Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or any characters related to the show, they belong to Joss Whedon and I also do not own Charmed or any of the characters related to the show, they belong to Constance M. Burge and WB TV network.
Summary: Xander has an encounter that changes not only his life, but the lives of his friends as well as others.
A big thank you to cloudleonsgurl for her fanart. You can find this one and other great ones here:
Xander smiled, as he pulled into the motel's parking lot. He was happy to have reached his destination for now. His road trip so far had been very interesting and full of new insights. He had intended to head back to Sunnydale after his car broke down, but he had decided that would have been admitting defeat. In a result to that thought he had worked at a strip joint and managed to earn enough to buy a new car and to continue his trip.
He missed his friends, but he was having way too much fun to go back just yet. He phoned Willow, Buffy and Giles regularly and kept up with what was going on in Sunnydale and the slaying.
He had shivered in horror when Giles had informed him of Anya's return, demanding to know where he was. He had immediately ordered that none of them were to tell her where he was. He had no wish or inclination of seeing Anya again. He had only gone to the prom with her as a last minute decision, as he did not want to miss it.
He planned to finally head back to Sunnydale in a few days, after seeing what he could find in this city. He rubbed his eyes and to be truthful he was not looking forward to going back to the Hellmouth. It had been a very long and hard three years, fighting things that any sane person would flee from, but to him the fight was personal.
There was also the personal issue's the group had been through. A lot of problems, heartache and secrets had torn the group to pieces many times and he was still recovering from the last one concerning Faith.
The betrayal of the dark haired slayer had been bad for them all, but it had also raised a lot of tension between him and Buffy, as they argued over what to do. He had also not yet forgiven her and the others for not telling him of their plans to use Angel as a way of finding out who Faith was working for. He remembered that night very clearly and not once did they tell him or warn him of what was coming.
Angel had knocked him out cold and left him in the street where he could have been discovered by a vampire at anytime. He had been lucky and had woken up and quickly gone home, but he had not been idle the next day when he stormed into the library to demand answers.
Sadly answers were not forthcoming, as Buffy continued to try and force him out of the fight, only to be forced to let him help when he came up with the plan to destroy the Mayor. He shook his head wondering what awaited him when he returned. He hoped things had quieted down by the time he got back. He also hoped the left over tension with his friends would be gone, especially the tension that had grown between him and Willow.
He cursed himself for getting involved in an affair with his friend, when he had been dating Cordelia. He should have known better, but he had let his hormones get the best of him. In the end it had destroyed his relationship with Cordelia permanently and almost done the same with his friendship with Willow. When he left he had slowly been rebuilding the long standing trust he and Willow used to share.
Getting out of his car he grabbed his bags and headed to the counter to book a room for a couple of nights. He wondered how the gang was doing before wondering how Cordelia was coping on her own in LA with her plans to become an actress. He hoped they were all doing well, even Deadboy. After signing in and entering his room he collapsed onto his bed and relaxed for a minute or two.
He needed a shower and a change of clothes, and then he would head out and find somewhere to eat, before seeing some of the sights of San Francisco. He let out a sigh before he got up and headed to the shower, intending to have fun.
Prue growled as she tried to stop the argument between Piper and Phoebe, it had been going on for the last thirteen minutes and seemed to be in no hurry to end.
She had a rising headache and she wondered if this is how Piper often felt when she and Phoebe went at it. She had noted Leo quickly orbed out leaving her to deal with it.
Finally having enough she screamed at both to quit it, before turning and storming out of the mansion. She grabbed her keys as she went out. She got into her Jeep and quickly peeled out of the driveway, headed for somewhere else, which was hopefully more peaceful.
Piper watched in surprise at Prue's exit, before looking at Phoebe who seemed just as shocked and even a little fearful at their elder sister's display of temper, but then they both knew that Prue was far more prone to anger than either of them. She could be a holy terror when she needed to be.
Piper rubbed her eyes, she felt slightly guilty at causing her sister even more trouble than she already had at the moment. Deciding not to continue the argument she headed to her bedroom to try and calm down and relax somewhat.
Phoebe went and collapsed onto the sofa, wondering in how good a mood Prue would be in when she came back. She honestly had not meant to upset her sister, but in the end she had done just that.
It had been a stupid argument to begin with, but she had gotten carried away like normal. She put the T.V. on and tried to calm down, hoping Prue would return soon, so that she could apologize to her. They did not need to be at each other's throats with the danger of the Source closing in on them. She wondered what Cole was up to, before she remembered that he was in hiding at the moment.
Xander relaxed in his chair enjoying a piece of cake along with a nice frappuccino. This place was bigger than any he had seen so far in his travels.
He had seen many branches of Starbucks all over the place and he bet the people who worked here earned good money. He finished his cake and then relaxed even more in his chair, feeling very filled from his meal. As he took a large gulp of his drink, he watched, in a little awe, as a beautiful young woman with longish black hair and enticing green eyes entered the store. She was wearing a tight black t-shirt and black jeans, which he thought in this hot weather, must be uncomfortable.
