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Fever01 - Empowerment

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Summary: Xander's Roadtrip leads him on a journey he never expected

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > Xander-Centered > Theme: Road TripLucifaelFR18111,90434110,7232 Aug 062 Aug 06Yes
TITLE: 00X-Verse Season 01
EPISODE: Episode 01 - Empowerment
PART: 01
AUTHOR: C. J. (cj@cjwhittaker.net)
WEBSITE: http://www.cjwhittaker.net
DISTRIBUTION: My Group, Website and TtH
DISCLAIMER:All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon and associates, all other crossover's belong to who ever the hell owns them.
SUMMARY: Xander's Roadtrip leads him on a journey he never expected
FEEDBACK: Please do send me feedbak, it's the lifes blood of fan fiction.
CATEGORY: Action/Adventure/Multi-Crossover
RELATIONSHIPS: X/?
RATING: FR18
SPOILERS: Some for Season 2 of BtVS
BETA'D: Graham Hands, Jayesh, Oom Desi and James White. Thanks to them all.
WARNINGS: Violence and the usual stuff you find in my work.
AUTHORS NOTES:

This is the Third try at getting the 00X-Verse right. It is very different from the other attempts and if it wasn't for the fact that some situations and characters are the same I would've released it under a different name :)

*****



Episode 01 - Empowerment

"Dying" he [Maugham] said to me, "is a very dull, dreary affair." Suddenly he smiled. "And my advice to you is to have nothing whatsoever to do with it," he added.
Robin Maugham Escape from the Shadows (1972) pt. 5, p. 233

Sunnydale, Ca – Night
"The line between the light and the night is where you exist." the voice told him in hypnotic tones.

"What? I don't understand." Xander asked, feverish. His eyes wildly looking around the bleak landscape in which he found himself. There were fires all around him and the smell of brimstone stank to high something, possibly hell. He'd thought he'd known hell, until these dreams had started.

"You stand before the tide." the voice informed him.

"Where am I? What are you talking about?" Xander asked desperate for some sort of resolution to the dream that had been plaguing him for months. Ever since they had found out what the mayor was going to turn into. He had hoped the dream would pass on when they inevitably beat the bad guy. His hopes had been dashed that very night though. Oh, and yes, he knew it was a dream alright. He had a strange sensation of self, almost like he was awake in the dream, which was patently impossible of course.

"You don't recognize this place?" the voice's soothing tones asked.

"No!" Xander replied sharply. He figured he would remember a hell hole like this.

"You've been here often enough." the voice said, a hint of ... amusement in it.

"Just cut to the chase." Xander said, becoming annoyed.

"This is the mall, Sunnydale's mall." the voice said. Then with that and the approach of pure panic Xander sat bolt upright in bed, sweating profusely and breathing hard.

"Okay, that was a new twist." he panted, the muscles in his chest straining because he was breathing so hard. The dreams were always so damn vivid. It was like he was there. Xander absently got out of bed and happened to look down at his feet. His feet that were covered in thick ash, his entire body bleached of all color.

-00X-

Today was the day. He was leaving Sunnydale for an extended period for the first time in like... ever. For as long as he was able to remember he had been living and fighting in the 'dale. He needed to get away, he knew that. It was obvious from the dreams he'd been having, and the freak-some moment with the ash the night before. Xander shivered despite the blisteringly hot SoCal sun.

He'd seen things, done things since he had entered the battle against vampires and demons. Nothing, not one thing compared to the feeling that had crawled up his spine when he'd seen that damn ash on his feet. He wished he could pretend that it hadn't happened. The trouble was that it had taken him several long minutes to get the damn stuff off in the shower. Footprints had remained afterwards as well. He'd had to get out the washing gear and as silently as he could clean up the mess. He didn't want his parents getting awoken too early. Hell he'd rather just slip away totally unnoticed, let alone explaining away that ash...

Xander slipped his last few meager belongings into his trunk and got ready to leave. He had a few stops to make along the way, one in particular he didn't want his parents to know about. He was very glad he was 18 now.

Xander's family life had been what could be best described as a total nightmare for as long as he could remember. His mother and father fought all the time. His dad hit his mother, then his mother hit his father, then they got drunk and things really got nasty. Then they started to notice him. He'd creep around as quiet as a mouse but it didn't help in the end. They'd noticed him, and he became the butt of their blame. They blamed him for everything from being alive, to his father loosing another job.

In those dark days he had three things that made it worth while. Three things that had made life worth continuing, Willow and Jessie had been two things, friends that he could call his own. Friends that seemed to care for him, even though he knew not why, friends that had helped him grow and maintain a measure of self worth and respect.

The final thing had been his dear old Uncle Rory. He was everything that his brother wasn't. He was kind and loving, generous to a fault, especially with his brother until that argument back in '89. An argument that had been the worst of Xander's life, he'd nearly lost his beloved uncle that day to a broken beer bottle wielded in his father's hand. Luckily nothing lasting had taken place, just a wound that had scarred the guy since, both physical and emotional. Xander didn't know what they were arguing about, but in the end as it always did, it became his fault. Rory had stuck up for him and from there it had gone down hill fast.

None of that really mattered now though. Rory was dead.

It was a vampire attack. If Xander was any judge, and he was, just another innocent he couldn't be there for? No, this was much worse; this was the last person on the face of the planet that seemed to still love him at all. He was, Xander believed, to blame for the other two losses. Firstly he'd lost Jessie to a demon he'd killed himself, an accident of all the ignominious things. Then Willow to his teen-aged lust laced brain. Also loosing a woman he may have come to love in the process. He blamed himself fully for those losses, but it didn't take away the sting that even now Willow avoided him. That Cordelia hated him, that he was the only one to still visit Jessie's grave. Then Rory dying had seemed to take the color out of life for a while.

Xander truly loved his uncle and was missing him already. In the end, he'd been the only one left in Xander's life that seemed to care about HIM. It may seem petty when you're fighting demons and all that, but occasionally he would just like a 'well done' from Giles. A thank you from Buffy, of course a celebratory screw wouldn't hurt... Xander snapped out of the daze he'd put himself into. He let out a sigh and shoved his bag in the crapped out old Chevy. It was purely for show. He had a 'good' car waiting at Rory's. He'd been living there since he'd graduated and had all his 'real' stuff there. It felt weird to lie to his parents like this. But then he wasn't sure he really cared about what they thought anymore. The time comes when abuse overtakes the heart and you just stop caring for someone i.e. the abuser.

"Boy!" the deep rough voice of his drunken fathers called out from the door to the house.

Xander glanced back to see his father blinking in the sunlight and shading his face. He was dressed in a robe and sweats. The very picture of sartorial elegance Xander didn't think.

"Yeah dad." Xander said his voice soft. It didn't do to make loud noises around an abusive drunk. They didn't react well to it, as a set of broken ribs had once shown him.

