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A Black Prometheus Reborn

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This story is No. 2 in the series "Legacy Of Kane". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: The effects of their Halloween costumes are following the Scoobies even after that dark night is over.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > General > Theme: HalloweenGreywizardFR18212,2073339,6567 Dec 117 Dec 11No

Chapter Two

Harris residence
The fifth day after the 'Halloween incident'


"Xand? Xander? Are you okay?"

Willow's tentative question hung unanswered in the air as she stood by the front door and called out for her childhood friend, the concern in her voice evident to anyone who might have been listening.

After all, Xander hadn't been in school at all over the past week; neither she nor Buffy or even Cordelia had seen or been in touch with him since the afternoon of his parents' funerals, he hadn't been answering any of the messages they'd left on his machine, and they were all now extremely worried at the lack of communication from their normally silence-impaired friend.

"Xander? Are you in here?" Buffy echoed her best friend's call, and quickly moved to take up a position in the foyer in front of her two friends after they still received no answer to their greetings, while also noting that the hint of some vaguely familiar scent which seemed to linger in the air inside the house.

{ What *is* that smell? Some type of incense? } Buffy wondered silently to herself as one of her ever-present stakes seemed to materialize in her hand and she quietly moved forward, motioning for her companions to remain where they were near the front door while she reconnoitered the premises.

"Xand?" the Slayer cautiously called again, as she heard the faintest creak issue from the left hand hallway, as though a floorboard had flexed under the shift of someone's weight.

"Buff? Is that you?" Buffy heard her friend call back, followed by an loud yawn as Xander appeared at the bottom of the stairs that lead to what she'd heard him refer to (with what seemed like a small snort of disdain) as the 'family room,' rubbing his eyes and wearing just a pair of old gym shorts.

Relief, followed by an undeniable surge of – curiosity, that's all it was, Buffy told herself firmly – surged through the Slayer as she found herself eying her best friend's muscular form with more than a smidgeon of interest. A quick glance at both Willow and Cordelia confirmed in Buffy’s mind how they were ‘curious’ as well, probably even more than she was, but it was her own reactions that the Chosen One was most concerned with right now.

Buffy had known that Xander had ended up with a good bit of muscle as one of the aftereffects of the spell they'd all fallen prey to on Hell-o-ween night, but she hadn't realized, up until this minute, just how *much* muscle he'd gained, or that it had made him look like one of those superheroes he was always reading about in his various comic books from the golden age of six-packs.

And it was just simple curiosity, and maybe a little bit of purely platonic admiration, too, at how good he looked now, that she was feeling, Buffy quickly decided as she suddenly realized that she was staring at her best guy friend the way Percy and a lot of his fellow idiot jocks stared at the girls on Baywatch.

'Cause there was absolutely no way in the world, she told herself, that she had been almost drooling at both ends when she looked at Xander just now. { Angel. Think of Angel, damn it! }

"Uh, yeah, Xand," the Slayer nodded as she quickly closed her mouth and resisted an impulse to wipe her hand across her face to check for any trace of saliva.

"We were all getting a little bit worried, uh, me, Will and Cordy, that is," Buffy explained who she'd been referring to, "since nobody's seen you or heard from you since the afternoon of your parents' funerals, and you haven't returned any of our phone calls, either, so we decided to stop by and make sure you're of the okay."

"Right. Well, uh, sorry about that, Buff, and, uh, thanks for worrying, too," Xander apologized as he ascended the short flight of stairs to join her on the first floor.

"I've been doing a lot of meditating the past couple days," he explained, "reviewing some of the knowledge and other stuff that were left over from Kane's memories, and I guess I wasn't paying a whole lot of attention to the phone or anything.

"But I think it’s a good thing I did, 'cause I found a few really interesting things when I was going through those memories," he noted as he led the way down the hallway and back to the man hallway.

"Hey, guys," he smiled at Willow and Cordy when he saw them still standing in the front foyer by the front door, and giving the standard Sunnydale head nod for them to enter.

