Only Human

Author: cobra_7422000 <cobra_7422000[at]>

Rating: PG-13/R

Timeframe: two years pre season 1

Spoilers: Mostly AU

Summery: Xander meets Angel at the age of fourteen when Xander is attacked by a vampire.

Pairing: X/C. B/X. W/J. and A/?

Angel and Xander fight together. Then. The slayer comes to town.

Disclaimer: Buffy: the Vampire Slayer is owned by Whedon, UPN, FOX, and Mutant Enemy.

Latest addition

Chapter 1
Intro to the night.

Xander Harris stuffed his hands farther into his pockets. His parents were fighting again, which meant that he was once again on his way to Jesse's to stay the night. 'Its a good thing Sunnydale is such a quiet town. If this were a city I would be dead by now.' Xander thought as he picked up his speed. He heard the rustuling behind him. Soon footsteps thundered on the sidewalk. Xander again picked up his speed moving from a fast walk to a jog. Xander didn't look behind him, he just kept moving toward Jesses'. After turning two corners Xander's curiosity got the better of him and he looked back. Nothing. As Xander turned he bumped into someone. Looking up he saw a very large man, Xander took a few steps back before standing his ground. He was tired of running. Besides'. What did he have to live for?

"If it isn't a little snack." The large man said to Xander who raised his eyebrows.

"Um. Dude. I'm not like that." The man growled and his face seemed to change. Ridges appeared on his forehead and his eyes seemed to slant a little more. Xander took another step back before shaking his head.

"I didn't think you could get uglier." The vampire sneered and let out a growl. The growl soon turned into a howl of pain as Xander's size eleven shoe connected with the vamps groin. Before the vamps yell ended Xander was on the move. He turned quickly and ran like hell. Xander was fast. Years of running from his drunken father had turned his young legs into pure muscle. But Xander didn't have a doubt in his mind. The thing behind him was going to catch him. Xander was smaller. But the large 'man' was faster. Xander didn't know how. He really didn't care how. He was going to die and there was nothing he could do about it. Hell he was still a virgin! Xander was tackled from behind and both he and the man fell to the ground.

"Get off me you sick bastard!" Xander screamed as he turned to lay on his back. He hit the thing above him as hard as he could in the throat. Nothing. Xander hit it again and again that is until the vamp became bored and hit Xander in the face. Xander heard his nose break, he couldn't feel it. Yet. The last thing Xander saw before he blacked out was a tall dark haired man shove a wooden stake into the man on top of hims chest.


Xander awoke with a groan. He was sore. His nose hurt, his head hurt. Hell it hurt to breath. Xander sat up and turned to survey the room. He noticed the man who had saved him sitting on a couch by a fire place. Xander stood shakily and walked over to the couch sitting beside the young man.

"It was a vampire wasn't it?" Angel looked at Xander in slight shock before nodding. Xander noticed the windows were boarded up and it didn't take much to put two and two together.

"Your one to huh?" Angel again looked at Xander in shock before nodding.

"You should be going home." Xander shook his head no at Angel's statement. He needed to know more.

"Tell me." Angel looked in thought for several seconds before he began talking.

"Vampire's and demons are real. Vampires are soulless demons inhabiting dead bodies. The kill. The need blood to survive. And they enjoy it." Xander was getting a little nervous.

"Now is when you tell me your the exception to the rules." Angel actually smiled. Be it slightly before nodding.

"I have a soul." Xander looked at him for a few seconds in silence.

"Teach me." Angels' head flew around to stare at the young man.

"What? No." Xander looked him in the eyes and spoke in an even tone. His calm visage was suprising even to himself.

"I can't just pretend they don't exist. So either you help me or I do it on my own." Angel sat back on the couch wondering how he had gotten into this mess before he finally spoke again.

"Your only human kid." Xander let the kid part slide as he looked down. He looked back up a second later.

"That gives me more of a right to fight then you have." Angel sighed. The kid was right. And Angel knew that he wasn't joking, the kid would go off by himself and get killed. Finally Angel sighed.

"We start tomorrow night. Get some sleep. You can stay here if you want." Xander nodded and moved back over to the cot he woke up on. To his suprise it didn't take long for him to go to sleep.

Angel sat and watched the young man sleep. For the unlife of him he couldn't figure our why he brought the kid here instead of the hospital. Well. He told himself he didn't. In truth it was a sort of big brother syndrom. The young man reminded him of Liam. Well Liam at that age anyway. Angel didn't want the kid to end up like him. But he also knew he couldn't keep him out of the fight. Angel sighed and walked into his room. He needed some sleep. Beside the sun would be sitting soon. And he and Xander had work to do.


Angel shook Xander awake with his foot and turned to walk outside. Xander sat up and rubbed his eyes. He had slept over twelve hours and he had a hell of a headache.

"What time is it?!" Xander asked as he stood and stretched. He didn't get an answer, not that he epected one, so he walked outside into the warm Cali summer air. He saw Angel looking into the darkness and he walked to stand beside him.

"What first teach?" Xander asked with little humor as he looked around trying to see through the darkness. Xander thought he saw the souled vampire smile but in the lite moonlight he couldn't be sure.

"First we get you in shape. Start running." Xander groaned before he and Angel started to jog. If Xander had known that Angel was going to push him to five miles he would have probably thought about quitting. But after running those five miles he decided it couldn't get much worse. And if it did. He could take it.


2 Months later..

Xander and Angel walked through the darkened cemetery. It was quiet. In the last couple of months Angel and Xander had made a name for themselves in the demon communitie. No demon wanted to mess with them. At least not when they were together.

"So DB? Did you hear what the Master told his minions?" Angel looked at Xander with raised eyebrows.

"This isn't another one of your stupid jokes is it?" Xander glared at the souled vampire.

"No. And beside's my jokes aren't stupid. He's actually offering money for my head. You he wants to keep alive or unalive for some reason." Angel didn't like that. In the past few months he had grown to like Xander as a friend and as a brother. He wasn't going to let anything have him without killing him first.

"I wouldn't worry about it. You know that he's all talk. At least till the slayer comes to town." Xander nodded. He'd heard the story, even read the prophecy..Sorta. He wasn't fluent in English much less any other language. Though he was learning. Mostly because Angel was forceing him to. the bastard.

