Chapter One: Of Curses, Changes, and Charmed Ones
Disclaimer: Well, of course I- *lawyer whispers in ear* Wait, what? Seriously? Damn. Okay, I guess I don't
own any of this. I could have sworn I put that copyright somewhere...
Joss owns Buffy. Someone named, and I quote, 'Burge' owns Charmed.
Spoilers: Up to Becoming Part 2 for BTVS, Something Wicca This Way Comes for Charmed. I lifted a bit of dialogue from both of them, just for accuracy.
Chapter 1: Of Curses, Changes, and Charmed Ones
Sunnydale Memorial Hospital, 1998
“So, Buffy’s going for the big showdown, huh? Wish we could help, you know, without dyeing.”
Xander shook his head at his girlfriend. “I don’t see how.”
Willow spoke up. “I want to try again.”
Oz looked at her. “Try what?”
“The curse. We never got to finish it. Maybe we can
restore Angel’s soul.”
Xander shook his head. “I don’t like it. We’re talking about messing with powerful magic, and you’re weak.”
“I’m okay.” The redhead insisted.
“You don’t look okay. Does she?” He replied, looking at Cordelia.
She nodded. “You should listen to him. The hair, it’s so flat, and the lips-”
Xander rolled his eyes. “Can we stay on topic here, Honey?”
“Look, it’s not a good idea.”
Willow gave him a stern look. “There’s no use arguing with me. Do you see my Resolve Face? You’ve seen it before, you know what it means. This can help Buffy. If we turn Angel back soon enough, we can stop him from ever awakening Acathla.”
“Alright, Wills.” Xander interrupted. “But if we’re going to do this, I don’t want you
casting it.” The brunette moved the spell ingredients away from her, and sat down on the hospital bed. “This is a curse, right? Seems to me, that’s seriously Dark Magic. You shouldn’t do that for your first spell.”
“We don’t have much of a choice, Xander!” She looked at him incredulously. “I’m the only witch here!”
Xander shook his head. “That’s… not entirely true.”
Resolve Face was suddenly aimed right at him. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
He grinned sheepishly. “Well, I’ve been reading up on it ever since we took out The Master. I’ve managed a few simple things, levitation, small specks of light, things like that. I think I can handle this, and I know how to purge the Dark energy afterward.”
Willow looked at her oldest friend, a look of shock and surprise on her face. Slowly, she nodded. “Okay, Xand. You’ll be the main caster. I’ll just join in the circle.”
Oz rose to his feet. “Okay, I pretty much missed out on some stuff, didn’t I? Cause this is all making a kind of sense that’s… not.”
Willow answered him. “Go with Cordy to the library to get my stuff. She’ll fill you in.”
Oz nodded. “Sure.” He kissed his girlfriend’s hand, turned to Cordy, and said, “I’ll drive.” With that, the two moved to leave the room.
Willow called out again. “Oh, and after you drop her off, go find Buffy and tell her what we’re doing. Maybe she can stall.” With another nod, Oz left, Cordy at his heels.
Buffy stood outside the mansion, carrying the blessed sword. From behind her, she heard a voice. “Buffy.” She turned. It was Oz. “I came to tell you, Xander’s going to cast the soul curse.”
Buffy blinked in surprise. “Xander? I thought Willow…”
Oz nodded. “Yeah, you’d think. Far as I know, Xander’s been practicing magic for about a year, and he didn’t want Willow casting a curse for her first spell.” He shrugged. “Willow thinks he can do it. Good enough for me.”
Buffy laughed. “Wow, Oz. I think that’s a record-length statement for you.” Oz just gave his usual half-grin. Buffy handed him a stake. “I need you to get Giles out, okay? Get him to the hospital.”
Oz nodded. “Sure.”
Farther Inside the Mansion
“Acathla... Mundatus sum... pro te necavi. Sanguinem meum... pro te effundam... quo me dignum... esse demonstrem.”
Translation: “Acathla... I am cleansed... here before you. My blood... flowing before you... makes me worthy... as I demonstrate.”
