The Odds

Author: Black Crowe <Blackcrowe117[at]>

Disclaimer: Aw, come on. Don't make me say it. Oh, fine. I don't own Buffy. Happy now?

Summary: (Challenge Response) In light of Caleb's words, just what does Xander see?

Rating: PG

Spoilers: Some season seven, but nothing too specific for seasons 1-6.

Pairings: None per say.

A/N: I don't normally respond to challenges, but this one sparked my interest.

Okay, here's the challenge:

RULES for the Xander-gets-a-power challenge:

  1. The power shouldn't make Xander super-guy.
    1. The power can't make Xander super-Slayer-guy (ala Buffy).
    2. The power can't make Xander super-magic-guy (ala Willow).
    3. The power can't make Xander portal-guy (ala Dawn).
    4. The power can't make Xander wish-guy (ala Anya).
  2. The power should be totally unique in the history of the world.
  3. The power shouldn't have anything to do with actual slaying.
  4. The power should attract demons that wish to exploit it.
  5. To go with #4, the Scoobies should have to protect Xander.
  6. If at all possible, a humorous power is a plus.

That about covers it.

Latest addition


It had all started with one of those Lottery tickets you get at 7-11.

He had been twelve years old, waiting at the front counter while his father flipped through the porno magazines. As he waited, he soon found himself eavesdropping on the conversations around him. Most of it went right over the young boy's head, and was thusly ignored, but one exchange got through.

"Hal, why do you waste your money on those things? You're never gonna win."

"Alright, Joe. I'll remember you said that when I'm a millionaire."

"Like that'd ever happen. Do you have any idea what the odds of getting all six numbers is?"

Even as the words left the man's mouth, the young boy's mind seemed to light up. Before he could stop himself, he spoke up.

"One in thirteen million, nine hundred and eighty-three thousand, eight hundred and sixteen."

The two men stared at him blankly for a long moment, and he began to feel immensely uncomfortable. Didn't everyone know that answer?

Suddenly, they began to laugh.

"Cute kid." The first one, Joe, remarked.

"Yeah." Hal replied, nudging his friend in the side "Hey, check this out."

He leaned over to the youngster, still laughing. "Okay, smart-guy. How 'bout the seven number draw?"

The boy furrowed his brow for a moment, and then smiled. "One in sixty-two million, eight hundred and ninety-one thousand, four hundred and ninety- nine."

They stopped laughing.

"Damn." Joe muttered. "That's incredible."

"Too right." Hal agreed. "Must be one of those child prodigies, or something."

They were about to ask another question, when a gruff voice interrupted them.

"Move it, ya punk. If I don't get to the liquor store before it closes, your Mom will tear a strip off me tonight."

"Coming, Dad." The boy replied, before turning back to the two men. "Bye."

"Dammit, Xander! When I say move it, I mean move."

With that, twelve-year-old Xander Harris ran out of the convenience store, hoping to avoid any more of his father's wrath.

Chapter 1

"So, Buffy. What are we gonna do now?"

The words had seemed so innocent at the time. None of them really understood the task that lay before them.

It had been three days since the battle in the Hellmouth, and the ensuing collapse of Sunnydale. Three days since the world as they knew it had changed. Across the world, slayers were awakening. But the real work had only just begun.

Or at least that's what Giles kept saying.

Five hours after the town of Sunnydale literally sank into the ground, a busload of tired and injured slayers had pulled up to the Cedars Sinai Medical hospital in downtown Los Angeles, and unloaded into the emergency room.

Twelve hours after, everyone was patched up, and slept peacefully for the first time in weeks.

Twenty-four hours after the battle, everyone's favourite ensouled vampire, or at least, the one living in LA, came onto the scene. Apparently, he now owned a law firm, and was ready to help however he could.

Thirty hours later, the hilarity of a vampire running a law firm finally wore off.

Forty-eight hours in, the calls were made, and most of the potentials, now slayers, scattered to the four winds. They went back to their families, or in some cases, watchers. Some even went to find, and train, the new slayers of the world.

At last, here they sat, seventy-two hours into the new world, playing cards in Xander's hotel room. Xander himself wasn't actually playing, content to sit off to one side and watch TV. In fact, he had just cracked open his second can of pop of the evening when something strange happened.

He had been half-watching Dawn clumsily deal the cards when seemingly random numbers started flashing through his head.

[Three of clubs] he thought abruptly, just as Dawn dealt another card.

[Nine of diamonds, two of hearts, eight of diamonds, six of spades.] His mind continued as the cards hit the table.

