Title: Phoenix Risings: Phantasmal Terrain
Chapter Number: 2
Author: White Werewolf
Category: Buffy/Xander, Sam/Daniel, Gabrielle/Joxer
Spoilers/Timeframe: All I know for sure it is after “Becoming Part 2.”
Disclaimer: I don’t own anything but the ideas and my computer.
Summery: After Buffy leaves Sunnydale, Xander decides to go looking for her. On the other side of the universe, Ninedinna wants the book she created…the Necronomicon Ex Mortis: the Book of the Dead.
Author Notes: This part is just a prologue to the Phoenix Risings Trilogy; whichs is in turn the starting fic to a huge series. This is the second part of the trilogy. It will be mainly focused on the Buffy/Xander relationship and it will be housing many crossovers.
Special Thanks: Danii, Tenhawk, Teri, Silent Bob Foley, and X-Lander
Buffy: the Vampire Slayer
Hercules: the Legendary Journeys
Xena: Warrior Princess
Cameo Crossovers will suddenly appear. Take a read, and see if you can spot one.
Xander sighed as he got out of his car. It has been an extremely long day for him. All he wanted to do was call Mrs. Summers, let her know what has been going on, and get a good night’s sleep.
He stuck his finger through the key ring as he walked up the stairs.
Xander looked up at his visitor, “Hi, Jack.”
Jack smiled, “You’re getting in late.”
He shrugged, “I’ve been with friends the whole night. I haven’t been home since this morning.”
The chef said, “No wonder. You look really tired.”
“Well, I am. So if you don’t mind me. I’m going to my apartment. I’ll see you later. Night, Jack.”
A grin was made, “I’m going to sleep in about an hour myself. Larry needs to talk to me. He told me to meet him at the Regel Beagle.”
Xander nodded, “Tell him I said hi.” Then he headed for his apartment. His eyes widened, and turned around to face the steps, “Who’s Larry?”
Jack Tripper was already gone.
With a shrug, Xander opened his door, and went inside.
Xander plopped in his bed and closed his eyes for a second. When satisfied, he opened them and looked at the clock. Eleven thirty it read. “Only 11:30?” he asked himself.
There was still time to call her. After picking up the phone, he dialed the familiar number and awaited an answer.
It soon picked up, “Hello?” Asked a voice.
Xander smiled weakly, “Hi, Mrs. Summers.”
Her voice suddenly lifted, “Hello, Xander. Didn’t think that you were going to call me tonight.”
He shrugged, “How could I not? I talked to Giles today and felt that I should just check up on you.”
“That was sweet of you. I’m still worried about Buffy. Very worried in fact, but I think what you’re doing is great. I feel better knowing that somebody is looking for her.”
“Glad to help, Mrs. Summers. I’ve made some new friends and they’re helping me.”
“That’s good to hear. You seem to be a very likeable young man.”
Xander chuckled slightly, “I know. It’s a curse.”
“Curse nothing. From the first day I met you, I knew you’d have a good effect on my daughter. She needs you in her life. I hope that when you do find her, you can talk some sense into her.”
He sighed, “I can try. But Buffy can be very stubborn.”
“As I understand it from Willow, so can you.”
“Guilty, Mrs. Summers. I tend to do that. But, like I said. I am looking for Buffy. I know for a fact that she is in LA. Have you tried her father?”
“I called Hank. He’s looking for her too. I know Buffy, Xander. And when she doesn’t want to be found, she doesn’t want to be found. So, you two have to be on the look out for her. I’ll give you his number so you two can talk.”
Xander went inside his nightstand and pulled out a notepad. After grabbing the pen that was next to it, he opened it up. And said into the phone, “Alright. You can give it to me, Mrs. Summers.”
“The number is 867-5309.”
He grinned as he wrote down the number. “Thanks. I’ll call him tomorrow.”
Joyce said, “That’s good to hear.” Then her voice changed, “oh, and Xander?”
Xander tensed at her tone, “Yeah?”
She said carefully, “I talked to your parents.”
His face suddenly paled, “Oh, you did.”
“Yes, I did, Xander.”
The teenager gulped, “How did it go?”
The mother sighed, “Why didn’t you ever tell anyone about them?”
His head hung in defeat. Joyce Summers knew about his parents. But how much? From what he just heard, he knew she had some information on them. With Joyce knowing about Buffy not being around and her slayage. Mrs. Summers doesn’t need to know any more lies. With a deep breath, he decided to be direct and honest.
He could hear Joyce getting into a comfortable position. Well, maybe he couldn’t hear her, but he could picture it.
Joyce was the opposite of his parents in every aspect. His parents weren’t divorced, and she was. His parents drunk and were abusive. As far as Xander knew, Buffy’s mother wasn’t anything like that. It seemed to Xander, that Joyce was the type of mother that cared about her daughter deeply. Anthony and Jessica didn’t really care about him.
