We can be again
This one is based on a little fact a lot of people seem to be forgetting when they power up Xander because of his possessions... technically this is my first Halloween fic but in honesty I didn't mean for it to fall that way.
Summary: A void is filled within them but until the last of them accepts it they cannot be complete.
Titles: We can be again
In another world the following event wouldn't have happened. In another time events would have made it so that four young men and women would have never been touched by Ethane Ryane's spell. But a simple conversation after a traumatic event caused the gears and wheels of destiny to shift ever so much for these young people.
As the spell spread through town conversing children into monsters and heroes five teens perked their heads up. Unlike the other that were being incased by the spell they had a void in them that greedily took in the placebo spirits. The filling emptiness forcing the spirits to fill a role that was forcibly gained and removed not too long ago. Sure the spirits that now occupied the teens now were not the same as the ones that came before them but they would do.
When the spirits woke up the five unlike the others didn't wonder where they were but where the rest of them were. The strange fact that none of them knew who, or what, the "rest of them" meant didn't seem to register in their minds as they moved through the strange and unfamiliar terrain to gain that answer. All of them following a strange tugging from within them to find direction.
The knight errant was the first to move. His sporadically armored body traveled through the streets with a type determination not often seen in the modern world. He paused only for scant moments to stop and often kill the demon's attacking citterns before ordering them to shelter. In any normal conditions he would have escorted the people to safety but he was a man lead by heart and his heart told him to keep moving on.
A block and a half away two members of the group have already met up, having been walking together in the first place. The two young women felt something close to familiarity as they stood next to each other, though the two current occupants had no idea who the other was. In their chest they could what could be described as strings or ropes tugging them towards each other and deeper into the currently unknown town. So together the cowgirl and the nurse moved down the streets constantly wondering who the other was and where this feeling would lead them.
Another one of them had fallen back upon his family's teachings as he all but disappeared into shadows and foliage. It was frighteningly easy to tell that this was not his home land, be it by how the roads were paved or all the oni running around it was an instant thought for him. The only comfort he had was the weight of his katanna on his back and the only clue he had on what to do was a force nudging him to move from where he was. He didn't like magic, too messy, and it was obvious something magic was happening. Grudgingly he moved towards where the magic was calling him all the while wondering why he was feeling so excited.
Unknown to the four they were all converging onto a single person. A soldier who's eyes danced around his surroundings, taking in every little detail they could while the muzzle of his gun tracked the rampant creatures that were running across the streets. He didn't know what was going on and only years of experience and training were keeping him calm.
He cautiously advanced through the streets following where his gut was telling him to go but fell short when a voice called out behind him. He glanced over his shoulder for a moment to see what it was and quickly dismissed it as a street walker panicking.
"Xander! Xander! Stop right there mister! Hey! Stop walking away!" Willow called out after her friends retreating figure. She eventually realized that calling after him was useless as he too had been caught up in whatever mess was spreading across town. After realizing that she couldn't keep up with him in the heels she was wearing she gave up on him and hoped that at least Buffy wasn't affected.
The soldier didn't notice when the street walker stopped chasing after him and frankly he didn't care. He felt himself being dragged forward down the blokes until he came face to face with four other figures.
None of them looked like they came from the same country or even era but somehow they all just... fit together and he knew he belonged with them. Despite his survival level paranoia he didn't hesitate to complete the circle that they were forming.
As he took the final steps into the circle all their eyes flashed a vicious earthly green. None of them bothered to notice.
The first thing any of them did was not to greet each other or demand answers but to check the others for injuries. After that all of them seemed to zoom in on the soldier who automatically seemed to take up the role of leader, both in their minds and in his. "Anyone have any idea on what the hell is going on here?"
All of them shook their heads negative. "I know not what is going on here." The knight spoke first, "But it would seem that some form of sorcery is involved."
The soldier and the nurse both looked at the knight like he was crazy but both knew deep down that he was telling them the truth. The fact that the ninja and the cowgirl were nodding their heads in agreement helped their wary trust. "I agree." The ninja added, his Japanese accented English a surprise to his own ears, "Some wizard is playing with forces he shouldn't." He wanted to add that whoever this wizard was had obviously dragged the five of them to this hell but he couldn't. This land felt like home, his, no their territory.
Some was playing with their land and it was obviously irritating all of them.