"Come here, we want to talk."

"Sure dad." Xander said, the respect in his voice was purely for show, but a broken leg had once taught him it was better to be safe than sorry. For some reason, even after all this time, he couldn't roll out the sort of bravery he used against demons and vampires against his parents, perhaps because part of him still loved them, or just because they were his parents? He wasn't sure, but it was frustrating in a strange sort of way. Part of him would love to dish out some of their medicine, even while another part recoiled at it.

He walked back to the broken down house that had been his home for the entirety of his life and slipped inside. The stench of stale beer and body odor hit him like a physical force, just as it always did. When he was younger and used to stay with Willow, her parents had always forced him to have a bath before he was allowed to do anything else. When he was young he couldn't understand why, and then as he grew older he realized just how much he stank.

"What's up dad?" he asked, leaning back against the wall.

His father sat next to his mother. She had once been quite the beauty. The thing with beauty is that it's a gift, a gift that once abused fades. She had faded; her beauty had become sallow, and had already only been skin deep. Now she was nothing more than a sick looking woman who could pass for sixty, not forty. "We've got news."

"We don't want you back here."

"You're bad luck, always have been."

"You're old enough that we can get rid of bad rubbish."

"You not even ours."

The last in their mini tirade actually caught Xander's attention. He'd been expecting the rest. The last though...

"What?" Xander asked tilting his head to one side, like a different angle would help him hear properly.

"You're a bastard, I always told you that you were boy." his father said with a vicious gleam of enjoyment in his eye. "Some bitch dumped you on your mother and she was too soft to give you up."

Xander blinked, "I'm... adopted?"

"No, you don't exist. We had to use Rory's contacts to get you a life. We gave you everything boy, all you gave us back was shitty luck."

"You can't blame me for being a failure." Xander said, a small continent shifting from his shoulders.

"What did you say to your father you little shit bag."

Xander rolled his eyes, "Shut the hell up!" he spat. "For 18 years you've done nothing but treat me like shit, blame me for your own shortcomings and failures. Now I'm 18 you dump it on me and what? Expect me to suddenly break down or something? Beg for forgiveness for just existing. Why the hell didn't you give me up if you hated me so much?"

His parents shifted a little, then his father decided rather than answer the logical question he'd react the way Xander knew he would.

"You little." he began, getting to his feet lumbering and moving to strike Xander.

Xander didn't even move, he just caught the big mans fist in his hand and glared at the man that had tried to be his father. Right now, if he wanted to he could take the bastards head off. He knew he had enough power to seriously hurt the out of shape man. He fought Vampires for after school work. He knew how to deal with much stronger opponents than an out of shape shit bag like his 'ex-father'. This, in the end, was what held him back. Sometimes, real power exists in NOT doing a thing even though you have the ability to do it. Xander just pushed back on the fist, forcing his 'father' to sit back down.

"I want an answer." Xander said.

The gears of the universe paused in their turning as Mr. and Mrs. Harris fought with the shred of human decency left in them and of course the fear. Fear won. "I was paid; twice yearly."

Xander had always supposed Rory somehow kept his brother going; apparently they had another source of income. "Who by?"

"We dunno." his father told him, "Just a cheque in the post."

"Still got the last one?"

"Hell no!" his mother said, "We cash them straight away."

"The envelope?"

"Out of state, New York." his father said.

"How much?"

"50 grand a year."

"And you still blame ME?" Xander said with a ghost of a nasty smile. "Seems my presence here bank rolled your drinking habit." Xander shrugged, "Something tells me that ended when I reached 18, or you'd be trying to keep me here."

His mother nodded at him.

"What else can you tell me?"

"Why?"

"I'm curious, that's all you need to know 'daddy dearest'." Xander said with withering sarcasm.

His father looked ill but shook his head, "Only that we were to treat you like a dog and keep you in town."

Xander blinked, who the hell would hate a baby enough to do that to them? So much for the parent theory or at least he hoped so. "Well thanks for nothing." Xander said then turned to walk away. He suddenly paused and glanced back at them, "Why? Why do it?"

They both shrugged, "The Money."

"Was it worth it?" He said indicating the lounge of the rundown shit hole of a house, "Did you enjoy your money really, have you got a single memory that you can pick out and say... That makes what we did worth while. Shit, can you remember anything much at all?" he asked in disgust and then just walked away.

It would be great to say that his mother and father looked at each other and thought about what he had said. They did look at each other but only to say, "I need a drink."

That was the last thought either of them had for the rest of their short lives.

-00X-

"Buffy."

Blonde hair flashed in the sun as Buffy Summer turned towards the voice that had called out to her. She was currently working out in her backyard. Something that she was now thankfully able to do on a more regular basis, for a moment she thought it was Angel standing there. Wearing a dark suit, leather pants and almost black shades, she could be forgiven for mistaking the identity of the dark haired man. Her smile was briefly radiant, then the reality of the situation struck home and she realized a few things. One it was daylight and Angel would be toast by now, two that hair was missing a fair bit of gel and three despite the cool clothes it was just Xander. Her smile dimmed considerably. "Oh, Xander." she said, not doing a very good job at hiding her disappointment. She didn't mean anything by it. Loosing Angel, however, still stung like crazy and she was putting his face where it shouldn't be all the time. It was like he had died or something, as crazy as that sounded.

Xander though, was deeply stung. He'd dropped by to say goodbye and her less than enthusiastic hello was a worrying sign that he was right. No one really cared if he was around, not anymore. He'd made too many mistakes, been the wrong person really. Especially in the case of Buffy Summers, he really wished he could show her that he wasn't the wrong guy, but he knew that in the end it was a futile effort.

"Buffy, hi." he said.

"Been stealing Angel’s clothes now he's out of town?" Buffy said in what she thought was a jocular tone. Normally Xander may have agreed with her, had it been any other day he would've perhaps laughed along with her. Today, it was just more pain to add to the pile.

"Erh... No." he said seriously, "Look..." he paused, "I'm going away for a while."

"Lucky you." Buffy put in moving to strike at her practice dummy, "Well have a good holiday."

Xander blinked at her. 'Okay, so that HURT; damn it. Am I so easy to dismiss?' he asked himself.

By time Buffy turned back from pummeling the wooden dummy Xander had already left. She frowned slightly, and then shrugged it off. She was just about to ask where he was going, but it was no big deal. She'd no doubt see him soon. It wasn't like Xander had enough money to stay away for too long, or go that far really.

-00X-

Xander kicked a can on the way back to his car and glared at road for a minute. He slipped in behind the driver's side and looked through the front window aimlessly. Was he THAT easy to dismiss. Had all he done for them meant that little. He had, after all, been central in the plan to take out the mayor. Or so Buffy had said, had she been lying? Xander didn't know. He didn't know why she would either.

He was starting to wish he'd never woken up that day. It was turning out to be the day from hell, not the day he escaped the mouth of hell for a while.

