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Fandom(s): Buffy The Vampire Slayer/Young Wizards aka So You Want To Be A Wizard
Pairing: Steve/Carl, Xander/Jesse (mentioned)
Disclaimer: Buffy and associated characters belong to Joss Whedon, Young Wizards belong to Diane Duane.
Archive: Permission to the lists who get it and any others who already have permission. Anyone else, just ask first please.
Warning: Major tear jerker, hurt/comfort themes abound. *sighs* I knew this one was coming, but you really hate to pick on your favorite characters.
Macchu Pichu shivered, and ruffled her feathers, as if a chill breeze had suddenly sprung up and blown about her.
"Peach," Tom asked softly, easily reading the birds reactions as he'd learned to years ago.
"Trouble....big trouble," Peach muttered softly. "Not for you...at least not directly."
"What then Peach," Tom asked softly, knowing that it had to impact him or Carl somehow.
"Pain, heartache and soul deep hurt, visitor who's always welcome, but will want to die from the pain," Peach said softly. "Better get something for the kid when he shows up, and something to perk it up a bit as well."
"Xander," Tom said softly, his voice shaking ever so slightly at the implications.
"Yeah, tell Carl no rum, but maybe some brandy or schnapps for the hot chocolate," Peach said softly. "He'll need it and so will you two."
"How bad Peach and can it be avoided?"
Peach shivered once more and shook her head ever so slightly. "Worse than you can imagine and no, what must be, must be. Carl's going to scream though once it's all said and done."
Flipping open his copy of the manual Tom paged through to a blank pair of pages, letting his fingers rest lightly on the one page, he spoke softly in the Speech.
"Duty Assignments, North America, United States, California, Sunnydale. Harris, Alexander Lavelle, Status and precis of current and past assignments."
Slowly the pages of the book ruffled, as the information slowly was pulled up starting with a listing of Xander on the page. Reading over it slowly Tom swore softly under his breath in fluent Italian.
After several minutes he finally slowed down and forced himself to calm down. Reaching for the bond that he and Carl shared he sent a wordless burst of love and a request for a favor.
Xander slowly let the stake fall from his hand as shock overwhelmed him. Jesse...his Jesse had been turned and now he was ashes.
Silent tears streamed down his face as he moved about and reacted solely on auto-pilot. There were still lives to save and maybe, just maybe an end to his pain if he was lucky. Maybe he'd die here as well, as his heart had.
Speaking the soft words Xander disappeared with a slight rumble, almost like the sound of thunder, shivering ever so slightly at the tainted feel of the hellmouth's energies, as he transported himself across the country, heading for a spot that he'd been to only a few times before but now desperately sought even as tears filled his eyes.
Looking over at Carl, Tom waited for him to make the first move. They both knew who had arrived, and the amount of noise from his arrival, clearly showed how little control Xander had left this night.
Getting up slowly Carl made his way out to the yard and just pulled Xander up into his arms and held him as gently as possible, while the tears and sobs shook his son.
Softly he whispered meaningless words, as he held his son close knowing that nothing he could ever say or do, would ease the pain of his loss.
After a time, Xander started to pull away, ashamed of breaking down like that.
"Hey, it's ok Xander...there's nothing to be ashamed off," Carl said softly, refusing to let go of his son. "Come on, I'm sure Tom's got the hot chocolate started by now, and I figured this is why he said to pick it up earlier."
"It's all right Xander, it never gets easier to loose someone you love. Be it a friend or something more."
Xander let out a soft groan at that and stopped fighting.
"It doesn't matter what the relationship was son, you loved him and it's heart wrenching to loose someone, let alone be responsible even in a small way for it."
"If I hadn't been there...."
"Then someone would have died, possibly a lot of people Xander," Tom said gently, as he joined his partner and Xander. "There are times, when I'm sorry to say but that there are no 'good' choices. It's a matter of making the best of a bunch of painful and poor choices. It's something your father and I are having to deal with each and every day, more so since we became Advisories. If we ever make it up to Senior level or higher, it gets even worse."
"If I would have done it differently..."
"It still probably would have gone in a similar way, sometimes it's impossible to avoid what happens. It's simply a matter of who gets hurt, who suffers, and dies. Sometimes the Lone Power, deliberately interferes to try and break someone, as they're a key piece of the puzzle, wizards more so than most others," Tom offered, a sad expression on his face. "It's up to you whether or not you let your friends death be meaningful or pointless. You get the choice of whether or not to go on. The same as any one else does. You can let pain and hurt break you, or you can learn from it and do wonderful things in the future."
"Or you can go down the wrong path, and be lost," Carl added softly. "Not everyone who's lost someone gave up, or took the right path son. We're here for you, and we'll help with anything we can, but we won't help you go down the wrong path either."
Xander let out a soft sigh at that. "I know...I even considered some things that I could have done, but I won't break the Oath."
Tom shot Carl a quick look at that and nodded. "Then how about joining me in the kitchen you two, before the hot chocolate gets too cold. I think we can bend the rules a little this once, and put a little something extra in it."