Xander took a deep, steadying breath. “Are we ready?”
Cordelia nodded. “Stinky herbs are a go.”
“Now Acathla.” Angelus reached to his right, and Drusilla handed him a dagger. “You will be free.” He drew the blade across his hand, wincing slightly, but not letting the pain interrupt the ritual. “And so will we all.”
Buffy stepped slowly, and quietly, out of the shadows. “Hello, lover.”
Angelus turned to face her. “I don’t have time for you.” He said, in a bored tone.
Buffy snorted. “You don’t have a lot of time left
Xander sat in a chair, positioned so that Willow and Cordelia could be on either side of him. “Return… I call on….” Suddenly, Xander’s head dipped down.
Cordelia moved closer, concerned. “Xander?”
Xander shot back up, his eyes completely black. “Te implor, Doamne, nu ignora aceasta rugaminte.”
Cordelia jumped back, and looked at Willow. “Is this a good thing?” Willow could only shrug helplessly.
“Nici mort, nici al fiintei...”
Cordelia looked at her boyfriend, thoroughly freaking out. “Hey, speak English!”
“Lasa orbita sa fie vasul care-i va transporta, sufletul la el.”
“Now that's everything, huh? No weapons... No friends... No hope. Take all that away, and what’s left?”
Angelus drew back, and thrust the sword straight at Buffy’s face. With lightning fast reflexes, she swung both hands forward, catching the tip of the sword with the palms of her hands.
She shoved the blade away from her, the hilt of the sword hitting Angelus in the face. He staggered back, which gave her time to hop to her feet and kick him in the chest. He stumbled back even more, and she reached down and picked up her sword. She swung it around and thrust at him, but he managed to parry. They exchanged several blows, blocking each other. Buffy spun around and swung her sword down at him from above. He held up his own to block, but she hit it hard and he fell to one knee. She swung again, and he blocked. She spun around with a roundhouse kick to his side, and he collapsed to the ground. Buffy kicked Angelus, and he came flying in through the door, hitting the floor and rolling to a stop. Before he could get all the way back to his feet Buffy leapt in and swung her sword at him. He almost missed parrying her blow, and stepped back to get his footing. They exchanged a few more swings. Angelus missed a block and gets sliced on his hand.
“Asa sa fie! Asa sa fie! Acum!”
Angelus dropped his sword and held his cut. Buffy kicked his face, and he fell backward into Acathla, landing on his knees before her.
“Acum!” The Orb of Thessula glowed brightly for a brief moment and goes dark. Xander suddenly relaxed, and looks around blankly. “Did it work?”
Buffy raised her sword, ready to dispatch Angelus, but stopped herself when he suddenly gasped loudly and groaned in pain. His eyes glow bright yellow for an instant, then went back dark. He looked up at her, but quickly collapsed to the floor, crying. Buffy stared down at him, still holding her sword. Angel raised himself back up, his eyes heavy with tears, and looked into her eyes.
“Buffy? What's going on?”
She just looked at him, confused but not yet ready to lower the sword. He looked around a bit and got to his feet.
“Where are we? I-I don't remember.”
Finally Buffy realized what happened. The curse worked! Xander did it! She crowed silently.
Angel looked her over, and gasped softly. “You're hurt.”
She looked down at her wound, feeling his gentle touch on her arm. She ignored it, looking back up at him and stepping closer. He embraced her tightly.
“Oh, Buffy... God. I... I feel like I haven't seen you in months.”
Buffy held him tightly, sighing.
“Oh, my God, everything's so muddled. I... Oh...”
He sighed deeply, kissing her on the shoulder.
She cried into his shoulder, hugging him back. Behind him Acathla let out a low rumble. Buffy opened her eyes and stared in shock as Acathla's face contorted. His brows angled down, his eyes glowed red, his mouth opened grotesquely, and the swirling vortex to Hell opened, small at first, but growing steadily in size and emanating a deep, red glow. Buffy let go of Angel and looked up into his face.
“What's happening?” Angel asked, confused.
