Life In Darkness
I own nothing. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and everyone there is owned by Joss Whedon and ME. Everything in The World Of Darkness is owned by White-Wolf gaming studio. I do, however, own a few of the books…great stuff!Pairing:
After High School, Xander left to see the world. He did Not get stuck in Oxnard, but made it across this great land of ours all the way to New York City! But, this being Xander, and the Buffyverse…and a World of Darkness…Xander didn’t come away unscathed.
Xander looked at the sign that welcomed him back to Sunnydale. He had been gone all summer, and he had come across some things that would make a normal person hold their heads and scream. But he was far from normal, life on the Hellmouth had seen to that. Giles would blow a gasket if he knew. Buffy would freak as well. He sighed and looked up. It was almost sunrise and he shook his head. He would see everyone tonight…hopefully they wouldn’t try killing him. Xander started the engine of his new bike and revved the engine before roaring into Sunnydale, thinking back to what had happened on his trip.
New York City- Summer 1999
Xander Harris looked out his window and smiled. He had made it all the way to New York City and tomorrow he would be touring the Statue of Liberty. He had a pile of postcards to send, however, and he promised Willow he would call tonight. Sighing, Xander picked up the phone and listened to the dial tone. After a few seconds he decided that he needed food first and headed for the door, remembering to pick up his room key, his wallet and his stake and Holy Water. He wasn’t in Sunnydale, but he wasn’t stupid either.
Walking briskly, Xander was still amazed at just how many people were out and about. Compared to Sunnydale New York City was still bustling with people at eleven at night. Passing an alley, Xander heard all to familiar of a sound. Stepping into the mouth of the alley, he saw a sight that chilled him. Ten vampires were swarming around a large, black man who seemed to be holding them off first with a sawed off shotgun and then, when he was out of shells, he switched to a baseball bat.
Xander ran towards the man, opening the vial of Holy Water and threw his arm in a wide arc, splashing the water over three of the nearest vampires. As they screamed, trying to swat the burning fluid from their heads, Xander plunged his stake into first one, then two of the demons. As they crumbled to dust Xander ducked a swing by the third and shoved the stake upwards and into the chest of the third. It was ash and Xander moved on.
Meanwhile, the large black man swung and knocked four of the vampires across the alley and slamming them into the wall. Another moved to attack and the man swung again, knocking the creatures head from his shoulders and dusting it almost instantly. The remaining three turned and ran. The man dropped the bat and reached into his coat to produce a Desert Eagle handgun. Xander was about to shout the futility of the effort when the large man pulled the trigger and a fifteen-foot gout of flame exploded from the muzzle. One of the vampires screamed and dropped to the ground, writhing in pain as he burst into flame from the inside out. Three more shots, three more bursts of flame and then three more piles of ash.
The man turned and stared hard at the four vampires he had stunned with the bat and growled, marching over. “Fuckin’ demon half breed scum.” He mumbled. “I was savin’ that shot and now, I’m gonna take the cost outta your asses.” The man tossed the now flaming Desert Eagle down and picked up his bat.
Xander watched as the large man beat the vampires to ash.
“As for you…” the large man turned to Xander, who started to back away.
“Me? Hey, I got no problems with you taking out the vampire population…impressed, actually…” Xander stammered.
“Those half breed suckheads?” the man tossed a look at where the vampires were. “They attacked me. I wasn’t hunting them.” He growled. “Stupid mother fuckers.” He mumbled. “I just was wondering what I was gonna do with you. Can’t have you out talking to the natives about what you saw on your visit to the Big Apple.”
Xander laughed nervously. “Like they would believe me?!” he shrugged, looking for an escape. “I mean, I don’t want to be committed. I like the quiet, but the food sucks.” He fell back on his joking.
The man narrowed his gaze. “What’s your name, kid?”
“Xander.” He said.
“I’m Theo. Let’s have a talk.” The man said, heading past Xander.
Three Hours Later
Xander stared into his drink and tried to digest what Theo Bell had just told him. He had been fighting vampires since he was sixteen and he had not even been fighting real vampires!
Theo Bell looked at the boy and shook his head. ‘Kid’s been through some shit. I could use someone like him, especially in Cali.’ He thought. That was a plus about being an Archon…he didn’t need anyone’s permission to embrace a new child.