"Sorry to get you guys all concerned and stuff 'cause I didn't answer your messages," Xander apologized again as he led his visitors back into the kitchen and motioned for them to grab seats for themselves.

"You guys want something to drink?" he asked as he opened the refrigerator and grabbed a large bottle of lemonade Gatorade and several bottles of diet soda for the girls, before continuing with his apology. "Seriously, I didn't mean to ignore your calls, but like I was just telling the Buffster here, I've doing some mediating and going through some of Kane's memories and other stuff that was left over from that spell last week. And I've come across a number of things that I think are gonna help make things go a lot easier for us around here."

"Yeah? Like what, Xand?" Willow immediately asked, her intellectual curiosity piqued by his enigmatic words.

"Well, lemme put it this way. Would you guys like it if you could get back all of the knowledge, the skills and the abilities you had on Halloween back, while still remaining completely and totally yourselves?" Xander asked the three women whose attention, after that statement, was now all completely focused on him.

"What? Are you nuts? I'd *love* having Monica's abilities again!" Cordelia immediately declared, loudly and vehemently. "Then I wouldn't have to worry about the drive to LA when I want to go shopping – I could just orb to Rodeo Drive!"

Grinning reflexively at the brunette's enthusiastic and so uniquely Queen C response, Xander looked over at his two closest friends for their reactions, to see their own matching grins at the brunette's response.

"Well, ladies?" he inquired, lifting one eyebrow slightly to show his curiosity. "How would you feel about getting your costume character's skills and stuff back?"

"You can really do something like that, Xander?" Willow demanded, eyes wide with surprise and wonder (and maybe the tiniest hint of suspicion) as she considered the possibilities his words offered. "Give us all of those skills and abilities back?"

After all, Xena's martial arts skills had enabled her to save several people from serious injury on Halloween night, even before she had encountered Buffy and Cordelia. And considering that her current combat abilities still hovered around approximate non-existence, despite her recent resolve to improve her physical capabilities, Willow knew that any opportunity offered which would allow her to regain skills enabling her to protect herself and others had to be evaluated with extreme seriousness.

Even if the concept that *Xander* of all people could accomplish that briefly made Willow’s head spin.

"Yeah, Will, I can," he confirmed with a nod. "But I gotta warn you, there's a tendency for some of your costume's personality characteristics to come along with the other stuff."

Xander grinned again as the redhead absently said, "Oh, okay, Xand," even as her eyes unfocused slightly as she began considering what was being offered. After all, the affection Xena had had for Gabrielle had been less about the subtext and more about the...text, at least in Willow’s memories of the Greek woman.

"How do you know you can do something like that, Xand?" Buffy asked quietly, the entirety of her attention now focused solely on him.

The expression in the blonde's eyes as she stared at the well-built brunet wasn't simply one of mere curiosity or hopeful anticipation, the other two women present noted after an instant, especially when they realized that the Slayer had shifted so that she was now poised on the edge of her kitchen chair, and ready to explode into action at a moment's notice, since she had drawn and was holding one of her stakes in her right hand.

"I think you've already guessed how I know that, Buff," Xander replied evenly as he set the bottles in his hands down on the counter and turned to face her.

"I performed the ritual on myself earlier today," he stated calmly, locking eyes with the diminutive blonde.

"You got all of Kane's memories back?" Willow squeaked as she turned and stared at her childhood friend, the wide-eyed expression of fright and concern on her face almost perfectly matching the one on Cordelia's.

"Uh-uh, no way!" Xander answered as he glanced over at the redhead and shook his head in denial of her question. "Even on my worst day ever, I'd never be stupid enough to try something like that, Will.

"Like I told you guys the other day, I've still got enough of his memories stuck in my head to say that, even on the best day of his life, despite being human and soul-having and all that, Kane was still a complete monster," he continued. "Trying to get even more of his memories, from a first person perspective, is something I would never even consider doing, 'cause I'd never risk putting you guys in danger by bringing any more of him back."