He was starting to wonder if he should even bother.

Suddenly he got angry at himself, why the hell should he hang around anyway. They'd made it plain in the past that they didn't NEED him. So why was he still there? It then occurred to him that somehow he just was. His so called parents had kept him in town, to the point of making sure he never went on holiday with the Rosenberg family even when invited, or school trips for that matter.

So just to spite them he'd get out of town. What he was going to do after that he had no idea.

He shifted the car into gear and squealed away from the curb. He briefly thought about dropping by on Willow but quickly dismissed it. He wasn't into self-flagellation thank you so very much!

-00X-

As Xander blazed across the town border his 'parents' were having a celebratory drink. They were more than happy to get rid of the kid they had raised by the skin of their teeth. They both knew they wouldn't be getting anymore money; it had been a stipulation of the 'contract' when they took over his 'care'. They were already planning on moving out of the god forsaken town they had made their home. Mr. Harris was even toying with the idea of getting a job. They didn't need a lot of money to live on. Rory had given them some; it would tide them over for a while. No, things were looking up for the Harris's, all because they had finally gotten rid of the weight that had been tied around their necks for 18 years.

Suddenly, from nowhere, the earth trembled and shook. It jumped around below their feet causing them both to fall into each other. Then a crack appeared across their living room, they and the family couch, were suddenly and literally swallowed up by the ground. The crack snapped back together crushing them painfully and of course killing them quickly. Apart from a few wonky looking pictures and the missing couch, the Harris household returned back to normal.

It was as if nothing had happened at all.

The only person who may, once, have cared enough to check on them was even at that very moment flying across the desert in his brand new car heading towards Oxnard.

A Month Later, Just Outside Smallville, KA - Night
The road stretched out in front of him and cornfields to either side as far as the eye could see. The sun had long ago dipped below the horizon, but unlike his home town. He wasn't worried about being out and about alone at this time of night. In fact, he was almost at peace with the night for a change. If it wasn't for his current predicament all would be well with the world. The young man with shaggy brown hair and dark eyes looked into the night and sighed. All had been going so well until his tired stead of a car had given up the ghost. From that point on things had gone down hill at an exponentially rapid rate. Firstly he'd made a bad decision. He should've stayed on in Oxnard and maybe fixed the car by getting some sort of employment. Instead he had decided to push on, hitching his way across America. At first it had seemed to be an okay idea. He could handle himself well against any normal threat. He had as well; he'd unfortunately been forced to render one weirdo unconscious back near Vegas.

Still he had pushed on.

The more he carried on, the worse things seemed to get.

Money had become tight, then virtually nonexistent. At this point in time he was down to about 20 dollars in total and some beef-jerky in his back pack. He'd lost most of his clothes when he'd been forced to jump from a moving train back in Utah. Luckily at the time, he'd had some money to replace a few essentials. That said, however, the clothes he now wore on his back were virtually it.

To top things off, all along his journey he had found that Vampires and demons seemed to be attracted to him and not the Hellmouth. Or that was how he was feeling at least. In every other town he stopped at he ended up fighting something. Colorado had been the worst though, and had cost him in the form of a nasty leg injury. One he couldn't afford, nor had the inclination to deal with the questions about it, to get it fixed. So he was now walking with a pronounced limp.

Luckily, Kansas was at least being nice to him. The people seemed friendly enough and he'd scored a couple of lifts. His own stubborn pride was the one thing keeping him going now. He WAS going to make it to the East coast and back if it killed him. Of course, the way things were going it just might.

A Moment Earlier.

Clark Kent entered his parents barn and looked around warily. From the loft the one girl that pulled on his heart strings spoke making him turn around quickly. Not only was Lana Lang there but also Chloe Sullivan and Lois Lane as well. Or at least their bodies were. Clark was fairly sure that the three women were not themselves at that moment.

“You're early. You're not planning something devious, are you, Clark?” Lana asked with a superior smile.

“What did you do to Lex and Jason?” Clark demanded.

“Nothing compared to what we're going to do to you.”

“Surgite!” Lois called out causing a large wagon wheel to rise into the air and fly at Clark. It knocked him clear across the barn and while he was getting up the three women made their way down the stairs.

“I don't know what's going on, but this needs to stop before it gets out of hand.” Clark said, standing unharmed.

“So you're more than just fast. Well, that'll make this a whole lot more exciting.” Lana said with that smile again.

Chloe smiled at Lana, then stepped forward holding her arms out to both sides and then bringing them together. “Incede!”

Several tools rose into the air including pliers, a wrench, and a blade from an electric saw. They came together in front of Chloe, and then flew at Clark one by one. Using his heat vision Clark shot them out of the air and all three women watched him, astounded.

“I don't want to hurt anyone.”

“Your magics are impressive.” Lana commented

“Magic?” Clark asked with confusion.

“But so are mine. Evertere!” Lana told him and he rose into the air convulsion.

“We have traveled through the ages to complete our quest, outwitting death itself! We will not be outdone by some farm boy with a few tricks.” Lana continued then lowered her hand. Causing Clark to drop like a stone. Chloe and Lois both knelt down next to him.

“He's not what he seems, Isobel.” Chloe commented.

“I can feel his power.”

“Then perhaps we should rid him of it.”

“Chloe. You got to help. I know you're in there.” Clark said looking at Chloe imploringly.

“Clark?” she answered, looking into his eyes serious.

Clark nodded, “Listen to me. You got to help me.”

Chloe looks distressed from Clark to Lois for a snatch of time then breaks into laughter. Then Lana kneels down over Clark and rips his shirt open, putting her hands on his bare chest. She chants in Latin quietly.

A bright light began to shine out of Clark's chest and a long purple-white string of energy flew from Clark and out of the barn.

“It is done.” Lana said, “His powers are gone.”

The girls stood up and backed away from Clark who was now unconscious. They smiled down at him triumphantly.

Just Outside Smallville, KA - Night
The string of pure power, both magical and Kryptonain shot from the barn and into the sky up towards the atmosphere. In normal circumstances it would seek out an earth. However, magic was causing it to fly up high to disperse in the atmosphere. Suddenly, from the clear Kansas night sky a bolt of electric blue lightning shot into the tendril of power. The three energies combined into one purple, almost black bolt and fired back towards the earth. The clouds whipped past in mere nanoseconds a vista of fields appearing and coming every closer. Until a single man, trudging down the long black snake of road was visible.

The man didn't stand a chance as the almost black bolt of pure power hit him like a hammer blow. Sending him to his knees, then to the ground and finally into the ground a crater erupting around him. Dust, dirt and chunks of super heated tar flew up into the air, some atomizing in a flash. The man taking a hit of power that wasn't truly meant for any human to deal with. Luckily for the man, he wasn't strictly speaking totally human. A special part of his physiological make up came to life in a flash. A part of him that normally wouldn't have come to life until his first death. It took the power and attempted to do its work.

