Fire & Ice


Author: Forgotten Code <forgottencode96[at]>

Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy the Vampire Slayer. They are owned by Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy and UPN. The original characters and the story herein is mine however.

Pairings: None right now

Spoilers: None really, it's mostly AU.

Summary: What might have happened if Xander hadn't grown up in Sunnydale.

Feedback: Let me know what you think, I'm enjoying writing this. Notes: I'll continue A Halloween to Remember when my muse lets me in on how to do so. This story has its roots in a dream I had a few years ago. Also, this isn't a crossover, so don't try to figure out which one it might be =).

Chapter 1

The searchlight passed over the field beyond the institution's walls. They had had an intruder that night, something that had never happened in its years of existence. The glowing yellow circle combed the area, spots of it blinking out into darkness when the rain hit. There were more than one searchlight taking up the case, in fact all four of the institutions lights were in business, searching, and so far, coming up empty. It seemed the intruder had not only gotten into the institution, but had found whatever it was he was looking for and escaped. They wouldn't have known about it, except the boss had installed a hidden silent alarm, that wasn't on the blueprints, and that had been triggered, right before the intruder cleared the barbed wire fence and disappeared into the night.

The silent alarm had turned on one of the security cameras to take a picture of the intruder, but all they got was a still frame of a shadow, hurrying along the walls. It gave them no clues at all about who the intruder was, and as of yet, they had no idea what had been stolen, that would come when the institution was combed for details. But first, the search went on, armed guards at the ready to capture anything the searchlights found.


The highway was still at this time of night. It wasn't part of the weekend, so young people weren't out partying and hogging the spaces on the vast highway at this hour, as it was a Tuesday. This particular part of the highway didn't see even much business on said weekends, as it wasn't anywhere near downtown. So, it wasn't a surprise that when the sleek black car ripped down the road, shattering the peace, that no one saw it. Had anyone lived anywhere around, they would have heard the engine of the Viper purr as it shot its sole passenger down the road at a speed of near a hundred miles an hour.

As well, anyone watching would have noticed that this car was quite unique, what with the airbrushed painting of a silver and black dragon that covered the outside. But such details would have been impossible to make out at such speeds anyway. As calm as the highway had been before the car had appeared, the interior of the vehicle was similar. The driver of the Viper was merely looking ahead, making sure he didn't sway from his path at such high speeds. The package he had liberated from the institution sat carefully on the passenger's seat. It was imperative he get back to base with it intact. Not only was it of extreme importance to his organization, but perhaps to the safety of the world.

Some static, broke the silence with a crackling burst. The driver listened for a moment before answering. "It's done, Toth. The package has been liberated. I should be back at the base in," a pause while a flat screen was browsed, "fifteen minutes. Have Sliph and his unit meet me there." And then the silence took over once again. A small smile appeared on Xander Harris' face as he thought back to how relatively simple the whole operation had been. He gunned the gas and felt the car surge, taking him home.


Ten minutes later, the Viper pulled into a seemingly empty lot. It was in the industrial part of town, and so at this time of night not a soul was there to see. Xander touched a panel and a small key pad emerged from the dashboard. He typed in a lengthy numeric password, and waited as the pad moved back into its place of rest. There was a moment of nothing before the ground started to rumble slightly, but not enough to bother anyone. The parking space before the Viper buckled and began to lower it into the bowels of a complex, invisible to those on the outside.

As soon as the car's roof sank below ground level, another piece of asphalt was moved into its place, as the car continued to sink. At last, after about two-hundred feet of downward movement, the vehicle came to a stop. Lights began to turn on lightening a chamber that was perhaps as large as a football field. Vehicles of all shapes and sizes littered the room, some as expensive as Xander's, but others were normal type cars, Chrysler Neons, Ford Taurases and the like.

Waiting for him were a small contingent of men, who would be easily taken to be soldiers. There were eight in all, each with similar builds, and similar clothing. In fact, the only thing to separate them from a casual observer would be the color of their hair. Each member of the unit had close cut black hair, but the tips were of varying colors. The man in the lead, a tall, heavy set man, had green tips. The two men behind him, had blue tips, and the other six's tips were the same black as the rest. As Xander stepped out of the car, he would have looked like another clone to them, only the tips of his ebon black hair were a blood red.

As soon as his face emerged, the lead man brought his right hand up in a crisp salute, followed instantly by the eight men behind him. Xander smiles and waved away the salute, a small smile appearing on his face. "Sliph, my friend, such seriousness has its place, but not at the moment. This package could change our fortunes for the better. Have Wolf and his brother, Hunter bring it to Toth for testing. The new men in your group can go with them, learn the ropes. You, my friend are coming with me. I want to celebrate, and I want the whole Inner Circle there with me." He handed the package to his friend.

The man named Sliph grinned, accepting the package and handing it to one of the men with the blue tipped hair while the others followed suit. "You heard the boss - dismissed."

The eight turned and left the huge room, leaving the two men alone. As soon as they were gone, the two of them relaxed - now to the casual observer they'd be seen as two old friends meeting for a chat or a drink. "Ryan, my friend, let's go see where Hamza and the others are. All that sneaking around has whetted my appetite, and I'm famished."


The party was grand and took the six members of the fabled Inner Circle deep into the night. When Xander finally breached the entrance to his inner sanctum, to get some much needed and deserved rest, his thoughts returned to a place they hadn't been in years. To the place where everything had started, fourteen years ago when he was eleven, living in a small suburb of Los Angeles called Sunnydale. Where a choice his father would make, would change his world forever, and put into motion events when would lead eventually to his current position, head of an organization of sorts, a class of men and women willing to fight the good fight even if the law didn't allow it. He wondered what would have happened were his father's choice different, and whenever that happened, his thoughts began to seep back through the annals of time to Sunnydale, California, where an eleven year old boy's life was about to change.

Chapter 2

Little Xander Harris are very happy. It was coming up to his twelfth birthday and his mother, after much begging had actually agreed to throw him a birthday party. His parents weren't the best, at times yelling and punishing him for when he was bad, and often just ignoring little Xander. But this was different. This was a real party! He could invite Willow, and Jesse and Jonathan, and — he stopped for a moment to think — Cordelia, and everyone else. He was so excited. He had told his friends that day. Willow had been surprised. She knew he'd never been allowed to have a birthday party.

