Xander stumbled into the bathroom and held onto the toilet edge for dear life as his stomach emptied itself. He laid his head on the toilet seat and was glad that Marcie wasn't here to see this. She had gone straight to bed when they made it back to the apartment. He didn’t want her to see him breakdown.
To say that Xander wasn't taking his first human kill too well was an understatement. Guilt, anger and sadness warred through him. And it didn't help matters that he felt oh so very stupid.
Since Buffy had come to Sunnyvale Xander had killed countless demons and vampires. He had viciously taken their lives away without much regret. They weren't human so it didn't matter right? Tonight he had assumed it was much of the same thing. The cloaked beings had all fallen to his blade the same way. It was easy. Effortless.
Nothing about them hinted that they were humans. Sure they bled red but many beings did as well. But when he flipped back the hood and they were human...Xander had never killed a human before.
He had naively believed that the only thing he would ever have to kill were demons and other nonhuman beings. It never occurred to him that sometimes humans can be the monsters too.
It was very foolish of him.
By Xander's own experiences with people he knew that not everyone was good and innocent. His parents had proved that. While they weren't the worst out there they were still abusive drunkards. Everyday people killed other people. Every day someone was being raped. Not by demons either, but by humans. Humans.
Xander closed his eyes and pushes back bile.
He knew this. He knew all of it, but...he never realized that it would affect him
. He never even considered that he would have to deal with this.
It made him feel so fucking stupid. And couple that with Naruto’s memories of very human people killing indiscriminately. God Xander sure knew now to blind himself.
A memory forced its way into his mind. A memory of Naruto’s first kill.
Naruto cried and buried his head into Iruka’s shoulder. The older ninja held onto him, hugging him tight.
"It's going to be okay Naruto."
"I-I...I never meant to. I thought he was going to pull the explosive tag off! I just wanted to distract him n-not-" he choked. He couldn't bring himself to say it.
That he had killed a man.
Iruka hugged him tighter and wished he could take Naruto’s pain away.
"I know Naruto...even if it was an accident. You still killed a man."
Naruto made a distressed sound and Iruka shushed him and began rocking him.
"I know it hurts, but it was necessary Naruto. Just think. If you had knocked that man out he could have woken up in the middle of the fight. He could have hurt someone else. He could have killed one of your teammates. You protected them with his death."
Naruto hiccupped a sob.
"Would you rather that Sai died or was permanently injured?"
"No...But..." He looked up in frustration and Iruka gave him a soft, but sad smile.
"I know. All of the death makes no sense, but...sometimes it is necessary. That nin you killed was not one of ours Naruto. As callous as this is you need to think about it this way 'it's either us or them'. For us to live and be safe our enemy needed to be killed. Knocking them out or locking them away is just as dangerous as letting them go free. Nothing will stop them from returning to harm us."
"So...by killing him. I was protecting my precious people?" He asked unsurely.
Naruto looked away.
"I don't like it. I want to protect my precious people, but to kill," he stopped and shook his head," I...I guess I will kill for them."
Iruka closed his eyes and mourned the piece of Naruto’s innocence that he had so violently torn away.
"I know its hard now Naruto, but the first is always hard."
"And the others?" Naruto asked quietly desperately searching for an answer.
"Killing might become easier. It won't bother your conscious as much and even at some point it won't bother you much at all because the death was necessary, but when you kill indiscriminately, when you enjoy it...that's when you should be worried."
Naruto remembered the man’s last screams and the fear and pain. He didn’t think that he would ever enjoy death, but he would bring it to others. If only to protect himself and his precious people.
~end Naruto’s memory~
Xander came back to himself and let out a shuddering breath trying to calm his emotions. He thought about Iruka’s words to Naruto and came to the same conclusion that he did.
Xander would only kill humans to protect, but was that really right?
Should he only kill demons to protect? He didn't know. As far as he knew he had only killed malevolent demons. He shook his head. He couldn't afford to think this way. Hesitation could get him killed, but...he would only go after demons that were causing problems. Who knows, maybe there's a demon out there that's as innocent as a newborn, but with the face of a clown? –shudder-
Xander wasn’t sure if he could hold himself back from killing a demon clown. They had to be inherently evil.
So, with great effort Xander pulled himself together and stopped nursing the toilet seat. He went back to his room and collapsed on the bed. He threw an arm over his eyes and sighed.
‘I reaallyy don’t wanna do this.’ He took a deep breath and entered his mindscape.
~inside the mind of Xander~
Xander stood in front of the hyena and looked it dead in the eye.
She stared back.
They stared at each other.
Xander sneezed and they both blinked.
