Chapter One: The beginning
AN I Don’t own BTVS or Marvel. If I did would I really be writing this?
Graduation was coming. And there was one awful truth. They weren’t going to win this time, unless a miracle happened at some point in the next 7 days. It was the end, and Xander was the only one who really knew it. He knew it because of something incredibly surprising; his love of random trivia and pop culture. After watching a late night special on the Discovery Channel he knew that the last time Mount St. Helens had erupted it had released roughly 1.6gigatons of energy. That’s over 1600 times larger than the Hiroshima bomb. And his fertilizer bomb in the library, though incredibly powerful and well made for its size, if he said so himself just wasn’t up to the job.
And that was why he was sitting alone in his room at midnight, rather than sleeping like any other even moderately sensible human being who was going to die in a week. Now, he knew that he wasn’t the sharpest knife in the draw by any stretch of the imagination; however he was not, as popular opinion whispered behind his back, dumber than a post. He knew that if his bomb needed to be far more powerful he would make it so, though hopefully in a way that wouldn’t blast a huge gaping hole where California used to be.
“Right” he muttered to himself “Circle of rock salt, check, book of incredibly evil and dangerous demonic spells, aka the Xanacon, check, defiled holy book, check, and sacrificial knife…that’s one big and scary check”.
“Ok then. Let’s get this incredibly dangerous and possibly kinda evil thing outta the way then…and why do I want to cackle evilly now? Ah well. Might as well go for it.” And with what was indeed a truly disturbing cackle, he set to completing the Rite of Arbosaz the defiler. It had been discovered in the 14th century by a particularly clever and insane ex-priest turned warlock. What it did was bind the life-force and free will of a sacrifice to a weapon, giving it an unprecedented power on its first strike. This was what Xander was hoping to achieve, as he began cutting the first of eight designs onto his left forearm with a bronze dagger.
Of course, if he had thought to check the small print he would have noticed a small notation in Giles’ incredibly neat handwriting that the ritual didn't work. At all. What it did do was sacrificed your soul to a minor hell-god a few dimensions away.
Xander of course, didn't know this, even as he continued to adorn himself with the necessary runes, now upon his chest as had finished the cuts on both arms, though on the right with a great deal of difficulty and not a great deal of accuracy.
Soon however he was finished, and after a deep breath began to chant
“Oh great and mighty Arbosaz, I beg a boon of thee and present thee this token”, as he gestured toward the bible that had been defiled with demonic sigils; “in the hopes that thou will find me worthy”.
“And lo, I do offer my soul and will, all that is and will be of I Xande-“; it was at this point that things started to go wrong. The circle of salt Xander was sitting in burst into flames and he fell back with a yelp. Then things got really messed up as the smoke alarm went off and Xander’s father, who was currently drunk as a skunk burst in wielding a CO2 fire extinguisher and proceeded to douse the entire room with it.
He then slurred out “What the hell are you doing Boy? Trying voodoo now? And you made me spill my goddamn drink! Can’t you do anything right?” before leaving, but only after giving Xander a painful slap on the back of the head.
After shaking his head to clear the slight ringing sensation, Xander summed up the situation with two words; “Oh shit”, as he stared at the white, foamy mass that had covered the world’s only hope of survival. He didn't have long to worry though, as there was an intense flash of blue-white light and he was violently lifted and thrown backwards onto his bed, where his head slammed against the headboard and left him limp and oblivious to the world.
Now the reason that Xander was alive instead of being a greasy stain on his floor and another unsolved missing person case for the incompetents at the SPD was simple. He had screwed up the ritual and when his dad soused the whole thing in CO2 it hadn’t been done any good either. As Xander had been shocked by the flames and yelped he had inadvertently attempted to provide the demon with a link to the power and essence of Xandar.
As he currently didn't possess the power of Xandar the demons magic had simply reached across the dimensional barriers and taken it. It had had to reach a very, very long way and the sheer effort involved in pulling so much energy over so many dimensions and into one that had been was being destroyed by Deaths own mad consort the magic had drained Arbosaz’s very life-force before burning him to a cinder.
And as he was dead, the entirety of the power of Xandar now rested totally and forevermore within the mind of the teen who was currently both covered in a sticky white fluid and dead to the world on his bed.
Needless to say his new power wasn’t exactly pleased to be there. In fact it was apocalyptically pissed. This wasn’t alleviated when it realised it couldn’t transfer any amount of itself, no matter how small to any other, or even utilise its power to recreate its creators from the memories within itself. The power was however, above all things logical. So it would work with what it had for now and shelve its anger until it could be used for something productive.
It began by looking into its host, noting with approval his loyalty and determination. What it was not so approving of, however was where those things were directed and to its lack of real hopes and dreams. And there was an almost obsession with a girl, though this one was a short, blonde girl. It would have to change that.