“Kid. You ok?” Theo asked.
Xander looked up and furrowed his brow. “Let me get this straight. You are a vampire?”
Theo nodded. “Kindred, actually. Vampire is saved for the little, soulless suckheads we killed tonight.”
Xander nodded. “Ok. Kindred. But…you drink blood?”
Theo nodded. “The price of living forever and all that.”
Xander shook his head. “And you have a soul?” he asked carefully. He still wasn’t able to fully process that one. “I mean, naturally? Not some kind of curse or something?”
Theo nodded again. “Yeah. I got a soul. I have a conscience. But…” he said softly.
“But what?” Xander asked.
“The Beast is alive and well inside. Every time I lose it, I frenzy…every act I take that would make a Kine cringe, The Beast rises a little more and eats a small piece of my humanity away.”
Xander nodded. So a Kindred would eventually become soulless. “How long?” he asked.
“How long what?” Theo asked.
“How long before you lose it? Your soul?” Xander asked.
Theo furrowed his brow. “I’ll never lose it…not till my final death…unless I get diabolized. That’s when another kindred drains you of all your blood and keeps drinking, devouring your soul along with it.”
Xander was confused now. “But, you said that…that The Beast consumed your humanity?”
Theo nodded. “Yeah…not your soul. It devours your…fuck, I dunno…your humanity. That thing that makes you human. The part that keeps you from reveling in the death, destruction and blood.” He shivered. “But even with a soul, people can do great evils. All the things people been doing to each other…they all had souls.” Theo said, the deep scars on his back from his days as a human aching. He had been a slave before he was turned. He remembered exactly how cruel people could be.
Xander nodded. “And the people you work for?”
“The Camarilla.” Theo said. “A group of seven…well, six now…clans of vampires. They banded together and decided that humans may be no match one on one…hell, even ten to one…but a hundred, or a thousand to one? They could never know of our existence. They could never know about us and so the Masquerade was put into place.”
Xander chuckled. “But I know about you now.”
Theo looked a little sad. “I know.”
Xander felt the color drain from his face.
“I have to kill you.” Theo said softly.
Xander almost passed out.
“If I had the power, I’d settle for wiping your mind. You did me a solid, kid. I don’t like repaying that with killing you.” Theo said, he sounded angry.
“Well…I have a solution. Don’t. I’m not gonna tell anyone. I swear!” Xander said. He had never been more terrified. There was no way he would be able to take Theo. He knew that.
“I can’t take that risk kid. I swear, if there was another way…” Theo said sadly.
Xander felt cold. He felt colder than he ever had in his life. “I won’t go without a fight.” He tried to sound menacing.
“That’s one of the reasons I chose you.” Theo said. “And I’ll try not to make anything that will have to be healed every night. That’s a bitch.”
Xander jolted suddenly. “Um…what?”
Theo looked at Xander. “I’m talking about embracing you, Xander.”
“Making me a vam…a Kindred?!” Xander squeaked.
Theo nodded, confused.
“I thought you were gonna kill me.” Xander said.
“Well…technically…” Theo trailed off.
Xander thought about it. He hated Angel, but he had to admit that he was a much better fighter. He also had to admit that while he was no slouch, he was not even close to Angel’s ability. And, he could be of a greater help too…waitaminute!! He wasn’t seriously considering becoming a vampire now. Was he?!? He jumped up and started to back away…
“Xander…don’t fight this.” Theo said, standing.
Xander looked around. The bar had emptied. Reaching into his pocket, Xander pulled out a crucifix and held it out.
Theo only looked at the cross and then reached out, touching it. Nothing happened. “That only works on the half-breeds, Xander.”
Xander whipped out the stake.
“That too.” Theo looked up at Xander and shook his head. “I can either embrace you, of I have to kill you. Which is it?”
Xander, defeated, dropped his stake. “Surprise me.” He muttered. Surprisingly, there was no pain when Theo bit him.
Xander quietly unlocked the door to his parents house and crept in. His dad sat at the kitchen table, eating breakfast. He looked up and frowned at Xander. “Look what the cat dragged in.” he sneered. “You actually came back.”
Xander didn’t even reply. He just trudged past his father and headed for the basement door.