As the players picked up their newly dealt hands, and continued playing, he continued. [Buffy has three of a kind, 1:47. Faith has nothing, 1:1. Dawn has one pair, 1:2. Giles has a full house, 1:694. Andrew has a straight flush, 1:72,193. Lucky him.]

He chuckled quietly to himself, and was about to turn back to the TV, when the cards were laid down.

Exactly as he'd predicted them.


"Dammit, Andrew! Stop winning!" Faith cried indignantly.

"Yeah. You're lucky we're not playing for money here." Dawn added.

"Sorry." The young man replied, sounding completely unrepentant.

[Now that hasn't happened in a long time.] Xander thought. [Not since that day...]


"Boy!" Anthony Harris cried out. "Where are you, ya worthless punk?"

"Here, Dad." Fourteen-year-old Xander Harris replied, coming into the kitchen.

"You little bastard! Do you know what you did?" His father bellowed.

Xander shrank back in fear. His father was obviously drunk. He was damned no matter what answer he gave, so he decided he might as well go with the truth. "No."

"Don't lie to me, boy! You left the stove running! I'm not made of money, you know!"

"But Dad, I didn't..."

"Don't you talk back to me! What it the flame had gone out, huh? We all would've died!"

"Dad, I don't think..."

"You'd like that, wouldn't you? If we died?"

"What? No! I..."

"We'd have died in the gas, and get everything!"

"One in six thousand, four hundred and fifty-three..." Xander muttered.

Anthony Harris stopped in mid rant. He eyed Xander angrily. "What did you say?"

"Nothing, Dad..."

"I told you not to lie to me! Now what did you say?!?"

"I only meant, well, the odds of dying from a poisonous gas in six thousand, four hundred and fifty-three. I guess."

"Oh, so now you're smarter than me, is that it?"

"Wha..." Xander was cut off by a sharp blow, to the back of the head. Holding back his tears, he looked up to face his father. "I'm sorry."

"Damn right you are! I work my fingers to the bone for you and that whore of a mother you have, and this is the respect I get?"

He grabbed Xander violently by the neck, and practically threw him across the room. The young man barely even cried out as he struck the far wall.

"I'm gonna teach you a lesson in respect, you little shit!" The older man growled as he stalked over to where his son lay. As the boy attempted to climb to his feet, his father grabbed him again, and hurled him across the room once more.

The last image he could remember was the refrigerator door rushing at him.

End Flashback

When Xander had woken up, two days later, it had been in Sunnydale General Hospital. His head was partially covered by a large white bandage, and for the first time in two years, the numbers in his head were gone.

His father had told the doctors that he'd fallen down the stairs, and for whatever reason, they'd believed him. He'd been released a day later, and told to get plenty of rest.

As the weeks and months passed, he'd slowly forgotten the numbers in his head. From that day on, though, he had a near endless amount of trouble with math.

Then, when Buffy had come on to the scene, and a whole new world was opened to him, the memories were put completely out of his mind.

For the next seven years, he fought beside the Slayer and his friends, until the night in the vineyard, Caleb's attack, and the day he once again woke up in the hospital, his head surrounded by white bandages.

Now, watching his friends play cards, he somehow knew every card that was going to be drawn, was calculating the statistics and odds in his head faster than he could think, and predicting each hand.

He had yet to be wrong.

[This is so cool.]

"Xander, what are you staring at?" Giles suddenly asked.

"Huh? Oh, just watching you guys play."

"That's all well and good, but must you keep muttering?"


"Yes. You keep muttering something under you breath. It's quite distracting."

"Oh. Sorry."

"It's OK." Dawn piped up. "The game was getting boring, anyway."

"Good call." Faith agreed, throwing her cards down, and yawning loudly. "I think I'm gonna go catch some more sleep."

"Me, too." Andrew added, as the two of them left for their separate rooms.

A short silence followed their departure, broken only by the canned laughter of whatever sitcom was on the TV.

"So, what now?" Dawn asked suddenly.

"What do you mean?" Giles responded.

"Well, we've been in LA for three days now. All the injured are either fixed up, or in for a long recovery. There's not much we can do here, so I ask, what now?"

As they all considered suggestions, Xander was suddenly compelled to speak. "I vote road trip."

"Now there's an idea I like!" Dawn answered.

"Now wait a minute." Buffy interrupted. "We can't just pick up and leave!"

"Why not?" Xander shot back. "Like Dawn said, it's not like we have any reason to be here right now."


"Ah-ah-ah. Think about it. No worries, no responsibilities. Just a nice, long vacation."

They could all see Buffy's resolve building. She was determined to fight to the last. "Look, I know that sounds like fun, but..."

