Where Destiny May Lead

Author: Marc D. <mjdeh1980[at]gmail.com>

Disclaimer: I own nothing; seriously, I’m a very poor, poor man.

Rating: PG-13

Summary: After closing the Hellmouth, Xander walks his own path and learns that there is much more to this world than even he believed.

Feedback: Please. Always Love Feedback

Note 1: This is my first Fic. I hope you enjoy it.

Note 2: I’d like to thank Jayesh for being my Beta on this


It was dark. That much she knew. Not a sight or soul could be seen. In this place, void of light, she was certain of one other thing. She was not alone. She could feel a power that was pulsing and throbbing like a heartbeat. And with each step forward she took the heartbeat became stronger, and stronger. She felt herself being pulled toward that power and began to walk through the darkness. She had taken no more than three steps when a brilliant lighting bolt, made of the purest shades of blue and white, arched down from the sky and seemed to touch the ground.

As her eyes followed the path of the bolt they came to rest on a, now fading, silhouette. Stopping short at the sight, she tried to regain her bearings when the sounds of vicious growling reverberated throughout the area. She knew those sounds as well. She had been fighting them for years now. They were Demons. Demons of all types, some she knew, like vampires. But there were other sounds that were entirely foreign, but just as menacing.

Checking herself she realized that she was without a weapon of any kind. Panic began to set in. This was panic that never had time to truly form. For in the distance the sound of electricity crackling could be heard. And with that electricity, a pure white light. Buffy moved closer towards the Silhouette. On approaching it, it started to form and take shape. And with it, a sense of calm and piece stole over the girl. As she stared at the ever increasing light she was able to make out the form. It was a sight she would recognize anywhere. It was one of her Xander-shaped friend. With all the strength she had, Buffy Summers the Vampire Slayer screamed, “XANDER!!!”

No response was given. There was just an ever increasing intensity of light, radiating from behind Xander. Soon she could barely make out his form, or the long Trench coat that seemed to flap in the non-existent breeze. The light was becoming too much for her. Turning away and shielding her eyes was all she could do now. It was then she realized the growling had stopped, and it had become deathly quiet. The sound of a sword being unsheathed could be clearly heard, and before she had time to react, the ‘whoosh’ of the sword cutting through the air could be heard.

When she unshielded her eyes, she found herself alone in this dimly lit place. While she couldn’t see anyone she could still feel the peace and calm that she knew was Xander. Looking frantically around, and seeing nothing, she cried out, “Xander, where are you?”

His voice could be heard coming from the heavens above and reverberating throughout the desolate and dark landscape. Bringing warmth and comfort to the sole occupant. “I’m with you Buffy…I’ll always be with you. But for now, I need to make my own way.”

With a quivering voice she responded, “No, you can’t leave me.” Looking around what was once a battlefield she could remember the dangers that lurked here just moments ago. With a steady voice she yelled towards the sky. “I need to protect you from this. I promise I won’t let anything more hurt you.” With tears streaming from her eyes, going over what he had already lost, both physically, and emotionally, she fell to her knees.

“Why won’t you let me be the one to protect you?” This came from directly behind her, causing her to jump and spin quickly. After completing her turn she was just a few feet away from the silhouette that was still emanating love and warmth. “Don’t you trust me?” She was about to respond with a ‘Yes’ when he continued, “Do you trust me with your life?” To that she could only look down, not wanting to him so see the shame in her eyes.

She felt a hand caress her hair, gently touching her forehead, causing her to look up. She could still only see a shadow, but felt more of a connection in that light contact than she had ever felt previously. She wanted to savor that feeling for an eternity when he spoke again.

“It’s not your fault Buff, but what about them?” Her attention was directed off to the side where she saw images of Willow, Dawn, and Giles together, fading into and out of existence. “They love you…WE love you…let them take care of you, as you take care of them.” Looking over at the still wavering images she could only nod her head as tears began to flow again. “We have always been there for you, and we always will. We have defied Prophecy, Beaten all of the Odds, and even defied the will of the Gods for you, and with you. There is nothing they won’t do for you” Looking back to him, the seriousness of the statement could be clearly heard, if not felt.

“And what about you?”

“I will always be there for you, and I will always look out for you, for all of you. But my time here is at an end.” The Xander-shaped figure began to fade into the background. “But I will never be far away.”


In a Metaphysical Plain Where Time is Irrelevant:

The Two beings looked into their viewing pool with some trepidation. The first looked over to the second.

“This is most unsettling.” Spoke the First.

“Indeed, The Slayer was given a dream of remote premonition that was not sent by us.” Replied the Second.

“Let us see the particulars of this dream.” The first being said while waving his arm over the pool of reflecting water. A collective gasp could be heard from both beings when nothing happened.

“It is being blocked.” Replied the Second.

“That much is obvious. The question remains of ‘Who is blocking us? And who sent the dream?’ If not us, was it sent from the Light, or from the Dark?”

“What shall be our course of action?” asked the Second

Looking over to his compatriot the first being replied, “Whatever has done this comes from a higher power. So there is nothing we can do.” Looking back into the pool he continued, “We will simply wait,” with a sigh he added, “And pray.”



