Chapter 3 (v1.1)
Quote: What's the point of living if you can't feel alive? Vivi, Final Fantasy 9. End quote.
Two days and four hours later in the kitchen
By the time Xander had finished his breakfast, one the size of two full dinners. Buffy and Willow had already arrived.
Giles looked at the young man. He wished he could comfort him but... "So that was what happened to us after you entered my home in a somewhat dreary state. Now what happened to you?"
Xander nodded. "High humans. Mom also called us Homo Sapiens magi. Both names work. I found out that both mom and dad were exiled for saving a kings life. Doing that they were forced to break the one and only law not even the king could save them from. An old enemy of theirs took advantage of the situation and sealed away their magic and power as they where exiled to this reality." He sighed. "Now I found out more things than I ever knew. Did you know that for the first five years a High Human grows and develops mentally faster than a normal human?"
Giles blinked. "Um no, why is that important?" He asked.
Xander snorted. "Cause I always believed it was my sixteen birthday today," he stated, "but no, mom and dad faked my birth certificate. I'm fourteen."
"WHAT?" Willow screeched. "You, you are a child..." she said helpful. She knew that Xander was younger than her, six months younger, but still he was a child.
"No, I am not," Xander said irritated. "I am sixteen years old so that's that."
Buffy nodded "That so explains why you act like you do." Damn he was three years younger than Willow and she was.
"But that can't be, we are the same age. You and I were friends when we were five. I always thought you were six months younger than me," Willow said, wondering what the world was coming to.
It clicked in Buffy's head. Wait a minute, she knew Willow's birthday was around New Year, so she could have ended up in a younger year group then the one she was in, but if Xander, who she always believed was older than Willow was six months younger, according to the law, why was he in the same year group?.
Xander nodded. "Yeah, as I said it High Humans develop faster the first five years of their life. I was three years old then, not five when the two of us meet. I just believed I was five. That's the reason dad always said the wrong age for me." His mom and dad had told him that to make sure he would not be freaked out if he had a child and it started to run around and talk as a toddler. The magic inside of them forced them to develop faster, just as it later in life made them age slower.
Giles cleaned his glasses. "If Xander's ID says he sixteen, then let him be sixteen. Now tell us what happened?" He was silent for a moment and then continued, "They said you spent five years learning from your parents. How does that work?"
Xander shook his head. "More like I had five years worth of knowledge pushed inside my head and history, lots of history of mom and dad's world. No real time was spent. I still feel like it took only an hour or so," he said confused.
Giles nodded. Whatever they had done was more or less forced knowledge, theoretical skills and knowledge shoved inside Xander. Five years worth of theory, meaning the boy would be able to learn those skills extremely fast now that he was in real life and could practice them.
Buffy nodded to herself as she began thinking about something that had just clicked in her mind. Xander was always near the bottom of their class. Willow had mentioned it to here before, but he always passed every class. She remembered Willow complaining about her GPA dropping since they had joined her in her nightly duties, but Xander's grades had remained the same.
At the time both of them were impressed over that and believed that Xander must have taken extra study time, just so that he would not fail anything.
Willow frowned. "How did they do that?" She asked.
Xander frowned also. "I don't know. They somehow compressed time in the spirit world or dream world and gave me lessons during an extended dream." He blinked. "What they did was giving me five years worth of studying, bringing me up to the skill level of an acolyte, a beginner, at least in theory."
Buffy asked, "Could you show us?"
Giles frowned. "Buffy, magic is not a toy. Every time you cast magic, you make a connection to the higher powers of gods and demons. It is their powers channeled through you, which are the source of any magic spell."
Xander blinked. "Oh, mom called that priest magic, something High-humans are unable to learn. High magic uses a direct connection to the power of magic, the flow of mana. The wizard draws the magic inside him and then casts the spell and releases the magic he pulled from inside of him. It causes some physical and mental drain, but a high human recovers faster than a normal human from magical fatigue and we are more tolerant against it."
Around the table the others blinked. "There are many different type of spells levels. Based on how much power a spell takes and the skill needed to cast the spell." He frowned. "And some spells are based on other spells so to be able to cast it you have to know one or more other spells. Reverse aging is such a spell. To cast it you have to know Regeneration, Remove sickness, Greater Healing and Death touch," he said.
"There are six official power levels worth notice. Level 0 - 5. Zero is smallest for mundane and quick spells. Like this," he said, waving his hand and focusing as hard as he could and then spoke a word. Slowly on the other side of the table Giles tea cup started to fly towards Xander's hand.
"Phuu. That was difficult," Xander whined. "Mom and Ton... dad said I would get the theoretical skills, not the practical skills. I need to practice before I get them."
He was silent for a moment and then continued. "And I have to find a small number of artifacts mom and dad lost as they arrived here."
Giles looked fascinated at Xander and then asked, "Could you tell me more about the power levels?"