“We’re charging you rent now, boy!” his father yelled after him.
Xander just headed down and crawled into his bed, after making sure the windows were blackened. He went to sleep and hoped beyond hope that Buffy and the others would be ok with his changes. He had to be crazy to agree to this.
New York City- 1999
Xander gasped as he woke up. He had expected this, but he really hadn’t been ready for the thirst that hit him. Looking around, he felt his canines elongate and he snarled.
Theo looked up and saw Xander stand. “Hungry?” he asked.
Xander saw a haze of red and jumped at Theo.
Theo shook his head and snapped his arm out, catching Xander by the throat and flipped him effortlessly, slamming his snarling childe onto the floor, cracking the marble. He squeezed then. “Do I have your attention now?”
Xander struggled against the iron grip that had him, but his vision cleared and he was able to nod.
Theo nodded. “Good. I asked…Are you hungry?”
Xander nodded again.
Theo let Xander go and walked over to one of the many doors and pulled it open. Inside, Xander smelled blood.
Theo walked over and held a large glass out. Xander saw it was filled with blood.
“Take this for now. I ain’t gonna risk my vassal if you decide to freak out.” Theo said.
Xander took the glass and saw it was filled with warm, fresh blood. Normally, he would gag and throw the glass but instead he felt a hunger welling up inside of him. He tipped the glass and drank deeply. The warm blood washed over his tongue and he swallowed as quickly as he could. He had never tasted anything so incredible. It was the sweetest nectar, the most delicious, most filling thing he had ever tasted. Lowering the glass, he looked at Theo. “More.” He said simply.
“How’s that hunger? You gonna freak if you drink from the tap?” the elder asked.
Xander shook his head. He was thinking a lot more clearly now, and he felt as if all of his senses were hyper aware. “I don’t think so…” he said.
Theo studied the new childe for a second and nodded. Walking to the door, he called out someone’s name and a young woman came into the room. She was beautiful and she looked around the room, her eyes falling on Xander. “He the newbie?” she asked.
Theo grunted an affirmative and sat in the large chair in the otherwise spartan room. He watched as the woman knelt next to Xander. She flipped her hair to the side and tilted her head, exposing her neck. “Just relax, sweetie. It’s ok.” She said, trying to soothe the obviously nervous newbie.
Xander scuttled back, shaking his head. “I…I can’t…I don’t want to hurt you.” He said, fear lacing his voice where before there was raw hunger.
The woman smiled. “It ain’t gonna hurt me baby. I promise. It’s ok. Theo only takes those willing to do this. I want it as much as you.” She said, her voice silky.
Xander looked at Theo, who only shrugged. “The bite of a kindred, of a true kindred, releases a sort of…anesthetic into the blood. It hurts for about a tenth of a second and then there is supposed to be a rush of…” Theo tried to think of the right word.
The woman chuckled and turned to Xander. “It makes the best sex you’ve ever had seem like nothing.” She grinned.
Xander thought back to the only sex he had had, and that was with Faith. It had been the most sensual, exciting and wonderful twelve to fourteen minutes of his life. Then she tossed him out naked and went evil.
Xander looked up at the woman and looked closely at her neck, a small touch of the hunger rising again. He swore he could see the blood racing in her veins.
“It’s ok, sweetie. You won’t hurt me.” The woman smiled as she leaned towards Xander.
Xander swallowed hard. He could smell her blood. Licking his lips, he leaned forward and felt his canines elongate. He leaned forward to bite the obviously willing woman and felt his fangs… ‘Christ, I have FANGS!!’ he yelled to himself…slide into her skin. She wrapped her arms around Xander and moaned deeply, a wave of pure pleasure washing over her. Xander felt her hot blood flow into his mouth and he swallowed deeply. She tasted incredible, and he drank deeply of her.
Theo watched him closely and after a few second, he called over to Xander. “That’s enough, man.” He said, his deep voice cracking through the haze Xander was in.
Xander pulled back, his beast roaring in anger at him stopping.
“Now. Lick the wound.” Theo instructed.
Xander leaned in and ran his tongue over the womans neck, making her shiver. When he pulled back, he saw that the bite marks were totally gone, he skin unbroken and unblemished.