It had been weeks since Sunnydale had collapsed onto itself hopefully taking the Hellmouth with it. He could only hope. Others were so sure that the Hellmouth was completely gone with no hopes of returning, however, Xander Harris had seen far too much to believe that with the amount of conviction everyone else had. Though, he couldn’t live in the past, his present held much more pressing concerns. Well, pressing at the moment.

Shortly after reaching Oxnard he had come to the conclusion that he needed a break. However, Xander being the way he was would never allow himself to abandon so many people in need, especially his friends. It was almost ironic when all of his friends, with the exception of Dawn, and surprisingly Giles, confronted him and tried to persuade him to move on, and make a life of his own. Away from all of this. They were all aware that he had a good deal of money saved from work, and add to that the insurance money he received from loosing his eye, made it so he would be able to live a comfortable life and never truly have to worry about money. What they didn’t know was that he was still the sole inheritor from Anya’s will. That surprised him as well. It may be some time before he saw any of that money, and somehow she had accumulated a lot of it. She was, after all, over 1100 years old and had always loved money, but he didn’t think he really needed it. However the fact that his friends were trying to force him out of the group once again, as though they didn’t learn well enough the last time this happened, was all he needed as motivation to leave sooner than later. He was too tired to fight them, and part of him didn’t want to. He told himself that it wasn’t like he was planning on making a complete break. Perhaps he would take another small vacation. Not more traveling, perhaps he would settle down some place and just live a little. So as much as it pained him to leave his friends, “his girls,” he decided to go.

When the day came a lot of tears were spent, on all sides. Even Buffy seemed to cry some, which he thought was a good thing. The junior Slayers could hopefully see she wasn’t just some emotionless freak.

The person he was the most worried about was Dawn. She had already lost so much, she practically had him signing legal documents stating that he would constantly call, write, e-mail, message, send a carrier pigeon, to keep in contact with her.


That had been almost three weeks ago and he was already bored out of his skull. Even after leaving the always on the edge lifestyle and settling in a suburb of San Francisco, he had curiously found himself still coming in contact with the ‘night life” he left behind. He was somewhat fascinated by the fact that even handicapped he could take on a vamp one on one and come out on top. He figured that the Hellmouth must have made the vamps there stronger. Well, he’d have someone look into it.

He wasn’t going around at night looking for trouble, but it did seem to find him. That and there was no way in Hell that he would ignore someone’s cry for help. He needed something to occupy his time, and he didn’t think that becoming immersed in the night life would suit him for too long. He decided it was time to get a job.

He wasn’t quite sure what to do. His having only one eye was too much of a handicap for him to get another job in construction, that and he didn’t have a clientele for doing it on his own. He decided to go out and sulk and perhaps get a little drunk in the face of his current predicament. Not too drunk, he saw what that had done to his parents, but he decided some socializing along with some drinking may be just what the doctor ordered.



So there he was, waiting with a mass of other people in an overcrowded bar to be served.

He searched the bar to see what the problem was when he saw an attractive woman with brown hair who looked like she was about to go crazy. She was muttering to herself while attempting to get everyone there order. He slowly made his way toward her where she was still muttering to herself about how there is never any good help these days. She looked like she was about to break down when Xander decided to speak up.

“Excuse me miss. I couldn’t help but to overhear you. Maybe I can help.”

She looked up at him and saw a somewhat attractive man with a good build who was wearing an eye-patch. She regarded him skeptically. “Oh really, and just how are you going to do that?”

“I’ve worked behind a bar before for an entire summer. I can mix just about any drink that you can think of as long as you have the ingredients.” He said noticing they had a very well stocked up bar.

“That wouldn’t be a problem on my end” she returned with a smile. “But you think you can help out because you learned to tend bar for a summer?”

“Oh I learned to do that long before. Just about the time I was able to walk. You can thank my parents for that.” He replied wearing a lop-sided grin.

She looked him over again, he looked pretty confident in his bartending capabilities and with his small grin she decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. Well that and she was completely desperate. “Fine you can sta-“she began to say when he placed a hand on the bar and vaulted over the top landing just next to her with a smirk on his face. “I was going to say that you can start as soon as you’re ready, but I can see you’re already ready.”

He smiled and nodded his head, “I’m Xander by the way.” And with that he went to help his first of many customers.

She smiled at his retreating back and said, “I’m Piper, and thanks for your help.”

With that said, the night progressed fluidly. Xander kept pouring and mixing drinks, earning himself quite a few tips, and flirted with more women than he had come across in quite a long time. ‘Perhaps they dig the eye-patch’ he mused to himself, his quirky grin/smirk never leaving his face the entire night. He chatted amiably with the customers throughout the night, and when Piper stopped cursing her luck with her lack of help, which happened after 5 minutes of Xander’s serving customers and never messing up an order, she became quite pleasant to be around.

All in all this night was turning out to be a godsend for Xander. He felt refreshed, and relaxed. Even through the throng of people wanting drinks or just to chat with the new bartender. This was definitely a good night for Xander, and the fact that he just made a friend, judging by the smile present on Piper’s face, this night would definitely be placed in his “good night” column.

The night had progressed smoothly and now, just after closing, Xander and Piper were having a conversation while he was helping her close up the bar.

