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The Leading Man

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Summary: YAHF. Xander just wanted to show Buffy there were better options than a cursed undead guy. Somehow, becoming Balthier was not how he pictured accomplishing that mission.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Games > Japanese Fantasy > Final FantasysouldrivenFR15920,10189729,28615 Jan 1220 Mar 13No

Chapter One: Library Confrontations

Author’s note: Um, some slight character bashing of Buffy and Willow for humor/plot reasons, I apologize ahead of time. Calling characters out on their faults is one thing, turning them into the Big Bad/ Ron the Death Eater seems to take things a bit far. Additionally, writing Balthier is hard. The character’s gentlemanly rouge charm and speech pattern/ vocab is difficult for me. :-/ I just don’t normally write his type with the exception of Giles.

PICTURES (for those curious): Balthier – http://images.wikia.com/finalfantasy/images/0/0a/Balthier-ffxii-render.png
Gun – http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/index.php?title=List_of_Final_Fantasy_XII_Weapons&image=Antares-png

Chapter One: Library Confrontations

Xander arrived at the high school’s library panting for breath and with a thin sheen of sweat on his skin. So he was in no condition to prevent Buffy from pinning him to a wall like she had Larry earlier that week.

“Buffy!” Giles called out in alarm, reprimand in his tone. As grateful as Xander was for the Watcher defending him he was hurt at how Willow remained silent. If he ever met Balthier he was going to slug the man.

“Giles, he shot Angel!” Buffy complained, trying to justify her mistreatment of her male friend.

“Yeah, well, you kissed me!” Xander snapped back, trying to escape the Slayer but she just pinned him harder against the wall.

Buffy scoffed, rolling her eyes before they narrowed at him. “Oh, like that hurt you.”

“Actually,” Xander grunted his second attempt at escape proving as futile as the first. “I meant we weren’t really us.”

“Oh,” Buffy said softly, letting Xander go. Now that she finally calmed down over ‘her’ Angel being injured by Xander of all people last night, the slayer appeared embarrassed and guilty over pinning her friend to the wall.

“Buffy, Xander, if you two are done pointing fingers at one another perhaps you could join us at the table and explain what all happened last night?” Giles asked pointedly, reprimand still thick in his tone. The only difference now was that it was aimed at both of them.

Flushing, Xander mumbled an apology alongside Buffy as he took a seat. It looked like he would live to be in trouble with his parents after all.

~*~

Halloween Night

Getting to Lady Buffy’s abode, at least the ghost claimed it was such, was more a feat of luck than skill. Few of the night’s monsters, bespelled or otherwise, were interested in them, content with whatever havoc they were already wrecking on the unprepared populous. The biggest problem the three of them had was Lady Buffy’s habit of screaming, fainting, and generally being an unwelcomed burden. By contrast, Balthier was re-evaluating his opinion of Ashe and Larsa; flaws aside at least they were competent.

“This is not my father’s estate,” ‘Lady’ Buffy complained once more. Willow, poor spirit, looked like she was fast approaching the end of her patience.

“We are aware of this fact, m’lady. As Willow has kindly explained to us thus, repeatedly I might add, we are not ourselves this eve. I am sure once this madness has ended this all will be nothing more than a bad dream,” Balthier did his best to reassure. “Willow and I will see you safely through this eve, you’ll see.”

Buffy gave Balthier a dazzling smile and started to prattle on about her thanks but, he hardly noticed. Instead he once again noticed Willow was giving him the look of a jilted lover. There was something impressive about her anger; it was like the very air around her was shimmering with her rage. Balthier opened his mouth to question the ghost on her relationship with his… host when a loud scream came from outside. With a curse under his breath and a pointed ‘stay here’ to Lady Buffy he ran outside to rescue the screamer.

The person in question turned out to be a woman in a skintight cat outfit being chased by an overgrown wolf.(1) Acting quickly Balthier fire a warning shot to startle the beast before using Antares to clock the monster unconscious.(2) Giving the lady he rescued his best charming smile, Balthier grabbed her hand and led her quickly back to the house where the ghost and lady waited.