Mrs. Summers cut his inner musings off, “I know this is hard, Xander. But, please. You can talk to me. You’re doing a lot for me in looking for Buffy, and I want to return the favor. So, please. Tell me what’s going on.”
With those words, Xander’s heart melted. Joyce’s voice was so full of compassion, love, and respect. All the things that his parents seemed to lack.
“My parents…my parents…well, my parents…”
She said carefully, “You’re parents what?”
He took a deep breath, and said quietly yet slowly, “They…they…they drink too much.”
Joyce’s voice became more frantic yet had that steady calmness. “I saw that when I went over to the house, Xander. They were obviously drunk.”
Xander sighed, “They get drunk a lot.”
With determination and sorrow in her voice, she asked, “How much is a lot?”
How much was a lot? Xander didn’t know the exact number, but they went through a good amount of beer cans everyday. “Let me say this, they go through a couple 12 packs a week.”
She questioned in an angered voice, “A couple 12 packs a week?”
Xander nodded, “Yeah. A couple. And they…they…they.”
Buffy’s mother said with concern, “They what, Xander? Do you mean to tell me that they hit you?”
Those words always hit Xander to the core. He couldn’t hold it in anymore. Soon, tears started to well in his eyes.
The tears started to fall freely down his cheeks. Xander wasn’t one for crying, but whenever he was alone and his parents’ exploits were brought up, he couldn’t hold it in. It hurt him too much. He started to cry openly.
Honey? No parent has ever called him that. No adult for that matter. Anthony and Jessica used to call him that when he was younger. That was of course before Catherine died. The day she died, everything changed. His parents lost most feelings for him. They shut down, and then they turned to drinking.
He tried to stop crying, but he couldn’t. The pain was building up for over ten years.
Joyce’s voice was filled with compassion, love, concern, and maternal instinct. “It’s alright, Xander. I wish I could be there for you, but I can’t. Please, tell me. Telling someone will be good for you.”
Xander took a deep breath, “It’s just that.”
The boy slowly stopped crying. When he fully composed himself, he said, “When Catharine died.”
“Catharine? Who’s Catharine?”
The teenager said slowly, “Catherine was my sister, Mrs. Summers.”
Joyce asked with total surprise, “You’re sister? You had a sister?”
He nodded, “Yes, I did. It happened over ten years ago. She died of pneumonia.”
“Oh my god!” She cried, “I am so sorry, Xander.”
Xander nodded, “It’s alright, Mrs. Summers. It hurts sometimes, but I’ve learned to live with it. I always make to the cemetery the very same day she died. It’s sorta of a ritual for me. We didn’t have the money to save her. I wanted to cash my savings bonds, but my parents wouldn’t have it.”
He could hear her starting to tear up, “I loved her, Mrs. Summers. But, she died. That’s part of life. I keep telling myself that. It’s never easy, and my heart breaks every now and then. But, when she died. My parents shut down and turned to drinking. Soon, it took over, and they ignored me more and more. Then they started to hit me because I couldn’t fill the void that Catharine left. That’s when they started calling me an idiot. And they’re right, Mrs. Summers. I am an idiot.”
A deep breath was made, “I want you to listen to me, Xander. Alright? Listen to every word that I have to say.”
Her voice suddenly lifted a little. “First of all, you aren’t an idiot. You never were. You believe me right?”
He shook his head, “No, I am. I am a complete idiot.”
Her voice raised, “Listen to me, Alexander Harris. You are not an idiot! You never were! You get that right?”
Xander sighed, “I’m not an idiot.” (Yes, I am. I am a total screw up.)
“Good. You remember that. Now, I’m sorry about your sister, Xander. But that isn’t an excuse for what your parents have done to you. As soon as you come home with Buffy, you are going to move out of your house. Do you have any uncle, aunt, or any other relative that you can move in with?”
Xander answered, “There’s Uncle Rory. But; he always keeps to himself. “
“I see. Is there anyone else?”
Xander answered, “There’s Willow and her parents. I’ve stayed over her house a few times in the past. She knows some things about my past, but not that much. It was never my choice to tell. My dad told me if he ever found out that I told someone, he would hunt me down and hurt me.”
She said carefully, “Alright. When you get home, we’ll call Mr. and Mrs. Rosenberg and let them know what’s going on. All of us we’ll get together and we’ll ask if you can move in with them. I’ll do whatever I can to help make this transition easy for you, Xander. No child deserves what your parents have done to you. You understand that, right?”
He smiled, “I understand.”
“Good. You’ll move in with them, and we’ll make sure that you and Buffy get back into school come this September. Don’t worry about a thing. Just concentrate on finding my daughter, and I’ll set up everything. Is that okay with you?”