If the children had been older, they might have been suspicious on why the Harrises were being so nice to their son, but they were little kids, 'suspicion' was a rather big word. Xander didn't like when the TV people used big words. It confused him. He much rather liked cartoons and the like, they were funny. He thought about heading over to Jesse's for dinner, since his parents didn't cook much, but with the news of a birthday party, who knew? Maybe his mom would cook up some Sloppy Joes.

His father was rarely home. He worked long hours at the Sunnydale power plant. Xander wondered if his dad would be home that night. They could all have supper together! Wouldn't that be a wondrous event? He was almost skipping by the time he got home — but skipping was something Willow did, and so too girly. But he was definitely happy, happier than he'd been in a long while.

When he finally reached his house, he noticed both cars were in the driveway. That meant daddy was home after all! Again, were he a little older, he would have been suspicious, but as a kid, his thoughts were telling him that maybe he would get the supper he desired after all. He almost ran to the door, but decided not to. Hurting himself would really put a damper on the mood he was in.

When he finally did reach the door and push it open, he wasn't greeted by the sight he was hoping for, a set table with his parents waiting for him — they were waiting for him, but in the living room, his father sitting on his favorite chair. The same chair Xander had been punished for just sitting on when he was eight. His mother sat on the couch. They both had a very serious gleam to their eyes, but Xander is his happiness, didn't notice it. "Hey Mom! Hey Dad! I had a great day at school telling everyone about the great party I'm going to have…"

His father didn't smile at his young exuberance, as he cut his son off. "About that son, I have something to tell you. I want you to listen and not interrupt, and when I'm finished, you can tell me if you still want that party."

Xander got a confused expression on his face. "Why wouldn't I want to have the party?"

This father's look turned a slight shade of red. "Son! I said not to interrupt. Now then, I've been offered a job in Chicago. Though it's a big move for the family, I've decided to take it." He kept going on, but Xander had stopped listening. Chicago! He knew that was far away, somewhere cold. It would mean leaving Willow, Jesse and Jonathan behind. A solitary tear slid from his eye, drawing a pattern down his cheek and shattering his good mood, bringing in sorrow. He wanted to cry, but he was afraid his father would punish him for it. So, he just sat there and tried to listen.

"So son, with that said do you still want to have your party? We'll be leaving the day after your birthday."

Xander, weeping silently now looked up, his tear stained face finally coming into view. His voice shook with emotion, but he got it out. "Yes. Yes, father. I would like the party." And then he turned and ran up the stairs to his room, where he shut the door, collapsed and the bed and started to cry.


Xander shook his head, to clear his thoughts out of that memory as a small tear leaped down his cheek. That day had started off so well, but his father had to ruin it, like he ruined so many other days. At times he felt sorry for his old man, dying like he did in a tragic plant accident, but other days he just couldn't find the feeling in his heart. He shook his head, no reason to bring his thoughts down that particular path. He checked the large plasma screen on one of his walls. No messages from anyone, good. He whipped the tear off his cheek and smiled slightly. Toth would be working the twins, Wolf and Hunter through whatever he wanted now, while the rest of Sliph's group following behind, trying desperately to learn whatever it is they could.

His smile faded when he was brought back to the day after his father's big declaration, having to tell his friends he might never see them again. He sighed and let the memories take over once more.


The next day was a trying one for Xander. He had left school such a happy child, and now he had to go in and pretend to be happy once more. Willow and Jesse would be able to see through the façade, they always could, but it would at least fool Jonathan into thinking everything was ok. He pushed the skateboard to a slightly faster speed and soon enough he was at school. This place had so many memories that it almost made him cry again knowing he wouldn't be able to graduate elementary school with his friends. No, they had to go to stupid Chicago. He almost wanted to scream.

He managed to get into school and to first period without seeing any of his little group. He knew he'd have to talk to them at lunch, but hopefully by them he'd be a little more calm and able to broach the topic. Classes seemed to crawl by after that, until it was finally lunch time.

Xander picked up his meager lunch — a sandwich, an apple and a juice box — and strode into the cafeteria, easily finding his friends. Jesse and Willow were having some sort of secret discussion while Jonathan tried to get in on it, but they wouldn't let him. He almost laughed before remembering he was going away. He approached the table and slid into his usual seat.

At once his friends stopped talking and turned to him. Not instantly noticing anything was wrong, Willow said, "So? Talk to your parents about the party?" He knew she meant well, but he couldn't stop the tears from coming. His face turned from a fake smile into a frown. He didn't want to cry in front of the school. Larry and the other bullies would never let him forget it.

Willow was shocked at this extreme change in expression. Instantly, she and Jesse were over at his side, comforting him. "Xander, what's wrong? Did they go back on their word and say you weren't allowed to have a party after all? I should get my father to talk to them…" But he was shaking his head.

His next words were slow, "The party's going on, Will. It's just I won't be here afterwards. I'm moving away. Chicago." There, he had dropped the bomb, and their expressions changed from shock to horror.

"What? Chicago? You're just joking with you, aren't you, Xan?" Jesse wanted to know.

"No, Jess, no joke. The day after the party, we're leaving. I'm sorry guys, they told me last night. I couldn't sleep, I was crying so much." He whispered the last bit, so no one would overhear who wasn't supposed to.

His three friends looked at him not saying anything for a long time. Then finally Jonathan spoke up. "Well then, we'll give you the best party Sunnydale has ever seen! And you'll keep in touch, won't you? We might not be able to see each other every day, but we can all talk and write letters."

Xander almost grinned at that. Jonathan was a late addition to his little group of friends, but he fit in perfectly. And while his better friends, Jesse and Willow had been unable to speak, he was there blabbing away, trying to make Xander feel the slight bit of happiness. Perhaps Jonathan was right. They could keep in touch, and then when Xander was old enough, he could move back into town, and nothing would have changed!


