An Early Wake-Up Call
By the time his conversation with Faith had come to a close, Xander felt exhausted. He was drained both physically and mentally. Any excess energy he had been feeling after taking his first head as an Immortal, something he really hadn’t had the time to think about, had been long gone after the events from earlier had played out.
Phoebe had been patiently waiting in his bed for who-knew-how long. He wasn’t sure what conversations had taken place upstairs while he had been spending some ‘quality time’ with Faith, and to tell the truth, right now, he just didn’t care. It was obvious, to even her, just how tired he was. She wasn’t far behind though in the same respect.
Silently getting into the bed, he turned to face her. Without a word spoken they both seemed to curl up into each other. Taking comfort in the mere presence of the other.
Xander couldn’t remember the last time he had felt this content. Well, that wasn’t exactly true. The last time would have to be when he had spent the night with this same woman while she lay in his arms. Sadly, it had been the only time. And that had felt like a lifetime, several lifetimes, ago.
Reveling in the feeling of her contact, sleep began to overtake him. One of his last, coherent, thoughts, before slumber took him away, was that he truly hoped this would be the only time he ever got into a bed with this woman, and be this tired *before* they had a chance to do anything. As she pulled him tighter, he knew she was having similar thoughts.
With a smile, he reciprocated the movement.
It was only a few hours later that a content Xander woke up. Through still sleepy eyes, he watched the, still sleeping, form of Phoebe at his side. With a smile, he slowly he extricated himself from her arms, careful not to wake her, and made his way towards the bathroom. The sunlight from the early morning was giving off far too much light, in his humble opinion.
After completing his morning rituals, he found himself just standing at the foot of the bed, marveling at the sight that was Phoebe. With her hair splayed across the overstuffed pillow going in every which direction, it was a picture perfect moment captured for eternity in Xander’s mind.
A soft sound from the hallway attracted his attention. Peeking out the door, he found both Piper and Leo standing just a few feet outside their door. After a quick ‘good morning’ Leo asked for Xander to meet him down in the kitchen area.
After a quick shower, shave, and a change of clothes, Xander left the still sleeping Phoebe in slumber land, as he made his way downstairs to see Leo.
“It’s 9am, Leo. A man needs more than six hours of sleep.” Xander said as he stepped into the kitchen to find Leo drinking coffee as Piper made herself busy in the kitchen, a familiar sight that brought a smile to Xander’s face. “Today is going to be hectic enough as it is.”
Leo smiled back at the young man. “Hey, you were up.” Xander just rolled his eyes, the smile never leaving his face. “Besides, from the sound of things, you’ve let yourself get too lax on your magical training.” The look he sent Xander spoke nothing but of the utmost seriousness. “When we take into account your ‘new condition’ we really need to do some training again. Even if it’s for just an hour or so.”
Xander nodded his head in agreement. You had to give Leo credit for one thing, at least, the man seemed to know what he was talking about.
“Xander, I wanted you to know, I swear to you that I had no idea that you were going to become Immortal when I was told that your time to move on from the Manor had come about.”
The two men just stared at each other. Leo looked at him a bit nervously, afraid of hurting someone who, for all intents and purposes, had become family in just the short time he had spent with them.
While Xander had never really wanted to consider it, there had always been a small voice in the back of his head whispering that Leo may have sent him out that day to die, just to become an Immortal.
He hadn’t wanted to believe it, had even denied it to himself, but that pesky voice was still there. He had pretty much decided that Chris had known what was about to happen and he wasn’t sure just how he felt about that. More than likely, he had always been Immortal when Chris had known him in his own time.
In the end, he felt that the situation was similar to his lying about Willow’s attempt to ensoul Angelus during the entire Acathala debacle. He knew he had done the right thing; he still second guessed his decision every so often, but in the end, considering the ramification of Buffy’s failure to win that fight, he knew he had made the right decision. How could he begrudge Chris any less?
Leo’s confirming that Xander had been right to believe that the angel would not, and did not, sent him off to his own death, felt as though a major weight had been taken off of his shoulders. It was this relief that reflected in his eyes, and when he smiled and nodded at his friend, they both let out a sigh of content
Leo looked towards the open area of the living room with the entertainment center, the small table in front of the couches having been moved off to the side by him when he came downstairs, and gestured for Xander to follow him into the open space where he sat, in a lotus position, as he had many times before when meditating.
Both men sat quietly. Their motions were stilled as they lapsed into a calm, meditative state.