"Why are you smiling?" Angel asked the very very happy looking Xander Harris. Usually his smiles meant something bad was going to happen. At least to Angel.

"No reason. Well tonights dead. No pun intended." Angel rolled his eyes a slight smile on his lips.

"I'm going home for the night DB. Get in before sunrise. I don't want to have to keep you in a dust buster on my mantle." Angel looked at Xander for a second.

"Go home Xander." Xander smiled and chuckled as he turned to leave.

"Seya bro." Xander said as he walked out of the graveyard. Angel stood in the same spot watching the boy go before silently following a short distance behind. He didn't take chances on the hellmouth. He watched as Xander walked up to his front door then quickly turned and began to walk toward his apartment. Xander was safe now. At least. He thought he was.


Xander walked into his house quietly. He noticed that all the lights were on but the TV was off. 'Something isn't right.' Xander thought to himself as he walked toward the living room. What he saw made his stomach turn. His father was sitting in his recliner with his throat ripped out. His mother in the same state on the couch. Xander couldn't breath. He couldn't think. Sure he didn't like his parents but he loved them.

"Ah. I think he's going to cry." Xander turned quickly and his eyes locked onto the blond master vampire that Angel had told him about.

"Darla." Xander said in a very low voice. He was going through the stages. First Denial. Now. Shock.

"So you know of me boy? Thats good. You know your parents begged and pleaded. They even said to take you instead of them. I kinda liked them." Xander had gotten over the shock. He was angry. His blood boiled as he slipped two stakes from his pockets. For the first time he noticed the other five vampires beside Darla, but at this point that didn't matter. All that mattered was that the bitch went down with him. And he was going to see to that. Or die trying. With an almost inhuman yell Xander charged into the vampires dusting two before the fledling's could react. Darla on the other hand was smiling. The boy had spunk. Maybe when this was over she would turn him. He had more potential that Angelus after all. Xander had staked three of the five vamps but when the remaining two came at him at once he was driven to the floor. The last thing he saw before darkness overtook him was Darla's smiling face.


Xander awoke slowly. His arms hurt and it took him a minute to realize why. He was chained to a ceiling. His feet hanging about six inches off the floor.

"Well well well. The little boy awakes. Sleep well?" Xander wanted to talk. But he just couldn't. The pull of his weight on his arms had him focusing on his breathing just to keep the pain in the background of his mind.

"Not in the mood to talk? Well thats to bad. But I bet I can get you to scream." Xander's eyes showed fear as he saw Darla pick up a scalpel from a table beside him. He noticed the aira of different blades and other instruments of torture. A whip. A chain. Steel Spikes.

"Lets see you bleed shall we?" Xander gritted his teeth as Darla used the scalpel to cut a long shallow gash in his uncovered chest. Darla leaned forward and licked away some of the blood.

"You taste good." With a lick of her lips she resumed her torture.


Angel knew something was wrong when Xander didn't show up at his apartment at knightfall. A very heavy weight rested on his shoulders as he moved through the shadows to Xander's home. He was just thanking the PTB that he was invited in a few weeks ago. Angel carefully walked into the house and his vamparic smelling sense told him who had been there. Darla. He growled softly in the dak and moved farther into the house. He walked by Xander's parents bodies barely noticing them. He could still smell Xander's scent in the air but it was fading. Which meant she took him. Angel ran out of the house like a bolt of lightning. He had to find him. And he knew just the place to look first.


Willy was scared. He really didn't like hanging a foot off the floor while a vampire had hands around his throat. Soul or no soul.

"Where is he?!" Angel yelled at the shaking bartender. Willy was so scared he couldn't answer at first.

"Where. Is. HE?!" Angel yelled again and pushed Willy against a wall. Willy finally spoke.

"Darla has him. Abandoned warehouse on Franklin street." Angel released his hold on the barteneder/snitch and walked quickly out of the bar. He needed to make a quick pitstop then he was going to the warehouse. He noticed the time. Five hours till sunrise. He had to work fast.


Darla had made many deep cuts to Xander's chest. Though you couldn't see them do to the blood that covered them. Darla had moved from his chest. Opting instead to use her favorite though cliched torture device. The whip. She used this with brutal effeciancy. And with every crack Xander screamed in pain. Darla had yet to break the young man but she was well on her way. She was about to crack the whip again as the door to the room flew open and Angel walked in, anger clearly written on his demonic face.

"Angelus. How nice of you to join us. Care for a taste?" Darla ran her hand down Xander's back and licked the blood from her fingers like it was chocolate. Angel's eyes seemed to burn with hatred as a stake fell from his coat sleeve into his palm.

"Your going to pay for this Darla. Why?" Darla laughed at Angel as he stood there. Anger on his face masking the amount of pain he felt for what she had put the boy through.

"Isn't it obvious? He's the only link you have to the human world. Without him your nothing. Your not a hero. Just a waste of space." Angel moved forward quickly preparing to dust his sire.

"Now is not the time Angelus. Maybe later." Darla turned and ran from the room. Angel wanted to follow her but instead helped Xander from his chains. The boy was beaten, bloody, and half conciuse but he wasn't crying. He wouldn't cry for years.


2 weeks later.

To say Xander was pissed would be an understatement. After he healed enough to walk, three days, he hit the books. He didn't want to dust Darla. No that would be to easy. He had something else in mind. Something he knew would either dust her, or make her wish he had. Xander knew what he had to do but he didn't know how to do it. After reading through EVERY one of Angel's book of magic he had only one choice.

"So Willow. Want to look something up for me on the net?" Xander asked over the phone. He had been staying with Angel, he was questioned by the police but they cut there investigation short and seemed to forget about the young boy. The thing was the Rosenbergs had not. The minute they found him he would be living with his friend Willow. But Willow also understood that Xander needed time. She wasn't going to turn him in. Xander told her the things he needed to find saying that money was no object and he would get it to her by tomorrow.

"I'll do what I can Xand. You might want to check the magic shop in town though." Xander says he will and hangs up the pay phone. He turned and moved toward a house on the corner. Knocking on the door loudly he didn't smile as an older woman opened the door.