Buffy whispered to him reassuringly. “Shh. Don't worry about it.”
She brushed her fingers over his lips and across his cheek. She laid her hand on his cheek and kissed him softly. He returned the kiss, and it became more passionate. Behind them the vortex had grown to about five feet across and continued to get larger. Buffy broke off the kiss and looked deeply into Angel's eyes.
"I love you." Buffy sobbed
"I love you."
She touched his lips with her fingers again.
“Close your eyes.”
She nodded reassuringly, and he closed his eyes. She tried not to start crying, and kissed him again gently. She stepped back, drew back her sword, and thrust it into his chest. His eyes shot open in surprise and pain, and a bright light emanated from the sword. She stepped away from him. He reached out to her and looked down at the sword thrust completely through him. He looked at her imploringly, completely bewildered by this turn of events. She could only stare at the sword protruding from his chest, and slowly stepped further back.
Behind him the power of the sword began to swirl into the vortex. Buffy stepped further back still, looking only at the sword in his chest and not into his face. The vortex was now about twelve feet across, and the two energies begin to interact. Angel still held out his hand to Buffy. When the vortex finally met him it suddenly closed into Acathla's mouth without so much as a spark, taking him with it. Buffy stared at the stone demon for a long moment, a light of awareness dawning in her eyes as she truly realized what she had done, what she had lost. She began to sob, her heart breaking.
Xander stood, somewhat shakily. “I’ve got to find out if it worked…” He took a step forward, and started to fall.
Cordelia caught him. “Hold on, dweeb boy. You aren’t going anywhere right now.”
He pushed away from her. “Back off, Cordy. I have to get out of here, one way or another. Even if I don’t go after Buffy, I have to get to my bedroom. I purged it of the Hellmouth’s energy, so I can use it as a safe area to cleanse myself.”
Cordy looked as though she was going to protest, but Oz came through the door to the ER, half carrying, half dragging Giles inside. Cordy moved immediately to help, and Xander slipped away quietly.
He made it home safely enough, and snuck into his room through the window, not wanting to disturb his parents. They were no doubt into a nice drunken stupor, and he had learned long ago not to interrupt that. He moved back a rug on his hardwood floor, revealing the pentacle he had drawn, sat down, and began expelling the dark energies the curse had left in his body, letting them go into the ether.
It took the better part of an hour, but he did manage to center himself. Just as he was finishing, his father burst in through the door. That is to say, he didn’t open the door violently. He came in through the door. “Boy! I need you to run to the liquor-” He saw the pentacle, a look of confusion on his face. “What the- Boy, what the hell are you doing?! That’s devil worship!”
Xander tried to explain. “No, Dad, it’s-”
“Save it!” His father roared. “I won’t have that in my house! Get out!”
“GET OUT!” Tony Harris began throwing whatever was handy at his son. Xander quickly threw up a shield spell, and all the thrown items were deflected harmlessly. Tony looked at his son in fear, and quickly left the room.
Xander knew what would happen next, so he grabbed a bag, and began stuffing clothes into it, along with all his magical items. He also grabbed a broken yellow crayon. He ran to the window, and hopped out, just missing Tony coming back with a fully loaded shotgun.
Xander kept running, not looking back at all. Alright. ~I can’t stay with Wills right now, since her parents are actually in town. Buffy’s got her own stuff to sort out, so I don’t want to impose on her. Cordelia…~ He paused. His relationship with Queen C had been steadily deteriorating. No, he couldn’t stay with her either. No one in Sunnydale would do… ~So I’ll have to leave. I’ll tell the others, and head to San Francisco. Aunt Patricia’s family is out that way.~
With a game plan in mind, he headed to the nearest pay phone. He called Willow first, who started babbling as soon as he had finished explaining. He calmed her down, explained that he would be back as soon as he could, and hung up. He called Buffy’s house, but Joyce answered. He asked her to pass the message along, and she agreed, but she seemed distant. He would have inquired further, but he had another important call to make.
He dialed Cordy’s cell number.
“Cordy? It’s Xander.”