Xander shook his head. How young he had been — how young and naïve. It made his smile slightly. He was getting tired. He would leave such thoughts for tomorrow, or until they forced him to awake when he couldn't dismiss them.

Chapter 3

Xander tossed and turned in his sleep. He had been keeping it mostly secret from his friends, the Inner Circle, but he didn't know how much longer he'd be able to. He had finally gotten over that which had stopped him from sleeping before, but in the last few weeks he had relapsed again. After a particularly vicious nightmare, his eyes popped open, and he was gasping for breath. Knowing he'd get no more sleep this night, he sighed. Tomorrow was going to be a long day, but at least, tomorrow night he'd likely be tired enough that the dreams wouldn't be able to break through and he'd get some sleep at last. He only had to be a convincing enough actor that Ryan and the others wouldn't notice.

Since he wasn't going to sleep anyway, he got out of bad and padded over to the kitchen in his suite, to prepare some passion fruit juice. He'd been drinking the stuff forever. In fact, if his memories were correct, this particular habit began when he left Sunnydale, as passion fruit had been Willow's favorite drink at the time. As a vow to keep in contact, he'd picked up a few mannerisms from his friends. The ones he had kept after all these years were Willow's tastes in food, Jesse's favorite sports teams, and Jonathan's favorite movies. It was amusing, that after everything he'd been through he still kept these little promises. It made him proud in a way that he hadn't given them up.

He walked to his television room, and turned on Back to the Future I, one of Jonathan's favorite films and sipping his passion fruit, began to watch it. He'd seen it so many times he nearly knew the entire film by heart, but he watched it anyways. It was a fun film after all. After about 20 minutes, his mind began to wander, back to the past — the big event, his twelfth birthday party and last full day in Sunnydale.


The week before his birthday had been full of planning. His parents had, perhaps in answer to the pain they were causing him, perhaps not, given him a large budget for what he could do. He put Willow, Jesse and Jonathan in charge, not really being able to do it himself — there was too much of Sunnydale he wanted to visit to set in stone in his mind, so when he finally came back here he'd be able to remember. All the hilarious events with his friends, first just Willow and Jesse and later Jonathan. He also spent a lot of time at the arcades, trying to get as many high scores as he could, that hopefully wouldn't be beaten for a while, so his friends could come, play and remember him.

His home life continued to be normal. His father buried himself in his work at the plant, and his mother was always busy with this or that, no one had time for their son. Which was fine with Xander — after the bomb his father had dropped, he didn't really want all that much to do with them in this last week.

School in comparison was interesting. After news came out that he was leaving for good, people from all over came up and told him they'd miss him. Even the bullies, led by Larry made an appearance. That nearly blew Xander away. He knew he wasn't picked on as much as some others, but to find out he was generally well liked, was a great feeling — it helped lift his fallen spirits slightly. Perhaps they were all just being nice, but either way, it felt good.

As the final day approached, his teachers stopped giving him homework. What was the point really? He wouldn't be writing any tests, and final exams or anything — he'd just be there one day and gone the next. Being that there was no pressure on him during the week, he began to pay a little attention in class. He hadn't done much of it before, always looking forward to the weekend, but the weekend now meant Friday, his birthday and then no more Sunnydale, so while the party was something to look forward to, the aftermath was definitely not.

He found that some of the stuff the teachers were blabbering about was actually somewhat interesting. That was the second item that nearly blew him away. Who new? Maybe Willow was onto something after all, with her constant studying. He thought about it for a moment before dismissing it. Nah. With all that studying he wouldn't be able to hone his skills in the arcades, and what kind of life would he have without games? A boring one, that was for sure.

He also found out during the week that the odd kid, Amy Madison had an apparent crush on him. He wasn't sure if he should be disgusted, or intrigued, he was near the age when girls started to get interesting, after all. But he decided it didn't matter and he didn't know Amy much anyway. She kept to herself a lot, hanging out with only the other odd kid, Michael, and no one else. And rumor has it her mother was nuts. So she wasn't exactly prime friend material.

He was still crying at night, but as the week wore on, he found he just had no more tears. Besides, Jonathan had said it — they would keep in touch and he'd be back. It would simply be an extended vacation to somewhere cold. He knew he probably should read some on Chicago, but he didn't care to do it. He'd be there soon enough, no reason to give the unwanted trip more attention that necessary.

By Friday morning, he had come to terms with his upcoming expulsion from everything Sunnydale. He had a pad of all the addresses he wanted to contact, and promised he'd write or call everyone as soon as he knew his new address. He had also made high records on three separate arcade games. He wasn't exactly sure how he got them, but he figured it was because he was so motivated to not be forgotten. For one particular game, Arcanoid, he doubted his score would ever be beaten.

His day was full of goodbyes, for his teachers, and the few who wouldn't be coming to the event planned for the night. He wasn't entirely sure of all the details, but Willow told him it would be a fitting farewell, and he trusted her judgment. Besides, she and Jesse were his best friends. He would trust their judgment always.

He found out from his parents in one of their few speaking moments that they would be driving to Illinois, and in a way he was looking forward to that part of the trip. If only once their reached their destination he could turn around and come back, seeing the American countryside would be beautiful. He also wished he could do it alone. He had no wish to be in such a cramped area with his parents for such a long time.

Thankfully, the whole Friday crawled by. He thought it would be gone in the blink of an eye, but he was thankfully wrong. And the number of pranks pulled that day was staggering. It seemed there was a constant stream of lockers exploding open, their contents spraying out and the like. During the period after lunch, some students had managed to sneak into all the toilets, including that of the Director, and at the exact same moment, flush all the toilets, running the school out of water, and causing everyone to have to evacuate while the Fire Department came to fix it all up.

By the time the day finished, everyone, Xander included was in a good mood. Willow had told him the party would be starting around six o'clock and given him the restaurant to go to — Chucky Cheese. Perhaps it was a little babyish, but he loved the place anyway. He tried to find some of his friends to spend the hours between with, but no one was around. So instead he went home, to memorize his room, the place he had spent countless hours in when he had to get away from his parents. So he lay down on his bed, looking around for a little while before falling asleep.


