Disclaimer: Nope, not mine, 'cept the villagers.
Xander, Ororo, Willow, and Katura raced in the direction the roar came from. "It was very close," noted the game warden.
The turned around a small hill, to see a scene out of a horror film. Two monstrous figures fought tooth and nail, though the smaller figure appeared to be almost playing with the larger. The big blue creature, seeming to be part lion and part ape, with scraps of clothing around its waist and hips, was constantly charging the smaller, rotting figure, and every time he was hurled back against the hillside by an unseen force. The blue creature, which they now realized was the X-Man named Hank McCoy, also known as Beast, was not looking well at all, with one arm limp at his shoulder, and blood pouring from his snout and mouth.
The smaller creature could have almost been mistaken for human at a distance, but from where they stood its unnatural form was clear. It was hideous and half rotting, and digitigrade legs broke the otherwise human-like silhouette. Leaves and dirt flowed in a spiral around it, and every time Beast charged the thing, they would suddenly kick up and spin as fast as a small tornado. It opened its mouth and appeared to laugh, but no sound escaped its flayed lips.
"Eww... okay, that is NOT something you wanna see after lunch," quipped Xander. He hefted his sword, and prepared to leap into the fray.
"No!" shouted Willow and Ororo at the same time. Willow managed to get a hand on his shoulder, while Ororo seemed to undergo a transformation.
Now they could see why she was called Storm by her teammates. Her long white hair billowed around her, even as her eyes became filled with white light. She rose into the air, and confronted the thing attacking her friend. "Begone from here, foul fiend! You, who claim to control the winds, shall soon taste the full fury of Nature, herself!"
"Yannow," mused Xander, "on anyone else that little speech woulda been corny. But she can actually pull it off."
Willow, however, was mesmerized. Opening her senses to the fullest, she watched the battle before her.
Noticing the mutant, the Aigamuxa hurled Beast away with a final shrug, and rose into the air to meet her. The winds began to howl, and the nose was too great for anyone to hear anything but what was right net to them. Taking advantage of the distraction, Xander dragged Willow and Katura over to the now motionless form of Beast.
Despite the noise, Storm's powerful voice carried through the cyclonic winds. "You dare seek to challenge me in my own bailiwick? Let thine own winds grow, until ye can no longer control them!"
Even as Storm reached out her hand, the cyclone surrounding the demon sped up, and grew in power though, paradoxically, not in size. The air darkened from dirt and debris drawn into the cyclone, and the creature roared mutely.
About this time, the former Dr McCoy began to wake up. Xander put a restraining hand on his massive, uninjured shoulder, and began to speak to him in a low but strident voice. "Not your fight," he almost grunted. "Let pack defend pack."
Something about what he said got through to the mutated mutant, and Beast relaxed back, though he whimpered. He saw in Xander a form of kindred spirit, but didn't understand exactly why.
Meanwhile, the demon had regained control of its own cyclone, and had launched off a nearly invisible yet amazingly powerful burst of air. It clipped Ororo, and she began to plummet. "Thicken!" yelled Willow, one hand outstretched and her eyes beginning to slowly bleed white, themselves.
Ororo suddenly stopped in mid air, which confused the demon. Even as Willow released her hold on Storm, the mutant's own powers grew with her anger. The skies darkened, and a low rumbling cascaded through the park. "Vile thing, I have dallied with you long enough. Wind may be your element, but nothing that lives can truly withstand the true fist of the Goddess!" One hand gestured out, while the other rose to the sky. Instantly a blinding blue-white bolt of lightning struck Ororo's raised hand, then suddenly leaped straight at the Aigamuxa. Once struck, the lightning arced from the creature to the ground, and the concussion of the massive thunderclap stunned all those present.
As Xander shook his head and looked around, he saw three things. First, the demon was falling, and was pretty much a blackened corpse. Second, Ororo was stunned and possibly unconscious as well, and third that Willow was still reeling and would not be able to save her. Without a second thought, he raced forward and dove into the air, directly in the path of Storm's fall.
Then, there was only darkness.
"...always trying to save everyone. It's part of why we all love him."
That was Willow's voice. It was dark, and it smelled of antiseptic. Hospitals. Wait, maybe it was dark because his eye was closed. So, he opened it.
He regretted it almost immediately, because the lights in the room were very bright. It wasn't an American style hospital with private rooms, but the slightly more primitive form often found in Zambia. Willow was sitting beside him, and talking to the person on the bed on the other side of her. And that person was... Ororo?
"Ah, you're awake, Xander. Figures you'd hit your head again," teased Willow.
"Ev'rthin' okay?" he mumbled.
"Thanks to you, yes," came Ororo's voice. "You cushioned my fall, and took what would have been some of my own injuries onto yourself." Her skin darkened, and Xander realized it was actually a faint blush. "Thank you again, Xander."
"But what about Dr McCoy?" he asked, his voice stronger.
"He is in with the Professor. It seems his mind is still intact, just buried under instinct from the pain of his transformation." Ororo smiled. "Professor Xavier would like me to thank you for him, both of you, for your help in retrieving him, and dealing with the Aigamuxa."