*Xander! Where the hell are you?!*
“I’m at a pay phone. I have to leave town for a while…”
*What? Why? Don’t you realize that we need you here?!*
“Cordy, my Dad-”
*I don’t care! Willow’s still in the hospital, Giles is a mess, Buffy’s off doing who-knows- what, and you’re leaving?! Well, don’t expect much from me if you come back!*
Xander’s jaw set, and he spoke with a cold tone. “Fine, Cordelia. I won’t. Good luck with all your shit, you stuck up bitch.” Without another word, he hung up, and made his way to the bus station.
He had just enough money for a ticket to San Francisco, and as he sat on a bench to wait for his bus, he saw Buffy a few benches over. He moved over to her. “Buffy? What are you doing here?”
She looked up. “Xander?” She immediately became defensive. “I’m not going home.”
Xander threw up his hands. “Not here to make you.” He held up his ticket. “I’m getting out of here.” He explained what had happened with his father.
Buffy’s eyes softened. “Oh, Xander. I’m so sorry.”
He shrugged. “It’s no big. I knew it would happen eventually. I just wish I had managed to cast the curse…”
Buffy blinked in confusion. “But… You did.”
He looked up, staring into her eyes. “What?”
She nodded. “Right before Acathla started to… He, um, his eyes flashed, and he was Angel again. But, Acathla was already… So, I had to…” She broke down, sobbing.
Xander pulled her into his arms. “Shhhhhh. It’ll be okay, Buff.” She shook her head. “I sent my boyfriend to Hell. How is that okay?”
Xander started stroking her hair. “You saved the world. Six billion people are still breathing because of you. I know it doesn’t seem like much now, but that’s pretty big from where I’m sitting.”
Buffy pulled back, her eyes still glistening, but with a small smile. “Thanks Xander.”
He nodded. “So, where are you headed?”
She held up her ticket. “LA. You?”
He smiled. “Good ole’ San Fran. I’ve got some family out there I can crash with, maybe even get emancipated. In fact…” He grabbed a pen and some paper out of his bag. “Here’s the number. Call me when you get settled in.” He handed it to her.
She nodded. “I will.” A bus pulled up. “Well,” She said, “This is mine. Good luck, Xand.” He nodded. “You too, Buff.”
He watched as her bus pulled away, and it wasn’t long before his own showed up. As the bus pulled away, he fell asleep, wondering what his cousins were up to.
Piper walked inside her grandmother’s old manor. She felt heavy inside, weary. Grams had just died, and it was starting to sink in.
“Prue?” She called out to her older sister.
“In here,” She called back, “working on the chandelier.”
“Sorry I'm late.”
“What else is new? Piper, I would of been here to meet the electrician myself but you know I can't leave the museum until six. I didn't even have time to change.”
“I just didn't realise how long I was in China town. Did Jeremy call?”
“No, but he had some roses and a package delivered. What were you doing in China town? I thought that you had an interview in North Beach.”
“I did but I went to Young Lee market after my interview to get the ingredients for my audition recipe tomorrow.”
“So, that wolfgang-puck knock-off didn't hire you then?”
“No, but this just may get me the job.” She opened the package, revealing a bottle.
“Jeremy sent you port?”
“The ultimate ingredient for my recipe.” Piper set the wine down, and noticed something… “Oh my God, I don't believe it. Tell me that's not our old spirit board?”
“Yeah, I found it in the basement when I was looking for the circuit tester.”
Piper picked the board up, reading the inscription on the back. “’To my three beautiful girls. May this give you the light to find the shadows. The power of three will set you free. Love, Mom.’ We never did figure out what this inscription meant.”
“Well, maybe we should send it to Phoebe. That girl is so in the dark, maybe a little light will help.”
“You're always so hard on her.”
“Piper, the girl has no vision, no sense of the future.”
“I really think Phoebe's coming around.”
“Well, as long as she doesn't come around here I guess that's good news.”
Piper winced. “Um… About that…”
Prue looked up at her, suspicion and worry crossing her face. “Piper, tell me you didn’t.”