The soldier nodded his head as he took in the tidbit of information, "Know anyways to track whoever it is?" All of them gave a negative, so sighing he came up with a plan, "Okay, mission plan, find civvies, get them to safety, kill all hostiles, find the fucker who did this and end him. Any objections?" Again with a negative he gave a nod and started to move down the street. All of them unconsciously falling into a formation as the moved. The soldier on point, the knight and cowgirl flanking the sides, and the ninja tailing the back with all of them surrounding their one none combatant.
None of them could explain why they felt the need to laugh, or why that even the well trained and experienced soldier and ninja let out a chuckle when they attacked the hostiles.
Spike was all set to have a good lay in that night, but No! Some of his dumber fledglings decided to go against him and actually hunt on Halloween night! That showed little class and he wouldn't accept that in his ranks.
"But boss it's crazy out there!" The minion plead, knowing his master was more lenient when something peaked his interest, "It like someone is throwin' a monster bash and didn't invite us!"
Spike paused his movements for a moment, contemplating what he just heard and was about to ask for more information when Dru's voice rang through the room. "No!" She screamed as she raced over, her steps weak and her legs wobbled as she moved forward. "My Spike, you cannot go out! The puppies! The puppies will get you and gobble you up they will!" She fell against him, hugging him tightly, "Please, my Spike don't go and get gobbled."
Spike debated going out anyway, just to see what had Dru so worked up but when a seer predicted your death it was common sense to walk away from where they say you're going to die. So he snapped the fledgling's neck, leaving him to his agony, and escorted Dru back to the coach so they could finish watching Charlie Brown.
Cordeila Chase ran as fast as she could, screaming her lungs out with every step. She was on her way to the Bronze to show that insensitive bag of shit Devin how good she looked in her cat costume and what he was missing by ditching her on their date when all the weirdness happened. Out of nowhere screams came from all around and the streets were riddled with monsters of various size and shape and wouldn't just be her luck that some giant dog like thing decided she would make a good chew toy. So she found herself running blokes on end at surprising speeds for someone in heels.
"Help! Oh God! Someone help me!?" For the umpteenth time she called out but this time her pleas were answered by two very different sounding gunshots. She flinched enough for her to finally fall on her ass from her unbalanced footwear. At first she felt a jolt of fear swipe through her at the very thought that she was going to be eaten by Jo-Jo the dog boy but soon she found quite a different sight greeting her. One that involved a girl in a Naughty Nurse costume peering down at her with a concerned face on as four others circled around them.
"Are you alright ma'am?" She asked kindly but the fact that Cordeila was getting a full view of her breast was destroying the whole homey feel to the question. "Are you hurt anywhere?"
Cordeila took a shaky breath and shook her head, "No, I-I'm fine."
The Nurse smiled, "Good. Now can you stand for me?" The girl did so upon shaky feet, she had really thought that was the end for her, "Good!" she repeated chipperly.
The one carrying the assault rifle and wearing army fatigues spoke next, his back still turned at the offensive part of the group kept their eyes out for enemies, "Ask her if she knows what's going on." To the rescued girl his tone sounded rude bordering offensive with his barked order, especially since she was standing right there. He could damn well ask her himself.
But the blonde Nurse didn't seem to mind as she asked the question, "Hey, so we really don't know what's going on here and we were kind of wondering if you did?"
Cordeila looked at the girl like she was crazy, "No, I have no clue what's going on! One second minding my own business the next I'm almost dog food!"
The Knight, the Ninja and the Soldier all stiffened at the girl's increasing volume, knowing damn well that something just had its interest peaked. The Cowgirl noticed too as she quickly placed a hand over the girl's mouth, "Shush sugar. Do you want to wake the whole county?"
Cordelia was going to bite her savior in outrage for being silence but when the tell tale sign of gun fire rang from the Soldier's position she looked over to see two little devil bleeding on the ground with the Knight quickly making his way over to behead them. So realizing shouting would get her nowhere she shook her head no, she did not want to attract more attention.
"Tis a good weapon you have there." The Knight complimented as he returned to the group.
The Ninja shook his head, "Too noisy." An effective killing tool true but it garnered too much attention for his taste.
"There are quieter ones, now zip it and form up." Neither of the two warriors have ever heard the type of slang that was being thrown at them but could guess their meaning as they returned silently to their guarding positions. "Alright, we're taking this civvie to the nearest shelter than moving out, clear?"
