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Xander Harris wanted revenge.
No, strike that. He didn’t just want
revenge; he lusted for revenge, he craved it, he DEMANDED it upon Cordelia Chase, that complete and utter bitch!
Xander had thought the worse part was over when after their relationship had been discovered by a snooping Harmony, he’d been heartlessly dumped by Cordelia at once. However, things really went to hell when in a desperate attempt to repair her social status for letting that dweeb Harris lay a single finger upon her, much less attending the submarine races with him numerous times in the supply closet, Cordelia had started to bad-mouth Xander to everyone in her vicinity. It hadn’t just been revealing things he’d told her in total confidentiality about his home life; she’d also made up some really ridiculous lies -- and people had believed her! Now, he was the laughingstock of the whole school.
Okay, he could take it, or he could get back at her. Xander had unhesitatingly chosen the latter course, and the next step was to figure out what exactly to do about it. The most fitting payback would be to inflict upon Cordelia the identical situation that young woman had created, only against herself this time. Have her in a relationship with him once more, and then walk out on Cordy as publicly as possible, all while causing the brunette girl the greatest amount of humiliation ever seen at SHS. Yeah, that’d be perfect!
Of course, there was the teensiest flaw in his cunning plan in that Cordelia wouldn’t even allow herself to be seen in the same room with him now, much less his company, which kinda put a crimp in their getting back together for him to then promptly dump her. On the other hand, she might not have a choice…
Xander had instantly decided against getting the other Scoobies involved, or even knowing about what he was planning. G-man would surely consider the whole affair unreservedly immature, or some other stuffy English reaction, so he was out. Willow and Buffy were both more sympathetic to him about the entire mess, and they were beginning to regain their dislike concerning Cordelia due to how she was currently acting despite her recent assistance to the library group over the past couple of months. However, Xander had the feeling these two girls might have a few qualms, or even show some kind of female solidarity with Queen C, if they ever learned about his exact evil scheme.
In the end, that lead to Xander Harris slouching through the back alleys of Sunnydale on a weekend, heading straight to Amy Madison’s house in the hope that this young witch knew about something called a love spell, and moreover, was willing to cast it for Xander. The teenage boy thought he had a pretty good chance of lucking out on this. True, Amy might not know about anything like what he specifically wanted, or couldn’t do it, or would even flatly turn Xander down. Okay, so what? He wouldn’t be worse off, and he could try to come up with something else. Then again, Amy owed him a favor or two, when he’d helped set her free of the witch’s mother that had taken over the body of the younger woman. Plus, from what Xander could remember of their shared school lives, Amy had felt the rough edge of Cordelia’s tongue numerous times, so he might actually have a willing accomplice.
Brightening up at that last thought, Xander took another step down the alley, and then his plans for today irrevocably changed in a shimmer of white light abruptly appearing over his entire body. A moment later, after this unexpected illumination had faded, Xander looked down at his new form, to then cautiously touch his unfamiliar features, as he groaned to himself, “This couldn’t have happened sometime else?”
More closely examining the costume he was presently wearing, Xander at once identified which member of the Legion of Super-Heroes he’d just been changed into by that frakkin’ Chaos magic left behind after Halloween by Ethan Ranye, England’s worse ever export. In a more cheerful tone, Xander mused, “Well, damn, one of the founders, Cosmic Boy himself! Wonder if I can use what he’s got…”
Looking up to eye further down the alley what he’d casually noticed a few seconds before, Xander pointed at the discarded hubcap lying on the alley ground thirty feet away, and he concentrated. Without anyone at all touching the hubcap, this metal disk shivered, and then it smoothly arose in the air to head level. Hanging there for a moment, the hubcap next suddenly zoomed forward, right at Xander, covering the entire distance in a split second before coming to a dead stop with the rim of the hubcap a fraction of an inch from Xander’s fingertip.
Grinning as he made the hubcap still hovering to roll and pitch and yaw in all directions with his newly-acquired magnetic powers, Xander’s smile thinned into a cold smirk, as he thought about Spike the vampire. That vile demon had gained his nickname by torturing his victims with railroad spikes, and Xander couldn’t help but feel an evil urge to return the favor several dozen times over, impaling Spike with metal stakes controlled by the power of Cosmic Boy’s mind.
Unfortunately, as Xander absently caused the hubcap to swish back and forth horizontally as if demonstrating how he’d finish off Spike by decapitating that jerk, his new body felt like it wasn’t going to be around much longer, which might have actually allowed him to clean up the Hellmouth or do something else equally useful. Given that he’d started to become familiar with the process of unexpectedly acquiring the forms and powers of guys (and one gal so far) from the Legion, Xander had also begun feeling pretty accurately just how much time he’d possess his latest identity. Right now, it seemed like only a couple of hours, at the most. Resignedly shrugging to himself over what couldn’t be helped, Xander then decided to indulge himself by having some fun with his most recent powers.