"Can I help you?" The woman asked Xander who nodded more to himself than to her.

"I need your help Mrs. Madison."


Darla was pissed. She hadn't been able to torture the boy as much as she wanted to. And not only that but now Angelus was closer to humanity than before. Her plan had not only failed, it backfired. She growled to herself as she walked her way between tombstones and crypts. She needed to see the Master. As she walked toward the entrance to his lair a movement caught her eye. Smiling to herself as she smelt the boy, she moved forward. The one thing that bothered her was she didn't smell fear. The young man seeped anger and hate but there was no fear to be found. It was almost like he was a vampire, that is if she couldn't smell his soul. That humanly stinch. She was sure the boy had something in mind. In her hundreds of years of unlife she had learned that she wasn't invincible. She was almost as vulnerable as a pathetic human. Well not quite. Darla saw the boy. A silouhette in the darkness. Darla smiled evilly as he moved forward out of the shadows into the moonlight.

"Where's Angelus boy?" Darla asked as she took a step toward the young man. The boy stood stoic. His face empasive as he to stepped forward.

"You know something Darla? I found out I love pain. And now I wanna know what its like to be the giver." Darla smiled as she heard the coldness in Xander's voice. He would make a great Vampire.

"Do you think you have it in you? Can you hold a bloody knife in your hand as you slowly drag it across someones skin. Can you stand the sight of the lines of blood and the thoughts of what the scar would look like if you gave it time to heal?" Darla walked toward Xander seductily. She knew that he couldn't fight her. He didn't have enough time to heal from the wounds she inflicted. Xander's face stayed stoic as he looked at Darla. She couldn't read him. In her years as a vampire she had learned to read people by there eyes. Xander's eyes seemed empty. Almost as if he was broken. However if he was broken he wouldn't be standing defiantly. He would be begging for mercy.

"I don't know Darla. Why don't you stand still so I can find out?" Darla laughed as Xander completed the sentence. She was really beginning to like the young man. Well not him just his attitude.

"I don't think so. You know you have no chance against me. Why come to your death?" Xander didn't take his eyes from Darla's as he spoke. His words crisp and clear in the silent darkness of the night.

"You killed my parents. And I know that if you killed them it will only be a matter of time before you move to my friends. I can't allow that. One of us will die Darla. One way or a another." Darla found herself fascinated with the young man in front of her. His determination was spectacular even if his reasoning was to compassionate.

"Such a loving young man. Not many of you around anymore. Thank God." Darla smiled as she moved forward. As she reached Xander she stopped in a sudden pain, falling to the ground she held her chest as she screamed. Xander looked on without expression. No pity. No compassion. He simply watched with slight fascination.

"Hurts doesn't it? Well wait till you remember everything you've done in the last few hundred years. Then you'll really want to stake yourself." Xander turned and walked from the cemetery leaving Darla writhing on the ground in unending agony.


Catherine Madison sat cross legged. Her breathing ragged. She stood slowly and made her way from the room, leaving the magical components of the spell on the floor. She had just completed the biggest spell in her life. She had given a vampire a soul.


Xander sat at the bar of Willy's. An unopened bottle in front of him.

"Come on Xander. Lets get out of here." Xander looked from the bottle to Angel, then back to the bottle.

"You know? This is what happened to my father. Did I ever tell you that before he started drinking we had fun?" Xander asked and Angel answered with a nod. After a few minutes Xander stood from his stool and walked with Angel out of the bar. The bottle sat at the bar. Its seal still unbroken.


Angel watched as Xander began walking toward the Rosenburg's door. Xander turned back as he reached the bottom step.

"Thanks Angel." Angel only nodded and Xander turned and knocked on the door. Angel melted into the shadows as Willow pulled Xander into the house.

"I'm not going." Angel said ,seemingly, to no one.

"Look Angel this is your destiny." A short man in a fedora and bright colored cloths said as he appeared from no where. Angel looked at the balance demon.

"I don't care about destiny. Xander needs me. Find someone else." Angel turned to walk away, Whistler made one last effort to stop the ensouled vampire

"The kid isn't your path to redemption." Angel turned to Whistler with a look of pure emotion on his face.

"Xander isn't about my redemption." Angel turned and dissappeared into the night leaving Whistler behind. Whistler smiled and spoke into the darkness after Angel.

"Thats usually how it happens kid. Good luck."


Whistler found her on the ground in a cemetery. Bloody tears streaming down her face.

"I. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." Darla sobbed out as she trembled with grief. Whistler looked down on the vampire with what seemed to be compassion.

"I know you are. I'm here to ask you if you want to make things right. At least with the higher ups." Darla looked up from the ground. Her face covered in blood from her tears. She nodded slowly and Whistler held out his hand. Darla reached for Whistlers hand and slowly stood onto her feet.

"Come on. We have alot of work to do." Whistler said as he pulled Darla toward a car with dark tinted windows. Darla only nodded while sobbing and followed the funny looking man in the out of date clothing.


Xander Harris awoke in an all to familiar surrounding. The Rosenbergs guest room, or as they told him last night. His room. He thought back to the conversation he had with them after Willow had been 'forced' to go to sleep.

"I don't want to be a burden. I can take care of myself." Xander said as he sat at the table with Willows' parents. Both adults smiled at the young man they thought of a son.

"Nonsense Xander. Your staying here and thats final. You have the room beside Willow's. So go. Go to bed." Mrs. Rosenberg said somewhat playfully. Xander smiled slightly and stood turning to walk from the room.

"I want you to know how much this means to me. Thank you." Xander then walked toward HIS room. He didn't know why but for some strange reason. He felt at home.

Xander was pulled from his musings from pounding on 'his' door.

"Xander we have toget ready for school!" Willow yelled as she pounded on his door. Xander groaned and got out of bed.

"Be out in a minute!" Xander stood slowly and pulled some clothes out of a bag. A black shirt and dark jeans.

"I hate school." He muttered to himself as he began to dress.


The halls of Sunnydale Junior High were like most highschools. Plain looking and full of students. Xander and Willow weaved there way through. Or rather Willow did. Xander just walked straight forward bumping people out of his way and moving toward his locker. Willow noticed how Xander had lost the hop in his step and the smile that always graced his face. She felt sorry for her friend. Very sorry.

