Hey Guys. Yikes, it's been a whole month since I've updated. Oh well, hope you like and make sure you review!
P.S. You should all see X-Men: First Class, it's freaking amazing!
It started about a week after the thing with the Judge. Cordelia and I were in her dad’s car up at Lover’s Lane, trying our best to enjoy each other’s company. In other words we where making out, occasionally taking breaks to snark.
The snap of a twig outside caught my attention, dragging it forcefully away from what was lying beneath Cordelia’s blouse.
“Did you hear that?” I whisper harshly to her, unfortunately distracting her from trying to suck my face off.
“Xander!” She complains, exasperated, “We are all alone! At Lover’s Lane! In my Daddy’s car! Can’t you just - Aaaah!!” She screamed as a clawed arm burst through the roof.
I gasped in shock as the monstrous limb ripped back the roof of the car to expose a creature that looked like Lon Chaney Jr’s most enthusiastic fan.
Much to my amazement, I could actually feel the strength welling in my diaphragm as I inhaled sharply, but I didn’t give it much thought at the time as I followed Cordy’s lead and let loose a terrified scream of my own, (although really it was more of a manly bellow).
The monster flew backwards off the car, clutching it’s ears in pain even as it collided with a tree and crashed to the ground. Conflicting feelings of fear and relief filled me as I caught my breath and the creature fled into the woods.
As I tried to figure out what had happened, I turned back towards Cordelia, and noticed that she was looking at me with the same shock I felt.
“I can’t believe this,” she complained, looking as though she were about to cry, “Daddy just got this car detailed!”
The next day, Cordelia and I told the Scoobies what had happened. About the werewolf attack and how I had somehow stopped it.
After we had explained everything I’m not sure which confused Giles more, the fact that werewolves don’t just change on the night of the full moon, or my new powers.
According to our resident Watcher, the ability that we described is exhibited by several species of demon, though Giles ruled out their involvement as possibilities immediately. There are one or two ways to mimic it through spell work but they all require power and training that I do not possess.
So we started the research session during lunch, the werewolf issue was kinda put on the back-burner until the evening, with everyone helping out. Even Willow’s new boyfriend Oz pitched in, though the guy looked uncharacteristically nervous, I guess he was having a harder time adjusting to the supernatural than we thought.
After several hours and two missed classes, (much to Willow’s horror), Giles came to a conclusion. I am impossible. And for once he isn’t talking about my personality. He means that I should not exist... that I should not be able to exist. In other words, we were stumped.
We had almost given up when we struck gold. Giles was asking me for information about my family tree, looking desperately for some kind of irregularity that could explain what had happened. When we got to my father’s family I mentioned he was Irish and that neither of us had ever met my grandmother.
His eyes lit up with understanding as he almost leapt towards one of his books.
“A Banshee,” He said in an ‘of course, how could I have missed it’ tone of voice, drawing everyone’s attention as he searched for the right page, “A species of demoness, native to Ireland and believed to be closely related to the Sirens of Greek mythology.”
He let out a quiet ‘aha’ as he reached the page he was looking for before he read out loud, “Banshees, unable to reproduce amongst themselves to continue their own lineage, will often seduce and mate with mortal men in order to produce more of their kind. If the offspring is female, then they are raised by their mothers as demons. A male child, however, does not exhibit any demonic traits, and is such, abandoned to the father’s care to be raised as a human.”
“What?” I asked, incredulously, “You think my grandmother was some kind of demon thing?”
“Yes,” he answered simply.
“But, Giles,” Willow asked, nervously, “You said it yourself, boys don’t inherit any demony parts. And Xander is kinda... boy-shaped.”
“No Willow,” Giles corrected, “I said that the males don’t exhibit any demonic traits. The children may very well inherit a recessive form of the demonic genes. I believe that these genetics were carried by your father, Xander, and passed on to you, only to be somehow awakened now.”
“How the heck could something like that happen?” I ask.
“The Judge was an incredibly powerful demonic being,” he said, by way of explanation, “One who could incinerate a person’s very soul with a gaze. It is entirely within the realms of possibility, that your proximity to his power at the mall somehow awakened the dormant aspects of your heritage, and empowering you in such a way.”
“Alright,” Buffy drawled, carefully, “So what exactly does all of this mean for all of us?”