"So what *did* you do then, you dweeb?" Cordelia demanded semi-irately, as she glared at the sole male Scooby present for apparently unnecessarily alarming them.

"He went and got back the physical abilities he gained when he was possessed by a Primal Hyena Spirit in sophomore year," Buffy stated quietly, answering Cordelia's question, her attention still unwaveringly focused on Xander. "Didn't you?"

"Yeah, I did," the subject of her attention immediately nodded in response to her statement.

"You WHAT?!” Willow yelped. Off Cordelia’s look of confusion, she added in a quick babble, “That, that, that...it was bad! Totally of the bad! Completely and utterly and extremely bad!”

"But, this time around, *I'm* the one who's in charge, Will," he said just as quietly as he shook his head. "The Primal Spirit was all about feelings and instincts; it didn't have any real personality of its own that would carry over and actively suppress mine. And since I was prepared for what was happening this time, I knew what to expect, and how to prevent the Spirit from taking control the way it did last time.

"Trust me, I've got absolutely no urges for fresh, unprocessed pork – or the desire to engage in inappropriate and un-reciprocated courtship behavior, either," he told Buffy, while meeting and easily holding her gaze.

Moving slowly and carefully, so as not to inadvertently trigger the Slayer's instinctive response to perceptions of danger – which was to stake it, stab it, slash it, bludgeon it or decapitate it – Xander stepped forward and dropped to his knees in front of the preternaturally vigilant blonde, opening his arms wide and offering her unobstructed access to his chest.

"If we’re all gonna survive here in town – and avoid a totally unnecessary bloodbath here, today – I need you to trust me, Buffy," he said by way of explanation for his actions, while still keeping his eyes locked with the tiny blonde's.

"'Cause if you can't do that, then you’ll never see me again after today – and we're all gonna be in a whole lot of trouble when the next Big Bad decides to finally show up.

"You already know that living in Sunnydale is simply too dangerous to not take advantage of any opportunity that might show up to become stronger. And that's why I'm offering all of you guys the chance to regain the knowledge, skills and abilities you had when you were wearing your costumes," Xander reminded her of his earlier words.

"So, Buffy, what's it gonna be?" he asked, not having broken their gaze while speaking.

"Will you – can you – trust me to watch your back?"

Willow and Cordelia, meanwhile, had been observing the pair's interaction silently, but with intensely focused interest and more than a little trepidation, and continued watching as the petite blonde simply stared at her more massive friend for an indeterminate period of time.

