sunnydale with only her friends as company so they had just decided she would be going with them to lecture at the ESU in New York City and had brooked no argument. Willow loved her parents but they rarely paid much attention to her or her life in general and this was one of those times she would have rather had them ignore her. She liked traveling but Sunnydale had felt like too busy to leave. Giles was expecting to go to Jamaica to pickup his Slayer sometime this week and would be training her soon. Xander had been sort of distant since the night of the Prom and the Master's death. Buffy had been equally strange but that was probably just her dealing with the loss of first her life against the Master and then her powers. Willow would have rather had her friend had stayed in Sunnydale a bit longer. Buffy didn't have anyone to really talk to honestly except her and Willow knew her friend needed someone to vent to especially right now. Xander's strangeness was a different issue that Willow didn't really understand but she also didn't know what to do about it. Willow decided she'd call him and have a long talk when she got to their hotel.

Xander sat crying in the holding cell they had put him in after taking down his statement. He knew they hadn't believed him about the beating. He told them he had been beaten, but he had no mark on him. He had told them about his abilities curing him, but just seemed to make things worse. They had just listened to him speak without taking down what he sat only writing when he described how his ability could kill anything living close to him. He kind of admired how they had stayed in the room after that.

But now no matter how he tried to think of small unimportant things he could forget the images of first his dad then later as the police had led him past the living room the image of his mom dead on the floor of their living room. It was all he saw every time he closed his eyes.

"Mr. Harris," a voice asked. Xander looked up and saw a suit clad black man standing in front of the bars.

"Yeah," he answered.

"Ah good," the suit replied. He lifted a strange gun between the bars and fired twice. Xander felt pain in his chest. The image of the world through his eyes began going blurry. "Wh," he tried to speak. Then too late almost he tried to focus enough to use his power. Neither thing really worked before he passed out for the second time that day.

"Honey, are you feeling better?" her dad asked through the door to the bathroom. Buffy had only made it to his new home before she had needed to go there just in case the nausea she felt was something to worry about. Her head was still throbbing so hard that Buffy felt like she could bare see straight. She wondered if she should call Giles and ask if there were some sort of withdrawal process when you lost your Slayerness. She felt weak like a kitten.

"Yeah, I just got a bad headache, my stomach is feeling okay," she said.

"I could call the doctor?" her dad asked.

"No, really it's fine. I just need to rest. I'm sorry for all the trouble," Buffy replied and got up to unlock the door. She stood facing her dad.

"I'll be fine. I think it's just a bug. I'll get over it soon. I really am sorry. I know you wanted to take me to dinner today. How about we do that some other time, when you're able," Buffy said.

"Anything for you princess," her dad replied and smiled. "I've taken your stuff to your room. I hope you like it. The decorator swore she'd make it perfect for my California girl," he continued.

"Just show me the way," Buffy replied. She had to admit she kind of liked the idea of a whole other room filled with stuff just for her. Maybe she would get to shop for some nice dresses and shoes to put into its closets. As they walked through the big house, Buffy realized that her dad really had to be making a lot of money. It was a big house not too far from the best parts of Beverly Hills and it had all been decorated by a professional just recently. Her dad drove a big expensive foreign car that sounded like thunder when it revved up. It all screamed money.

They stepped into her white and muted pastel toned room decorated with iron-wrought bed and mirror on the second floor. It even had an open walk-in closet and a bath room. "Wow," Buffy said breathlessly. Her dad smiled proud at his daughter's praise before turning towards the air conditioning control next to the door and fiddling with it.

"I understand if you don't want to go out to night. So how about you rest a little and I'll call for some food. How does Thai sound to you?" he asked.

"Excellent. I vote for that plan," Buffy said knowing that her dad liked it when she was assertive. That was one of the traits she had inherited equally from both her parents she knew that at least since the divorce. That and stubbornness.

"Good," her dad said and left her alone. Buffy threw herself on her bed and while her head throbbed the coolness of the airy room felt good and as she lay on the big soft bed looking at the white ceiling she remembered she had promised to call her mom. Buffy rolled over and stared at the phone before finally deciding to wait until she had something good to tell.
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