“God dammit! I was going to win that time!” Xander moaned. The hyena snorted.
“Whatever. I was going to win, but thanks for forfeiting.”
“I didn’t forfeit!”
“You sneezed. You were disqualified. Either way you lose.”
“What are you doing down here gaki?” the hyena rolled her eyes and sat back on her haunches.
“Gaki? Really?” Xander raised an eyebrow.
“Yeah. I’ve decided to try something new. The I’ve got a Japanese download so why the hell not?”
“Wait. You know Japanese? What the hell?!” Xander pouted. He wanted to know Japanese too.
“You know Japanese too baka.”
“huwha?” Xander closed his eyes and thought of some Japanese words that did not appear in the fanfictions that he had read. He opened his eyes and jumped up and down in excitement.
The hyena sighed again. Why was she stuck with this idiot? Poor her. Poor Kyuubi for having to deal with a brat just like hers.
When Xander calmed down he cleared his throat and struck a serious pose.
“I have a question for you.”
“I thought you already knew about the birds and the bees and the birds and the birds or the bees and the bees.”
Xander flushed. Oh yeah. He knew all about that thanks to fanfiction.
“No, that’s not what I wanted to ask you about. It’s about these urges I have-“
“When a man sees something physically attractive he becomes aroused. Xander this is perfectly normal.”
“This isn’t about sex!” Xander’s face was a deep red.
“I’ve been getting these urges. NOT THOSE URGES! But urges to ya know just to do stuff.”
“IM SURE IT’S NOT ABOUT SEX! OH MY GOD WHY ARE YOU SUCH A PERVERT!”
“Kyuubi read Icha Icha.”
“He was in Naruto’s gut! How is that possible?!”
The hyena shrugged.
Xander face palmed.
I’ve been having these urges to do strange stuff. I’ve got Cordelia as a spy network, got my own place, set up business agreements. Just a bunch of weird random stuff that I’ve never had the urge to do. What’s going on with me?”
The hyena lay down and yawned.
“Think about it brat. What was Naruto going to be before he got stuck in your body for the night?”
“He was going to be Hokage, but what does that have to do with…ohhhhh.”
“Yeah, oh. You’re preparing to be a Hokage.”
“But that’s impossible! There isn’t a village to be Hokage of!” Xander yelled in disbelief.
“True, but you do have Sunnydale. Your hometown. Your hometown that anybody who was born here or who lived her for a long time can’t
leave without repercussions. For all intents and purposes your inner Naruto/Hokage instincts count Sunnydale as a village.”
“So what? I want to be mayor or something?”
“No…remember that fanfiction you read a few weeks ago when Naruto created another hidden village inside of Konoha.”
“Yeah! That one was cool! He gathered like a lot of ninjas and his friends and stuff and…are you shitting me? That’s what I’m doing?”
“Pretty much yeah.”
Xander sat down abruptly and blinked stupidly.
“Yeah. Well good luck gaki.”
Xander looked up.
“Huh?” he screamed when he saw a giant tail heading for him.
Xander sat up abruptly in his bed and patted himself down.
‘You could have just told me to leave!’
He flopped back down on the bed.
A village. He couldn’t believe it.
A grin stretched his face wide.
“Well that’s one hell of a goal to have. Ha! This is going to be fun!”
-The next day-
Xander didn’t sleep too well last night. Nightmares of his first kill kept waking him up. However, he knew these were normal so he didn’t worry about it too much. Sunnydale is a dangerous place so he needed to get used to the thought of killing humans. Reluctance to kill a threat just because they were human was dangerous.
Currently, Xander was in the kitchen trying to make ramen. Naruto didn’t have time to learn, but Xander was going to try.
Xander bit the side of his lip as he made the dough for the noodles. He cut up the vegetables, sliced the meat and twenty minutes later bam! The worst bowl of ramen in history was created.
He still ate it though. Ramen was too sacred too waste.
Xander patted his stomach and burped. Well, at least he was full.
Put his hands behind his head and leaned back in the chair.
“Whatever shall I do today?” he balanced on the back legs of the kitchen chair.
The door to the apartment opened and shut. Xander closed his eyes and heard footsteps enter the kitchen. Was Marcie trying to sneak up on him? Seriously? She slowly moved closer to him and he heard her breathing quietly. Just as she reached forward to push him off balance he reached up and grabbed her hand.
Marcie squeaked in surprise and pulled back, but Xander held tight. He opened his eyes and smirked in her general direction.
“You may be invisible, but you are still loud. Maybe that’s how those guys found you last night?”
She scowled at him, but it didn’t really affect him. You know, her being invisible and all.