Xander smiled as the memories brought him to an almost forgotten place. How much of a child he had been there, but that was to be expected. He had only been eleven. His eyes had shown the world a boy of the same age — unlike now, where at twenty-five, his eyes were those of a man much older, who had seen too much, way too much. He looked at the viewing screen, to see who was still awake, but not on duty in the complex. Not a soul — just his luck. He sighed, and his attentions were turned back to the movie. He relaxed as much as was possible these days and let it take his attention away.

Chapter 4

Xander's alarm was ringing for about 10 minutes before he got up and spied the time. Five-Forty! Only twenty minutes to get to Chucky Cheese! He quickly threw on the clothes he had laid out the night before, and was out the door in record time. Grabbing his skateboard, he headed across town to the restaurant, getting there right on time. He grabbed his board by the front wheels and carried it inside.

He wasn't exactly sure what he'd been expecting. Something perhaps on the line of a private room with some of the games he enjoyed so much inside. But he certainly wasn't expecting the entire restaurant to be theirs. Upon entering, the first thing he noticed was the total lack of other customers. The booths were all empty which seemed odd, and the games themselves were also vacant which was stranger.

He stepped inside, looking around with a "Hello? Willow? Jesse? Where are you guys?" He moved around the place, trying to see where they were hiding. When he had circled the whole place he found no one. It was really weird, why would Willow ask him to come to an empty restaurant? He didn't have to think for long.

Suddenly, here came a three pronged "Surprise!" coming from the Ball Pit, as Willow, Jesse and Jonathan revealed themselves from their hiding place. Before he had the chance to figure out how three of them had fit in their without disturbing any of the balls, people began pouring in through the exits. Most of the new comers were classmates, with a few adults in the mix like Jesse's parents and Willow's parents as well as his favorite teachers. His parents were of course, absent. Even for the party they were paying for, they weren't around.

After the initial surprise, the party settled in. Xander hadn't thought his parents would have given Willow enough money to rent the entire restaurant and he was right, they hadn't. However, Xander had been here many times over the years, and this was the owner's way of saying farewell. It really touched him that even people he didn't personally know, knew and would remember him.

He found all of this out over a few games of air hockey with Jesse. Afterwards, he just settled down and prepared to enjoy the last of his days in Sunnydale. The party ranged on into the night, with a good meal of chicken fingers, fries, and pizza for everyone. As well as endless soda of a multitude of flavors for everyone.

After the restaurant session of the party, most of the people split up and dispersed, after giving heartfelt farewells to Xander. Together, Jesse, Willow, Jonathan and Xander left to convene at Jesse's house for their last night. They spent it just talking really. No one wanted to waste their last day watching movies or playing games. All things considered it was all Xander could have wished for a birthday party. It was also here that he opened their gifts.

He knew they had all been a little rushed, since they had only known for a week about his leaving and had had to plan a party during it, and honestly, Xander would have been happy with no gifts other than the memories he had received that night. But his friends wouldn't take no for an answer. Jesse went first.

"Well, best-bud, I thought about what I could possibly get for the guy I've already given everything. So, I decided to make a photo-album. I searched around my place finding all the little pictures that had slipped through the cracks, and tried to chronicle our childhood. I hope you like it man." He gave Xander a bone crushing hug and deposited the photo album in Xander's hands.

Willow followed suit. She had been remarkably calm during the day, but now being the end, the tears started to flow. "I can't believe you're leaving us, Xander, leaving me. Ever since we were five, you've been my best friend, and I don't want to lose you. So call and write and visit whenever you can." He tears intensified throughout her speech. She couldn't say anymore, so she just gave Xander her gift along with a hug. He tried to comfort her as much as he could.

Opening her gift, he found a beautiful Star of David necklace. He looked at Willow in shock. "Will, I can't take this. This was your grandmothers and you should give it to your kids! I'm truly honored that you'd want to give this to me, but it would be wrong for me to have it."

Her crying ended for a moment as she looked at him with her pouting face. His resolve crumbled, he could never disagree over anything with Willow when she brought out the pout. It was unfair that she should have such an effective weapon against everything Xander.

He smiled and nodded and said. "Alright, Willow, I'll keep it, but only as long as I'm away ok? When I come back, you're getting it back. Wanna help me put it on?" With Willows help he clasped the Jewish symbol around his neck.

That left Jonathan. "Look Xan, I haven't known you all that long, so me and the others we came up with a group gift for you. Maybe not as meaningful as the others, but one sure to give you more pure enjoyment." He was laughing by the end of his speech.

Xander was a little confused on what it could be, but tore open the package in wonder. He found himself looking at a Gameboy, with a few games! He looked in awe at his friends, as his mouth twisted into his trademark smile. "Thanks guys, this will be the perfect parent-repellant for the trip. You guys are the best. Anyone would be in heaven with any of you as friends, me I've got all three of you." He glanced at his watch.

"Well, it's come down to this, I have to go. But I'll keep in touch, ok? And I'll get a job part time somewhere, so I can pay for all the calls I'm going to be making to you guys. It'll be like I'm still here, ok? And before you know it I will be." And with some hugs and a kiss on the cheek from Willow, Xander backed to the door, waving, tears streaming from his face, before he left.

He would be soon leaving Sunnydale behind, but tonight had been perfect. It had given him more memories to cement those he already had. And he doubted anyone in Chicago could give him as pure a friendship as he had here, so he wasn't worried about forgetting anyone. Forgetting Jesse or Willow? Didn't seem possible.

Chapter 5

Xander slept surprisingly well the night after his birthday party. The next morning, was all about packing and leaving. His parents were their usual angry selves that he hadn't packed the night before, but Xander had had such a great time the night before, that he didn't really care all that much.

By ten-thirty, they were all ready to go. The drive was supposed to take about thirty hours, but the Harrises wanted to get there by the next day, so they were in for a long drive throughout the night. Xander's mother had sold her car and they'd sold their house in Sunnydale. The combined money would help them get a place to live in Chicago, as Mr. Harris' new job didn't include housing.

Xander was to sit in the back with the luggage that didn't fit in the car. A moving van would bring their furniture to Chicago a week later when they had found a house to live in. Jesse and Willow had shown up to say goodbye again, and he gave them each a big hug before sitting in his seat. He waved until his hand felt like it was going to fall off, and then he waved for a while more.

