Shining Armor, Crimson Tears

Author: cyclone_knight <cyclone[at]>

Feedback: Please be gentle.

Distribution: Gimme credit and a link. Plus, archived at or

Rating: I'm gonna go say PG.

Spoilers: Up to Graduation and the Reign of the Supermen.

Disclaimer: The characters depicted herein belong to the almighty Joss and DC Comics. I'm just borrowing them for a while.

Summary: Xander remembers the confrontation with the Cyborg Superman. DC crossover. Interlude after Steel Knight.

Author's Note: This is for those of you who read Steel Knight and are wondering what's going on because you don't know the Return of Superman story arc.

Xander sat on the plane, glad that the person next to him was apparently planning on sleeping for the whole trip. He'd sold the rusted old car he'd gotten from Uncle Rory and was flying coach back to Sunnydale. It was a four-hour flight.

He wasn't brooding.

No way. That was Deadboy's gig.

He was contemplating. Yeah, that was it.

Ever since Steel's confrontation with the Last Son of Krypton, things had been happening so fast, Xander hadn't had time to deal with the sudden flurry of events.

After Steel had flown off with him, the Visored Superman had gone to Coast City, not more than a couple hundred miles from Sunnydale. Apparently, John had talked some sense into the arrogant asshole.

Then John had returned, ambushed by the White Bunny. Her little arms cartel was gone, but that was hardly a reason to celebrate, not with what had happened next.

Coast City was gone. One of the Superman imposters had destroyed it, replaced it with a goddamned rocket engine, planning to turn the whole world into some kind of roving Death Star planet.

Xander closed his eyes and shuddered.

All those people...

Seven million people...


Just... gone.

In the blink of an eye.

And just when things were at their worst, he showed up.


The real Superman.

Miraculously, the Kryptonian had actually managed to survive the battle with Doomsday, and he had recovered and returned just in time to help stop the cyborg imposter. Xander wasn't sure on the details of just why the cyborg was doing what he did, but he seemed to have some sort of personal grudge against the original man of steel.

Xander never felt more useless in his life. The cyborg was everywhere, and the stake launcher was absolutely useless. The wooden projectiles had merely shattered on impact.

He almost didn't realize until it was too late that Steel had planned to use himself and his suit to stop the gears. He'd launched himself after his mentor, diving into the gears himself, heedless of the danger.

It was a miracle they survived.

And later, the cyborg had somehow taken control of what was left of their suits.

And without it... sure, he could hold his own against a relatively new vampire...

But against his own suit? It was no contest.

It was a good thing Superboy was there and had figured out some of his not-quite-Superman powers, or they'd both be dead.

Still, with the suit, he could make a difference; he'd seen that. So when John had built him the new suit, he'd accepted it without hesitation.

And now, he was going back.

Back to the Hellmouth.

Back to make a difference.


Author's Postscript:

Rob, this one's for you. ;-p