Disclaimer: 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' belongs to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy Production,Stargate' to MGM, Starcraft belongs to Blizzard Entertainment.
Xander dropped into his bed, exhausted. It had been a crazy night, that was for sure.
It had begun with the little man Snyder roping him, Buffy and Willow into babysitting Trick or Treaters during the Halloween night. His first thought had been to buy a toy gun, and use the old fatigues he had at home in order to go as a soldier – a nice, cheap plan, and the Principal would have had no reason to complain. The plan had gone to the dogs, however, as it turned out the toy rifles had been sold out by the time the Gang had gotten to the shop.
Thinking quickly on his feet, he had purchased himself orange, green and yellow body paint, plastic claws and black, water – washable marker. Of course, he had no intention of going exactly as the character that had inspired him for his costume. His masculinity had taken bad enough hit in the morning, when Buffy had helped him with Larry. If he'd dressed as a woman for Halloween, he'd never hear the end of it.
As a result, he had spent the night as an Infested Terran, a male version of the Queen of the Blades, as anyone who had purchased even a button from the shop transformed into their costumes. It was an impossible luck that his 'alter-self' killed nothing during the night, as it had revelled in the freedom from the Overmind's will, and had chosen to ignore the 'lesser beings' around.
After the spell had ended, he had immediately set out to find the children he had abandoned, in the process discovering that Buffy had been hurt, her Slayer personality having been suppressed by one of a brainless eighteenth century ditz for the duration of the transformation spell. Luckily, Angel had gotten wind of what had been going on, and had managed to prevent Spike from killing the Slayer... by dusting the Bleached Wonder.
Between gathering the confused and frightened children, getting them home, and checking on Buffy, who had lapsed into a coma from being drained by Deadboy's grandchilde, and checking in with Giles, most of the night had gone before he could get home.
As Xander fell asleep, he was completely unaware of the fact that even after the failure of the transformation spell, the biological particle known to the humans of the Starcraft universe as Hyper – Evolutionary Virus had remained into his bloodstream and inner organs, and had begun to multiply almost instantly.
The Virus was, in reality, a directed evolution designed to fulfill the infestation process the original Zerg insectoids had used on the higher biological strands at the beginning of their race faster and more efficiently. It operated as a psionically – controlled organic nanite possessing a record of the entirety of the genetic strands available to the Zerg, capable of infesting and altering any living creature under the direction of a Zerg upper in the hierarchy – a Queen at least, and only altering the target to the level of complexity the being directing the virus could control.
This time, however, there was no external entity to control the Virus; so as Xander slept, it began 'upgrading' the boy's body with the best genes available. First, it repaired all of the damage done to his body over the years of abuse, bone that had been broken in the past fused more solid that it had ever been, while organs strengthened and in some cases began to increase in capacity. His muscles were strengthened, rapidly reaching three times their previous maximum. As the body was saturated with the Virus, the scull and brain were also altered, the complexity of the bonds between the neurons increased, with a small bulge forming at the back of the head. And finally, the boy's skin attained a dark green hue.
Xander's eyes snapped open, glowing in amber yellow light.
1st if November, morning
Her will withdrawn to the fringes of her host's mind, Egeria quietly observed as the woman worriedly questioned the doctors about her daughter's condition.
The symbiote hated the situation it was in; being inside a host it had not asked permission to blend with went against everything it stood for. She was unsure as to how she had gotten out of the breeding tank and ended up inside a host from the First World. But there wasn't much of a choice; in order to find a willing host, she needed to alert this one of her presence. But for the moment, she could wait until the problem with her daughter was settled sufficiently. Depending on the severity of the girl's injuries, the symbiote believed it was some chance she could help. But for the moment, it was best that it simply watched, as it looked like the woman's tendency to repress certain events would be quite rudely brought to an end.
1st of November, at dusk
Liam, more commonly known as Angel, the only vampire with soul in existence, paced in his apartment. He couldn't sleep at all during the day, his mind constantly replaying the events of the previous night. He just couldn't shake the feeling that Buffy's injury had been his fault.
The Slayer had worn that damnable dress to impress him, and because of that choice, she had had no ability to defend herself from Spike, thanks to some Chaos mage's practical joke, as the furious Watcher had told him when the man had finally arrived in the hospital. The vampire grit his teeth; Angelus may have been suppressed by the Curse, but was still there, something Angel was planning to make painfully clear to the mage if they ever met... the operative word being painfully.
