A/N: Thank you to lillyb for being the first to recommend my story. That really means a lot to me.
Also, thank you to Eric for pointing out that silver is Ag, not Hg. Hg is mercury, I must have been thinking about those liquid silver rounds there.
A/N: A couple people reviewed to ask what generation Xander was in the Underworld lineage. Apparently, the further from Marcus you were, the weaker you were – with no hope of moving up
. Except that I don't buy that. Perhaps that was accepted in Underworld, but I didn't see anyone doing much training. I will accept that being closer to the source gave those an initial boost and possibly a slightly higher threshold. If no one in the world trained, Usain Bolt might still be the fastest man in the world. But training can overcome natural ability if natural ability isn't trained.
As a biological organism, Xander can work and train to get both faster and stronger than when he was turned. He can also gain knowledge of combat techniques, tactics, and strategy to become a better fighter. – I hope that clarifies Xander's potential a bit.
“Your heart is still beating.” Angel observed after he stood aside for Xander to enter. “Though you do smell different.”
Xander sniffed. “And you smell like Buffy.” he said.
Angel looked uncomfortable and quickly changed the subject. “You said you were a vampire. How is it your heart is still beating?”
“Yeah, I'm not like the Sunnydale vamps. More of an immortal that needs blood to survive than demon animated corpse. Here, I'll show you.” he dug out his cross. Angel hissed and backed away from it, going into game face. Xander put it back on the top of his bag and zipped it back up. Now, at least, he knew Angel wasn't going to go through his stuff. He showed him his unharmed hand. “Speaking of blood, I don't suppose you have any? It's been a long night.”
Angel went to a mini-fridge and pulled out a small, white plastic container. “Here. It's pig's blood.”
Xander opened it and hesitated only a moment. It certainly didn't look very appetizing, but the smell was intoxicating. He drank and it was quickly gone. Not quite the ambrosia taste that he remembered the bags of human blood had, but still it was better than chocolate. Heck, it was better than Twinkies! Xander wondered if he could still eat normal food.
“So that's what you look like?” Angel asked. “Just the eyes and the fangs?”
“Yeah. Should be anyway. Hadn't thought to look in a mirror. I don't su- Never mind.” Xander dismissed the idea of asking the vampire if he had a mirror.
“Will you show up?” Angel wondered.
“Should. I'm not mystical like you are. I mean, the Halloween spell made me like this. But in the Underworld universe, their vamps were biological.”
“Underworld?” Angel asked.
“It's a movie about Vampires and Werewolves, called Lycans. Pretty popular.”
“I don't usually watch many vampire movies.” Angel admitted.
“No, I suppose not.” Xander nodded. “But if you want to know about me, I suggest renting the movie. Because explaining it would take too long.”
“Vampire speed and strength though?” Angel wondered.
“Supposedly.” Xander said. “Haven't had a chance to test it though.”
“Well, let's spar and find out. It's a long time until sunrise.” Angel offered. “Speaking of which, does sunlight affect you?”
“According to the movies, very much so.” Xander said.
“Okay, don't forget that Daylight Saving Time just ended. Sunrise is at 6:11. Half the fledgelings in the country don't survive their first Daylight Saving transition. And a lot more die over the summer with the long days and short nights.” Angel warned.
“Thanks for the tip.” Xander was surprised at how friendly and downright helpful Angel was being. Then again, maybe it was the mirrored circumstances. Human souls trapped in the darkness.
An arm-wrestling match showed that Xander wasn't quite a match for Angel, but close. The fact that he was almost as strong as an acknowledged Master Vampire was enough for him. Sparring, he found out he was actually quite a bit faster than the other vamp. He also found that he had fighting skills that he didn't have that morning. Not all the time, unfortunately. It was very hit and miss, but it seemed like the skills were there so long as he didn't think about it. When he tried to do the moves, he just tripped over his own feet. He didn't practice with his guns. Mostly because he wanted to save the high Ag rounds for if/when a werewolf showed up in Sunnydale. He figured it was only a matter of time.
“Alright.” Angel called a halt to their sparring. “I think you're good enough. Room to improve, but enough skill if you want to patrol with me tonight. You have any stakes?”
“Forgot 'em” Xander confessed. Angel shot him a look. Xander glared back. “What? I just got turned into a vampire! Forgive me for forgetting the stupid stakes!”
Angel looked slightly abashed. “Sorry. You're handling this so well, I forgot you just got turned.”
“Well, I have a lot of memories helping me. But I'm also running on the assumption that this is all a bad dream that I'll wake from shortly. That helps keep down the 'screaming in terror' urges.” Xander said half-sarcastically.
“So, for good pig's blood, Charlie is the guy to talk to at the butcher's shop. Just make sure you go early in the night and don't be surprised to see other vamps buying blood... keeps them off the Slayer's radar. And as long as they're buying pig's blood, that means they aren't killing anyone, so there's an informal truce around the butcher's shop. Buffy doesn't patrol there until after it's closed.” Angel took a breath. “If you really need some human blood. The hospital gets their monthly supply of blood on Wednesday.”
“Which Wednesday?” Xander asked.
Wednesday. They get enough for a month each week since only one of every four deliveries makes it to the hospital.” Angel explained. “I try to stop by at least one Wednesday per month to make sure one gets through.”