It set to work…and Xander Harris’s life was forever changed as were the lives of so many more.
LINE BREAK LINE BREAK LINE BREAK LINE BREAK LINE BREAK LINE BREAK
As Xander awoke he noticed three things: he was no longer covered in CO2, his room was surprisingly clean and the date on the calendar was SIX DAYS later than it should be. At this point he knew that he should be freaked out and yet somehow he wasn’t. Marvelling at his newfound equilibrium he began to dress, whistling tunelessly to himself as he did so. Even as he walked downstairs he noticed everything seemed…different in an indefinable way. Not worse, and actually a little better but still…different.
He noticed the flashing light on his answer machine as he walked towards the door, and was entirely unsurprised to hear that he had 47 new messages. Playing the first one he was again unsurprised to hear the rapid fire sounds that made up Willow babble:
“Xander oh my god where are you me and Buffy have been so worried you should have called me mister who knows what could have happened to you especially with what's going on! You are so irresponsible and childish you better pick up the phone right now!”
He smiled to himself, same old Willow. Though there was more than a twinge of annoyance at the way that she treated him like he was a 5-year old child to be protected. He still picked up the phone though, and as it was a Friday morning he dialled the library and waited expectantly. On the third ring he phone was picked up and Giles’ distinctive accent came out of the speaker.
“Sunnydale High library, Rupert Giles speaking.”
“Hey G-man, what’s the what?”
“Is that you Xander? Where have you been? Buffy and Willow have been frantic with worry after you didn't answer your calls and your father wouldn’t let them in to see if you were alright.”
“Yeah sorry about that G-man, He’s not the greatest guy”
“I had noticed Xander, but you still haven’t told me where you were?”
“I…I just needed to get away from it all for a while, so I took my camping gear and went out and just walked until I couldn’t see civilisation”
“Ah, I understand then. I shall inform Buffy and Willow that you are safe and well and tell them that you were on a task for me, as I take it you don’t want them to know?”
“Yeah, thanks G-man”
“That’s quite alright Xander, I would also recommend that you make your way here as soon as possible so I can bring you up to date with current events, but do be careful as Faith is still at large.”
“Sure that sounds of the good and you know you’re kind of like our Mr Miyagi, with all the karate training and the knowing what to do and-“
“Goodbye, Xander”, and with that he hung up.
Xander grinned, he knew he was close to breaking the Watcher, he had definitely heard a chuckle when he called him Mr Miyagi! He took the time to do a little mental victory dance before leaving for the library.
As he stepped out into the street and stretched as he felt the sun on his face he started to smile. Today was a good day. With that thought in his head he moved off, first at a walk then faster until he was running flat out and then he was flying, flying so fast that nobody could see him before he jerked to a halt and started in surprise as he exclaimed “What the hellmouth was that?.”
Still shaken by the incredibly strange -and that was for the hellmouth- thing that had happened to him he took off at a jog towards the library, slowing when its doors came into sight. Eventually he came to a complete standstill just outside the door and glowed blue. A few minutes later he came back to reality with a start and opened the door, ignoring the niggling idea that he had forgotten something important.
LINE BREAK LINE BREAK LINE BREAK LINE BREAK LINE BREAK LINE BREAK LINE
Xander burst into the library with great aplomb, practically bellowing “Hello the table” as he saw that it was surrounded by everyone he had come to see. Their reactions were mixed to say the least.
Giles simply sighed and began to polish his glasses whereas a blur of red had currently attached itself to him and began babbling at a rate that even he, a master interpreter of Willow-babble couldn’t handle. Buffy had simply turned towards him and began to frown, Cordelia wouldn't even look and Wesley…well Xander didn't care and so he paid him no mind.
Patting Willow on the back as she took breaths Xander was both annoyed and saddened when he noticed that her face now bore a frown almost identical to Buffy’s. The Slayer was the first to speak up and when she did Xander could and did predict the meaning of the words she was going to say. The same was true of Willow. So he did something that only a week ago would have been almost impossible and simply ignored them. He knew that they cared and that was nice, but they treated him like a five year old. It was incredibly sad but they weren't really friends anymore. Friendship required mutual respect and in all honesty he wasn’t even sure if he respected them anymore.
Giles spoke up “Xander, good. You can help myself and Willow research the Killer of the Dead poison, as don’t have much time.”
“Ok research, but what am I looking for?”
“Any possible cure that doesn’t involve the blood of a Slayer.”
“Okey-dokey. Go Go Gadget research!”