His window was open, and he kept saying goodbye as the car backed down the driveway, and down the street. He only stopped a good five minutes after he couldn't see Jesse or Willow anymore and only after a stern look of annoyance from his mother. "Goodbye, Sunnydale," he whispered, "stay safe for me, ok? I'll be back for you in a few years."


The knock on the door shook Xander from his reverie. Xander's head immediately swiveled to the view screen. No one was awake, and certainly no one was supposed to be at his door… Ah, it had to be Toth then. He wasn't sure if he was up for a conversation with the resident scientist among other things. One thing was for sure, around Toth, it was important to have a clear mind. Only think of those things you don't mind revealing and never that which you weren't.

Though Toth was below Xander in the organization's power structure, he didn't deal too well with authority. He was also possibly the single most dangerous person Xander had ever met, and it was good that he was more of less fighting for the side of good. Whereas the other members of the Inner Circle all knew each other's real names', Xander was the only one who knew Toth's. Jeremy Adams had been an odd child who had shown abilities that weren't humanly possible. After some severe problems at home, he had been caged to stop him from damaging anyone else.

Xander had found him in one such cage, chained to a wall, with a lead helmet on his head. Jeremy, or Toth as he preferred to be called, had been so grateful just to get out that he followed for now, although Xander wasn't foolish enough to believe Toth didn't have his own agenda.

Clearing his mind of excess thoughts, Xander stopped the movie. It was almost over anyway, and Toth wasn't really the kind to sit and watch the end of it with him. He called out, "Hold on, I'll be out in a few minutes." Usually when Toth came to see him in the middle of the night, it was for a good reason that usually meant an excursion. Not wanting to have to get his gear afterwards, he geared up now.

Xander's name was only known to those of the Inner Circle, while the rest of the organization knew him and the criminal underground feared him as Ice. While the rest of those in the complex used a machine to change their hair color from their natural color to black with their rank, Ice normally kept his that way, using said machine to bring him to his natural brown when Xander Harris needed to do something without being Ice. So to complete his physical visage, Ice inserted the all black contacts he had. They covered his eye color, not giving away any person details about himself, and he didn't lose any perception in doing it.

Next came the black Kevlar clothes, with a face mask so only his black eyes were showing, his two swords, one a Japanese Katana, and the other a Wakizashi, and lastly his general gear pack. Others in the organization liked their guns, but he'd never really gotten used to them. A sword blow was often final if you aimed properly, whereas who was that rapper? Oh yes, 50 cent. He had supposedly been shot nine times and was still kicking.

He opened the door to reveal Toth, his black and yellow golden hair annoying his presence. Upon seeing Xander's Ice persona, his face formed into a grim smile. There would never be a salute from this man. His voice was raspy; it had never healed from the chained he'd had around his throat as a teenager. "Ah, I see you're ready to play Ice. No sleep for you either?"

Xander scowled at Toth. "The dreams have returned. Have you anything useful for me, or is this just a social call?"

Toth continued. "Walk with me. Though I haven't had a chance to fully understand tonight's package, I have found some new information I felt you should know."

Xander cocked a hidden eyebrow at this. "I should know everything Toth, or have you been keeping things from me again? You know how little I appreciate that."

Toth shook his head but his smile only grew. "Of course not, Ice, of course not. No, no, this information is something I'm thinking you're going to like. Do you remember the strong ones in the last batch? Especially the one that maimed Hacksaw, and then got away?" His tone was almost mocking, but Xander ignored it.

He had been on that run, with Hacksaw and the rest of the Blue's group. They had been hunting organized crime for a long time now. Especially those who had the police on their payroll. He had yet to meet a policeman who wasn't at least somewhat corrupt. Perhaps they existed, but given his experience in the last five years, he didn't believe it.

The run with Hacksaw was supposed to be easy. Ice had only come along because Toth was getting an odd feeling of the whole thing. It turns out he was right to go. The mobsters should have had no item they were there. The ambush was meticulously planned, with all details accounted for. But something went wrong.

There were two with the mobsters who weren't supposed to be there. Xander during the battle had found himself toe to toe with one of them. The creature — he didn't think of it as a man after the strength and speed it had — required Xander to use his upmost abilities and those of his swords, not something he ever liked doing. Power corrupted, and he preferred to use his skills in battle, but this creature was simply too strong.

Most of the mobsters were stopped that night, but the creatures got away. However not before badly wounding Hacksaw, with claws similar to those that Sliph preferred as a weapon, only these seemed to be part of their hands. The fight with the creature had been brutal, Xander only staying whole and unwounded by going on total defense. He had managed to get only one hit in, a slashing strike the torso, but it had done nothing to slow the beast down. No one on their side died, but Hacksaw would perhaps never fight again and that was a huge loss for the organization.

Being part of the mob put them down as ones to stop in Xander's books. Hurting a friend meant he wanted their blood. He wanted them to hurt as much as Hacksaw was hurting. Trying to get his anger under control he hissed at Toth, "What do you have? Hunting sounds like the perfect cure for insomnia."

Toth grinned back a feral grin. "I've found out where they stay. For whatever reason they don't go out during the day, so we hunt them at night. I want in on this one. I've taken the desk job long enough. Me and you, Ice. Let your anger take you, and we'll show them some pain."

Chapter 6

Xander wasn't sure this was the best idea. Toth could be a loose cannon at times, and therefore wasn't the best person to have his back. But Sliph was with Faust, Solstice was on duty, and Imp didn't generally do very well on no sleep, and he'd had quite a bit to drink the night before. Since Xander didn't trust anyone else for this, it looked like it would be just him and Toth after all.

They moved quickly through the hallways of the complex towards the garage. While Xander was carrying visibly armaments, Toth was not, he was more or less a living weapon, and either way, he didn't trust implements that weren't part of him for something as important as his life.

Xander considered taking something else besides the Viper. It was extremely doubtful anyone at the institution had noticed him at night, but his car was rather obvious, all right, they'd take one of the other cars. It didn't hurt to be cautious. Besides, most of the organization's cars were able to go much faster than they were supposed to be able to just in case things got bad.