He noted that she seemed slightly pissed off, at least in his eyes. He continued to watch, as she bought herself a coffee and a sandwich, before turning to find a table. Their eyes caught and he quickly looked away, as she caught him checking her out. He hadn't meant to stare at her, but he had found it hard to look away.
Prue almost shook her head at the guy checking her out, before catching herself as she was well used to gaining male attention. The guy looked about her age, but she noted he had a weary look about him. She frowned as she took in his posture and noted he seemed to keep an eye out around his surroundings and kept his eyes to the door.
This made her wonder what he was so watchful for, before deciding a little mystery solving would help her forget the problems she currently had and so she headed for his table.
Xander almost jumped up in surprise, as the young woman came and sat down in front of him and he wondered if she was going to have a go at him for checking her out, but the look on her face was not hostile and so he relaxed slightly. He kept his guard up, as even in daylight you never knew just who or what you might run into.
Prue noted this reaction as she got comfortable and it again made her wonder why he was so alert. Most people she knew or even just passed in the street were not so aware of everything going on around them, like this guy was.
"Hey, how are you doing?" she began, hoping this guy would not turn out to be either evil, a jerk or both, as she had no mood for either of those.
"I'm fine. May I help you Miss?" Xander replied uncertainly, whilst taking time to enjoy the view, as the young woman was very beautiful.
"Not really, but seen as you were finding it so hard to look away, I thought I might save you the trouble of looking around for me, by sitting in front of you," Prue responded with a smirk, before she tucked into her sandwich.
Xander almost blushed in embarrassment at being caught out, but he managed to control himself enough not to. He sat up a little straighter in his chair and wondered how to respond.
Prue smiled, as she swallowed, at surprising the young man and noted he was looking perplexed at how to respond. This was fun she thought.
"That's nice of you, and I apologize for staring," Xander finally stated. "I was just a little taken aback by your looks. You are quite stunning," he admitted.
Prue laughed, it was at least an honest compliment and better than a lot she had been given, as this had none of the underline lust and perversion to it. She leaned back and brushed a lock of hair out of her eyes, as she looked the young man over.
"Thanks for the compliment and I forgive you for staring," Prue said, before finishing off her sandwich and then settled back. "I'm Prue and you would be?" she inquired.
"Alexander, however I go by Xander," Xander responded. "Have done since I was a kid and I met my best friend. She found Alexander to be too complicated to say at the time and so renamed me and it stuck," he added with a laugh, as he recalled the events in question. "I take it Prue is short for Prudence?" he asked to which Prue nodded in reply. "Rare name, but it suits you," he said, before he finished his cup of tea.
Prue smiled. She had to hand it to the guy, he was careful with how he said things. Clearly he had either had a very demanding girlfriend or an ex girlfriend. She began to drink her coffee as she pondered what do ask him, before deciding to get to the reason she had sat next to him.
"So is there a reason why you are so alert?" she inquired. "You seem to keep a very close eye on your surroundings," she added, at his raised eyebrow.
Xander leaned back. Surprised, that she had picked up on his now instinctive behavior. Three years of constant danger and life threatening situations had caused him to be very watchful, no matter what time of day it was and to be aware at all times.
He sometimes felt resentment towards Buffy and Giles for bringing him into this world and so changing his way of life. He knew it was wrong to blame them, as in the end he knew that it was best that they had come to Sunnydale. Without them, he and Willow may have shared Jessie's fate.
He shoved the dark thoughts away, before they could take a hold of him and concentrated on what he should say. What could he say that would not sound crazy, he wondered?
"I guess it's just kind of a habit these days. My hometown has a lot of gang problems," Xander finally responded, deciding to use the old code, the people who were in the know about vampires and demons, used. "To those of us from there it pays to be aware, especially at night," he added, fighting of a sudden chill.
"Sounds bad," Prue replied, however something seemed off about the way he said that. She felt he was telling her a slight truth, but not the whole truth.
Something in his body language when he added the word night screamed at her. He was way too tense, as if the memories were truly horrible. "Granted the city isn't without its trouble, but it is more spread out then it sounds like in your hometown," she continued. "Where exactly do you come from?" she inquired, after finishing her drink.
"Sunnydale, I am just on a road trip at the moment," Xander replied, catching the look of horror that quickly passed over Prue's face before it vanished and he tensed up more. "You know, seeing the sights and all that," he added.
Prue stared at Xander and wondered how he had survived on the Hellmouth for so long. She and her sisters had been researching a lot about their world, especially finding hot-spots of demon activity. The major one that kept popping up was the Hellmouth located in Sunnydale, California. All Leo would say when asked about it was that it was guarded by the Slayer and her friends.
This did nothing to make any of them feel safer, knowing there was an actual portal to hell out there. They thought they had enough problems dealing with the demons in the city.
The question she had raised though had been one, where the answer, Leo had given her, still chilled her even today. The question was what was so different between the Hellmouth and the Underworld?
Leo had looked at her with a grim face and answered that the Underworld was only a small holding place, where the Source and its minions resided. If the Hellmouth ever opened Lucifer and every last upper level demon on a scale they had never seen before, would escape and wipe the human race out within minutes, if they were lucky.
