I do not own these characters. Sod.
Xander Harris stood on the edge of the beach and stared out to sea, the waves pounding down onto the wet surface, running up the beach to crest by his feet and then ebbing back out with a sigh of clattering pebbles.
He could tell that he was brooding again. This was not good, a brooding Xander was a serious Xander and a serious Xander was against the laws of nature.
But the fact was that he couldn’t help it. Halloween. That damn night more than a month ago. If it hadn’t been for that freaky chaos mage, Ethan Rayne, then he would still have been good old normal, powerless Xander. But no, the Brit had turned up and launched that spell to turn his customers into their Halloween costumes.
For most people there had been no, or almost no, side effects. Larry had kept saying “aaarrhh, Jim lad” for the first few days afterwards (until Snyder had booked him into a week of detentions), Willow had been surreptitiously testing the walls in case she could walk through things and Buffy had unexpectedly developed a love of tea and knowledge of Royal Doulton crockery, which had both confused and pleased her mother equally.
Then there was Xander. Just to be different he had the knowledge and memories of Jedi Knight Obi-Won Kenobi jammed into his head, along with the ability to use the force.
Strictly speaking, he thought wryly, he should have been pleased. After all, Buffy had her Slayer powers, Willow was quite the budding little witch and Giles seemed to have half the occult knowledge of the Western world in his head, with the other half, plus more global information, present in his bookshelves. Xander was rather handicapped in that he had nothing except his natural good looks and wit.
His gaze went back out to the Pacific. Frankly his new knowledge both tempted and terrified him. The problem was that having the memories did not mean that he had the skill. His control over the force was spotty. Sometimes it was like trying to catch smoke, slipping through his fingers and curling away into nothingness. Other times it was there, wobbly and nebulous but there, just. His pen-floating abilities were growing slowly but surely.
That was the problem. Sometimes his control was better when he was irritated or angry and, being a massive fan of the Star Wars films, he was very much afraid that at those times he was nudging close to the dark side.
That was the thing that terrified him, that had brought the kind of nightmares where he would wake up in a tangle of sheets, covered in sweat and the harsh sound of mechanical breathing still loud in his ears.
Willow knew that he was worried, knew that he had thrown up a protective shell around himself and... he sighed again. He seemed to be doing a lot of that recently. He had to act more normally, to resolve this thing before it tore him apart. He couldn’t tell his friends about this, not yet.
He needed a way to cope, a Jedi strategy, so to speak. The knowledge was all there in his head. Perhaps if he just set it down on paper. With the appropriate safeguards of course. Turning, he walked back up the beach to the spot where he had left the Xandermobile chained to a lamppost.
Sitting his room a week later he realised that it was both easier and harder than he had first thought. He had pooled his allowance to buy a small, leather-covered book filled with blank pages and with a clasp to keep it closed. He’d also spent some time choosing a good-quality pen, one of the old-fashioned ink ones with a nib. He still had no idea why, but he had a vague memory of using something like this when he... or rather Obi-Won... had started out as a Padawan learner in the Jedi Temple. Something a lot more advanced, obviously, but the principle was the same.
Sitting at his desk, which for once was not covered in clothes, CDs or soda bottles, he opened the book to the first page, took out the pen and stared down at it. That led to the problem of where to start. He took out a piece of foolscrap and jotted down a few thoughts, rejecting one after the other as he flipped through the knowledge in his head. After twenty minutes he threw down the pen in disgust. If he had just started to write what first came into his mind he’d end up with something that wandered from subject to subject aimlessly.
Standing up he walked to the window and looked out over Sunnydale. The sun was starting to head down to the horizon, after which the local undead inhabitants would start to come out to play. He would be out on patrol tonight with the others.
Turning back he tilted his head at the book. A memory of Yoda, standing on a landing bay overlooking Coruscant was tickling the back of his mind. “Do or do not,” quoted Xander squeakily, “There is no try.”
He sat back down again. There had to be a way around this. Then he paused. Picking up the pen he closed his eyes and tried to feel the force flowing through him. It eluded him, staying beyond his grasp. Instead of getting irritated he persisted in calmly seeking the force, patiently waiting, breathing slowly... feeling the first quiver as his mind started to open to it...
When he opened his eyes again he was rather startled to discover that the sun was on the horizon, that his hand was cramped and that the first 30 pages of the book were covered in writing. Not the standard western alphabet either, this was the curves and loops of Basic, the alphabet used in the Star Wars universe. He was even more startled to realise that firstly he understood it and secondly he appeared to have started to write a Jedi training manual, a sort of Jedi 101.