Spotting the key rack, he pulled those belonging to a dark blue Honda Civic. Toth got an odd look on his face, like he was expecting Xander to pick the Viper. If Xander was reading him properly, this would be one of the only times in his memory where Xander had seen Toth surprised. Interesting.

Taking their seats, Xander eased the car onto the lifting space and when the key bad exited from the dashboard, he typed in the code to open their version of a garage door. Soon, they felt the car buckle as it rose up, the two hundred feet until ground level. Within five minutes, they were back on the road and their entrance was covered once more.

As it had been earlier that night, there was no one about, though it was inching rapidly towards dawn. Xander downshifted and him and Toth were flying out of the lot and onto the roads that would take them to the destination Toth's sources had found.

Before Toth had broken his trip down memory lane, he was thinking of the trip he had made with his parents from Sunnydale to Chicago. And now he was in a car again, though this trip was much shorter it got him thinking. He wasn't sure who he'd rather be in a car with, his parents or Toth? Strange as it sounded, he thought he'd rather be spending time with the occasional psychopath as opposed to his parents. He figured he'd put his problems with his parents behind him, with his father gone and his mother far away, but he guessed some things never change.

When he came back to reality, he found Toth was looking at him, a strange smile on the man's face. Damnit! He hadn't meant to think those things with Toth around. Too late to do anything about it, though, and from what Toth had said, they might have their hands full with the two creatures tonight anyway, so he let bygones be bygones and fixed his attention on the road.

About halfway to their destination, Toth turned on the radio, and turned on a news channel, turning to smile grimly at Xander before anything was said. Xander just shrugged, used to the man's wierdness and listened.

"This just in, the Institution for the Criminally Insane was broken into tonight! None of the patients were disturbed and nothing seems to be missing, but regardless the terrorist group led by the man only known as Ice has claimed responsibility. More on news at six- thirty," the anchorwoman said.

Xander winced at the word 'terrorist', and scowled. "Something you decided to do on your own, Toth? I wish you wouldn't do things like this. This turns the public against us, you know."

Toth nodded. "The public are all sheep anyway, why do you care what they think? This gives you notoriety, Ice, and what's better than that?"

Xander's scowl didn't ease up. "I don't want notoriety, Toth. I don't want to be famous either. I just want people to be able to sleep easier because they aren't as threatened as they were when they woke up this morning. Just warn me before you do this next time all right? I know telling you not to do it won't change anything, so I'm not going to try."

Toth shrugged non-committedly but nodded anyway. "Alright Ice, you'll know the next time before we claim responsibility." His lips cracked into a smirk, and Xander wasn't sure if the man was mocking him again or not. He shut off the radio, not really wanting to here the other details on how he was a terrorist and a danger to the public.

They were there at last, and they both tensed for battle. Though Toth had problems with authority, he respected Xander's battle prowess, and usually listened to his orders in a fight. And when he choose to dismiss the orders, it was usually for a good reason. As well, Xander wasn't entirely sure of everything Toth could do, because he didn't come out to fights all that often, so their system tended to work fairly well.

They both slid from their respective doors of the Civic, and surveyed the area. There was a small warehouse in front of them that was somewhat rundown. What was it with shady characters and warehouses? At least Xander's group had the class of having an underground complex. From Toth's information there was only one exit to the outside, but inside they had no information.

Xander was deciding exactly what the best plan to execute was when a shrill scream echoed from inside the warehouse. It sounded like that of a young girl. Xander and Toth just looked at each other and both took off for the warehouse at full speed, throwing their plans to the wind.

Chapter 7

Reaching the entrance, Xander quickly checked the door for some sort of alarm system, but his work was rushed since there was an innocent in trouble inside. When he knew the door was clean, he pushed it open, being careful not to make any noise the creatures inside might hear. He stepped inside, looking back to Toth and motioning for him to follow. But Toth just shook his head and tilted his head upwards. Xander shrugged and entered alone.

He looked around, surveying the room. The warehouse was set up as one big room, with columns of boxes scattered around. There was a second level, with a catwalk next to the windows on all sides. Xander smiled slightly at Toth's choice of entrance. His information was complete as always again. Knowing his partner for the night would soon be inside, Xander crept to where he could see the creatures and the girl.

He didn't have to look long. They were all in the center of the room. The girl was about seven or eight years old and she was tied to a chair. One creature was standing in front of her, his back to Xander, partially blocking his view of the innocent. The other was crouching behind the chair with one hand drawing a path on her chin and neck, while licking its lips happily. The girl continued to scream the entire time.

Xander wanted to run into battle and save her life, but it didn't seem like she was in immediate danger, so he decided to wait to see what Toth did, for a moment anyway. He needed to know which bogey the other wanted. Having some sort of plan was always better, especially in this situation, where the enemy's strengths and weaknesses were way too unknown for his tastes.


Toth meanwhile, watched Ice's form disappear into the warehouse, the expression on his face grim. He knew Ice's reasoning for not using his power, but he didn't understand it. Why would someone make things harder for themselves because of morals? He shook his head. Not the time to figure out one of life's mysteries. A little girl needed saving.

Taking a moment to collect his thoughts, Toth concentrated on how a spider would climb this wall. The wall was too smooth to climb the human way. That done, he molded the base of his feet and hands with the membrane spiders use to walk on vertical surfaces. All that remained was to jump onto the wall and start climbing.

He scaled the wall fairly quickly and reached the window level. Peering inside, he saw his information was correct — again and he smiled. Placing his spidery hands on one of the windows, he carefully pried it open, slowly so there was little or no noise. When it was open enough, he slipped in, returning himself to fully human once his feet touched the catwalk.

He instantly knew Ice was below him, even if he couldn't see the man. Seeing the same scene, he decided to give Ice the solo creature, and to take the one guarding the girl himself. Where Ice was unsure because of the lack of information, Toth was so certain of his abilities, that the uncertainties didn't matter to him in the least bit. Whispering that he would take the one with the girl he moved into action.