But even with the mage pulling his stunt, Buffy would not have been harmed if he had just acted sooner, and the thought of that didn't give the vampire with soul any peace. He had known that Spike was in Sunnydale for a month; why hadn't he acted sooner? Even not having fed properly for nearly fifty years, he was still stronger than his grandchilde, as the events from the last night had clearly shown. If he had found and eliminated the problem as soon as realizing there was one, now Buffy would have been home, instead of lying in a hospital bed fighting for her life. Heck, he could have even asked for her help in order to get to Spike, just in case.
A knock on the door of his apartment shook the vampire from his musings.
“Angel? You home?”
Angel frowned at the voice. It was someone he never thought he would see coming to look for him, and the feeling was for the most part mutual. It was also someone who had not used the name the vampire used these days to address him from the moment he'd learned of the vampire's true nature, preferring annoying nicknames such as Deadboy or Overbite instead. Only something very serious would bring Xander here, so Angel opened the apartment door...
and nearly jumped back, his eyes widening in shock at th sight before him. The... thing on the other side of the door had Xander's features, wore clothes the vampire had seen Xander in, and its smell resembled the boy's, however, every visible part of his body was some shade of dark green, and its yellow eyes glowed in the darkness.
“Xander?” Angel asked suspiciously, in his two and a half centuries worth of memories, he had no knowledge of a demon looking quite like that, not that it meant much in this place.
“Don't look exactly like myself, do I?” 'Xander' said with a weak grin, his glowing eyes focused on Angel's “I came and threatened you to get you to guide me to the Master's cave when you thought Buffy was gonna die.”
The vampire with soul froze into place. There were very few that knew the details from that night. He was certain the Watcher did, but wasn't sure about anyone else, not even Buffy. “Xander?” he said again. “What happened to you?”
Xander's face twisted into an ugly snarl, made even more menacing by the boy's eyes. “Ask the bastard who pulled the stunt last night. When I get my hand on him, he'll wish he was dead. When the spell broke, apparently, there was enough left behind to restart the mutation. I woke up feeling like crap, and looking even worse. And the worst part is, I can' go to Giles for help. If I do,'ill infect him.”
“The virus. The very thing that forced the mutation. I'm spreading it with each breath I take. I can sense the damn thing all over the place, just about everywhere I went yesterday, or I'm going today. I can't go into any public building, or it will spread out of control. We're lucky it's only a semi – active form, not the one meant to infect everyone it comes into contact with, but if anyone does get infected, they'll mutate as well, though probably not as fast as I did. I think it affected me this fast because it was saturating my bloodstream to begin with.”
Angel frowned in confusion. “Mutation, what mutation? Into what?”
Xander held his hand up. “Into a Zerg. Look, I know you don't understand. Willow can find all the info for you. For now, what you need to know is that this is very dangerous, and if something isn't done, many others will be infected and mutated as well. And I cannot guarantee they will keep any of their sanity.”
The vampire swore under his breath. Xander was right; he didn't need the details. The important thing was, whatever had happened to the boy could happen to others, and they needed to act soon. It made sense that the boy would come to him; after all, the dead body could not be affected by whatever disease had been unleashed. Which meant that he was possibly the only one in position to act around Xander without risk.
Angel grimaced at the thought of being forced into working closely with Xander of all people, but he knew he had little choice in the matter. He couldn't walk away from this one. If nothing else, he owed Buffy that much. Author's notes: I have come to realize that the original story is a bit too 'light' for one with the Zerg in it, with things going a tag too smoothly for the good guys. I may still update it, but it is more likely that I will focus on this one instead, as every version of the next chapter for the original seems to be ending up as Angel – bashing, which I have said before I wish to avoid, despite my dissatisfaction with the character's attitude about fighting the good fight in Sunnydale. In this fic, there will be some emphasis on the one thing in the Buffy/Angel relationship the Angel – bashers seem to miss entirely. The fact that having sex with Buffy gives Angel a moment of true happiness. the events of 'Innocence' and beyond could only come to pass if Angel's feelings for Buffy are genuine, no matter how wrong that may seem from some points of view. Ah, and rest assured, I will not be killing off Buffy or Kendra in this fic, despite my plans to get Faith into the story as well. One of the Slayers will be accompanying Xander in his galactic journey.