After receiving various positives the Soldier lead his... Pack down the road with an extra passenger.
It was only an hour later, after being dropped off safely at the Bronze, did Cordeila realize that she knew the Nurse and Cowgirl.
Ethan Ryane felt a chill go up his spine as he heard laughing ring from inside his shop. He knew he locked up and charmed it to only open for Ripper but still the chime to the front rang allowing the spiel of laughter to enter. But the strange thing was none that entered seemed to be laughing. It was like the insane sound followed them, foreboding something Ethan quite honestly didn't want to imagine.
"It would seem the little witch was right." The Knight said as his eyes landed on the shop owner who was eyeing the group warily.
The Ninja shook his head in disagreement but never took his eyes off Ethan, "That has yet to be tested." he didn't trust magic users, even the friendly ones. They all wanted something or had some form of twisted logic.
"The varmint is right there looking like he's about to make a break for it, what more do you want?" The Cowgirl demanded, her hand twitching towards he pistol when Ethan took a step.
"How about a confession?" The Soldier asked rhetorically as he moved forward and grabbed Ethan by his collar, "I'm sure we could convince him to play nice."
That ambient laughter grew louder as the rest of the group drew closer as well, causing Ethan to swallow rather loudly.
The five left the unconscious body, alive only in case they still needed him, and stated to circle around the indicated bust. For some reason they were hesitating, they knew the shop keeper wasn't lying, both the Ninja and Soldier could tell if he was, but they were hesitant to smash it and end the spell. Eye contact was made several times as the pondered what to do with the idol but eventually their defacto leader took charge and stepped towards the pedestal.
"Bye guys." His voice was almost timid when he said that, a stark contrast compared to how he spoke before. The others looked a little teary eyed as they said their own goodbyes. None of them could really explain why they were so emotional but they were, even to the last second when the bust broke on the ground.
A wave of magic washed over the room and then spread throughout the town canceling the spell and leaving five stiff figures in the costume shop. The nurse was the first to react as she fell to her knees and started to cry. "Not again, not again!" The other's weren't that far behind her as the knight and ninja through away their mask and leaned against the nearest support they could find. The cowgirl's face slowly started to turn green as she swayed on her feet.
The only one that seemed to be taking it even halfway well was the former soldier and he had automatically thrown his now toy rifle hard enough against the wall to shatter it. He took a few breath to calm himself before turning his attention to the girl crying on the ground. "Rhonda..." Xander said awkwardly as he took a few steps towards her. He and the rest of the pack may have been avoiding each other like the plague since the incident but still, on some level he cared for all of them.
"Don't come near me!" she screamed gaining the rooms attention and causing Xander to flinch back "You liar! You said you'd stop this from happening again and look what happened! We lost our bodies again!"
"I never said I could stop it." He argued back, trying to sound soothing, "I said I would try."
"You didn't try hard enough" she spat back with as much venom as she could muster. The others looked on honestly feeling torn. Harris did promise that he'd try to make sure nothing like this would never happen to them again, saying that it was the reason he and his little friends were around. But on the other hand they lost control of their bodies again, something that was the focus of a number of their nightmares over the past few months.
"Tonight was supposed to be quite" he plead for her to understand, "Some sort of unofficial pact with the supernatural that nothing goes down on Halloween but this asshole..." Xander's voice trailed off as he stared at the empty spot the mage once laid, "God damn it! Did anyone see where he went?"
Every teen in the room came out of their individual stupors when they realized that the one that caused their problem had disappeared. "Damn it!" Tor the former knight yelled. "Where did that bastard go!"
"Does it even matter?" Kyle asked, "He's one of those magic bastards. Probably long gone by now. Like I should be." He didn't even bother grabbing his discarded mask as he left the door. Seconds later the rest of the pack left as well, leaving only Xander in the room feeling hurt, angry and sad all at the same time.
After the others left Xander stood still in that shop with his hand extended as if to stop them but he didn't. Because he was as scared as the rest of them. Their fears may be slightly different but they were there. Last time something like this happened he nearly raped one of his best friends and they killed and ate a good man.
He tried to reassure them after the fact that this wouldn't happen again, that he would do his best to prevent it from happening but he failed. He didn't know who to hate more, himself or that damn shop keeper.
