A/N: I’m going to clear the air, right away. This story will not be strictly canon. Of course, you probably suspected that since it is a Valdemar crossover. I will keep some of the storyline intact, but don’t get too upset if I take a sudden turn into left field. Xander’s Companion will not be typical. He will be one of the established Valdemar characters who does things his own way and will have the permission of Vkandis and Kaled’a’in to do some things that may be considered out of character for a Companion. (Nothing major. Think Yfandes.) I am considering adding another Companion later, but that is an unsure development. It will depend on where this story leads me. Now, for the standard disclaimer, I don’t own Buffy or Valdemar. *sigh* I have to agree with another author out there. It is obvious that we don’t own these characters, so why do we have to come out and say we don’t. I would be willing to bet that Mercedes Lackey or Joss Whedon don’t come on these websites and write stories. Of course, I could be wrong.
‘Some days just aren’t worth waking up for,’ lamented Xander in silence. The Fluke, as he thought of it, had left him at odds with his friends. He understood Oz’s animosity. ‘Word a day calendars, gotta love ‘em.’ Hell, he would have felt the same if Oz had kissed Cordy. He could understand Willow, a little bit. He figured that she was mostly Guilt Girl right now. Queen C was easy to figure out. The one that bothered him was Buffy. Of course, part of it was probably a front to exclude him from the slaying but she was treating him just short of being a cross between a child molester and a rapist. ‘Hello! Willow was lips and tongue into that kiss just like I was.’ he thought.
“Female conspiracy, that’s what it is.” he muttered to himself. He groaned silently. ‘That’s what I get for having all these PMS type friends.’
“Well, if it isn’t the Zeppo.” a very familiar voice snarked behind him. “What’s the matter, loser boy? Your friends still shutting you out?”
Xander turned to see Cordelia, as beautiful as ever except for the sneer that twisted her mouth. “You shouldn’t twist your mouth like that, Queen C. You look like you’re related to Snyder.”
Cordy’s eyes briefly widened in shock at the verbal barb from him. Xander had been being pretty passive to her attacks. Briefly, she wondered what had changed before putting that thought on the back burner and resuming her assault. “I think that you’re worth that risk, Zeppo.” She slowly paced around him. “You know, I thought you were pathetic before, but with your little playmates gone, you are even more of a loser. It’s pretty bad when a loser loses his loser friends.”
“At least I had real friends to lose, Cordy.” Xander turned to walk away.
“Yeah, well,” Cordy floundered and then threw out her parting shot that she grabbed at random, not really thinking about what she said until after she said it. “Next thing for a loser like you is to lose your parents.”
Xander’s shoulders hunched as if he had been struck a physical blow. He slowly turned back to look at his ex-girlfriend.
Cordelia actually took a step back at the look of pain on her ex-boyfriends face. Then she remembered some of the things that he had told her in confidence. She lifted her hand to her mouth in shock as she realized what she had said. “Xander, I…”
“I should be so lucky.” was all he had to say before he turned around and ran straight into his two former best friends, who had apparently heard most of the confrontation. He steeled himself to the look on their faces and gently shouldered past them. “Pardon me, ladies.” He hurried his steps as he heard Willow give out a strained “Xander!” behind him and Buffy’s “No, Will! It’s better this way. You know that!”
Suddenly, he stopped. ‘Enough is enough.’ Xander spun back to his former, by their thought, best friends. “What’s better this way, Buffy?” His eyes flashed in anger. “Deciding that I’m better off without my friends.” He turned a pointed look at Willow. “One of which was my friend since kindergarten. Just who are you to make that decision?”
Buffy was a little taken aback by the sudden attack from a usually quiet Xander. Then her anger kicked in. “We’re just trying to protect you, you idiot!”
“From who, Buff?” he challenged. “The sordid night life around here? You may be able to keep me away from you, but you can’t keep me out of things. You can’t be everywhere at once.”
“Xander.” Buffy’s tone become ominous. “I’d better not catch you out there.”
“Or what, Buffy? You gonna beat me up? Stake me?” Xander turned his back on the Slayer. “That would kind of defeat the purpose of kicking me out of the group, wouldn’t it?”
“I could always tell your parents to keep you home.” she called to his retreating back. “I could tell them that you are involved in something dangerous.”
Xander stopped and started shaking.
Buffy thought for a moment that he was angry or crying. She was wrong. He was shaking with laughter. But this laughter disturbed her. There was no mirth in it. In fact, it reminded her all too much of the Hyena.