Power flowed through the young man's body healing injuries sustained over a lifetime, and more recently too. His very make up was changed to allow him to channel such a power as his quickening tried to deal with the alien energies surging through his system. Despite the strangeness of this quickening his fragment of divine energy did what it would always do until his head was removed from his body. It took the energy invading his body and integrated it.

It dealt with the two more unusual sources of power first of all. One it knew of, magic. It built a core inside of him and stored the energy there for the most part. It earthed some off into the ground around the insensate form of its host also. Balance was the important part here; Magic was all about balance and was a natural source of energy.

The second energy form was totally alien though. This turned out to be less of a problem than one would have thought though. The energy itself was already attaching to the young mans body and making its own changes, firstly body mass became more dense, changes were made to pathways inside of the host body to allow energy transfer to the eyes, the retina was changed almost totally, muscles were tightened and strengthened, and finally a second core of power was created inside the host body.

The quickening allowed all this to happen then took those two cores and combined them, adding them to itself in the process. A single core of power was created in the host body that ensured compatibility. Then finally it absorbed the almost pure quickening energy it had received along with the strange blast of power. This was absorbed as all were and placed in storage in the body, waiting for the end game, or for the host to lose his head.

Then finally it set about healing the host who had died in the process of dealing with so much power.

Just Outside Smallville, KA – The Next Day

Xander's eyes flickered open painfully at first, then as the light seemed to dim down a bit he was able to focus. The pain faded off completely and he noticed something rather odd. He was lying in a ditch. Of course it wouldn't be the first time, but this was a strange looking ditch. It was fairly clean, if dirt could be called clean. The more he looked around, the more he realized that in fact, it was round-ish in shape as well. That wasn't very ditch like in Xander's experience, and as much as he shuddered to realize it. He was quite the expert these days. Unsteadily he got to his feet and looked around with a frown growing on his features.

“Okay, this is weird even for me.” he said to himself. He looked around a bit more, trying to remember what the hell had happened the night before, but nothing was coming to him. The last thing he remembered was walking down the highway thinking about his journey so far. It hadn't been the most stirring of thought topics either.

Then Bam! That was it.

It was possible, he supposed, that he had walked into the ditch by accident. It had been pretty dark, but... Something just didn't add up in his mind. A crater in the middle of a highway? Those things tended to be fixed up pretty quickly. The crater itself also seemed to be fairly fresh. There was nothing growing in it for instance, the edges of the crater itself were holding well and the earth was dry. No sign that it had been rained on.

Thinking that maybe he could make a little money from a local astrology unit Xander quickly searched around in the crater. Perhaps a meteorite had fallen last night. A college or something would be interested in that right? It was, however, to no avail. There was nothing in the crater accept him. This, going by all that had happened lately, was just his damn luck.

Xander let out a long suffering sigh and walked over to the edge of the crater. It was about six foot high which would mean it would be difficult to get out of. Suddenly Xander looked around, searching for something. It had just occurred to him that he was missing something rather important. His backpack, he couldn't feel its almost reassuring weight any longer. A frantic search and five minutes later turned up nothing and Xander could feel himself becoming almost angry.

This was just the way his luck went!

He ran his hands through his hair, thus making himself even filthier than he already was and almost unconsciously went to hook his thumbs in his arm straps. Strangely enough he was able to. He pulled them off and swung what was left of his pack round and inspected it with a bemused frown. He had long since gone past getting really angry at his journey. It was almost becoming farcical to him now. His pack was a mess. He had no idea what the hell had happened, but what ever it was it had burned away his back pack, and now he came to really look at himself, most of his shirt and parts of his jeans too.

Xander just threw his head back and laughed bitterly. This was just about the last straw, but only just about. He had business on the East coast and he WAS going to get there.

-00X-

Clark drove his parent's truck snarking with his passenger slightly along the long stretch of rode. After nullifying the threat the witches posed and regaining his powers from the stone of power he had dropped Lana, and then Chloe back to their respective houses. Lois however, was his 'guest' for the duration of her stay. Which, he was quite hoping would be fairly short. He liked her, on one hand; on the other she rubbed him up the wrong way. It was strangely enough, quite nice to exchange quick fire quips with her. Even though 90% of the time he came off the worse for wear. He liked her quick wit and the fact she was also quite beautiful didn't hurt, despite the fact he still loved Lana. She was with Jason now though, and at the end of the day he knew somewhere deep down it was his fault she'd gone to Paris in the first place.

“Clark!” Lois suddenly shouted a warning, bringing him back to the here and now. He slammed his foot on the brake and the large red truck slewed to a stop, just clipping a dark haired and mud covered guy back into the hole he'd only just managed to climb out of.

“Jesus, Smallville, where were you!” Lois said diving out of the passenger side door as Clark exited the drivers’ side. Together they ran round to the front of the truck and looked at the man Clark had clipped. Luckily it seemed that he was okay, though his clothes looked the worst for wear, not to mention the dirt clinging to him. In fact he was so Okay, that he apparently found the entire thing hilarious. Judging by the way he was laughing his head off at any rate.

“Hey, mister; are you alright?” Lois called down to him.

The, possibly, dark haired man looked up at her and just continued to laugh harder. Lois checked herself over and apart from the somewhat revealing attire she was wearing. She couldn't see what was making him laugh so hard. Clark raised a brow and looked at the guy. Without the dirt and somewhat burnt looking appearance he was about his age, or there about if Clark was any judge. He gave the guy a moment to compose himself and then walked to the very edge of the crater, “Need a hand?”

“I dunno” the guy said with mirth in his eyes, “I just keep on getting knocked back down. Is it worth it?”

Clark wasn't sure what to make of that, so he just offered his hand. The guy just nodded and with a slight smile reached out to take Clark's hand. A nasty snap and fizzle later both men were on their backs, except the guy was just laughing all that much harder.

“Wow, some static” Lois said, her eyes serious as she checked Clark over. Who, for his part, was getting back to his feet looking confused. He'd just been hurt! It wasn't something that happened very often. He was somewhat surprised that the guy was laughing to be honest. He certainly didn't see anything to grant that much humor.

“Oh man that hurt” The guy said moving to stand back up. “If you don't mind, I'm not going to risk that happening again.” he said and started to scale the somewhat unstable crater sides again.

“No, sure, that's fine!” Clark said, flexing his hand a bit.

“Clark!” Lois said, scandalized, “He needs help”

“I'm fine” the guy said from beside her. Lois just sort of blinked at him. “That was quick.”

The man had a confused sort of look on his face, “Huh, yeah. I'm Xander by the way.”

“Lois” she said, and without thinking shook his hand. Nothing happened, thankfully.

“Huh, whatever it was must've gone. Want to try again?” Xander said to Clark.

