Xander Harris, Child of Rao...the Origin
Disclaimer in 3...2...1...not mine.
Previously on Child of Rao:
The Bomb says: BOOM.
Now we continue with today's episode.
A fraction of a second before the bomb detonated, the amulet known to very few as the Fist of Rao was activated by the will of its Creator. The amulet flared and a shimmering cocoon of energy surrounds our doomed hero as he is blown back by the concussive force of the explosion.
While the blast wasn't a directed one, it was still remarkably potent due to the multiple stump removers rigged into it.
The energy that surrounded the body of Xander Harris shifted from a shimmering clear color to that of solid black, absorbing the sun's rays while causing great changes to the body and mind of the being within it.
Xander's skin slowly lost its pallor, turning into a muddled gray or possibly white ash. The skin started to form square keloids and cracking in various places. Soon the keloids receded and the cracks sealed themselves leaving his skin whole. Color slowly returned to him leaving him a bit more bronzed then before if you were to look closely.
It wasn't just his skin that was changing. His DNA, while having been altered subtly once and not so subtly another time was being completely rewritten. New chromosomes were created, added and modified. His strands of DNA were coiling themselves tighter as well.
Various organs in his body were changing, being optimized for use while other smaller organs were forming in various parts of his abdomen. His appendix in particular changed into a rather useful organ provided he was exposed to certain frequencies of light. The interior and exterior physiology while aesthetically similar to humans actually operated on a completely different level once one reached the middle of puberty.
As all of this was happening to his body, his subconscious mind was being instilled with a great deal of information. He was given the gift of a dead language and the gifts of an even longer dead mystic, martial and practical knowledge. Ancient skills were passed on both in practical magics and an art of fighting so feared it made Apokolyps tremble.
Xander Harris had been Chosen. He was being transformed into a Child of Rao- The Sun God King of the planet only one was still truly able to call home; the planet Krypton.
Once the transformation was complete the energy cocoon surrounding him shimmered and faded out of existence. It's occupant awakened minutes later.
Xander opened his eyes then immediately shut them again. He muttered the only word that came to mind. “Rao.....wait, what?”
He started doing a checklist to see if he was hurt and how much. Moving his jaw was no issue and he wiggled his fingers and toes. “Well that's good.” He muttered.
He lifted one arm and failed to notice the small layer of ashen skin that flaked off the moment his appendage moved. He lifted the other and looked at his hands. “Good no phantom limb syndrome then. He lifted one leg then the other. After a moment he took a risk and stood up. There was no dizziness or ringing in his ears. Thanking his lucky stars he dusted off his clothing and looked around the abandoned lot.
His gaze was naturally directed to the small but lightly smoking crater where the bomb had been.
“Huh, well that's new.” He said out loud.
He didn't know how he had survived let alone uninjured but he was grateful. Suddenly he remembered the amulet. 'Maybe it was a protective one' he thought. /If so then why didn't it protect the demoness?/ Another voice in his mind seemed to whisper.
He took off the necklace and stared at the now ash white amulet as it crumbled into dust before his eyes.
Xander desperately fought the urge to pout. He'd won with a concession....swearing was now involved. “Dammit!! I just found you! G-Man hasn't even had a chance to get all bookish and polish his glasses over you and you just decide to flake out on me?” He sighed. “Oh well, guess this goes into the 'what not to tell the others box.'” He put the necklace, sans amulet that saved his ass, into his jeans pocket again.
He walked away from the blast site unscathed. Any explosion you can walk away from right? He'd worry about that later if anything came out of it. Odds were, he thought to himself, it was just a one time thing. A fluke.
Xander repressed a shudder.
He'd returned his Uncle's car without much hassle. The man was more than likely out of it. Uncle Rory while a hell of a mechanic took to the bottle enough to have spare clothes in his trunk in case he had any little 'burps' while passed out behind the wheel. He luckily had enough sense to stop the car beforehand, well often enough to not be in prison yet.
He returned home where he heard his father's muffled “It's too early for that damn racket!” come from his parent's bedroom. It's not like he was the one who wanted an old fashioned screen door. He vowed yet again not to end up like them. Sure he may not be doing the best in school but he helped people. He'd been hunting vamps for years now and while there were still people waking up from their dirt naps, there were much fewer than there had been before Buffy had shown up. He still dreamed of a week where they didn't have to dispatch a freshly risen vamp. Well, one that wasn't in the summer at least. Either it was the heat or there was something else, but there was always a summer lull it seemed. It was bad enough though to warrant summer hunting however ineffectual it was in the end.
