Chapter Three - How the Hell!?
AN:Thank you all for the wonderful reviews! The more I get the more encouragement I get to work on the next chapter *Wink Wink*. So here's the next one for you, enjoy.
AN: As to some of the concerns I've be reading he somethings that I feel I should hash out. As to his class theirs nothing deffinate but but it would probably be best to think of him as a Dual-Wielding Warrior. As to his car well he just hasn't thought of it yet. And FYI the POB's will probably only be bit players in this story. I don't really feel like coming up with a new end of the world scenarios. I might change my mind on that as I go though, we'll see ^^.
Giles could only stare at Xander as the boy, no man, in front of him wrapped up the tale of his exploits over the summer. The tea he had put out while Xander had been changing was now completely gone, and it hadn’t escaped his notice that Xander had accepted it without a single complaint or request for something else. This alone indicated that the time the boy was gone had changed him even more than what could be seen on the surface. He had seen true horror while away and had gone through true hardship. This had forged Xander from someone in their late teens to a much more hardened version of the old Xander. Noticing the lad had stooped talking he said,
“I’m sorry Xander, I know you have all the proof you need right in front of me, but I’m having trouble wrapping my mind around all this. I’m going to need a minute.” With that Giles got up and busied himself with clearing up the tea. Xander could only nod, he knew that his story might seem astonishing even after all they had been through on the Hellmouth. After a few minutes Giles came back and sat down in the lazy boy across from the couch and asked, “So what do you plan to do now? I mean it’s not like there’s much call for, Grey Wardens was it? And speaking of which how do you think this taint of yours will affect you here in this world, let alone on the Hellmouth of all things?”
Giles wanted to be mad at what Xander had done to himself then he realized that if he just gave into that impulse Xander would probably just dismiss him out of hand at best. At worst he would alienate the man completely into one wanting nothing to do with the other. And he knew that it wasn’t the man’s fault after all. His circumstances had forced him into becoming a Grey Warden through their Right of Conscription. Giles was thankfully mature enough to realize that what was done could not be undone. It didn’t keep him from worrying about the young man he saw as a son (No matter how much said son annoyed him.) though.
Thinking for a minute Xander said solemnly, “Yeah I hadn’t really thought about that yet, I haven’t been back very long after all. I’m sure I’ll find something but I don’t think I need to rush. If I can find a way to melt down the coins you saw earlier and sell them off that way, I think I’ll be set for money for some time. The bags seem to be bigger on the inside so there’s a lot more in there then you saw. As to the taint, well I guess we’ll just have to see about that, ‘cause I have no idea.”
Giles nodded, he had already started to think of a few ways he could help Xander sell the gold he had seen earlier should he be asked. He also conceded the point of just having to wait and see with this taint Xander said he had as a result of being a Grey Warden. “Yes I can see you not having to work very much what with the gold I did see. Depending on the purity you should be able to fetch a high price for it. I think I know of some people that may be able to help in that regard if you’ll allow it.”
“That would be great Giles, thanks. As soon as we work that out I’m gonna need to see about getting an apartment or something. I don’t think I could live with my parents without wanting to kill them every now and then… By the way would you mind if I crashed here tonight? As is I really don’t see my parents being happy with me showing up in just some sweats at,” he looked at the clock in the kitchen and yawned, “2 a.m. seriously? Wow it’s late.”
“Of course Xander that’ll be fine. Let me go get you a pillow.” With that Giles went to go get said pillow coming back a few seconds later and handed it and a blanket to Xander. “Good night Xander, I’ll see you in the morning.”
Over the next week or so Xander found himself to be missing Fereldan more and more. It wasn’t so much missing his friends there or even Leliana that he missed most about the place at the moment. What he missed most right now was the sense of adventure, the knowledge that what he did had meaning and was appreciated. He also missed the ability to go somewhere and not be hounded by either Buffy, Willow, or both. They didn’t seem to think he should be left alone after his ‘trauma’.
No that wasn’t right it was more Willow didn’t like that she didn’t know everything there was to know about Xander anymore. In fact she found that great big chunks of his personality had been altered by the events of his summer. For one the patent pending resolve face no longer did anything. When she had tried to get him to spill to her questioning she was shocked when he merely looked at her for a second and then, shrugging, turned back to what he was doing! That wasn’t supposed to happen, than she remembered Xander commenting that someone called Leliana was better at it which she didn’t like because she was the only one who truly knew him inside out. And two every time she asked to know more about the magic he had seen he just gave her a ‘look’ and said to stick with what she had. He hadn’t said anything but she just knew that he thought she was going too fast. Everyone was saying that but she knew what she was doing darn it!