Clark smiled, “Sure I'm Clark” he said and they shook hands. Another zip and crackle later and Xander was once more in the crater, laughing his head off.

Clark got back up and looked at the stranger with a slight note of worry in his eyes.

“You two don't seem to be compatible” Lois commented with humor. Though she was closer to the truth than she could ever realize.

“No” Clark said with a frown.

“Ah; chin up Smallville. There's a storm brewing, I expect you two are just charged from the atmospheric charge or something.”

“Yeah, can't you smell the Tin?” Xander said from his place on his back in the crater, and then continued to laugh.

“I think we've found a crazy.” Lois said in a quite aside to Clark. Who was forced to agree. He'd never met anyone that could laugh at being put in a crater over and over again. Which brought to mind why was he there in the first place. He looked almost like he'd been struck by lightning or something, but the crater seemed too big.

“One more try; and then I'm quitting and staying in this hole.” Xander said, gearing up to run up the side of the crater one last time. He did so as Clark and Lana talked and neither saw him blur up the crater wall and come to a surprised stop on the lip. “Okay.” Xander mumbled to himself, even as he was overcome with a sudden tiredness. He swayed slightly, but Lois came to his rescue, grabbing him by the shoulder and stopping him from falling back in the crater.

“I think we need to get you to a hospital.” she told him, noting that he was no longer manic with laughter and seemed just about ready to feint.

“No, no way. I HATE hospitals.” Xander said trying to stand under his own power.

“Look, mister you ...”

“It's Xander and no, no hospitals I'm phobic. But I could really do with a bath and something to eat, I'll work it off.” he said hopefully.

Clark and Lois shared a quick glance and then nodded. “Come back to the farm. We'll get you something to eat there. Do you know what happened to you?” Clark said as he steered Lois and Xander back to the truck without actually making contact with Xander. He had no wish to be electrocuted again.

“Not a damn clue.” Xander said slurring slightly. “One minute I'm walking down the road at night. The next I'm waking up a while ago in a crater.”

“You look like you were struck by lightning or something, but there are no burns or anything.” Lois commented getting into the truck to sit between Clark and Xander.

Xander hauled himself into the truck wearily and smiled slightly, “Could be. Would fit in with the way my luck's been going of late. But, it wasn't raining last night was it?”

“Doesn't always have to be” Clark said thoughtfully, “You should really go to a hospital.”

“No, really, please, I hate them with a passion. Besides I've got no insurance.”

Then he slipped off into a blissfully unaware sleep. Lois and Clark exchanged a glance, should they take him to hospital anyway? No seemed to be the consensus. It wouldn't do much good; the guy would just check himself out anyway from the way he talked. This way they could get Martha, Clark's mother to check him over instead. So they drove round the large crater, brushing up against the fence of the field by the road and pushed on towards the Kent Farm.

Kent Farm, KA - Day.

“MOM.” Clark called out as soon as they arrived by the yellow farm house and had bailed out of the truck. “DAD.” he called out again, this time to his father.

“Huh, they must be out.” Lois said, climbing out of the truck and leaving their stray asleep for a moment.

“Yeah they mentioned something about a market; they must've got a lift with the Sanderson's.” Clark commented, he blew out a breath, “Come on lets wake our guest.”

Lois smiled slightly, “You do that, and I need to get changed.”

Clark rolled his eyes, “Leave some hot water for our new friend?”

Lois just smirked and sashayed away.

Clark sighed and rolled his eyes again but quickly turned back to their guest. “Hey Xander!” he said, shaking him by the shoulder. Being careful not to touch any skin, just in case of more shocking.

“Huh?” Xander said, blinking twice before his eyes snapped open. “Where... Oh yeah. Hey we're here then?” he asked, looking around. “Nice place. Thanks for this by the way.”

“It's not a problem. I may even have some clothes around somewhere. We're about the same size.”

“Thanks, that's very good of you. I've got no money, but I'm sure there are plenty of chores I can do or something?” Xander said.

“Honestly, there's no need. Come on. Let's get you inside and some food in you. You look like you need it.”

“Yeah.” Xander said with a grin. “I've not eaten anything decent in a while.”

“The house is up this way.” Clark said, taking a step away from the vehicle and allowing Xander to step out. Xander's legs almost gave way under him, but luckily he caught himself on the door.

“Damn, I'm more tired than I thought.” Xander commented with a wry smile.

“I'm sure we can get you someplace to sleep for a while too.” Clark said, his good natured heart not allowing him to even contemplate throwing an obviously in need guy out on the streets as it were.

“I'll repay you for this one day.” Xander said seriously.

“Honestly, it's okay.” Clark told him with a smile.

“Now let me feed this beast in my stomach and I'll owe you my first born child.” Xander cracked with a smile.

*****


Ten minutes and a LOT of food later Xander was starting to feel human again. Just, after all he was still filthy and sat in burnt clothing. “Damn that's good. You sure know how too cook.” Xander complemented Clark.

“Not me.” Clark said with a grin, “My Mom made that, its last night’s dinner I just warmed it up.”

“I'll have to remember to compliment her. They won't mind, your parents I mean?”

Clark was already shaking his head, “No, seriously Xander stop worrying, it’s fine. They won't mind a bit. After all you were in a real bind there from what I could see.”

“Yeah, I've been down on my luck lately.” Xander admitted with a slight shrug. “Sucks, but with any luck I'll be able to turn it around.”

“So what were you doing out and about at night?” Lois asked, walking into the room and toweling her hair dry.

“Sorry what?” Xander asked, giving himself a slight shake. 'Damn she's hot.' he thought to himself.

“I said; what were you doing on the road at night?” Lois repeated with a smile and a slight twinkle in her eye.

“Walking.” Xander said with a shrug. “My car died back in Cali. I've been hoofing it ever since.”

“You've walked from California?” Clark asked in surprise.

“Well, not quite. I've hitched a few rides, gotten a box car or two. Been thrown off them too actually.”

“Hopefully while it was standing still” Lois put in.

“Yeah, that would've been better for my back that's for sure.”

“Are you serious?” Clark and Lois asked together.

“Yep. Some of those Hobo's get real nasty about sharing a car you know.” Xander tested his leg, “Strange he commented.”

“What?” Lois asked, still mulling over the last tit bit of information.

“Oh nothing to worry about. Can I take that shower?” Xander replied.

“I dunno; did you leave any hot water Lois?” Clark said tongue in cheek.

She thwacked him on the shoulder in reply.

Xander smiled at them, “So how long have you two been going out then?” he asked.

“What?” they said together. “No.” they continued in the same vain.

Then Lois added, “Me and Smallville, So not going to happen.”

Xander smirked, “Okay, I stand corrected. Shower?” he asked as politely as possibly as the two glared at each other slightly.

“Urm, sure this way.” Clark said, “I'll grab some clothes for you too.”

“Hope you like Plaid.” Lois put in as they walked away.