He showered and dressed after quickly putting his clothes into a much abused hamper in his room. His parents were drunks but they would still have noticed the not so occasional demon goop on his clothes. In order to prevent that, he had started doing his own laundry some time back. He grabbed his backpack and dug around his hidden money jar for the few singles buried under the pennies and nickels. After grabbing what he thought was enough, he headed out the door while ignoring the snoring coming from his parents room.
The sun was up in the sky now and it felt good on his skin. Better than it normally did on the morning of an 'All Night I just saved the world from certain doom' bender. Still, all was good.
His pace was steady and quick as he reached one of the closest fast food restaurants, the Buster Burger. It was Home of the Belly Buster, now available in biscuit form for breakfast.
He ordered just that as a combo meal and got a small serving of hash brown nuggets and reasonably fresh wholesale coffee. After paying for his meal which was smaller than one he would normally get, he took his bag and coffee to the small patio tables outside of the joint to enjoy the morning and slightly smog filled air.
It wasn't the 'Quiet' but it was still nice. He ate in silence and tossed the bag and the remaining wrapper and cup in the garbage bin with the sign that politely asked him to.
He walked to the school and whistled as he surveyed the damage done to the library. He'd pick it up in a bit, but first he had some barrels of fun to deal with in the boiler room beneath him.
After traversing the stairs, he stared at the barrels. Each were bigger than a keg and he knew for a fact that kegs were heavy sons of bitches. “And me without my hand-truck.” He muttered and walked towards the barrels. He'd try to gently lower them to their sides and roll them to the stairs if he could.
Before he did that he made sure they caps were all secured on the barrels. Remember kids: safety first, explosions later.
He wiggled the front barrel and thought it was light. He wiggled it again and apparently yes, it was full. He got a good grip and tried the stupid thing to do. He tried to pick up the barrel. Lo and Behold it worked! He felt the weight of it but not the strain. He mentally asked 'why me?' but focused on the task at hand rather than on some random one. He hoisted the barrel and with a firm grip on the bottom walked up the stairs and made his way to the maintenance shed. Some of the lawn equipment used Kerosene as part of their fuel mix so either this was already school property or Chuck the Lawn Guy just got a chance to embezzle funds for drinking money.
Chuck was a good guy who was deeply tanned. He had a more than passing resemblance to George Hamilton and was only in the business due to the killer retirement package. It was a jackpot for those who lived long enough to retire.
He almost ran into Snyder while he carried the second barrel. The troll sneered until he saw the 'Flammable' label. After that he just walked in the other direction towards his office. Xander shrugged and continued his task.
After the barrels were upstairs, he looted the broom closet near the library for cleaning supplies. He grabbed a broom, a dustpan and some industrial solvent. Demon goop was tough to get out of anything. The lock wasn't working on the broom closet door. It hadn't been for a while and it had been a favorite place for him and Cordelia to sneak off to when the moment was lusty enough.
Xander paused as felt the cycle of guilt and self-recrimination start up and pushed it down. He would NOT BROOD!!.
He looked around and got a further assessment of the library. There overturned bookcases on the lower level, and were books scattered everywhere. Fragments of stone, cinder block and tile were all around the small crater in the floor. Tables were smashed, chairs were ruined, various assorted demon parts were in odd places. It looked a bit like Rush Week at a now defunct fraternity. Xander set to work.
First and foremost were the books. It was a library after all. He stacked them in piles that were almost waist high and carried them to the counter by the entrance one stack at a time. Eight stacks later, he started separating the debris into three piles: Stone, wood and demon.
It seemed that the members of the Sisterhood dried out relatively quickly after their expiration and looked like they were halfway through being mummified. With luck they would be crumbly-dusty by next week. That would save him some trouble.
He set back to work and started working in the upper stacks to see if any debris had made it up to the back of the stacks. If so he'd have to pick up the large parts by hand and vacuum the carpeting afterward.
One hour later an extremely bedraggled Rupert Giles entered the library lost in thought as his brain was currently cycling over the events of the night before. They had left the library as it was last night due to the exhaustion they had all felt after thwarting yet another daunting challenge. He hung up his jacket on the notch post in his office and rolled up his sleeves. He wasn't looking forward to cleaning up after this mess. The maintenance crew swore off it after the last time.
