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Every Hunter Has a Story

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This story is No. 1 in the series "The Stolen Hunter". You may wish to read the series introduction first.

Summary: Answering challenge #3817. Every hunter has something that gets them into the game, something that drags them into the dark, violent world of the Supernatural. What if Xander Harris found his calling *before* his fateful meeting of one Buffy Summers?

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Supernatural > Xander-CenteredBluLadyKFR181363,1631910571,6998 Nov 0819 Aug 09Yes

Chapter Twelve: Every Hunter Has That Moment

Every Hunter Has a Story

BluLadyK




AN: Okay! Here it is! The final chapter in Book One! Much Excitement. ^_^




Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy or Supernatural. Anything taken from either transcript will be in *italics*. If a scene is not included in the chapter (i.e. Xander isn’t in it), then it pretty much goes how it went in the show, and I didn’t feel it necessary to repeat the transcript just to say the same thing happened. ^_^




Buffy Episodes Used:

Season 1: Episode 1- “Welcome to the Hellmouth”

Season 1: Episode 2 – “The Harvest”




Chapter Twelve: Every Hunter Has That Moment




Xander sighed as he walked down the busy street in front of his high school. There were teenagers everywhere, and not a familiar face in sight. Xander felt…different. His uncle had only just left about a week ago and it still felt strange not waking up in his uncle’s house. He had gotten used to their routine, even if it was a bit extraordinary. There was a growing sense of normalcy in Hunting supernatural creatures. Xander doubted that he’d find anything bizarre in his boring town.


So caught up in his musings, he nearly ran into a small form. Both of them managed to dance away in a strange sort of mirror image. Maybe the girl had some martial arts training too? He pondered as he muttered out an apology.


“Hey, sorry.”


“No problem,” she said, tucking a strand of her long blonde hair behind her ears. Xander’s eyes met hers and he froze. She had the most beautiful blue eyes he had ever seen. Before he could ask the girl her name, she was off, disappearing into the crowd. He nearly jumped out of his skin when a hand touched his shoulder.


“Whoa there Xander, it’s just me,” his best friend said giving him a strange look, “are you alright?”


“Yeah. Fine. Good morning Will,” Xander said, still a bit distracted. “So…you think you could help me with my math homework?”


“Xander, we didn’t even have homework yet. It’s only the first week.”


“Yeah, but I know that I’m going to need help,” Xander said giving her his best pout. Willow laughed and rolled her eyes.


“What’s with learning Xander? You used to hate math, and school for that matter.”


“Yeah, well Uncle Bobby made me want to make something of myself. You know? Maybe try and get something better than C’s and D’s this year,” Xander said deflating a bit, still feeling self-conscious about his new direction in life. Willow pet his hand and smiled.


“I would love to help you out, you know that. My house, after school, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. We’ll go over math until you are writing your own theorems.”


“Uh, Willow…I don’t care that much about math,” he said; his brain already hurting at the thought of all of the homework and studying she would make him do. Walking through the front doors, the two ran into their friend, Jesse, at his locker.


“Heya!” Jesse called. Willow and Xander moved over to him, Xander leaning his right shoulder against the locker next to Jesse’s. Willow stood in front of them.


“What’s the what?” Xander asked, knowing that look on Jesse’s face. His friend was bursting with gossip.


“Guess what? There’s a new girl in our class this year,” he whispered conspiratorially. Xander rolled his eyes.


“Yeah, I ran into her, literally, outside. She’s…man she’s something,” Xander said, the daydreamy look once again overcoming his features. Willow slapped both of them on the arm.


“You two are ridiculous.”


“So what’s the 411 about her?” Xander asked Jesse, ignoring Willow’s frown.


“What 411? I just know that there’s a new girl.”


“Ugh, you are about as useful as a .45 against a ghost,” Xander groaned. Jesse and Willow both looked at Xander curiously.


“What? Dude…you are insane,” Jesse laughed, clasping his friend on the back and grabbing his books from his locker for class. The three of them split, Xander and Willow going to their own lockers and then all heading off to homeroom.


To Xander’s absolute amazement, he saw the new girl coming out from Principal Flutie’s office. He saw her rummaging in her bag for something before she was run over, her bag spilling. Xander smiled at the opportunity and knelt down next to her, handing her a notebook.


“Hey there,” Xander said. The girl looked up at him, once again tucking her hair behind her ears, and Xander found his gaze following her slim fingers to her delicate ears and from her ears to her stern jaw line, to her pouty lips…that were smirking at him. He immediately shifted his eyes back to hers.


“Hi, I’m Buffy. Or new girl,” She said throwing her items into her bag indiscriminately. Xander smiled at her.


“Xander. Old boy. Err…that didn’t come out right. I mean, I’ve been here…or…I go here? I’m going to stop now,” he said blushing. Buffy laughed and shook her head.


“No, thanks. It was great meeting you, Xander,” Buffy said standing once she had all of her belongings in her bag.


“You too, Buffy,” Xander said watching her as she turned and walked down the hall. As he was getting ready to turn and head to his own class, he noticed something else on the floor that she had forgotten. Reaching down he picked up the wooden object, his eyes widening when he saw the stake. “No way,” he said shaking his head to clear whatever crazy thoughts were running through his mind.