Xander only had to wait for a minute before the information came to him, a whisper in his mind, and he knew what to do. He raised his hands to the hilts of his swords, each secured comfortably in an "X" on his back. His knew there was going to be a slight sound releasing them from their sheathes, but there was nothing he could do about that. Hoping the creatures were too busy with their prey to hear anything, he grasped the hilts and pulled.

When the blades drew with only silence accompanying them, he was surprised, but not wanting to kick the gift horse in the mouth didn't worry about it. He slowly crept toward the creature's back, being as quiet as possible and hoping it didn't have superior hearing along with it's strength. He didn't have to wait long. Halfway to his target, the creature spun around, and snarled at him.

Damnit, what were these things? Slipping into battle formation he readied for its move.


Toth was thinking on what the best way to get the creature off the girl and in studying it, saw she had blonde hair. He cursed silently at nature for ruining his fun. Not wanting to do anything too complicated to mess with Ice's plan, he simply vaulted the railing of the catwalk, imagining himself light as a feather as his body acquiesced and drifted down to the floor.

He moved with the grace of a cat, the sound of his steps covered by those of his partner. He maneuvered through the boxes in the room, using them as cover. He knew it was doubtful he'd need all his remaining power to eliminate the foe, but since he wasn't certain what he was dealing with, he took a page from Ice's book and was careful about his resources.

He soon found himself within striking distance of the creature when Ice moved to attack. As his foe turned to counter, Toth's enemy reared its head back and its face changed. There was really no other way to explain it. It shifted from a human visage to something else, that of a monster. It reminded Toth of the vampires on those god- awful late night movies. He shrugged, after all he was living proof things weren't always what they seemed.

Knowing he had little time to save the girl, he drew power from the inner most sections of his being, and prepared to end the threat.

Chapter 8

Xander's foe leapt into battle, claws flailing, either not knowing how to fight unarmed against someone with swords or not caring. Xander figured it was the latter and that worried him a little. If a foe wasn't concerned with one's abilities, then it either meant he was fighting an idiot, or something was being held back for emergencies. Given how these creatures ripped through Hacksaw, Xander knew it was the latter.

With this information in mind, he went on the defensive, trying to establish a pattern in the foe's swings, and then he could sneak in some offense. Using both his swords as an improved shield, he began blocking the claw attacking, wincing as each blow tore into his strength of keeping the blades up. He wasn't sure who long he could take this, but he knew going on an offensive with no plan would be disastrous.

"Come on, Toth. If you're going to do something, do it now," he muttered under his breath. The creature only growled in response, renewing its attacks once more.


Toth felt the power coursing through his veins as if he were a living electrical circuit. As the creature's fanged maw descended towards the girl's neck, he rubbed his hands together, eliciting sparks before bringing them out in butterfly formation. He began to speak, each word getting louder, and louder. "Get away from her, monster!" And he released his power.

A ball of pure energy formed in between his hands. At first it was tiny, but it began to grow larger and larger until its diameter spanned his fingertips. The creature had raised his head at the taunt, lessening the threat on the innocent for now. It looked like it was going to rebuke the remark, but then it noticed the energy. Its moment of uncertainty cost it dearly.


The girl was in trouble. She had been running home after dark. It wasn't a good idea, but she'd gone to a friend's house after school and her parents and brother were all busy at work. Besides, it was only two blocks. She had been within viewing distance of her home when she was grabbed, and before she knew it everything had gone dark.

When she awoke again, she was tied to this chair and these two creepy men were just watching her. She knew she was in trouble, and after having no success in escaping she began to yell for help. Someone must have heard before now there was this odd man with funny hair playing with a clear ball. It looked like one of those volleyballs her older brother was always playing with, only this one was see-through.

One of the creepy men was still holding on to her, and she remained tied to the chair, but for a moment she wasn't as afraid. The man with the ball had a smile on his face, and it wasn't an ugly smile like these men had. It was like the smile her brother would get when he got a birthday gift. It was an expression of happiness. She knew she'd rather be in the company of someone like that than the man holding her.

She saw the man throw the ball, without moving his hands. Some trick, she thought, one her brother would love to know for his volleyball games. The ball was thrown above her head, so she couldn't see what happened to it, but as it passed she felt a strong wind come from nowhere, and all of a sudden the creepy man wasn't holding her anymore.


Xander was tiring quickly when he finally heard, "Get away from her, monster!" and saw the energy fly from Toth's hands, and smash itself into the creature on the girl, wrenching it off her and flinging it across the room where it crashed into a pile of wood. That kind of force would have killed or at least knocked out anything they had ever fought before, but for this creature was merely stunned and groggy.

He saw Toth leap over the girl with a piece of energy glowing in his hand in the shape of a police baton, and land in front of his prey. Xander kept parrying curious to see how Toth would end the threat, and wondering if he could use such information for his benefit.


Releasing the energy, the creature was thrown back after from the girl. Toth's smile increased as he leaped over the girl, using the propulsion a frog would use, in an arc that would place him at the feat of the foe, in case it got up to fight once more. Remembering something from one of those movies he fashioned a stake out of energy, and using most of his remaining power, changed the energy into wood. He knew at the end of this battle he'd have to rest for a while, but if this creature was not something unnatural, it wouldn't get up and then being tired wouldn't matter.

As he landed, skidding to a stop at the creature's feet, it started to rise. Now that he was out of the girl's sight, his grin twisted into an evil smirk as he grabbed the vampire's shoulder with his left hand and plunged his created stake unto its heart with the other. The monster's eyes widened in shock, and Toth was unprepared for it disintegrating into dust.

"Ah, crap!" He cried, as he tumbled into the mess of wood where the creature had been. His head struck something hard, and being his consciousness was lost he yelled, "Ice! They're vampires!" and then was out like a light.


Xander was awed by the creature bursting into dust, and then his suspicions were confirmed when Toth yelled out. He smiled slightly as his overconfident partner stumbled into the pile of wood, and instead of dwelling on it thought back to Sliph's games in high school. Dungeons and Dragons Vampires were killed by a stake through the heart, sunlight, running water, and decapitation. Since he couldn't use the first three in his situation, he went for the latter.