“That works for me, Mrs. Summers. Thanks.”
“Not a problem, Xander. I just wish you told someone before.”
He shrugged, “Like I said before. Dad made me promise not tell anyone. And I didn’t want to cross him.”
“I understand that. But you don’t have to feel that way anymore. Now, do you want me to tell Buffy?”
Did he want to tell Buffy? A small part of him screamed yes. But he couldn’t even. Even though he wanted to bring Buffy back home and be the friend that she needed. The type of friend that held nothing back to create an even stronger bond, he couldn’t. Not yet anyway.
After taking a deep breath, he said, “I can’t, Mrs. Summers. Not yet anyway. It’s just a hard subject to talk about.”
“I understand, Xander. But, you did the right thing by telling me. All you have to do is call Buffy’s father, compare notes with him, and find my daughter. Tell her what she needs to know.”
Xander smiled, “Thanks again, Mrs. Summers. And I’ll do that. If you don’t mind, I got to get some sleep. I do have work tomorrow.”
“Alright, Xander. Goodnight.”
With that, she hung up the phone leaving Xander to do the same. When the phone was back in its cradle, he turned off the lamp that was by his bed on his nightstand, placed his head on the pillow, and drifted off to sleep.
Xander suddenly found himself in an apartment. It wasn’t like any apartment, it was the apartment that he found Angel during the night of the Spring Fling.
“What the hell?” He asked himself. “What am I doing here?”
He scanned the room and it was exactly how he remembered it. It was dark as always, but one thing was different. He wasn’t there. The vampire that he hated with a passion was not to be found.
The voice caught him off guard, and yet it didn’t. He turned around and saw exactly who the voice was coming from. With him gritting his teeth, he grunted, “Angel.”
Angel walked up to the boy but kept a safe distance. “Hi, Xander.”
Xander immediately went to pocket to pull out a stake, but he realized he didn’t have one. “Shit.” He cursed. The boy started to look around his surroundings, but didn’t find anything made out of wood or something that could decapitate his visitor.
“You can’t kill me. Even if you wanted to.”
He glared at the vampire, “And why not? It’s obvious that Buffy didn’t kill you. You somehow found a way to come back, and you’re going to start killing everyone. Well, listen here, Deadboy. You stay away from, Buffy! You stay away from everyone that I care about! If you hurt them, I’ll kill you! Hell, why am I talking to you? Now, tell me. Where are your swords?”
Angel said calmly, “Easy, Xander. I’m not here to attack you, Buffy, or anyone else. I’m still in Hell.”
Xander smiled weakly, “That’s good. You finally got what was coming to you. So, is Hitler getting anything shoved up his ass?”
He shrugged, “Don’t know. He’s in the special sweet with Mussolini and Stalin. Those three are always together, and planning things.”
“What are they planning?”
Angel smiled, “To make William’s stay in hell unbelievably uncomfortable.”
He showed a confusing look, “William?”
His grin appeared to widen, “Spike. Where do you think Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini got their ideas? I mean, look at him. Bleached blond with blue eyes. The perfect way to make sure no Nazi would harm him. Yet, it gave Spike the kind of attention he craved.”
Xander said, “You know, I’m not surprised by that. But, why are you here?”
The vampire stated, “I’m here to talk to you, Xander.”
He asked, “Why should I listen to you?”
Angel smiled, “You don’t have a choice in the matter.”
The boy glared at him, “There’s always a choice, Deadboy.”
All of a sudden, his hand tightly wrapped around a stake. “What the hell is going on?”
Angel took off his jacket, ripped open his shirt to reveal his chest. “If staking me is going to convince you that I’m not really here. Then do so.”
Without hesitation, Xander sprang into action. He leapt forward and aimed for the heart. But the stake didn’t touch skin, instead, it went right through, and Xander fell on his face.
“What is going on?” He asked the vampire as he got back to his feet,
He said, “What I’m trying to tell you. I’m not here. Well, I am, and I’m not. Angelus is being tortured down there. I’m Angel—Angelus’ soul.”
Finally undertanding, he faced him and said, “Let me get this straight. Angelus is down in hell, and I’m talking to Angel. You mean, Angelus’ better half.”
He nodded, “Exactly. I’m here to tell you something.”
“And that is?” He said calmly.
Angelus’ soul said, “I’m here to tell you that you did the right thing by lying to Buffy. You gave her the focus she needed to stop me.”
Xander asked, “So lying was the right thing?”
He said, “Yes, it was. And I’m here to give you my blessing.”
His eyes widened, “Blessing? What blessing?”
Angel said with a weak smile, “To go out with Buffy. I’ve dated Buffy a while ago, and I see the way she thinks about you. Buffy never admitted it, but she does have feelings for you.”