“Um, nothing, really,” Giles stuttered, awkwardly, “Xander’s personality should remain unchanged by his new abilities, as with most people of demonic heritage he should have retained his soul. But the fact remains that Xander’s condition is unprecedented and will likely surprise all of us.”
“Okay,” I say, calming down considerably with the knowledge that I’m not about to go all Angel/Angelus on everyone, “So I’m some kind of demon guy now? What can I do?”
“You mean besides the super-scream?” Cordelia asked.
“Bellow,” I insist, “A very manly bellow.”
“Shriek,” she replied with a smirk, “A very high-pitched, girlish screech that shattered the windows of my car.”
As she ignored my glare I found myself wishing for heat-vision to go along with the other stuff.
“I don’t know,” Giles admitted, “A Banshee is capable of incapacitating people through their wailing and a Siren is able to entrance individuals through the power of their song, and both creatures are purportedly capable of flight, but, as I said, your situation is unique. Who knows how your male form will affect the expression of your gifts?”
“That’s what I was afraid of,” I said dejectedly, “Just tell me that I’m not going to die or turn into a girl or something because of this.”
“Xander,” Giles sighed, polishing his glasses in exasperation, “I sincerely believe that if the awakening of these abilities were to cause some kind of negative effects on you then they would have already presented themselves, but, if it will set your mind at ease, I will continue searching for a precedent.”
“Excuse me,” Cordelia interjected, her voice carrying such a sweet sound that betrayed the look of fury in her eyes, “What exactly is so bad about being a girl?”
It was then that I noticed Buffy and Willow watching us with similar expressions as Oz seemed to shrink out of sight in his chair.
“You know that if I scream I might accidentally destroy something, right?” I ask weakly.
The judgmental eyes that made me want to run and hide more than any demon didn’t stop.
After my verbal ass reaming was done and I had satisfied the girls with praise and the promise of a really special Valentine’s for Cordelia, we went our separate ways for the remaining periods of school and to catch up on what we had missed.
When the full moon began to rise, Giles organized us into groups to go out and try to capture the werewolf. Since Oz hadn’t shown up, Buffy and Giles went one way, and I went with Willow and Cordelia in the other direction.
Giles had told me to earlier that a the effect of a Banshee’s shriek depended on the volume and the pitch, and that the louder I screamed, the more concussive force would be put into the attack. He told me that, if we found the beast, that I should focus more on producing a higher pitch to disorientate, and hopefully knock out the werewolf as we tranq him.
Our group didn’t find it, which made the night spent trying to mediate disputes between Cordelia and Willow that much more painful. Buffy and Giles told us later how they had failed to capture it at the Bronze, and also about the Hunter out looking for a new pelt.
The next morning though, Oz came forth and voiced his concerns. Seems he had woken up naked, in the middle of the woods, and had concluded that he was the werewolf and that his two-year-old cousin must have infected him. He mentioned that seeing the gang’s acceptance of my own revelations had encouraged him to confess.
Let me tell you, Willow nearly went into Brain Overload. In two days her best guy friend had discovered that he had the most powerful scream in the country and her kinda-sorta-boyfriend now had his own special ‘time-of-the-month’.
Wow, we're actually weirder than Cordelia says.
Giles had been trying to teach me some more stuff about what I might be able to do over the past week. We did some training in the Library, whilst Buffy did some work on her katas, and discovered that I can focus the scream, so that I can actually target something, rather than just opening wide and shattering all the glass in the area.
Patrols had been easier, with my new powers, I could produce sounds that were, what Wills called, ‘outside the human range’, meaning that, whilst her, Cordelia and Giles were completely unaffected, the vampires were rolling on the floor in pain. The only problem with that was that Buffy and Oz were also affected, so I generally had to focus more on one monster at a time to avoid hurting them.
But on Saint Valentine’s Day, the first time that I actually had someone to celebrate it with, Cordelia dumped me, in public, right after I bared my soul to her and gave her a gift that cost me a years allowance.
The next day was pure hell, everyone was staring at me, laughing at the Loser that Queen C had finally gotten rid of. By lunchtime I had had enough.
Sitting in the quad, out of sight in the corner, I remembered what Giles had said about Sirens, and Willows explanation. She said that she thinks that Sirens aren’t so much ‘entrancing’ men with the beauty of their song, but are rather lining their voices with subliminal messages, at a pitch just below conscious perception. I decided, Cordelia broke my heart, why not break hers right back? It’s worth a shot.