"Come on, Buffy. It'll be worth it." Xander insisted.

"Xander! I mean it! We can't..."

"We'll stop at a spa." Giles interrupted quietly, from where he had been shuffling the deck of cards.

"Okay. I'll go pack." Was Buffy's immediate response, as she and Dawn rushed off to their room, talking animatedly about mudpacks and mineral baths.

"Okay, what the hell was that?" Xander asked the Watcher.

"Xander, Xander, Xander..." Giles said patiently, as he stood to leave. "You may have seen much in your life, but you still have so much to learn. Now, why don't you go get packed, and I'll go check us out of the hotel."


With that, the Watcher left the room. Xander stood still for a moment, and then started to laugh quietly to himself.

Crossing the room, he picked up the deck of cards.

[Ace of Spades] He thought, before flipping up the top card. He smiled slightly, tied an elastic band around the deck, and tossed it into his suitcase, before beginning to collect his few possessions.

Chapter 2

Los Angeles, California

"Promise me that you'll call if anything happens."

"I will, Buffy." Angel replied patiently. "Just go. Have fun."

"I'll have my cell phone..." The blonde slayer stopped short at Angel's look. "Fine, fine, I'm going. See me go."

"You just promise me you'll relax." The Vampire called out to her retreating form.

"Oh, don't worry, she will." Xander called out from the car in a slightly sinister voice. Buffy just rolled her eyes, and climbed into the back seat, with Willow and Faith. They were just about to pull away when Dawn came stomping out of the Hotel.

"I can't believe you guys are leaving me here! This is so unfair!" She cried, full of righteous indignation. "Even after you let me think I was going, too! This was all my idea in the first place!"

"Actually, Dawn, it was Xander's idea, and you just assumed you were going." Buffy stated.

"But, but, mudpacks! There was discussion of spas, goddammit!"

"Sorry Dawnie, but their were only so many seats in the car. Oh, and that whole legal age limit thing. Maybe when you're older." Xander added apologetically. "And watch your language."

"Age limit? Where are you guys going, an orgy?" The girl asked, proving once and for all that there is no connection between an angry teenager's mouth and brain.

The sound of Giles sputtering and coughing from the driver's seat was overpowered only by Faith's laughter. Willow and Xander just stared at the young girl as her words caught up with her ears, and she turned a bright, beet red.

"Dawn!" Buffy admonished her, trying to hide her own blush. "Where, I don't want to know."

"Um...I'll just something else now." Dawn stated, quickly making her way back inside. "Bye."

"So," Angel began, as he finally managed to suppress his laughter. "Where are you guys actually staying, anyway? Once you get there, I mean."

"Motel." Xander remarked offhandedly.

"Oh no. In that city, you have to go all out." Angel commented. "Tell you what. I'll set something up for you, and give you a call on Buffy's cell, okay?"

Xander grinned. "Whatever you say, Mr. Moneybags."

"It's a great city, but look out for pick-pockets, and casinos that try to steal your destiny." The vampire added.

"Err...right. I'll do that." The former carpenter responded, before turning to Giles. "For the love of God, Drive, before this gets any weirder."

The Watcher merely nodded, and pulled away from the curb. All the girls waved out the window until Angel was no longer in sight, before settling in for the trip.


{Queue Song: The Who - Who Are You?}

Las Vegas, Nevada
Later That Day

"So, what have we got, Warrick?" Catherine asked as he entered the alley turned crime scene.

"One extremely weird, and fairly recent double homicide." Warrick responded, rifling through his kit.

"Weird how?"

"Well, we got one fairly normal body over here, excluding the fact that her head is facing the wrong direction."

"God, she's so young."

"Yeah. She looks to be about sixteen or seventeen." Warrick told her, as he furrowed his brow. "Weird thing is, she's clutching this piece of wood here so tight, that I haven't been able to get it out. Temperature indicates that she's been dead for about twelve hours. That puts the time of death at around two or three am this morning, so the muscles should have started loosening up by now."

Catherine leaned in a moment to get a better look. "Well, that's a job for the M.E. What else have you got?"

"I thought you'd never ask. I give you, contestant number two." Warrick announced sarcastically, gesturing to the nearby body of a young man. "Once again, a fairly normal body, with one exception."

"And that would be...?"

"Massive trauma to the throat and neck, but no blood. Not a single drop, anywhere."

"So he was killed somewhere else, then, and dumped here." Catherine mused out loud.

"Unless the blood up and walked away." Warrick responded. "But that's not all."

"There's more?"

"Isn't there always?" He said, frowning slightly. "Right over here. Look at that, will ya?"