"Hey Wills. Xand-man." Willow looked up to see Jesse waiting by her locker.

"Hey Jesse." Willow said as she opened her locker. Xander nodded. He hadn't said anything since Willow woke him up that morning. Jesse didn't push it and the three walked to class in silence.


"Mr. Harris!" Xander turned from the window slowly and looked at the teacher with emotionless eyes.

"What?" His voice wasn't cold. Wasn't angry. But it also wasn't Xander.

"Pay attention." The teacher turned back to the board and Xander turned back to the window. He looked out at the sunlit quad. The sunlight was his only protection. It showed that even when he was scared he was safe. He looked out the window unaware of people watching him.

"He looks different." Harmony said as she and Cordelia watched Xander stare out the window. Cordy nodded her agreement.

"Yeah. But he's still a loser." Harmony agreed and went back to talking about nailpolish. Cordy on the other hand continued to watch Xander. Xander noticed her staring but didn't care. He was thinking of how to get out of the Rosenbergs' house to patrol.


"Where are you going Xander?" Willow asked as she Xander opened the front door. It was close to midnight and Xander was sneeking out of the house.

"McDonalds?" Xander asked with no humor in his voice. He didn't have humor in his voice anymore.

"Try again." Xander looked like he was thinking.

"I'm going to hunt vampires with my best friend who is also a vampire with a soul." Willow frowned at Xander who shrugged.

"I'm going out Wills. Be back before your parents wake up. Get some sleep." Before Willow could say something Xander was gone. Willow thought about following the young man but turned and walked back to her room. She would TRY to get some sleep. After all she trusted Xander.


Angel and Xander walked through the crypts and tombstones of a cemetery. They had dusted a few vampires but it was a pretty slow night. Angel had heard about Darla's dissappearance and he knew that Xander had something to do with it. But he wasn't going to bring it up. Wasn't his style. Or his business.

"You need a hobby." Angel said out of the blue. Xander looked at him like he was crazy then motioned to the stake in his hand and the cemetery around him.

"Not this. I mean a hobby. Uh.. Muscial instrument. Yeah. What your favorite instrument?" Xander still looked slightly confused as he answered.

"Drums. Why?" Angel only smiled.

"I'll buy you set. Like I said you need a hobby." Xander sighed and threw his arms into the air.

"I don't have TIME for a hobby." Angel rolled his eyes and hit Xander on the back.

"We'll make time. After all you can't be out here everynight fighting. Your still a kid." Xander was about to start yelling when Angel held up his hands.

"That wasn't an insult Xander. Look your only fourteen. You need to hang out have fun. Don't get me wrong I like having a partner but this can't be your entire life." Xander understood what Angel was saying. Finally he nodded accepting defeat.

"Fine. I'll do it. Basterd." Angel laughed as the exited the cemetery.

"Good. Good." They walked toward Willows' house. Angel feeling better about Xander's life. And Xander. Well he was wondering if he could get in without waking anyone up.

"Oh. And your going to have to meet Willow's parents. Especially if you buy me a drum set. Haven't thought of that have you deadboy?" Angel groaned. That was true he hadn't thought of that. This sucked. Oh well. He'd just say he was his big brother. Or not.


Darla and Whistler sat outside Buffy Summers home as the young girl stood on the porch waiting for her boyfriend.

"She's going to need help." Whistler said as he looked out the window of his car. Darla nodded as she watched Buffy's boyfriend pull up and Buffy get in the car.

"Think you can handle it?" Darla swallowed and looked at Whister.

"I don't know." Whistler smiled at the souled vampiress.

"Good enough for me."


Xander walked through the darkened cemetery. He walked confidently through the tombstones and crypts moving toward the struggle in front of him. Some guy in tweed with a crossbow was holding off 4 vamps with a cross. Xander thought about calling the guy an idiot but realized anyone else would have already been dead. Xander had walked up behind the vamps without any of them knowing. He tapped his foot for a second before pulling two stakes and smiling.

"Hey fangboys. Didn't I tell your kind not to come to this cemetery? I mean whats the world coming to when a man can't come to the cemetery and read the tombstones in the middle of the night?" Xander's smile dissappeared as he threw a stake and a vamp turned to dust.

"Not to mention I really hate vampires." The three remaining vamps attacked as there friend turned to dust. Xander sidestepped the first vamp and stiff armed it in the throat knocking it to the ground he quickly dusted the vamp with a stake. The two remaining vampires came from both sides as Xander held his arms out and they impaled themselves on outstretched stakes.

"That was easy. Didn't even get my heart rate up." Xander looked at the man with the cross and rolled his eyes.

"What the hell are you doing?" Xander asked the man in tweed. The man stood fidgeting his crossbow held in a tight grip.

"Slaying vampires. What else would I be doing in a cemetery at this ungodly hour?" Xander almost laughed. Almost. Xander sighed and walked toward the man slowly. He didn't want to scare the already shaken man into running.

"Okay old guy. Vampire dusting, my job. Whatever the hell you do during the day, your job. Now that we got that out of the way. I'll walk your stupid ass home. Cool?" Giles glared at the young man and sneered slightly.

"I'll have you know that slaying vampires is MY job. Day and night. I research, train, and inform those that oppose the vampires." Giles was losing his temper with the young man. Xander meanwhile was standing infront of the man with a bored look on his face.

"Yeah. Well it sucks to be you. Do you want me to walk you home?" Giles growled at the young man before turning on his heel and walking out of the graveyard. After all he was going to keep his pride.

"Stupid young punk." Giles gritted out as he walked toward his car.

"Stupid old man." Xander said as he watched Giles leave.


Angel and Xander moved through the Bronze slowly. Both keeping an eye out for any undead partiers.

"So. You taking tomorrow off?" Angel asked as they moved toward the bar.

"Nah. I think i'm getting slow. I'm going to patrol all week." Angel nodded as he watched the band.

"There not bad." Angel said as he watched the Dingoe's8mybaby perform on the stage. Xander nodded in agreement.