Xander fist crashed into the glass counter, cracking the reinforced material and splitting his skin. "Damn it." he muttered as he eventually made his own way out.
Rupert Giles jumped from his seat as Xander Harris stormed in with a furious look on his face. He was expecting to come storming in but rather than the boy he thought Willow, who's projection disappeared mid-conversation, or Buffy would be the ones to come in, not the boy. Obviously whatever happened earlier that night had truly effect the teen.
"Giles!" Xander interrupted loudly, "I want a damn anti-possession spell! Now!" His voice a constant growl as he prowled through the room looking absolutely furious.
"Xander if could just calm down and tell me what happened..."
"We found each other Giles. I don't know how but we did!?" He paused "God, how did we find each other?"
Now Giles interest was truly peeked. He only got a rough idea of what happened from Willow before she disappeared, something about everyone becoming their costumes. They didn't get that far into the conversation before she started to fade away. "Xander who did you find?" He tried to ask gently but it seemed to distress the boy as he rung his fingers through his hair.
"My unit, my pack. We found each other, we hunted together, we killed together..." At first Xander's face screamed contentment at the memory before a dawning horror forced all color from his face, "Oh god those were kids. We killed kids!"
"Xander!" Giles yelled loud enough to gain the teen's attention, "Just calm down, take a seat and explain to me what happened."
At first the boy's face showed hesitance but he eventually followed the instructions and told his tale. Giles had listened silently and intently throughout it finding himself both intrigued and disturbed. He did not think there were going to be any after effects from Xander's exorcism earlier in the year but he should have known better, possessions always leave something behind. Always. And it would seem that whatever spell was cast that Halloween night jump started whatever bits that were left in Xander's "pack". And it would seem even with different spirits they were still a frighteningly effective force. Effective enough to stop the spell by themselves and kill many of the "demons" on their way to do it.
But even the killings didn't seem to be what was disturbing him the most, although it was a definite contributor, but the fact he had lost control of his body again. Admittedly the last time that had happened it was not a pleasant experience for anyone involved, so Giles could only imagine how the boy felt even if he didn't know an added third factor to the boy's grief.
It was because he was sure his pack hated him now. He told them he'd make sure that it would never happen again and then that bastard of a mage does this? If he ever saw that lowlife again then, then, actually he didn't know what he'd do but it was unlikely to be pleasant or legal. His hand tightened under the table enough to reopen his wound and cause him to wince, momentarily making him forget his problems.
"Damn it." He complained as he pressed his hand against the dark fabric of his clothes. There was already enough blood on them for him not to care anymore.
Giles had seemed to notice the bleeding and went to get the first aid kit. After pulling out the bandages Giles began to speak "There are a few spells and enchantments to prevent possession but they take time to prepare and to be perfectly honest I do not know any of them. It will take time."
Xander cursed under his breath, again, as he took the bandages from files and started to wrap his hand. "Fine just... get me when it's ready." After he taped his hand he left the room without another word, feeling too emotional exhausted to do anything else but fall into his bed.
In our dreams we seem to know and understand ourselves the best. Demented landscapes and events telling deep truths without realization, things that make us feel naked as they are laid bare. So he watched the new truth to himself from a bird's eye view. The landscape could have been roughly described to be the African savannah except for the fact that the trees and grass were more indigenous to Korea and Vietnam. The strange field was filled with the pained yips and barks of a figure who stood on his knees in the middle of the field.
The source of the sounds came from a strange creature that could roughly be described as a beast man. Although the only bestial part of him was his hyena head and the rest of him was a simple human figure garbed in army fatigues. He howled and yipped as he moved through his terrain looking for them. He craved for them, he needed them.
Where was his pack?
Did they hate him?
Why weren't they there?
He let out another mournful bark as he continued his search.
He wished Halloween was on a Friday, he really did, but the truth of the situation was that he woke up on a Thursday. So faced with the choice of being left at home with a drunk father who would yell at him and later have Willow pull him out the house by the ear or suffer through school he went with the latter.
Xander really didn't want to look at the streets, he knew there would be blood staining the concrete from where he and his pack had laid waste into the enemy. He felt both disgust and prideful of that fact, that the pack was strong enough to kill anything that breathed wrong near them. They were quick, brutal and most importantly, effective.