"...It's a pile of dust, Warrick."

"I thought so, too, till I noticed the others. They're scattered randomly all over the alley. I counted eight of them all together."

Catherine sighed. "Alright, collect up some samples, and get them over to Greg at the lab, see what he can make of them. Other than that, standard bag and tag, okay?"

"You got it, boss." The man responded, before returning to his work.

"Boy, Grissom's gonna love this one." Catherine chuckled, before donning a pair of surgical gloves, and beginning her sweep for evidence.


{Queue Song: JXL & Elvis Presley - Little Less Conversation}

Las Vegas, Nevada
Same Time

"I'm gonna play blackjack, and poker, and slots, and drink myself stupid, and party till I pass out, and dance at every club, and win thousands of dollars, and..."

"Faith, slow down. Take a breath before you pass out right here. We've got nothing but time. What do you say we check into the hotel first, okay?" Buffy reasoned.

"Oh, alright." Faith pouted. "You're no fun."

"Hey! I have no problem with partying till I pass out." The elder slayer shot back. "I'd just like to have a bed to pass out on."

"I second that!" Willow added.

"Ergh..." Xander put in, from where he had been sleeping in the front. "Are we there yet?"

"Yes, actually." Giles answered him.

Xander pulled himself up just as the world-famous sign passed them.

Welcome To Las Vegas

"Oh, cool." He replied, sitting up. "Food?"

"We'll get something to eat once we're checked into our hotel, alright?"


"Now, let's see. What was the address of our hotel again, Buffy?"

"Err...hold on. Oh, here it is. Angel said it was 3900, South Las Vegas Boulevard. Apparently it's fairly nice."

They all glanced around the car, hoping to spot the address.

"Oh, damn." Giles muttered. "I can't see any addresses at all. I'll have to ask for directions."

"Unmanly." Xander commented. "But it beats driving around all afternoon."

Giles simply rolled his eyes, and pulled over to a police officer, that was issuing a parking ticket. "Excuse me, Officer, but I was wondering if you could help us?"

The policeman walked over, offering them a smile. "Sure, folks. What do you need?"

"Directions, actually. Could you please direct us to 3900, South Las Vegas Boulevard?"

The officer chuckled to himself for a moment. "Well, you're on Las Vegas Boulevard right now. It makes up the Strip, where most of the larger hotels and casinos are. 3900 is about two blocks, that-a-way, on the corner of Flamingo Street. You can't miss it."

"Thank you very much, Officer." Giles replied. "But how will we know it?"

"Oh, trust me. You'll know it when you see it. But if you need a hint, it the one with the fountain out front."

"Ah. Very well. Thank you again."

"No problem, folks. Drive safe, now."

With that, they were off again, making their way down the strip.

It wasn't long before they found themselves near where the policeman had directed them.

"Well, there's Flamingo Street, which means that 3900 should... be... right... there..." The others all turned to look as Willow's voice trailed off, and one by one, their jaws dropped.

"Oh..." Giles uttered.

"...My..." Buffy whispered.

"...God." Xander finished.

"This rocks. This totally, totally rocks." Faith said reverently.


Chapter 3

"No, no, no. This can't be right." Xander exclaimed. "I mean look at this place. It's friggin' huge!"

Faith grinned. "Call me crazy, Xand, but I ain't gonna argue."

"Well, there's exactly one way to know for sure." Buffy declared. "Giles, take us in."

The watcher simply nodded, and drove them toward the massive building, shaking his head in wonder as they passed the sign by the road entrance.


As they pulled up to the front doors, a valet immediately rushed out to meet them. "I'll get your car, sir."

" you." Giles replied, as the valet thrust a claim ticket into his hand.

A bellhop quickly removed their bags from the trunk, placing them on a rolling cart, and led them into the lobby. As they approached the girl at the front desk, the bellhop flashed her some kind of hand signal. They all saw her eyes widen, before she rushed off.

She returned barely seconds later, followed by an older, distinguished looking man. He nodded to her as she returned to her duties, and moved to meet them.

"Summers and company, I presume?" he asked politely. At their confirming nods, he continued, smiling. "I am Nathaniel Clark, General Manager of the Bellagio Hotel. We were informed that you were on your way, and had our valets keep an eye out for you. Your associate, a Mr. Angel, has taken care of all the details for you. If you'll just follow me, I'll lead you up to your rooms."

"Come along, Timothy." He motioned sharply to the bellhop, and led them to the elevators. Once they were all inside the spacious elevator, he reached over, inserted a key-card, and pushed the button for the top floor.

