Chapter 1: Grand Canyon
AN: Gah! I just looked at my story here (my first story here) and I've already got two reviews and a recommendation. Thanks to kayron and bex for the reviews, and FrauleinWeisenheimer for the rec. I am mush, I'm so happy right now.
Okay, I'll try to get to work now.
Normal Guy by AlexTheGray
Chapter 1: Grand Canyon
June of 1999. 30 miles out of Oxnard.
The sun beat down on the black of the highway, liquefying the tar into streams of sticky goo. The air down the road bent and waved in the summer heat, making pools of reflection look like pools of ready to drink water, if only they would stop moving.
Xander stumped along, his flip-flops kicking up the dirt on the side of the road.
This wasn't supposed to be happening. This was supposed to be his great road trip to see all fifty states. He was going to eat real southern fried chicken and New England clam chowder, see the Statue of Liberty, the St. Louis Arch, Mt. Rushmore. God dammit, he was going to have his picture taken in front of the worlds biggest ball of twine and the Mystery Spot of Oregon.
But no. What happens?
The freaking engine fell out. The engine... How does an engine fall out, anyway? Isn't it supposed to be secured to something? You'd think his Uncle Rory could have at least given him a car that wouldn't crap out before the first hundred miles. But again, wrong. Oh so wrong.
His first time leaving Sunnydale and the car practically ignites.
He'd only gotten halfway to the next town after Oxnard when it happened. He'd considered hoofing it back to the town with a definite tow truck, but dammit, he hadn't made it out of Sunnydale just to turn around. Plus the only place he'd seen that he might have been able to get the cash to fix the car had been the Fabulous Ladies' Night Club, and he was so not pushing his luck (or lack of) by going there.
So here he was, plodding down the road headed toward LA. He'd taken his undershirt off and shoved it in one of his back pockets after fifteen minutes in the summer sun, and now, an hour and a half later, his Hawaiian shirt was drench with sweat and sticking to his back like a suction cup, his feet were blistered, and he had one of the worst sunburns of his life. This was more sun than he'd seen in years. Albeit, most of his time was spent inside fluorescent classrooms or out in starlit graveyards.
At least the air smelled fresher. Which was odd, since he was heading toward LA, smog city, not away from it.
But God the sun was strong out here. It was like the sumo-wrestler of suns the way it beat down on his head. It was like he'd never really felt the sun before. Weird for a SoCal kid. Again, you'd think that he'd at least know simple things like the sun was hot, but-
He jerked, losing his footing and sliding down the side of a loose, rocky slope. He grabbed wildly for a handhold, scraping his hands on the sharp edges of rocks. As he reached the end of the slope and the beginning of the shear drop it lead into, his hold finally caught on a large rock more firmly set into the side of the slope, halting his descent.
What the hell?!
He spent a minute trying simultaneously to catch his breath and not hyperventilate. After successfully not fainting, he decided to take stock. His palms were bleeding, his shirt had ridden up to reside around his armpits, his back felt like it had been scraped raw, and from the feel of it he'd lost a shoe. He turned his head to look back and down, checking out what kind of pit he'd been about to fall into; turned away to stare at the dirt in front of him, then turned back to look behind.
Again: what the hell?!
First he was minding his own business, griping to himself about the everything life was throwing at him, then the next minute he's skidding down the side of a freaking CANYON?
He looked back up the slope, wondering if he could work his way back up. But all he saw was loose dirt, loose rocks, and loosely held scrubby plants. He would never get out of there if he tried to climb. He definitely couldn't let go. What he needed was...
It came out on a cough, his mouth and nose filling with the dust from his descent. Gravelly pebbles went tumbling down behind him, falling into the gorge bellow, and his grasp of the handhold above him slipped. Clutching more tightly at it, he spent the next few minutes fighting a coughing fit that would probably send him plummeting to a splattery death.
When he could open his mouth without being sent into a series of racking coughs, he called out again. "S-Somebody help! I- I can't hold on much- Aah!" he cried as his sweaty palms made his grip all the more tenuous.
"Oh God, oh god, oh god..."
A rush of air at his back almost surprised him out of his desperate clutching. Out of the corner of his eye a flash of billowing, primary red caught his attention. Then, as strong hands came to grip him beneath the arms, a voice spoke in his ear. "Sorry, kid. Not God."
Xander had to fight to let go of his rocky handhold as he was lifted from what had been certain doom only moments before. After being practically floated up to more even ground, and as he was turning from his place on said ground (blessed, firm ground), he heard, "Just..."
"Superman," he finished.
And there he was in all his primary color, spandexy, wears-his-underwear-on-the-outside glory. His arms were crossed over his chest as he surveyed his most recent rescue, his cape surged in the wind from the canyon, and yet his hair remained untouched, perfectly groomed with only a single curl in the middle of his forehead. He exuded quiet confidence out of every pore.
Xander's mind whirred like the engine to a car that just wouldn't quite start. Superman had saved him.
"You might want to watch out next time, kid. The Grand Canyon's not the safest place to go exploring," Superman said despite Xander's awe struck, glazed gaze.
Oh wow. Superman had saved him from the Grand-
And his mind finally kicked into gear.
"Grand Canyon?!" he spluttered, heart pumping faster as he turned to look at said national landmark. "Grand... But I wasn't even in New Mexico!"
"Arizona," Superman corrected him, amused by the kid.
"Still," Xander said, beginning to panic. "Still, the Grand Canyon is nowhere near the stretch of highway I was on. The Grand Canyon is nowhere near the Pacific, which I wasn't even forty miles from ten minutes ago."
Superman looked at him now, seriousness mixing in with his curiosity about this strange boy. How did an ordinary teenage boy go from walking down the road in a coastal area to dangling from the side of the Grand Canyon in a matter of minutes?
As Superman was wondering about the logistics of the situation, Xander was attempting for the second time that day to not hyperventilate himself unconscious. This couldn't be happening. He'd just gotten away from the Hellmouth; weird stuff wasn't allowed to follow him! And he knew that whatever weird stuff was happening, it just had to be-
He felt that lurching feeling again, only this time he wasn't moving, wasn't falling. This time everything just suddenly got intense. He could feel every bit of grit and dirt covering him, being inhaled by him. He could taste the dirt on his tongue. He could feel Sumo-Sun beating down like it was as close as the moon.
But all of this was nothing to the sounds. The wind roared along the walls of the canyon, a hawk screeched in the sky, an insect beat its wings a half-mile away. And Superman, standing right before him, was breathing in, breathing out, his heart was beating a steady tha-thump, his boots were scuffing the dirt at his feet as he adjusted his stance. It all beat at the inside of his head; it was all too much.
Superman was there when the kid sank to his knees, his hands pressing desperately at his ears as he murmured, over and over, "Too much, too much, it's all too loud," before it completely overwhelmed him and he slid into unconsciousness.
And there he had his answer. How does an ordinary teen find himself hundreds of miles from where he was a few minutes ago? Easy. He doesn't. An ordinary teen just doesn't.
AN2: So yeah, it's primarily going to be a BtVS/Superman fic, but there will be some Justice League-y stuff along with some Batman-y action. I don't know how often I'm going to update after this. I've been oddly excited about this story so I've pretty much been pumping it out so far. Thanks for reading; please review.