Xander shrugged. "Sure level 1 are lesser spells that effect reality around you. Most spells are level one. As most Wizards are around level 1 up to level 2. A gang of wizards of level 1 could team up and cast a powerful level five spell, but team spells are difficult to do and you would have to re-make the spell into a ritual," he was silent for a while, trying to find a way to formulate things he still did not really understand, things that were drilled into his memory.
"A normal person with the magical talent of High magic start at his natural level. Most are born a level zero. With training and old age he would end up as a level 2 wizard. A talented student is level 1 and could double the strength up to level 3 with time and training and a rare genius is sometimes stronger. The power level of each spell is twice as strong as the level under it. So level five needs 32 times more power to cast then a level 0 spell. So much drain on a person could kill them, if they are not strong enough or anchored by a ritual circle or Rune-staff. High magic draws directly from the flow of reality potential, the energy called Mana. No gods, demons or devils are used as intermediates between us and what we wish to do."
"I see. That would explain how and why you High humans actually need magic," Giles said frowning. "Did she tell anything about wand magic?"
It would also explain why High Magic would be the counter balance to technology. It was a magic that could be used for amusement, like those dreaded fantasy books kids these days read. He hoped nobody ever found out about his own secret stash of David Eddings somewhat light read, but highly amusing stories. What a shame he died a while ago. May he rest in peace.
".????."Xander looked around in panic at Buffy and Willow. "Uhm, dad only taught me the theory of what I would need when I practice my wand magic with a girl," he blushed.
Giles groaned, as the others also blushed and looked at him as if he was a pervert or an alien. "That misunderstanding seems to answer my question. In a far to embarrassing way."
He took a deep breath. "I was talking about magic users that need a wand to focus their interior magic."
"Uhm, she called them sorcerers. She said they have natural powers of magic as their whole body constantly draws mana inside of them and collect the energy like a battery in a magic-core. However, to use that magical core a sorcerer always needs an external artificial focus. Like a wand I think," Xander said and shrugged. "They just said that a well trained sorcerer, using their own magic, was a force to be weary of and not taken lightly. The difference of the ways is that we cast more powerful spells by channeling raw magic from outside us, but the wand user can cast less powerful spells more times."
Giles nodded. "I see. How fast is High-magic?" He asked.
Xander shrugged. "No idea how fast I should be. Mom and dad said I should be able to cast almost instinctively lesser spells. Once I learn a spell well enough, a skilled wizard should be able to cast it silently or just by using a word of activation. What take time is drawing in a big enough supply of mana. A wise wizard rather overcharges themselves so they can cast many spells quickly without stopping and pulling in more magic."
Giles looked at the table and was feeling dread. "Could you give me an example of a level five type of spell."
Xander nodded trying to remember any such spell that mom and dad told him about. "Well she said to reverse another person age is a level four power spell and an earthquake is a level three. I got to find mom and dad books before I can give you more information," he said shrugging.
Buffy blinked. "That's interesting," she said. Even if she was a bottle blond and somewhat of a ditz and not that good when it comes to planning things in advanced, this time her mind kicked in and she understood. "How big of an area is the Earthquake spell?"
Xander replied, "No idea really, but they said if cast inside Sunnydale a building or two would feel the effect, but if the Earthquake is overpowered until it's at power level five or higher than the town would have to be rebuilt."
"And now I see how High magic could be considered a counter balance to government powers. A High wizard with enough raw power could be considered a military power all by himself. Such a person would not bow down and obey just to any dictator or president. No matter if they had atomic bombs or a whole army behind them," Buffy said.
Giles nodded. That was worrying and it was in the hands of the one person in the group that showed less mental growth and maturity. Then it clicked. The boy was fourteen and Willow said she believed that Xander was six months younger then she was. He knew that Willow was the youngest girl in Buffy's class. Why was Xander going to a class one year older then they believed he was.
Xander frowned. "Perhaps I should. Well I don't know," he said wondering. He could not give up on the power. No way, absolutely not, it was like a part of him that had been missing and suddenly returned. Like he spent his whole life jumping around on only one leg and now suddenly had two legs. He could no more give it up, than he could ignore Buffy as she was slowly standing up, showing her strong legs and you could almost see her breast hidden under her t-shirt and jacket. He imagined them to be small, but well shaped and perfect cute cones to play with and she was standing so close to him now.
Buffy frowned. "Xander, why are you staring at me?" she asked looking down on him. She stood up planning to get some milk or juice, but now Xander was creeping her out.
Xander blushed. "Nothing I... I got distracted and impressed by your magnificent analyze of the military potential a wizard has on the political world today." He sweat dropped.
Buffy smiled. "Thanks. You know I'm not only a stupid blond," she said then blinked. "No I mean I'm not a stupid blond. I'm much worse." Damn it. The awe in his eyes distracted her.
"I think I like what you said first. That sounded fun," Xander said grinning. He got a slap on his shoulder for that, but it was all worth it.
