“Just... look within yourself,” Giles tried to explain, “Try and find your center, the source of your power.”
Sitting cross-legged on the floor of the library, Willow and I tried to do just that.
“Is it the crackly ball of fire?” Willow asked nervously, eyes still shut tight as as she concentrated.
“Yes Willow,” Giles replied with a proud smile, “And you Xander?”
“I feel something,” I told him as energy seemed to well up inside of me, “I can’t see it, but I think I’m feeling the magic.”
“Very good,” he assured me, “Now, both of you, try to pull at that energy. Let it flow through your arms and take form.”
“I can’t,” Willow complained beside me, after about a minute, “It doesn’t want to!”
“Yes,” Giles answered, with a knowing grin, “It will take time for you to learn how to summon your magic without-- Xander what are you doing!!?”
I did as Giles told me, I gave the energy in my chest a mental tug and tried to pull it out. I felt the warmth flow through my arms and out my hands, coalescing into a sphere the size of a ping-pong ball that shined yellow like the sun.
“I think I got it!” I cheered happily as I raised the sphere in my palm to get a closer look at it, “Wow, it looks so cool... what does it do?”
I awoke about a half-hour later to the concerned faces of Giles and Willow. It made me wonder where my lovely, and sure to be very concerned, girlfriend would be.
“You thought it would be a good idea to teach him magic!!” Cordelia screamed, “Are you mentally deficient?”
“What hit me?” I slurred slightly as I tried to sit up, the dizziness I experienced from said action suggesting that I somehow managed to get a concussion.
“I’m not entirely sure,” Giles said, at the same time Willow squealed, “Your magic!”
“My head hurts too much for research right now,” I whined, realizing what their confusion would mean, “Hows about I just go back to sleep and you can wake me up when you’ve figured it all out? Good? Great!”
“Oh no you don’t!” Cordelia growled as she bent down to grab me by the collar and heft me with a strength that you wouldn’t expect from the future prom queen, “If I have to stick around here and research something that you did then you’re damn sure gonna be stuck here with me!”
“You’re such a thoughtful person,” I groaned sarcastically, “Anyone ever tell you that?”
“Xander,” Giles sighed, “Perhaps we should focus more on your little explosive problem?”
“There where explosives involved?” I asked, “What happened?”
“You did magic!” Willow babbled, “And then it, well, kinda blew up in your face...?”
“I made magic explode?” I asked, “And I’m guessing that isn’t normal?”
“No,” Giles sighed, “To be quite frank you shouldn’t have been able to summon anything, let alone unleash destructive energy on this scale until you learned to focus your power to a considerably greater extent than that of an amateur.”
“I’m gonna assume that that was a fact rather than an insult,” I deadpanned, “What exactly are we going to need to do?”
“But I didn’t study.”
“Not those kind of tests,” Giles sighed, “We need to gauge your power, try to understand how you accomplished magic that you should not have been capable of without years of study.”
“Wait, it takes years to learn how to blow something up?” I asked, honestly curious and somewhat worried about the commitment I may need to learn magic.
“In the way that you did? Yes,” Giles answered, “People have subconscious mental blocks in place since their birth that prevent them from unleashing any magic they may have. Normally it takes a serious commitment and training to overcome these for even the simplest spells. The thought of someone operating without them... well, I’m honestly hoping that whatever you did was simply a fluke.”
“So, you want me to try it again?” I asked to clarify.
He nodded, before reluctantly saying, “Just... be careful.”
“Got it,” I told him, moving into a cross-legged position and trying to reclaim the feeling I had earlier.
It worked, it took me seconds to locate my inner pool of energy and only a few more to syphon some off. Giles, Willow and Cordelia watched in wonder as another glowing ball of light materialized in the palm of my hand. Then an alarm rang out in my head, telling me that the glowing ball of light was going to explode very soon.
“Gah!!” I hurried to my feet and rushed past Giles and out the library door. In the hall, trying to figure out what to do with a ticking time bomb, I was interrupted.