He began to walk down the hall, the stake in his head. Squeezing it in his hand he stopped and once again turned to look in the direction that she had disappeared. “No freaking, way,” he tried to convince himself as he put the stake in his backpack and hoofed it to homeroom before he was late.




***




Xander approached his friends’ usual hangout, quite shocked to see the new girl, Buffy, sitting next to Willow. Xander looked up as Jesse approached from the other direction, Jesse caught his eyes and they both nodded toward Buffy with matching leers on their faces.


“Hello ladies!” Jesse said plopping down in front of the two girls; Xander loomed from behind wrapping his right arm around Willow, so that he was leaning toward Buffy.


“Hey Willow, Buffy,” Xander said with a nod.


“Oh! You already met? I was going to introduce her, anyway, that’s Jesse,” Willow said pointing to the third party in their group. Jesse waved at Buffy and she waved back.


“Nice bracelet,” Buffy said noting the leather band around Xander’s right wrist that hovered near her shoulder. Xander flushed a bit and brought his arm from around Willow quickly.


“Uh, thanks. It was a gift. Oh…I almost forgot.” Reaching down into his bag he pulled out the stake that Buffy had dropped earlier. “You forgot this earlier…when your stuff was all over the place, and yeah doing the shutting up thing again,” Xander babbled.


“Oh!” Buffy said eyes wide and cheeks flushing, “thanks. It’s my…thanks.”


“Stake?” Xander asked with eyebrows raised.


“Uh…it was a gift,” She blurted out, flushing deeper at how stupid that sounded. Xander looked at her strangely before shrugging it off and changing the subject.


“So did you leave any boyfriend heartbroken in L.A.?” He asked waggling his eyebrows up at her. Buffy couldn’t help but laugh and shook her head.


“No. Totally boyfriend free,” She hesitated at the expectant looks on both Xander and Jesse’s faces, “but also totally not looking.” Whatever response Jesse had died on his lips as Cordelia Chase approached the group. Xander immediately, from habit, tuned out the words coming from her mouth. He didn’t know why, but Jesse had a serious crush on the girl, despite the fact that she didn’t know he existed beyond being in her way.


*…dead guy in the locker.*” Cordelia had finished with a shudder. Well that drew his attention right away. Dead guy? Why was there a dead guy in the locker, wait what locker? He hadn’t caught the first part of the sentence. Xander saw that Buffy also seemed to perk up at the mention of a dead guy. She began asking questions, details about the corpse. Old Xander would have been slightly creeped by her interest, now Xander found he was curious as well, and impressed with Buffy’s questions.


The others were caught up in Jesse’s failed flirting attempts with Cordelia, but Xander watched Buffy’s retreating form, she was headed straight for the girls’ locker room. Making his own excuses, he said goodbye to his friends and headed off in the direction Buffy had fled.




***




Xander had barely managed to beat Buffy to the library and hide amongst the stacks before she barged in, the twin doors swinging violently. As he listened to Buffy talk to the new librarian Mr. Giles, he felt his pulse speeding up and his brain kicking into high gear.


“Vampires?” He mouthed, not daring to peek out from behind the stacks to see if they were joking. Considering his summer, vampires were pretty much par for the course, but still. Dracula? And the whole blood suckage thing? Xander found himself repeating his earlier thought, “no freaking way.”


Apparently he knew a bit more than Buffy about the things that went bump in the night, as she appeared only aware of vampires. His brain was still trying to wrap itself around that one. The whole mystical convergences thing that Mr. Giles was talking of didn’t sound too good either. Especially with his apple pie problem, he thought looking down at the mystical binding John Winchester had given him.


Finally he heard the two of them storm out of the library and he felt it was safe enough to come out from his hiding place. He moved to the door and put his ear to the crack. He only caught snippets, but words like major evil, and something building for major mystical fallout had Xander’s skin crawling. He’d have to talk to his uncle, see if there was any news of increased demonic activity from the Roadhouse.


Despite the horrible news that his once thought boring town could possibly be the next location of some great evil, Xander found himself getting quite excited. He hadn’t felt the adrenaline pumping through his veins like this since he had last Hunted with Bobby a few weeks ago.




***




Xander was late. He was always late. It was genetic. At least that’s what he told himself when he wanted to feel better about making his friends wait for him. They’d laugh when he said his excuse and things would be okay. He had been trying to get a hold of his uncle, to fill him in about the weirdness, but Bobby hadn’t been home. He didn’t have any real information, so he’d left his message about possible weirdness and to get back to him.


As he neared the Bronze, he saw Buffy practically running from the front door. Wow, that didn’t take her long to get bored with their town’s limited entertainment. She spotted him and rushed over to him. Now that was also cosmically strange, and must therefore be supernaturally founded. He thought as she stopped next to him.


“Xander! *Have you seen Willow*?” Xander cocked his head to the side. He hadn’t taken her as a lesbian, but hey, to each their own.


“No…not since school, why?”


*She left with a guy*,” Buffy said looking left and right, as if trying to catch a scent. Xander raised his left hand to scratch his head.


“Willow right? About yay high, red hair?” Xander asked holding his hand at about Willow’s height. Buffy leveled Xander with a glare and moved away from him, determining him not useful.