The problem was, he wasn't going to be able to get a clean shot through the vampire's defenses to its neck as things were, and if he were to let the battle last much longer, he'd be out as well and then they'd all be dead. He sighed as he released a block in his mind and let the consciousness inside his katana seep into his mind.

Using all his remaining strength, he forced himself not to give into the blade's urgings and only increased the weapon's sharpness before blocking it out one more. The steel shone bright silver and its edge complied.

The vampire was sure his foe was tiring, it was obvious with the way he was now moving. Slower — this battle would be over soon, and then he'd feed. "Your time is up, Bloodbag!" It brought its right hand up to rake Xander's eyes. And so it was surprised when it felt the sword contact the wrist and cut straight through.

The creature yelped in pain as blood gushed from its lost limb and it stumbled backwards, ignoring its foe for the moment as its brain tried to figure out what had just happened.

Xander smiled and whispered, "No, I think your time is up, moron," as his blade swept the vampire's head from its shoulders, having no problem cleaving through the spinal column. The creature remained solid for a moment and then it burst into dust, raining down on Xander and stinging his open wounds.

He dropped the katana to the ground as if he was holding a hot plate, and fell to his knees, his mind clouded with emotions, some of which weren't his.


The girl looked towards her saviors. "Hello?" She whispered, but neither of them seemed to hear her. "Please, can someone let me go?"

Chapter 9

Consciousness came slowly back to Toth. It was like swimming in a sea of darkness, unable to find the exit. As he blinked his eyes open at last, he felt the painful position he had landed in. Standing up, he cracked his neck loudly, muttering under his breath, "Stupid vampire had to explode into dust."

He looked around, and to his surprise the girl was still tied to the chair. Where was Ice? He quickly maneuvered around to where he could see the man, kneeling down with his hands at the sides of his temples, the katana lying on the floor like a common stick. "Ice. They're defeated. We've got a little girl to drive home, remember? Come on, Ice, get up. You can do what you have to do back home." He sighed. When Ice got like this, it was like talking to a brick wall. He would get up when he was finished, and so Toth didn't press the issue.

Instead, he untied the girl's bounds. She looked up at him with thankful eyes and he nodded to her. "What's your name, little one?" He smiled, trying to make his face as calm and safe-looking as possible.

"My name's Holly and I'm not little." She said, in a mock angry tone.

"Alright, Big Holly, alright. We're going to leave soon, ok? My friend just needs a little time." Toth replied, smiling for real now.

"What's he doing anyway?" She asked curiously, "and what's your name?"

Toth thought about using the name his parents had given him, but that identity marked a different time in his life, and besides, it wouldn't do to give anyone, even someone as innocent looking as Holly any information that might get back to him. "I'm Toth, Big Holly. And my friend here, has name is Ice, he's meditating. He does it every time he wins a battle." That was close enough to the truth.

Her forehead scrunched up in confusion. "What kind of names are Toth or Ice? I've never heard of a toth before, but ice is a thing, not a name."

He smiled again. "All a name is Big Holly is a way to identify who you are. Both Ice and I have other names we've been called in the past, but those don't apply to us anymore. We've changed, ok? And so with out changed we've decided to change our names. Now then, my friend should be done soon, and then we're going to drive you home. We're going to play a game, alright?"

She shrugged at his explanation, but her face brightened up at the mention of a game. "What kind of game, Mr. Toth?"

He shook his head, "I'm no mister, Big Holly. Toth is fine. Today, after school, did you go to a friend's house?" It was easy for him to set this up with access to her mind. There was no reason to have her think of the vampires again.

She nodded. "Yes, I went to Cindy's house."

He smiled. "Alright, well, when we drive you home, I'm going to pretend to be Cindy's brother, alright? Then we're going to tell your parents you fell asleep at Cindy's house and I'm driving you home ok? And if you're very convincing, you'll win the game, alright Big Holly?"

She looked at him with skepticism. "Isn't that lying?"

He shook his head. "No, it's what really happened, isn't it?" He probed out into her mind, making her forget the ordeal.

She smiled. "Of course it is. I'm tired, can we go now?"

He glanced over, Ice was getting up finally, and he had sheathed his sword. The man's appearance was terrible with his wounds bleeding slightly and a haunted look in his eyes.

Toth nodded. "Come on, my car's outside. You'll sit in the front seat, alright? We'll get you home and everything will be alright."

She nodded happily, and so Holly and Toth left the warehouse, with Xander trailing behind, lost in thought. They piled into the Civic, Toth driving with Holly in the passenger seat and Xander lying in the back. The drive to her place was fairly quick, with Toth pulling the directions out of her mind as she dozed on the seat.


He carried her sleeping form to the porch and rang the doorbell with the sun rising behind him. After a few moments the door cracked open, revealing a middle-aged man. Toth was tired and didn't feel like making this longer than it had to be, so when the man shrieked, "My daughter! Who are you and what've you done with her," he wasted no time. Sending a probe into the house, he found three minds, including this one. Using all the remaining power he had for the day, he altered the memories in their minds, so that Holly had come home from school as usual, very tired. She'd been sleeping ever since. He made sure Holly remembered the same thing, and erased her memories of Ice and himself.

He turned and stumbled to the car, where Ice was waiting, sitting in the driver's seat, looking somewhat well again. He opened the passenger's door and fell inside, falling asleep almost instantly.


The ride back to base gave Xander some time to think. It seemed his life was at a crossroads again. It had been fourteen years before when his father had made his decision to take the Chicago job. Jesse, Willow, and the rest of Sunnydale went down one fork in the road, while Xander walked down another. And now, with his discovery of vampires adding themselves to the puzzle that was his never ending quest, he was at the fork once again. Before tonight, eliminating crime had been his goal, but now he was on an entirely new direction, and he really didn't know where it was going to bring him or how he was going to change by the time he reached his next destination.


Well, I've finished the first story in the Fire & Ice Saga. The next one will be called New Beginnings and will explore Xander's life growing up in Chicago as well as what the discovery of vampires does to his current life in the present. Thanks for reading, you guys, this is the first story I've completed in a long time. Glad to get it done.