Okay, haven't stopped Tigers, just wanted to add this one to tth. Fans from other sites might recognise it.
Let me know what you think.The Scions of Sunnydale
Disclaimer: Surprisingly, neither the characters of BtVS or the
themes of 'Scion' belong to me. Instead, they seem to belong to Joss
Wheadon and White Wolf, which seems very unfair to me.
Rating: MA15+(mostly for violence, language and occasional sex)
Spoilers: Beginning of Season Three for BtVS, just background info
Willow winced as she sat gingerly on the edge of her bed. The last few weeks without Buffy had been hard: first getting out of the hospital to find her gone, then starting to take up the slack left by the missing Slayer. As a neophyte witch, who was hardly an athlete, the rigors of fighting vampires, even with backup from the other Scoobies, was harsh. Over the last week, she had suffered two broken fingers, a broken toe, three gashes deep enough to require stitches, and too many bruises and scrapes to count easily. And now probably a sprained ankle,
she mused. Never before had the difference between a Slayer and a normal person been so clear: without the supernatural strength, speed and resilience of the Slayer, let alone the seemingly natural fighting abilities, there was no way a normal teenager, or even a group of them, could replace Buffy.
The boys were in worse shape: their natural masculine instinct for placing themselves between ‘their girl’ and harm’s way had earned Xander broken ribs and a dislocated shoulder, and her Oz was covered with bruises and had a ringing in his ear that wouldn’t go away. And still, even by concentration on rising fledgelings, they were still managing to let most of them escape. Oz’s ‘one-out-of-five’ was wildly optimistic. Right. The definition of insanity is performing the same actions while expecting a different result. This isn’t working: ergo, keeping on going the way we are is insane. Therefore -
Willow shut her eyes tight and growled. “Come on Rosenberg, use that supposedly enormous brain of yours! How the frilly heck can I fix this? There has to be a way to change the paradigm!”
“Excellent. If you don’t like the answer, change the question,” came a gravely voice from over near her window. Leaping up, Willow spun to face the intruder, only barely managing to catch herself before her injured ankle gave way beneath her. “Careful there, Willow. You don’t want to follow in my footsteps that much, do you?”
The speaker was a tall, middle aged man standing in front of her window. Dressed immaculately in a grey suit, he nevertheless gave off the air of an ageing hippie, with iron-grey hair bound back in a ponytail and small-lensed sunglasses perched on the end of his nose. Both hands were clasped on the rather ornate swagger-stick he was leaning on, and his face held both concern and amusement at her predicament. “Who the heck are you, and what the hell are you doing in my room? I’ll scream, don’t think I won’t, but seeing as you’re smiling like that I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t do me any good and right now I’m freaking out because I can’t move! Let me go this instant, mister, or I’ll -” Shocked at finding herself unable to move, Willow closed her eyes and focused on a cantrip Miss Calender had taught her months before to clear her mind. Don’t panic. Don’t panic. Take a deep breath, and think: what would Buffy do? Oh, right, break free and kick his freaky ass. Not the best advice, brain!
“Oh, I like you, I really do. Brilliant, imaginative, getting used to functioning under pressure,” he blinked as Willow focused her will and flung a telekinetic wave at him, gambling her reserves of power for one concentrated strike. All that happened was that he raised one eyebrow. “And a willingness to fight back when cornered: my my, you are impressive, my Willow.”
Exhausted by the effort of that one spell, Willow discovered that she now had the ability to sit back down on the bed, but no more. Which was just as well, because the bindings holding her still were the only thing keeping her upright. Well, that and fury. “I’m not your
freaking Willow, whoever the hell you are!”
He grinned. “And, wow, what a difference being friends with that Buffy girl has made! I mean, just last year when I checked up on you, you would have been petrified, frozen, even catatonic! Yet here you are, trying to fight me: I must say, I am very pleased with your development.” And here his face grew serious. “And yes, my dear, you are
my Willow - biologically, at least.”