“Yes! *I need to find her. Where would he take her?*” Xander felt himself beginning to panic as what Buffy was saying registered with his brain. Willow was missing. Some strange guy walked off with her. And now Buffy was trying to find him. Buffy…that reminded Xander of what he had overheard at the library.


“You saying a vampire is about to chow down on my best friend?” Xander asked gauging her reaction. Buffy’s eyes widened and she backed away from him, her hands thrown up into the air.


“Jesus! Does anyone here not know about my secret life?” She cried out frustrated with the entire situation.


“So it’s true? What you and Giles were talking about in the library?” Xander said, not sounding as surprised as Buffy would have thought.


“Yeah, now we really need to find her,” She urged.




***




Xander tried not to let panic overtake his mind as he and Buffy searched the entire town of Sunnydale for his missing friend. He didn’t know what he’d do if he didn’t find Willow in time and something happened to her because he was late. He was always late. He prayed to every holy deity Bobby had forced him to learn over the summer that they arrived in time to save Willow.


They both heard an ear splitting, terrified scream and shared a look of horror before running in the direction the sound had come from. Spying a mausoleum with its doors wide open clued the two of them in of something not quite right happening in the cemetery. They made it through the doors just as Willow scrambled back next to a bleeding Jesse. Xander felt his heart drop in his chest as he saw the vampires standing threateningly over the two most important people in his life.


“Jesse! Willow!” he exclaimed rushing over to them, heedless that he was putting himself closer to the vampires. And wow…his brain paused despite Xander’s best efforts, to note that yes, there were really vampires. Xander reached their side as Buffy exchanged witty banter with the female vampire. Xander didn’t care. He just cared about getting Jesse and Willow out and to safety.


“Xander!” Willow cried, clinging to him, her face ashen in fear. Jesse was almost completely out of it. He held his right hand tightly against his neck, trying to stem the blood flow that didn’t seem to want to stop.


“Buffy you got this?” Xander asked. He didn’t want to leave her, but if she really was this mystical Slayer, then he was fairly certain she could handle two of these vampires.


“You aren’t going anywhere,” the male vampire promised with a hiss. More witty banter and in less time than it took to load a shot gun, Buffy had dusted…yes dusted the vampire in front of them.


“Damn,” Xander muttered breaking the strange silence that had fallen over the mausoleum. Xander’s words seemed to spur everything back into action as Buffy yelled at them to go, and Xander didn’t have to be told twice. With Willow’s help, they hefted Jesse onto their shoulders and skirted around the female vampire into the dark night.


*We’ll get the police; it’s just a few blocks up!*” Willow panted beside him. Xander looked over Jesse’s head at his friend.


“Wills, I don’t think the police are going to be able to help on this one. But we do need to get him to a hospital,” Xander said. The trio didn’t make it much further into the graveyard as they were soon surrounded by a large group of vampires.


The same blonde female vampire that Buffy had been facing in the mausoleum joined the group of vampires surrounding the three friends. That didn’t bode well for the Slayer’s health. Xander thought with a wince. He never should have left her. He may not be his uncle, but he could have helped her. Trusting Willow to keep Jesse upright, Xander removed himself from under him and lowered himself into the defensive crouch that his uncle had taught him.


“Bring it fang face,” Xander snarked. Hey, he could witty banter with the best of them. He didn’t have a wooden stake on him, but he did have the blessed silver knife his uncle had given him, and he hoped it would do some damage. And then everything seemed to happen at once. There were vampires surrounding him and hitting him, and he was hitting back.


“Xander!” He heard Willow cry out and allowed himself to be distracted after he managed to dust one of the vampires with the knife. It seemed vampire physiology didn’t appreciate holy silver.


“Willow!” He called back. That was enough, enough for the two vampires circling him to knock the knife out of his hands. “Shit!” he cursed still in his defensive position. He saw out of the corner of his eye as the blonde bitch grabbed Jesse, throwing his limp form over her shoulders. She met his furious eyes and smiled.


Two other vampires tackled Willow to the ground, hissing at her. Xander felt his adrenaline kick into full gear as he managed to duck and roll past the first vampire, and scoop up his fallen knife. In a quick, well-trained move, he dusted one of the vampires hovering over his friend with a roar. And then the two vampires were on him again, dragging him away from Willow and the vampire left.


“Xander!” she screamed kicking and fighting the vampire off as best she could. Xander frantically fought at the two vampires gripping his upper arms, but their hold and strength made it impossible for him to use the knife in his hand. He also didn’t see the blonde vampire anymore. This meant that Jesse was gone. Oh God…his Jesse…was in the hands of that bitch.


It was all too much. He may have been an apprentice Hunter, but he sure as shit wasn’t ready for this. Willow and the vampire on top of her grew smaller as he was dragged further and further away.


“No!” he screamed. “Let me go you sadistic bastards!” he began to thrash around in their hold, trying to break free, to be there in time for Willow. He couldn’t be late. He nearly fainted with relief when he heard Willow’s voice calling his name. Looking up he saw her trailing behind Buffy. So the Slayer was all right.


Buffy ran up to the vampires holding Xander. As she passed a tree, she fluidly snagged a lower branch from the tree and quickly and efficiently dusted both of the vampires holding Xander’s arms. Having been fighting their hold the entire time, their sudden disappearance altered his balance and Xander soon found himself on his ass staring up at Willow’s concerned face.


