This is my longest segment yet, a tribute to Angel/Archangel and the lesser-known Icarus. It's taken a lot of work, so I hope that this will satisfy you all for a while.
Faith’s hands are roaming my body.
You’d think that this would be a dream come true, and in a lot of ways it is, but I’ve gotta go before anything happens. Before she touches something she shouldn’t.
I stutter, stammer and ramble, I make excuses, try and say no. She pushes me down to the bed.
She says something, her shirt comes off, my brain shuts down for a few seconds as I try to process what’s happening. When her hands start to tug at the hem of my own shirt, my brain kicks into gear.
“I can’t,” I tell her as I grab her wrists.
“You saying you don’t want some of this?” She whispers seductively, leaving her hands in my grasp, even though she could pull free with barely a thought.
“I can’t,” I repeat as I roll her off me.
She just sat there, not making any move to cover up, with a dumbfounded expression on her face. I can’t imagine anyone’s ever said no to her before. I can barely believe that I’m saying no now.
Trying desperately to avert my eyes as I left, I stuttered, “I gotta go.”
I ran the three steps to my car before my hormones could override my brain. Jumping into the drivers seat, I turned the key and drove off, all the while cursing everyone from my family, the gods and that dog looking smugly at me from down the street.
I was almost thankful when I discovered that O’Toole and his gang of the undead where planning to blow something up, it gave me something to take my mind off of what had just happened in Faith’s motel room and the fallout that was sure to come.
A couple of false starts and one undead zombie being made thoroughly dead once more lead me to the high school. They had planted the bomb in the boiler room. Great, I hate going underground.
One zombie got his head crushed by a vending machine, another got eaten by Hell-Bitches. That just left Jack. I hadn’t run into him yet, so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when he showed up in the boiler room.
We fought. Neither one of us came out on top. Then, I saw Jack’s eyes dart to the timer, and realized we were running out of time.
“I know what you’re thinking,” I told him calmly, standing firmly between him and the door, “Can I get by him, up the stairs, through the school... all the while the clock’s ticking away. Gotta say, I don’t love your chances.”
“Then you’ll die too!” He said defiantly.
I shrug off my shirt and fiddle with the harness that lies beneath it, loosening it enough for me to wriggle out of it. Jack just stands there, shocked, as my wings stretch out to their full fifteen feet wingspan.
Standing there, my dark colored wings stretching out behind me, fading at the edges into the shadows, I must have looked like an angel of death.
“Somehow, I doubt that that’s going to be a problem,” I tell him confidently.
“I’m not afraid to die,” he says with false confidence, “I’m already dead!”
“Yeah, but this is different,” I pointed out, “Being blowed up isn’t walking around and drinking with your buddies dead. It’s little bits being swept up by a janitor dead, and I don’t think you’re ready for that.”
Jack cracks, and tries to make a break from the door. One sweep of my wings and he ducks back.
“Are you?” He asks, searching desperately for a way out.
Smiling thinly, I say, “I like the quiet.”
We stare at each other for a few seconds, until Jack finally caves and pulls out a few of the wires. The countdown stops.
I shrugged my wings back into their harness and grabbed my shirt as I left. I knew that Jack wouldn’t try anything, he knew that he’d been beaten.
Besides, if the screams were any indication, I think I just figured out where the gang put Oz while the library was occupied.
Next afternoon I avoided the gang. Buffy and Willow had been giving me weird looks all day and I had a feeling that Faith had talked to them before school. I so did not want to have that conversation with those two. Hence, me enjoying my afternoon laying on a bench in the park. That’s where Faith found me.
“Xander,” she acknowledged, as she stood over me with a curious look on her face.
“I’m not gay,” I blurt out, continuing at her raised eyebrow, “Just for the record, I am definitely attracted to you.”
“So, what, your thing don’t work?” She asked flippantly.
“Uh, my ‘thing’ definitely works,” I answer awkwardly, “In fact, I probably drained the entire towns supply of cold water last night because of how much it was working.”
She smirks confidently, but still looks confused, “Then what was it? Didn’t think you were seeing anyone.”
“With how you were acting I don’t think that that would have mattered,” I muttered, before answering, “But no, Cordelia made it very clear that she wants nothing to do with me after what happened with me and Willow.”
“You overly religious?”
“Well then,” she asked, looking a little irritated, “You gonna tell me why you said ‘no’?”
“That makes a difference?”
“It’s also very personal.”
“So?” She asked, as that clearly didn’t mean a thing to her.
“I’m not going to tell you.”
“I won’t stop bugging you till you do,” she pestered childishly.
I looked at her incredulously, “I grew up alongside Willow, if you can out-stubborn her and her goddamn ‘Resolve Face’ then you deserve to know.”
“Alright then,” she whispered sensually in way that suddenly made me very worried.
I was still laying on the bench, so it was easy for her to move around until she could straddle my waist.
“Whatever it is, you clearly don’t want me doing this,” she said, as she leaned forward seductively, “So, you tell me and I stop.”
Her hands reached the hem of my shirt and, once again, I reached out to stop them from going further. This time though she didn’t humor me, her hands kept moving up my shirt until she reached the leather of my harness.
“Oh,” she drew out as she lifted my shirt to get a look, “You’re into that kinda stuff. You coulda said something last night, been a while since I got into some kink.”
“Not what you think, but please elaborate.”
“If that’s not what I think it is then you really need to explain yourself. Or I’ll tell your buddies that it is what I think.”
“Fine! You win!” I resign myself, stupid evil women, “Just get off me. If I’m going to tell you this then we need to go somewhere private.”
She stood with a self-satisfied smirk gracing her features as she helped me up. I casually readjusted myself before I started moving, “Let’s walk and talk.”
We were nearing the edge of the woods when I asked, “Have you ever heard of a man called Daedalus?”
“The Greek guy with the wings?”
“The inventor, yeah,” I answered, “You’ve heard the story right?”
“My Watcher gave me a few books before she died,” she replied, “One of them was on Greek legends. Daedalus made wings for him and his son, something-or-other, right? Then his kid flew too high when they were escaping from King Minnow and they broke.”
“His son was Icarus, and it was King Minos, but, yeah, that’s the story,” I told her, “The real thing’s a lot different though.”
“You gonna tell me?”
“Fine, just gimme a minute,” I ask, thinking for a moment, trying to remember it as it had been told to me before launching into explanation, “Daedalus was known throughout the Ancient World as a man thought to be more ingenious than the gods themselves. He invented things that simply defied science as it was known at the time, and he did it a lot. Problem was, he started to believe his own hype. The guy grew arrogant, started believing that he was better than the gods because he shared his creations with the rest of the world, while they hoarded everything they made for themselves.”
