Departures & Cleansing
I fully intended to update the prequel before the sequel, but this chapter just flowed first so here's the second part of To Be a Master. I'm setting it at the end of Ash's Johto adventures. Although Xander won't be going with him to Hoenn, I figure he'll hang out briefly with his kid to learn a bit about him and his friends before I have him go off to visit Kanto for a bit - possibly an old friend or two - and focus on helping Dawn and Faith acclimate to their new lives.
So here's Chapter Two. Please, please, please let it get someone choked up with tears... Pretty please with sappy one-liners on top?
P.S: Xander will
be meeting Team Rocket.
Willow stared at her oldest friend as he packed away some spare clothes – the last time he’d been sent to that strange dimension he hadn’t been allowed to take anything – this was a little different though.
She was going to lose Xander – probably forever – and all she could think of was how right this was. Xander deserved to live a happy life – even if it had taken him so long to finally realize this or be allowed to have it.
Willow would not cry – she refused to cry – she… felt tears on her cheeks and shook her head angry with herself for giving in to her emotions, but understanding why she had.
“It’s ok to cry, Willow,” Xander told her softly without pausing in his actions.
Willow sighed. “One of these days I’m going to figure out how you know so much, mister,” she told him with a sad smile.
“Yeah,” Xander said – he didn’t need to say anything else.
Rushing up to him Willow embraced him letting her emotions play out. He let her hold him without saying anything – there was no need – for they had both become so attuned to the other as the years went on they could almost read each other’s thoughts.
Xander smiled softly and patted Willow’s arm. “It’ll be ok, this is something that we all knew would happen someday… hey! At least I’m not,” Xander stopped himself from saying the last few words because they were starting to build up a tasteless ashy bile in his throat.
Willow nodded hiccoughing slightly with her tears. “Everyone is going to miss you, you do realize Andrew alone is no substitute for Xander style quips and comic references,” she told him as though it were a big scandal.
Xander laughed. “I thought I was supposed to be the one to cheer you up?” he asked running his hand through her hair.
Willow only shook her head and held him tightly inhaling his scent and memorizing it. It was kind of silly for a grown woman to be doing this, but she wasn’t going to lose her memories of her oldest and dearest friend like she had Jesse. She was ashamed to admit that her memories of Jesse had faded the longer she’d stayed on the Hellmouth – as though it sucked them from her brain.
Xander took a moment to centre himself and then pulled out of the embrace. “Willow, I will always be your friend, you know that right?” he asked.
Willow sighed. “Xander Harris!” she stated using her resolve face on him. “If you pull one of those sappy little speeches out of your head for this I am going to slap you with a curse, and not a nice curse, but one that will have every female Pokemon in that world constantly trying to hit you on behalf of me,” she informed.
Xander eyed her cluelessly. “Huh?”
Willow shook her head exasperatedly. “Do you really think Dawn kept your words of advice to herself?” she asked.
“Ah.” The light of understanding filled his eye and Xander chuckled slightly. “Fair enough, Wills, how about we just enjoy one last carton of your favorite ice cream flavor while Faith and Dawn are still packing?” he suggested wrapping his arm over Willow’s shoulder and leading her out of his bedroom.
Willow smiled fondly. “That would be, just about the best thing ever, Xander,” she told him.
Dawn angrily shoved one of Buffy’s tops into her duffel bag – she looked better in it anyway – she was angry and hurting that the Powers were pulling this crap on her. She wasn’t too upset with Buffy – after all it was in keeping with big sister mentality – so she was just venting a little.
She was allowed to vent – she hated the Powers – and not for the first time did she wish she still had access to the abilities of the Key so she could teach them a lesson. It was going to be another one of those things – and there wasn’t a single thing she could do to get out of it – after all of her time studying ancient languages to be the next Giles she was being shunted off to some other universe just so she could have a ‘normal’ life. HA!
Andrew bravely stepped through her door nervously twisting something in his hands. “Dawn,” he called out.
Dawn whirled to face him with bitter angry tears. “What?” she snapped. When she saw who it was she immediately regretted it. “Oh I’m sorry, Andrew, I thought it was Buffy,” she apologized.