God, it was so wrong to feel so proud about killing kids.
His eyes seemed to follow his shoes the whole way to the school and even further into the library.
Giles noticing Xander arrival bade him to sit down with Willow and Buffy, "Come in Xander, we were just going over last nights... discrepancies." Xander did so but he still didn't look up from his feet, completely missing any greetings or glances from the girl's. "Yes, well" Giles started a little unnerved by the boy's sullen attitude. Hopefully what he was about to say would cheer up the boy "As I was saying, damage from last night is not as bad as we feared." Pausing for a moment to let that idea fill their minds he continued "It would seem that it was the invading spirit that took the damage and left the children relatively unharmed."
Xander perked up for a second before he called bullshit, "Even the ones that lost their heads?" He asked skeptically and felt the guilt that was slowly waning come back full force when Giles looked away. "Yeah, thought not."
"Whoa!" Buffy called, tired of the males' byplay, "What are you two on about?"
Xander looked down again while Giles coughed to gain attention, "It would seem that last night Xander's... persona found a... unit that he was quite effective with. Effective enough to have found the source of last night's... adventure and ended the spell by themselves." Buffy's and Willow's eyes went a little wide at that information. Neither one would admit it out loud, at least not now, but they were pissed that whoever Xander was didn't stay to help them. "Whether fortunate or not, they also proved to be very good at killing the "demon" population last night."
The room was silent for a moment as the girl's processed all the information Giles had given them as well as what little Xander had said. Eventually they came to a near simultaneous "Oh." when they realized what was being implied.
"Speaking of which," Giles started trying to direct the conversation, "Where did your team find the center of the spell?"
"At that place where we got our costumes" Xander said, "Ethan's or whatever."
Giles stiffened for a moment before his accent slipped into something that sounded much more harsh, "Oh really?" A chill ran down Buffy and Willow's backs at his cold tone. "And the owner?"
"Was gone after we broke the statue." Giles scowled for reasons only known to himself and went to his office with barely even a mumble about how he needed to check on something. Leaving only the girls and Xander to shift through their memories of the night and putting the trio in a silence.
Willow tried to start a conversation but how do you comfort a friend about killing children, even if he didn't have control over himself. She wanted to be a little mad at him if not for the children's sake then for Buffy's. She wasn't her usual Slayer self and was almost raped if not for the timely intervention of Angel. The blonde was still a little shaken up by it.
At this point Willow didn't know who hated possession more, Xander who lost control of his body twice or Buffy who was nearly raped twice because of it.
The Library door slowly opened breaking the silence and drawing the three teens' attention to the blonde that entered. "Harris, can we talk?"
Xander was instantly to his feet and made his way over to her. "Yeah, sure. Want to go somewhere else?"
Rhonda peered over at Buffy and Willow who were giving her a strange look and nodded her head. As Xander guided the girl out of the library Buffy spoke up with a worried tone, "Was that who I thought it was?"
"Uh-huh." Neither like the prospect of Xander hanging out with anyone from that group so they quickly stumbled out of their seats to follow them. Class wasn't going to start ten minutes so the halls were muddled and filled with chatting students. "Do you see them?"
"No." Buffy growled out in irritation as she strained her supernatural ears and eyes to their limit but all she got was a headache from all the noise.
Down the hall in an empty class rooms Xander and Rhonda were having a heart to heart. Rhonda bit her lip as Xander stood patiently in front of her. "I just..." She started. "I just wanted to say I'm sorry. I didn't really mean any of it. I was freaking you know?" She looked up at him with a half pleading look.
"It's okay. I wasn't exactly thinking straight either. I don't think any of us wanted to go through with that again." He gave her his usual crooked smile but there was something behind it, something caring. She smiled at him unsurely before nodding, which in turn made him smile all the wider before he sobered himself up. "Look, if you, or the others, ever need to talk or well anything, I'm here. If you need me."
That seemed to trigger something in the girl as she basically flung herself to hug him. He was shocked at first but easily phased into and even nuzzled her hair. "Thank you." she said as she did the same into his chest.
Over the next week Xander had found himself in similar conversations with the rest of the pack and to be honest he loved every conversation. And after every conversations he quickly became friends with each of them. Soon it wasn't an odd occurrence to see the five of them talking during breaks or lunch and there were multiple sightings of them together after school.