“Guy started getting bitter and full of himself,” Faith clarified, “Got it.”
“Yeah, anyway, Daedalus decided to prove himself an equal to the gods, by moving into a realm that, until then, had belonged purely to the gods and the birds. He announced that he would create for himself, a pair of wings that would allow him to fly to the top of Mount Olympus, where he believed he would be greeted as an equal.”
“Guessing the reality wasn’t what he thought?”
“Not by a long shot,” I replied, “The gods punished Daedalus for his arrogance through his son, Icarus. On the day that Daedalus completed his wings, Icarus grew his own from his flesh. Icarus beat his father to the air, but as he flew higher, the god of the sun, Helios, focused his rays upon him. Icarus’s wings caught alight and he fell to his death, right in front of his father.”
“That sucks,” Faith commented, “But what does this have to do with you and the bondage gear?”
Faith and I were now in a small clearing, deep enough into the woods that nobody would be able to see us without getting in range of Faith’s senses, so I shrugged off my shirt and started explaining, “Daedalus’s punishment didn’t end with the death of his son. He had a daughter as well, one that was forgotten in the myth. She was left untouched by the gods wrath, but her children weren’t.”
Faith gasped as I fiddled with the harness enough to release my wings and stretch them out to their full wingspan.
I kept up my explanation, “My mother told me that story when I was thirteen and these started to grow in, as she tried to explain what was happening to me. Her family called it Icarus’s Curse, because every son born of Daedalus’s blood eventually grows wings and takes flight, only to suffer the same fate as our ancestor, as Daedalus is forced to watch from the Underworld.”
“Holy shit,” she breathed.
She just stood there for a moment, taking in the sight of my wings, an impressive one I’m sure, occasionally moving her lips as though to speak, but failing to produce any words. Before a confused look appeared on her face.
“Wings match your hair,” she noticed dumbly.
“Yeah,” I answered awkwardly, “My Uncle Jay supposedly had bright red wings that matched his hair too.”
We continued to stand there in silence as Faith processed the sight that stood before her.
“Why didn’t you?” She eventually asked.
“Why didn’t I what?”
“Fly? You said that every guy in your family does it, so why haven’t you?” She pressed, almost accusingly.
“Because of that,” I tell her, pointing towards the harness lying on the ground between us, “When the wings started growing in, my mother locked me in it 24/7 to keep me grounded, and, for now at least, I’ve learned to control the urge.”
“And G hasn’t come up with a cure?”
“They don’t know,” I answer quietly, “None of them do, and they’re never going to find out.”
“Why the hell not?”
“Faith, you have to understand, this curse has been in my family for almost three thousand years. My ancestors have traveled the globe and searched every option from witch doctors in Africa to voodoo practitioners in Louisiana. If the others knew... then they wouldn’t stop trying to find one, and eventually it would kill them when they failed.”
“Yeah, well did your fam ever have the Watchers on the case?”
“Once, I think. My family did run into a society of Englishmen at some point but it didn’t end well. Faith, it doesn’t matter what they try, there is no way out of this. You've got to understand... every day since I was thirteen, I have felt the urge to take off into the air and never look back, and one of these days it’s going to be too strong for me to resist.”
“What if you couldn’t?”
“Fly? What if we cut your wings off before you went and killed yourself.”
My wings twitched involuntarily at the thought as I retracted them back into their harness, “You can trust me on this,” I tell her as I put my shirt back on over the harness and start to walk away, “That is never going to happen.”
I didn’t see Faith again till the next night but no one in the gang said anything or looked at me strangely, so I guess she must not have said anything. She didn’t try to talk to me about it for about a week, didn’t even bring it up until the new Watcher showed up.
“Icarus’s Curse?” Wesley Whyndam-Pryce said, “Horrible fate. Every male in that family for the last three millennia have died before their fifteenth year.”
“Yes, I’ve heard of that line,” Giles cut in, interest evident in his voice, “I believe that the Watchers encountered them several times over the centuries in their fruitless quest for a way to end their curse, until some sort of spat drove them away. Why do you ask?”
“Just read that story somewhere, wanted to know a bit more about it,” Faith answered, completely ignoring my glare from across the room, “So, did they ever find a cure?”
“Not to my knowledge, unfortunately,” Wesley answered, absently searching a book, “I believe that the last known reports of the family has them going under the name ‘Lavelle’ somewhere in America over two centuries ago.”
I am so glad that Willow wasn’t there, if she’d heard that it would have taken her less than a nanosecond to reveal my middle name and I would be screwed.
“What was the cure?” Faith asked, smirking at me triumphantly.
“Amputation,” Wesley replied absently, before he cleared his throat, “Anyway, back to the matter at hand, Balthazar’s Amulet. The Slayers will retrieve it tonight.”
“It’s been tried,” I say, before she can get a word in after the meeting, “Plenty of times in the past. But never willingly.”
“What do you mean?” Faith asked.
“First, you’ve got to understand... these wings? They’re not some kind of cancer. They aren’t a disease that you just cut off to make everything better. They’re a part of me,” I try to explain, “Cutting them off would be like amputating your arms. Nobody in my family has ever been able to just give them up.”
“Yeah, but cut them off and you get to live!”
“Let me ask you something,” I countered, “You know that being the Slayer is going to get you killed one day, right?” She nodded, “Well, would you ever give it up if you had the chance?”
“Hell no.” Short and succinct, I like it.
“Exactly, would it be a life worth living? In the past, my ancestors have broken out of all kinds of restraints on instinct, and just taken off into the air because they’d rather have that single moment of pure ecstasy we all know is waiting for us up in the air than live out the rest of their lives knowing that they could never experience it.”
“If you know it’s gonna be that great, then how do you resist it?” Faith asked.
“Because, I know that I’ll get to feel it someday. I can wait,” I answer honestly, “But trying to force me to abandon that will only speed everything up.”
Faith somehow managed to drag me along with her and Buffy later on, much to both of our protests. She kept dropping hints, some subtle some not so subtle, about me and my wings. I guess that whole thing with Angel and Ms Post really got her hating secrets in the group or something because I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t have batted an eyelid if I’d asked her to keep this quiet back when she first arrived.
We got the Amulet and fought our way past a group of vampire swordsmen. Buffy went off to give it to Angel for safekeeping. Faith meanwhile, kept prodding at me about revealing the wings.
The next night, the same thing happened, Faith pulled me along with her and Buffy for another patrol. Things were going fine until we actually ran into a group of vamps in an alleyway.
