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Xander Season Two

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This story is No. 2 in the series "Xander Ascendant". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: On the edge from his encounter with Dracula, Xander returns to Las Vegas hoping to pull himself together, but Xander finds not everything in Las Vegas has gone well in his absence.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
CSI > CSI Las Vegas
Harry Potter > Xander-Centered
EmmaLoveFR151037,47233229,75810 May 0916 Jun 10Yes

Chapter One

Disclaimer: As most of you know by now - I do not own Buffy/Angel (alas!), nor do I have even a friend of a friend who knows the good fellow (fellows?) that does own Buffy/Angel. Also, just to keep things on the up and up - I do not own Harry Potter, nor do I own CSI. If I did I'd probably be rolling around in my large piles of money rather than writing fanfic.

Notes: This fanfic begins the day after Buffy vs Dracula. Of course, if I go by episode dates (like I did in Part One) that would mean Xander (and Harry) stayed in Sunnydale for almost four months. So, here's the deal, I'm pretending the events of Buffy vs Dracula actually take place in mid-July that way I can say Xander was only in Sunnydale a couple months. However, all the other Buffy/Angel episodes take place on their air dates. With me? Good.

WARNINGS: Harry is probably going to be gay - so he may end up with a boyfriend. However, if Harry does end up with a boyfriend (which is not certain at this point, because I may have Harry gay but single for all or most of this "season") it wouldn't be any more graphic/in your face than Willow/Tara was.
Now the big one, Xander will have at least one homosexual one night stand. I said one night stand, not relationship, I thought I should warn for this since I told (promised) a few readers that the Xander in this fanfic wouldn't end up gay, and I meant it, but... Okay, I really can't say more without giving a few things away, so I'll just say that the scene will take place mostly off screen. And, for the record, it will NOT be with Harry. Sorry to those that were hoping for Xander/Harry.
Oh, and there will be (unless things really change) a boy/girl/boy threesome much later in Season Two also involving Xander, which would of course have its own homosexual overtones, if it takes place on-screen. However, I may have the threesome itself happen mostly off-screen.
Finally, this part will be a bit darker emotionally than Season One was, especially in the beginning, but I'm hoping it won't be a complete wangst-fest either.

Xander Season Two
~Chapter One~


In the end, Xander spent two months in Sunnydale before leaving. Now Xander was driving back to Las Vegas by way of Los Angeles, because he needed to see Angel, which was just wrong on so many levels. But something strange was happening in Sunnydale, or at least something stranger than normal, hence the stop-over in Los Angeles.

Harry had no idea what was going on either, though he seemed to know a bit more than Xander. After the Dracula ordeal, Xander returned to the hotel to find Harry exhausted but nervous. Harry had passed out, but not before telling Xander that five minutes before there had been a big burst of magic.

The next day, Harry was still asleep when Xander headed off to Buffy's house. Buffy had told Xander to come to her house early, because Willow was going to be there, and Buffy was trying to help them make peace. When he got to her house there was no sign of Willow, but there was someone there who just the day before hadn't been. Someone who everyone thought had always been there.

Buffy and her mother didn't seem to aware of anything out of the ordinary, and since Xander wasn't sure what was going on he'd managed not to say anything, especially since the girl (Dawn) didn't seem to realize that she hadn't always been there. She also seemed to have a little bit of a crush on Xander, which probably freaked him out more than it should have.

Xander hadn't waited for Willow, since he'd felt like a fish out of water, and upon returning to the hotel, he'd told Harry as much as he'd managed to learn about Dawn, which admittedly wasn't much. Harry admitted that he'd known about the memory charm aspect, but said there was much more at work than a simple memory charm.

"Simple?" Xander had asked incredulously.

When Harry looked up from his breakfast, he was grinning. "That's probably why we aren't affected, because with the amount of power they, whoever they are, had, they could have easily broken my block on memory charms, but since they didn't, it means that while the spell was large-scale it was still a simple charm."

Which probably made sense, but since what Xander knew about magic involved naked witches, he'd just have to take Harry's word for it. The good news is that because of Dawn, or her sudden appearance, Xander had forced himself to go to Giles, because while Dawn didn't seem to be a direct danger to Buffy, Xander had decided to feel threatened anyway.

After arriving at Giles, but before Xander could babble out the whole story it had become clear that Giles was under the same spell as Buffy and Joyce, so Xander had decided to keep his knowledge to himself. However, some good had come from seeing Giles again, because Xander knew that Giles didn't hate him, and did in fact in his own way care about Xander. Just not as much as he cared about Buffy and Willow, and Xander was cool with that.

