Awaken to Reality

Author: Michael Wilson <wyrdradio[at]>

Rating: R

Disclaimer: Joss, Mutant Enemy, and a lot of other people own the characters from Buffy. The characters from The Matrix are a creation of the Wachowski Brothers and is owned by them as well as possibly Warner Brothers, Village Roadshow Pictures - Groucho II Film Partnership... I'm not sure, I'm just writing down the back of the movie cover to be safe.

Spoilers: BtVS - Halloween, Passion, Graduation, Start of Season Four. The Matrix and The Matrix Reloaded.

Setting: Sometime in Season Three in the Buffy Universe and Sometime between The Matrix and Matrix Reloaded - Matrix Reloaded begins during Xander's Road Trip and start of Season Four of Buffy starts about mid-way through Reloaded.

Summary: The world is not as it appears to be... as Xander soon finds out.

Author's Notes: This is a Buffy/The Matrix/Matrix Reloaded crossover.

" " as always means talking... while * * means thoughts.

Feedback: Yes please

Chapter 1

All his life, Xander Harris had felt... not quite a part of events around him. He always had the sense that something was a bit off. As a child, he just ignored it, choosing to immerse himself in being a kid... in enjoying every minute he could away from his home life... away from him. As a teen, things grew too difficult to just go day to day enjoying life. It was then he began hiding behind jokes and comedic antics. He's do anything and everything to get people to laugh at him... because if they were laughing, they wouldn't hit him... so unlike what it was like at home. In a sense, laughter became a costume he wore to hide the pain... but it can't hide everything forever. Quickly Xander noticed that the uneasy feeling he had noticed all his life was getting stronger... and his antics weren't helping him any more. It was then... that everything changed.


Xander walked into his room and dropped his backpack on his bed. It had been a very long day and he was tired... but he couldn't stop to relax. He had promised to go on patrol with Buffy and Willow, but he wasn't sure if he would be able to stay awake to do it. He hadn't been getting much sleep as of late and felt dead on his feet.

*It's hard to sleep... when the dreams keep coming. I know I can't go on like this, but it's better than facing... that place.*

For a week now Xander had been dreaming about someplace dark, cold, and damp. It was hard to tell where exactly he was in the dreams... but wherever it was, it was someplace terrifying to him, and each dream was identical. A flash of light... followed by water... then pain, lots of pain... then another flash of light... and then people who talked to him, but their faces were hidden in shadow.

*Damn dream is making my life a living nightmare...*

Xander shook his head and walked over to his dresser to get a new shirt. As he walked toward it, he noticed something odd about his mirror. For a second, it appeared as if it had... rippled... like a stone falling into a pond. Xander blinked and reached out to touch the surface of the mirror. As his fingers brushed it the downstairs door slammed causing Xander to jump in surprise.

*Damn... he's home...*

Xander opened his dresser and pulled out a new shirt. He then slowly closed the dresser drawer and tiptoed to the window... but his foot snagged on a sock, tripping him, causing him to stumble into his end table.

"Boy! You up there!"

Xander winced and swallowed hard. He looked toward the window... then the door... trying to decide if he could make it to the window before he got upstairs. Deciding on the window, Xander turned to run when the door opened to reveal his father. The aroma of cheap liquor floated across the room and Xander cringed inwardly. He was drunk already... and in a bad mood.

"Why didn't you answer me boy?!"

Xander looked at his father, then looked down at the floor.

"I'm sorry Father..."

Xander's father glared at him and reached out, backhanding him across the face.

"Don't call me by that name, boy! I'm not your father! You're the spawn of some piece of shit your slut of a momma did one night years ago! You're not my son! You call me sir!"

Xander nodded, his eyes on his feet. He could feel his lip swelling and could taste blood in his mouth.

"Yes, sir. I'm sorry I forgot sir."

Xander's father nodded and looked around the room.

"You didn't clean your room like I told you to, did you?"

Xander shook his head. He had cleaned up half of the room, but had had to run to school before he could finish.

"I got half of it..."

Xander's father glared evilly at Xander.

"Half's not good enough! You have five minutes to get it done or else I rip you a new one... you get me!"

Xander nodded, trembling.

"Yes, sir. I understand."

The man nodded and moved to the door.