“So, could I interest you in a job?” she sounded hopeful.

He chuckled a bit while wiping up a table and placing the chairs on top. “Yeah I think I could do with a job, and I actually enjoyed myself.”

“Not to mention all of the attractive women hitting on you throughout the night. You were quite the hit tonight.”

This earned her another chuckle before he answered. “Well there is that too.”

They both shared a small smile while they continued to clean the bar. After a couple of minutes of silence Piper decided to break it. “So on to the subject of money, and tonight…”

Xander looked at her and interrupted, “Don’t worry about tonight, I made quite a bit on tips, however you want to break it up between me and the staff is fine. And as far as a salary goes…I trust you.”

She began to stare at him so he relented, “Due to the recent development of this,” indicating his eye-patch “I received quite a sum because of insurance. I also recently came into some more money before I left. So that’s something I really won’t have to worry about for the foreseeable future. I want this job, not for the money, but because it gives me something to due. Tonight was also the first time in quite a while that I had a truly enjoyable time.” Smiling at her, he continued. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m not allergic to money, but I’m fortunate enough right now for it not to be a pressing concern.” He looked over to her finding her nodding along with what he had said with a sad smile on her face, indicating that she could relate. Suddenly the smile became quite a bit brighter.

“Well, let me say welcome to the newest Employee of P3.” Her smile was full and genuine. He found his own become brighter. A smile that was not forced onto his face like it had been in the past. He was about to reply with a ‘Thank you’ while putting on his jacket that he had taken off when he started to tend the bar, when he felt the hairs on the back of his neck suddenly stiffen. His smile vanished. This was something that he was familiar with. It had been present throughout his life while living on the Hellmouth. He started to look around the room. Piper noticed his sudden change and was about to comment when she saw his eye widen.


He was searching the entire place with an intensity he hadn’t felt in a while. The feeling he had was now far more intense, almost like an itch that had to be scratched. Living on a Hellmouth, he had discovered that one learned to form some sort of defense, an early warning system as to when trouble was around. While being on a Hellmouth trouble was a constant fixed point, hence that feeling was always present with him. There he had vague feelings when something was about to transpire. Now it was strong, and he could feel it with a certainty. He had virtually developed his own ‘Spidey-Sense.’ He began to sweep the room again when his sight landed on Piper, or perhaps a little behind Piper.

A figure began to shimmer into existence. Xander’s eyes widened and before he knew what was happening he was rushing towards Piper with his arms outstretched. He saw it and knew one thing. Demon. With a capital D. It was huge; its skin was blue and quite muscular. It seemed to radiate energy and power and had a ball of energy already in its hand and had thrown at Piper’s back. Xander tackled her to the floor as the ball went just over there backs. Xander rolled with his landing and came to his feet just to the right of the Demon. Without a conscious thought he found his foot connecting with the side of the Demon’s head. Stunned it rolled to the floor to surge up again with extreme anger.


“Oh I dare, I definitely dare!”

And with that statement he charged the Demon. He didn’t want to give it the opportunity to fire and more of those energy balls and wind up hitting Piper. He went in fast and hard. He knew the demon had to be strong but he found it also to be slow. Every time it swung at him he was able to evade, just barely though. He was able to hit it on occasion. That did a little damage but merely seemed to piss it off even more. It was able to get a lucky shot through his defenses due to his extreme blind spot. Xander was sent sailing though the air and crashed into a table, knocking the chairs that he had placed in top of it.

With a little difficulty he was able to get back to his feet to see it stalk towards him with one intention on its mind. Death…death with as much pain as possible. He looked to his left and saw Piper flinging her hands towards the Demon and a look of Horror as nothing happened. ‘Why the hell doesn’t she run, and who the hell is this Demon and why the hell is it here? Is it after me, or her?’ If it was here for her, he didn’t want to remind the Demon that she was still in the room. While he was debating what to do another feeling washed over him. It wasn’t a feeling of dread, almost a feeling of hope. Suddenly a blue and white light could be seen to shower in out of nowhere. When the light dissipated three people stood in its place. There were two women, extremely attractive and bore a resemblance to Piper. The third was a man. A little older than Piper, he looked trustworthy in Xander’s eyes.

As the Demon was slowly stalking towards him, Xander could see Piper rush to the three newcomers. They must be her family, he decided. She had some quick words, took something from one of her sisters, read it, and then gave a quick nod. As soon as she nodded the third and youngest sister, threw a vial that exploded, and shattered, just at the Demon’s feet and a mist surrounded it. The Demon turned around to glare at the person who would dare to interrupt its vengeance. When he completed his turn to face his next victim he found his worst nightmare. The demon’s eyes widened in terror as he heard the three witches end their Power of Three spell. All was silent for a moment, and then there was nothing but agonizing pain for the Demon. It screamed its unholy scream as it was consumed in the magical flames that were consuming it and vanquishing it to the depths of hell. And as soon as it began in ended, with no indication that the Demon had ever been there. Well nothing other than the overturned table and chairs strewn on the floor. That and Xander, lay on the ground breathing a little heavy with a bruise forming on his chest under his shirt and coat.