“Actually I've got some clothes knocking around from when I went to Metropolis. They bring back some ... bad memories. You can take them if you like.” Clark told Xander as they walked up the stairs.

“You serious man? That's really good of ya.”

“I've been meaning to drop them off at goodwill, just never got around to it. I think you could use them more right now. You said you had no money right.”

“Yeah.” Xander said, blushing slightly. “What little I did have left was in my pack. My pack seemed to take the brunt of whatever the hell hit me. This is the only reason I can think of as to why I seem to be mostly unharmed.”

“Possible I suppose.” Clark said, slightly dubiously.

“Wish I could damn well remember what happened though.” Xander said with a self deprecating smile. “I always knew I was crazy, but not forgetful.”

Clark chuckled along with the other guy, “Here's the shower, and I’ll drop the clothes off outside the door for you.”

“I don't know what to say man, you're a saint.” Xander said, “Thank you. I'd shake your hand but...”

Clark grinned, “Yeah, let's stick to waiving alright?”

Xander laughed, “Yeah good idea. Now I don't care if urh.... Lois left any hot water or not, I HAVE GOT to get clean.”

“Go on. I'll get some more food ready for you too. I'm sure you're still hungry.”

“Thanks man.” Xander said and then ducked into the shower for a second. Then he quickly poked his head back out the door. “Hey Clark?”

“Yeah?”

“You got a plastic bag or something to dump these clothes in. They are past redemption I think.”

Clark grinned, “Sure I'll leave it outside the door too.”

“Thanks.”

-00X-

Nearly half an hour later Lois was sat at the table munching on some toast when steps on the stairs made her turn around. She let out a low whistle and smiled, “Well, Well. Don't we brush up nice? And no Plaid in sight.”

Xander smiled at her, now clean shaven and his hair brushed and above all looking clean again, he did look pretty good. The dark clothes that Clark had given him, one set of about five was actually a close fit and showed off his physique quite well. “Thanks.” he looked at Clark, “And again thank you, these are nice threads.”

“Actually that's a good point.” Lois said, turning to look at Clark.

“I don't want to talk about it.” he said in a carefully neutral tone.

Lois, for once, actually backed off with a nod. She knew when a topic was obviously off limits.

“Is that Coffee?” Xander said hopefully, with a goof ball grin.

“Sure is, want one?” Clark said, grabbing a mug.

“Oh god yes.” Xander said with a huge smile. “I've not been able to afford coffee since Utah.”

“Wow, you really have traveled around a bit haven't you?” Lois commented. Though to an army brat it was almost a walk across a field.

“Yeah, started in SoCal, then I hit Nevada, Utah and Colorado before ending up here.” Xander told her, “I'm trying to get across to the East coast so I've still got a fair way to go. It's taken me about a month to get this far.” he said with a smile at the end.

“What are you going to do now though?” Clark asked, “You said you had no money.”

Xander shrugged, “I honestly don't know for sure. Get some work somewhere, I'm pretty good at lunking stuff around, maybe one of the farms round here need a hand?”

Clark shrugged, “We don't at the moment, sorry. Other than that I'm not sure.”

“Say.” Lois said, “How is it that you manage to do all the work around here anyway?”

Clark thought quickly, “It's a small farm, there’s really not that much to do that my dad and I can't handle.”

“Huh.” she said thoughtfully, then brightened, “Oh I know, what about your Mom. Does she need anyone at the Talon?”

Clark nodded, “She might.” he said with a smile forming, “We'll ask her when she gets back.”

“At the what?” Xander asked.

“The Talon, it's a local coffee shop the turn over rate for staff is pretty high because most of them are high school age and can't stick a job. So I'm sure they could do with someone.”

“Cool, but I'll need a place to stay.” Xander said thoughtfully.

“I'll have to ask, but you could probably stay here for a while.” Clark said then smirked at Lois, “We take in strays all the time.”

“Watch who you're calling a stray Smallville.”

Xander smirked, “That'd be great but I already owe you guys so much.”

“Don't worry” Clark said with a smile.

“You know,” Xander said with a smile crawling across his face, “I think I'm starting to really like Kansas.”

The Talon, Smallville, KA - Day

Xander looked at the coffee machine with a small amount of apprehension. This would be his first day and first time using a coffee machine ever. The night before had gone surprisingly well. Ma and Pa Kent were as open and giving as their son and had offered Xander a place to stay. The converted hayloft and Martha Kent had said that yes indeed they did need people for the Talon. So, here he was awaiting his first order of the day. He'd done the training and then made a few experimental coffees. Luckily while not perfect they had turned out to be palatable.

“I'll have a skinny double Cappuccino, light on the foam.” the voice of his first customer of the day roused Xander from his ruminations.

Xander blinked, smiled and set about making the beverage.

-00X-

Xander served his last customer of the day with a sigh of relief. Not that it had been unpleasant, just hard work. This was fine by him. He wasn't against a little hard work, but it had been a while since he had carried out a days worth. Normally he just fitted in a few hours whenever he was able.

“Thanks again Mrs. Kent” Xander said to his manager, employer and current land lady. The Kents had been amazing to him so far, it was almost too good to be true.

“Honestly Xander, it's fine we really needed the help and please... It's Martha.”

Xander smiled charmingly, “Just being respectful Ma'am. After all I owe your family for this more than you realize.”

“Oh?” Martha asked as she tallied up the tills, happy to note that Xander's take was quite good and bang on with the till receipts.

“Let's just say that I'd just about had enough of my little voyage of discovery and was about to give up. Until I pumped into your son and his... sorry Lois.” he said with a humorous twinkle in his eye.

Martha smirked, “You seem convinced that something is going on between those two. But its Lana Lang that is the apple of Clark's eye.”

“I've yet to meet her’.” Xander commented, “It's just that Clark and Lois remind me of someone, actually a pair of people.” he said with a bittersweet smile.

“Sounds like a story.” Martha told him.

Xander's mind flowed back to memories of making out with Cordelia in the closet and then arguing toe to toe with her in public. They were good memories; one could almost go as far as to say hot memories. Though he wouldn't have thought they were hot enough to make one of the table lamps burst into flame. Though since he'd been looking at it, he could be wrong. “Oh shi....” Xander said cutting himself off, even as he moved to quickly put out the fire.

Martha looked at him in stunned amazement.

“Faulty wiring?” Xander asked, “You should get that looked at.”

“Hmmm” Martha commented, with a slightly concerned note to her voice.

Kent Farm - Later That Night

“It was just like the first few times Clark used his heat vision.” Martha said in a low tone. “I'd lay money on what he was thinking too, considering what we were talking about.”

Jonathon raised an eyebrow, “What were you talking about.”

Martha smiled slightly, “Xander thinks that Lois and Clark...” she trailed off with a shrug.

Jonathon laughed, “Oh, why?”