Under the shade of the school building, focussing intently on one Cordelia Chase, I began to speak. Softly, at a volume that nobody would hear, I started to talk about myself. I said a lot of things as I sat there, but the gist of it is, ‘You Love Xander!’
I must have been speaking for about fifteen minutes when I finally stopped to rest my voice. I noticed that Cordelia hadn’t looked away from her friends even once and concluded that it hadn’t worked.
I was about to get up and leave when I noticed something else. Cordelia wasn’t looking at me, but a couple of her friends kept glancing in my direction. Looking around, I noticed that pretty much every person in the quad, male and female, would keep taking a quick look towards me before looking away just as fast, and some of the closer people were outright staring.
When Larry started drooling I started running.
Every single person in that quad stood up and gave chase. And for the record, I don’t mean ‘single’ as in lacking a significant other, I mean that everybody came after me, completely and utterly convinced that they were in love with me.
And considering that half of them were male and all of them were crazy? Not as fun as it sounds.
I ran straight to the library, where Giles was scrounging around in the book cage that we had used to restrain Oz on the final night of the full moon. Not wasting time with pleasantries, I sprinted straight inside and slammed the door behind me, locking it and grabbing the key before the mob hit us.
“Xander!” Giles yelled over the roar of the lovesick horde, “What the bloody hell is going on!”
After a quick explanation and a Ripper flashback, Giles told me that he could perform a ritual that would free the students from outside influence. But first I had to get them to calm down and shut up.
Taking a deep breathe, I could almost feel my vocal cords shifting to my will, and I let loose a shriek that cost the mob their consciousness and Giles a new pair of glasses as he stuffed his ears with a couple of handkerchiefs.
With the floor of the library littered with the now sleeping bodies, Giles quickly made the preparations for the ritual, marking each person on the forehead with a dot of some foul smelling concoction before chanting something in a language I couldn’t understand.
When everyone started to wake up not long after, we used the tried and true ‘gas leak’ excuse, and they left with varying levels of confusion. Except for Cordelia.
Stalking towards me with a cool determination as the last disorientated teenager left the room, she stopped directly in front of me.
“You did this,” she gestured wildly, her voice surprisingly calm, “You used your stupid super siren scream thingy to try and get me back and it backfired and made everyone fall in love with you.” Never let it be said that Cordelia Chase is as dumb as one would think.
Not able to meet her eyes, I just nodded meekly, waiting for her to continue.
“That is so...” my eyes closed as I prepared myself for the verbal onslaught that was sure to follow, “Sweet!”
What? “What?” Was all I got out before I found my ex-girlfriend attached to my lips and suddenly lost all interest in finding out.
“Dear Lord,” I think I heard someone sigh, though for the life of me, with Cordelia taking up my attention, I couldn’t remember who.
Standing in front of Buffy’s hospital room, face to face with Angelus, one fourth of the Scourge of Europe, one of the most ruthless and creative vampires in recorded history. This was the same monster who had recently killed Ms Calendar and left her body for Giles to find. I tried not to shake.
Buffy was sick with the flu. She was currently incoherent with fever, as well as weak and vulnerable from the sickness that Angelus wants to exploit.
“Do you really think, for one microsecond, that if I wanted to get into Buffy’s room, that you could stop me?” He said, his voice dripping with confidence and contempt.
“Before you and your Band of Morons brought out the Judge? Maybe not,” I answer cooly, I haven’t actually gotten a chance to use my powers against Angelus yet, “But now?” I smirk a bit, can’t help it, I’ve wanted to do this since before he lost his soul, “Rules have changed.”
As Angelus raises an eyebrow in contempt, I decide that the hospital is too public to go all out and just let out a quick six-note whistle, a tune from an old T.V. show. Completely harmless unless you can hear the high frequency overtones.
His face immediately contorted with shock and pain as his hands clawed at his ears.
“What the hell are you Harris?” He asked, once the pain had subsided.
“Y’know, not even Giles is 100% sure on that one,” I answer cheerfully.
“Tell her I stopped by,” Angelus told me, somewhat harshly, as he shoved the bouquet of flowers into my hands and turned to leave.
I found myself really wishing I had a stake as he walked away, but at least I got a final parting shot with another jauntily whistled tune attacking his ears.
“I trust you,” I said, looking down nervously over the empty quad from the roof of the school’s bell tower.
“I know,” Willow, who had climbed up along with everyone else to provide moral support, answered.