Xander smiled. Giles had even said that he had missed and would probably continue to miss Xander, which lead to Xander making a smart remark, after which Giles had added "not that much."

After that, Xander feeling bolder had asked why Giles had seemed so happy about the fact that Xander wasn't coming back, and Giles admitted that he was merely glad that Xander was getting out of Sunnydale. Which was nice, but it also caused Xander to realize some things about Giles, and not all of it pleasant.

Giles was a flawed human just like the rest of them, which had shocked Xander, and it was only then that Xander had realized that he'd thought Giles was somehow better than everyone else.

In the end, while Giles might care for others, the man was all about Buffy, which wasn't something Xander could hold against him, but the problem with Giles being so singularly focused was that he missed things (people) that made Buffy greater than she would be otherwise.

For example, Willow had chosen to go to college in Sunnydale thinking it was the best place to learn magic, and while Xander privately thought she would have been better leaving the Hellmouth, that wasn't the point. The point was that while Giles wasn't a powerful magical user he did have extensive knowledge on the subject. Knowledge that if he shared with Willow would greatly aid Buffy, but Giles couldn't seem to see that.

Xander frowned. Willow was basically being forced to learn magic on her own, which probably explained why more often than not her spells would go wrong. After realizing that, Xander had tried to subtly hint to both Buffy and Giles that it might be beneficial for Giles to share his knowledge with Willow, and while Xander suspected Buffy understood, Giles hadn't seemed to.

Then there was Xander himself, who at the time had been determined to remain by Buffy's side and help her all he could, which as far as he was concerned wasn't much, but had he been given some training could have been. The least Giles could have done was offered to teach Xander some fighting skills. Though, to be fair, training Buffy was no doubt a handful, still there was no logical reason for Giles not even suggesting that Xander at least take an outside course on self-defense.

Still Xander could almost understand why Giles hadn't bothered with him, but he'd probably never understand why Giles hadn't thought of helping Willow. The only answer Xander could come up with really didn't make sense, but perhaps Giles thought if he didn't encourage them they would stop putting themselves in danger by helping Buffy. But after the first year (hell, after the first month) that explanation didn't make sense.

There was also the nagging feeling Xander had that once Buffy was gone, something Xander didn't like thinking about, Giles wouldn't hang around to continue fighting. Xander couldn't understand that, not really. He might not be in Sunnydale fighting beside Buffy anymore, but that didn't mean he'd walked away from the fight against darkness.

Xander reached out to change the radio station. He knew some of his thoughts were because of Catherine's influence, mostly because both Catherine and Warrick had been stunned when they'd learned that Giles hadn't offered those aiding the Slayer any special training of there own. That unhappy subject had come up after the first time they'd seen Xander fight, Warrick had wondered why Xander wasn't a better fighter considering that he'd been doing it for years.

Catherine had been especially unhappy when Xander had mentioned it. Of course, she had a rather strong bias against Watchers in the first place, on the other hand, that didn't mean she was wrong.

Xander frowned. It was also because of Catherine that he could see the full tragedy of Buffy's life. Of course, even before Catherine, Xander had known that Buffy wasn't likely to live to a ripe old age, though he'd been really good at ignoring that knowledge most of them time. Now thanks to Catherine, he wasn't so good at ignoring it.

Xander could only hope that he was wrong about both Buffy and Giles, but Xander didn't think he was wrong about Giles.

Xander pushed those thoughts away, and touched the vial in his pocket. He'd managed to steal a bit of Dawn's hair which he planned to have Catherine analyze when he got back to Las Vegas. Dawn looked human, and she seemed just as much a victim of magic as everyone else, but Harry said there was something different about her. So, Xander wasn't planning to relax until he was sure Dawn was at least human.

Of course, Dawn wasn't the only reason Xander finally decided to leave Sunnydale. The reason he was leaving was mostly Willow, though Xander couldn't help but wonder how long he might have stayed if Dawn hadn't shown up.

Three nights before, Xander had overheard Willow explaining to Buffy why she didn't want to talk to Xander, and at least it wasn't all bad. Willow had admitted to Buffy that she wanted more than anything to make peace with him, but the reason she didn't was because she knew the moment she did Xander would be leaving.

That made Xander both happy and sad. Happy because it meant that he hadn't completely lost Willow as a friend, but sad because he hadn't realized that she could be so emotionally manipulative. On the other hand, she wasn't wrong, which meant Xander couldn't exactly hold it against her. It was that night that Xander had decided to leave, because by staying he was rewarding Willow's emotional manipulation, and while there was a time he wouldn't have cared that time was past.

Xander frowned. After that conversation, he had stayed three more days hoping Willow would come around, but she hadn't.