“He said they reminded him of someone. I'd be willing to bet it was him and someone else. Then he got a far away look on his face. The next thing I knew the lamp was on fire.”

“What did he say?”

“He looked as shocked as I was. But he did say it must be faulty wiring.”

“Could it be?”

Martha shook her head, “The wiring was checked just last week.”

Jonathon nodded with a sigh, “This is tricky. What does Clark say?”

“Nothing, I've not told him yet.”

“Oh, well I think we should tell him and see what he thinks. Maybe he can get more out of Xander than we can. They're about the same age and seem to have hit it off.”

“What if this is some sort of trick, of Jor-el's?”

Jonathon hugged his wife to him. “We'll deal with it, like everything else he's thrown at us. As a family. But it's strange...” he trailed off.

Martha looked up at him from her place on his chest, “What is?”

“There's something about Xander. I mean I've only known him for a short while and ... I just KNOW he's trust worthy somehow. He feels almost... familiar.”

“Who does?” Clark said walking into the room. He saw the scene of his mother being hugged closely by his farther and began to worry. “What's wrong?”

“We're not sure. You're mother saw something you should know about son.” Jonathon told him seriously. “It's about your new friend Xander. Where is he by the way?”

Clark smiled slightly, “He wanted to help out while he was here so I got him mucking out the stalls.” he shrugged, “At least I don't have to do it that way.” he added with a grin. He became more serious and looked at his parents, “So what should I know.”

“We think that Xander is at the very least similar to you.”

Clark blinked, “Why?”

“It could've been a coincidence” Martha warned, “But he flamed a lamp, just the same way you used to before you gained control.”

Clark wiped a hand over his face, “Well; we did find him in a crater.” he said almost off-handedly.

“Clark! This could be serious. A trick of Jor-el's or maybe it's another meteor affected person, but we should take this seriously.” Jonathon cautioned.

Clark smiled slightly, “This is going to sound weird but...”

“It feels right to trust him?” Jonathon said with a slight smile, “I feel the same, but that could also be a trick.”

“You know we're starting to become truly paranoid.” Martha put in.

“I'll talk to him; see if I can carefully find out some of his past.” Clark offered with a nod at his mother's comment. “You never know, maybe he's an alien.”

“Who’s an alien” Xander said walking in through the back door with a grin. “And are they green, because ... Orion slave girls, so cool.”

This surprised a laugh out of the Kents.

“Done already?” Clark said when they had stopped chuckling.

“Yep, it wasn't that messy.”

“That was pretty fast.” Jonathon told him.

“Yeah...” Xander said with a confused look on his face, which cleared quickly. He had no wish to include these nice people in the weirdness that was his life right then.

“Well, there's some hay to move, want to help me with that?” Clark said seizing his chance to talk with the slightly older man.

“Sure thing. Strangely enough I just don't feel tired yet.” Xander said then glanced at his watch, “Huh.” he said.

“What is it?”

“Watch died when whatever happened to me happened.”

“Can I see that?” Clark asked, thinking it may help them to figure out this enigma.

“Sure, I'll have to chuck it now anyway.” Xander said taking off the watch and tossing it to Clark. “Just bin it when you're done.”

Clark looked at the watch and blanched. He covered it quickly, but it was obvious to those who knew him best, his parents. “I'll be right out.” Clark said, prompting Xander to nod and make his way to the truck and out of ear shot.

Clark turned to his parents, “I could be wrong and I hope I am, but this is about the time Isobel removed my powers.”

“But you have them again now” Martha said confused.

“I regained them from the Stone of Power I've got. I thought the powers had gone there, like for storage or something. But what if they hit Xander. Did I tell you about the shocks we keep getting off of each other? I think that's because the magic keeps trying to keep me away or something.”

“This is some leap son.” Jonathon told his boy.

“I know dad, but heat vision, and he did finish those chores WAY too fast. Like as fast as I can.”

“We need to make sure you're right before we can do anything son”

“I know dad, but how do we make sure?”

“We watch and wait. I hope nothing bad happens to him. Most people, in this town at least, don't seem to be able to handle that much power without becoming unhinged.”

“We'll watch out for him Dad. I like Xander he's a good guy.” Clark said firmly.

“Well go on, try to talk to him anyway, you could be wrong after all.” Martha told her son.

-00X-

“Hey Xander, found it I see.” Clark said with a warm smile.

“Well, it wasn't that hard.” Xander said tongue in cheek, looking at the huge pile of pales. “I suppose we should get going.” he continued, reaching out to the nearest bale and grabbing it with both hands. “Where to?”

“Over there.” Clark said, grabbing one for himself.

Xander nodded, then tensed and lifted with all his might. The bale lifted into the air like it was rocket powered flying off far over into the next field.

The two men looked at each other, both stunned although for totally different reasons.

“What the hell just happened?” Xander asked no one in particular.

“I think I can help you there!” Clark said, and then lofted his own bale into the sky just as Xander had done.

“They grow you boys strong in these parts huh?”

“I think we need to have a LONG chat, but this is important Xander. Whatever I tell you stays between you, me and my parents.”

Xander looked at the other man for a long moment before nodding. He needed to know what was going on with him after all and had the feeling, from that display; Clark knew exactly what was going on.

Clark smiled; luckily Lois was with Chloe for the night, giving him and his family plenty of time to talk to Xander and try to figure out what to do for and with the young man.

-00X-

Xander now knew why Clark had found it important to make sure he knew about being quiet. He would've done the same thing in Clark's position. In fact, he wasn't sure he would have been able to oust himself at all. Though he was glad that Clark had decided to be so open and honest with him, though he was still unsure as to why he had. Luckily, he had and had then gone on to show Xander what Xander, to a lesser extent, he could now do.

It hadn't taken that long to find out that Xander could do pretty much everything Clark could do, though the x-ray vision had been the hardest to do. Concentrating his eyes like that was difficult to do to say the least. The heat vision was the easiest considering the trigger was base emotion, like lust. Something Xander was fairly certain he had in plentiful supply. Aiming had been the most difficult aspect, but some scarecrow's later and he was good to go. The strange thing they had found, considering how he had received his powers, was that Xander was much less powerful than Clark. He was able to do the same things, heat vision, strength, speed and even the x-ray vision and hearing. They were, however, to a much weaker effect than Clark.

Good to go where and doing what was the question though. He'd always been the normal one, the one with no powers. Now, suddenly, he had them and not in short supply either. He was at least as strong as Buffy now, if not significantly more so, he was certainly faster. That was certainly pause worthy, for whatever reason Xander wasn't as powerful as Clark was, though he was still more than powerful enough. What was that old line, with great power comes great responsibility or something like that? Xander knew to the depths of his sole that it was bang on in this case. He could likely serious hurt someone if he wasn't careful. It was a sobering thought.