Trying to get over his pain Andrew offered a smile. “That’s ok,” he lied – no need to let her know how much it hurt. The way they kind of ignored him and ridiculed his accomplishments at time made him feel sick to his stomach, but he got why they did it – after all he had been indirectly responsible for the death of Tara – and he had killed Jonathon too and they’d liked Jonathon. So he lived with the pain. “I got you something to take with,” he said holding out the item he’d been fidgeting with.
Dawn eyed it curiously and then her eyes widened in surprise – it was a copy of the Demon Codex – the book that had every single prophecy in it about Buffy. Plus a few other choice bits of info that the being who wrote the book had somehow known – or maybe guessed. They’d discovered it in the remains of Wolfram & Hart’s LA branch after… the Angel thing.
Dawn took the book and smiled warmly at Andrew. “Thank you,” she said with genuine appreciation.
Andrew blushed. “I figured you’d want a piece of your past to remember – but I couldn’t find any of my tapes from back then,” he explained.
Dawn smiled. “They’re in Buffy’s closet,” she told him.
Andrew’s eyes widened in surprise. “I never dared to go in there,” he said.
Dawn quirked a brow.
Andrew fidgeted under her gaze. “Ok! Maybe once, but just to try on her Slaying outfit, that doesn’t leave this room!” he stated.
Dawn laughed. “Promise,” she said holding up her right hand.
Andrew sighed in relief and fidgeted a little more. “I’m going to miss you, Dawn,” he told her.
Dawn smiled softly and gave him a big hug. “Yeah, me too, you were like the annoying little brother I never had,” she told him.
“Hey!” Andrew protested. “I’m older than you,” he accused.
Dawn laughed. “Maybe so, but remember you’re only as young as you feel and you must be what? Eleven or twelve?” she teased.
Andrew shook his head, but smiled at being included. “Have fun in the Poke-World,” he said. “Become a really great Trainer or maybe even go out and become a Gym Leader… I think you’d make an awesome Gym Leader,” he stated.
Dawn frowned slightly. “But they all specialize in one type of Pokemon, how am I supposed to choose which type to use?” she asked tilting her head to one side in a mock show of confusion.
“I’ve been thinking of that,” Andrew said excitedly pulling out a small notepad. “From everything Xander told us there is a way for you to become a Gym Leader, but not have to specialize exactly… Although I noticed there are no Ghost Type gyms in Kanto,” he said animatedly flipping through the pages until he reached one – he turned it to show her. “If you tamed Gastly, Haunter and Gengar – and who knows maybe they’ve discovered some new Ghost Types – you could be a pretty powerful Gym Leader… Especially if you figure out a way to avoid their weaknesses.”
Dawn shook her head – she’d only meant to humor him, but then again she did need a new life’s goal and rising to become a Gym Leader might not be such a bad idea, but Dawn refused to train any Ghost types. Gengar was a big enough pain as it was.
“And then if you discovered a new Ghost Type, maybe a combination Ghost-Rock or Ghost-Dragon,” Andrew kept talking.
Dawn let out a groan. “Andrew!” she interrupted loudly.
Andrew glanced up from his notes.
“If I promise to think about being a Gym Leader will you just give me that and leave me to pack?” Dawn asked.
Andrew’s face broke into a broad smile and he quickly passed her the notepad. “I know you could become the best Gym Leader ever!” he said before he left her to pack.
Dawn sighed and flipped through the pages absently – she paused when she got a good look at some of the math Andrew had been formulating. “Hmmmm, maybe Ghost Types are the best option to use for my Gym,” she said thoughtfully. “But no Gengar!” she stated angrily.
Faith wasn’t about to indulge in any sappy goodbyes. She’d packed some small number of clothes and a few bare essentials – she wasn’t going to pretend that anybody was going to be choked up by her departing. But she knew that she’d miss these people as only Faith could.
Still she hadn’t been that surprised to hear Xander had asked her to come. She knew he kind of blamed himself for what happened back in Sunnydale – even though they’d shared a lot of words on the subject since then – still she kind of felt like this wasn’t for her.
“Give it a chance, Faith,” Buffy said startling the dark haired woman.
“I fully intend to, B,” Faith told her fellow Slayer.
Buffy nodded. “I know there aren’t any vampires or demons in that dimension. Hell I don’t even know if the Powers will let you keep your Slayerness, but I figured I should give you something, something special to me,” Buffy told Faith fingering something in her hands.