"Keep quiet while you're at it! Then get the hell out of here when you're done. I don't want to see your face again tonight."

With that said, he stepped into the hall, slamming the door shut behind him. Xander stared at the door for a moment before quickly moving to finish cleaning his room before he scrambled out the window and out into the night.


Xander scrambled up the tree and onto the balcony that led to Willow's room. As he looked through the glass doors, he could see her at work on her homework. She was lying on her stomach on her bed, her feet wiggling in the air as she chewed on a pencil. It was adorable... and under different circumstances, Xander would have stood there and just watched her for a while, but this night he was in too much pain, both physical and emotional, to take the time to savor the moment. He stepped into the balcony and tapped in the door. Willow jerked and looked Xander in the eye. A smile crossed her face as she jumped up and ran to the doors. As she opened them, she stepped aside and let Xander step into her room. Once inside, Willow pulled her best friend into a hug... and it was then she noticed the red mark on Xander's face... and the blood.

"Xander... what happened?"

Xander smirked and sat down on her bed.

"I slipped and fell climbing out my window. I hit a tree branch on the way down and the mean thing did this to me. Go figure."

Willow nodded and frowned. She knew what might have really happened. She had seen Xander hurt too many times to believe his excuses anymore.

"I see... do you want an ice pack?"

Xander nodded and looked up into her eyes. The twinkle in them made Willow's heart stop as she, for a moment, felt pulled into them. They were so very expressive and she could see at that moment that he was hiding a lot of pain behind the mischievous twinkle.

"I'll be back in a few then."

Xander nodded and watched her go... then collapsed back onto her bed.

*Thank god for Willow. Without her... I don't know what I'd do.*

As he lay there, he could swear that someone was watching him... but he was too tired to care. By the time Willow got back with the ice, she found Xander sound asleep on her bed. Smiling, she pulled off his shoes and then crawled in next to him, wrapping her arms around him. Within moments, she too was asleep. Neither of them noticed the mirror in the corner of the room... and the ripple effect going full blast the whole time.


"Is it time?"

Pale blue light shimmered across the bare dark skin of the head of a man sitting in front of a now dark screen. He shook his head slowly and turned to the woman standing next to him.

"No, not yet. He's not ready... but he will be, soon."

The woman nodded and went back to staring at the screen as the picture returned... seeing beyond it... watching the young man as he slept.


Xander blinked and winced at the light that streamed in through the windows. For a moment, he tensed up. He didn't know where he was... then his mind caught up with him and he relaxed.

*Willow's room...*

He sat up and looked around, but there was no Willow. On her pillow was a note addressed to him. Xander picked it up and read it, a smile crossing his face.

"Xander... you fell asleep on me. You're lucky you're cute or else I would have rolled you onto the floor. Anyway, I'm downstairs and I have breakfast ready. I'm going to check on you, off and on, until seven... and then if you're not up by then, I will come up here and wake you up with something very unpleasant. Your spare clothes are in the closet and you know where the towels are. I'm leaving for school at exactly 7:30... whether you're with me or not. I'm giving you Resolve Face... you know I am... so get moving mister. Willow"

Xander smirked and laughed. He knew she'd do it too. He glanced at the clock and smiled.

*6:50... not bad for me. I'd better get moving.*

He crawled out of bed and grabbed his things before heading into the bathroom. As he passed the mirror, he noticed a yellowing bruise forming on his face. Not quite fully awake yet, he failed to notice that it wasn't the color it should have been. He just climbed into the shower...


"... yeah, I'm sorry about that. You know Xander... and by the time I got back to my room with the ice pack, he was asleep. He was just so cute and well... you know."

Buffy smirked.

"You crawled in bed with him and forgot all about patrolling with me... right?"

Willow nodded. She had been shocked when Buffy had shown up on her doorstep 20 minutes earlier... and then when the petite blond gave her that look, she remembered what she had forgotten.

"He was so cute... Buffy... you know what I mean..."

Buffy nodded. She did know, but she wasn't going to admit it to her.

"Yes, I know. So... where is he? Is he still asleep?"

Willow blushed and looked up just as there was a loud thump and the sound of someone cursing.

"Damn it!"

Willow smirked and giggled.