Both girls let out almost inaudible sighs of relief when Buffy finally relaxed and slipped her stake back into its sheath at the small of her back as she nodded and said, "All right, Xand. So, what is it we need to do to get our costumes' stuff back, like you said?"

~~~

The Sunnydale High School Library
The same time


"And it shall come to pass that, in the days preceding the Commencement of the Fourth Age, the Jester, most favored Acolyte of Chaos, shall bestow his Samhain blessing on the Dale favored by Helios, and from that anointment shall the Ascended venture forth, resplendent with power undreamed of by mortal man.

"Fenrir's Child and Hecate's Daughter shall find succor as disciples of the Ebon Thief of Flames, and Hephaestus' Apprentice, the Scion of Mars through the Jester's meddling, shall serve his shield brethren well with his skills.

"The Hand of Teraka shall seek to end the Twice-Lived Sentinel who safeguards the False Pathway to Hades' Realm, but Hypatia's Pride and the Selfish Angel shall come together and their gifts merge to their mutual satisfaction, that the Lord of Violence shall not be left desolate with grief.

"The Strangler's Avatar Made Flesh shall abet Gaia's Favored once more, and the Remorseful Warlord shall aid them, that the self-marked minions of the Body-Stealer and their allies be frustrated in their goals."

"Then shall the three wreak vengeance not seen since the days of ancient Carsultyal, and those who oppose the Select shall fall.

"Thus shall the Fourth Age be ushered in, to the triumph and satisfaction of the Elite, who shall guide the world to its imminent glory."

Rupert Giles sighed as he once again reviewed the ancient manuscript penned by the long-dead and highly acclaimed seer, Volla of Macedonia, while futilely wishing – as that annoying little clot that Buffy continued to associate with had once phrased it – that at least one of the ancient seers who voiced these infernal prophecies would have had the decency to throw out all of the long-winded circumlocutions and had *just once* stated in plain and simple language exactly what it was they were describing!

{ I was bloody well certain that the Jester referred to in the text was Ethan, } Giles silently reflected to himself as he got up to make himself a cup of tea, { since the bloody damn arse could never seem to pass up the opportunity to inflict that bleeding spell of his anywhere he could. But given what’s happened since All Hallow's Eve, it has to be someone else. }

{ And once the Council discovered that the current Hellmouth was located here in Sunnydale, it seemed only logical that 'the Dale favored by Helios' she was referring to would be this godforsaken pit, } Rupert reflected, re-evaluating the various suppositions he and his fellow conspirators had made regarding the potential identities of the players described in Volla's prediction.

{ 'Fenrir's Child' likely describes a werewolf, while 'Hecate's Daughter' almost certainly refers to a witch, } the Watcher ruminated as he waited for the water to boil. { Unfortunately, however, considering the predilection of the local populace to embrace the supernatural, that provides us with bugger all as far as winnowing down any potential subjects of the prophecy. }

{ The 'Ebon Thief of Flames' could quite easily be a literal, as opposed to a metaphorical, description of yet another player, so we need to gather more information before we can make any reasonable conjectures regarding their actual identity, } he decided as he waited for his tea to steep properly, {while 'Hephaestus' Apprentice' apparently denotes a smith or some sort of mechanically-inclined tinkerer. }

{ The 'Twice-Lived Sentinel who safeguards the False Pathway to Hades' Realm' is unquestionably Buffy, } Giles reminded himself, feeling on much safer ground as he considered that section of the prophecy, { but exactly who or what 'Hypatia's Pride' and 'the Selfish Angel' might be referencing eludes me completely, at the moment. }

{ Although, the Lord of Violence could simply be a quite literal description of the being who is in control of the area, } the librarian decided as he took a careful sip of the near-scalding beverage, { and refers to the current Mayor, the illustrious Richard Wilkins the Third, while 'Gaia's Favored' is but another appellation for the Slayer. Odd that she’s mentioned twice by different names. }

Who or what the 'Strangler's Avatar Made Flesh' or 'the Remorseful Warlord' might be were still unanswered questions. And since 'the Body-Stealer' could be interpreted as a reference to any number of demon species, any further investigation into a more precise identification would have to wait for further developments, Giles realized as he finished his tea and began cleaning up the few pieces of paraphernalia he'd used to facilitate a proper tea break.

"Oh, well," the Englishman sighed, once he'd completed that minor chore and headed to the library doors to remove the 'Closed' sign he'd placed there when he'd decided to take his afternoon break.

{ Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more, } he lamented to himself as he peered out through the small window inset in the door and viewed the throngs of students filling the halls.

{ Oh, the things one is willing to endure in the pursuit of ultimate power. }

~~~

Harris residence
A short while later


"So, thanks to all these memories and skills you said Kane decided to leave behind for you, now you can do magic, huh, Xand?" Buffy stated/inquired as she sat at one end of the rather comfortable couch that filled one wall of the room Xander had obviously converted into some sort of general purpose work room.

Numerous books and tomes – some of them clearly of great age – filled the shelves which lined the walls, the titles covering a plethora of mundane subjects ranging from chemistry to physics to woodworking to mechanical engineering, with a significant number of the titles written in a variety of foreign languages Buffy was quite certain that Xander probably wouldn't have even been able to identify, let alone read, a week ago. Of course, the math texts on the shelves would not have been calling to her a week ago either.