“I don’t trust him,” I said, I wanted that made perfectly clear, nodding behind her at Giles.
“Say nothing,” Buffy scolded him as he made to interrupt, her voice brooking no argument.
“I’m gonna die,” I started panicking.
“Relax Xander,” Willow tried to comfort me, “Nobody’s going to make you do anything that you don’t want to.”
What they wanted me to do was jump.
A few days ago, I was exposed to some demonic steroids when I tried to find out what was happening to the swim team. The day after, my arms started itching, getting progressively worse throughout the day, until these things erupted from them.
Skin flaps, kinda like a bat’s wings if they were yellow, connecting my wrists to my waist, had burst through. I could make them emerge from my skin and retract them with a thought and Giles seemed to think that they were the result of the steroids triggering the development of even more of the demonic side of my heritage.
He seems convinced that, by screaming at full power, I should be able to use them to fly like a real Banshee, and he somehow managed to talk me into testing his theory.
That had led to me falling about 10 feet, from the balcony onto the quad, when it failed. Thankfully I didn’t break anything.
Now they wanted me to try it from even higher up.
“Screw this,” I heard Cordelia whisper, her voice clearly conveying her impatience, before I felt her push me over the edge and suddenly found myself falling.
“AAAAAAHHH!!!” Screaming, in the normal, terrified fashion unfortunately, seemed like the only reasonable option, as I tried to spread my arms.
Before I hit the ground, instinct took over and I felt my body realign itself to turn the fall into a controlled dive. As the lawn grew nearer I felt energy build up in my lungs, and, before I crashed into the unforgiving earth, I unleashed it as my most powerful shriek yet.
Jerking out of my dive, I swooped over the lawn, the tips of my toes grazing the grass before I began to gain altitude.
One hundred feet over the rooftops and I was still screaming at the top of my lungs, only now it was from exhilaration rather than fear. How have I lived my entire life without ever doing this?
Turning back to fly past the others I couldn’t stop myself from laughing.
Everyone, bar Buffy and Oz, was in the library, where Willow was attempting to recurse Angelus with his soul. Personally, I thought it safer to just kill the bastard but I was outvoted.
Buffy had taken Kendra’s blessed sword to try and fight Angelus if the curse doesn’t work so I’m counting it as a win in my column anyway.
Willow was in the midst of the ritual, with the rest of us pretty much just spectating by this point, when we where attacked.
Vampires, a mob of them.
I screamed, (and I really need to come up with a manlier way of saying that), hoping to knock them out, but they didn’t react. The only thing the shriek did was make Kendra wince before her training kicked in and she tried to ignore it.
Giles, seeing my confusion, yelled to me, “Xander! They’ve stuffed their ears with wax!”
Crap. I’ve read the Odyssey, Giles made me when he discovered my heritage, and I remember that that’s how Odysseus’ crew ignored the Siren’s call.
As the vamps continued to swarm in, surrounding and separating us, I saw Cordelia flee out the door, probably to get Buffy, whilst Kendra and Giles both threw themselves at the nearest enemy.
I decided to try a more devastating attack, and screamed at the oncoming group again, this time focussing on force rather than pitch. The three coming at me all flew back into the bookshelves, breaking them as they crashed right through. Great, I’m gonna have to fix that.
Running forward, I grabbed a splintered piece of the shelf and staked the downed vamps before turning back to the rest of the room. Willow was unconscious on the table, untouched after the curse was interrupted, Giles was gone, along with the rest of the vampires, but standing in the center of the room was Kendra, her face blank and even more emotionless than usual as she swayed along with Drusilla.
As Drusilla whispered, “Be... in my eyes. Be... in me,” I realized that the insane vampiress was hypnotizing her.
“No!” I yell at her, trying to snap her out of her trance by replacing Drusilla’s orders with my own, “Kendra, don’t listen to her! Fight it!”
Drusilla didn’t hear me, her ears still stuffed with wax to protect her from my powers, but consciousness returned to Kendra’s eyes.
“I am nobody’s puppet!” She cried, as she raised her stake and dusted the Mad Seer.
Once the ashes had dissipated, Kendra was left standing over, breathing hard as she recovered from her hypnotic trance, and the remaining minions had fled.
“Kendra?” I asked cautiously, when she had returned she had been really nervous around me and Oz, and I’m not sure whether that was because we were guys or because of the potential demonic threats we posed.