This last bit of information took a moment to settle in, and Willow’s life was changed. Oh, she had always know (or at least for the last few years) that Ira had not been her birth father, that Sheila had had a husband before him, and that she was really his
daughter, but her mother had told her that Nathaniel had died in a car crash weeks after her birth, and Ira, her best friend, had helped her recover, and the two had become close and eventually married and oh my god I’m babbling in my head when there’s a guy in my room who seems to be able to read my mind and claims to be my real dad and -
“Alright, that’s enough of that,” he intoned, and Willow suddenly found herself unable to continue down that line of thought, and could only concentrate on his words. “Much better. I apologise, Willow, but I’m afraid that we have relatively little time. Believe me, I wish I had a better way of introducing myself, but even after all these millenia this never gets any easier. Lets begin again.” Still leaning on the stick, he moved over to her computer desk, and sat down on her swivel chair, showing evidence of a nor-insignificant limp. “Willow Rosenberg, I knew your mother before you were born. We fell in love, and eventually you were the result. Unfortunately, events conspired against us, and I was unable to continue to act as your father. Your mother knew me as Nathaniel Pratt, but my true name is Hephaestus, God of the Forge.” And he leaned forwards. “And you are my daughter, Willow. The ichor of a god of Olympus flows in your veins. One day, the Fates willing, you will join me as one of the Dodekatheon, the Pantheon of Olympus.”
*** *** ***
Xander kicked angrily at a pebble that lay in his path, and fumed at his own impotence. Dammit, I’ve been doing this for six months! I should be better - hell, if I’d actually got off my butt and joined in when Giles was training Buffy, or even asked for some … but no, dumb Xander thought that Buffy would always be there, so no need for Xander to actually do anything! Hell, Willow’s learning the mojo, Oz has that whole cool musician slash werewolf thing going. What the fuck am I good for?
He stopped walking and looked up at the stars. “God, I’m such a looser. I’m no frigging hero, and I’m sure no Slayer. So what the fuck am I doing here!”
“Your best, Alexander. And that is all I would ever ask of you,” came a gentle, yet firm voice from behind him. Moreover, it was a familiar one. One he hadn’t heard in many a year. One he had almost forgotten what it sounded like.
“I’m not going to turn around. I know that if I turn around, you won’t be there. You’re not really there: you never are.” Bitterness and resentment mingled with grief and anger.
Hands lay themselves on his shoulders, gently but firmly turning him around. Reluctantly, he swivelled around and faced her. And there she was. She was possessed of the height he had inherited, standing barely an inch shorter than he. She also had the golden hair, the crystal blue eyes and the regal air that he had not inherited. Her face was a study of joy, pride and sadness. “My Alexander. So serious, so dour. The weight of the world pressing down on your shoulders: oh, but we named you well, Protector of Men. Or women, I should say,” she added, a glint of merriment quirking at her lip, and he was forced to smile for a moment, before he remembered.
“You’re dead. There was a fire - I couldn’t breath - Dad cried - he cried!” He knocked her hands off his shoulders and grabbed her by the upper arms. “You died and he cried! He was my dad and he never cried! You left us and he crawled into a fucking bottle and I couldn’t get him to stop and you died!” Tears streaming down his face, the teen fell to his knees, and the blond woman fell with him, wrapping her arms about his shoulders and pressing his face against her.
“Shhh,” she hushed, rocking back and forth slightly. “Shhh, my boy Hush, my Protector. Softly, my Hunter. I’m sorry. Oh Father of All I am so sorry. I couldn’t stop it. Believe me, my darling, if it had been my choice I would have stayed with you, with my brave boys, and watched you grow up into the fine man I knew that you would, but I had to go.”
Pulling back, he looked at her through moist eyes. He knew her. Jessica Harris. The love of his father’s life. The head cheerleader when his father had been the quarterback of the Sunnydale High football team. They had married right out of high school, and she waited tables while he worked on cars, and they had a nice house in the suburbs, and he had been born. They weren’t rich by any means, but they got by, and everything was wonderful - - until I was eight and there was a fire and she died!
“You died.” He said it softly, calmly. Almost reverently.
She nodded, tears filling her own eyes. “I did. Or that is to say, Jessica Harris died. Jessica was a part of me, an image, a representation. An avatar. A piece of myself that I placed here in this mortal world, and fell in love with a wonderful man, and had a beautiful son. But enemies of mine found her, and she had to die, so that they didn’t come after you
, either of my wonderful boys. It tore my heart, but Jessica had to leave you.”
He was confused, but some of it was getting through. “So you’re not my mom,” he said flatly.
“Oh, Alexander,” she said softly, pressing one palm to his cheek, “No. I’m not. Or at least, that’s not all I am. She was a piece of me, and when she died here, that piece rejoined with me - so I suppose I am
her … at least in part.”
“Oh great,” he snarled, pushing away and shoving himself to his feet. He almost fell when his knee almost gave way, still aching from a glancing blow from a vamp earlier in the night. “So the Hellmouth manages to fuck up my life even more. Come on, then. Just who the hell are you?”
