Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy or Bioshock.
Xander sat on the bench, lost in his thoughts as the sun began to creep above the horizon. He had been there on that bench more recently lately, it being the one spot he knew he could find peace and quiet, especially during the night. Where once he might have feared the vampires and demons that prowled the town, now it was the other way around, his one display of explosive temper marking him as a creature not to be trifled with. Of course it was creature, not human, for not one of Sunnydale’s late night residents thought the boy to be one of the Homo sapiens any longer, assuming his prior bumbling to be an act that he finally grew tired off. And oh how Xander wished that to be true, for that would mean he had some idea of what he was.
Ever since Halloween he had been confused and terrified, unsure about everything about himself. The entire night was a blur of images, ghosts in his mind that refused to stay still long enough to catch. He had dressed as a gangster, an old 1960’s era suit from the thrift store and a Tommy gun from Ethan’s shop. At the end of the night a group of vampires were nothing but burning ashes, he kids he had been tasked to watch were all unconscious from massive amounts of electricity, and Willow was staring at him like he was some kind of monster.
He had fooled his friends, and himself, into believing the changes were only physical. Where once he was a rather scrawny teenager, now he was the 1960’s ideal of a man. Square face, strong chin, broad shoulders, and a perfect smile, all at the cost of his own face. He still looked like himself, barely, but it was more like a familial resemblance then a ten years later kind of thing.
Absently mindedly he began to rub the chain tattoos that dotted his forearms, flickering back into visibility as he did and startling a nearby bird into flight. The powers had shown up after he left his friends to deal with the aftermath of the night, saying he needed to rest. He had been standing in front of his mirror, staring at the unfamiliar face, when his reflection just disappeared from view. Startled, he had jumped and his reflection came back. That had been the first of several unpleasant surprises. He had figured out quickly enough that as long as he moved he’d stay visible and ended up picking up a habit of bobbing his leg, ensuring he stayed in sight. Of course that had just been the first power, and the most harmless of them all.
The next day at school people, not his friends, acted as if he had always looked around twenty, though there was a subtle wrongness in the way they treated him, like a forced smile or faked laugh. It was if they knew something was wrong with him, but couldn’t place their finger on it and so avoided him for it, all except Larry. The jock had cornered him after school, still made about how Buffy had saved him the day before Halloween and seeing his treatment by the others in school as the perfect time to get some revenge. The first punch had barely hurt at all, something Xander had attributed later to his transformation, but it triggered something. Electricity flew from his body and Larry dropped to the ground like a sack of potatoes. But that wasn’t the end of it. A nearby hive of bees that the janitor hadn’t gotten around to spraying yet began to swarm down from the roof in a whirling cloud. They attached the sill groggy Larry, chasing him into the school, while the few still remaining settled on Xander’s clenched hand like they belonged there.
He had panicked and ran, ran for far longer and further then he had ever had in his life, finally coming to a stop in the industrial district as the sun dropped below the horizon. Vampires were the furthest thing from his mind as he tried to figure out exactly what was happening to him. But while he might have forgotten about them, they hadn’t forgotten about him.
“Well, well, well. Look what we got here boys, the Slayer’s little lapdog, all alone.” The group of vampires had just emerged from their warehouse lair and were quite surprised to see prey just standing there waiting for them, the fact it was a friend of the Slayer’s just made it that much sweeter.
When the vampires charged Xander threw up his hands in a futile defense, only to be surprised as a massive gust of wind blew out, knocking the vampires back. A burning sensation crept up his hand, not entirely painful, more like the hot summer sun, before a massive blast of fire shot out, incinerating two of the demons. The third, getting to its feet, threw a massive crate at him. He flinched back only for the crate to stop in midair and reverse, hitting the vampire in the chest at high speed, the wooden fragments impaling its heart and dusting it. The last vampire stood alone, surrounded by the dust of its comrades. Facing it, Xander willingly tried to pull on the power he could feel within himself. This time it wasn’t fire or wind, but a massive blast of ice that froze the vampire solid. Walking forward Xander kicked the entombed vampire over, causing it to shatter and dust when it hit the ground.
It was after that massacre that the vampires decided to leave Xander alone. That was the only good to come from the event. His friends couldn’t help him, Giles saying that there was no actual magic affecting him. So he was left to muddle through the changes on his own. They had all offered to help him, but after what happened to Larry he couldn’t risk it.
He had felt drained after the vampire attack, weaker, and he tried to replicate that feeling, going to the same warehouse the vampires came out of and using as much of his power as he could. He had thought it worked until dinner that night. Eating had recharged him, even taking a bath refilled his energy, something about water, especially salt water, making him refuel.
Xander sighed, lost in his thoughts again. At least his friends still accepted him, still wanted him around, even if they couldn’t find a way to help him.
“Mind if I sit here young man?” The voice startled Xander from his thoughts. He had been perfectly still, invisible; no one should have been able to see him! He jumped to his feet, looking around widely, only to see the smiling face of Mayor Wilkins. “No need to stand on my account son, I just thought you looked like you could use a friendly ear.”