“How about I teach you how to use that nifty invisibility of yours to your advantage?”
-Later at Xander’s super-secret training spot-
“Try again!” she moved to punch him, but Xander blocked her arm. He reached out and grabbed her and she sighed in frustration.
“How the heck do you do that?!” she huffed. Xander grinned.
“I can hear you first of all. I have above average senses and your breathing has grown erratic from exerting yourself. You need to work out more and build up some stamina. I know a few breathing exercises and I’ll teach you those later. Also, when you punch you don’t move out of the way. If I block it or get hit I just mentally trace where your fist made contact and back up your arm to your body. Next time you try I want you to move out of the way. Go back, forward, around me. It doesn’t matter just don’t stay in the same place. I can’t see you move so it makes it harder.”
She made a contemplating sound.
“Ready to go again?”
She didn’t say anything and just attacked. Xander dodged out of the way and smirked. He waited for her to attack again, but there was nothing for a long moment. He closed his eyes for a moment and just listened he ducked, turned around and brought his arm up and grabbed hers. He jerked her forward and she cursed.
“Pretty good that time. I only knew you were there because of my enhanced senses.”
“After I teach you the basics and close range fighting we can work on long distance fighting and quick attacks. Your invisibility is a boon in assas-er…sneak attacks.”
“You were going to say assassination weren’t you?” she asked.
Xander scratched the back of his head nervously.
“You think I could do something like that? It sounds pretty cool actually. Marcie! Master assassin and thief!” she announced dramatically.
“Yeah. You’ve got enough talent for it. Well, as long as your target doesn’t have enhanced senses.”
-Later that night-
Marcie inwardly cursed Xander. There wasn’t a single part of her that wasn’t sore right now. Xander took this training thing very seriously. He had trained her for hours. She had improved a lot since the morning, but he didn’t think she was good enough to move on to distant fighting and quick surprise. He pointed out that being on the Hellmouth she could run into all sorts of nasties that had heat vision. Her sneak attacks would mean nothing if they could see her.
Marcie didn’t mind the training though. It was something to do and it was pretty useful. It also stopped her from feeling useless and weak. Last night when she had been captured she had been helpless. She could only sit there and watch as Xander fought and killed the people that she could not.
She had been weak. With this training she would never be that weak again.
Xander grabbed her arm and she snapped back into attention.
Not too far in front of them was a vampire. It had just finished its meal of a little old lady.
Marcie pushed away the twinge of regret. They had been too late to help her, but they could still kill the vampire. She looked at Xander. And he seemed to be making a difficult decision. He gave an inaudible sigh and held out a stake and gestured for her to take it. Her eyes widened. She reached out and took it with shaking hands. The stake slowly faded from view.
Xander raises an eyebrow.
'Well that's handy.' He thought impressed.
Marcie took a deep inaudible breath to steady herself. She could do this. She could do this.
She gripped the stake tighter and walked forward taking care not to step on any of the broken glass that littered the alley. She didn’t know what she did, but suddenly the vampire's head snapped toward her direction with a very perplexed look on its face.
Shit. It heard her.
No matter. This is what she had been training for all day. She lunged forward with the stake but the vampire had somehow sensed her movement and jerked to the side. It reached out to grab her and she dodged the movement. Thankfully the vampire was moving slower than Xander usually did. So she didn't have to react as fast, but she did anyways. She used her speed and the vampire’s confusion to her advantage. She staked it. She staked the vampire.
Marcie looked down at the dust pile next to her feet. She had actually done it.
Xander bounced in the alley and grabbed her from behind in a hug lifting her up off the ground.
"You did it Marc! You did it!"
She giggled and then wiggled until he let her down.
"How'd you know I was standing there?"
"I figured you would go into some kind of shock and not move. If you hadn't I probably would have grabbed air and looked like an idiot." He explained sheepishly.
"Go on ahead and head home. I'll be right behind you."
Xander's grin faded when he heard her leave the alley. He turned back and looked at the body of the old woman sadly.
Mrs. Rodgers had been a nice old lady. When Xander was little she used to go bake cookies and take them to the park for this kid to enjoy. Lately she had been confined to the house due to her failing eyesight. Xander sighed. She must have been out of the house before sundown and gotten lost on her way back. She wasn't stupid enough to stay outside at night.
He drew his sword and clenched his jaw. She may be already been dead, but he refused to let a demon run around in her body. A mockery of her former self.
With a swift swipe of his sword he beheaded her.
Xander sheathed his sword and wiped away a few stray tears. He walked out of the alley without looking back.
Next installment: Xander tries to reach out to his friends. Will he succeed?