Gracefully she rose to her feet. “I am Sif of the Vanir, wife of Thor Odinson and lady of Bilskirnir. Jessica was my avatar, a facet of myself, and through her, you are my son. My Scion.”
Xander Harris was not the most scholarly of teens. Even with hours of desperate pouring over tomes in the library trying to find a way to beat the baddie of the weak, his knowledge of the supernatural was of a limited nature. But his knowledge of comics was much more sure, and several words in her title and statement registered. Registered enough for him to realise that this was way
beyond just being another night on the Hellmouth.
*** *** ***
“Let me get this straight: you’re a god? And because you’re my father - who’s not really dead - I’m one too? Or will become a god one day?”
The self-proclaimed deity smiled, lifting his cane to his forehead in a small salute. “Yup.”
Willow stared at him. “Even if this whole conversation wasn’t breaking the First Commandment, why the hell should I believe you? What if you’re some Hellmouthy thing here to trick me and maybe kill me or eat me - and if you’re trying to get to Buffy through me, it won’t work ‘cause she’s not here, and I won’t let you -”
“Willow,” he said simply, and she stopped again. He sighed. “Okay, I’m sorry. Like I said, this ain’t easy for me, either. Never has been. Tact isn’t my strong suit. I never had to talk nicely to my hammer or anvil, they just did their job.” Seeing the look in her eye, he winced. “And once again, foot in mouth. No, I’m not comparing you to an unthinking tool.” He smiled again. “A very intelligent, adaptable, self-propelled tool, perhaps. Cherished and well cared for. And no, I’m not lying, or out to get you, or your friends. Believe me, I have no wish to harm any of you. I simply wished to see you, to reveal myself, and to give you a gift or three.”
The funny thing was, Willow did believe him. The man - or god - was completely without guile. Even she could see the sincerity in his eye, hear the truth in his voice. “Really?”
He nodded. “Really. In fact, you’re already doing what most of my relatives have to coerce their Scions into doing.”
Willow frowned. “Um, what? Going to high school? Because I don’t really mind that. I mean, maths is cool. So’s chemistry. Biology is wiggy sometimes, but that’s just because of the frogs -” She paused to shiver, then winced as the movement pulled at parts of her rather battered body that really didn’t want to be pulled.
“Whoops. Hold on, Willow,” the deity said, before leaning forwards and touching his lips to her forehead. Her eyes widened as a wave of power flowed through her, filling her with warmth and driving the pain from her body. “Right. All fixed. Normally healing’s not my gig, but when you get right down to it, the human body is just a biological machine. And I am good
with machines.” Willow found herself nodding, as she reached up and touched her now unbruised face, and wiggled her suddenly unsprained ankle. “How you got those injuries is what I want you to do. Well, I want you to do it better
, really, and not need to be healed, but that’s just details. I just didn’t intend for you to get involved so darned soon
, that’s all.”
Willow blinked. “What, you mean helping Buffy?”
“Yep. Well, not just her. Your whole group, doing the fighting demon thing, saving the whole frigging world. And let me tell you, you’ve made for real bragging rights up in Olympus this last year. I mean, the Master? The Judge? That whole Angelus thing? Believe me, Hecate was way
impressed by that whole ensouling spell. Not to mention the deal with ‘Malcom’ and all -”
“Hey! Is that what you do all day? Sit around in your clouds and watch us try to keep people alive? Huh? Is that how you get your happies, watching us? Why don’t you get off your butt and do something!”
“I did. Seventeen years ago.” The room was filled by silence. Then ‘Nathaniel’ sighed. “Like I said before - the social skills of an anvil. Look, I could go around the Hellmouth, smiting vampires and demons and all kinds of titanspawn with my hammer and righteous wrath - but if I’m down here doing that, then who’s up doing my
job? There are about a dozen major gods on Olympus, plus dozens of godlings and sundry immortals, and all of us are scrambling about trying to keep the apocalypse from happening! That’s ignoring the whole Compact thing between the various pantheons and - you know what? I’m not going to sit here and justify myself. Bottom line? I can’t fix it. Zeus, but I want to. I wish I could just wave my hammer and fix the whole slagging world - but I don’t have that kind of power.
“I can’t fix it, but I can help. That’s why I’m here. To tell you of your heritage, and to give you the tools you will need to survive what’s coming. Because believe me, it’s a lulu.”