Xander turned to look at her one last time. “Go ahead, Buff. All they’ll do is make sure that my insurance is paid up so that they can collect if I get killed.” He snorted. “Hell, my dad would probably sell me to a vamp for a bottle of booze if he thought he could.” He cocked a mocking grin at the shock on her face. “What? Think all parents are as good as your mom? I wish.” He pretended a glance at his watch. “Look at the time. It’s been fun but I gotta run.” He turned and left the shell shocked trio standing in the hall.
He turned a corner and stopped, leaning back against the nearest wall. Closing his eyes, he reached inside of himself for the peace that he had found during his late night walk. Breathing deeply, he let it calm him and work to soothe some of his pain.
“So, how much leeway are we going to give our new Companion?”
Kaled’a’in leaned back into her husbands arms. “He will have to train his new charge in weapons skill. I believe that we should give him the ability to walk the dream road and train young Alexander like my lesya’e Kal’enedral trained the Swordsworn.”
Vkandis smiled, slightly. “Put him through his paces while he sleeps and then observe him and correct him when awake? It is a bit unorthodox, but should work given who the Companion will be.” He paused and kissed his mate lightly on the temple. “Did I ever praise you on your choice? He was one of my favorites.”
The Goddess smiled as she snuggled deeper into her husband’s arms. “That was one of the reasons that I chose him. Along with the fact that he has as unwavering a concept of honor as does Alexander. And the resolve to break established rules in the defense of a loved one.”
“Yes.” he agreed. “They will be well matched.” Vkandis sighed. “Now to activate Alexander’s potentials. He won’t be thanking us anytime soon for what we are about to do to him.”
“I think that he will surprise you. His desire to help will outweigh his irritation at the way that his powers are awakened.”
“I certainly hope so. Those idiot Powers That Be have left him with some not unjustified prejudices against higher powers.”
“We will just have to change that, won’t we?”
Day passed and night came, along with a very severe and very strange thunderstorm. It baffled meteorologists, since there had been no signs foretelling of it in the weather data that they had. That and the fact that it seemed to come from out of no where and disappeared almost as quickly. The storm had lasted all of 15 minutes before vanishing.
They would have scratched their collective heads even more, or checked themselves into an institution, if they had witnessed some of the other anomalies that happened with the brief storm.
In a forest grove, a few miles from the home of Xander Harris, there was a small clearing. This was significant because the clearing was at the center of the storm. The wind whipped in a clockwise fashion as an underlying tension grew in the air. Suddenly, the impossible occurred. Four bolts of lightening fell from the sky from the four cardinal points of the compass to impact the earth at the center of the small vale. If there had been an observer, he would have seen a blinding flash of light that, as it faded, coalesced into a shimmering form of pure white.
When the after affects of the collective lightening strike had faded, the four legged form shook itself with a long snort. Then it threw its head back and gave a loud whiney before taking off at a gallop, heading in an unerring straight line towards the home of Xander Harris.
Xander had a bad night. Strange dreams plagued him. Or, maybe it would be better to say, one recurring strange dream plagued him. It was an odd, disjointed thing. Sometimes showing himself alone, other times in the company of Faith. That wasn’t all that strange. Ever since Faith showed up, the dark slayer had shown up in his dreams from time to time, usually with very little on. She was damn sexy, after all. They had made him a little guilty since he was with Cordy at the time, but his hormones didn’t have the same conscience that he did. This dream had him fighting at Faith’s back. It felt … right. There were flashes of the others fighting in the library. And, of all things, a white horse galloping in from out of nowhere. Xander rubbed his eyes as he sat up in bed. ’Damn! That was weird.’ The more he thought about it, the more he came to the realization that he needed to talk to Giles about it. “Besides, I need to see what the G-man will tell me about what’s going down at night.” he said to himself, talking out loud. He yawned and shook his head. “Man, I’m talking to myself. I hope I can get the others to realize they need me around before I really go around the bend and start answering myself.”
That said, he got out of bed and snuck into the bathroom for a quick shower before his parents woke up. He really didn’t feel like listening to his father list his shortcomings. Or, worse, have to dodge a swing from his old man. He had been careful to not let a blow land for several years since he didn’t know what his reflexes would do to the old bastard. It was hard enough to keep Alpha in check from just the verbal abuse. If the old girl had her way, Tony Harris would have been gutted within a week of the possession, but Xander had been able to keep her reigned in. The Soldier possession had made it easier to control Alpha, but his reflexes were combat triggered. This meant that if Harris the elder ever landed a hit, Soldier and Alpha would probably clean his clock. He snorted from under the shower. His ’alters’, as he sometimes thought of them, would love nothing better than to take over and put the ’Fear of God’ into the drunken slob.