“Well, I would, but I’ve always felt it’s wrong to lie.”
Prue groaned. “Oh, well. At least help me with this thing. I’ve checked the circuit breaker three times. There’s no reason the chandelier shouldn’t be working.”
Piper was about to move to help, when there was a knock at the door. “Who could that be? I’m not expecting Phoebe until later.” She opened the door, to find a young man standing on the porch. “Can I help you?”
He grinned. “Hi, Piper.”
She blinked. “Do I know you?”
He looked disappointed. “Oh, come on. I know I haven’t been around since that pie fiasco a few years ago, but I’ve got to stick out in your mind.”
Her eyes widened. “Alexander?!”
He nodded. “Yep, but it’s just Xander.”
She wrapped him up in a hug. “Oh, it’s so good to see you! I guess someone finally got our message, huh?”
He pulled back. “Message? What message?”
She looked at him, confused. “About Grams. She died.”
His eyes widened in shock. “What? When?”
“About six months ago.”
He shook his head, bewildered. Damn. No way I can stay here. They’ve got enough problems without me. “Wow… Uh, okay. I’ll just… Yeah. I’ll see you when I find a shelter, or something.”
She reached out to touch his shoulder. “Wait. Why would you need to stay in a shelter?”
He held up his bag. “Dad kicked me out, finally. I was going to try to stay here for a little while, at least until I had enough money to get a place of my own, but you guys have enough going on…”
Piper shook her head. “Don’t even think about it. No way am I letting you stay anywhere else. Grams would have let you stay, and so will I.” She pulled him inside.
“Are you sure? I don’t want to be in the way.”
She nodded. “I’m sure. We just have to tell Prue.”
He visibly shuddered at that. “Do we really have to? I mean, unless she’s become less of a hard ass since I last saw her…”
Piper shook her head. “Sadly, no. In fact, if anything, she’s gotten worse.”
“Who’s gotten worse?” Prue asked as she walked up.
Xander spoke quickly. “No one! Hi, Prue.” She smiled. “Alex! What are you doing here?”
He smiled back. “It’s Xander, and, well…” He explained, omitting the magic details, what had happened with Tony.
Prue made a disgusted noise. “That ass… He was always trouble, even back when he first met Grams. Tried to tell her off about how she and mom were taking care of us. He got an earful after that, and Grams tried to tell Aunt Jessica what happened, but…” Xander nodded. “Yeah. I’ve heard the story a few times when mom was sober enough to actually speak. It wasn’t often, but it did happen.”
Before the conversation could go any further, the front door opened behind them. “Hey! Found the hide-a-key!” Pheobe walked in. “Hey, guys!” She was wearing a big grin. She walked over to the group. “What’s up?”
Piper hugged her younger sister. “Oh, nothing much. We’re just having a little family reunion here.”
Phoebe noticed Xander standing behind Piper. “Xander! Hi! How are you?” She gave him a hug, which he returned.
“Finally, someone gets it right.” He grinned. “I’m good, Phoebe. Yourself?”
She pulled back, returning his grin. “Oh, I’m good. Been going to college, although tuition’s been getting a little expensive… Good thing I’ve got this place, huh?”
Xander blinked rapidly. “Um, what?”
She looked at him strangely. “Well, Piper invited me back here.”
Prue raised an eyebrow. “Did she? Piper, can we talk?” The two sisters moved off to the other room, leaving Xander and Phoebe in the entrance hall.
They were quiet for a moment, until Phoebe decided to break the silence. “So, what are you doing here?”
“Mostly the same as you, except my father kicked me out.” He shrugged. “Honestly, I’m surprised he didn’t do it a long time ago. He’s never really been that fond of me.”
Phoebe furrowed her brow. “But… he’s your dad. Isn’t there some kind of genetic prerogative that says he has to love you, or something?”
Xander laughed. “Don’t I wish. No, I think he was just waiting until I was old enough that he wouldn’t get arrested for kicking me out. And, really, I’m glad to be out of there. It wasn’t the most… nurturing environment.”