“See baby…that was great.” She said, standing and sighing. “I’ll see you later Theo.” She said as she headed out the door.
Theo looked at Xander and sighed. “Xander. How do you feel?” he asked.
Xander looked around and noticed how sharp everything was. He could smell everything, he could hear the couple four doors down…they were having a good time, that was sure. Xander looked at Theo. “Is it always like this?” he asked.
Theo nodded. “You get used to it. And I haven’t even showed you the cool stuff yet.” He said, standing. “With the blood, not to brag but especially with my blood, you have a lot of power at your command.” He said. “Let’s go for a walk.”
Xander stood. He felt his body as it processed the blood. He felt that his heart wasn’t beating and he didn’t really seem to mind. Because everything else he felt was overwhelming him. He could see in the middle of the night like it was noon. He could pick out several different scents and he could track them as they walked. He could hear things scurrying in the sewers under them. The world, it seemed, was opening itself up to him.
Theo watched Xander as they walked. “You’re gonna find that you can do a lot more than you used to.” He said.
Xander looked up at Theo. “Like what?” he asked.
Theo smiled. “That’s what we’re gonna find out. The embrace for us, for the Brujah, that’s your Clan, bestows the gifts of our founder on us. We are stronger, tougher and we have a hell of an influence over a crowed, or an individual.”
Xander absorbed everything. “Like mind control?”
Theo shook his head. “No. That would be Domination. That ain’t our deal.” He said. “We can influence them.”
Xander nodded. “Like the Jedi mind trick?”
Theo actually laughed. “Something like that, yeah.”
Over the next three weeks, Xander worked with Theo. He found he was almost as strong as a slayer and he was a hell of a lot tougher. Theo trained him and showed Xander how to enhance himself using the blood as a tool. Xander learned about the Clans, about the politics in the Camarilla and about the Sabbat. Xander was told about the Masquerade, about all of the laws of the Camarilla, but the Masquerade was drilled into him.
And then when Xander was ready to follow Theo to Europe, Theo dropped the bomb. “No.” he had told Xander.
Xander was angry. “Why not? I’m your childe, Theo. I should be with you.” He protested.
Theo smiled. “I have another job for you.” He said. “I want you to go back to Sunnydale.” He said.
Xander frowned. “Um…why?”
Theo smiled. “Cause that’s near the heart of the Anarch states.” He said. “And I have heard rumors that there are Sabbat packs that stream into Cali from Mexico and we can’t do jack about it.”
Xander frowned. “And I am going undercover?”
Theo smiled. “Yep. I’ll contact you when you get into town, the Cam will set you up in Sunnydale, since you can’t really do much in the daylight.” He shrugged. “And I’m gonna try to get the Inner Circle’s permission to tell your crew about you.” He added. “They hunt the half breeds and I also think they could be used for our cause as well.”
Xander shook his head. “No.” he said. “Leave them out of this. They have enough to worry about.” He said.
Theo smiled. “I ain’t asking them to step up to the front lines. Just maybe, they can help. Runners, maybe take out a pack that really needs it.” He smiled savagely.
Xander frowned. “No offense, but the suckheads we are used to fighting are jokes compared to Us.” He said.
Theo nodded. “And they will have the talented childe of an extremely talented Archon with them.” Theo pointed out. “It’s just an option…they’ll probably never be called, or asked.” He shrugged. “But it would be nice to have a strike team inside the Anarch States that we could ask for help in times when our hands are tied.” He said.
Xander was frowning. “Call us Kindred if you want, but I am still an undead creature that feeds on blood…to Buffy, that may just be a vampire.” He frowned. He’d like to think that he would warrant an explanation but he had to be prepared.
Theo nodded. “I wouldn’t worry…I’m betting that you could whoop the slayer now.” He said.
Xander frowned. “Easy for you to say, you’ll be in Italy…jerk.” He kidded.
Theo smirked. “It’s a rough existence, but I endure.” He said. “What do you say?” he asked.
Xander shrugged. “I guess I can ask…worse comes to worse I can always run screaming from the state…probably the country.” He smiled.
Sunnydale- Night- Present
Xander walked into The Bronze. He had checked at Buffy’s and Willow’s house, but Willow’s parents weren’t home and Joyce said that Buffy was living on campus. After checking at Buffy’s room, he headed to the only other place in Sunnydale he could think of. The Bronze.