Willow grinned. "Hey, it's what we do. Oh, by the way, I've been meaning to tell you - you're not just a mutant."
This took Storm back a bit, but Xander had expected it ever since he had seen her use her powers. "What do you mean?"
This time it was Willow's turn to blush a bit, as she would have to talk about herself. "Well, whenever I draw on a certain amount of power, my eyes turn all white and glowy, and my hair bleaches white. It used to be black, but I did something a few years ago that completely purified and redeemed me, so now its all white and happy. And your hair's already white but your eyes start doing the glowy bits so that means you're not just drawing on your mutant power but also on some major league happy-good mojo and maybe, I dunno, augmenting your power with the blessing of the Goddess, which is by the way a really good thing that you do that, you know, because calling on the power of the Goddess without acknowledging Her is a really dangerous thing, and can make your eyes and hair go all black and your face get all veiny, which is completely of the bad, so trust me, I..."
Xander hit her with a pillow. "Breathe, Wills, breathe."
Ororo looked lost in thought. "You mean I do not use my mutant ability to control the weather? I do it through magic?"
Willow took a deep breath and slowly let it out. "Umm, not quite. I think your mutant power lets you change the weather, but it would be really slow on its own. So the Goddess helps you out, and gives you power, so that it speeds the whole thing up, you know. So you're really using both."
A new voice interrupted them. "A most fascinating and somewhat logical proposition, Miss Rosenberg."
They looked to the door, and saw an older bald man, about the age of Giles, sitting in his wheelchair. The figure pushing him, however, was none other than Doctor hank McCoy, the Beast. He was standing on his hind legs, and wearing trousers and a shirt, and wore a tiny pair of spectacles on his leonine snout. Willow thought they were just the cutest things, too.
The unusual pair pulled up between the two beds, next to Willow. "Mister Harris, words cannot convey my appreciation for your deeds of dashing derring-do in the quest to help me regain myself and my mind," rumbled Beast in a deep, cultured voice.
"Eep," squeaked Willow, and she fought back a giggle. She wasn't attracted to him, but he just made her want to run up and cuddle him like an overgrown teddy bear.
"Indeed," agreed the Professor. "The two of you would be welcome to visit our school at any time. In fact, once Ororo has recovered from her injuries, there will likely be a rather raucous party at the school to celebrate Hank's return home. You are both invited, of course, and are encouraged to bring a guest."
Willow and Xander glanced at each other and nodded. "Buffy and Kennedy," they said at the same time.
Ororo looked faintly disappointed. "Which one is your girlfriend, Xander?" she asked.
He, of course, didn't notice. "Oh, neither one. Buffy's the other member of our little trio, she's like another sister for me. And Kennedy is actually Willow's life-partner."
Once again, Ororo blushed slightly, and smiled this time. "I see. Then you will be there for the party?"
"Wild beasts couldn't keep me away," he chirped.
Buffy kicked back beside the pool at Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, and watched many of said youngsters playing in the water. They were squealing and having fun, and otherwise just being the kids they were supposed to be.
Something came between her and the sun, and she glanced up to see her friends, and a few of the adult X-Men. "You always have liked watching out for kids, Buff," grinned Xander.
"Well, I had enough experience trying to keep you out of trouble," she grinned. To Xander's left were Willow and Kennedy, while to his right were Ororo, and the two introduced to her as Scott and Jean. She pondered if Scott Summers might be a relation of some kind, then shook her head.
As they laughed, she noticed Xander's hand kept twitching, like he wanted to reach out and take Ororo's. She had to admit, the X-Woman had some seriously nice taste in clothes, and was a complete knockout. Feeling more than a bit rambunctious, she leaned partly out of her pool chair, and grabbed their hands and stuck Ororo's in Xander's. "There, now maybe some of the sexual tension around here will lighten up," she crowed.
Xander seemed completely frozen, while Storm was blushing furiously. A voice crowed in laughter on the other side of the pool, and Buffy noticed the brown-haired guy named bobby. He was about their age, maybe a year younger than Scott and Jean, and was, in Buffy's opinion, pretty nummy."We should have done that to Scott and Jean years ago!" cackled the young man.
Scott's hand inched towards the red sunglasses he wore, but Jean's hand stopped him. Bobby reached out his hand and a plank of ice shot across the pool, six feet OVER the pool, and he rode it to join the rest of the group. For some reason, Buffy began to wonder if cookie dough was any good frozen.
The resonant voice of Dr McCoy carried over the back yard area. "Attention, I do believe the first batch of hamburgers are done!" he called from where he, Logan, and Piotr were standing around three grills. The kids nearly exploded from the pool, some of them almost literally, and swarmed to the clarion cry of "Food!"
Buffy idly noticed that Xander had yet to let go of Ororo's hand, and in fact their fingers had begun to intertwine. Good. He needs someone that he can feel like he can protect, who at the same time can protect him if he needs it. That, and he's been depressed about Anya too long.
And she just KNEW that Storm would be good for him.
A/N: Just as a frame of reference, the Aigamuxa is an actual African legendary monster, said to be the being that causes sandstorms. I just added a few bits, especially its stealth and sensing abilities, for this fic. And I may or may not do a sequel, but first I have to finish 'To Wield The Power'...