At least now Xander would no longer have to deal with the tension between Harry and Willow. Xander suspected that Harry actually hated Willow, which was disappointing since Xander had been hoping that Harry would come to love the Sunnydale gang like he did. On the plus side, Harry had warmed toward Giles, though Xander didn't think Harry truly cared one way or another about Giles. On the other hand, Harry and Buffy had gotten pretty close after that first night, which Xander hadn't realized until he'd overheard the two of them sharing their "I'm a hero" stories.

Xander grinned. Like Xander before her, Buffy had been forced to concede that Harry had gotten the worse deal, and that had been without Harry telling Buffy his entire story.

Xander changed the radio station again, and wondered how Warrick was doing. Just over a month ago, Warrick had returned to Las Vegas after having discovered that he was a werewolf. Xander was worried about him, but the last time they'd spoken Warrick had assured him that he was fine.

Thinking about Warrick lead his thoughts back to Willow. Just after Warrick left, Willow had started acting normal again, and at the time Xander had been thrilled, because he thought it meant she was ready to accept his new life. Now Xander knew the truth, she'd simply thought that because he hadn't left with Warrick it meant that Xander was planning to stay in Sunnydale. When she learned he still wasn't planning to stay, the veil of silence had descended again.

Xander had been shocked to discover that while he did still care about what Willow thought, at that time he'd been more concerned about Warrick than Willow. Xander was also ashamed that he hadn't realized that Warrick was a werewolf before that, because Warrick had shared the details about his first night in Sunnydale, but until the full moon and Warrick's first change Xander hadn't connected the dots.

Catherine hadn't been happy when Warrick had returned to Las Vegas without him, but she had been more understanding when Warrick had explained what had happened, because even she understood the urge to be on familiar ground when everything else was messed up.

Xander was struck with the sudden urge to hit something. Warrick had just gone through his second full moon, and Xander hadn't been there for him.

Xander had called Las Vegas this morning, and according to Catherine Warrick was fine. However, Xander could tell that she was hiding something, but he did believe her when she said Warrick was fine, because she'd been to cheerful for something to be wrong.

At least he'd made her day when he'd told her that he was leaving Sunnydale tonight.

Xander groaned. He'd gotten caught up in her excitement and had forgotten to tell her about his plan to stop in Los Angeles before returning to Las Vegas. He thought pulling over and digging his cell phone out, but decided to just wait until he got to Los Angeles.

"You're still worried about leaving them alone with Dawn, aren't you?" Harry asked, and Xander realized that the only sounds in the car over the past hour had come from the radio.

Xander nodded. "But not as much as you'd think. Mostly I'm trying not to think about the fact that Dracula somehow managed to thrall me despite your protection spell."

Which wasn't the whole truth, he was just flat bothered by Dracula period. He was also doing his best to not think about it. Trouble was that his best just wasn't quite good enough. Dracula had broken Xander, though Xander suspected that hadn't been the vampires intention, though in the end his intentions really didn't matter, because something inside Xander was broken now, and it was Dracula's fault. If Xander allowed himself to think about it he knew he would end up curled in a corner somewhere completely unable to function normally.

Harry frowned, and despite everything, Xander grinned.

"I told you that a thrall is not a memory charm."

"Seems the same to me," worse, actually, Xander added silently. At least when Xander had his mind wiped before he hadn't ended up being someone's bitch. Allowing Dracula to feed from him was bad enough, but what broke Xander was that he'd begged Dracula to do so, and even now there was a part of him that wanted Dracula to come do it again.

"No," Harry replied in a tone of long-suffering. "I said they shared certain components, but they aren't remotely the same."

Xander struggled to focus on the sound of Harry's voice. He had to stop thinking about Dracula, had to stop thinking about all the things the vampire had done to him, things that Xander hadn't objected to. Logically Xander knew it wasn't his fault, but emotionally he couldn't help but blame himself for not fighting harder. He couldn't help but feel that at least a part of himself had wanted it, because part of him believed that if he hadn't wanted it then he would have been able to break the thrall.

Buffy! Xander latched on to her like he'd never latched on to her before, because even she hadn't been able to break the thrall until she'd drank Dracula's blood, which wasn't exactly comforting, because while drinking his blood had helped Buffy break the thrall, it had only pulled Xander deeper in to it.

"Dracula couldn't," Harry was saying, and his voice was still distant, but it was coming more in focus, which made Xander happy.

"And didn't change your memories," Harry continued, completely unaware of the trouble Xander was having. "I'd say this whole Dawn thing is proof enough of that."

Suddenly, Xander found the world come completely into focus around him, and breathed a sigh of relief.