“What? How’d you see me?” demanded Xander, to worried to be polite.
“You didn’t think any kind of ordinary man could be Mayor of this town, did you? Come on now, I know you’re a smart lad, use that brain.” Saying that Wilkins sat down on the bench, gesturing for Xander to join him.
Warily, Xander retook his seat, keeping a careful eye on the Mayor as he did. “You know about the Hellmouth?”
“Of course, I’ve lived here my entire life.”
“You’re the Mayor, why haven’t you done anything about it then!”
“And what precisely would I do Alexander?”
“Call in the army, the national guard. Instate a curfew. Fill in the sewers. Hire a wizard, anything! And call me Xander.”
“Nonsense, Alexander is a good strong name. And how do you propose I get anyone to believe me about the town or enact those changes? You’ve seen how the people are in this town, the effect the Hellmouth has on them. Besides, I’m just one man. People seem to think the governments all powerful, but it’s not. If something is going to change here it has to be done by your generation, mine is too steeped in the Hellmouth’s influence to ever do anything about it. You’re the future Alexander, and that’s why I want to offer you a job.”
Xander sat there flabbergasted, anything he was going to say having just flown out of his head. “A job?”
“That’s right,” the Mayor nodded. “I do what I can to protect the town. I’m a wizard, not a strong one mind you, but still a wizard. I know enough to protect myself if the situation calls for it, but my powers lie more toward pacts. I employ vampires and demons, get them to sign a pact promising not to hurt anyone in the town while under my employ. In return they get a salary and their needs fulfilled without the citizens dying. The people are protected, the town gets citizens who can work the night shift safely, and the demons are kept happy. However, that’s not enough. There are always those who want to disturb the system I’ve set up. You’ve met one of them, Spike I believe he’s called. The one responsible for Halloween is another. You have power Alexander, and I need someone like you for when someone like Spike doesn’t want to follow the law.”
“Me? But what about Buffy-” Xander started to ask.
“I’m afraid Miss Summer’s would never be able to fill the role. She’s tied to the Watcher’s Council. They’re more interested in maintaining their power over the Slayer then really helping people, after all, if they were serious they’d give more help. Though Mr. Giles is an extremely competent researcher and Watcher, loyal to his beliefs, he’s just one man when the Watcher’s Council is an organization of thousands. If they really wanted to help they’d send more people and supplies. That’s why if you work for me you couldn’t mention it to your friends. While I’m sure they’re trustworthy the Watcher’s Council would hear about it eventually. Then they’d put a stop to my efforts to help the town, saying my method is wrong. I save lives, is that so wrong I ask you?”
Xander nodded slowly, seeing the truth in the Mayor’s words. He still remembered when the Council had sent them that cursed book with the demon imprisoned inside, nearly costing him Willow, not to mention the other students that died. For a world spanning organization they seemed rather incompetent, and he could easily see them acting like the Mayor said. “But what would I be doing?”
“Well, first would be getting control. I know what you’re going through Alexander, believe it or not, and I want to help. Growing up and learning I had magical potential, having to learn on my own, wasn’t easy, and I don’t want you to have to go through the same thing. It’s part of my job to help guide and mold the youth of Sunnydale. Even if you refuse the job I’ll still help where I can.” He favored Xander with a fatherly smile before continuing. “Once we get you in tip top shape then I’ll be having you help with pest elimination. The civil servants in the government often tell me of problems that begin to rise here in Sunnydale in hope of getting a bonus; I encourage that kind of behavior. I’ll pass that knowledge on to you and you make sure those problems never bother the good citizens of Sunnydale. So, would you kindly
come work for me?”
Xander found himself agreeing without thinking. “Sure.”
“Excellent!” Mayor Wilkins clapped his hands together in delight. “Now come on, I know a wonderful diner near here that has the best breakfast buffet, my treat. It’s important for a young man like you to eat properly after all, and breakfast is the most important meal of the day, a strong foundation for a good day. Now, I was thinking a work study program, after all, education is important and the government of Sunnydale could always use someone like you…”
Author’s Note: Well, this came to me when I was playing Bioshock 2. Xander as Jack Ryan, all this power yet compelled to follow three little words.
It was either this or Xander as a Alpha Series Big Daddy bonded with Dawn who went as a Little Sister, all part of the monks plan to ensure the Key was protected. I still might write that one anyway; though others feel free to, just give me some credit.
I might continue this eventually, jumping into the third season with the Mayor and his ascension and how that effects Xander. As to how the Mayor knew about the command phrase, well, I’ll let you fill in your own answer. My idea is that scrying is a very handy thing. The idea would be Xander traveling to the decayed Rapture looking for a cure to his genetic conditioning after or during the Mayor incipient. I think him working for Wilkins parallels Jack and Fountaine. History is doomed to repeat after all.
Anyway, read and review, what do you think?