Buffy and Faith were dusting vamps left and right, and everything seemed to be going great until Buffy threw one towards Faith, who staked him without a second thought, but this one didn’t dust. He was human.
The man collapsed to the ground, trying and failing to express his shock through speech as the Slayers watched helplessly. He was dying.
“I can’t believe I’m doing this,” I muttered to myself as I reached into my pocket for my Swiss army knife, but keeping my secret wasn’t worth a life.
Shoving Faith out of the way, I knelt down next to the dying man and held the knife to my wrist. Whether this works or not, my life will be changed forever by what the girls are about to see.
Slitting my wrist with a single smooth motion, I rip the stake from the man’s heart and place my bleeding arm into the wound, allowing my blood to mix with his, despite the screams from my audience.
My blood keeps flowing, even though I had to reopen the wound a few times, until the man clearly began to heal. I watched, with grim fascination, as his heart restored itself and his skin closed over it. Then I watched as my own wrist healed up now that I wasn’t forcing it to remain open.
I began to turn back to the others, only to fall unconscious as something hit my head hard.
“What’s going on, Giles?” Buffy asked, cutting through the haze of my unconscious mind, “Why did Xander cut himself? How did he heal that guy?”
“I do not know,” Giles answered tiredly, “The only being I know of which can heal through the mingling of blood is a Mohra demon, which Xander clearly is not.”
“It’s a side-effect, a little unintended offshoot of the final part of the curse,” I said suddenly, surprising the gang who still believed me to be unconscious.
I was tied to a chair in the library and from the looks of Giles and Wesley they’d already been to fight that Balthazar guy.
“What are you talking about, Xander?” Giles asked, “What curse?”
“I’m a direct descendant of Daedalus, G-man,” I told him, taking a small amount of pleasure at the look of shock on his face as the two Englishmen gave out simultaneous ‘Good Lord’s’ as a wall of questions descended upon me.
“Giles, you know what that means, and you know that I can’t avoid it, so please, for the love of all that is holy and sugar-filled, do not go into detail,” I begged.
“Giles,” Buffy interjected, “Tell us what that means, who’s Daedalus? And how does that equate to magical blood transfusions.”
“It’s one last little twist to make sure that we play our parts out to the gods satisfaction,” I explain, “The sons of Daedalus, all of us, can heal from broken bones in under a week, flesh wounds in anything from minutes to hours. They say that Hades won’t accept us, but the point is that we just can’t die until after we... do what we were born to do. The healing blood transfusion thing was just a random mistake that the gods never corrected.”
“So, what, you’ve been like this since you were a kid? You let us think that you could’ve been killed every time a demon attacked? You refused to help us when we might have died?” Buffy said, clearly upset.
“I tried!” I yelled, “When I got to Kendra last year I slit my wrist to try to help her, but it didn’t work. When Willow was in her coma, I injected my blood into her I.V.. When Cordelia was impaled on the crowbar I stabbed myself to give her my blood. When I found you, in the Master’s Cavern, I damn near bit my tongue clean off as I gave you mouth to mouth, and you know what? It worked on you. It didn’t work on Cordy or Willow or Kendra, but my blood brought you back to life that night.”
“Really?” The Librarian popped out in surprise, before ducking down under Buffy’s glare.
“Why didn’t you ever tell us?” She growled out.
“It’s called Icarus’s Curse,” I answered cryptically, “My entire life is designed to bring pain to a man who’s been dead for three thousand years. There’s nothing you can do, and there’s nothing I can do, so why would I want to drag you into it?”
“What does that even mean?”
“Buffy,” Giles whispered, “I think you should trust me when I say that it may be best if you didn’t know.”
“But,” Willow spoke up, “How come you never told us?”
“Because Willow,” I told her, “It would hurt you guys if you thought that I had died in an accident or a demon attack or something, but it would kill you if you knew what was coming and couldn’t do a damn thing about it.”
“You’re going to die?”
I cursed myself silently for the slip, but continued, “Everyone’s going to die someday, Wills. I just happen to know how I’m gonna to go.”
“And you’re just accepting your death?” Buffy asked incredulously, “What happen to the guy who said ‘screw that’ to prophecy?”
“I haven’t accepted my death,” I reply, “Trust me when I say that I am fighting for my life every day, but, just like you Buffy, I still know that I’m never going to live to grow old.”
“What else haven’t you told us?” Buffy growled in my face.
“Let me ask you something, Buff. If you had a choice, way back when we first started, to keep your destiny a secret from us, would you have?”
“No,” she answered through gritted teeth, “Because I didn’t want to drag you into a world that you didn’t have to live in, though it looks like you already knew. What, did you have a big laugh pretending to be the confused schoolboy?”
“I found out about magic when I was thirteen,” I told her, “I knew that there was something strange about this town that involved that, but I didn’t know that demons and everything else were real until I met you. The confusion was definitely real. But that’s not the point, you didn’t want to drag us down with your destiny, I’m trying to offer you the same courtesy.”
“In case you’ve forgotten,” Buffy said, “You and Willow refused to leave me to face my destiny alone. What makes you think that I’d leave you to do the same thing?”
“Because we can’t fight my destiny, Buffy,” I reply sadly, “There is no monster for you to slay. There aren’t any potions or rituals that can be completed in the nick of time. It’s coming, someday soon, and nobody can do a thing about it.”
“Tell us!” Buffy yelled.
“Please?” Willow whispered sadly.
“Xander, I cannot see any reason to keep this a secret,” Giles offered, “They already know enough that explaining the rest will not change anything.”
“Fine...” I said softly, “Fine!”
I tense as I strain at the ropes again, feeling them start to give under the strength of my restrained wings.
“What is he doing?” Wesley asked in confusion, “Those bonds are strong enough to contain a Slayer!”
A Slayer maybe, but my wings are designed to lift the human body into the air plus extra, they’re plenty strong enough for this. My wings ripped through the harness and the ropes along with it, allowing me to stretch them out and show the gang what I’ve been hiding.
“Oh,” Willow murmured softly in realization, “Icarus’s Curse, that makes sense now.”
Ten minutes later, I had given the gang the cliff notes of everything I had told Faith the other day.
“Why did your blood only effect Buffy?” Giles asked as the others processed the new information.
“Who knows?” I countered, “It affected you as well though, maybe it has something to do with blood type?”