"How are you feeling Xander? Your mom and dad..." Willow asked.
"A bit numb, but I got to spend what for me was months worth of time together with them, before the end. They explained it to me and I grieved and raged over the unfairness of it. Dad was, once his curse was lifted, a good guy. He was a person I would have liked to have as a dad growing up with, instead I had Tony," Xander said with bitterness so strong they could all hear it.
Giles sipped some tea from his mug. "I take it that Tony was not the best of fathers, during the time he suffered from the curse?"
Willow replied, "No, he was a drunken abusing asshole, but sometimes he got like super nice and friendly. Then angry and depressed again and then he hit people."
"My father was a strict person. He expected only the best grades and the highest grades from me or I would be punished severely. I still have scars on the bottom of my feet," Giles said and seeing them look surprised he explained. "Less people look at the bottom of your feet for whip marks. He wanted me to be a Watcher as he once was. When I got older, I of course rebelled and well you do remember Ethan. I became a rebel without a clue."
For a moment Xander felt tears well up as he looked at the older man, but he quickly hid them, a strong man does not cry. Tony was strict about that.
Dad the real Tony was different. It was fine for a man to cry.
The difference between a man and a wimp is a real man never gives up, even if he cries he keeps going.
Mom did not care, as long as sun shine came after the rain, a man or women could cry. It was a saying she believed in from the people she grew up with. It meant as long as you can find joy and laughter in your life, you can cry with pride when things go wrong.
Xander was not sure about what she meant exactly. "G-man. Giles, could I sleep in your home? It's a bit lonely at my own home," he stuttered out.
"Of course son," Giles said smiling. "I will help you and not because the blasted PTB want us to, but because I wish to do it. I think with some help from the Watchers I can become your legal guardian."
He felt a need to explain one thing. "One of the weird Wiccan spells the Watchers use, gives a field watcher an almost unparalleled ability to find the correct information in record time, but at a cost. We have somewhat difficulties in showing our true emotions, but the safety of the world does demand some small sacrifices and emotional coolness also helps us to keep a cool head during time of danger and stress. The spell can be lifted when the field watcher retires or whenever he wants to. So while I will gladly help you Xander, I am not good at emotions. If you like me to find information in a book I can gladly help you," he smiled before he told them another thing to think about.
"The fact that young Willow is able to find information as fast as I can, when she had no prior training before and is not given a supernatural gift of finding, is quite a bit more impressive than any of you realize," he stated.
Xander grinned and said, "Now that's my Willow."
Willow smiled as she looked on her Xander. He was two years younger than she was. He was not sixteen but fourteen. Her brain was still trying to cope with that information, as she suddenly found the solution.
1. She always had to help Xander.
2. Xander, she knew is smart and seemed to have become smarter.
3. Xander is younger than her.
1+2+3 = the love she always felt for Xander must be big-sister little-brother love. She was just a confused teen that mixed it up with romantic love. How silly of her.
"I got a little brother," Willow squealed out, suddenly hugging Xander. Her own logical powers to analyze her own emotions surprised even herself she thought.
The rest of the world and readers most likely felt fear or pity, knowing Willow thought process.
Xander hugged Willow back. He was so in need of a hug right now. Both dad and mom had done the best they could to lessen the pain he would feel knowing the both of them where dead, but it still hurt. The worst was pure selfish, he never had gotten a chance to know the real Tony and Jessica. "Thanks Willow, I always thought of you as my sister." He did not finish his sentence with his genius little sister. Erg big sister.
Giles smiled leaning back.
Buffy entered the room. "Giles is the juice in your bar locker real juice or is it adult juice?" She blinked as she saw Xander and Willow hugging. "Is that a private hug or can anybody join?" she asked. The welcoming arms of Willow and Xander greeted her and they were soon hugging each other, as with a small flow from a waterfall Xander started to cry. "I never had a chance to grow up with my real parents. Only with the pathetic shadows of what they were," he sniffed, "and now they are dead. They were so great and now..."
Giles quickly took the juice. It was indeed adult juice as Buffy had said. The juice was a high quality Pommeau from France. A mixed drink of apple cider and brandy, which had been aged in oak barrels before sold in bottles.
Inside Buffy something broke. Her heart crushed in a million pieces and she started to cry. "I... I have to dust Angel or innocent people will die. They could have died already because of me," she cried.
Willow could not help it, she started to cry also. "My mom and dad are never home. They are always going on conferences and leaving me home alone or with a nanny, because of that I talk Spanish fluently."
And the three teens cried.
Giles sighed it would be hard days in the future. He just knew it and he was right.
The watchers also had a visit from the PTB giving them almost the same order. It said that Xander was the first herald of high-magic. The first meant he was not the only one that would appear.
Like the old saying goes. "Better the devil you know."
Additional Note: Our thank you goes to Joe Mow, who was kind enough to look over this chapter again and we hope it is smoother to read now.