Faith didn’t like where this was going so she tried to skew the conversation. “That’s sweet and all, B, but do you really think you could ever part with Mister Gordo?”
“Cute, Faith, real cute,” Buffy said rolling her eyes. “I want you to have this.” She held out Mister Pointy – the stake Kendra had given her years ago and that Buffy had kept safe.
Faith felt an emotion she didn’t like – she fought it as only Faith could, but she did accept the stake. “Thanks, B, I know how much this means to ya,” she said.
Buffy smiled. “It’s like you said, Faith, we’re the Chosen Two, capital letters. I’m not sure what I’m going to do to keep those Junior Slayers in line once you go,” she said playfully teasing.
Faith laughed. “Just show them what we did to Kennedy when she got too big for her ego,” she reminded.
Buffy laughed at that and shook her head. “That just might work,” she admitted.
Faith sobered up. “She really wasn’t that bad, I mean Willow still has a thing for her.”
“Don’t change the subject,” Buffy accused threateningly.
Faith sighed. “Look, B, I don’t want a tearful goodbye.” She reached into her pocked and took out a pack of smokes. “Here,” she said handing it over to her.
Buffy’s expression changed into one of confusion and she cautiously took the pack.
“Used to be Spike’s, I’ve kept it, I figured it’s the least I could do. Plus… well ya know, Pokemon world ain’t exactly all dark and brooding they probably don’t even have cigarettes so I figure now’s a perfect time ta stop, ya know?” Faith felt her resolve not to let her emotions out to play breaking down.
Buffy smiled fondly. “Thanks, Faith, you take special care of Dawn.”
“Solemn vow, Little D ain’t gonna so much as get a scratch,” Faith said.
“I know.” Buffy nodded and shared a look with Faith.
Faith couldn’t hold the stare for long. “OK! Enough of this, Xander, Dawn let’s get goin’ already before I lose it!” she shouted up the stairs.
Dawn was the first one down holding a notepad in her hands and studying it carefully.
Xander came last with Willow at his side from the kitchen. “I guess someone’s impatient,” he said with a knowing smile.
“Since we’re goin’ ta PG land, Fuck You, Xander,” she said.
“Didn’t you already get that T-shirt?” Dawn asked playfully.
“Stow it, Dawn, Red, make with the mojo and get us to Poke-Land,” Faith instructed.
Willow frowned slightly. “Uh, Faith, I can’t do that remember?”
Faith stared at Willow for a moment not really registering what she’d said. “Then how the hell are we supposed to get there?” she demanded not wanting to admit she’d forgotten that when Xander came back the first time it hadn’t been Willow to open the dimensional pathway.
Xander smirked. “That’s the easy part, Faith,” he said pulling off a Pokeball from his belt. “That’s why Delia gave me this little beauty,” he revealed before tossing the Pokeball at the floor.
It popped open and a new Pokemon that Xander had never used before appeared in a brilliant flash of light. It was a yellow skinned creature with long arms and for some reason it was holding two spoons in its hands. “Alakazam!” the creature said.
Xander reclaimed the Pokeball. “Hey, Alakazam, think you can contact your home dimension?” he asked.
“Alakazam!” the creature said and its eyes started to glow.
“Xander, why was it you never thought to use this one in battles?” Buffy asked curiously.
Xander blushed slightly. “Alakazam and Gengar don’t exactly get along, see Alakazam is a psychic type and Gengar being a ghost type is stronger against him… Plus I kind of figured he’d make a great surprise weapon in case I ever needed a trump card… And then there’s the fact that technically I’m only supposed to have six Pokemon in my team,” Xander added mumbling the last bit under his breath.
Willow and Buffy eyed the Pokemon curiously.
“How do you figure he can hook back up with his dimension?” Dawn asked patiently.
“Oh that’s the easy part,” Xander explained with a smile.
“Alakazam!” Alakazam exclaimed and his eyes shone even brighter as it triggered its Teleport ability.
“Xander Harris,” a voice whispered from the ethers. “Dawn Summers, Faith Lehane.”
“Yo that ain’t my birth name,” Faith interrupted frustratedly. “Everybody keeps callin’ me that,” she added frustratedly under her breath.
“Prepare to enter the light,” the voice informed without missing a beat.
The four of them – Xander, Faith, Dawn and Alakazam – flashed as a strange energy enveloped them. It was a large multicolored ball of mystical energy – and it seemed to be infusing them.