Holding his breath he flipped through it. Training techniques, Jedi meditation therapies, the code of Jedi honour... it was incredibly detailed. And by the fact that it was marked ‘Part One’ there was more in his head. Sinking back in his chair he blew out his cheeks in a relieved sigh. His head felt different as well... not so much clearer as slightly more ordered.
He grinned for the first time in what seemed like an age. “Well,” he said, “It’s a start.” Picking up the book he walked over to his closet, opened it and placed it on a small ledge that overhung the door. He’d find a safer place for it later.
It was time to patrol.
The next few months went quite quickly for the Scoobies. Giles’s past caught up with him in a big way with the little matter of the Mark of Eyghon, the Order of Teraka arrived in town, along with a new Vampire Slayer, Buffy’s mom dated a rather amoral robot and half the pupils in school, and their parents, were briefly possessed by a mind-controlling monster. And Xander and Cordelia, having saved each other’s lives, became almost civil to one another. Nothing quite like living on the Hellmouth.
While all this was going on, the little book was filling up with careful instructions in Basic, a series of lessons, observations, notations and treatises on how to be a Jedi Knight. It was detailed, thorough and enough to make Xander realise that his current knowledge and understanding barely scratched the surface of what he needed to know to be a real Jedi.
True, his control of the force was improving, slowly. He could feel it all the time now, sometimes more powerfully than others. His fears about the dark side were still there, but he was learning to control his temper, to be too passionate about things. He could, occasionally, sense things about people, if they were angry or upset. But although he was learning, it wasn’t fast enough.
This was a poser. If he carried on the way that he was going now, then he’d make it to Padawan in about ten years or so. What he needed was a dedicated training regime over several months in a place where he would not be distracted. He also needed training in sword fighting, as he knew the moves but lacked the knowledge of how to convert them into fighting without a lightsabre. The problem was that there a little matter of school. And his friends.
He’d almost come clean a couple of times. He knew that Willow was still worried about him, as he was a lot less garrulous than he had been in the past. That was the other thing... he had to watch his mouth. There were occasions when he found himself using what he had termed his “Obi-Won” voice, a rather clipped British cadence that sounded like a cross between Giles and Oz. Speaking of Oz, there was something about Willow’s new boyfriend that seemed familiar about him, an odd feeling in the force about him, like an odd echo...
However, he had always been distracted from saying something to the others about his burgeoning powers, there had always been something else going on, the time had never been right. He really wished that he had been able to kill Spike on Halloween, before Giles had ended the spell and he had reverted to normal. Such was life, however and it was no use blaming the force.
But he had never been able to tell anyone else about what was going on.
All that changed when Drusilla started to assemble the pieces of The Judge. Hell, everything had changed over those horrible few days. Angel had lost his soul and reverted back to the merciless thing that was Angelus, which had gone on to murder Jenny Calendar. Buffy had come close to losing it completely, for reasons that he could make a good stab at guessing at.
True, they had been able to destroy The Judge thanks to a chance remark by Cordelia that the last time that the demon had been vanquished mankind was still shaving with big knives and hitting each other on the head with lumps of metal. Giles had emitted a string of ‘good lord’s over that little unrevelation and they had been able to blow The Judge into his constituent pieces with the aid of six sticks of dynamite that they’d been able to find on a building site near the area. However, the fact remained that it was, at best, a 1-1 draw, to use Giles’s words.
After that, Xander realised, he needed to tell the best person about his little secret.
Rupert Giles walked into the school library grimly, his eyes flickering automatically to the shadows of the main room. Although he had warded the main library doors with a little spell that should repel vampires, it was better to be safe than sorry. He thought for a second about Jenny and then ruthlessly forced himself away from that terrible, raw, pain in his mind.
Then he paused. Someone was there, in the shadows by the stairs to the bookshelves. Feeling the reassuring shape of the emergency stake he now always kept up his right sleeve he walked slowly forwards, keeping the table between him and the shape.
“Hello?” he asked. “Who’s there?”
The figure looked up and Giles was relieved to see that it was Xander. The teenager closed a small book that he had been writing into, pushed it into an inside pocket and then stood up.
Walking forwards he looked at Giles and with a start the Englishman realised that Xander appeared a lot older than his years today.
“Rupert,” he said in that clipped, almost British, accent that he now tended to use in times of stress, “We need to talk.”