*** *** ***
The Espresso Pump was mostly empty, not unusual for that time of night in Sunnydale. Xander ignored the steaming cup of coffee on the table before him and just starred at the woman sitting across from him. “And a titanspawn is what?”
Sif sipped at her own coffee. “Your Watcher friend, I believe, told you the story about how the demons once ruled this world? That they left, leaving behind lesser demons, vampires, and so forth?” He nodded. “Well, from a certain point of view, he was right. The Elder demons, the Old Ones, were Titans, our predecessors. Our - parents, if you will, although the concepts is only roughly analogous. Incredibly powerful, insanely dangerous, they warped reality to their whim, and their whim was chaos. Long ago, we rose up against them in rebellion, and after endless eons of battle, defeated and imprisoned them. Their lesser spawn remained, some of which are remembered in legend, myth and your friend’s books.”
“So demons are titanspawn?”
Sif nodded. “Yes. Well, some of them. Others are simply denizens from distant dimensions, or creatures twisted by magic’s, or - well, you get the idea. Anyway, after the Titans were imprisoned, the gods dwelt among the tribes of humanity, and inevitably sired children on them. These children inherited portions of our own divine power, and became the leaders of their mortal communities. Some of them you may have heard of: Herakles? Achillies? Beowulf?” He nodded in recognition. “Some even rose to become gods in their own right, and joined us in the Overworld. But we became to entangled with the affairs of mortals. Even we are venerable to the weaving of Fate, and we began to fight amongst ourselves, with disastrous results. Eventually, the various pantheons met, and agreed to leave the mortal world behind, and return to the Overworld, lest our conflicts destroy our worshipers, and the world we had grown to love.
“Of course, that wasn’t quite the end of it. Gods still desired mortals, for reasons pure and profane. Most of these ‘scions’ don’t even know their heritage, I’m afraid, but the ichor in their blood generally makes one extraordinary: smarter, stronger, charismatic or beautiful -” She smiled at her son. “As in your case, my son.”
He snorted. “Yeah, right. In case you missed it, I’m not exactly Superboy.”
“Oh? So it’s someone else who manages to stay in the same class as his friend Willow? Or someone else who has survived over a year fighting terrible monsters on the Hellmouth, of all places, with no training?” And here her smile grew. “And perhaps it is someone else who is becoming very familiar with a certain cheerleader’s legs?”
“Hey!” he yelped, flushing crimson.
“Relax, Alexander. After all, I am
a fertility goddess.
*** *** ***
“So you want us to fight demons? In case you haven’t noticed, we’re not exactly doing a stellar job of that.”
Hephaestus smirked at his daughter. “Well, not too
badly, really. Most mortals wouldn’t even do as well as you have.”
“Mostly by luck.”
“Hey, good luck is a divine attribute. Although, so is bad
luck. But I’m not planning on just patting you on the head and sending you back into the fight.
“Most scions never learn of their parents, or their purpose, but a few, like yourself, get Visited - that’s what this is. I’m here to tell you a bit of the background, make sure you know I love you, and,” he reached up and plucked a sleek-looking laptop out of thin air, “give you a few gifts. I know I’ve missed a few birthdays, Willow, so here’s something to make up for it.” As she accepted the computer and ran her hands over the casing, he grinned. “You’ll find it’s not exactly stock. It’s got a permanent wireless internet connection. You could take this thing underground, into orbit or out of dimension and still get a connection, and all for free. No fees, no strings. Plus, I included some specialty programs, specifically for your, shall we say, extracurricular activities.” He smirked as she blushed and stuttered a denial. “Hey, don’t worry: I won’t tell the cops. You wouldn’t do me any good behind bars. I also added some files you might find interesting: handy hints for the young scion on the go. I can’t tell you everything, but you should find some very
“But that’s just the beginning,” he said, gesturing for her to set the laptop aside and grasped her hands, pulling her to her feet. “Perhaps something a little more practical, given your nocturnal fights?” He snapped his fingers, and a flash filled the room. Willow blinked, then felt an unfamiliar weight settled on her hips. Looking down, she was amazed to see a belt cinched about her waist, and a slender sword hanging from it. Sighing in awe, she gingerly grasped the scabbard in one hand and the silver and gold wrapped hilt in the other, and drew a few inches of blade. Hephaestus grinned at the look on her face. “That’s a nifty piece of work, even if I do say so myself. I know Sheila used to take you to fencing lessons, before Ira decided it was too ‘confrontational and unladylike’ for his ‘daughter,’ so I know you won’t cut your own nose off with it anytime soon. Extra sharp, and more durably than a normal blade, too. Can’t have my Willow running about using second-hand steel, can I?”