"Hey Xand-man! Hey Angel." Jesse said as he walked up to the bar. Angel and Xadner both said hello, well in there own way. Xander said hi and Angel nodded.

"So. What are you two doing in the Bronze? Don't you usually go to L.A. on friday nights?" For the past six months Angel and Xander had been helping a group of kids in L.A. everyweekend. The last saturday Angel had killed the vamps that were attacking the group's leader. Knox. So things were quiet in the L.A. front.

"Nah. We decided to lay off the clubs for awhile. You here with Wills?" Jesse shook his head.

"Nope. I was flying solo but I think i'm going to head home. Seeya bro. Angel." The group said there goodbyes and Jesse left the Bronze. Angel watched as the young man walked out of the club.

"I don't think he likes me." Angel said as he looked at his young friend. Xander only shrugged indifferently as he took a drink of his coke. Xander turned to survey the club and immediatly spotted a head of blond hair. He watched as Darla slid out of the exit.

"I'll be right back Angel." Angel only nodded as Xander slipped off the stool he was using and walked out of the club. He followed Darla down the alley until the vampire turned around.

"Alexander." Darla said quietly as she looked at the road beneath her feet. Xander simply glared at her as if thinking about her fate. After all in both of there minds he was her judge. There was no jury and he damn well could be her executioner.

"What are you doing here Darla? I hoped I'd never see you again." The tone of Xander's voice was cold, making Darla seem to shiver in the pale moonlight. Darla stood her ground.

"I'm helping the slayer. And i'm here to ask for you and Angel's help." Xander took a step toward the vampiress. Darla didn't move.

"I fight for myself. If the slayer needs help fine. SHE can ask me. But you stay the hell away from me. And Angel. Got it?" Xander's voice hadn't rose at all but the words became more venomous as he spoke. Darla nodded that she understood and turned to walk away.

"I'm sorry..." She said as she began to vanish into the night.

"That isn't good enough." Xander replied as he turned and walked back toward the Bronze. He was going to tell Angel he was going home.


Rupert Giles stood in the center of the deserted Sunnydale High School library. His meeting with a young man in a cemetery earlier that night had him baffled to say the least.

"Who was he?" Giles ask himself outloud. He didn't expect an answer and he didn't get one. He moved to his office, took a seat at his desk, and put thoughts of the young man out of his mind. After all, he had work to do, his slayer was coming


Many things had changed in Alexander Harris' life over the past two years. His parents were dead, his nights were full, and he was a fighter. But one of the few things that never changed. He hated school. Always had and always would.

"Hey Xander! I just love school don't you?" Willow on the other hand loved school with a passion. Why, Xander and no one else, knew. But she did. So Xander smiled slightly as the two walked in the door to see Jesse who seemed to be drooling.

"New girl." Xander only shrugged and turned moving down a corridor.

"Where ya goin Xand-man?" Jesse asked as he put his arm around Willow. Xander turned around but continued to walk backwards.

"Library. I need to check out a book on celtic rituals." Jesse and Willow looked at him in confusion but didn't ask the question that was filling there minds. Xander half smiled and turned walking toward the high school library.


Elizabeth Anne Summers, Buffy to her friends, stepped out of her mothers Jeep Cherokee onto the front quad of Sunnydale High School. She was nervous. Very nervous. She had just been expelled from her old school ,Hemery, in L.A. She really wanted, or moreover needed to make a good impression. Moreso to the teachers than to the students.

"Have fun honey! Make lots of friends." Joyce Summers said from inside the jeep. Buffy just smiled slightly, nodded, and waved goodbye. Buffy turned to look at her new school. Sunnydale High. Hopefully she wouldn't have to burn down the gym.

"Well, here goes nothin." Buffy began to walk toward the entrance.


Xander stepped through the double doors and into the library. He looked around the spacious room for the librarian but couldn't see anyone.

"I guess I'll find the book myself." Xander murmered and walked toward the stacks in the back of the room. He heard the double doors open behind him but he didn't care who it was.

"I'm just getting a book!" He yelled from behind the stacks. The voice he heard back wasn't what he expected a librarian to sound like.

"Me to." A femenine voice answered in reply. Xander moved out of the stacks and looked at the small blond haired girl holding a binder against her chest.

"New?" Xander asked as he stood at the stairs leading to the book stacks. The girl nodded quickly.

"Buffy Summers." Xander smiled slightly and walked down the stairs.

"Xander Harris." 'She's hot' Xander thought to himself as he shook her hand. Little did he know she was thinking the same thing. Both looked up as the double doors opened and an older man in a tweed jacket walked in. When he saw Xander he stopped in his tracks.

"What the bloody hell are you doing here?" Giles asked as he stepped toward the smiling young man.

"Me? Oh I need a book on ancient Celtic rituals." Giles stopped suddenly.

"Uh.. Is there a pressing reason for your need of that book?" Giles asked fidgeting. Xander shook his head no and smiled slightly.

"No. A friend of mine told me to study and the celtic stuff always intrested me. So you got the book or what?" Giles sighed and nodded to himself.

"Yes. I'll get it for you." Xander noticed how the old man looked at Buffy. It was like he knew who she was. Xander turned and looked at Buffy.

"He seem like a tightass to you?" Xander asked making Buffy laugh. Giles walked out of the stacks with a book in his hand and a tightly drawn face. Xander moved over to the checkout counter and took the book. He looked at the name on a plaque by the counter.

"Thanks G-man. Bye Buff." Xander turned and walked out of the library leaving Buffy with the Librarian.

"Miss Summers?" Giles asked as he reached for the large book under the counter....


Xander walked across the quad toward the table he, Jesse, and Willow occupied at lunch. His thoughts were stuck on his meeting with Buffy earlier that day. There was something different about her. Something.... Just something he couldn't grasp. Just a feeling. He walked under the shade trees and noticed that there was more than two people at the table. Three to be exact. Jesse, Willow, and Buffy. Xander was conflicted. He wanted to go over to his normal table but something about Buffy seemed to tell him to be cautious. Xander shrugged it off and walked over to the table. Willow noticed him first and waved at him to take a seat.

"Xander. This..." Willow started her introduction only to be cut off by Xander.