“But if your blood has healing properties,” Wesley began in wonder, “The implications of this discovery are--”
“Not a discovery,” I interrupt, “My family’s ran into your people before, I think, centuries ago. You’ve even admitted it. Your records say that my family ran away when you guys suggested amputation as the only cure for the curse. My history says that they fled after you tried to keep one of them in chains so that they could heal the Watchers any time they got an owie.”
“That is ridiculo--”
“No, unfortunately it is not,” Giles sighed, “The Council has done many questionable things in their quest for the greater good. The imprisonment and extended bloodletting of a young boy of questionable humanity in order to prolong their own lives is certainly not something I would put past them.”
“Exactly why I will not be mentioned in any of your diaries when they get sent back to the land of tea and crumpets,” I said.
“You want me to withhold information from the Council?” Wesley asked in shock, before silencing after cowering under a death glare from every female in the room.
“It isn’t a request,” Giles growled softly, “You will not mention Xander’s family nor his condition in any reports.”
“And if I do?”
“Then Angel gets an English breakfast,” Buffy mentioned casually, “Xander is one of us, and we happen to like him free and snarking in preference to captured and tortured.”
“Thanks Buff,” I smiled, “Didn’t know you cared.”
“Of course we care, Xander,” Willow said in a comforting tone, “We wouldn’t let them take you.”
“You deserve something,” Cordelia grumbled from her seat, “But even I admit that the Tweed-Brigade might be a bit too much.”
“Sweet, Cordy,” I sarcasmed.
“Besides, I wouldn’t want some stuffy old Englishmen to spoil my fun,” she continued cheerily, “I’m currently happy to serve out my revenge myself.”
“Why do I get the feeling that I’d be better off with the Watchers?”
“You must have really hated me,” Buffy’s voice surprised me.
It was a day after the big reveal in the library, I was sitting on the steps of the high school, putting off the long walk home for a few more minutes when Buffy showed up.
“Why?” I asked as she sat down next to me.
“You’ve known that you would die young since you were, what, thirteen?” I nodded and she continued, “And yet you’ve been fighting it ever since. Me? I hear a prophecy that tells me when and where I’ll die and I practically run straight there.”
I shrugged, “I probably would have died years ago if my mother hadn’t kept me grounded, literally with the harness. I remember once, I woke up from a nightmare with my wings out. The first time I busted through the that harness. I went up, climbed out the window and just stood there on the roof. I can’t even describe the feeling of the sun touching my outstretched wings for the first time in my life. I was debating whether or not to jump, to take the leap and fly off.”
“What stopped you?”
“My mother,” I smiled, “She found me a few minutes later and talked me down, convinced me to keep on living. Sometimes we just need other people to keep us from giving up. That night, when you heard the prophecy, you needed someone, and nobody offered until it was too late. There’s nothing for you to be sorry about.”
Buffy thought for a moment in silence, “You know that we’ll be there for you right? All you have to do is ask and we’ll keep you grounded,” she smiled, “Literally, if we have to.”
“I know, Buffy,” I told her, “I’ve always known.”
“Then how come you never asked?”
“I didn’t need the help. You didn’t need the burden.”
“Well we’re not having any of that anymore,” Buffy scolded lightheartedly, “From now on, everyone shares everything. No matter how big or how small, the Scoobies share the weight.”
“Deal.” It’s a shame that that’s not how it always works out.
Life in Sunnydale continued with few changes. Aside from Willow now spending a lot more time with Giles in the library than before, the group dynamics weren’t altered too much, although I did have to surrender to Giles and Wesley running over me with a fine tooth comb to satisfy there curiosity.
That was actually pretty interesting, turns out that I had powers I didn’t even know I had. Giles theorized that part of the curse that gave me my wings had altered my entire body to make me physically capable of flight. They discovered that I was stronger than someone my size should have been, something they attributed to my bones, which they decided must be hollow, and my muscles being more efficient.
They also found out that I literally had eagle eyes, I could see farther than anyone else, something I had never actually realized cause I just didn’t know any better.
My lung capacity also, as it turns out, was a lot better than normal. Willow thinks it has something to do with breathing thin air during flight.
Other than that, I’m completely normal... ignoring the wings.
It was a week after all this that everything changed.
Stymphalian birds, according to Wesley. Creatures resembling giant crows made from living metal. Beaks made of bronze and razor sharp feathers that the creatures could launch at their victims.
We got word of them flying around town from Angel, who had heard it from one of his sources in the Sunnydale underground, someone had summoned a flock of them. Now they were roosting somewhere in the woods.
Our group went out duck hunting on Saturday, armed with crossbows and a boom box filled with some of Giles worst music, which he ironically considered the best in his collection. We were going to mimic the Greek hero Heracles, use noise to scare the birds up into the air, then use the crossbows to knock’em back down.
Things were going well, we found the nest, spooked the birds. We’d killed maybe half of the flock when a few of them got smart, or at least pissed enough to fight back.
Two of them swooped down towards us. We ducked as a group instinctively. I don’t know if the birds could smell them or if it was something else, but Buffy and Faith were singled out. The birds grabbed one Slayer each in their talons, lifting them effortlessly into the air and moving skyward.
Watching the birds fly off, the screaming Slayers dangling below them, I snapped. Control that I’d maintained for almost five years went out the window as my wings strained their constraints on instinct. The harness ripped and my wings stretched out fully.
“Giles, give me the boom box,” I ordered.
He responded automatically, snapping out of his shock as a protest formed on his lips, “You’ll die.”
“Don’t care,” I growled, snatching it from his grasp.
I flexed my wings. Leaping upwards, I beat my wings with all my strength, propelling myself higher into the air.
As I cleared the treetops, I gazed out, looking for the Stymphalian birds I was hunting. My eyes narrowed in on them, flying higher and off to the east. I beat my wings again and took off after them.
From high up on Mount Olympus, twenty-four eyes watched the scene. The twelve members of the Olympian Council observed Buffy and Faith being snatched and Xander taking off in pursuit without a thought.
They watched as he chased after the metallic birds, climbing higher into the air in his chase, ducking and weaving whenever the razor-like projectiles were launched.
“The time has come,” Zeus’s voice boomed from the head of the room, “For the latest son of Daedalus’s bloodline to fulfill his destiny.”
“Father, wait,” the calm voice of Artemis spoke up, “His family’s curse demands his death, but fulfilling it will allow the deaths of two Slayers.”
“And?” Zeus asked.
“I shall not stand by and allow two of my chosen avatars to die when I have the power to change their fate,” Artemis growled, “If doing so means prolonging the life of that man, then I accept the cost.”
“You wish for us to ignore the curse, and to allow the boy to keep his wings?” Zeus queried.