Throughout their little conversation both Xander and Giles had been doing their best to ignore Buffy, and so they missed the sheer shock on her face that had appeared for the same reason. They also missed the fleeting look of anger as she left to hunt down Faith. Willow however didn't need to leave and the second that Xander had sat down and procured a book, she started in on him.
“Xander where have you been Giles won’t tell me and you better do it right now or I'll be so mad with you”
“It was private Willow and I don’t want to talk about it so can we please just get on with this?”
“Xander this is the resolve face. So you’d better tell me right now!”
At this point Giles felt it was necessary to interject and remarked “Xander was on a job for me Willow and it really would be best if it were to remain confidential for now.”
“Enough. Now back to the research.”
And with those stern words they dived straight back into the research, having not noticed the disappearance of Cordelia and Wesley. They continued thus for many hours, with Oz appearing early in the evening until they finally received a call from the ER that Buffy had just been brought in. After piling into Giles’ rather decrepit Citroën and the incredibly tense drive they made it.
Having rapidly debarked from the vehicle they made their way into the hospital, and received directions to Buffy’s room, where they found Angel standing over an incredibly pale Buffy. Giles immediately asks if Angel had fed off her and when he answered yes Xander felt his respect for the vampire fall even further, though now instead of jealousy, it was because of anger that Angel had done something so heinous. After hearing that Buffy would definitely not become a vampire he found himself saying “Well it’s good to know that when the chips are down and things look grim, you'll feed off the girl who loves you to save your own ass.”
After that the vampire left and there was nothing left to do but wait and watch as Buffy’s Slayer healing made her healthier by the second, after only an hour her pale colour had already been replaced with her usual tan and after two the bite marks had almost entirely healed and she had awoken.
From then on everything passed in a blur as they returned to the library and Buffy brought them up to speed on events and her new plan. They agreed to it because there was no other choice and Xander could work with Angel if he had to. They had no time. It was coming tomorrow. They had to stop the Mayor. The only alternative was unthinkable.
As he walked home that night, Xander did something unusual. He prayed. Not for himself or Buffy or Willow, he prayed for the innocents who were threatened and those poor souls who might not live to see another day. He did this and the presence in the back of his mind was pleased. He was almost ready. Soon he could be passed the mantle of responsibility that he had been inadvertently chosen for. Xander was so engrossed in his thoughts that he didn't even notice the two vamps following him beat feet out of there like Satan himself was chasing them as they could feel a power in him, one stronger than they had ever felt or even heard of before.
That night, Xander dreamed. He dreamed of a single warrior as he screamed in Death’s face, despite his own fears. He dreamt of a corps of such warriors, though none as great as the first. And he knew that he himself could match him. One day.
LINE BREAK LINE BREAK LINE BREAK LINE BREAK LINE BREAK LINE BREAK LINE
The next morning Xander woke up early and did something very unusual. He showered and went downstairs and even made breakfast. It was the nervous energy that he got before every single battle. He was tense and full of adrenaline but still oddly calm. He could survive today. No. He could win today and he knew it. So even as he climbed back up to his room for a nap before the midday ceremony he was calm.
He was calm even when he did arrive at the school, when he heard the frantic last minute preparations when he saw Wesley and Cordelia’s failed kiss and Angel telling Buffy that there weren’t enough weapons, before he left to give them privacy. He was calm because he was ready.
The students filed out and took their seats under the sun, and as the last of them sat down and Snyder told them all to shut up so that the Mayor could speak. And he did, Xander couldn’t believe that he was going to do the whole thing, but then again the man was basically pure evil.
However during the opening of his speech he began to writhe and flinch in pain as he morphed into Olvikan, the giant serpent that he had spent centuries of life to become. Then as the shadows of the eclipse lengthened he lashed forward and devoured Snyder…to the cheers of the school.
And then Xander stood and barked out “Flame squads go!” The Mayor-Snake, who hadn’t expected any resistance, was most surprised when he felt slight blisters form on his new scales. He wasn’t worried though, as he still had an army of vampires, which had conveniently appeared.
The students responded. With a roar that actually shook the vampires they burst forward and battle was joined. Xander ducked under a vamps punch and hit it with an uppercut, in his adrenaline fuelled state not noticing that the vamps head had been crushed by his blow. He moved on, falling into a rhythm as he defended himself and others and retaliated with lethal force. For a long moment all he knew was block, thrust kick, punch, stake, punch, punch, dodge, stake, knee to the nuts. And then it was over. The school stood only as smoking ruins and the survivors clustered around it.
Xander watched Buffy and Angel’s tearful goodbye and knew it was time for him to leave. He didn’t know whether he would be back but Sunnydale just didn’t seem right for him anymore. He had to leave. And the presence in his mind rejoiced. It had molded him and he had become far more than it had hoped. He was ready.