Xander took a second to adjust to the room. He could smell everyone and hear everything, and he could also tell that there were five vampires cruising the room. He shook his head. He thought they would get the message after three years of ass kickings but they were a stubborn group of suckheads.
“Xander?!” a voice squealed from behind him. Xander turned and smiled as he saw a small blonde coming up behind him. He smiled and barely remembered to push the blood to the surface of his skin, and to force his heart to beat. He had fed before coming over, so he could keep the act up for a bit but it wasn’t going to be long.
“Hey. The Buffinator!” he smiled as she hugged him.
“Wow!” Buffy smiled, thumping her hand on his chest. Xander was not really out of shape, but he was rock hard now.
Xander grinned. “I had a very interesting summer. How was life on the Hellmouth?” he asked.
“Same old thing. Vamps, demons and apocalypses, oh my.” Buffy shrugged.
Xander grinned. “So nothing really big, then?” he smiled.
Buffy shook her head. “Nothing really news worthy. How about you? Anything interesting?”
Xander chuckled nervously. “You could say that.” He mumbled.
Buffy frowned. “Something Hellmouth-y?”
Xander shrugged. “Sort of?”
Buffy looked at Xander, now more than a little worried. “Should we gather the troops?”
Xander sighed deeply. “Probably be a good idea.” He said softly. “There are five vamps, we should probably…” he chucked his thumb over his shoulder.
Buffy nodded, taking Xanders hand and squeezing lightly. He felt cold and Buffy swore that whatever was making he Xander-shaped friend this scared was gonna find out what a slayer could do.
Xander walked beside Buffy as they left The Bronze. He could smell the vampires outside; they were going to ambush them. Xander sighed, reached inside his jacket and pulled out his stake. He hoped he acted surprised when the came from the alleyway.
The ash was just dispersing when Willow and Oz came around the corner. Willow smiled and ran forward when she saw Xander. She stopped suddenly when Oz held onto her hand. He was staring at Xander.
Willow looked at Oz and was a little startled when she could heard him growl. “Oz?”
Xander felt his beast raise up at the challenge. Forcing the beast down, Xander nodded, trying to assure Oz. “We’re headed over to Giles’ place…I’ll explain there.” He said, mostly to Oz.
The young musician just glared at Xander and shifted his eyes to Buffy. “Whatever.” He said.
Buffy and Willow both watched the interaction between Xander and Oz. Buffy was confused and Willow was hoping this wasn’t a throwback to the fluke.
Giles opened the door and saw Buffy, Xander, Willow and Oz at the door. He was about to speak when Oz pushed past Buffy and Xander, covering Giles’ mouth. He glared at Xander, pulling Willow and Buffy in, past a very confused Giles.
“Oz, what’s your malfunction?” Buffy asked. She was getting annoyed and she didn’t like the way the normally gentile man was acting.
“Why don’t you ask him?” Oz said, pointing to Xander, who was still outside.
Buffy looked at Xander and then back at Oz, and then back at Xander, who was still…outside. Her eyes went wide. “Oh god no.” she breathed.
Xander rolled his eyes, stepping across the threshold of the door and reached inside his shirt, pulling out a small cross on a chain. He held it out to Oz, who was looking very confused. Buffy just closed her eyes and silently thanked god.
“I…I don’t…” he stuttered. “Damn. Sorry man.”
Xander smiled and shrugged. “No big. But I think everyone should be sitting for this.”
Giles, Buffy, Willow and Oz all sat down. Xander paced back and forth, trying to gather his thoughts. “Ok. I had a small encounter in New York…” he said, looking at Buffy. He wanted her to understand more than anyone else. Well, there was one person who mattered more, but she wasn’t around. So Xander focused on Buffy.
“Giles. What do you know about Vampires?” Xander asked.
Giles rolled his eyes and sighed. “You know very well what I know of vampires, Xander. What’s your point?” he asked.
Xander frowned. “What you don’t know I can’t tell you…yet.” As if on cue, Xander’s pocket rang. Xander reached into his coat and pulled his phone out. “Harris.” He said.
Buffy, Willow and Oz were all looking at Xander with very confused looks. Giles was looking very put out and he wanted Xander to explain what he had meant when he said ‘What I didn’t know?’