“Please be all right, Xander,” Willow said falling to her knees beside him, just needing to touch him, to see that he was in fact alive. Xander returned the awkward hug and together they stood. Xander carefully returned his knife to its hidden holster as he did so, ensuring that neither girl saw it.


“Jesse?” Buffy asked the two of them, afraid to hear their answer. Willow began to panic.


“I didn’t see what happened to him. It all just happened so fast. There were so many,” she babbled.


“That blonde bitch of a vampire took him,” Xander growled, ready to Hunt her to the ends of the earth to get his friend back.


“Do you know where she went?” Buffy asked. Xander shook his head, his fists clenched painfully at his side.




***




Xander sat in the library with Buffy and Willow as Giles explained the whole demons ruling the world history channel story. Hell, he wasn’t that surprised. But the whole idea of this Slayer business sure did give him pause.


“And this Slayer thing?” Xander asked.


*For as long as there have been vampires, there’s been the Slayer. One girl in all the world, a Chosen One.*


“And this one girl, fights vampires. Which are demons,” Xander said hitting all of the bullet points. Giles took off his glasses and polished them with a handkerchief he had pulled from his pocket.


“Yes, to put it simply Xander.”


*I think I need to sit down,*” Willow said after a moment. The three of them looked at her, but Buffy finally answered her.


*You are sitting down.*


“Good.” Willow nodded, her face still white.


“So how do we dust them? Stake in the heart, anything else?” Xander asked. Buffy and Giles shared a look.


“You don’t need to worry about that. Slaying vamps, totally my gig,” Buffy said.


“But Jesse is my…”


*Jesse is ~my~ responsibility. I let him get taken,*” Buffy said cutting Xander off. Xander lowered his eyes at her and shook his head emphatically.


“No Buffy, Jesse and Willow, they are my family. A Hu…a human, a man protects his family,” He finished assertively. Willow looked faint, so luckily for Xander, Buffy seemed distracted in helping his friend to breathe. Giles however gave Xander an odd look at his near slip up before Buffy spoke breaking their little stare down.


“That big vamp Luke? He was blathering on about offerings for the Master. I don’t know who this Master dude is, but if they weren’t just vamps out for some chow on legs then Jesse could still be alive. And I am going to find him.”


“You have no idea where they might have taken Jesse then?” Giles asked once again polishing his glasses. Three heads shook negatively.


“I looked around, but didn’t see any trace of them,” Buffy said.


*Let's take an enormous intuitive leap, shall we, and say they went underground,*” Giles said glasses back in place.


*Vampires really jam on sewer systems. You can get anywhere in the entire town without catching any rays. But I didn't see any access around there,*” Buffy said waving her hand out. Xander nodded; that made perfect sense.


*Well, there's an electrical tunnel that runs under the whole town,*” Xander contributed. Giles nodded,


*If we had a diagnostic of the tunnel system it might indicate a, a meeting place, it would, uh…I suppose we could go to the building commission,*” he mused allowed. Buffy however furiously shook her head.


“No way, not enough time. We need to find Jesse, now!” Willow perked up raised her hand trying to get everyone’s attention.


“Uh, sorry to interrupt, but I may have a better way.”


“Well by all means Wills. Let’s get to the part of the plan where we save Jesse,” Xander nodded. Buffy shook her head,


“No, Xander. It’s too dangerous for you to go into their nest. I will be going alone.”


“Yeah, cause that worked out real well last time,” he snarked, arms crossed over his chest.


“Listen, I’m still a bit new at this, but I do know what I am doing when it comes to vampires. This is my destiny and all of that bullshit,” Buffy huffed, ignoring the fact that yesterday she was trying to run from her destiny.


“I found it,” Willow said interrupting their increasingly hostile banter. She nervously flicked her eyes from Xander to Buffy in hopes that given something to do they would focus their anger on the vampires and not each other.


“So you can just access all of the city plans on this infernal machine then?” Giles asked also hoping to distract the two volatile teens. Willow flushed and continued typing.


“Well…in…sort of,” Willow stammered out, “in the way that the public decrypts the city council’s security system and hacks into the plans.” Giles and Buffy looked at Willow in shock, Xander in awe.


“Nice Wills! Way to break the law.”


“I don’t see any access point from the cemetery though,” she said scanning the files.


“Damnit! This is useless. I can’t believe I let this happen, let that freak Luke get the drop on me. Wait a minute!” Buffy said hopping on her feet. “He didn’t get the drop on me. I was facing the entrance. If he took me from behind, that means he had to come in from another entrance.”


“Ergo, Sherlock the access point is in the mausoleum,” Xander concluded with a grin. “Alright so what’s the plan man? We heading out, moving out, raw hide and all of that cowboy nonsense?” Buffy glared at Xander and shook her head.


We’re not going anywhere. You three are going to stay here and I’m going to go get the drop on them.”


“I can help,” Xander protested.


“Slayer,” She said pointing to herself, “civilian,” She said pointing to Xander. “Stay here where you won’t get hurt.” Xander was angry. Pissed. Annoyed. He hadn’t considered himself a mere civilian when it came to the supernatural in months. He was a Hunter. He’d be damned if he was going to let Buffy go off on her own, half-cocked. That was more balls and sass than even he was willing to exhibit, even if it was to save Jesse.