He turned off the water, grabbed a towel, and cocked his head to listen while drying. ’Good.’ he thought. ’They’re still in la-la land.’ He scooted to his room to get dressed quickly. He grabbed his books and headed out to school, pausing just long enough to grab a couple of slices of raw toast with butter on his way out. As he hit the sidewalk he glanced at his watch and decided that he needed to hoof it if he was going to speak to G-man before classes started. Taking off at a trot, he never noticed the sapphire blue eyes that watched him.
Giles had turned out to be decidedly unhelpful. ‘I’ve gotta give him credit though.’ Xander mused. ‘He at least listened to me.’ And then handed Xander a book on dream interpretation. He DID make with a funny though as he handed over the book. His words were delivered in that dry English humor of his.
“I believe that this will help you understand your dreams better, Xander. However,” Giles smirked at the younger man, “I think that the inclusion of Faith needs no interpretation.”
“So you think that my hormones are just in overdrive.” had been Xander’s return comment.
Giles had actually cocked an eyebrow at him. “Xander, you are a teenaged male who is surrounded closely by beautiful young females on an almost constant basis. It would not have surprised me if more than Faith had appeared in your dreams.”
Xander returned to the present with a head shake and a sigh. “Looks like I’ll have to figure it out for myself.” he said to the air as he walked across the quad. Suddenly, he got an itching feeling on the back of his neck. Alpha’s hackles raised as the hyena spirit felt an observer. The Soldier concurred with his roommate; there was something watching. Xander did a slow observing turn. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Students were milling around. There was an occasional small animal getting under foot and, off in the distance, the equestrian club’s fenced pasture. Xander’s eyes held briefly on the pure white horse that was standing at the fence facing him before moving on. Realizing what he had seen, he brought his eyes back to the horse. “Huh!” he mused, aloud. “Bet that’s were the white horse in my dream came from. I must have seen it that field before.” He suddenly chuckled at himself as he shook his head, ruefully. “Should’ve known that dream was nothing before getting all worked up over it.” He turned and headed on to class, never once noticing that the white horse in question turned its head to watch him go.
The rest of the day was uneventful, which was actually par for the course. It was always the nightlife that got insane in the sleepy little town of Sunnydale. Due to a little serendipitous (word calendar again) eavesdropping, Xander had found out that the Scoobies sans Xander were expecting a group of demonic women, the Sisterhood of Jhe, sometime soon. That meant that he was going out to do a little scouting around since it seemed that the rest of the gang was going to sit on the Hellmouth and wait. This led to another interesting discovery.
“Come on, Harris! Join us. Being a zombie isn’t all that bad.” Jack O’Toole pitched his sales pitch with the skill of a used car salesman. “You don’t age. You don’t have to eat. You don’t have to work. You can’t die.”
“Can’t have sex.” Xander rebutted. “And, really, the ‘don’t eat’ thing, not a good selling point. I like Twinkies too much.”
“Alright. So a couple of minor disadvantages.” He made it sound like a couple of small dents in a fender. “Overall, it’s a sweet deal.” O’Toole’s face took on a look of menace. “Besides, if you aren’t with us, you’re against us.”
“Let me think about it.” Xander replied, as he backed away.
O’Toole nodded. “Alright. You do that, but don’t take too long. We’re going to set off some fireworks tonight that are going to give this town one hell of a show.” He turned with his group of zombies and laughed as they faded into the darkness.
Xander continued his patrol, which was surprisingly vamp free. He was considering calling it a night when he heard the sounds of fighting. He paused and checked his weapons (a couple of knives, a stake, and a squirt gun of holy water) before heading toward the fight. He wondered briefly if Buffy had decided to go out on patrol after all when he had a sudden intuitive flash. It wasn’t Buffy fighting. It was Faith. He took off at a dead run.
Faith was holding her own against some very ugly women, but they were getting some shots in because there were just too many of them. ‘B,’ she thought in irritation, ’you’re just like a cop. Never around when you need ’em.’ She considered a cut and run but these VUB (Very Ugly Bitches) had her cornered. ’No hope for it but to fight my way out.’ “Come on, ladies!” she taunted. “My grandmother hit harder than you ugly bitches.” Not one of her better insults, but she was a little too occupied with staying alive to think of something better. Besides, the quick quips were B’s department. She was into the quick slay.
Faith grunted as one of the VUB got in a backhanded hit that spun her around. ‘Damn! I could use some of that quippage right now.’
“So, are you guys trying to share your beauty secrets with Faith? Cause I’m here to tell ya’, she doesn’t need ‘em.”
Faith looked over at the voice. ‘Harris.’ she thought, identifying the young man who had come out of the shadows. ‘Figures I would get back-up from the one I probably need to protect. ‘As she watched, he reached behind his back and pulled out two very wicked looking knives. ‘Looks like the X-man is better prepared to fight than I had been led to believe.’ He looked at her a grinned that lop-sided grin of his.
