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Attempting to Adapt

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This story is No. 3 in the series "Sunnydale X-Treme". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Sunnydale X-Treme #3 - Xander Harris is left to deal with his mutation manifesting.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Marvel Universe > X-Men > Xander-CenteredScorpioFR151900053,59717 Mar 1317 Mar 13Yes
TITLE: Attempting to Adapt
SERIES: Sunnydale X-Treme #3
RATING: PG / Teens
DISCLAIMER: Buffy the Vampire Slayer is owned by Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. The X-men are owned by Stan Lee and Marvel Entertainment Group. I don’t own any of the characters and am not making a profit from this story.
WARNING: This is a non-vampire & demon AU. The gang are Mutants in the Marvelverse.
SUMMARY: Xander Harris is left to deal with his mutation manifesting.

Attempting to Adapt

It was overwhelming at first.

He honestly thought that he was going insane. All these strange feelings were bombarding him constantly. Worst of all, they were alien. Foreign. Not his. Yet they shoved their way into his skull and screamed loudly for attention.

Anger. Love. Fear. Joy. Pain. Hope. Sorrow. Desire. Hate.

It was all there, swirling around inside of him in an endless flow of emotions. It was like being on a hellacious emotional roller coaster without having any way off. And nothing he did helped.

He’d taken two of his mother’s Prozac’s in desperation. That didn’t work because the emotional turmoil swamping him weren’t actually his own emotions. Likewise, the cheap whiskey he’d stolen from his father’s liquor cabinet hadn’t helped. All he’d gotten from that never to be repeated experiment was his very first hangover. Ugh!

Even sleep wasn’t an escape since those alien feelings washed over and through him nonstop, night and day. They just ended up making his dreamscape even more surreal and crazy.

Nothing helped!

Empathy, Giles called it. Xander called it many things, all far worse and with enough swear words in it to make Willow turn bright red and Buffy to pale. Mostly, he considered it a curse of the gods.

If that wasn’t enough to deal with, he’d also gained two heightened senses. He could now hear and smell every little thing around him.

On its own, that was pretty cool at times, although not always. Mostly, it was just super distracting. More than once he’d overheard conversations that he was positive he wasn’t meant to hear. And he was often startled by someone honking their car horn from several blocks away. Of course, this was offset by having his eardrums blasted by something far too loud and far too close for comfort.

His new sense of smell was just as distracting. He’d discovered that there were nuances to scents that he’d never really noticed before. Things that he had barely been aware of suddenly rose up in significance and seemed deep and rich in their complexity.

Fresh hot pizza. Buffy during one of her workouts. Willow’s hair warmed by the sunlight. Ocean breezes rolling across town.

It was all wonderful and he delighted in each of them.

On the other hand, Harmony’s sharp flowery perfume, the boy’s locker room, his family’s mildewy basement and sauerkraut hotdogs all pretty much acted like Xander repellent these days.

And then there were those strange new impulses and urges. Primal. Animalistic. Base. They made him think things…want things…need things. Things that were so alien to his So-Cal upbringing, yet seemed so familiar and right.

Terrifyingly, when he got angry anymore, his fingernails grew and thickened into short sharp talons and his canine teeth lengthened into sharp fangs.

Giles suggested he might be feral.

He did not like that idea at all. Feral’s were frightening, animalistic monsters. They weren’t a step forward in evolution; they were a step back. The ultimate gene-joke.

No matter how much he denied it, and that was a lot, it didn’t change the fact that his perception of the world had changed. He now saw people and things and places as either ‘mine’ or ‘not mine’, as ‘prey’ or ‘not prey’. Unfortunately, this new mindset had him doing odd things that he couldn’t quite explain.

Like the time he’d run across his yard to growl menacingly at the dog that had dared to walk down his sidewalk.

Yeah. That’d been embarrassing.

The worst thing though, was that he was trying to learn about and control all three at once. Empathy. Heightened senses. Feral nature. It wasn’t easy. Especially since they tended to play off each other.

For example, just the other day, he’d smelled Willow’s hair as she walked by him. This triggered his feral possessiveness. He’d pulled her to him and tucked her behind his body while growling at the jocks on the other side of the hallway. That, in turn, kick-started his empathy and he’d started to project some very aggressive emotions at them. It was at that point that things devolved and chaos ensued in the form of a nasty fight over Willow.

It was crazy.

Thankfully, Giles was willingly doing lots of research to find ways to help him cope and learn some kind of control. Buffy and Willow were great. They were so understanding and on several occasions they’d helped by covering for him when things got weird.

Oddly enough, the easiest thing to deal with so far was his eyes. They had shifted from chocolate brown to a strange glowy green. You’d think that would be a huge clue and give the game up on him being a mutant, but no one beyond the gang had noticed. He’d just taken to wearing sunglasses all the time and no one questioned it.

Still, Xander really would have preferred to have gotten the mutant ability to fly instead.

Because all other things aside, empathy sucked.

The End

You have reached the end of "Attempting to Adapt". This story is complete.

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