Willow only half listened as she drew the sword completely and held up op to inspect the blade. Somewhat heavier than a classic rapier, the blade was edged as well as pointed, making for a slashing weapon as well as a thrusting one. The basket hilt was elegantly wrapped in silver and gold wire, with a delicate flame motif worked into the guard. “This is - amazing!” She shifted slowly, moving into a guard position, then into a lunge. “Wow!” The familiar sensation of a sword in her hand caused fond memories to come flooding back.
“Careful. A few years of epee fencing does not a Musketeer make, but I think you have the basics. Your friend Mr Giles should be able to give you some more practical instruction.” She blushed, and nodded, gingerly returning the sword to it’s sheath. “Come here,” he said softly, and gently grasped her shoulders, one hand still holding his stick. “My daughter, of who I am proud, I formally welcome you to the Dodekatheon, and awaken in you the power of the gods.” He leant down and kissed her on the forehead again, and again she felt a wave of heat flood through her. This time, however, she felt not simply refreshed, but was filled with a sense of - newness. Her eyes widened as the world seemed to slow down slightly, and her mind suddenly expanded, once faded memories coming into sharp focus. She looked down and flexed her hands, feeling new strength flooding into her limbs.
“What - what’s happening?”
“Relax, Willow. Your powers are coming to the fore. Your ichor is already enhancing you, making you stronger and wiser. You are no longer simply a human, my Willow. You are now a hero, in fact as well as deed.” He drew Willow close, and she grinned as she hugged him back. Barely an hour ago, this man was a complete stranger. Now, she felt as close to him as to her step-father - closer, for he was a warm and obviously caring as Ira was stern and distant. “Never forget, my Willow, that you are loved, both here and in the Overworld. However, I’m afraid that once I leave here tonight, we may not meet again for quite some time.”
“What? No! Please, I’ve only just found you!”
“Hush,” he said, running a hand through her gorgeous red hair. “I’m sorry, Willow, but I’m afraid that I have little time. Of late, I haven’t been able to meet as many of my children in person as I would like, but have had to send servants or friends as my proxy. Things have been a little, well, chaotic recently.”
Willow frowned, then pulled back. “Wait, other children? You mean … I have brothers? Sisters?”
Hephaestus grinned. “Well, yes! Of course, my dear, I have
been around since the beginning of time. But yeah, there are a few little smiths running about - more in the last few decades, of course.”
“Well, here, sit down again.” This time he sat on the bed, and manoeuvred her into the chair - it was far easier for her to sit there with the sword still hanging from her belt. “Willow, about fifty years ago, there was a, well, a prophecy.”
“Oh. That never goes well,” Willow offered.
“Spot on. Basically, we found out that the seals on the Titan’s prisons were failing.”
Willow’s eyes widened. “So they’re gonna break free?”
He shook his head. “My dear one, they have already broken free. That’s why I have so little time. The main fighting is so far limited to distant sections of the Overworld, but minions and titanspawn are becoming more and more common here on Earth. That’s why, in the last few decades, more scions have been born here than in the last millennia.”
Comprehension dawned. “Oh my god, you bred
us? As cannon fodder?”
He winced. “Well, from a certain point of view, yes. Willow, you have no frame of reference to understand how powerful the Titans are. It’s taking almost all of our efforts to maintain a draw against them, and it won’t be enough if their minions manage to take over here. Child, we need you, and all of the other children like you, to fight the spawn here
, so we can concentrate on fighting the Titans there.
If either of us fail, we both fail, and the Titans will rule again.
“Pretty much the end of the world.”
*** *** ***
Sif set her coffee mug down on the tabletop. “Son, I know that you are in this fight. I know that you won’t turn your back on it when it gets tough. I also know that living the life you have chosen could get you killed, or worse. So it’s time to give you an edge.” She rose to her feet, sliding her chair back behind her. Reaching out, she offered him her hand. “Stand for me, my Alexander, and receive your Birthright.”
Despite statements to the contrary by various teachers, students and even himself, Xander Harris was not a complete idiot. He knew that fighting demons and vampires did not make for a long, happy life: by all accounts, he was already long past his use-by date. He also knew what happened when you made deals with powerful, charismatic figures of myth. And this ‘woman’ had left years ago, letting him and his father think she was dead.
Fuck it. It wasn’t as though he had a lot of other options.