Buffy on the other hand was always asking if she could use his weapons, especially Starfang. He had already told her which ones she could use and which ones she couldn’t but she persisted. She just couldn’t get past her ‘Oh Shiny’ mentality. Luckily though she seemed to realize that after all he had been through Xander wouldn’t let the ‘Being the Slayer is makes you more important than everyone else' mentality and didn’t push from that direction. She seemed to instinctively know that if he ever went all out on her she wouldn’t really see it coming. That and she had a sneaking suspicion that she wasn’t the apple of his eye anymore so she couldn’t play that angle anymore.
Granted she would never admit to it, but she had always liked the attention gave her (It didn’t hurt that she where she had found him to be cute before, he was a total hottie now). She wasn’t first on his list of priorities anymore and she wanted to know why. He had of course mentioned Leliana at length, along with the other friends he had made while away, but she just couldn’t see it.
Giles had tried to tell them to back off a little but to no avail. They persisted to the point where he had to sneak out of Giles’ apartment every morning before they could get there to go hide. He had, thankfully, been told he could stay at Giles’ apartment until he found a good apartment of his own. Through some of Giles’ connections he had been able to sell off the gold he had brought back with him at almost market value with them only taking 5% off for their own take. It had actually totaled to the better part of a million dollars in all.
Past that though Xander hadn’t really done much but try to reacclimatize himself to the world again. The first morning back Giles had found him sleeping on the floor instead of the couch and when he asked why Xander only said that it was what he was used to after months of near endless ‘camping’. Giles had later called Buffy and Willow letting them know Xander was back and when they had come rushing through the door half an hour later excited to see their friend they were greeted with a flying dagger. The only thing that made it imbed itself in the tree right outside instead of Buffy’s head had been her Slayer reflexes. Needless to say they were surprised. Well having to be on near constant guard for months on end less a Shriek or other assassin get them had that kind of effect.
When they finally got the full story out of Xander, one of grand adventures, corrupt politics, and a plague of monsters that made anything they had ever encountered in Sunnydale pale in comparison, they had not been happy. Sure they had been sad, curious, angry, and scared at one point or another but not happy. Hence the stalk… Sorry keeping him company. On the bright side though, thanks to this perpetual company he got help moving out what few material things he valued out of his parent’s house and into Giles’ apartment until he got his own. Anthony Harris having lost another stream of potential drinking money had gotten angry and was surprised as hell when an hour later when he woke up on the floor where his ‘son’ had left him after punching his day lights out. Jessica Harris had been in a drunken stupor the entire time.
Outside of all that though his life was going pretty well, he was almost a millionaire, he was well on his way towards getting his own place (a little 2 bed 2 bath apartment in between the local college and the Summer’s house. Joyce and Dawn Summers had been very surprised in the changes to the young man they had known. He was obviously the same person inside and if Dawn’s crush had been something before now it was like a living thing had taken up residence in her chest and stomach. And Joyce had started asking him over far more often as well, whether it was for a meal or to have him look at something they needed to be ‘fixed’ (She had always admired how he was with his hands. Oh if only she were a few years younger…). Oddly enough he found that his bum was always a bit warm when he was over there.
It had been a couple days since he had moved into his new apartment and he had to say he was enjoying the alone time he could find there. At least a few hours every day though he was playing host to his friends, who it seemed had decided to make his place the new hang out spot for the Scooby Gang. Giles seemed particularly pleased with this unspoken agreement. Joyce and Dawn also came over on a regular base, though not as often as Buffy and Willow, and he could be seen at their house just as often. Not having to work for his daily bread did wonders for one’s free time.
At the moment though he was walking back from the grocery store, having gone to stock up on some essentials when heard a whooshing crackling sound and a feeling of static in the air that made the hair on the back of his neck rise coming from a nearby alley. Carefully placing his bags down he eased out the daggers he had on him, his words would probably stand out to much after all, and headed down the alley to investigate. What he found looked to be a speck of light that disturbed the air as it pulsed. Then suddenly with a bright flash he got a very big surprise as a familiar red head plowed into him and started to hug the life out of him while sobbing.
“Leliana?” Xander asked shocked.
“Aye Warden, we came to getcha.” A rough voice said from behind Leliana.
“Oghren?” looking at the dwarf he notice a couple others, “Wynne? Morrigan? How did you guys get here!?”
AN: So whatcha think? Let me know. As always constructive criticism is always welcome but please be polite. And yes I'm aware I'm going a bit fast adn am being a bit vague on some details I jsut really want to get to how the two groups in Xander's life interact... And now I can yay!