At that moment, Prue and Piper came back. “Okay.” Prue began. “Piper’s explained everything to me, and you can both stay without any complaints from me.”
Xander and Phoebe both let out sighs of relief. Neither of them were fond of defying Prue. The woman could be downright scary…
Xander grinned. “Great. What kind of time table am I looking at?”
Prue looked confused for a second, then smiled. “No, Xander. When I said you can stay, I meant for as long as you need to. We won’t kick you to the curb.”
Xander blinked in surprise. “Whoa. Really?” She nodded. “Yeah, really. You’re family. And as long as you don’t blow up any more pies…”
He laughed at that. “Deal. Although, if I see a rat in the pie, I can’t be held responsible for my actions.” The sisters laughed at that, and then the two new housemates went upstairs to drop off their things.
While Xander was unpacking, Phoebe found the spirit board, which Prue had put in her room. She began playing with it, smiling as she remembered all the times she and her sisters had gotten “messages from beyond” when they were younger. As soon as she touched it, however, the pointer began moving violently. She screamed, and Xander ran into the room.
“What is it?!” She pointed to the board. First, the pointer passed over the A, Then the T. It began to move again, but then went back to the T. Finally, it passed over the I, and the C. Xander furrowed his brow. “Attic? What’s in the attic?”
Phoebe looked at him. “Who cares?! The spirit board is possessed!”
He nodded. “And if it wasn’t called a ‘spirit board,’ that might surprise me.”
Prue and Piper ran into the room. “What’s going on?” They both asked. Phoebe explained.
Prue was the first to speak. “So… the spirit board moved. All on it’s own.” Phoebe nodded. “Isn’t that what it’s supposed to do?”
Phoebe, who was still panicking, exclaimed, “Not if I’m not even touching it!”
Xander nodded. “It’s true. I saw it.” Piper rolled her eyes. “Come on, you two. You just moved in. Isn’t it a little early to start pranking us?”
Phoebe looked at her sister incredulously. “What?! Why would I make something like this up?!”
Xander jumped in quickly. “Okay! Stop! Why don’t we just go up to the attic? We can see if there’s anything worth sending a message from the great beyond about.” The sisters, after calming down a bit, agreed.
The four of them went upstairs. Prue had some concerns, since they had never found the key to the attic door, but Xander opened it without a problem. Prue was surprised, but kept quiet. In the middle of the room, there was a book on a pedastal. Xander moved over to it. “Let’s see. ‘The Book of Shadows.’ That’s not ominous at all…” He opened it. “Hey, look at this. There’s an inscription.
“Hear now the words of the witches,
the secrets we hid in the night,
the oldest of gods are invoked here,
the great work of magic is sought,
in this night,
and in this hour,
I call upon the Ancient Power,
Bring your powers to we sisters, three,
We want the power,
Give us the power.”
Xander shuddered as he felt power pour out from the book. “Holy- What the hell?” T
he sisters looked at him, confused. “What? What happened?”
“You guys didn’t feel that?” They all shook their heads.
Prue gave him a look. “Maybe it was your imagination?”
Deciding it would be best not to let his cousins know about the other side of the world, he just nodded. “I guess so. I always did have an active one.” He gave a lopsided grin, and went downstairs. ~There’s definitely something going on with that book.~ He thought. ~That had power in it. Not as much as the Hellmouth, maybe, but still.~ He was standing in the entrance hall, when the sisters came in. As one, they passed under the non-functional chandelier. Except, it wasn’t so non-functional…
It lit up brighter than it ever had before, letting a blue light wash over them. Xander, who had been standing near-by, clutched his head at the sudden burst of power, blood trickling out of his nose. “Okay, I know you guys noticed that one!” He exclaimed.
Wide-eyed, Phoebe nodded. “Yeah, definitely.”
Piper nodded as well, and Prue just stood there in shock.
Xander shook his head. “Something strange is going on. First, that book upstairs, now this. This is more power than I’ve ever felt in this small a space.”