~*~

“What’s there to talk about?” Willow demanded petulantly. “Buffy was lady useless, I was a ‘trollop’ of a ghost, and Xander was a flirt with a gun last night.”

“Willow!” everyone sitting at the table exclaimed in shock of her viciousness.

“Wow Rosenberg, finally decided to drop the little girl act and let your true colors show?” a voice inquired from the entrance of the library. Still reeling from Willow’s spitefulness, Xander failed to act surprise at Cordelia’s appearance.

“Cordelia, what are you doing here?” Apparently Buffy could voice hers.

“I figured you losers would be here after the craziness of last night and since I lost my deposit I want to know why. Just because I have money unlike you three doesn’t mean I like to waste it,” Cordelia answered easily as she took a seat at the table and then turned her gaze to Xander. “Plus, I’m really curious to know if Balthier left anything behind. Xander could seriously climb the social ladder with Balthier’s skills and my guidance.”

Xander laughed before he realized it and smiled appreciatively at Cordelia. “Thanks, I think. It’s nice to know you’re not planning my downfall after last night.”

Giles coughed politely, getting the four teens to look at him. “Children, could we perhaps focus for five minutes? Miss Chase raises a good question. Are any of you suffering side-effects from last night?”

“I know how to knit and I’m going to ace my French test,” Buffy supplied perkily, trying to cheer up the room. She sent a wary look at Willow and an apologetic one at Xander. With a small smile and nod Xander forgave her and agreed Willow was acting strange. Considering what he learned last night Xander prayed it was not backlash from the spell.

“Well, I can’t walk through walls or anything anymore but I think I might have potential with magic. I mean last night I was able to levitate things as a ghost when X- uh, I lost my temper,” Willow said at first subdued but then she cheered up at the idea of magic.

Giles wary and nervous expression deflated the red head. “Willow, many ghost can influence the environment the way you did last night. It has nothing to do with magical aptitude. However, if you do intend to study magic I would like myself or Miss Calendar to tutor you. It’s very easy for beginners in the craft to fall to the dark arts and the risk is higher considering we reside over the Hellmouth.” (3)

“Oh! I didn’t even think about that. Sorry Giles, could you give me those lessons?” Willow asked suddenly nervous over Giles’s warning. Hopefully he would not figure out she had already started to dabble.

Giles smiled at Willow, proud that she saw reason and wanted help. “Certainly Willow. Now Xander, what about you? Buffy and Willow indicated the spell affected you somewhat differently since you became a different person rather than an alternate version of yourself,” Giles asked curiously.

Xander nodded but then paused as he struggled to find words to voice his thoughts, “It was like I wasn’t just Balthier for a night but that I’ve always been him. I feel like I lived his life. Like I know what he knew and I’ve done what he did. It’s weird. I don’t think I could perform his magic, it didn’t work last night even summoning was a flop. I’m probably perfect shot with a gun now and I know how to wield a bunch of different weapons. I know how to design, upgrade, and fly airships. Balthier was really smart, like Willow-level smart. Snyder’s so going to accuse me of cheating after last night.”

“But wasn’t Balthier from another world? How would his knowledge help you here?” Giles pondered. At least, Buffy and Willow reported ‘Balthier’s’ claims to being from another world.

“Eh, most of what Balthier knew is useless but he knew how to learn,” Xander explained with a shrug.

Giles nodded in understanding. Good study habits often were the difference between letter grades. Hopefully, the boy’s inherent laziness would not win out over such knowledge. “Good. Now that my immediate concern has been addressed we can go over last night’s events?”

All four teens groaned in dismay but the watcher was persistent in getting an account written down for his report.

~*~*~*~

1- A wolf or hyena is Ivalice version of a dog. So Balthier would think wolf instead of dog.

2- Irony. Guns are the slowest weapons in the FFXII game. A person with a dagger could get in 2 -3 hits before a gun is fired once. Additionally, due to unique weapon animation, Balthier’s the slowest gun user possible. As for the gun it’s the around the third best in game because the best gun in game looks like a modified grenade launcher and thus, overkill.

3- Just a general reference to the future teacher/student possession and the concept of ghosts having massive control over reality. Cranked to eleven no doubt thanks to the Hellmouth.
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