"Buffy Summers. We've met. About three periods ago if i'm not mistaken." Buffy smiled but Xander didn't. Xander seemed to be uncomfortable.

"So Xand. We Bronzing it tonight or are you and Angel doing something?" Xander shrugged.

"I don't know. If Angel and I don't go to L.A. I'll be there." Willow and Jesse nodded. They hadn't seen much of there friend latly. Well Willow had but that was because he lived with her.

"Angel?" Buffy asked as she looked toward Xander. Xander thought of not answering but he knew Willow would tell Buffy the Xander life story the minute he left. Well, what she knew of it anyway.

"My brother." Xander answered without thinking. But, he didn't think about what he said afterward either. He also didn't notice the slight sigh from Buffy. As a matter of fact not even she noticed it.

"I gotta go. Take this book back to the library." Xander noticed the look of panic that formed on Buffy's face at the mention of the library. He had an idea of why but didn't want to mention anything. Ever. Xander stood and moved from the table just as Cordy walked over. 'Thats the last we'll see of Buffy.' Xander thought to himself as Cordy began talking to her. He once again had convlicting emotions. He wanted to be her friend. But, he also wanted nothing to do with her.

"Things just got alot more confusing." Xander said to himself as he walked into the school.


Xander and Angel walked toward the Bronze with easy steps. Neither were worried about vampires or demons. Not many messed with them unless the Master was in a bad mood that night. Angel looked at Xander as they walked.

"Willy said the Harvest is coming." Xander only nods to himself as they walk. Finally he ask Angel a question.

"Whose the vessel?" Angel looked at Xander and shrugged. Something he had started to do the last six months.

"I don't know. Whats wrong?" Angel smiled as he saw Xander look away. He could read the kid like an open book. He could already tell it was a girl.

"Do you think a person can fall in love more than once?" Xander asked as they turned a corner. Angel looked in thought for a second before nodding.

"Yeah. People move on. People change. You've changed Xander." Xander nods along with Angels statement all the while having conflicting emotions over his 'new' feelings.

"It wouldn't be disrespecting her memory Xander." Xander nods in agreement but inside his not so sure. Finally Xander sighs and stops walking.

"I need to take a walk. Tell the gang i'm alright Angel." Angel thinks of fighting Xander on his walking alone but decides the boy needs time. Angel nods and begins walking again.

"Remember Xan. Nothing is impossible. Who knows, she might even love you back." Angel vanished into the shadows leaving Xander standing under the street lights glow.

"But do I really love her?" Xander ask the night before turning and walking across the street.


Buffy, Willow, and Jesse sat in a corner booth at the Bronze. It was a busy night in the club and many teenagers were dancing to the music of a band called The Dingo's8mybaby.

"Where's your friend Xander?" Buffy asked as the three sipped there drinks and watched the dancefloor. Jesse turned from the dancefloor to look at her as he shrugged.

"He must have went to L.A. with Angel."

"We stayed in Sunnydale this weekend Jesse." The table turned quickly to see Angel seem to flow out of the darkness. He pulled a chair up to the front of the table and looked at the group of kids.

"Xander isn't feeling well. He needed some time alone to think." Willow and Jesse nodded. Xander had done that alot in the past years. He was alone more than he was with people, and he enjoyed it. Said it gave him time to think.

"Should he be out at night alone?" Buffy asked carefully. Angel looked at her with a small smile before he actually chuckled.

"Xander can take care of himself. If anything worry about the things that might attack him." Buffy was thrown of balance at the last remark and Willow and Jesse just looked at eachother in confusion. Angel turned as he was tapped on his shoulder. His eyes fell on an orange haired guitar player named Oz.

"Hey Angel. Xander around?" Angel shook his head.

"No. I doubt he shows up tonight. Need me to tell him anything?" Oz frowned slightly and nodded.

"Yeah. Chris won't be able to play our gig tomorrow, and since Xander knows all the songs I thought he might play for us." Angel nodded thinking to himself.

"Sure. I'll tell him." Oz nodded, smiled at Willow, and walked back toward the stage. Buffy noticed Willow's smile as she watched the departing figure.

"I think Willows got a crush." Buffy said teasingly into the other girls ear. Willow's eyes went wide and she blushed deeply before smiling.

"Maybe I do." Jesse chuckled at his friends answer. A month ago she would have denied it with a passion. Even Angel smiled a little at the red head.

"I'm a little old to be here so... bye." Angel stood and walked toward the exit of the club. The last thing he heard before he reached the exit was Jesse.

"How old do you think he is anyway?" Angel smiled and chuckled as he thought of the answer.


Angel stepped into the dimly lit alley beside the Bronze only to turn and look into the darkness with cold eyes.

"Come out." Angel's eyes became cold as the blonde vampiress stepped out of the shadows of the night.

"Angel." Darla said in a low voice as her eyes seemed glued to the street beneath her feet. Angel only stood there. Something had changed.

"Why are you here?" Angel asked his tone hollow and even as it moved through the dark night. Angel stood ready to fight. He had no doubt he could beat Darla. He just wasn't sure what was going on and that disturbed him.

"I need your help..." Darla said almost meekly as she lifted her eyes to meet Angel's. Angel looked at her in shock. He knew the look in her eyes well. He had seen it in his dreams. He knew that it was the same look that reigned in his own eyes. That would never leave his soul. Finally Angel relaxed and sighed.

"Tell me."


Xander stood in a dark alley and surveyed his surroundings. A small smile reached his lips and his eyes seemed to glisten with unshed tears.

"I still miss you." Xander whispered to the darkness. He closes his eyes as the memories of the night he met her flash through his mind.


The scream pierced the night like a a knife through flesh. It seemed to echo for miles as Xander ran toward its starting point. He didn't know what to expect and at the moment he didn't care. He turned into the alley in a skid and stood in shock as what he saw. A young woman a little older than himself was fighting two vampires. She wasn't winning. But she wasn't losing just yet either. Xander shook off his shock and pulled a stake from his jacket. he quickly threw it through the air dusting one of the vamps and getting the other ones attention.

"Things are ugly huh?" He asked the girl who was leaning against the alley wall. She nodded with wide eyes making Xander's smile widen. He wouldn't think till later that it was his first REAL smile in months.