“Fine. Go,” he said. He’d follow her in a few minutes. He knew that if they kept arguing the chances that Jesse was going to be okay grew slimmer and slimmer. Buffy nodded and left the library while Giles and Willow discussed further research on the Harvest and the sordid supernatural past of Sunnydale. When the bell rang, indicating that homeroom was over, Xander walked down the hall following Willow to their first class.


“Alright, so I have computer class right now, this works out perfectly,” she mused, “I can run a search on several databases for anything mystical or supernatural.”


“Sorry, I am not much help with the history thing, or well actually the computer thing. My uncle tried to teach me a bit of it, but I’m more of a book guy,” Xander said with a shrug. As they arrived at their destination Xander stood outside the door. “Have fun with the research thing.”


“Aren’t you going to…you are going after her aren’t you?” She said, knowing the look on his face. Putting her hands on her hips she frowned. “Buffy doesn’t want you getting hurt, and neither do I. I don’t know what I’d do if something happened to you too,” she said beginning to tear up.


“Wills! Nothing bad is going to happen to me, but I can’t just sit here on my thumbs and do nothing. I figure two is better odds against hundreds right?”


“We don’t know that it’s hundreds,” she countered.


“Exactly. It could be five and Buffy and I will be back with Jesse before lunch,” Xander said with a grin.


“It won’t be,” Willow said with a frown.


“No…probably not,” Xander agreed.




***




Xander followed the trail that Buffy must have taken from the mausoleum, a flashlight in his hand, though he doesn’t use it, and a hastily fashioned stake in his other. Finally spotting her blonde hair with his limited night vision, Xander walked over to her, careful to make noise as he approached.


“Hey there Buff, find anything yet?” He asked, and despite his earlier noise, the blonde Slayer still jumped up startled at his arrival.


“Xander! What the hell are you doing here?” Buffy asked, her tone somewhere between angry and resigned.


“Look, just give it up. I’m coming with. I even came prepared, stake and all.” Buffy checked his hand and after seeing that he did indeed have a stake she sighed and rolled her eyes.


“Fine, but stay behind me. And if I tell you to run, you do it, you hear me?”


“Yes Yoda,” Xander said rolling his own eyes but staying behind the Slayer. The two of them continued down the dark tunnel hoping to find any signs of the nest. Buffy was mildly surprised that Xander hadn’t tried to use the flashlight she saw that he carried, or that he didn’t seem eager to engage in conversation with her. But perhaps that was how he dealt with tough situations, with silence. She shrugged off his unusual behavior, and continued to keep her senses opened for signs of vampires.


At Buffy’s signal, Xander turned on his flashlight and scanned the area, looking for the nest. What he saw made his heart stop in his chest. Chained to the ground was Jesse, dirty and unconscious.


“Gumby!” Xander said rushing over to his side and pushing the bangs from his face. Jesse blinked his eyes open and looked up at Xander.


“Doll face!” he groaned out. Xander felt tears welling up in his eyes and beginning to spill over onto his cheeks. Leaning down he kissed Jesse, not caring that Buffy was watching. Luckily, if she had noticed, she didn’t comment. Wrapping his arms around Jesse in a half-embrace, he helped his friend to stand.


“Are you okay Jess?” Xander asked seriously as he surveyed Jesse’s wounds. The body huddled next to him was freezing, but Xander knew that Jesse had suffered severe blood loss, and then he’d been sitting in a cold, damp sewer for gods knew how long.


“Not even close. But I will be,” he promised Xander with a half-hearted smile. Buffy, having taken the flashlight from Xander when he raced to Jesse’s side, shined the light on the chains holding him to the wall.


“We’ll get you out of here,” she promised, bending down and snapping the chain from the shackle around his ankle, figuring that Giles would know how to remove the shackle later. All three paused after the immense noise the rending of the chain caused, and then began to take off down the tunnel, hoping to escape the way they had come.


Unfortunately, it appeared as if several vampires were prepared for this and headed them off, funneling them down another hallway. Had Buffy been alone, she would have stood up and dusted the vamps, but she couldn’t chance Xander or Jesse getting hurt, and they needed to get Jesse to a hospital.


“Run!” She called, urging them on faster.


“Hey man, do you know of any secret exits?” Xander half-joked.


“I don’t know…” his friend hedged and then he shouted in excitement. “This way! This is how they brought me in. I recognize that slime.” Following Jesse’s lead, the two teenagers tore down the hallway making incredible time considering Jesse’s injuries. As the three barreled through a metal door and into a solid chamber, Xander and Buffy stopped short.


“I don’t think this is right…” Buffy said looking around for another access to the chamber.


“Well what do you suggest we do then Buffy?” Xander said sarcastically as he huffed to catch his breath.


“I know,” Jesse said quietly, his voice muffled as he was still facing the door from whence they came. As he turned around to face them, Xander felt his heart drop into his stomach. His friend was fully vamped out, full game face, fangs and everything. They had been too late. “*You can die!*


“God no! Jesse, you can’t be a vampire,” Xander said collapsing to his knees, weak with the pain. Jesse shook his head and knelt down next to Xander.