Piper looked at him. “What do you mean? You’ve felt power before?”
He nodded. “Yeah. Sunnydale is on top of a huge mystical convergence, which acts as a mouth to hell. I’ve been practicing magic for about a year, and aside from the Hellmouth, that’s the biggest concentration of power in the state! Maybe even the country.”
Prue snorted. “Not the world?” It was obvious she was still in denial.
Xander rolled his eyes. “I don’t know. I’m not that well connected, honestly.”
Prue shook her head. “Look, there’s got to be a reasonable explanation here.”
This time, it was Xander’s turn to snort. “Oh, yeah? How about this?” He turned to face the small table in the hall. It had a vase on it, full of flowers. He concentrated, and it floated into the air. Phoebe gasped, Piper just stared, and Prue… Well, Prue fainted. Xander rushed to catch her… which broke his concentration, and put the vase back under gravity’s thrall. It shattered. Xander winced. “Oops… I’ve really got to work on that. Um, Piper, are there any smelling salts around here?” Piper nodded, and ran upstairs.
Xander picked Prue up, and moved her to the couch. “Boy. I leave the Hellmouth, and stumble onto a new coven of witches. And not just any coven. They’re insanely powerful, and my cousins! That Harris luck never fails.” Phoebe laughed nervously, sitting in a chair. “You okay, Pheebs?”
She nodded. “Yeah. I think I just need to sit down.”
Xander grinned, slightly. “You are sitting.”
Phoebe looked down at the chair. “Oh, hey. Look at that.” Xander shook his head, smiling.
“Here we are!” Piper came in with the smelling salts. Xander put them under Prue’s nose, and after a few seconds, she slowly woke up.
She groaned. “What the hell…” She realized Xander was kneeling over her. “Was that a dream?”
He shook his head. “Sorry Prue, but no.”
She sighed. “Damn.”
Xander laughed. “Don’t worry. After you see your first vampire, this will seem like nothing.”
Her eyes shot wide open. “Vampire?!”
He nodded. “Yeah. They might not be as numerous here as in Sunnydale, but I guarantee there are a few running around the city. I was actually going to start patrolling for them tonight.”
Prue pinched the bridge of her nose. “I don’t want to know that… My will to live doesn’t want to know that.”
Xander nodded sympathetically. “I know the feeling. I’ve been doing this for two years now, and I can tell you, it doesn’t get any easier.”
Piper blinked. “Wait, you said you had been practicing magic for a year. Now you’re saying two?”
Xander shook his head. “No, I’ve only been practicing magic for a year. I’ve been hunting vampires, and other demons, for two years.”
Piper blinked again. “I need a drink.”
Phoebe shot up. “Right behind you!”
Prue nodded, and slowly stood. “Yeah, me too.”
Xander just chuckled. “Damn. What I wouldn’t give to be a few years older.”
Prue laughed, and pulled on his arm. “Come on. If you’re old enough to fight creatures of the night, you’re old enough to drink.”
Xander grinned. “See, I’ve been saying that the entire time, but no one listened. It’s a sad existence.”
Prue laughed again, and unlocked the liquor cabinet. She pulled out a bottle of vodka. “Here we are.” She went into the kitchen, and pulled out four shot glasses, filling them up. The four witches picked them up, and downed them quickly. Prue poured four more, and asked, “So, just how many types of demons are there?”
Xander shrugged. “Hell if I know. I’ve been reading about this stuff for years now, and I’m still not clear on how many different breeds of vampires there are, let alone the other demons.” He knocked the vodka back, and continued. “There’s always some new creepy crawly coming out of the woodwork. There was even a demon that you could only see if you were sick. Der Kinderstod.”
Phoebe blinked. “Doesn’t that mean ‘child death’?”
Xander nodded. “Yeah. Liked to hang out in the children’s ward…” He shuddered. “Creepy thing.” He shrugged. “But, on the upside, it’s dead now.”
“Did you kill it?” Piper asked.
He shook his head. “No. My friend Buffy, she’s the Slayer, killed it. She was sick at the time, so she could see it.”