Xander looked out at the stars from his vantage point in the hay loft. His mind on fire with his new status. Clark for his part seemed to be almost happy to have someone like him to talk to. Though Xander didn't yet have much in the way of a frame of reference.

Xander now knew he had a decision to make. It was fairly clear that Clark had no way of taking his powers back. Nor that he even needed to since something already had. He hadn't gone into any detail about that and Xander was fine with that. The other man had secrets that Xander just didn't need to know about. Unlike Clark, Xander wasn't from another planet and his destiny was quite different from the farm boys. If you could have an alien farm boy?

All in all, it had been a truly 'weird' day, even for Xander. So he had to decide what to do now. He knew Clark had become some sort of protector of earth, but he had no idea of just how deadly some of the threats to the earth really were. He was busy dealing with meteor empowered humans, aliens and human evils.

It looked like there was one area that Clark not only had no idea about, he was too busy to deal with. This was where, Xander decided, he could come in useful. He would fight back the darkness that permeated the night time. The darkness that had taken numerous friends from him and cursed him to perpetual night.

That said; he had a personal quest first. A very personal one, he wanted to find out who his parents were and why they hated him so much as to pay the Harris's to treat him so badly.

That quest was leading him to New York.

But first, he had a few little tasks he needed to deal with first.

Xander smiled for the first time since arriving in the hay loft. Human evil may not normally be on his agenda, but that said he knew Law enforcement and vigilante's wouldn't mind if he dipped in his toe just the once.

With that thought in mind and smile on his face Xander left the barn as quickly as he could, borrowing the truck on the way through.

Kent Farm, The Next Day

“Xander!” Clark said, mouth hanging open in shock.

“Now calm down big guy, this isn't what you think.” Xander said hastily backing away, hand in the air in supplication.

Clark dropped his voice. “You can't use your powers to steal!”

“Oh great, so you assume I just ripped off a bank for this little lot then?”

“Where else would you get it?”

Xander smiled evilly, “Ever heard of Ecstasy?”

“You dealt drugs?”

“NO!” Xander said hotly, “I took down five labs last night. Halved the money between me and a local clinic. Then I dropped off the 'bosses' at the local PD” Xander said, a smile on his face at the end.

Clark opened and shut his mouth a few times. Somehow he felt he should be mad. He just couldn't see how to be. Xander had done a good thing taking out drugs labs. He'd even given half the money to charity while taking a few drug lords off of the streets. It just didn't feel right to take the money though.

“Some of this is for you and your folks too” Xander said, his voice now firm.

Clark was already shaking his head.

Xander cut in quickly, “This is untraceable, unmarked money Clark. You and your parents have been damn good to me and I want to pay you back any way I can. I got this money together because I'm going to need it. You fight what you fight and I fight something you wouldn't believe if I told you. To fight it, I need some money and this is it. So I took it from the bad guys to help fight something worse. Can you see anything 'wrong' in that Clark?”

Clark let out a sigh of annoyance, “That still doesn't mean that we should take this money Xander, what about the IRS?”

“Bring it in slowly. Use it when you really need it and hide the rest someplace on the farm. There must be plenty of ways to hide stuff on a farm this big.” Xander said with a shrug. “I'm going to keep this with me until New York, and then I'll put some away in safety deposit until I need it. But first I need to buy a car.” Xander smirked “Now take this damn bag farm boy or I'll kick your ass.”

Clark just smirked.

“Well, okay maybe I won't but I just might be able to set light to it.”

Clark laughed for a moment, and then frowned as he realized how skillfully he'd just been maneuvered by Xander. “I'm still not happy about taking this money. We didn't help you for payment.”

“This just makes you even more deserving of it.” Xander said with a warm smile. “Besides, even with you around. This farm must cost a fair bit to keep running. Just be circumspect with its use and this money will keep you going for a while. But if you ever need help with anything contact me. I'll be getting a mobile before I go, and I will make sure you've got the number” he said mock sternly.

Clark paused then nodded, “I'll still have to convince Mom and Dad though.”

“I know, but just tell them what I told you and remember, no isn't an option here.” Xander told him seriously. “Now I've got a journey to finish and I need to get back on the road sooner, rather than later. So let's go see your folks so I can apologize and get ready to move on.”

“You're sure you don't want to stay on for a while?” Clark asked, “I could help you get more used to your powers.”

“I think I've got a handle on them now.” Xander told him honestly, “Anything else I'll pick up along the way. Is there anything else apart from what you told me?”

Clark shifted slightly.

“What is it?” Xander asked curiously.

“Well, when I was Kal-el.” Clark began nervously, “I kind of sort of... flew”

Xander's mouth worked a few times. “Wow.” he said eventually.

“But I think that's a purely Kryptonain thing. I've not been able to do it since.”

“Kind of disappointed. Flying would be seriously cool. Was it?”

“I don't really remember that well.” Clark admitted, “And I'm not a great fan of heights.”

Xander chuckled, “Well come on fly boy let's go see your mom and pops.”

Metropolis – The Next Day

Xander stood off to one side as he watched the mass of humanity stroll the sidewalk. Getting the Kents to take the money had been as difficult as he'd imagined, but with Clark's help he'd gotten there. He had hated to leave Martha in the lurch about the job, but he felt a pressing need to continue his journey across the states as quickly as possible. She had understood which was cool. Clark had certainly hit the jackpot when it came to parents. Adopted or not, they were very good people.

So now he stood watching humanity walk past wondering what the hell, exactly, he was going to do next. He had done as he said he would do and picked up a mobile and given the number to Clark. He also needed to get a car, with cash, which should be interesting to say the least, but doable.

Xander looked around for a dealership, preferably a second hand one. They tended to be less interested in where the money came from and more so in gaining it. It was more likely that he'd find a lot on the outskirts of town. With a quick glance around to make sure no one was looking he took of at a fast run.

Once he got his car it would be time to move on to New York. From there, he honestly wasn't sure what to do. Only time would tell him what the path to his true destiny would be.

He was after all, just taking his first steps on the trail.

Other Plane

“This can't be happening.” the younger said in stunned amazement.

“Indeed; this is certainly not anticipated.”

“You sound remarkably calm.”

“I've learned that it is wise to remain so. It occurs to me that there is another hand at work here.”

“Surely there are none that would go against our plans in such a way!” the younger objected.

“There are always those who think they know better.”

“What is to be done about this human?”

“We must be careful, freedom of choice raises a hand here.” the elder said thoughtfully.

“What can be done?”

“A few obstacles in his path, he has much power. Perhaps too much for someone so young. Whoever our new adversary is has taken a risk with the human.” the elder commented, “They are generally unable to deal with such gifts.”

“You think that he will destroy himself.”

“That is my belief.”

The younger smiled ethereally, “That is as well then. We can not have a wild card ruining our plans.”

“No, we cannot.” the elder said ominously.

“Then it is decided. He will be removed from the board?”

“Indeed.”

The End

The End

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