Looking around the alley, Xander tried to think of any nearby places where he could have some privacy, and most of all, lots of metal to play with that nobody would miss. After a few moments, a slow grin appeared on the young man’s completely different face, as he chuckled to himself, “Oh, yeah, where else but the junkyard?”
Happily nodding at this sudden inspiration, Xander paused, to then sardonically eye his new clothes. Given what he was presently wearing, the whole reason for privacy had just gotten even more important. His reputation at the high school was already in the pits, but nobody in Sunnydale really needed to see Xander Harris wearing a pink
An hour later, Xander Skywalker, greatest of the Jedi and most assuredly an only child, skimmed across the frozen surface of Hoth in his snowspeeder. His target loomed up against the icy horizon, a massive Empire walker plodding its way towards the Rebel base. Only he stood between that destructive machine and freedom for the galaxy. Not to mention that if he took down the walker and saved the day, Senator Leia Organa had actually promised him, right before the mission, that afterwards they’d adjoin to her chambers, where he could then demonstrate the powers of the Force by using solely his mind to peel off her color-coordinated garments down to this smokin’ hot lady’s white panties, and continue from there on with more physical measures.
In his pants, Xander’s lightsaber throbbed at remembering the best ever incentive to win against the bad guys.
Putting the pedal to the metal, the snowspeeder headed straight towards the walker, which started to fire its blasters at a man who was gonna do whatever was necessary in order to get some. Easily swinging from side to side in his flight to dodge the deadly beams, Xander flew at blurring speeds directly at his foe, to then suddenly dip closer to the ground. Ignoring everything else, Xander aimed his vehicle right at the nearest front leg, and at the proper moment, the Jedi pressed a button on his steering controls. From the front of the snowspeeder, a harpoon attached to a length of super-strong cable shot forward, crossing the distance from the smaller craft to the walker in an instant.
With a loud CLANG!
the harpoon hit and stuck to the walker’s leg, with Xander zipping by that enormous machine while trailing the cable after himself. Going in an abrupt u-turn, the snowspeeder circled the walker several times, until with the same flawless precision, Xander tapped another button, and the cable released from the Rebel aircraft, which sped away only a short distance, before coming to a stop and hovering in the air while providing Xander with a great view. There was no way he was gonna miss seeing this.
Standing helplessly in the snow, the walker tried to break free of the cable entangling its legs, only to have its operator misjudge the force necessary for this, and causing his machine to lose its balance. With slow majesty, the walker toppled forward, slamming nose-first into the ground with enough force for Xander to feel it even where he was watching.
As the dirt floor of the junkyard shuddered under his boots, Xander did a fist pump of pure triumph, adding a howl of glee over the final noises of the collapsing one-tenth scale model of the thirty-foot-tall walker he’d earlier created from whole junked cars. Waiting until the dust raised by this blew away, Xander grinned at the pile of twisted metal left behind which was the only remnant of his imaginary duel taken directly from the movie The Empire Strikes Back.
On second thought, there was something left over from his fun today. With a single thought, the miniature replica of a snowspeeder zoomed through the air of the clearing in the middle of the junkyard, halting before Xander’s face to float there. Peering inside the cockpit, the young man in the flamingo-colored costume saw a little doll with very familiar features sitting in the pilot’s chair.
It took only the merest mental impulse for the Xander doll to lift up his tiny metal arm and give Cosmic Boy a military salute, which the Legion member returned while maintaining a very deadpan expression. At that exact moment, when honors were being rendered, another shimmer of white light covered the human’s body. An instant later, a soft thud!
announced that the replica had fallen to the ground after no longer being controlled by magically-created magnetic fields.
Whistling cheerfully, Xander came up the sidewalk to Giles’ apartment. It’d been too late after his fun at the junkyard to go over to Amy Madison’s house, so he’d probably do this tomorrow. In the meantime, Xander would stop off on his way home at Giles’ residence and tell the older man all about yet another example of the Chaos magic that kept randomly happening to the teenager. Stopping at the apartment door, Xander shifted his replica of the snowspeeder that was today’s souvenir to under his other arm, and he lifted his right hand to push the doorbell.
From inside the apartment, a woman’s loud, angry shouting abruptly coming from inside made Xander freeze, as he also heard sobbing noises of ultimate grief beyond the door.