He couldn’t help the smile form on his face, “Buffy likes me?”
The vampire nodded slowly, “Apparently. Don’t know why, you’re kind of annoying.”
Xander glared at him, “Am not!”
Xander sighed, “This is getting annoying, Deadboy.” His eyes then narrowed, “How do I know you’re not playing me?”
Then the room changed. The two were no longer in the confines of Angel’s old apartment. They were now in Xander’s apartment. His living room no less.
“What happened?” Xander asked in a surprised tone as he sprung upright from his seat on the couch.
Angel said as he got comfortable in the seat beside him on the blue couch, “I wanted to tell you this in a place where you’d be most comfortable. And that seems to be in you’re apartment.” He then looked around and smiled, “and I must say, Xander. Not a bad place. A little bright, but that’s just me.”
“Uh huh,” the boy said taking in the change of scenery. Continuing on the aforementioned topic, he said, “As you were saying.”
Angelus’ soul said calmly “Right. Let me put this way, Xander. You and I can go like this for a very long time—an extremely long time. But, we have to face facts. Buffy has had two choices for boyfriends since she started Sunnydale High. There’s you, and then there’s me. Buffy and I had are chance, and all I ever gave her was pain. She lost friends because my curse wasn’t permanent. I love her. There’s no denying that, but I don’t want her live her life in fear. Buffy’s human, and she craves human contact. I can’t give her that, but you can, Xander. I want you to find her, bring her home, and be the person that you are to her. Eventually she’ll notice who you are, because I’m no longer in the picture. All you have to do is be there for her. It shouldn’t take that long.”
He relaxed momentarily, and then argued, “Why should I believe you?”
Angel stated, “Because, Xander. It’s the truth. Whenever you were brought up by myself, she did hesitate sometimes. Face it, you and I are complete opposites. But she needs you, and I don’t mean just as a friend, she needs you to be her boyfriend. I’ve seen slayers in the past. Like Buffy, some of them are adjusting to the slayage while trying to keep their normalcy in tact. But, as they grow, a lot of times, they lose their humanity and become all slayer. I don’t want that to happen to her, so, she needs someone to help her through her problems, and that someone is you, Xander. You love her, I know it. She likes you too. You’ll eventually enter a relationship. That is of course if you keep trying to hook up with her. Just because you asked her out once, and she turned you down. Doesn’t mean you should give up trying.”
Xander smiled, “Wow. You really thought this through.”
He shrugged, “There’s not that much to do in Hell. It eternal torment, but in order for myself to not become completely insane, I have to think of things so I can distract the pain. It’s been six years since I left Sunnydale.”
His eyes widened, “Six years? You’ve only been gone for a little over a week.”
Angel nodded, “Yeah, you got that right. But, times passes differently there.”
“Oh,” he said in realization. “so let me get this straight. You’d be okay if Buffy and I started dating?”
Angel answered trying to withhold a wincing look. But he failed miserably. “I admit it’s going to hurt. I have to remember one thing. Even though we won’t be together anymore, I want her to be happy. And I know you can do that for her. Just promise me that you won’t hurt her, Xander.”
Xander grinned, “I won’t, Dea…Angel.”
The teenager couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Buffy apparently liked him in a non-friendly manner. That was a complete mind blow. He had promised himself that if nothing happened over the summer and within the first few weeks of his senior yeah, he’d give up on her and try and make it work with Cordelia. But now? He wouldn’t give up on his love—on his Buffy. Now, he knew that Xander wasn’t wasting his time trying to go out with her. What Angel just told him made it worthwhile.
But to make it work properly, he had to allow the time for growth, he had to allow Buffy’s feelings for him to evolve. Right now, she needed a friend, and that’s what he’d do. He would be her friend first, and then her boyfriend.
The voice brought him back to reality, “Sorry. Mind wandered.”
Angel noticed the smile on his lips. “I bet. You’re thinking about Buffy aren’t you?”
Xander sighed, “Yeah, I am. I can’t believe you’re letting me have a chance with her.”
The vampire said, “I just know what’s best for her. Or I try to know what’s best for her. Buffy is the one that knows what’s best. Well, her mother knows too sometimes and don’t forget Giles.”
The boy nodded, “I understand, Angel. And I have to plan my cards right, don’t I?”
He smiled, “Yeah, you do. But I know you can do it, Xander. I have faith in you.”
All of a sudden he bent over and held his stomach, “Damn it!”
Xander said with care, “What’s wrong?”
He has never been one to care about the vampire. The boy still hated him, he hated all vampires, and that will never change. But, Xander couldn’t help but feel something for him. Angel just handed Buffy to him on a silver platter, and Xander wouldn’t forget that. So, to some degree, he had to respect him.
“It’s happening again!”
His eyes widened, “What’s happening? What is it?”