“Yo, Faith.” He tossed her one of the knives. “You look under dressed. Maybe this will help you get decent.”
Faith smiled at him in a feral, sexy way. “Boy-toy, you haven’t seen me under dressed, yet. Play your cards right and you might get to.”
He gaped for a second before his attention was brought back to the present by an attacking Sister of Jhe. He ducked the blow and managed a slash on the back of the arm that had swiped at him. Soldier was lecturing in the back of his mind. ‘Forget the quick kill. IF an opening for a kill comes open, take it. Otherwise, concentrate on cutting as much as possible. The more cuts, the more pain, the more bleeding, and the faster your target gets weaker from blood loss. Now get to your partner and guard her six!’
Xander slashed at the Sister between him and Faith in a fast ‘V’ motion, one of which connecting. This gave him the opening he needed to run to Faith. “Faith!” he shouted, knowing that running up on a slayer’s back unannounced during a fight was not a good idea. “I got your six!” He skidded to a stop behind her and quickly turned to put his back against hers. ‘Damn!’ he thought as his back pressed against hers briefly while they circled. ‘She’s so warm. And soft. And….Get your mind back on this fight before you get yourself and her killed!’
“Boy-toy, you ain’t half bad.” Faith commented over her shoulder as she cut a Sister who got too close.
“Back at ya’, Sexy.” replied Xander, as he tried the ‘V’ cut again as was rewarded with a double hit. The praise did wonders for his ego.
“I tell ya’,” she grunted as she ducked a swing and followed up with a low swing of her own across the ribs of the Sister, “B don’t know a good thing when she sees it. I’ll take you as back-up anytime.” Faith suddenly saw her chance and put her knife up under the ribcage of the VUB in front of her and into her heart. Unfortunately, they were still outnumbered.
Xander was able to decrease the odds as a kill shot came open. The she-demon facing him had over extended and had her side left open. Xander reversed the blade he was holding and quickly drove it into said side at armpit level. The knife went in smooth as cutting butter and severed the aorta, but the saw bladed back caught on bone and wrenched the blade out of Xander’s hand as the dying demon fell to the ground. Xander swore as he grabbed for his stake. ‘Damn! Damn! Damn! Not good!’ Three sisters remained. Two came at Xander since he was more lightly armed than the Slayer.
“Oh, shit.” Xander was sure he was about to buy it when he heard something. It was the sound of hooves galloping, accompanied by the chiming of bells. Bells? A white stallion suddenly appeared out of the night. With a scream of equine rage, it reared and brought down its fore hooves to smash one of the two demons to the ground. Spinning faster than anything that size should be able to, it brought its rear hooves into play, kicking out to score a double shot to the head of the other demon. Xander gaped at his savior, until he heard a cry of pain behind him. He turned to see Faith down. The last demon had gotten past her guard and had thrown her. She was clutching her shoulder with her face contorted with pain.
Xander saw the demon closing in for the kill and his eyes flashed green. ‘Pack mate injured! Protect! Kill!’ Alpha exerted control and went in for the kill. The Hyena spirit retained enough presence of mind to scoop up Faith’s dropped knife before leaping at the demon that had the audacity to injure one of the pack. Xander drove the knife through the back of the skull, instantly killing the last Sister of Jhe. Before the body had dropped completely to the ground, he was at Faith’s side, assessing her injuries.
“How bad did ugly get you, Faith?” he asked as he gently prodded her shoulder.
Faith bit down on her pain. “Think my shoulder is dislocated.” she hissed. She held out her good hand. “Help me up, stud.”
Xander pulled her to her feet and was about to say something to her when a soft whinny accompanied by a gentle nudge in the back distracted him. Distracted? More like, scared the crap out of him.
Xander screamed and spun in place to see the stallion looking at him expectantly. His hand clutching at his chest, he began to yell at the horse. “DON’T DO THAT!” he panted heavily for a second as he heard Faith chuckle slightly behind him. “Jeeze, give a guy a heart….” That was as far as he got before he looked into the sapphire blue eyes of the stallion. They reached out to him and he felt like he was falling into their depths. A deep, gravely voice spoke softly within his head. “Greetings, Alexander. Albriech my name is. Your Companion I am. My Chosen you are. Never without a friend will you be again.”
“Whoa!” was all Xander could say as he stared at the gleaming white stallion before him.
A/N: I’m through playin’ now! Okay, I know that I took a few *ahem* liberties with the story line. Call it poetic license. It’s no worse than some of the other stories I’ve read. I hope that you enjoy it. Next will be Faith’s reaction to Albriech, and then the gang’s reaction later. It should be interesting, to say the least.