Instantly reacting, Xander let the replica under his arm drop to the ground, grabbed the doorknob and pushed the door open, to rush into the apartment. After dashing a few steps down the front hallway, Xander burst into the sitting room, where he found a rather…unusual state of affairs.
Slumped back into an armchair, Buffy Summers, the Slayer, was holding several plastic rectangular cards in her cupped hands, as she sorrowfully wept over these objects, “You poor, poor little darlings, Mommy will make it all better! I promise!”
Seated at another armchair at the far side of the room with a small side table containing a telephone next to himself, Rupert Giles had his unfolded wallet lying in his lap. Another plastic rectangular card was resting on top of the unfolded wallet of the shell-shocked Briton, whose only reaction to seeing Xander appear from apparently out of the blue was the fractional widening of his eyes behind this man’s glasses, a response that seemed to be expressing, for some reason, actual gratitude.
Other than that, Giles didn’t dare to divert his attention from the last person there, one Cordelia Chase, who was stalking back and forth in the middle of the room, all while screaming in pure rage: “THIS HAS TO BE THE HELLMOUTH’S FAULT! IF THERE’S SOME PROPHECY ABOUT THIS, YOU BETTER COME UP WITH A REALLY GOOD EXCUSE WHY WE WEREN’T TOLD!” Swiveling her head around to stare with a crazed expression at Xander, the beautiful young woman snarled dangerously to him, “What’re you
doing here, dweeb?”
About to snark back at the girl who’d dumped him, a sudden flash of good sense which suggested that anything less than a polite response would result in Cordelia carrying out an immediate disembowelment on him made Xander say instead, “I just decided to drop in. What’s going on? Is something wrong?”
Swelling up as if to let loose another shriek of fury, Cordelia was interrupted by Buffy sniffling from her chair, “Oh, Xan, it’s really horrible! See, today was the mall’s biggest, once-a-year, women’s outfits sale, and me and Cordy were there. After we finished and picked up our spoils-- Uh, I mean our purchases, we took them to the sales counter and tried to pay--”
“THEY REJECTED MY PLATINUM CARD!”
When their ears stopped ringing after Queen C’s latest bellow, Buffy nodded in agreement. “Mine, too, all my credit cards! Nobody else at the other counters could pay, either! Until the manager came in, and he used his own card, which worked fine! Er…that’s when the riot started.”
Xander’s mouth fell open at that last little bit of news, only to have his attention wrenched back to an impatient Cordelia declaring, “Never mind that, here’s something much more important! I did some fast checking around town, calling everybody I knew, and every
single woman in Sunnydale no longer has a valid credit card! What’s more, all the guys in this place have their cards working perfectly!”
“Yes, indeed,” contributed Giles in his most acerbic tone. “As demonstrated by yours truly when I was forced under the threat of extreme physical duress to purchase something over the telephone with my own credit card. I’m sure I’ll in all honesty enjoy my dozen commemorative Elvis Presley dinner plates when they finally arrive within twenty-four hours or less, at the maximum shipping rate!”
Neither Buffy nor Cordelia wasted a single moment’s sympathy for the Slayer’s Watcher. Instead, the blonde young woman abruptly sat up in her armchair and shot a very suspicious look towards the exasperated Englishman, to then accuse him, “Hey, Cordy might be onto something here! Are you positively sure there’s nothing in those dusty books of yours about this being any kind of sign of the next apocalypse? ‘Cause this has to be for damn certain a trustworthy advance warning about the end of the world--”
Rupert Giles finally had enough. Snatching up his credit card, he angrily waved this at the two girls while a bemused Xander listened to a first-rate G-man harangue: “Don’t be so bloody ridiculous! It’s inconceivable that the supernatural could in any way be linked to this! No, it’d be far more logical that some sort of balls-up happened to all those other pieces of technology carried by you, Cordelia, and every female in this town! Who needs any kind of magic spell to make this idiotic card go all wonky, when a common, ordinary magnet could wipe out everything on it, as I was told when I first received this thing!” Pausing to take a needed breath, Giles then irascibly asked, “Don’t you agree, Xander?”
The remaining people in the room -- Giles, Cordelia, and Buffy -- turned to observe nothing but an empty space where a young man had been a moment before.
Already a half-block away and still building up speed in his headlong sprint despite carrying along his snowspeeder replica under one arm, a guy who’d earlier been happily playing with magnetic fields for a good hour or two without even bothering to think about the possible range or consequences of this Chaos magic event now vowed to himself to completely forget all about a certain love spell. Who needed to get into even more trouble? Not when, if any member of the feminine species in Sunnydale ever learned about what Xander Harris was responsible for today, it was an absolute certainty that he’d be dead before he hit the ground.