“Don’t worry,” he said reaching out his hand to stroke his ice cold fingers idly along Xander’s cheek. “We can be together, forever,” he whispered bending down to kiss Xander’s neck. Xander was frozen in his grief. He knew he should be fighting back, doing something, but he couldn’t think, couldn’t process much more than the redundant thoughts to inhale and exhale.


“Xander!” Buffy screamed, trying to snap her new friend out of his haze. Rushing over to the pair, she grabbed Jesse with all of her strength and hurled him from the room, hurriedly slamming the metal door shut once he was clear.


“Xander help!” She screamed as a handful of the vampires chasing them crashed against the door, trying to force it open. The word, ‘help’ startled Xander out of his numbness like a bucket of cold water and he was immediately on his feet and pressed against the door.


When Xander had the door firmly shut, Buffy latched the lock. Once the lock was set the two of them cautiously moved away from the door. “That won’t hold for long,” Xander observed.


“I know,” Buffy said, her eyes scanning the chamber they were in for some hopes of escape. “Here!” She said pointing to a ventilation grate in the ceiling.


“I’m not that tall,” Xander said grimly. Buffy smirked at him.


“I’m good at jumping,” she said lowering her body and then leaping in the air to hang from the grate. Using her strength, she ripped the gate open, and jumped back down to the ground. Jumping a second time, she pulled herself into the opening and then turned, hanging upside down. “Jump!” she ordered.


Not having to be told twice, Xander jumped, grasping her hands and letting her pull him up to the edge of the grate, where he was then able to pull himself up. It was just in time, as the locked door gave way to the strength of the vampires and flew open, slamming against the wall. The vampires poured into the room, and seeing where their prey has fled immediately began pursuit.


“Hurry!” Xander called, turning around to look behind him and seeing a vampire crawling after them. Scuttling along the vent, Buffy spotted a ladder out to the surface and the two of them climbed quickly. The vampire tried to follow, but as he held his hand out to snag Xander’s ankle, the bright sun began to eat at his flesh and the creature of the night was forced to let go.


The pair of exhausted teenagers lay on the asphalt for a moment, both trying to catch their breath and get their brains caught up on the new situation. “We need to get to the library,” Buffy said finally.




***




Xander felt his heart breaking all over again as he walked into the library and was immediately confronted with Willow’s expectant face. “Did you find him?” She asked excitedly, her voice causing Giles to emerge from his office, a large, dusty, volume in hand.


“Yes…” Buffy said slumping down into the seat at the table, her head falling into her hands.


“And?” Willow asked slowly, not sure if she really wanted to know the answer to the question or not.


“Turned,” Buffy said forcing herself to look up, first at Giles and then Willow.


“Dear lord,” Giles said removing his glasses, and rubbing at his eyes.


“I’m so sorry, Willow. We were too late,” Buffy said offering her condolences. Willow just nodded, unable to form any sentences. Both girls jumped; hearts racing as Xander kicked an overflowing, metal trashcan halfway across the library, the trash scattered about like some tragic accident scene. Without saying a word, he stalked from the room, the library doors swishing with the force of his exit.


“I should…” Willow began, looking in the direction that Xander had fled, tears beginning to fill her eyes.


“No…just…give him a few minutes,” Buffy said softly. “*So Giles, got anything that can make this day any worse?*


As Xander stormed out into the deserted hallway, he felt his anger fading, leaving him with only a hollow and empty void. He was too numb to cry, too numb to feel anything just yet. It all didn’t make sense. Jesse still acted like…well Jesse. He knew their secret nicknames, he knew their desire to spend forever together, although they had meant until both were like 90, not 9,000.


Sliding to his butt, back resting against the lockers Xander just sat and stared at his hands, hoping that there held the mysterious answer to all of his problems. As he looked at his still, sewery, grime covered hands a flash of metal caught his eye. Eyes shifting to look at his right wrist, he saw the binding bracelet that had managed to tone down his apple pie scent. Running his left fingers over the brand, the opposite of what was carved into his flesh; Xander felt some of the grief leaving his mind.


“Now’s not the time,” he said softly to himself. He could break down later. When he had things figured out. But first, they had to stop the Master, they had to free Jesse. Xander refused to believe that Jesse could be evil, no matter the form he was in, and he would prove it. He would en-soul him, bind him, use whatever magic or voodoo was necessary to get his friend back. More confident now that he had a plan, albeit rough and more along the lines of a John McClane plan, he stood and moved back to the library.


*…Odds are he got himself stuck, rather like a, uh, cork in a bottle.*


*And this Harvest thing is to get him out,*” Xander said as a way of letting his friends know that he was back and alright. They all looked up at his words, Giles nodding.


“Quite right, Xander,” He nodded at the boy. “It’s all going to be happening tonight. If he fails, the Master won’t have another chance for another century.”


“So let’s make sure he has to put his Cabo vacation on hold,” Xander said.


“How do we do that?” Buffy asked her Watcher.


“Well, the Master can gain the power he needs by feeding through one of his minions, called the Vessel.”


“How do we know which minion that is, cause let me tell you G-man, he had a good number of them,” asked Xander. Giles looked cross at the nickname, but decided to let it go for now.