He was about to say something witty when that feeling of absolute dread came about once more. The hairs on his neck felt as though they would never go back to normal. Whatever was coming was far worse than what had just been vanquished. He was also pretty sure it wasn’t coming for him. He could just leave. Though he knew that would never truly be an option, not for him. Again he began to frantically search the room. He turned towards the three sisters and their friend and told them. “This isn’t finished, we aren’t alone.” As soon as he said those words another shimmer occurred. Depositing another Demon. It looked to be identical to the last one, however it seemed to be stronger, and the power it possessed seemed to dwarf its brother, it almost felt like an assault to Xander, the Three witches, and their friend in physical waves.

The Demon’s eyes searched its area; it could feel the vanishing essence of its brother and knew what had transpired. With a booming voice it declared, “YOU HAVE DESTROYED MY BROTHER. YOUR DAYS OF LIVING ARE NOW OVER. ALL YOU WILL KNOW FOR AN ETERNITY IS EXTREME PAIN.” With this said it waved a hand and thirty new people, vampires, came into existence, surrounding them. With another wave of its arm all of the tables and chairs slid silently back to the far corners of the wall clearing out a large area. Its own battlefield. “KILL THEM NOW.” And with that the vampires’ game faces began to appear. Sudden gasps were heard from the sisters when one asked, “What are they?”


Piper responded, “I don’t know Paige, but they don’t look friendly.” She frantically began to scan the room. “My powers were useless before…I hope they work now.”

Casually walking towards them, listening to their conversation, he replied. “They are vampires Piper, and you can kill them just like they do in the movies.” Xander studied their faces to make sure they were listening. “A stake in the heart, decapitation, sunlight, etc…” He was cut off as Piper waved her hands at one of the advancing vampires and it exploded into dust. “Or like that.” He replied with a lop-sided grin. The other vampires backed off momentarily in light of this new development. “That was pretty cool. I think we are going to have to have a little chat when this all done.” His grin had turned into a full smirk. Phoebe, the witch closest to him replied.

“Well I don’t see any stakes or sunlight around here do you?” Looking over at her sister, she turned back to face him “I don’t think Piper can take all of them on her own. And we still have to deal with the demon.”

Xander looked over to her and with a smile extended his hand as if to give a shake. “I’m Xander.”

“Phoebe” she replied with a smirk bringing her hand over to shake his. When she looked down a stake was in her hands and she saw two more roll down the sleeves of his jacket. He looked to the other witch expectantly and saw her nod. He tossed one of the stakes to her and made a quick movement with that arm and another stake rolled out of the sleeve. The same question was put forth to unknown man and he got the same response. After tossing the stake in his other hand to the man he made a similar motion as before and another stake rolled into his palm.

Phoebe quirked an eyebrow at him. “I think we are definitely having that chat later, and how many stakes do you have with you?” He was about to respond when his posture changed, and before she could do anything he lunged at her. Thinking that he was about to attack her and that she was too slow to stop it couldn’t think what to do. She hoped one of her sisters would see and stop him. Instead, to her surprise, she was gently shoved to the floor at his side. When she turned to him with extreme anger, she noticed a bruise forming on his face. She looked up to see a vampire growling at them. And again, before she could react the vamp was on its back and Xander slammed his stake into its non-beating heart. She gasped as it turned to dust like her sister’s did. And with that, the fight was on. No quarter was asked for or given. With a fluid movement he was on his feet again. Phoebe was up a moment behind him.

Soon he was in the thick of it. He wasn’t sure how he was still alive, he was getting hit by the vamps and if this had been Sunnydale he would have been worm food by now. Either they were weaker, or he was getting stronger. He didn’t know and, at that moment, he didn’t care.

Looking around he noticed that he was giving as good as he got. But they had been split into two groups. He and Phoebe were in one group and the other three were on the opposite side of the bar. Piper was making quick work of any of the vamps that were stupid enough to come at her. Paige and the other man were also doing fairly well, but with the large advantage of having Piper’s ability on their side…soon all 10 of the vamps were dust. They were about to join Xander and Phoebe when the Demon decided to step in and challenge the three.


Phoebe looked and moved as if she were a slayer. She didn’t have the strength of one, but what she lacked in slayer strength she more than made up for in grace. Between Her and Xander the 20 vamps that were attacking them were reduced to twelve. However Xander’s handicap came in full force again as a vamp blindsided him and knocked him to the ground. Up till that point he was fairing well. But he could tell it wouldn’t last. For every one that he was able to dust two more were just behind it. They were coming from all sides in all shapes and sizes, and now that he was on the ground the vamps were definitely ones to kick a man while they were down.

Their claws broke into his flesh, and their powerful punches and kicks began to bruise his skin and damage his bones. The pain was becoming intense and he began to drift towards unconsciousness. As he started to drift his mind suddenly took a detour and he found himself in some sort of trance. He could feel the kicks, punches, and claws striking him, but it no longer affected him. With a surge of energy that was inhuman he was on his feet again. Any vamp that was close enough to see him would have begged for their pitiful unlife, even though such a plea would have been ignored. What they saw was their own death. It was inevitable, it simply was.

With a feral snarl Xander leapt into the air and came down on the closest vamp. Where there would normally be only wild animalistic impulses there was now a cold, but knowledgeable appearance to him. It was the look of a soldier. With deadly and precise movements he cut through the remaining vamps as though they were nothing, because at this moment they were nothing.