“No,” Artemis replied, “He must live in order to save my chosen, but his wings are not necessary once he has played his part.”
“And why should we save these particular Slayers?”
“I too, would rather the girls survive,” Athena continued, “They are powerful warriors and intelligent fighters. The group is wise beyond their years, and to destroy such a unit seems unfortunate.”
“I shall acquiesce to your council, Athena,” Zeus agreed, “Artemis, your request shall be fulfilled. The boy shall live, if only so that he may save the Slayers. But his wings that we have granted him shall be taken.”
Chasing after the girls, I barely even noticed I was flying. Everything was on instinct. The beating of my wings, the aligning of my body... I barely even had to think half the time.
I was gaining height and catching up to the birds, I was almost right behind them actually, so I implemented my plan.
I was right between the two creatures when I pressed ‘play’ on the boom box, and the sky roared with the sound of the 70’s greatest hits, spooking the birds and causing them to drop their precious cargo.
With the Slayers falling I abandoned the boom box, hurling it after one of the retreating birds-- Giles could kill me if I survived-- as I swooped downwards. Tucking my wings in, I dropped like a stone in a aerodynamic dive, slowly catching up to the girls.
Faith was closest, flailing about in the air she was slowing her descent enough for me to catch her quickly. I collided into her, ignoring her shock and pulling her into the dive as the two of us continued after Buffy.
Buffy saw us coming and spread herself out to slow her fall. It took longer to catch up to her with Faith slowing me down, but we managed it with enough distance between us and the ground. Both girls grabbed me by an arm each and prepared themselves.
My wings snapped out and we jerked suddenly as the wind met a lot more resistance, my arms were nearly pulled from their sockets and the girls nearly lost there grips.
I pulled us out of the dive, slowly and painfully, my wings nearly wrenching from my shoulders but I managed to get us level.
Now that I had us all out of immediate danger, rational thought returned to my mind. I was in the air, I was actually flying. And it was better than I’d ever imagined.
In my relief that none of us were dead, I began my descent, forgetting in my euphoria why I had never done this before.
As the ground got closer my wings started to burn softly, in the way that a muscle does when it’s been worked over, I ignored it as it began to increase.
The fire in my feathers was growing and I knew that the curse was finally taking effect. If weren’t for the wind whipping around us I’m sure I’d be smelling burning flesh.
As the pain in my wings increased, I grit my teeth to keep from screaming and my descent became shakier as it became harder to stay in the air.
The ground was looming nearer when the pain became to much. I lost consciousness, leaving the three of us to fall the remaining distance to the unforgiving earth.
Everything was white...
That’s pretty much it, I could see nothing but blinding whiteness stretching out into the distance.
There was no pain. My wings stretched out behind me, I could feel them, unmarred by the flames. My body wasn’t feeling the damage that it should after a fall from that height. I felt good. I felt weird.
“Hello, my dear descendant,” a voice cut through the ether, “Nice to meet the one who stuck finally it to the gods.”
“Who are you?” I asked, looking around for the source of the voice, “What do you mean?”
“I am Daedalus,” the man in question appeared to sight before me, smirking happily as he spoke, “And I mean that you, my boy, are the first to beat the curse!”
“What? I could’ve sworn I just lost a fight with the ground,” I told him.
“Yes, Xander,” he replied, before cheering, “But you lived! Those girls of yours... the Slayers. You found friends that the gods wanted alive more than they wanted you dead! Genius!”
“But... my wings...?” I said softly, “I remember... they burned. I felt them go up in flames until the pain knocked me out.”
“Yes,” Daedalus admitted mournfully, “I understand that this will be difficult to adjust to, but you must understand that you have a unique opportunity here.”
“What are you talking about?” I asked, I could barely wrap my head around the fact that I was talking to an ancestor who’d been dead for three thousand years, I was not prepared to deal with this kind of stuff.
“When you waken on the earthly plane you will understand that the gods have actually cursed you far worse than your ancestors could have imagined. But there is a man in your home town, it shouldn’t be difficult for you to find him, I’m afraid he stands out from the crowd, even on the Hellmouth, but he will be able to help you.”
“Help me do what?”
“When you awaken...” Daedalus said mysteriously, as he began to blur around the edges, his voice distorted and the endless whiteness that surrounded us slowly faded to black, “But be sure to remember to keep your promises...”
Rupert Giles could only watch in shock as Xander Harris, a boy cursed by the Gods of Olympus for a crime (if it could be called that) that his ancestor had committed three millennia ago, stretched out his wings and leapt into the air after his Slayers, knowing full well that he was forfeiting his own life.
Giles stood in shock amongst the remains of his charges as Xander chased after the Stymphalian birds, gaining speed on the metallic creatures who were slowed by the weight of their cargoes, soon startling them with an explosion of music. Later, Giles would swear vengeance against the young man for throwing away some of his best music, but would reluctantly admit that the lives of the Slayers were slightly more important.
As Xander’s wings caught alight, Giles’ adrenaline spiked as he feared for the life of three of his charges. The trio’s descent was slowed, but Giles still saw them disappear from sight as they crashed through the treetops at an alarming rate, Xander’s wings still ablaze, where he heard them land with a very heavy ‘thud’.
The assembled group broke into a run as they hurried to reach the fallen group. They broke into a clearing, where, immediately visible were the unconscious bodies of Buffy and Faith. Wesley and Giles both rushed to them, briefly examining them for injury.
As the two Watchers worked, Cordelia caught sight of something at the edge of the clearing. She worked her way over, finding a trail of blood leading into the trees.
Cordelia did not call for help, knowing that the others were too preoccupied with the Slayers to be distracted. Instead she followed the trail, hoping that her own small knowledge of first aid would be enough.
What she found, just out of sight of the clearing, was the slowly rocking form of Xander Harris, facing away from her with wounds on his shoulder-blades where his wings should have already been scabbing over.
“I prepared myself y’know,” he said hoarsely, as though he’d been crying, before she could say anything, “I thought I was gonna die up there. I knew I was gonna die the second I saw Buffy and Faith get snatched... I was ready.”
“But you survived,” Cordelia said softly, “You lived. You beat the curse!”
Xander let out a laugh at that, a harsh, humorless bark, his back still turned, “This curse... I always thought I was going to die because of it. I thought that one day I would give in to the urge and take-off, only to die a pointless death. When the birds took Buffy and Faith I thought that maybe I could actually use it to do something worthwhile before I died, I thought I could save them.”
“And you did!”
Xander laughed again, a rough shiver running through his body, “I know. And that’s the only reason I’m alive.”
“What do you mean?”