He reentered the library proper and looked around for the first time. He found a set of eight rather high stacks of books on the front counter. He looked around the library. The lower half looked for the lack of a better word...better. The bookcases that weren't damaged beyond repair had been righted and there were three large piles on the floor: Stone, Wood and Demon. He wondered who had come in and cleaned up. Maybe it was Wesley? No the twit was probably snug up in bed, sedated. The novice Watcher hadn't handled the night before very well at all. Actually, Xander would have been of better help once the Hellmouth had opened. Wesley had problems telling which was the business end of an ax it seemed.
So who had cleaned up?
“Morning G-Man” Came a voice from the upper stacks.
Giles gazed upwards and spotted Xander Harris holding a vacuum cleaner. “So you guys have a book club meeting go horribly wrong or what?” The young man joked.
Giles sighed. “Well Xander, we had a bit of an apocalypse last night.”
Xander nodded. “I noticed, me being fray adjacent and all.”
Giles automatically came to his Slayer's defense, even though her decision wasn't being directly questioned. “Well last night was rather dangerous. Buffy didn't want you to put yourself at risk like you have done previously.”
Xander shrugged and started walking down the steps to the main foyer of the library. “Not her call, never has been. If I had stayed back every time she either didn't want or told me not to help, she'd be dead at least twenty times over.” He chuckled bitterly. “Hell she would have died in the tunnels the first time after she went after Jesse if I hadn't been there. Or if I hadn't forced Deadboy to take me to the Master's lair. Despite what he may have ever said about that night. Hell I've saved all of you time and again.”
Giles cleaned his glasses, his main woolgathering tactic. “Be that as it may, the Hellmouth is becoming increasingly more dangerous. You need to be careful.” He sternly cautioned the teen.
“I am careful, you folks just refuse to watch your sixes.” Was Xander's reply.
Xander continued, cutting off any statement Giles was about to make. “It didn't work when you tried to cut us out sophomore year and it won't work now. I may not have any powers but I've certainly held my own. I've dusted more vamps than Willow and all Oz has going for him is some enhanced senses. While those are good, I can tell you they don't always help against the undead. I know that from experience when I had the strength to back them up. If you think about it I've been fighting here on the Hellmouth longer than Buffy since she took two summers off. There was one to visit Daddy and the other when she ran away from her calling. I get injured less and stay out of the game less than Willow does. While I can't take the hits like Buffy can, I do dodge a great deal.”
Giles sighed in frustration. “True but it isn't your destiny to fight the darkness.”
“Destiny's for the weak willed and those without options Giles. It's just a fall back argument people use to try and gain control over others most of the time. It is and always has been my choice. I've been in it since I staked my brother in all but blood. If you keep me out of the group, I'll go independent and you know what happens to Hunters that get turned.” Xander stated, his voice usually so full of cheer was now as cold as ice.
Giles' eyes widened. He didn't know the boy had stumbled across that, it was in the writings of Dramius after all. “Yes, well normally when such hunters are turned they cut a swath through the local demonic community until they finally succumb to the bloodlust and start hunting humans or they are killed in battle. It's a foolhardy effort if you wish to be turned Xander. It twists you into something else.”
Xander rolled his eyes. “I know we all saw proof positive when Deadboy's soul went bye bye he went from Broody to Crackers in the time it takes you to say 'My Word'. That's another point of contention I have with Sir-broods-a-lot. If I had become a soulless killing machine, one the likes of which the annals of history had never recorded and then had my soul and conscience shoved back into me.... I'd off myself.
There would be no way I would let the demon out again or even listen to it. That and the guy's a pedophile.”
“Yes...well.. but....” Giles stammered.
“Just don't keep me out of the loop okay Giles? Look, I gotta get to class, but first I need to put these cleaning supplies back. I'll see you later all right?” With vacuum in hand, Xander walked out of the library doors.
Giles nodded, feeling a bit of shame. He knew the boy wouldn't stop fighting but he'd sided with his Slayer again. Maybe the Council was right, he'd grown too fond of the girl and saw her as his own daughter. He headed to the teacher's lounge and hoped that the lunch lady hadn't found his secret stash of actual tea.
Not as climactic but this is going to be a slow build, no justice league till after graduation.
Till next time