Phoebe stood there in complete shock. She saw him go down and an overwhelming concern ran though her. She wanted to cry, yet se hardly knew him. The vamps seemed to concentrate on beating him to a pulp but she could barely move. She found herself having a harder time defending herself from the vamps that were attacking her. Then when she thought all was lost she saw him surge to his feet and heard an animalistic snarl come from him. She didn’t know what to do. Then she saw the look of intelligence in his eyes, and the ease, and savageness, in which he went through the rest of the vamps and didn’t know what to think. When he finished he looked straight at her. He began to advance towards her and she made ready to defend herself though she was trembling all the while. He stopped just in front of her and slowly brought his hand down. He gently caressed her arm until his hand rested on her stake. She released it into his grasp. He gave her a nod and made his way towards the other three battling the Demon.

Inside his mind Xander was in awe. He knew that there was a presence in his mind he could feel the soldier and could always feel the presence of the Hyena. That the soldier would act as it was now wasn’t a shock. The Hyena though was another matter all together. He could feel its thoughts, its needs. Where once it wanted to be the Alpha, and kill all those weaker and those who would challenge it, now it KNEW it was the alpha. It sole purpose here and now was to protect its pack. It had grown and learned all while Xander was keeping it locked away. It felt compelled to protect all in its pack. All those that Xander would call friend. And now it wanted to protect the witches and the strange man. The man smelt different, but that wasn’t important now. It seeked and accepted the guidance of its compatriot, the soldier. So with the powers of the Hyena and the intellect of the soldier, this new form jumped into the fray. The Demon never stood a chance.

With quick and swift movements Xander stabbed and pounded on the Demon. Hitting it from all angles never giving it time to recover from the wounds he was inflicting. One of the sisters, the one Piper referred to as Paige earlier, took a napkin and took some of the demons blood that was in a pool on the floor. She quickly vanished in that familiar shower of light to reappear a few minutes later where the battle was still taking place.

“Leo, how is he still fighting?” Paige asked.

Leo looked at Paige, and then looked back at the fight in awe. “I’m not sure. I’ve never seen or heard anything like this. He looks, and feels, as though he’s being possessed by an animal spirit. I’ve only seen a few who were, but none, and I mean none were able to control the impulses as he is doing. It's like he has the ability of the animal, but is able to control the instincts and actions. And I have definitely seen those instincts before. They look all too familiar from when I was in the military during war-time. I don’t know how he is doing it. But he won’t last much longer. He is hurt, and hurt bad. I don’t know how he even lasted this long.”

Phoebe came up next to him. “I can see it in his eye. The determination, he’ll last as long as he has to, and then he’ll go on some more.” Looking at Paige she queried, “Did you bring a potion?”

Paige nodded, “Yea I used the blood of this demon in the remains of our last potion. I know that it has the blood of his brother already mixed in but I don’t think that will impair it.” The three sisters nodded. Leo took the vile from Paige and with deadly accuracy threw it as the Demon. The vile and the potion landed on the Demon’s back and splattered on it. Xander, who saw what had happened last time, was screaming in his mind. ‘Move your ass soldier their going to vanquish its sorry ass.’ As the witches started chanting flames erupted from the demon and it took a step back from Xander. It kept moving trying to get away from the flames but it continued to consume him as it did his brother. And like his brother his fate was sealed and he and the flames vanished into nothingness.

With the demon gone Xander began to come out of his trance, and as he did the pain came back full force. His body went limp and he fell to the floor. The last thing he heard before he drifted off was from Piper claiming “One day here and you ruin my bar; this is coming out of your paycheck.” Even as he went to land of Nod he could feel the smile on Piper’s face, even with the extreme worry in her voice.

Piper had a smile tinged with sadness and a lot of worry on her face as Leo bent over Xander and began to inspect him. He looked up towards the woman he loves and said. “The boy is badly injured. I’ll be able to heal him but I think we should do this someplace safer. Let’s go back to the Manor. Chris brought Wyatt up to the Elders. Those demons were here to kill us to get to Wyatt.” He looked down at Xander again and spoke softly, “Lets go, he really does need help.” And with that Piper put her hand on his shoulder and gave it an affectionate squeeze. Paige put her hand on Phoebe’s shoulder and the five of them left to go back to the manor in that familiar display of showering light.



Halliwell Manor: San Francisco, California

“I’ll put him on the couch.” Leo picked him up and gently placed him on the couch. With that done he placed his hands over Xander and his hands began to glow. As soon as he began he stopped. With wide eyes he began to shake his head. “Phew” he said.

“What is it?” A look of such extreme concern came over Phoebe’s face. “Is something wrong? Can’t you heal him?” As she said this tears started to stream down her cheeks.

Leo looked up at her and smiled. “Actually it’s quite the opposite. I don’t know what it is but there is en energy in him. It might be what we saw earlier, but whatever it is its powerful. I just wasn’t expecting it.” He replied with a self-deprecating smile “It was almost like a high using both of our energies to heal him. It was almost euphoric. I just wasn’t expecting it.” Turning back his hands began to glow again and a smile appeared on his face. As soon as his hands started glowing again the bruises basically vanished from his face and chest, his bones knitted and his body was quickly healing itself. In just a matter of moments it was over and Leo stood up with a smile on his face.