“I survived the curse, unlike anyone before me, not because I earned my life by willingly sacrificing it to save two teenage girls... I was allowed to live because the gods wanted them alive more than they wanted me dead.”
“So? Who cares how or why it happened, the point is that you’re still alive!”
“Yes,” Xander admitted softly, “But is it still a life worth living?”
“What are you talking about?” Cordelia practically screamed, “You are important to us you dweeb, of course you should keep living.”
“No, you don’t understand,” Xander said, “You see my back, my body’s trying to heal itself but it doesn’t know how... there’s nothing left of my wings.”
“So? You can live without flying, we all do! Hell, you’ve done it for the last eighteen years!”
“Cordy!” He begged, “Not after that. Not after knowing what it feels like...” He trailed off, before smiling sadly, even in his near hysteric state he couldn't hold back the joke, “It’s like Twinkies, one taste and I’m hooked for life.”
“So you’re just going to give up? You’re going to go find a bridge to jump off of?” Cordelia screamed as tears began to pool in her eyes.
“No, Cordelia,” he said, his voice breaking as he turned around to reveal his tear streaked face, but more alarmingly was a scar over his heart and a bloodstained stake in his hand, “I can’t. The curse is still in effect, I still can’t die.”
“Good,” she whispered softly, “We need you, Xander. You think that Willow would be able to handle it if you left? You think Buffy wouldn’t go nutso?”
“Well you’ll have to get along without me for a while,” Xander said as he reached a hand to his temple and tried to recall his dream meeting with Daedalus, it was faded and disjointed, but he did remember one specific piece of information, “There’s someone who can help me. Someone in town who stands out from the demons.”
Xander turned his back to Cordelia and began to walk off, saying darkly, “I’m going to get my wings back, no matter what it takes... and I’m going to make the gods wish that they’d let me die.”
As he disappeared into the foliage, Cordelia allowed the tears she had tried so desperately to hold back fall freely down her face.
Eventually, she was able to gather herself enough to return to the group, and tell them the horror she had just borne witness to.
When Xander barged into Willy’s bar right before sunset, he was looking like a man possessed with tear-stains running down his cheeks and bloodstains covering his back. Now Willy, despite popular opinion, was not a particular stupid man. Serving demons and vampires all day and night made intelligence a necessary trait to keep him as the server rather than the served. So when Xander grabbed his shirt with the strength that only a man with nothing left to lose can harness and asked where he could find a human player in the Sunnydale demon games, he answered completely and honestly.
With Willy’s answers, Xander made his way directly to City Hall.
It hadn’t taken long for Xander to get into Mayor Wilkins office, the staff had seen the blood still covering his back and had wisely chosen to stay out of his way while they called the police, allowing him to walk in unimpeded.
“Young man, I am very busy, so I hope you have a darn good reason for barging into my office unannounced,” Richard Wilkins III scolded the absolutely filthy and unpresentable teenager standing before him.
“I’ve heard of family resemblance, but this is ridiculous,” Xander said, ignoring the man as he looked behind the desk at the trio of portraits, each of which showed identical images for Richard Wilkins the First, Richard Wilkins the Second and Richard Wilkins the Third, “Are you immortal or something? Dorian Gray type deal? Sell your soul for eternal youth, cause I gotta say, I think you got gypped.”
“I’m afraid that I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Cut the act, Dick,” Xander said forcefully, leaning down to meet the sitting man’s eyes, “I know that you’re the mystical big shot around here, and I know that you’re planning something huge. Way I figure it, you’re going to need a helping hand or two, so I’m going to make you a deal. I don’t care what the cost-- mind, body, soul, whatever-- you give me back what was stolen from me... and you’ve got yourself an Angel of Death.”
The Mayor of Sunnydale gave a sinister smile, “You’ve got yourself a deal Mister Harris.”
Mayor Wilkins brought out a contract, ‘the usual forms for anyone in my employ,’ he had assured, stating that Xander’s soul would essentially be sold to Richard Wilkins the Third, leaving Xander in the Mayor’s complete control, in exchange for the return of his wings.
Due to his desperation and single-minded determination to achieve flight once more, Xander signed without so much as a thought towards his previous experiences with the soulless denizens of Sunnydale.
The Mayor cheerfully smiled, before showing Xander out of the office, leading him through a maze of halls and stairways to a basement area that looked as though it had been decorated by Dr. Frankenstein.
“Lay down on the table, Xander,” Wilkins said, “And we can begin the procedure.”
“Well, I admit that I already had the necessary components for this,” he said, “I’ve been waiting to test this on a son of Daedalus but none have ever survived long enough for me to offer.”
“So you really have lived for a hundred years? And you thought that the best way to lay low was to keep the same name, face and job for all this time?”
“Well it’s just so gosh darn hard to create a fake identity, let alone keeping it,” Wilkins complained good-naturedly, “Especially when you have to do it more than once.”
“Right, so what do I do?” Xander asked, a hint of worry creeping into his voice.
Wilkins gestured towards the operation table, “Lay face down and we can get started immediately.”
Xander did so, jerking when he felt his arms shackled together beneath the table.
“Not to worry,” Wilkins cheerily said, “The procedure is rather painful, the restraints are to prevent you from hurting anyone.”
“Oh, gee, maybe you should’ve mentioned that earlier,” Xander said sarcastically into the table.
“Not to worry,” Wilkins ensured him, as he bustled around the lab, “It shouldn’t take long.”
“What exactly are you going to do? Come to think of it, why wouldn’t you have done it to yourself?”
“I have tested the procedure on other subjects,” Wilkins explained, “They failed, unfortunately, but I believe that your unique physiology will allow you to survive with fully functional wings.”
“Yeah, but how are you going to do it?”
“I’ll be inserting a pair of Stymphalian feathers into your shoulder wounds,” Wilkins explained, donning a pair of latex gloves, “I believe that your body will use them as a template so that your blood can regrow your wings.”
“Stymphalian?” Xander asked, suddenly realizing the connection. Straining against his restraints, he screamed, “You summoned them! You set me up!”
“Oh, don’t be like that,” Wilkins brought out a jar containing the silver feathers, “I’m giving you exactly what you asked for.”
“No!” Xander roared, struggling futilely as Wilkins extracted the feathers.
“Now now, young man,” Wilkins scolded, as he stabbed the feathers, stem first, into the open wounds, “You and I have a deal, and a good man always honors his agreements.”
As the feathers took root in Xander’s flesh, convulsions rippled through his body. Eventually the metallic tissue would blend seamlessly into the muscles and skeletal structures that would allow the wings to operate, but the process by which this was achieved was incredibly painful.
