All characters, settings and other properties ('Buffy the Vampire Slayer' created by Joss Whedon, produced by 20th Century Fox Television, Mutant Enemy, Kuzui Enterprises, Sandollar Television; 'Heroes' created by Tim Kring, produced by NBC Universal Television, Tailwind Productions, Universal Media Studios; 'Doctor Who' created by Sydney Newman, C. E. Webber and Donald Wilson, Russell T Davis, Julie Gardner et al, produced by the British Broadcasting Corporation, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; 'Law & Order' created by Dick Wolf, produced by Studios USA Television (in association with), NBC Universal Television (in association with), Universal Network Television) belong to their respective creators, producers, and distributors. This story is for entertainment purposes only. Any similarities to real people, places or events is unintentional. No claim to rights or other infringement of any sort is intended.Early evening – Anchor Tap Pub - Bermondsey, London. Five Months Before Present Day
He sat nursing a bottle of the incredibly powerful Imperial Stout the barman had recommended. He wondered, in retrospect, whether the guy had done so purely to see an American try to cope with a seven percent beer. Maybe not. It did taste good - deep and rich and strong.
Opposite him at the table sat Peter and Claire. Xander had selected the Anchor Tap – at the southern end of Tower Bridge – because of it's location and because it was an old, dark, traditional pub, with a number of pokey little rooms that offered a great deal of privacy. Hence, it was ideal for his needs.
Xander had taken the lead, skirting the piano, pool table and an older man playing darts and had lodged them in one of the semi-private rooms. At this time of the day, during the middle of the week, the place was only just beginning to fill up. Xander had been here only once before, en route to Africa, but the excellent beer and the perfect ambiance for an English pub had stuck with him.
He had explained to Petrelli and his niece about the destruction of Sunnydale and the events that came after. Now he had to explain what was yet to come.
“There's something coming. An apocalypse – *the* Apocalypse. Maybe the end of everything. Friends of ours tried to stop it.” Xander grimaced. “Thing is, they seem to have actually sped things up. It started when they managed to piss off the Wolf, Ram and Hart - three of these humongously powerful demons by wiping out their point-men – point-things, actually - in this dimension, group called the 'Circle of the Black Thorn'.” He took another mouthful of stout. “We can't be sure but... we think they're gathering. I mean, they have actual legions. Legions! We're doing what we can, but there's a limit.” He groaned. “We've got problems in more and more places. We don't know if it's connected, but it adds up to the same thing. Yeah, sure, we have hundreds of Slayers now, but it never seems enough - we still end up being stretched thin. The others seem confident, but...” His shoulders slumped. “I think they're covering. There's a chance next time... next time we won't make it. Any of us. Hell on Earth forever.”
Peter considered the implications. There was no doubting Harris' earnestness. “I need pen and paper,” he said gently.
Xander chuckled nervously. “Writing your 'Last Will and Testament'? Not feelin' the confidence here!”
“I can draw the future. I need to know if I can see it.”
Wordlessly, Xander got up and left the room. He borrowed a pen from the bar and returned, slumping into his seat. He grabbed a 'specials' menu and offered the blank reverse side and the pen to Petrelli.
Peter focused his ability and began to sketch. It took time and Claire tried to engage in small-talk with Xander Harris. He tried to join in, but too often his fascinated gaze was drawn to Petrelli's milky, unseeing eyes, instead of Claire's green orbs.
Eventually, Peter sat back, blinked, and looked down at what he had drawn. Without a word he pushed the paper to Harris.
Xander looked at the sketch and gulped. “Oh God...”
Claire looked worriedly between the two men and, receiving no answer to her implied question, slid the drawing in front of her. Peter tried to stop her, but she insisted. She regretted it. It was beyond disturbing it was... twisted and insane and her brain fought to reject its existence even as its contents nibbled at her sanity. It was violent and degraded and arousing and grotesque. It was a nightmare made real. Hell on Earth. She flinched away but the picture was embedded in her brain - a freezing spike of fear. This was what scared Xander Harris. This was what was coming – an invasion so devastating and utterly inhuman that the world would never recover. She grabbed the thin paper menu and crushed it into a ball in her palm, trying to wipe it from her mind. It almost hurt, like it was... burning. Smoke dribbled from between her fingers and then an orange flame flickered and it was burning her hand. She threw it onto the table and Harris quickly slapped the flames out, the remains battered into crumbled black ash. He looked up to find Peter looking oddly at the scattered remains.
“Nice,” muttered Harris, “that trick'd be useful for dealing with vam-” Claire held her hand up and he watched in fascination as her blackened and blistered hand healed before his eyes.
“Claire's power is regeneration – she's not pyrokinetic.”
Harris paled. “Then, that was...” the swallowed and ran his hand through his hair. “It's Them. They know.” He looked up at Peter and though Harris tried to steel himself, Peter could see the fear lurking behind his eyes. Not for himself, but for humanity. “They know about you. I'm sorry. Maybe I shouldn't have dragged you into this...”
Claire shook her head, trying to console him. “Mr Harris, we asked, you told. Whatever happened, it's not your fault.” He was just too grown-up, too important, too intimidating for her to call him 'Xander', whatever he said.
“But it means you're committed, whether you like it or not. If you can do something to help us, to help the world, do it.” Xander gestured to the ashes on the table. “Help us stop that future from happening.”
Peter groaned inwardly. Things were getting very complicated.