“I’ve never felt anything like that. Whatever it is, it allowed me to heal him much quicker than I’ve ever been able to heal anyone.” Looking down at the man on the couch he continued. “There is one thing though.” He looked up at the witched with a pensive expression. “Whatever power lies within him…and I don’t think it’s whatever we saw earlier…it’s the most pure form of energy and power I have ever felt.” Leo paused for a moment to gather his thoughts. “It almost felt holy, and in a way it might have been. Whoever he is, he’s an important player in the war on darkness. That much I can definitely tell you.” Looking at Piper, the woman he loved, he began contemplating her chance meeting with the unconscious man on their couch. ‘This can’t all just be coincidental.’ Looking down at Xander he stated, “I think I’ll place him in a room upstairs and Orb up to the other Elders and see what I can find out about him.” With that said Leo bent down to pick up a supposedly unconscious Xander, when he suddenly found himself being thrown to the ground and a disoriented Xander on top of him.


Consciousness returned slowly to Xander. He could hear some murmuring in the background…but nothing decipherable. The last thing he remembered was being beaten to a pulp by a lot of vamps. All of his musing was put to a stop as he could feel someone hovering over him and hand was placed on his shoulder. As soon as physical contact was made Xander sprang into action.

“What’s going on?” A clearly upset Xander asked. He got a better look at who was holding under him and saw it was the stranger from before. He looked up and saw the shocked expression on the face of what he truly believed to be a goddess. He looked back down and slowly let go of the man’s arm and apologized for acting like that. A clearly shaken Leo quickly dismissed it telling him it was fine, nothing to apologize for. He looked back at Phoebe who was now sending a beaming smile in his direction. He was momentarily lost in that smile until he suddenly found himself dizzy. Leo quickly grabbed him by the shoulder and directed him to the couch.

Giving Xander a sympathetic look he spoke quietly. “I’m Leo by the way. Thanks for all the help earlier.”

Looking up into Leo’s eyes, Xander could feel the concern pouring from him. Smiling shyly he looked down and responded. “No prob Leo, I was just trying to help Piper when that blue freak of a demon through an energy ball at her. From there, well, I just did what came naturally.” Looking around at the shocked expressions of the three witches…he gave a self-deprecating smile before continuing. “And well, we all know how the rest went. Come to think of it. I remember getting my ass kicked by a bunch of vamps and being in incredible pain. Why aren’t I still in pain now? It couldn’t have happened that long ago. I mean Phoebe is still wearing that stunning outfit.” He finished of that statement with a smile that grew as he saw Phoebe blush slightly. He looked at Leo expectantly.

Leo looked indecisive for a moment. He looked around the room and saw all three of the sisters nod their head. He already trusted Xander. He had gone out of the way to save the life of his love and her family, his family. But that didn’t mean he was going to tell secrets without permission. After seeing them nod he nodded to himself. He looked at Xander and replied, “I healed those wounds as soon as we arrived here.” He decided to stay away from the entire ‘there is an energy within you’ bit. When he heard no comment from Xander he decided to continue. “I’m what’s known as a White lighter.”

“White lighter?”

“A White lighter is a guardian for natural born witches, which these three are.” He paused seeing all three witches nod along and saw Xander who was now wearing a smile. “What’s with the sudden smile?”

“My best friend is Wiccan.” With that statement the mood seemed to lighten considerably.

Leo decided to continue “You took quite a beating, and while I was able to heal your wounds you still need to get some rest.” Everyone saw Xander about to protest and Piper spoke up.

“Uh-uh, you are getting rest. You are serving bar tonight and will need all the rest you can get. I’m still your boss and if I have to I’ll order you sleep.” With the look that Xander was giving her she knew she won the argument and had quite a large smile plastered on her face. Then Paige decided to speak up.

“And if there is still a problem getting you into bed, I’m sure Phoebe can find a way to get you in there.” Yep, a definite smirk on her face. Looking over at Phoebe he saw that Paige was able to get Phoebe to blush a few shades darker than he had been able to do earlier. ‘Well I can’t let that stand.’

“Hmm…I think I may have to protest. I’m kind of curious as to how she’s going to get me into her bed…I mean bed.” He looked in Phoebe’s direction and saw her turn quite a few more shades before she decided to breathe. ‘Oh yea, I think that puts me a few up on Paige.’ Yep he was definitely smirking too. Phoebe saw all this and wasn’t about to let this happen to her.

“Oh don’t even think it, you need a hell of a lot more energy to get into my bed, I’d probably kill you. And if you’re curios I think blunt force trauma and making Leo carry you upstairs would get you into bed…not my bed…bed.” Now she was smirking as he looked to the floor. Suddenly he looked up and sighed.

“Ahh, but what a way to go.” That answer got some good nature groans and a few pillows flung at his head.

“Well, as much fun as this is. I’m going to Orb up to the Elders and find out what’s going on.” Looking at Piper he added, “I also want to make sure baby Wyatt isn’t in any more danger.” With that said Leo orbed out of the room. Xander looked to where Leo had been with raised eyebrows.