"What happened," Harry said softly. "Was not your fault, he chose you, not the other way around."

Xander realized that Harry wasn't as oblivious to what Xander was going through as he'd originally thought.

"And I think I know why," Harry said. "There was only three people close enough to Buffy to be useful to him."

Xander felt his chest tighten at the thought of that monster getting his hands on Willow, and that surprisingly made Xander feel a little bit better about everything, because he would, maybe not gladly, but he would be completely willing to suffer everything all over again to protect Willow.

"And only one of them was magically powerless," Harry continued. "Dracula is very powerful, but I suspect Willow is at least as powerful as he is if not more so, which is why he wouldn't have chosen her."

"But there is Giles," and Xander did feel a certain amount of shame when he found himself wishing that Giles had been the one to get Dracula's attention. However, Xander really couldn't help wishing that Dracula had focused on someone else.

Harry grimaced. "You may not like my answer here."

"But I want to hear it."

"I think," Harry said slowly. "Based on what we learned about Dracula," Harry paused. "Well, I doubt Giles was an option for him."

"Huh?"

"We didn't really learn much about Dracula," Harry said. "But there are some disturbing hints about the type of males Dracula likes, if you know what I mean."

Xander wasn't sure he did.

Harry took a deep breath. "It would seem that Dracula likes boys."

Oh, Xander thought numbly. That did explain it.

"If it makes you feel better," Harry said. "I think Dracula would have been more likely to come after me, if you know, I'd been closer to Buffy."

And once again Xander realized there was someone else he would go through everything all over again to protect, which was why Xander was disturbed when he thought he heard Harry say "I rather wish he had."

"You don't mean that."

"Not really, but I'd rather it happen to me."

Xander felt warm. It was nice to know that there was someone out there who wanted to protect him. For as long as Xander could remember he'd always been the one protecting others, so it was nice to know that someone wanted to do the same for him, even if he was glad that what had happened to him hadn't happened to Harry.

Finally, as Xander noticed the sky getting lighter, he found Angel Investigations, which didn't mean that he'd found Angel, because the building was nothing more than a burned out shell.

While Xander tried to figure out his next move, Harry pulled out his cell phone.

"Do you remember the number Cordelia gave you?" Harry asked after a moment.

Xander pulled out his wallet, and handed the card to Harry.

Harry called, and got directions to Cordelia's apartment, and when the door opened Cordelia smirked.

"If you can enter, fine, if not," she said. "Go away!"

Xander grinned as he stepped inside followed by Harry.

"Clever," he said, and Cordelia smiled.

"I made the mistake of telling Angel, before I even got this place, that when I got a place he was totally invited over," Cordelia said. "I didn't even really mean it, but it was enough."

Xander looked around, it was a nice place, and the gang was all here. There was note board against the wall, with case information on it.

Wesley was sitting at a table, or at least Xander assumed there was a table somewhere under all the books.

"Xander," Angel said by way of greeting, but his voice was neutral.

"SeƱor Hairgel," Xander responded, and Cordelia rolled her eyes, before completely stunning Xander by turning into the perfect host. The surprise wasn't that she was being a good hostess, but that she wasn't acting, she was completely sincere.

Wesley looked up, and mumbled a greeting before returning to his books.

Harry moved toward Wesley, but stopped suddenly. He was staring intently at the wall, or at least Xander thought he was looking at the wall.

"Are you aware that you have a ghost?" Harry asked as Cordelia handed him a drink.

"That's my room-mate," Cordelia replied. "Phantom Dennis."

"You can see him?" Angel asked.

Harry nodded, and all the lights in the house flickered.

"Sorry about that," Harry said, and Xander thought he was about to blush. "Your ghost is just happy that someone can actually see him."

Xander opened his mouth, but was stopped by the jingle of Harry's cell phone. Harry pulled it out, and after glancing at the display tossed it to Xander.

Xander looked before flipping it open, it was Catherine so he had to answer.

"Hello, sweetheart," he said, and noticed Cordelia sit up straighter.

"Where the hell are you?" Xander was stunned, because he'd never heard her sound harsh before.

"Los Angeles, why?" Xander replied, and tried to keep the hurt out of his voice. It helped when he heard Catherine give a soft sigh of relief. It also helped that he knew she and Warrick feared that he was never going to leave Sunnydale.

"And is your cell phone broken?" Catherine asked, and Xander could almost see the disgruntled expression on her face.

Xander knew he looked sheepish, but she couldn't see him.

"Not as such, no," Xander replied. "I packed it away with my clothes, which means it's still in the trunk of my car."

Catherine snorted. "Typical."