Xander listened to the voice on the other end of the phone and was smiling. “Yeah. She’s here….uh-huh…Giles too, along with Willow and Oz.” He said. “Oz is Willows boyfriend…uh-huh, I trust him…Yes…ew, no…gross!…No, they have to volunteer on their own, I’m not making them do anything…yes, I trust them…with my life….ok. Fine…ok…bye.” Xander sighed and hung up the phone. Looking back at Willow, Giles, Buffy and Oz he smiled. “Sorry. That was…well…a friend.”
“What the bloody hell is going on?!” Giles burst now. He had had enough.
“Ok. I’m gonna tell you all something, but you have to promise me…no staking, no beheading and Buffy…no pummeling me.”
Buffy furrowed her brow. Something was nagging her about the way Xander was acting now. “Ok…I promise. But I claim pummeling privileges for later if the need arises.” She said.
Xander nodded. “Ok. Deal.” He said. “Ok. I was on the phone getting permission. There are conditions, though. The first is, you can’t repeat anything I am about to tell you. Second, I promise that I am not dangerous in any way to any of you.” He said, smiling disarmingly.
Oz narrowed his gaze. “I was right.” He muttered.
“Not so much.” Xander said. “Look, I promise that I am ok.” He said.
Buffy looked at Oz. “What were you right about?”
Oz stared at Xander and spoke to Buffy, without breaking eye contact with Xander. “He’s a vampire.” He said softly.
Buffy looked at Xander. She stood, walking slowly up to him.
Xander tried to smile. “I’m not a vampire…” he laughed. ‘Well, not really…’ he thought. “Look, cross…see.” He held up a wooden cross that was lying on the table next to him. “Not smoking or burning.” He said.
Buffy raised her hand, shushing everyone. She listened for a second and then stepped back. “Your heart isn’t beating.” She said softly.
‘Shit!’ Xander cursed to himself. “You promised…no pummeling…” he said, backing up and nearly tripping over the table behind him.
Buffy looked at Willow, who was shaking her head. Then she turned back to Xander. “What the hell is going on Xander? Are you like…a zombie now?” she asked. She was angry now. Angry, scared and confused. He was acting like Xander, he sounded like Xander but she couldn’t let him wander around if he was a threat.
“I promise. I will explain but I need to have everyone be quiet and listen. Please.” Xander tried the calm approach. He should have known better.
Buffy turned and threw a punch at Xander. It wasn’t anywhere near full strength, but it was enough to knock normal Xander on his ass. So she was very surprised when he caught her fist and shoved, knocking her back onto the couch. She flopped down and opened her mouth to protest when Xander raised his finger. She shut her mouth.
“I was in New York. I ran into a guy being attacked by vampires.” Xander said. “Turns out he is something called Kindred.” Xander said, turning and flopping down in a chair.
“Eh…what are these…Kindred?” Giles asked.
Xander sighed. “I guess, for all intents and purposes…” Xander shrugged. “No…but not really…” he mumbled.
Buffy raised an eyebrow.
“Ok. I am undead. Sunlight, fire, decapitation…all will kill me. Stakes don’t kill me, but they will paralyze me. Crosses don’t work, neither will Holy Water. I can go anywhere I want, I don’t need an invite to enter a house.” Xander rattled off just some basic facts.
Willow just stared before shaking her head. “Do you have to…I mean…blood?” she asked.
Xander looked down, closing his eyes. “Yeah.”
Buffy felt a tear welling in her eye. “Have you…I mean…from a human?” she asked.
Xander nodded again.
Buffy was on her feet in a flash, her stake slammed into Xander’s chest and she held him as he stiffened. “I’m sorry.” She whispered before he turned to dust. Instead of Xander exploding into dust, as he was supposed to, he simply stared at her and then tilted backwards, falling stiffly and smashing the coffee table as he fell.
“Good lord!” Giles said, jumping up.
Buffy stumbled back and stared in horror as Xander just laid there. Flashes of Faith and the deputy mayor ran through her mind as tears began to spill down her cheeks. “He…he said…I couldn’t hear his heart, and he was cold…he…oh my god what did I do?!” she began hyperventilating. She had just killed her best friend.