He had gone to say that monsters, the likes of which they had never seen before would escape. Beings that would make most people go crazy just by looking at them.
In the silence that had followed Leo's answer Piper had fallen to the sofa looking ill. Phoebe had rushed to the toilet to be sick and she had stared at the wall, wondering if the Hellmouth was so much of a threat then why were they not asked to help defend it?
It seemed like the kind of the thing the Charmed Ones would be used for.
Shaking her head she refocused on Xander, who was waiting for her response and she quickly noted he looked tenser, which meant he must have caught her reaction to the name of the place where he lived.
"A road trip sounds fun," she managed to say. "Have you been anywhere interesting?" she inquired, hoping to move the conversation onto something more normal.
"I've seen loads of things since I managed to get out of Oxnard after my car broke down. I had to work a bit to get a new car, but it was worth it," Xander replied, thankful for the shift in topic. "It has been a real eye opening experience I really do not wish to end, however I have to go home soon, as I have friends who rely on me to be around," he explained.
"Not exactly looking forward to going home either, I know the rest of the world can be just as dangerous as Sunnydale is, but for some reason I feel less confined and caged out here than I do there," he admitted, running a hand through his hair with a sigh.
Prue caught the underline weariness in his voice and could sympathies with him. She would love to be able to get away from being a witch and especially a Charmed One for a while, but she knew in her heart it wasn't likely to happen anytime soon.
Checking her watch she decided maybe it was time to wrap this up and head home. She believed she knew what Xander was hiding and what had made him so aware of things happening around him. It was a need to survive and to never be caught unaware. Something she and her sisters have had to learn very well in the last two years.
"Well, it was nice to meet you Xander, but I'm afraid I have to go. I kind of left my house a little pissed off with my sisters and now I have to go and make peace or things will just escalate," she said finally, actually finding she had calmed down a lot during the conversation.
"No problem, I understand Prue," Xander said. "It was very nice meeting you, maybe we'll run into each other again, however slim the possibilities are, as I will only be here for another four to five days, then I have to head home," he added with a smile. He felt a little let down that the meeting was cut short. "I hope things go well with your sisters," he added, as he slowly stood up.
"Thanks and you never know, we might run into each other again. I think I would like that," Prue responded. "By the way, if you really want to see something nice while you are here, I would recommend seeing the Golden Gate Bridge," she added, before she turned around and headed out of the shop with giving Xander one last smile.
She climbed into her Jeep and felt a hell of a lot better, than she had felt when she stormed out of her house. She felt ready to face her sisters once again, so she pulled out of the parking lot. She caught sight of Xander, who climbed into his own car. He paused to wave at her, before he slid into his seat and started his engine.
On the ride home she thought over what she was going to say to her sisters, once she got back home. They were close, more so now than ever before, but they still got on one another's nerves way to often.
Bringing her Jeep into the driveway, she became aware that the journey had been way too quick, but decided it was properly best to get it over with. She climbed out and headed into the mansion to find Phoebe, Piper and Leo discussing something and she instantly knew that whatever it was, it was properly demon related.
"What is it?" she asked, as she sat next to Piper and gave Leo her full attention, knowing she would have to wait to talk with her sisters about earlier today.
"There's a demon running loose killing natural born witches, no matter their age. We've been ordered by the Elders to stop it anyway we can," Leo explained. "We've already locked onto a couple of witches in the area and as soon as one is in trouble, I will orb you there to help," he added.
"That sounds good Leo. Let me just go change into something more suitable for this," Prue said, before she stood up and headed for her room.
Xander did not like the music, which was currently blasting out of the speakers in the club. It was not to his taste, but he had to say the place was much bigger than the Bronze. He was just finishing off his drink before heading back to his motel for a nice long sleep. At Prue's suggestion he had indeed gone and see the Golden Gate Bridge and he had to admit it was much more impressive than when seen on TV. The engineering genius behind it was something to see.
He had also gone on a small tour and tomorrow he planned to visit Alcatraz, having seen many programs on the famous jail, as well the wonderful movie ‘The Rock,' starring Sean Connery and Nicholas Cage, he was really looking forward to see the real thing.
He finally finished his drink and took a last look around, before he headed for the exit. For a few minutes he wondered what the gang was up to tonight, before shrugging it off.
At the back of the nightclub a young dark blond haired woman was currently backing away in terror from a menacing demon. It had a horn centered on its skull and two, black as midnight, eyes that seemed to bore right through her.
It advanced on her and she screamed, which quickly alerted Xander who had just left the club, just to feel something being very wrong. The instincts he had developed in Sunnydale had him grab the stake he kept in his pocket and he ran down the alley towards the back exit.
At the same time Leo orbed in with Prue, Phoebe and Piper, ready to deal with the demon and save their fellow witch from being killed. Prue was momentarily surprised to see Xander come running onto the scene and charged straight into the demon with a stake, as his only weapon.
She watched in amazement, as he managed to deflect the demon's strike at the witch, before being sent flying into the nearby wall. She noted his stake rolled away.