Xander screamed as his blood took ahold of the mystical metal and something began to grow. From his shoulder-blades two wings of metallic silver burst forth, each feather sharp as a razor’s point. As these limbs developed, Xander’s skin took on a dark blue coloration, and, once the convulsions ceased, his eyes lost that sparkle of emotion as his soul was surrendered, as per the agreement with Wilkins, into the Mayor’s control.
Wilkins unlocked Xander’s restraints and ordered, “Rise.”
Xander was unable to resist, as he was now little more than a puppet for Wilkins to control.
“Well now,” Wilkins mused, “I’ll admit that the blue skin is a bit of a surprise, but you know it really does seem to fit with your new wings. Mr Finch,” he called, “You can come in now.”
The obviously nervous Mr Finch entered through the door immediately after being summoned, flinching clearly at the sight of either Xander or his boss, possibly both.
“Mr Finch here has recently tried to betray my organization,” Wilkins told the motionless Xander conversationally, “He has proven that he is most certainly not a team player, and with the year I have planned, my Ascension coming closer, I simply cannot tolerate such a selfish employee.” Looking to Xander momentarily, he casually ordered, ‘Kill him.”
Xander acted as soon as the words had left Wilkins’ mouth, flaring his wings out behind him silently before pushing them before him, slicing cleanly through Mr Finch’s chest in a neat ‘X’ with the razor sharp edges.
“Well now,” the Mayor tutted towards the dismembered body, “That was unnecessarily messy. You’ve gotten blood everywhere, and I’ll expect you to wash those wings before we meet again, just because you’re no longer in possession of your soul is no excuse for poor hygiene.”
Xander nodded wordlessly, in the back of his mind screaming silently at the act of murder he had just committed.
“Still,” Wilkins continued, “That was an impressive display. You truly are an Angel of Death.”
Xander was dead. That was the general consensus for his friends. Like Angelus last year, Xander was gone, disappeared without a trace, leaving behind a blue-skinned, metal-winged monstrosity in his place.
The creature that had once been Xander answered only to his master, who had recently been named as the Mayor and Founder of Sunnydale, acting as the silent and ever present attack dog to the man, who the group had recently learned was planning to ascend to the demonic form.
So far, they were aware of Xander’s doppelganger killing at least three beings, a demon by the name of Skylark who had attempted to sell the Slayers a copy of ‘the Books of Ascension’, an unnamed man found at the airport where the group had tried to intercept ‘the Box of Gavrok’ and, finally, the Sunnydale University’s Professor of Vulcanology. Each victim had been found dismembered by the creatures blade-like wings.
The day of the Ascension drew nearer, and coincided with the Sunnydale High graduation ceremony. The Watchers of the group had concluded that Mayor Wilkins intended to ascend in the midst of the proceedings, allowing him to feed on the assembled masses and maintain the transformation.
The group had tried to return Xander’s humanity, even going so far as for Willow to perform the Ensouling Curse, only to discover that Xander’s soul had not yet passed on, it still remained on the earthly plane, in control of another, most likely the Mayor.
Giles had, through a rather large stroke of luck after the discovery of the vulcanologist’s demise, discovered that the Mayor intended to ascend to the form of an Olvikan demon, a being who was near indestructible, except to the fires of a volcanic eruption.
The Scoobies planned the destruction of the Mayor, but ran into a number of difficulties. Willow and Oz shared a knowledge of chemistry that would allow them to construct a bomb capable of mimicking the force and heat of a volcano, but without Xander they had no way to get access to the Sunnydale Military Base for supplies. This resulted in them being required to spread forces thinner as the two geniuses searched the town for more commercial products that could act as substitutes.
Buffy planned to have the students rally against the demons during the attack, and though Cordelia, Willow and Oz together managed to spread the word amongst the students about the danger they were facing, none of them had the knowledge necessary to organize a viable plan of attack, and so the plan for the assault essentially added up to arm the students and point them at the monsters.
But the most emotionally troubling aspect of the plan was Xander. The group knew that, as the Mayor reached Ascension, he would have Xander acting as an unreachable air support that could literally reign down destruction with his razor sharp projectiles. The solution was to return fire.
Wesley, volunteered to take the shot, ensuring that, whilst his hand-to-hand combat skills were inadequate at best, his ability with a crossbow was sufficient for such a task. Wesley proved his claims after Giles insisted on testing him. It was with a heavy heart that the group agreed.
But, the night before Graduation, Willow came to her mentor with one final plea to spare Xander’s life.
“I’m sorry, Willow,” Giles said truthfully, “But Xander is soul bound to Wilkins, he is not in control of his own actions and will unfortunately perish alongside his master. The kindest thing we can do is to end his servitude as soon as possibly, before he is forced to add more stains to his immortal soul.”
“But, isn’t there anyway to make him... un-soul-bound-y?” Willow pleaded softly.
“No,” he answered mournfully, “Xander must have signed a mystical contract, essentially selling his soul to that... that monster of a man. I’m afraid that such agreements are eternally binding.”
Willow fell silent at the words ‘selling his soul’ as a memory dredged itself from the depths of her mind.
She knew how to save Xander.
The next day, the Ascension occurred as scheduled, and as the Olvikan form of Richard Wilkins looked down upon what would soon become his meal, he gave one single order to a cloaked figure standing to the side of the stage.
“Kill them all.”
Metallic wings sliced through the figure’s cloak, revealing the blue-skinned Xander Harris. Before he could take flight and follow through with his orders, however, he was stopped when an arrow sprouted from his shoulder.
He removed the offending projectile and examined the wound, finding it to be damaging enough to prevent him from flying momentarily, but it would have to wait about a minute for it to heal, all the while a battle waged on around him. The Slayers were splitting Wilkins’ attention between them, while the Slayerettes, along with the rest of the student body, waged war on the mob of vampires under Wilkins’ employ.
As the wound continued to heal, a red-haired form detached itself from the crowd, running towards him, a piece of paper clenched in her hand. He prepared his wings to fire, only hesitating when a small part of him that was still even slightly human recognized the girl as his childhood friend.
His hesitation was enough to allow Willow to reach him, and plead, “You don’t have to do this!”
Xander’s reply was silence and a blank look, but Willow continued at speeds no human should be capable of maintaining, “Look, we know you sold your soul, but you couldn’t have sold your soul cause you’re not allowed to sell your soul cause I have your soul.”
As she said this, she unfolded the paper she had been holding and shoved it into his face, allowing him to automatically read.