As the doors slid smoothly shut, he commented. "We had actually had the top floor penthouses booked solid for the next eight months, but it seems that Mr. Angel represents some very...influential people."

The floors passed quickly, and soon, the doors slid open once again. "This way, please."

He led them down an ornately decorated hallway, finally ending at a pair of double doors. He once again inserted the key-card into the high-tech lock, and opened the doors.

"These are your rooms, arranged to meet your specifications. This is the main living room, and the five bedrooms are along that hall. Everything you should need to know is in the book on the table." He told them, placing five identical key-cards on an end table. "Now, is there anything else I can help you with?"

", we're fine." Xander responded after a moment, in a slightly stunned tone. The 'living room', as it was called, was at least as large as the old high school library, and then some.

"Very well, then. Timothy here will help you with your bags. If there is anything else you need, please do not hesitate to call guest services. If you have any problems, I'll take care of them personally." With that, he swept out of the room, closing the doors behind him.

"You folks must be pretty important." The bellhop, Timothy commented, as he unloaded the bags.

"What do you mean?" Willow asked, snapping out of her shocked state.

Timothy seemed all too happy to explain. "Well, I was working the lobby when the call came from that Mr. Angel fellow, for the owner. I swear, I haven't seen Mr. Benedict that pale since the big robbery a couple of years ago."

"Big robbery?" Faith inquired.

"Yeah. You never heard?" Timothy responded. "It was all over the news. Biggest robbery in Las Vegas history, they said."

"Humor us." She persisted.

"Well, most of the details were a little sketchy, but the way the story goes is that some guys actually managed to get past all the security, into the underground vault that we share with the MGM Grand and The Mirage, and make off with something in the neighbourhood of one hundred and sixty million dollars.

"Mr Benedict own all three casinos, and took the robbery as a personal insult. He almost had to close down the casinos due to the loss, but some big-shot law firm out in LA got the insurance to cover it all.

"They were never caught, either. The thieves, I mean." He added as an afterthought.

"Wow." Buffy commented.

"Yeah. I love telling people that story." Timothy agreed. "Anyhoo, I'd love to stay and chat, but Mr. Clark will eat me alive if I'm not back on the job soon. See you folks later."

"Yeah. Later." Xander said, now staring at the huge TV in awe.

As the double doors clicked shut, everyone stood silently for a long moment, stunned by the speed of their arrival, and the size of their rooms.

"Damn, B. This place looks bigger than your house." Faith commented, as she rushed off. "I'm gonna go find my room!"


Some time later, the five of them emerged from the elevator into the lobby. They stopped together at the front entrance.

"So," Xander asked. "Where are we all going?"

"Me and Willow are headed for the hotel spa." Buffy announced. "We're gonna be practically motionless for hours!"

"It's gonna be so much fun!" Willow added.

"Well, as charming as that sounds, I believe I'll have to pass." Giles commented. "I think I'll do a"

"Cool." Xander responded. "How 'bout you, Faith?"

"I think I'll stick with you for now, X. We can go check out the casino."

"Sounds like a plan. Let's do it."



Encircled by a halo of cigar smoke, John Andrew Caletti towered over the smaller, trembling man, flanked by two massive bodyguards. Leaning closer, he blew a puff of smoke into the man's face, and smiled.

"Joseph, am I not a reasonable individual?" He crooned, sounding almost amused. "Did I not give you an entire month to gather the money owed to me?"

"Y-yes, Mr. Caletti..."

"And do you have my money, Joseph?"

", Mr. Caletti."

"Of course not. And therein lies our problem." The mobster paused to take another puff. "You see, Joseph, you are a fantastic little rat. One of my best sources of information in this city."

Joseph smiled weakly. "T-thank you, sir."

"However, you non-payment of this debt puts me in a difficult position. If I let you live, others may see it as a sign that debts to me are not a serious matter." He paused again, seemingly deep in thought. "Then again, if I were to smash your head in with a hammer, slice your baby to ribbons, and dump it all on The Strip as a message, it'd be a waste of a good informant, wouldn't it?"

Joseph whimpered loudly, as a dark strain appeared on the front of his pants.

With a shark like grin, John Caletti once more leaned in. "Because I am a merciful man, I'll give you twenty four hours to get my money. Fail, and it's your life. Skip town, and it's the life of your entire family. Understood?"


"I asked is that understood?!"

"Y-y-yes, Mr. Caletti. I understand."

"Good. Now clean yourself up, and get the hell outta my sight."

Dismissed, the smaller man flew from the room, thinking desperately.

[How can I scrape five hundred thousand dollars together in just one day...?]