“He’ll have this symbol somewhere on his person…or vamp-erson…err…yes,” he stuttered out, drawing a three pointed star on the white board he had apparently been using to explain the impending doom to the girls.


“Alright, dust starry minion and no Harvest. Got it. Where is this all going down?” Buffy asked ready to begin her job of slaying evil.


“Well…actually, there are quite a good number of possible…”


“The Bronze,” Xander said interrupting Giles speech. At the looks the other three were giving him he shrugged. “It is the perfect barn for locking in prey. There are only two exits, which can be easily defended by a relatively small number of vampires. And its Friday night, where else is the entire young adult population of Sunnydale going to be?”


“He’ll eat the entire high school,” Willow said with a sharp nod, “oh no…that’s bad.”


“Then we should get there before the sun sets,” Giles said grabbing his coat and walking into the locked book cage. Opening an armoire he pulled out several stakes and a crossbow. Handing Xander and Willow two stakes each, he took one for himself and several quarrels.


“I’ll meet you there,” Buffy said shrugging into her coat and heading for the exit.


“Where are you going?” Xander asked testing the weight of the stakes.


“Getting supplies,” she answered and just like that she was gone.


“Huh. Would you fancy that?” Xander said with a shake of his head. “Let’s get moving.”




***




“Where could she be?” Giles asked looking around for his missing Slayer for what felt like the hundredth time.


“I still say we bust in there and get the people out,” Xander said, angry that Giles had blocked his attempts at entering the Bronze before the sun set. The three of them had just made it as the sun was slipping down the horizon. Giles was cautious; he knew that the small amount of UV light the setting sun emitted wouldn’t stop the older vampires from walking into the club now.


“I’m here!” Buffy called running up to the three anxiously awaiting her arrival.


“What took so long?” Giles demanded.


“Sorry…I sort of had it out with my mom and got grounded. But I snuck out. Let’s do this,” she said leading them over to the entrance. Pulling on the door Buffy deflated seeing that it was bolted shut, from the inside.


“We’re too late,” Willow said beginning to panic, “do you think the Master is free already?”


“We aren’t that late,” Giles said giving the redhead a look.


“Can’t you, you know bust it down?” Xander asked Buffy. Buffy tested the door and shook her head.


“No. Alright, you guys go around back and try the back exit and I’ll get in my own way.”


*Right, come on.*” Giles said with a nod.


“Oh! And I just want the three of you to get the people out. That’s it. Leave the slayage to me, got it?” She said her eyes boring straight into Xander’s. He didn’t’ answer her, just turned and ran for the back of the club. Giles and Willow arrived at the back just as Xander finished trying to pull open the door.


“No dice,” he said shaking his head, “it won’t budge.”


“Does Buffy have anything in there we can use,” Giles said nodding to the bag that the Slayer had handed off to Willow before scaling the wall.


“I don’t know,” she said putting the bag on the ground and opening it up. Xander knelt next to her and rummaged through the contents shaking his head.


“Damnit, if only I had my shot gun,” he mumbled as he searched the bag for something he could use to break the lock.


“Shot gun?” Giles asked looking at Xander strangely.


“Aha!” He said pulling a small, double-bladed axe from the bag. “This should work.” Moving over to the door, he expertly hit the lock at an angle with the axe several times. Finally, the lock was damaged enough that Xander was able to yank the door open with brute force. When he turned to face Willow and Giles they were both looking at him strangely.


“Done that before have you?” Giles asked.


“Look, we can talk about it later, I need to get in there and stop Jesse from…well I just need to stop him,” Giles walked over to Xander, his hand gripping Xander’s arm.


*You listen to me! Jesse is dead! You have to remember that when you see him, you're not looking at your friend. You're looking at the thing that killed him.*” Xander gave Giles a cold, harsh look, forcing the older man to release his arm and step back.


“I am fully aware of who Jesse is now, and I will handle it.” Walking into the back exit, Xander was glad that there were no vampires guarding it. Peeking out from the back, he saw that most of them were busy herding the frightened mob to big and scary on the stage. Returning to Giles and Willow he spoke, “You two stay back here and help the people out, dust the vamps trying to escape or chase, and don’t get hurt.”


“You should stay here too,” Willow spoke up. “Buffy said…”


“I don’t give a shit who she is, thinks she is, or what the fuck she says. I’m going to go in there and save as many people as I can and I need to know that I’m sending them somewhere safe,” he said giving Giles a look. The man understood Xander’s non-verbal communication and nodded.


“Go,” he said. Without further prodding, Xander was out of the backroom, and into the fray. Shoving every non-vampire he could find in the direction of the back, he ordered them to run. One stake in his right hand, the other tucked into the waistband of his jeans, Xander weaved and ducked away from two vampires that were trying to kill him.


He fought fluidly, startling the vampires who thought him an easy target. After dusting them, he moved further into the room, looking for more vampires to kill, but more specifically one very precious vampire to save. He never saw the vampire that was behind him, but he felt it when it wrapped him in a tight bear hug, head bent to sink his fangs into Xander’s neck.


“Xander!” Buffy called, looking up he saw a cymbal come flying from her hand like some live-action Sailor Moon character. He waited until the last second and slipped out from the vampire’s grasp, coughing as the cymbal decapitated the vampire sending dust floating over his form.