He pointed to the now empty chair. “Orbed?” seeing them all smile and shake their heads he replied, “Wow, Cool! Um, whose ‘baby Wyatt’?”

“That would be mine and Leo’s baby” replied Piper. Xander just shook his head while a large smile formed.

“So Phoebe, you were going to show me a bed?” She just smiled, shook her head and led him upstairs.


He awoke about six hours later. He couldn’t remember the last time he felt so refreshed. He ventured down the stairs and could smell that someone was cooking a meal that instantly had his stomach growling. It must have been loud enough. Piper turned around from where she was cooking with a smirk on her face.

“Welcome back to the land of the living. You look well rested. Although I think you could do with a shower before tending bar tonight.” From the look he was giving her she added, “Hey I have a business to run and if you think I’m going to let someone with bed-head serve and try to flirt with my customers you have another thing coming.” He just sighed while shaking his head and promised to shower once he finished eating.

“So, where is everyone?”

“Well, Paige and Phoebe went to a magic shop to pick up some ingredients we ran out of after they made the potion we used last night, well, actually this morning.”

“Ah. So when is my next shift?” he asked while taking a large bite out of a stake handed to him. “Mmm, this is the best lunch I’ve ever had.”

“You looked like you could use a good meal. And I think I’ll keep you on the night shift.”

Shaking his head he replied, “Sounds good. Ahh, you think someone could take me pack to my motel suite? I’m not exactly sure where we are and I think I’d prefer to change into some new clothes after a shower. There’s quite a bit of Demon blood on this.” He looked down in disgust. When he looked up he noticed she was eyeing his clothes in a similar fashion.

“No problem. Eat up and I’ll take you back home. But after we close tonight we need to come back here. I think we have a lot to discuss.” Xander nodded along with her. There definitely was a lot to discuss.


The night went along smoothly. After taking a nice long shower and putting on some clean clothes he felt extremely refreshed. He was going to have to ask Leo just what he did. And thank him for it. As he was getting ready he decided to load up on weapons. Along with his stakes, he decided to include a few iron, and silver daggers. The silver daggers he had purchased recently and had decided to get a priest to bless them. It may have gotten him some weird looks, but hey, it was worth it. He hadn’t had a chance to use them yet. But with what happened last night, he wasn’t taking any chances. He decided to leave his small collection of firearms home. Something told him that Piper and her sisters wouldn’t like that very much. So with him being geared up he slipped into the night and made his way to P3 without so much as a problem.

Tonight, like last night, the place was busy from the moment he arrived. He noticed some of the people hanging about were there the night before. Well he remember a few of the women, if the men didn’t look dangerous, or set off any warnings they just faded to background. But with so many beautiful women to gain his attention, who could blame him.

As soon as he reached the bar it was overcrowded with women. He never considered himself that great looking, but he knew he wasn’t unattractive by any measure. He hoped all of this attention, and the constant flirting wouldn’t go to his head, either of them. Out of the corner of his eye he could see the Halliwell family at a table in the corner smiling ruefully, and shaking their heads. He gave them a wink and went back to his bartending duties. Yep, some times, life is Good.

He was doing a damn good job at bartending if he had anything to say about it. He was keeping all of his customers happy and the drinks kept coming. He was quick and he was good. No customer had to wait too long till they got their drink. Well, except maybe that once, but it wasn’t really his fault. Who could blame him? Watching Phoebe and Paige dance on the dance floor was a riveting site for any man, or woman, to watch. Paige seemed to sway to the music in her own exotic way. She seemed to be experiencing bliss as she moved. But what really caught his eye was Phoebe. She was pure grace. He saw her fight last night, and that grace was carried on to the dance floor. Like her sister her moves seemed exotic, almost to the point of being erotic. Well to him anyway. He could easily stand there all night and have been transfixed by her beauty. It was the ‘polite’ cough right in his ear that brought him out of his reverie to see a smirking Piper right next to him. He looked down, sighed, and looked back with a sheepish smile a turned to go back to work, when he heard her snickering behind him. He just ignored it and went back to serving his drinks. Something he thought he could use at the moment.

He was able to make it through the night with only a few more moments of distraction, but he was able to catch himself before he found himself the recipient of another ‘polite’ cough. When the bar closed the sisters stayed behind to make the clean-up go quicker.

Looking at the now clean bar he heard Paige’s voice coming from behind him. “So, you have a car here?”

Turning around to look at her he responded. “No Paige, I walked here. My place isn’t that far away.” She gave a nod and beckoned him over to her. He made his way over as he noticed Piper and Phoebe already surrounding her. He figured that they were going to cast a spell or something. He wasn’t expecting to be taken away in a shower of light.


When they arrived in the manor Xander looked down and started to shake his head. “Whoa, I thought that was something that Leo did. He said he was a White lighter. I’ve never met a witch who could do that. I know my friend can move at the speed of the wind, but not that. Are you a White lighter too?” He asked while trying to get his breath back. ‘That was not fun.’

Paige shook her head. “My mother was a which, and my father was a White lighter, just like baby Wyatt. I have the ability to orb just like Leo, but I can do some other stuff too.” She looked around the room to where the sisters had taken a seat. Leo and Chris were on the couch and Leo was holding Wyatt. Leo decided to speak up.