"Well, depending upon how precisely you want to define 'do magic,' then the answer to your question is most likely 'yeah,' Buff," her now larger and much more massive friend nodded as Xander smiled at the petite blonde looking at him.

"What, exactly, do you mean by that, Xander?" Willow instantly inquired, turning from her somewhat awed inspection of her childhood friend's new library. "Either you can do magic, or you can't," she stated with complete conviction as she looked at him.

"No, Will, it’s not exactly that simple," the now auburn-haired youth shook his head in disagreement.

"Pretty much everyone can do at least a little bit of magic," he informed his raptly listening audience, since Cordelia, too, had ceased her rather close examination of the room's shelves to hear his explanation of his two previous statements.

"For the simplest tricks or feats, all it really takes is making sure you use the correct components and gestures for what you want to do, and being careful to not mispronounce the words of the spell, since those kinds of things don’t require ether a great deal of energy to accomplish or very much skill," he noted.

"So, if you're going by that definition, then the answer to Buffy's question is, 'Yes, I can do magic,'" Xander told his audience.

"To perform what most people would consider 'real' magic, though," – and here Xander added finger quotes as he spoke – "you need to be able to provide both a great deal more energy in order to initiate the spell, and possess a great deal more skill to shape the energy you're providing into doing what you want it to do, if you don't want things to go pear-shaped pretty quickly.

"The energy most magic-users provide is personal energy, and that's something that usually requires a fair amount of time and training for the person performing the magic to develop and store," Xander elaborated. "If they're smart – and most magic users are – they're generally also using that time to develop the skill to manipulate the energy they’re developing.

"There *are* a fair number of magic-users who can simply tap into the ambient arcane energy from the area around them," he pointed out, "but even doing something like that requires a fair amount of skill if you're going to do it properly, and you still have to be able to handle the energy you’ve siphoned off, or it'll either flow away or fry your insides like a magical microwave.

"As far as my particular case goes," he clarified his explanation further, "I have all the knowledge Kane left me – for whatever reasons he might have had for doing so – but that's really pretty much all theoretical knowledge without any practical experience. So I'm going to have be really careful when I'm doing anything except the most basic spells, until I gain enough real-world experience to be sure that I'm not gonna end up like a mosquito flying into a bug zapper, and I develop my own arcane 'muscles' sufficiently, so to speak, to let me handle a large enough energy reserve to perform the more powerful spells I know correctly.

"So, does that answer your questions sufficiently, people?" he asked as he finished his explanation.

"I suppose so," Buffy nodded slowly as she considered everything Xander had told them, while Willow also nodded her own acceptance.

Cordy, however, asked, "So, this spell you've been telling us about, to get back the abilities our costumes' personalities had – you're saying that's not a really big spell to do?"

"No, I didn't say that," Xander shook his head in disagreement. "What we'll be performing is a ritual to regain access to the skills and abilities your costumes possessed – not a spell to provide them to you. That's something entirely different.

"Since your bodies previously possessed those skills and abilities – even if it wasn't your personalities which did," he clarified his earlier statement, "they left arcane traces on your body and soul, and what this ritual does is allow you to reclaim and re-energize those skills and abilities.

"Trying to give you something you didn't previously possess is a *lot* more difficult, and requires a lot more power," Xander shrugged. "That's why Ethan prayed to Janus that night – so that his god would provide him with the energy to power the spell.

"Still, all we have to pull off now is basically show your bodies what they used to be able to do, or your mind what knowledge it previously had, and allow them to incorporate those skills, abilities or knowledge back into your current selves," he then told his fascinated audience.

"Okay now, I need each of you to –"

~~~

The End?

You have reached the end of "A Black Prometheus Reborn" – so far. This story is incomplete and the last chapter was posted on 7 Dec 11.

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