"You killed Tommy." The remaining vamp growled out as he stood still as a statue in front of Xander.

"Who? Oh. You mean Dusty. Um. Sorry?" Xander asked with a smile on his face and his eyebrows raised. The vamp growled and charged Xander quickly only to get a stake in the heart for his troubles. Xander walked toward the girl as the monster burst into dust behind him. The smile was wiped off his face and a concerned look came over his face.

"Are you okay?" Xander asked her as he stood in front of the shocked young woman. The girl nodded for a second before she blinked and seemed to notice Xander.

"What were those things? And who are you?" Xander couldn't help but smile. The girl wasn't hysteric. That has to mean something.

"Come on. I'll walk you home. And TRY to answer your questions." Xander imphasised the word try and listened intently to the girls questions answer what he could. Finally the two of them stood infront of a two story house a few blocks from the Rosenberg house.

"My turn to ask a question?" Xander asked as the girl turned to walk into her house. She turned back with a smile and nodded.

"Whats your name?" The girl's smile widened as she stepped toward him and kissed him on the cheek.

"Celeste. Night' Xander." Xander nodded and waved as Celeste walked into her house shutting the door behind her. Xander chuckled and turned to walk home. He touched his cheek lightly and took one last look back as he began walking down the street. Things had began to look up.


Xander looked around the alley once more with a slightly sad smile on his face. Finally he stuffed his hands into his pockets adn walked out of the alley into the street and toward the Bronze. Maybe things would get better.... Maybe.


Buffy watched as Willow and Jesse talked about stuff. Mostly about nothing. Just smiling and laughing and being friends. Buffy missed that.

"So Buffinator. I saw you checkin out the Xand-Man earlier..." Buffy's eyes flew open and she looked at Jesse with a deer in the headlights look. Jesse's mouth opened and he started laughing.

"I was right? Damn I'm good!" Jesse and Willow were both smiling at the redfaced Buffy who was fidgeting slightly in her seat.

"Hey guys." Xander Harris said as he seemingly appeared from nowhere and took a seat beside the still crimson Buffy.

"Sup?" Willow shrugged but Jesse smiled.

"Buffy's got the hots for you bro." Xander rolled his eyes at Jesse.

"Sure she does. Trying to trick me with that. AGAIN." Xander asked with an amused tone. He didn't notice the deathglare Buffy was sending Jesse. He also didn't know the thoughts in Buffy's head. Most involving using her slayer strength to kill Jesse in a VERY painful way. Jesse just smiled and shook his head.

"Whatever bro." Jesses said as he chuckled.

"Oh yeah. Oz needs you to play with the band tomorrow night." Willow said and took a drink of her coke. Xander nodded to himself unconsieusly scooting closer to Buffy.

"I guess I should find him. You going to come watch?" Xander asked the group who all agreed with slight nods. Xander turned and looked at Buffy with a half smile.

"Your talkative tonight. Whats up Buff?" Buffy smiled at the young man before answering.

"Nothin. I need to get home soon though." Xander nodded smiling.

"Come on. I'll walk you. Its not safe to walk the streets at night." Willow and Jesse only nodded thinking of all there missing classmates. Buffy was about to say no but smiled and nodded.

"Okay. Ready?" Xander chuckled and stood up pulling Buffy with him.

"Sure. Later guys." Buffy exchanged goodbyes with Willow and Jesse and the two teens walked out of the Bronze.


The brunette stepped out of her car and walked quickly toward her front door. The darkness frightened the young woman. She didn't know why. Didn't care why. She just wanted to be inside. Safe and happy with a cup of hot chocolate and a book. But she wasn't going to make it. She didn't even get her key in the lock before she was grabbed around the throat. A loud 'snap' echoed through the night. Then. It was silent.


Xander and Angel walked through the darkness of the cemetery. Neither talking but both having the same thoughts on there minds. Finally the vampire with a soul made a decision to speak.

"Darla's back in town." The dark haired vampire said as if it meant nothing. Xander just nodded his head for a second before answering.

"I know." Angel nodded his head.

"She asked for my help. I told her I would." Xander nodded to Angels statements before speaking.

"I knew you would." The duo again walked in silence for a short time.

"She came to you first didn't she?" Angel asked with a little seriousness in his normally unreadable voice. Xander sighed and nodded his head.

"Yeah. She asked me for our help." Angel didn't ask the young man to elaborate further he didn't need to. The two demon hunters walked on there patrol with no words spoken

between them. After the patrol was over both men thought the same thing. They had just had the quietest night since they had met.


Buffy Summers didn't know what to think of her new status, her new friends. She wasn't sure about anything anymore. She thought of the people she had met today and put them in little categories.


Willow is the kind of girl that all mothers want. She's smart, genius even, and nice. Buffy liked her. Of course old Buffy wouldn't have said two words to the red head. Buffy wasn't proud of that fact.


Cordelia was a snob. She was OLD Buffy personified into a brunette. Buffy couldn't help but feel a 'slight' kinship with the young woman even though she knew they would never be best friends.


Jesse was the clown. The comic relief of the gang. well of Xander, Willow, and Jesse's gang anyway.

And finally


Buffy wasn't sure what category Xander fit in. He wasn't a clown that was for sure. He seemed to harbor a lot of pain. But he was kind. He was handsome and to her he was slightly mysterious. She found herself putting him in a category she had never had before. A category she hadn't named yet.

Buffy thought of all her new friends. All of the people she had seen and met in the last 24 hours and she came to a decision. She couldn't shirk her calling. She couldn't run from her responsibilities. If she did one of her new friends might become an enemy. She wasn't sure she could stand that.

"I'll talk to the brit tomorrow." She promised herself as she fell into an unmerciful sleep.


Xander found no sleep that night. He sat on the bed in his room and had a staring contest with the dark blue walls. He couldn't sleep. He was tired, he could barely keep his eyes open, but he couldn't sleep. He wasn't afraid of sleep but he knew that if he slept the nightmares would come. He would be reliving every single painful moment in his short life. From his parents death, to his torture, to... her death. He couldn't handle it anymore. Everything was beginning to pile onto the young man. Although the main thing on his mind was Buffy. The slayer. She would need his help. Eventually he would have to tell her about himself. What then? He didn't know the answer. He did know one thing though.