*Heads up!*” Xander couldn’t resist calling out to her as he gave her a mock salute. Buffy threw her head back and laughed, allowing herself the pleasure of hunting with a partner before returning to her fight with Luke. Xander was still all smiles until he saw Jesse on top of Cordelia, the cheerleader screaming and trying to fight his friend off. Even in death, his best friend was still obsessed with Cordelia Chase.


“Jesse,” Xander said sadly from above the pair. Cordelia looked at him, her eyes pleading with him to save her, “get off her.” Scrambling to his knees, Jesse turned his head to look at who had interrupted him, his face shifted from his vampire visage to his human mask. A bright smile lit up his face as he jumped off Cordelia and hugged Xander to him. Using the opportunity presented her; Cordelia fled the scene without as much as a thank you.


“Xander, man this is so great. I totally feel like Bela Lugosi. You can be my Renfield.”


“Jess…man; you know I’ll always be your Mina,” he laughed, tears welling in his eyes at the old debate and inside joke between the two friends. Jesse growled low in his throat and pushed Xander up against the wall, the stake that Xander had been holding between their bodies.


“Xan, you know I can’t live…or unlive without you and Willow,” Jesse whispered shifting into his vampire face and resting his wrinkled forehead against Xander’s. “I love you,” he said, the words lisping almost, as Jesse hadn’t gotten used to talking with his fangs. Pressing his lips against Xander’s, he took advantage of the moan that Xander released and thrust his tongue into the pliant mouth.


Xander’s head was spinning. He was moaning, and he was crying, and he was kissing. Hands were grabbing, Jesse’s large hands splayed on both sides of Xander’s face, his fingers massaging as he kissed him. And then Xander was choking, choking on the dust that had been his best friend. His mouth hung open, shocked at the speed of it all. His eyes trailed from the fleeing student that had bumped into them and was knocked to the floor, to the stake still held tightly in his hand.


“Uh…sorry…” the kid stumbled out as he scrambled to his feet and continued to flee toward the exit. Xander just stood staring at the spot where Jesse had been. Swallowing around the growing lump in his throat Xander didn’t bother to try and hold back the stream of tears coursing down his face. In his numb haze, he saw vampires beginning to flee the scene, so he assumed that Buffy finally finished off Vessel Luke and the battle was over.


He heard Willow, Buffy and Giles conversing on the other side of the room, but he couldn’t get his body to cooperate with his mind. He couldn’t seem to move from his spot. Willow walked over to him, a worried look on her face.


“Xan? Are you alright?”


“I killed him Wills. He was here…and then…ashes to ashes.” Giles and Buffy had walked over after Willow, and heard Xander’s comment.


“Oh God…Xander I’m so sorry…” Buffy began. Giles moved closer to Xander, placing his hand on his shoulder, hoping to give some comfort to the young man.


“Xander, remember what I told you. Jesse was already dead. He was a demon. He wasn’t…” Xander shrugged out of Giles’ hold and backed away from his friends, his arms wrapped defensively around his person.


“Tell yourself whatever you need to sleep at night, Giles. But I just killed my best friend. He wasn’t a demon wearing his face, he was Jesse. Look,” he said shaking his head and stepping back further as Buffy made a move toward him, “I need to be alone right now, I’ll be alright, and I’ll deal. But right now…right now I just need to grieve,” he sobbed. “Alone,” he added when Willow opened her mouth to speak.


Before any of them could stop him, he left the Bronze and headed straight for his house. He could have run across Big Foot along the way and he wouldn’t have been able to point him out, or remember the confrontation. Keying his entry into his home, he ignored his father who was passed out on the sofa, the television at nearly full volume. He swept passed his mother who was stirring a pot on the stove, a half burned cigarette hanging from her lips as she did.


Going up the stairs and into his bedroom, he shut and locked the door, throwing across the chain lock and dead bolt that he had installed himself. Sitting on the edge of his bed, he picked up his phone from the nightstand and held the device in his hands. Heaving a sigh he released the cradle button and dialed his uncle’s house number. After several rings, he heard his uncle’s message click on,


“You have reached Bobby Singer, I cannot come to the phone right now, please leave your name and number and a brief message and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.”


“Hey Uncle Bobby? It’s me Xander,” Xander whispered brokenly, sobs catching at the back of his throat. He hurriedly coughed to clear his throat; he wanted to be able to get this message out without breaking down into tears. “Do you remember when you told me that every Hunter has a story; that each of them holds a single tragic memory so tightly that the only way to save themselves from insanity is to Hunt? Well…I found my memory, and I have a feeling, it will last me a lifetime.”


Xander’s lips quivered, his breath coming out in short, harsh sounds, as he held the phone to his ear as if that action would make the pain that was threatening to drown him go away. Gently replacing the phone into its cradle, Xander turned away from the phone, curling onto his side into a tight ball as the sobs wracked his body.






FIN


AN: This concludes the first story in the series “Every Hunter Has a Story” Book Two should be up shortly. I have all of Book Two planned out in my notebook, it will be 21/22 chapters and will show the newly improved Hunter Xander through the rest of High School in Sunnydale.


Thanks for reading this first part! I hope everyone enjoyed!

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