They had been nine years old, Willow and Xander, having a sleepover. One of the last they had actually, before Mrs Rosenberg decided that they were ‘too old’ to be spending the night and sharing a bed.
They had stayed up past their bedtime, a fact which Mrs Rosenberg later blamed Xander for, and had snuck downstairs to watch television after Willow’s parents had fallen asleep. They had watched a show which told the tale of a man who had souled his soul to the devil for fame and riches, but the movie was interrupted by the elder Rosenbergs, who had immediately seen to it that the pair were put to bed.
After seeing the man in the film gain such fabulous wealth for what was, in Xander’s mind, something of no value, Xander began to whisper to Willow about how he would try to mimic the man and sell his own soul.
Willow had been horrified by her friend’s attempt to sell his immortal soul, and had immediately browbeaten him into signing the document she had written up herself in order to prevent him from making such a mistake.
It was this same document that she was showing Xander now. It read:
‘I, Xander Harris, do hereby swear that any and all attempts to buy and/or sell my soul must first be directed to my future attorney/doctor/President of the United States of America, Willow Rosenberg. Any agreements to which I enter into referring to my soul without her express permission will therefore be rendered null and void.’
And, despite the fact that such a document would never pass muster in any recognized court of law, to the laws of magic a deal is a deal. And a sworn oath must always be upheld.
I remembered. Awareness returned to me as I felt myself regain control of my body the moment I read that scrap of paper. I remembered how I had thought that Willow was being so stupid at the time for making me sign it and I thanked God that I was blessed enough to have befriended her in the first place.
I felt a convulsion ripple through me, turning my knees to jelly and sending me to the ground, I only just managed to throw my arms out to stop myself from eating dirt. With my arms stretched out below me, I saw that the blue that had covered me since joining the Mayor was receding, leaving fleshy pink in its place. A similar feeling was rushing through my wings and I felt them transform from metal to flesh and blood once more.
Looking up I saw Willow was shocked at my transformation, not that I blame her. To be honest I’m having a little trouble believing that this isn’t some fantastic dream.
“What’s the plan?” I asked her as I climb back to my feet.
She answers automatically, still staring in shock as though she hadn’t truly believed that her plan would work, “We need to get the Mayor into the library.”
And with a beat of my wings I was up in the air, flying straight towards my former boss.
As I moved through the air I found myself wishing that I had retained my other form, as the metallic wings would be a lot more useful fighting an indestructible snake monster than my flesh and feather ones. As soon as I thought it, I felt a shift ripple through me. I watched as my hands returned to their dark blue coloration, I felt my wings as they hardened and sharpened into weapons of war. I felt my grip on humanity waver momentarily, but I remained in control of myself.
I smiled, this I could work with.
“Hey, Dick!” I yelled, distracting him from the Slayers below him. The second his head turned to face me I launched a volley of knife-like feathers at him, “I quit!”
The feathers did not have the effect I had intended, they actually bounced off of his scales, except for one that had sliced his tongue as he hissed.
“We had a deal!” The Mayor’s voice rang out, despite his monstrous mouth not moving a muscle, “A binding contract!”
“My friends found a loophole,” I replied, launching another volley, this time aiming for his open maw.
This time the projectiles actually did some damage, slicing through the Mayor’s gums and tongue, cutting up the rest of his mouth pretty bad. It was enough. I forced my wings to return to flesh as the Mayor gave chase, instinctively choosing the speed and agility of my original form over the strength of the Stymphalian limbs.
I dove down to near ground level, causing several students and vampires to scatter, I even managed to kick one vampire into Cordelia’s stake as I swerved past. I ducked around several columns, the Mayor in hot pursuit, but as I turned into the hall I found that I barely had room for my wings, let alone maneuvering.
I kept my speed up, cutting through the halls with just inches between me and the confines of the school with the Mayor simply ploughing through walls in his determination to catch his wayward slave.
When I rounded the final corner I beat my wings and pushed myself forwards once more before tucking my wings in close behind me, allowing me to land feet first and skid to a stop right in front of the library doors.
I ran through, shoving the doors open with adrenaline fueled strength. I hesitated when I saw that the room was missing it’s usual books, instead filled wall to wall with explosives. I realized what the gang had planned and suddenly felt a fervent desire to be very far away.
I started sprinting through to the back wall, shifting into my blue-skinned form as I moved. I heard the wall give way under the Mayor’s force and heard him halt to a stop at the sight of the explosives, just as I had done, and, as I heard him speak what would be his final words, I threw my metallic wings in front of me, shattering the windows before I dove through.
I propelled myself through the air with a beat of my wings, screaming “Now!!!” to whomever it was arming the detonator. Wrapping my wings around me as the explosion was initiated to protect myself from debris, I was thrown forwards by the blast, safely protected inside my metallic cocoon but coming to a very painful landing some distance away.
“Ouchie,” I moaned as I lay waiting for my healing to kick in, all the while praying to Buddha, God, Satan and even Zeus that the Mayor and Founder of Sunnydale, Richard Wilkins the whichever-number-he-wants-to-call-himself was finally dead.
With the death of the Mayor and my return to the side of the sane I was welcomed back into the group. They admittedly had trouble accepting what I had done, and truth be told so did I. I guess this is how Angel felt, to be cursed with memories of crimes that aren’t yours, but at the same time are.
But while I dealt with the guilt of the lives I had taken, I also had to reevaluate my life. With the curse no longer hanging over my head, I could actually live my life. I could choose where I would go and what I would do without constantly having to keep myself in check. Best of all though, I could fly! Without fear or remorse, I could experience the joy of flight whenever I wanted, something I took full advantage of at every opportunity.
With my new found freedom and need for atonement I flew the coop. I packed a bag, said my temporary goodbyes and went off on the road trip I’d always dreamed of, only, y’know, without the road. I hadn’t decided yet what I would do once the summer was over, college wasn’t really an option for me after all, and I felt that it would be too easy to simply return to Sunnydale, I had to pay for my crimes.
A thought occurred to me, the perfect punishment really. Once I was done with the traveling thing, I’d head over to L.A. Buffy mentioned that Dead-boy was heading in that direction, and nobody knows the brooding and atonement deal better than him. Plus, I know for a fact that Cordelia wanted to head out to tinsel town and try her hand at acting.
It’s perfect, I’d lend Angel a helping hand in his quest for redemption, give a little credence to that whole ‘City of Angels’ thing and maybe find my own along the way as I punished myself with the vampire’s company and tried to make amends with Cordelia. The fact that my presence would also be punishing the brooding wonder, thus aiding his own need to wallow in angst was just an entertaining bonus.
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