"I'll talk to the brit tomorrow."


Buffy flew through the doors of the library in a fast and purposeful walk.

"You win." Buffy said as she looked at her watcher. Giles took off his glasses and cleaned them.

"Excuse me?" He asked with what seemed like genuine curiosity. Buffy looked at him for a moment before speaking.

"I'll be here after school to train or whatever." With her parting words she left the library.

Giles turned and shook his head.

"She gets right to the point huh?" A voice asked making Giles turn quickly. He didn't hear the doors open.

"Oh it is you." Giles said with a little bit of disgust. Xander chuckled slightly before walking up to the older man.

"I want to help." Giles looked at Xander with false confusion. Xander sighed and looked him in the eyes.

"I'm out there fighting every night anyway Giles." Giles nodded slightly to the information but didn't speak. Finally Xander began to speak again.

"There's something you have to learn about this game Giles. This isn't football. In this game you only have three teams. The good, the bad, and the dead." Xander turned to leave the room without another word only to be stopped by Giles's voice.

"We will be here after school." Xander turned and nodded to Giles.

"Sure thing." Xander walked out the door leaving Giles in thought.


Xander sat beside Jesse at there usual lunch table.

"So what's with you and the Buffster?" Jesse asked as he bit into his sandwich. Xander looked at him and shrugged.

"Nothin man. I just met her." It was Jesses' turn to raise his eyebrows and mock glare at his friend.

"Really? Well I have it on good authority that she wants some Xander lovin." The smile on Jesse's face grew as Xander looked up at him in shock. The Xander frowned.

"Uh huh, sure Jess." Jesse tried to speak but was cut off by a very enthusiastic Willow.

Followed by a radiant and still not sure of her acceptance Buffy.

"Guess what guys. Buffy is in all of my classes." Both young men smile and nod. Jesse is the one to speak.

"That's great Will." Xander chuckles as Will and Buffy sat down. Buffy beside him and Willow beside Jesse. Xander didn't seem to notice.

"Yeah you can help her with the big words." Xander said with a playful tone. Buffy slapped his arm and mock glared at him.

"Very funny." Jesse was still laughing and Willow was smiling.

"So tell us about yourself Buff." Xander said as he kicked the still laughing Jesse under the table. Buffy looked kinda uncomfortable before speaking.

"Not much to tell. I moved here from L.A. after my parents divorced. Kinda a boring bio ya know?" Jesse and Willow nodded but Xander snorted lowly. So lowly only Buffy heard the young man. She looked at him for a second but let it go.

"So we Bronzing it tonight?" Jesse asked the group with a smile on his face. A smile that never seemed to go away.

"I don't know about me." Xander said as he looked toward the doors of Sunnydale High. The rest of the gang followed his view to see the school bully Jack picking on a freshman.

"I'll be right back." Xander said as he stood. Willow tried to talk him out of it for a second.

"Xander. Principal Flutie said one more fight and you were suspended." Xander just kept walking. Buffy looked at the large football captain then at Xander. Finally she turned to


"He's going to get killed." Jesse laughed but was quickly stopped by Buffy's glare.

"Xand-man can take care of himself. Chances are there won't even be a fight."


Xander walked up to the two young men quietly and quickly. Neither noticed he was there until he spoke.

"I think he's had enough Jack." The big linebacker turned to face Xander letting the young freshman go. Jack looked at the young brunette vampire hunter with disgust and no respect.

"You want to take his place Harris?" The big man said as he took a step toward a calm Xander Harris. Xander smiled slightly.

"Actually I was going to take yours." Before the big linebacker knew what happened he was hunched over holding his stomach.

"Don't threaten me." Xander said as he quickly slammed his knee into his opponents head. As the big man went down Xander walked into school. No one said anything about the fight.


Xander walked into the library to see Giles and Buffy holding quarter staffs. Giles was loosing.

"Good one Buff." Xander said as Giles fell to the ground. Buffy turned quickly her eyes as wide as saucers.

"Xan. um. hi, I." She stated not know what excuse to use at the moment. Giles however stood and glared at the young man.

"It is about bloody well time." Giles said and tossed the stick to Xander who caught it in mid-arc.

"Sorry." Was the only excuse he gave as he shrugged one sleeve out of his leather jacket then changed the staff to his other and did the same. Buffy looked at Giles then Xander, then finally back to Giles.

"What is Xander doing here?" Giles seemed like he was about to speak only to have Xander cut him off.

"Helping you. Slayer." Buffy looked at him in shock.

"How did you know?" She asked in disbelief that made Xander smirk.

"I've known about vamps for years Buff. It didn't take a genius to figure out your the slayer and the brit is your watcher." Buffy looked at him for a second before looking at Giles.

"He's not helping." Giles looked flustered and Xander groaned and rolled his eyes. Buffy looked at him seriously.

"There's a big deference between a dumb jock and a vampire Xander." Xander chuckled at Buffy's statement before nodding.

"Only the strength and speed Buff. The brain is on the same level." Buffy didn't laugh. Xander sighed before walking forward purposely with his staff in a forward position.

"I've been fighting vamps for a few years now Buff. I've been through more shit than you.

Need me to prove it?" Buffy put her staff in position and attacked.

Buffy brought her staff around and went for Xander's legs only to have the young man jump the attack and bring his staff in a downward arc toward the top of her skull. Buffy jumped to the side at the last instant rolling to her feet only to have a kick in the mid-section that lifted her from the ground for a second. She used the momentum to spin and bring her staff around to hit Xander's head. At the last second he ducked and brought out his right leg for a sweep kick. Buffy jumped out of range then kicked out with her left leg hitting Xander in the shoulder. As Xander fell backward he rolled to his feet his staff still held in his right hand.

Giles looked on in shock. He had only last half a second with his slayer. This young man was going to last awhile.

"Good enough." Buffy said surprising everyone in the room. Xander smiled at her and put down his staff.

"So I have the slayer seal of approval?" He asked with no play in his tone. Buffy looked at the floor and nodded her head.

"Just be careful." Xander's smile fell from his face and he nodded.