The three sisters spoke as one. “Slayer?”
Xander nodded. “Yeah. Mystically empowered warrior. The spiel goes, ‘Into every generation, there is a chosen one. She alone will have the power to stand against the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness. She is the Slayer.’ Basically, she’s strong, fast, agile, can handle any weapon she picks up automatically, heals quickly, and gets prophetic dreams sometimes. Also, she’s got this sixth sense that tells her when a demon is close by. When one dies, another is called.” He paused, and tapped his glass. “Think I could get a refill? All this talking is making my throat sore.” Prue nodded, and poured him another shot. He drank it, and sighed. “Alright, might as well get comfortable. This turns into a long story pretty quickly…”
They talked well into the night, as he filled them in on everything he knew. By the end, they were all thoroughly drunk, and had somehow all managed to get to their respective beds.
When Xander awoke the next morning, his head felt like there was a brass band running around inside. He reached into his bag, and drew a pentacle. He sat down inside it, and began his cleansing ritual. Within minutes, his body was cleared of toxins, and he went downstairs. No one was awake yet, so he decided to make breakfast. He kicked himself when he realized that he had never gotten around to patrolling last night. Oh, well. There’s always tonight, I guess.
He had just finished with breakfast, when Piper came in. She sat down at the island, and groaned. Xander grinned. “Goooooood morning, Piper!”
She glared at him. “What right do you have to be so chipper? You drank more than I did.”
He nodded, a huge grin on his face. “Very true, but I know how to center myself and cleanse my body.” Again, he got a glare. He laughed, and poured her a cup of coffee. “Here, this should help.” She took it, and sat quietly, sipping on it. Prue was next to come in. Unlike Piper, she didn’t seem to have the strength to speak. She sat next to her sister, and laid her head down on the counter. Phoebe came in soon after. She seemed fine, if a bit quiet. Xander would later learn this was because she had thrown up before the alcohol went through her system completely.
After a quiet (Especially for those with hangovers) breakfast, they began discussing what they would do now.
Prue was very vocal about maintaining a normal life. “I’ve got a good job, friends, the whole she-bang! I don’t want to give that up.”
Piper nodded. “I agree. I’m about to audition for one of the best chef jobs in the city, and Jeremy’s coming over later. I can’t let this disrupt everything.”
Phoebe remained silent. In truth, she didn’t have much of a life. Her college days had come to an end, since she couldn’t afford tuition, and she had no boyfriend to speak of.
Xander spoke up. “I understand, believe me, I do. But, the sad fact is, a normal life isn’t in the cards. For one thing, you’re putting out a lot of magical power right now. That’s going to attract a lot of attention from the supernatural world. I mean, the Hellmouth brings demons from far and wide. You may not be as powerful, but believe me, you’re powerful enough. I’ve barely begun honing my ‘magic sense,’ and it’s almost too much for me to handle. Once the power hungry demons start coming, it’s either fight, flight, or die.” The sisters took a moment to process his words.
Then, Piper snarled. “This is all your fault! You read the damn inscription!”
Xander looked at the floor. “Yeah… I know. That’s why I’m trying to prepare you for what’s coming. I can’t change the past. Time travel spells are insanely dangerous. They can wipe the caster from existence if not done properly, and maybe even the whole of existence.”
Piper slumped in her seat. “Sorry, Xander. I know you didn’t mean to do this. It’s just so frustrating…”
Xander nodded. “I know. And believe me, I know the pull of a normal life. Not that I can have one anymore, even if I didn’t have magic. I’ve seen too much. I can’t just walk away.”
Phoebe looked up. “But, you could get killed! I mean, there are real demons! How can you fight them?!”
Xander shrugged. “I fight however I have to. I know I can get killed, Phoebe. I’m okay with it. I don’t expect to live very long at all. But like I said, I can’t walk away.”
With a sigh, he stood. “Look, I’ll leave you guys alone to think about everything I’ve said. I’ll be back in a few hours.” With that, he left the manor, and the Charmed Ones were left with their thoughts.