"Hey, Harry turned his off," Xander said, trying to share the blame. "We weren't trying to avoid you guys, we were actually afraid someone from Sunnydale would try to call us."

Which seemed to catch everyone's attention.

"Why?"

"In the immortal words of," Xander said. "Well, I don't know who, but something strange is going on. Stranger than usual, and Harry and I seem to be the only ones who know."

Catherine laughed, and Xander realized that everyone but Harry and Wesley was listening intently.

"I've got some hair I'd like you to analyze when we get back," Xander said.

"Human?"

"I'm not sure, that's why I want you to test it."

"Not a problem," Catherine replied. "Though it is a bit outside my area of expertise."

"But you can get it done?"

"Of course," Catherine replied, and somehow managed not to sound arrogant. "So, when can we expect you back?"

"If all goes well," Xander said. "We should be back by tomorrow night."

"About time," Catherine said. "Oh, there is just one more thing..."

Xander frowned, her voice sounded serious.

"What's this I hear about us dating?"

Xander groaned. "Long story, I'll fill you in when we get back," Xander said, though he hoped she would forget all about it by the time he got home.

"Warrick finally told her about that?" Harry asked when Xander tossed the phone back to him.

"Apparently, and now I have to kill him," Xander replied.

Harry laughed. "Oh, come on. It's a good story. The great playboy, Xander Harris, accosted by a horny female demanding sex. You, the one who claims breathing makes you horny, proceeded to turn her down."

Xander glared, which just seemed to amuse Harry even more.

Cordelia looked at Harry, and Xander knew she wanted the whole story.

By the time Harry finished, even Angel was looking amused.

"I almost feel sorry for Mister Giles," Wesley said.

"Xander said the exact same thing," Harry said.

"So," Cordelia said. "Not that this isn't nice, but why are you here? What's wrong in Sunnydale?"

"There was a big burst magic, and now everything is slightly different. There's someone new, only no one seems to know that someone new is there."

"And that totally and completely explains everything," Cordelia replied snappishly, and Xander was happy to see that Cordelia was still herself underneath whatever it was that appeared to be making her nicer.

"Dawn," Harry said, but was stopped when Angel spoke.

"Has something happened to her?" Angel asked, and Xander realized that the spell had affected everyone, not just those left behind in Sunnydale.

What the hell was going on?

"No, except for the little fact that two days ago she didn't exist," Xander said, and wasn't really surprised when everyone looked confused.

"Joy," Xander muttered. "Look, I don't know what exactly happened. One day she wasn't there and the next day she was, but everyone, including you guys apparently, believe that she's always been there."

Now they were all looking at him as though he were crazy.

Xander took a deep breath, and tried to come up with something to prove he wasn't lying.

Before Xander could come up with anything, Harry started telling the story. He started with Xander's mind-rape last year, and explained how afterward Harry had come up with a way to protect them from memory spells. Harry mentioned Dracula, but only gave the barest of details, and probably only mentioned it because it had happened right before Dawn appeared.

"She really hasn't always been there?" Angel asked his voice was a mix of confusion and disbelief.

"No, she really hasn't," Xander said.

"Buffy's in danger," Angel said, and Xander almost rolled his eyes. Of course, the thought of Buffy in danger would break through Angel's fog.

"I don't think so," Harry said shocking Xander. "I've been thinking about this for the past few hours, and someone, several someone's probably, went to an awful lot of trouble to make everyone, including Dawn herself, believe that she is Buffy's sister. This tells me that if they wanted Buffy dead, Buffy would all ready be dead, because who ever is behind this clearly isn't lacking for power."

"Buffy's in danger," Angel repeated.

"Well, she does live in Sunnydale," Harry's voice was resigned, but Xander saw Wesley crack a smile.

"Can you break the spell?" Wesley asked Harry.

Harry frowned. "I don't know. Since I suspect whoever is behind this is even more powerful than I am, probably not. Memory charms are dangerous to break if you aren't at least as powerful as the person who cast the spell."

Wesley opened his mouth, but Harry waved him off.

"Think before you ask me to do it anyway, because it could leave you damaged to such a point that you would be unable to function normally," Harry said. "Perhaps if I could gather a group of magical people together it could be safely broken, but there's no telling what would happen, because in this case I'd have to break the spell on everyone, I couldn't single out one or two people."

"Why?" Cordelia asked.

"Because the spell was cast on everyone at once," Harry replied. "There was only one memory spell, not separate ones."

"I still believe we should look into this," Wesley said. "Whoever is behind this has a reason, and I'd like to know what that reason is."

"You can try," Harry replied, but Xander could tell he didn't expect Wesley to learn anything.

~ * ~ * ~
tbc
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