“Harris!” Snyder snarled as he appeared at my side.
I shoved the magical explosive into his arms, ignoring his look of rage as I turned away, and ducked back into the library, slamming the door behind me and jumping behind the counter.
The explosion rattled the doors, but nothing was broken, so I poked my head out to see Snyder out cold in the hall. Scorch marks covering him.
I smiled. I could get used to this.
After a few more tests Giles gave me his theory. He said that I didn’t have the right personality type that was generally capable of magic, I just didn’t have the focus, or whatever, that is needed to manipulate the energies of magic as it is traditionally used.
Now normally this wouldn’t be a problem, I would have tried the meditation thing a few times and came up with bupkis, and after that I probably would never have put in the work needed to get past the mental blocks controlling the natural magic that all living beings possess and I would have stayed normal for the rest of my life.
However, I apparently, am not completely normal. Giles seems to think that my experience with the hyena possession last year permanently changed my mindscape, completely obliterating the mental blocks and giving me complete access to my magical power. Unfortunately, even though I’ve got the power, I still don’t have the ability to manipulate it (and according to Giles, unless I dedicate the next twenty years of my life to it, I never will, which, let’s be real here, is so not gonna happen), so when I tap into the energy, it comes out in these destructive little ‘time-bombs’, as I’ve affectionately named them, by using the absolute limit of my control to focus the energy into a sphere (the simplest shape imaginable), until it breaks free and explodes.
Also, have I mentioned that it’s really fun?
“Vengeance shall be mine,” I whispered quietly in the empty hall, “All the cash you’ve stolen from me, all the frustration and humiliation you’ve given me over the years, but now’s the time when I turn the tables on you.”
I imagined that, had it known what was coming, the form before me would have been shaking in terror.
“Oh yes,” I smirked maliciously as I summoned a time-bomb in my hand, “I’m gonna take what you owe me after all these years.”
I shoved the tiny time-bomb into the coin slot of the vending machine and waited for the tell tale ‘boom’ of the explosion. The front of the machine was warped, from the force and coins began to fall from the change slot as Twinkies, Ho-Ho’s and various other snack products fell from the slot, forming a pile of food and money at my feet.
“Hallejulah,” I smiled as I bent to pick up my bounty.
“Xander, please tell me you didn’t blow up another vending machine?” Cordelia sighed, “Sooner or later the school’s gonna catch on and label you a pyromaniacal klepto.”
“I am what I is,” I mumbled out passed a particularly tasty Twinkie, “Let it be known throughout my kingdom of cretins that I, Xander Harris, shall continue fight against the taunting tyranny of malfunctioning vending machines!!”
“...” Cordelia sighed, resigning herself to her boyfriend’s quirks, taking comfort in the fact that at least he wasn’t stealing in front of other people.
“No weapon forged may harm me,” the Judge rumbled, flanked by Angelus and Drusilla.
I blinked, praying to Buddha that this would work, as, while the Judge looked at Buffy, who was very distracting with her shiny new crossbow, I concentrated harder than I had in my life, forcing magical energy from my veins and out of my palms, where it coalesced into a time-bomb.
This time, however, I wasn’t satisfied with a ping-pong ball of destruction, and I didn’t stop pushing until I had a bomb the size of a basketball in my hands.
“Happy Birthday, Buffy,” I said, as I passed it up to the Slayer, who carefully took aim as the Judge watched, perplexed, “I hope it works.”
Buffy hurled the ball of magical dynamite at the ancient evil, hitting the vastly overconfident creature in its armored torso as the time ran out.
The resulting explosion tore the Judge apart, along with a decent portion of the surrounding area.
“Boom," I repeated, giggling a little as I blinked away spots, “That was fun. Why don't we get to blow up demons more often?”
"Because you know what'll happen to you if you ever get demon gore on me," Cordelia told me simply.
I shuddered at the thought, then moved back to giggling at the carnage I had created.