“Ok, Xander. This is something that we’ve done many a time before.” Leo paused for a moment, intent on listening to his own steady breathing before using his senses to feel the rhythmic beating of Xander’s heart. Once they were both at the proper level, he continued. “Feel the energy pulsating and alive within you.”
As he was saying this, Leo’s own essence began to glow with an inner light. The metaphysical sparkles of blue and white heavenly lights that was part of his Whitelighter heritage seemed to intensify and halo his soul. The intensified angelic presence was a soothing balm to Xander’s struggle.
Leo opened his eyes slowly, taking in Xander’s posture. To the outside observer, the young man would seem to be fully relaxed. However, the rapid twitching of his eyes, and the almost nonexistent furrowing of his brows, was a clear indication of Xander’s internal struggle.
“Can you not feel it? Can you not grasp it?”
Xander’s eyes never opened, and for a moment it seemed as though he had not even heard Leo, using a calm and soothing voice, ask his question.
“I can feel it.” The answer was almost a whisper. “But it’s so volatile. I can’t get a hold of it.” Xander tightened his already closed eyes, his concentration rising. “I can’t get any control over it.”
Leo nodded and sighed inwardly; this was new territory they were exploring, and he wasn’t exactly sure how to best address it.
“Now that your Quickening has gone from dormant to active, it must have changed your core as well.” As Xander opened his eyes they came to meet Leo’s stare. “Close your eyes again. It may take a little while, but we’ll get it back under control again.”
Xander nodded, let out a deep sigh, and closed his eyes. Listening to the rhythm of his own heart, he never even noticed as his breathing became regulated under its own power, and he started to drift off into a trance like state that he had achieved so many times before.
“Don’t just feel the energy, feel the pulses too. They may be much stronger now, but they are still a part of you.” He waited, and was awarded by Xander’s almost imperceptible nod. “The process is the same; it’s the power that is different. Feel it throughout, pull it in to you. Grasp at those threads as they pulse out, pull them into you.”
Leo’s voice became soothing, a rhythm that seemed timed to Xander’s own. The two had now attracted Piper’s attention, who was now sitting at the kitchen table, facing the duo.
“Calm the energy, it is a pool, a force unto itself, yet it is there for you to control. Still those rapid movements let them flow into you.” A smile met Leo’s lips as Xander’s posture began to straighten. “Let it become one with your will. Let it become one with you.”
Like so many times before, once the rapid torrent of the power pulsating through Xander’s very core came under his control, the rush of power could be felt by all those near. This time, however, something completely unexpected happened.
It was only the calm and meditative state that he was in that allowed Leo to keep his composure. Piper, on the other hand, almost dropped her coffee at the sudden spike in Xander’s magical presence.
As Xander’s presence suddenly flared, Piper’s head jerked forward, almost spilling her drink and Phoebe jerked up in bed, as though an electric bolt had been sent down her spine. In her own room, an identical reaction was given by Paige.
And, in his own room, Chris’s eyes snapped open. He almost smiled at a feeling he had only been privy to a scant few times in his life.
The Slayers were another story all together. Luckily, or perhaps unluckily (depending on your point of view), they were trained to expect demonic attacks at some ungodly hours and, unlike usually, Faith wasn’t sleeping in the nude. This was fortunate for her as she grabbed a stake and proceeded to rush downstairs towards the pulsating primal feeling by vaulting herself over the third floor railing. She was soon followed closely by the other Slayers. None of them were quite sure what was going on, but the power was setting off their Slayer senses like crazy.
An extremely intense ‘buzz’ had all of the Immortals out of their rooms, too, their swords already drawn. They had only made it halfway down the hallway before spotting the girls, Slayers, actually disregarding the stairs, and jumping down from the third floor. They all shared quick glances, none of their ‘buzzes’ diminishing in intensity, before quickly following the impulsive girls.
Emerging from their rooms at the same moment, two disheveled witches glanced at each other before looking down the hallway and catching the tail end of a stampede of Immortals barreling their way from the third floor.
Glancing at each other once again, Phoebe and Paige bolted after the Immortals, intent on finding out just what was going on.
Chris watched with an amused expression as the girls blindly ran past him, making their way to the stairs. With a roll of his eyes, he softly shut his door before laconically making his way towards the stairs.
He couldn’t help but to snort in amusement. Uncle Xander was always good at getting people up in the morning.
A nostalgic smile hit his face as he ambled down the stairs. All that was left now was to go and watch the fireworks.