Of course Buffy and Willow took notice of this and didn't like it. Not only were they some of the biggest bullies on the campus, they together with Xander represented a very dark time in their personal history.
So at first they were direct about it, voicing their dislike to him but his response stopped that plan. "They're just in a bad place right now, you know, after the whole 'I've been possessed twice' thing. They needed somebody to talk to and I'm the one that get's it. Besides they're not that bad once you get to know them". So after that they started to play it a little sneakier. Dragging him along to the Bronze and insisting that whatever they're researching was important.
It was working, Xander was spending less time with the pack and the pack didn't like it.
And so Willow took the brunt of this anger one day when she went to the little girl's room. She was just washing her hands when Heidi and Rhonda came up to either side of her. She let out a squeak sound as Heidi slammed her hand on the side of the wall. "What the hell is your problem Rosenberg?"
"You and Summers aren't letting Xander out to play." She rasped as she leaned towards Willow with a pissed off look on her face. "And it's getting on our nerves."
"W-what do you mean?" The red head evaded as she tried to make some space between her and Heidi but she was quickly blocked off by Rhonda who mimicked her friend's position.
"You know damn well what we mean." Rhonda growled, "You're keeping Xander from us! You and Summers keep pulling him away when he's with us! We want to know why!" At this point every other girl in the bathroom decided it was a good time to vacate.
"N-no we're not."
Heidi slammed her fist into the wall. "You're a shitty liar little girl, you know that?"
Heidi seemed to be restraining herself a great deal as she pressed on, "Seriously just lay off, alright? He's allowed to have friends besides you two ain't he?"
Willow snapped, "He doesn't need friends like you!"
"And who are you to decide that!? Huh? What gives you the right?" Rhonda growled out the last sentence as she leaned in to look Willow eye to eye. The red head kept on trying to keep eye contact with the blonde but found it more difficult than she could imagine. She tried to compare her to the monsters she had faced with Buffy over the years and then added in her own feelings for Xander into it but she quickly found herself coming up short as Rhonda kept up her steady glare.
Eventually Willow's green eyes looked down.
"Tch," Heidi scoffed as she pushed off the wall finding the prey too pathetic even for her. But Rhonda didn't stop she just pushed on. Demanding from the girl why she thought she could have any decision over Xander's life. Asking what made her so damn important that she had the godly power to know what's right for him.
The only time the demands even seemed like they were going to stop were two minutes into the conversation when Summers appeared but all that did was give Rhonda another target. In the end Heidi had to pull the blonde away before the teacher's showed up.
Xander laughed and laughed alongside Tor and Kyle as they had a free for all match. The pack had remembered a lot from their recent possession and shared the wealth to the others. From boot camps to making rope everything was shared between the five. They didn't scoff at anything that they could learn because they were learning it together.
The group relationship was strange to say the least, but at the same time it was natural. There wasn't even a brief pause for them to get used to Xander he just... fit, falling into place as their ever defacto leader. And then there was the boundary issue, as in they had no boundaries. When they sat together they often became a pile of limbs with heads resting wherever they landed.
They weren't even sure what they were to each other besides Important, yes with a capital I. And at some point they didn't even care, they just were. And what they were was getting stronger. Different teachings blended together as they taught each other and moved as one.
Luckily Sunnydale had no shortage of prey for them to practice their strength on.
If I ever do this story I wouldn't do it nearly as half assed. I got the idea after reading the Hyena Pit and scourging the sites for more like it... I failed. Anyway the basic idea of this, if you haven't already gotten it, is that when the Halloween spell came around it kind of restarted the bits that were the hyenas giving the group the proxy powers. I'm thinking about weaker hyena powers, like making them stronger, not slayer strong, heal a bit quicker, better senses, be able to find each other and have a creepy ambient laughter that follows them when they're worked up.
Not going to lie the original idea was set during Zeppo and the pack immediately picked Xander up after they heard the Scoobies were leaving him out and it would eventually turn into "you threw him out, he's ours now, nah nah a boo boo" type deal but I'm kind of feeling how this went.
The relationship of the pack... it would be very interesting to write and it would make alot of those annoying yaoi girl's scream about the subtext... I hate them.
Have alot of ideas and scenes in my head for this one.
Anyway tell me what you think and peace.