“I am fine, Xander,” she answered, looking around and taking her own assessment of the situation, “We should get your friend to the hospital.”
‘Yeah,” I agreed, as she hefted Willow’s tiny form into her arms and we started to move towards the door.
I jerked when the doors swung open and Buffy barged in.
Seeing the three of us, she stopped, her eyes wide with unasked questions and guilt at falling for the same trick twice.
“Angelus,” she whispered.
“It seems that the vampires were after your Mr. Giles,” Kendra told her, in a voice that was almost clinical, yet still managed to convey some arrogance and contempt.
“They must need him for something or they wouldn't have bothered with all this,” I reasoned.
“They’ll be taking him to their lair for information then,” Kendra stated, “Where would they be based?”
“Crawford Street,” Buffy said with certainty, “They’ll be at Angel’s Mansion.”
It was actually a relief that the police showed up. Buffy and and Kendra had already left to save Giles and I was able to feed them the usual ‘Gang on PCP’ excuse and get me and Willow a lift to the hospital.
As soon as she was admitted, I called Oz to stand guard in case she woke up and then tried to find out what had happened to Cordelia. Turns out she was the one who called the cops to try and get us some help. She promised to get down to the hospital as quickly a possible to help Oz keep an eye on Willow.
The second Oz showed up, I ran up to the roof and took a running dive over the edge. Extending my arms and allowing my 'wings', if you can call them that, to emerge and catch the wind mid-fall as I started screaming and found myself flying at incredible speeds towards Crawford Street.
Landing at the door, I barged inside to see Spike leaping towards Kendra in a blind rage, only to be dusted as she raised the same stake that had ended his former love. Buffy was dispatching the three minions who had escaped the library with Giles earlier.
Ignoring them as Kendra moved to aid her fellow Slayer, I ran up the stairs to try and find Giles.
He was a mess, lying, broken on a bed, bleeding and delirious with pain as I helped him down and out of the mansion, where I positioned him on the front lawn before returning to try and help the others.
Angelus had appeared while I had been gone and he and Buffy were locked in an epic sword fight as Kendra dusted the last remaining minion.
As Angelus blocked a vicious strike from Buffy, his body suddenly stiffened with shock and he dissolved into ash, revealing Kendra, who quickly removed the stake that had now killed three of the Scourge of Europe before it dusted.
Buffy slumped in relief that the nightmare that had plagued her for months was finally over, yet also regret as the last chance for her love’s revival was gone with it.
Looking over at the stone demon that took up a large portion of the room, she remarked, “Whole lotta trouble for such an ugly statue.”
“Yes,” Kendra said wistfully, “It is a pity we cannot destroy it.”
“Maybe we can,” I speak up, remembering one of Willow’s tutoring sessions concerning sound waves and resonance frequencies, “I can shatter glass by hitting the right note, let’s see what it’ll take to get stone to do the same.”
As both girls covered their ears in preparation, I took a deep breathe, building the power in my chest, before unleashing a powerful shriek.
At first there was no effect, so I started increasing the volume and pitch, going beyond human, and even slayer hearing as the entire mansion started to shake as I destabilized the entire structure.
Eventually, when my face started turning red and pieces of the ceiling started to fall, I noticed a number of cracks appearing in the stone. The cracks started getting bigger and more numerous, until Acathla, the demon so powerful it could suck the whole world into hell and had to be contained in stone for millennia, shattered, into a few million fragments, never to be awakened.
The next few days were surprisingly calm. Willow awoke from her mini-coma to be somewhat depressed that she hadn’t been able to help but otherwise fine. Oz was almost expressing emotion he was so happy that she was okay. Giles’ wounds were diagnosed as not life threatening, Angelus was a master in the art of torture so that shouldn’t really have been much of a surprise, after all, it wouldn’t have done any good if Giles had died before he spilled the beans, would it? And the news that he should be fine after a few weeks rest was a huge relief.
Kendra went back to her usual posting, and for some reason I forgot to ask where that was. And Buffy started acting like her old self after a few heavily edited discussions with her mom.
My throat was hoarse as hell after destroying Acathla, but Giles gave me a once over and said that, while I shouldn’t try flying for about a week, that my vocal cords should heal right up, which was kind of a shame because Cordelia really loved the idea of me acting as a supersonic courier service between her and L.A.. Although Giles took way too much pleasure in reminding me that drinking something from his tea stash would help soothe my throat.