Reaching up, he took her hand, small, soft and warm in his, and his eyes met with hers. Taking a deep breath, he ruse to his feet …
… and was no longer in a coffee shop in Sunnydale at night, but was standing in a field of grain, at the top of a sea-side hill, the warm sun shining down on him. A cool breeze blew down from the snow-capped mountains he could see in the distance, and the sound of gulls drew his eyes to the crystal-blue waters off the coast. He could see smoke rising from a village right on the water, and a long, dragon-headed boat was drifting towards the shore, sail furling and men in rough clothes waving and laughing as they arrived home after a long journey.
In front of him, no longer dressed in casual clothes, was Jessica - no, Sif
. Now she wore a long dress of roughly woven wool, and a leather vest laced over her full soft peasant’s blouse, her golden - not simply blond, but metallic and shining - hair streaming behind her as a banner, a crown of small flowers and slender vines keeping the strands out of her face. No longer simply Jessica Harris, but truly Sif, of the Vanir, her very divinity blazing about her, her power almost visible in it‘s immediacy. In awe as much as shock, Xander fell to his knees, his jaw gaping as she smiled down at him.
“Incredible courage, thou hast shown, my son, devotion and fidelity beyond that of most mortal men. Yet heart is not enough, so I gift thee with this.” Her hand, still holding his, tightened its grip, and Xander gasped as power was thrust down his arm and into his body. “Strength and speed, I grant thee, and hardiness beyond mortality. Charm and presence, so that thou might lead by word as well as by deed, and keen senses to track thy prey. Boons of Healing and Guarding, I grant to thee, so that thou may safeguard and restore thy allies, lest they perish. And thy blood shall flow with the power of the giants, so that thy servants shall serve thee with strength and fidelity to match thy own.”
As her power withdrew, Xander took a deep breath, letting go of her hand and falling to his hands and knees, shutting his eyes tight and gasping for breath. What the fuck?
Looking up, he saw more figures approach, also female, but clad in silken dresses topped by well-shaped breastplates of silvered steel and winged helms that let their hair, red, black and blond, flow behind them as did the goddess’ own tresses. Sif smiled at the newcomers, and acknowledged their deep bows with a regal nod.
“Three relics I gift thee, my Hunter.” Accepting a leather bracer from the blond Valkyrie (come on, what else could she be?) Sif knelt and took his left arm in hand. “Wear this, so that thy power shall flow, and so thou shall defend thy friends, as thou surely shall, power or no,” she smiled a knowing smile. Sliding the bracer over his wrist, she gently pulled the laces tight, and he felt a warmth flow through him. Gingerly, he fingered the bracer, and marvelled at the golden runes worked into the dark-brown leather.
Next, Sif took a wide leather sword belt from the brunet Valkyrie, studded with steel and buckled with silver. Kneeling gracefully, she wrapped the belt about his waist, and cinched it tight. “No great boon does this belt possess, my son, but for the way it allows you to carry my third gift, no matter where you travel.” Rising again, she received the final item from the red-haired Valkyrie, who turned her head slightly towards Xander and , despite the almost ritual solemnity of the occasion, winked saucily at him.
His mother’s voice tore his attention from the busty legend back to his divine parent. “My final gift to you, my son: Fafnir, the Dragon.” The naked sword balanced on her palms was, to Xander’s untutored eye, simply the most beautiful weapon he had ever seen, from the silver-steel blade artfully dusted with curving lines of flowing script in tongues he could not read, to the simple cruciform hilt made from polished bronze, to the grip of grey leather wrapped in silver wire. “Like the wyrm it is named for, Fafnir shall strike hard and deep, guiding your hand towards where your foes are most vulnerable.” Gently, she turned the blade and slid it into the sheath hanging at Xander’s side.
Still bent, Sif took her son’s hands in hers and urged him to stand. The Goddess nodded her thanks to the Valkyries, who smiled and bowed again, before turning to leave - and again the redhead hesitated to smile at Xander.
Smiling indulgently, Sif placed a hand on Xander’s shoulder to draw his attention back to her, and reached up to touch his face. “I fear that our time is coming to a close, my son. For the pain I have caused you and Anthony, I cannot do more than apologise, and give you both my blessings, for the future. Be strong, stand by your friends, and trust yourself. Remember, you are my son - of whom I am so very
proud.” Standing up on her toes, she leaned forwards and brushed her lips to his. His eyes widened at the unexpected touch, and …
… was suddenly back in Sunnydale, standing in the Espresso Pump, with a waitress looking at him oddly.