Xander swallowed hearing how easy it would be to get human blood. The memory of how good human blood tasted wasn't even technically his own memory, and yet he could almost taste it just thinking about it. He decided it would be a good time to change the subject. “Also, I need some bullets. 9mm.”
“You empty?” Angel asked.
“No. But these are high Ag rounds.” Xander explained, patting his guns. “Silver bullets, meant for werewolves. I'd like to save them for that, since they would be expensive to replace.”
“Pauly at the gun range won't card you if you're a demon. But he charges more then to forge the paperwork. If you look human and have the ID to do things legally, you can get normal prices. I'll buy a couple boxes for you tomorrow night and you can pay me back.” Angel offered.
“Thanks. I guess I should get a good fake ID now too.” Xander said. “And what do you call it when the sun goes down? Is it evening or morning?”
“Easier and cheaper if you don't get a fake. Just call your folks every so often to let 'em know you're still alive.” Angel advised. “And sunset is our morning. Morning, midnight, and evening. And lucky you to get turned just before winter. Long nights and short days make it easier to adjust.”
“Okay, what about school?”
Angel shrugged. “G-E-D. Start studying now and you'll probably graduate before your friends.”
“Man, this sucks.” Xander groused.
“It really does.” Angel agreed as they walked. “But there are upsides.”
They then spotted three vampires at the other end of the cemetery.
“Such as getting to be the closest thing to a super-hero you're ever going to get.” Angel said. “Now show me what you got.” With that, Angel shoved him into a 3-on-1 fight.
Xander ducked the first punch easily and caught the low kick the other vamp had thrown too. He was about to twist the ankle and cripple his opponent when he was hit from behind and thrown into a headstone. He'd lost sight of the third vampire as his blood on the tombstone now attested. With his clock rung, the demons surrounded him and pounded on him for half a minute until Angel finally jumped in and started beating on one of the vamps. Xander used the distraction to stake one of the other two. Then Angel threw his vamp back at Xander and Xander took back all the nice things he had been thinking about the souled demon. At 2-on-1, though Xander did much better. He was still backed into a corner, which made it hard to dodge the blows. He was forced to match strength with strength and was surprised to find out that he won that battle against these minions. Unfortunately, every time he got a shot in on one, the other would land a shot on him. Eventually, he staked another one. And at 1-on-1, Xander easily staked the last of them despite how sore he was.
Angel gave him a slow applause. CLAP... CLAP... CLAP. “Not bad, not bad.”
Xander just scowled and held his tongue – as he was still hoping for some favors in the near future – when he really wanted to tell him where to stick his stake. “Thanks for the backup.” he said with as much sarcasm as he could muster.
“Well, I had to look out for you. And 3-on-1 is on the low end of what you can expect around here. I stepped in before they dusted you. Besides, you fought a lot better in my apartment than you did just now.” Angel said. “But 3-on-1 seems to be your limit for now. So let's see if we can find you more of those until you can take them easy, then we'll move up.”
Xander quickly decided he didn't like Angel's 'throw them to the wolves' training method. Vengeance would be his. Eventually.
Just a cup of blood from a thermos Angel was carrying was enough to return Xander to full strength and after a few minutes, all his aches and pains were gone. “Wow. That was awesome.”
“Vampire healing. Fast without blood, but fresh blood really speeds it up. Really, really,
in your case. That should have taken 20 minutes for you to heal all the way, not 2.” Angel said.
Xander could only shrug.
The next group they encountered was only two vamps. Xander let them get close before he struck. He staked one before either could make a move and then had a quick fight with the other.
“See? You're learning.” Angel gave a frankly evil smile to his student.
The group after that was four strong and he was hoping that Angel would take one, but it looked like Angel wanted him to dust one and make it a 3-on-1 fight. So he did. The fight took a long time, but Xander got hit a lot less this time. He kept his distance, used his speed, and used headstones and the other vamps to get in the way of their buddies. And most importantly, he maintained an awareness of his surroundings this time and didn't let himself get backed into a corner. And once he got one of them, the other two fell fairly easily.
However, going against the group of seven later was definitely beyond his abilities. And he got a taste of his own stake for his troubles before Angel crashed into the party and started dusting them. Xander was able to get to his feet then and get one in the back, even with a hole in his gut. And the distraction of him still being dangerous was all Angel needed to clean up the rest of the crew.
“Blood.” Xander begged as the dust settled and he fell to his knees. With the first cup of blood, he could feel the hole in his gut closing up. However, the next two cups didn't seem to do much of anything. Perhaps just replacing the blood already lost. After that, Angel was out of blood and the wound was serious enough that it took a good half an hour before he felt 100%, even with his accelerated healing. So they just sat and waited for him to heal.
“Well, maybe that was a bit much for your first night.” Angel admitted.
Xander just ground his teeth and reminded himself of the favors Angel was going to be doing for him that day and the next night.
Back at Angel's apartment, there was only one bed. Xander knew there was no way he was sleeping there. He certainly wasn't sharing with another guy and Buffy would probably stake him if he kicked Angel out of his own bed. Whether or not he might survive that was not the point. Luckily, Angel had an old Army cot for him to sleep on. It was more comfortable than Xander would have thought. After an awkward exchange of 'goodnight's, both vampires fell asleep.