*I guess Xander slipped in the shower again. He keeps forgetting that he can't just set the shampoo on the edge of the tub... not like at his place.*

Buffy frowned.

"What was that?"

Willow bit her lip and smiled.

"Probably Xander forgetting that shampoo is slippery. He does that and then he slips and falls. I learned to not go check on him after catching him..."

Buffy's eyes widened.

"You saw him naked... wet and naked and..."

Willow blushed more and nodded. Buffy smiled.


Willow shook her head.

"I squeaked and ran out of the room. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying full frontal Xander is a bad thing... cause it's good, really good, just... not something you want to see when he doesn't feel anything back, you know."

Buffy nodded. She understood and could have said something comforting... but her mind was focusing on one thing, Xander... naked. She had been having more and more random thoughts about him, ever since seeing him in that speedo when he was on the swim team. She hadn't known that he was in that good of shape... and she hadn't been the only one staring at him, Willow and Cordy had been staring as well. Ever since then... there were just times when...

"... Buffy?"

Buffy blinked.


Willow frowned.

"I said it was time we got ready to go. I heard the shower stop, which means Xander will be down in about 5 minutes... which means you have barely enough time to grab a bit more to eat before he gets down here and eats everything else."

Buffy nodded.

"Right... I'm full... um, I'll just get some juice."

She walked into the kitchen and took some time to catch her breath.

*What's happening to me... we're talking about Xander here, Xander. Stop with the bad thoughts. You're just... tense... because of not being able to be with Angel... mmm, Angel.*

Images of Angel naked and above her flashed through her mind... wiping away all images of a naked Xander. A smile crossed her face and she calmed.

*Ah... that's better... but still...*

Shaking her head, Buffy grabbed another glass of juice then headed back to the living room...


Xander tied his shoes then walked over to the mirror to check his hair. As he stared into it, he noticed something looked... off. A frown crossed his face as his mind tried to figure out what was different... then it hit him. The bruise.

"Wait a minute... wasn't there a..."

Xander jerked his head to the side, seeing something out of the corner of his eye, but there was nothing there. He looked back at the mirror and his eyes widened in shock when it rippled right before his eyes.


Xander jumped away from the mirror and fell back onto the bed. As he watched, the mirror returned to normal. Feeling a bit calmer, Xander got to his feet and walked back over to the mirror. He touched it... and felt nothing unusual. It was just a normal mirror.

"What the hell's going on here?"

Just then he heard Willow yell from downstairs, asking if he was ok.

"Yeah... I'm ok. Be right down."

He took one last glance at the mirror then headed downstairs... deciding he'd worry about whatever it was later...


The walk to school was the same as most, as was most of the day; not once did Xander notice anything unusual.

*Must have imagined it then...*

It wasn't until later that everything changed. It was early afternoon and once again he was bored in Computer class. Willow had given them another assignment and he was half-heartedly completing it. He knew that he really should be paying attention, but the class was just so boring. He had taken the class only because of Ms. Calendar... but with her gone now and Willow in charge, well... there wasn't as much of a draw for the class, and Willow was a lot stricter as well.

*Ok, got that programmed and running. Now I have to...*

His attention was grabbed by the search he was running on the internet at the same time. He was looking for anything on what that ripple thing might have been. The search had been running for close to 30 minutes so far and it appeared to have finally found something.

*A chat room. Why would my search bring up a chat room?*

Xander looked around at the other students, then Willow, and once he was satisfied that everyone else was busy... he entered the chat room. There were 12 people in the room, talking about the earth's magnetic field, something called a pole shift, the polar ice caps melting, and a few who were talking about something called... The Matrix.


TALIESIN: Been looking for like almost a year now, but I still haven't been able to track him down. Have you had any luck?

SPECTRE: Got close once. Got his name and a link to a website... but as I got onto the site, my system crashed. I rebooted and came back in... but the site was gone. Still don't know what the hell happened, and I picked up some tweaked virus at the same time.


Xander blinked and continued to read their conversation. Eventually, they got around to mentioning the person they were looking for by name. As they did, Xander wrote the name down and decided to look it up later, seeing as class was almost over. He exited the chat room and then saved his program. The bell rang and he shut down the computer with one thought running through his head.

*Who's Morpheus?*