Faith let out a scream as something dark and slimy looking was forced out of her mouth and onto the floor outside of the circle.
Dawn shuddered as her skin seemed to glow green and a trickle of blood escaped her left nostril.
Xander’s empty eye socket flared with an inner light and it seemed to bathe those outside of the circle in a warm and comforting light.
Buffy watched to the last second not turning away despite the brightness level increasing to almost unbearable. She watched her friend, her sister and her sister-Slayer leave behind the darkest lives they’d ever led to begin a new adventure. An adventure that she envied in a small way, but one that she hoped would lead to a long and healthy life of the retired non-demony sort.
Willow felt them disappear more than saw it and her heart almost leapt into her throat with her sudden grief – Xander was really gone – she was all alone now.
“It’ll be ok,” Buffy said moving to stand next to her friend. “We still have each other and they’re going to a better place now,” she said firmly believing her words.
“I’m going to miss him so much,” Willow admitted.
“I know,” Buffy agreed wiping away a single tear. There was really nothing else left to say.
So you wanna be a Master of Pokemon! Understand the Secrets and Have some Fun Pokemon!So you wanna be a Master of Pokemon! Do you have the Skills to be Number One! Pokemon!I wanna take the ultimate step, find the courage to be bold to risk it all and not forget, the lessons that I hold! I wanna go where no ones been, far beyond the Crowd! Learn the way to take command – use the power that’s in my hand.We all live in a Pokemon world. Pokemon. I wanna be the greatest Master of them all.We all live in a Pokemon world. Pokemon. I wanna be the greatest Master of them all.I’ll put my self to the test, I’ll be better than all the rest.
Ash Ketchum paused mid-step – as though he could feel something on the breeze – he was heading back home after his Johto Journeys with Misty and Brock going back to visit with his mom and tell her everything that had happened to him.
But for some odd reason he felt as though something was about to change. He couldn’t quite place what it was or why it was, but he was sure that something big had just happened and something would be waiting for him when he got back to Pallet.
“What’s wrong, Ash?” Brock asked seeing his friend had stopped.
“I’m not sure, Brock, I just have this weird feelin’. Like something is waiting for us in Pallet,” Ash gave voice to his concerns.
“Pika Chu!” Pikachu said.
“Let’s get to that Magnet Train!” Ash declared suddenly in a hurry to get home. “I gotta see Mom again.”
“Not to mention find out where your Pokemon journeys’ next step should take you,” Misty reminded.
“Yeah I get that, Misty,” Ash muttered. “Let’s go, Pikachu!” Ash said louder and he laughed as he scooped up his friend and charged off down the path to Goldenrod.
“The twerps seem kind of excited about something,” James observed from his perch in Team Rocket’s Meowth shaped balloon.
“So what?” Jessie demanded. “There aren’t any special Pokemon around,” she added.
“So! We should be tryin’ ta catch that Pikachu before they get back to Kanto, the boss ain’t gonna be happy if we don’t come back from Johto with at least one Pokemon!” Meowth shouted using his fury swipes on both human’s faces.
“Meowth!” Jessie screamed angrily.
“He has a point, Jess,” James said.
“We’ll snatch the twerps Pikachu when they get back to Pallet, they won’t be expecting another attack on his home turf,” Jessie said.
“I hope you’re right, Jess,” James said nervously. “Doesn’t his mom still have that incredibly rare and powerful Mister Mime?” he asked.
“Perfect, we can swipe two Pokemon fer the price o’ one,” Meowth said happily.
“Looks like Team Rocket’s hatching plans again!” the trio said with wide smiles.
Delia Ketchum was confused when she came to the front door of her house and found nobody standing outside. But for some reason she felt as though there should have been. Shrugging aside her concerns she started to turn back when Mimey started waving his arms rapidly.
“Mime, Mime, Mister Mime!” the Pokemon exclaimed nervously.
“Alakazam!” a familiar Pokemon exclaimed as a strange flash of light lit up the space surrounding her front door.
“Oh dear,” Delia turned carefully. “Did someone just use Teleport?” she wondered.
The man standing next to Alakazam looked a little older than when she’d last seen him, but Delia recognized him just the same.
“Hey, Delia,” he said with that familiar lopsided grin of his. “I… Well, I’m home,” he finished lamely.To Be Continued…