“I think it’s safe to assume we all have stories to tell. And I think any type of relationship should be built on trust.”

While still trying to regain his breath, he looked at Leo and gave him his patented smirk. “Leo, you’re an attractive guy, so don’t take this the wrong way, but I don’t think of you like that.” Even with the smirk Xander tried to look innocent, but truth be told he was still feeling dizzy from the trip over here and wasn’t pulling it off too well.

Shaking his head Leo spoke up “Cute, but not what I meant.” Eyeing the one-eyed man he continued. “I think it’s safe to share our stories with you…if you would be willing to share some of yours with us.” Seeing that Xander was about to object, Leo continued, “I understand if you have secrets that you can’t share, or aren’t sure that you can share with us yet. We just want to hear what you can.” Xander was taking some deep breaths and gave a nod of acceptance. Leo noticing that he should have recovered from the Orbing by now and looked concern. “Are you ok Xander, you should sit.”

It was good to hear the concern coming from others without also having that feeling of being useless such as he had in the past. Xander nodded to the man and replied, “I need to get my bearings down first. I think ‘Orbing’ with only one eye has some serious disadvantages.” Leo looked him over. Got up and handed Wyatt over to Piper.

Leo walked over to Xander put a hand on his shoulder getting his attention. “I’m sorry I didn’t do this earlier, but perhaps I can help you out with that.” Xander looked at him confused and somewhat dazed. “I’m not just a White lighter, but I’m also an Elder. My ability to heal wounds is much stronger than it was when I was just a White lighter. As long as there is a nerve ending, or any muscle left. I can repair your eye.” Seeing the sudden hopeful look in Xander’s good eye he went on. “It may take a while. And it’ll probably hurt some too. But I think I can regenerate your eye. If you want me too.” The now extreme wide-eye and hopeful look was all that he needed to know. He looked around the room seeing, with the exception of Chris, smiles on their faces. Chris was simply nodding along, there was a look in his eyes that Leo couldn’t place but decided to let it go for now. “Let’s go back up to the room you were in earlier.” Leo was sure that if Xander weren’t in shock right now he would have some sort of smart-ass remark for that, call it a hunch. He led him upstairs and less than two minutes later he walked back down looking contrite and somewhat euphoric like the other day.


Piper stood up, carrying a sleeping Wyatt, and guided Leo back to the couch. “Are you ok?”

“Yea, it was that energy he has in him. That should have taken a while to do, but it was done in a matter of seconds.” Casting a glance upstairs he shook his head in wonder. “I was feeling such a high I almost fainted. I came down he was still in the bathroom staring at himself in the mirror with a huge, goofy smile on his face.” Leo started to chuckle with that mental image. “I think he’ll be down in a few minutes.” Seeing the concerned looks he was receiving he took a deep breath and smiled. “I think we should wait until later to tell him about this energy I felt within him. I’m not sure if he knows it exists.” The others were just beginning to nod in agreement when Xander came strolling down the stairs with that same goofy smile that Leo was talking about. It made everyone smile too, especially Chris, and the now awake Wyatt to start giggling again. Xander walked up to Leo who was now standing along with everyone else in the room, and pulled him into an embrace. “Hey, Xander I thought you didn’t think of me that way.” That caused some good nature chuckling and a smiling Xander to say “Thank You” once again.

“It was my pleasure Xander, but I don’t want you to think I did this just to gain your trust.”

Looking at the man, Xander nodded. “To be completely honest, I felt as though I could trust you last night before we were even introduced. But I think I would still feel more comfortable if you told me your story first.” The others smiled and nodded along and began to tell their story. From having their powers bound by their mother and grandmother for their own protection. To their sister Prue, who was no longer alive. They talked about some of the evils they faced. Phoebe talked about Cole, who was also Balthazar, who became the Source of all evil, for a short time. By the time they were done he saw them all in a new light. He was amazed at all they had done. Here he was sitting with the three most powerful Wiccan witches in the known world, sitting next to a child that would one day wield Excalibur and may just be the most powerful being ever known to man. To say he was in awe would be quite an understatement. He was praying that by the end of him telling his tale that they would indeed be the allies he believed them to be.

He started off his tail from the beginning as well. Starting with his introduction to Buffy which had the sisters laughing. To his introduction to the night life. Which involved being the one who put a stake through the heart of his best friend Jessie. His brother in all ways but blood. He may not have lunged at him with the stake, it may have been an accident, to him it didn't matter that he had been pushed into it. Because he was still there to see the look in his brother’s eyes as he turned to dust mere inches from his face. Xander’s eyes, both of them, still felt the overwhelming sorrow and longing for his one time brother and almost brought tears to the occupants in the room. He went on with his story talking of living on the Hellmouth, which got quite a reaction out of Leo, being one of the few who truly knew what the Hellmouth was. He talked about all of the champions he had met. Some that had passed. The different Apocalypses that had been averted. Still downplaying his role in certain situations.

He talked about the Loss of his surrogate mother, Joyce, dying by natural causes of all things. To bringing Buffy back from the dead twice. Once by his own hand, and the other through magic. He talked about Willow, who gained much interest from the witches and a disturbed look from both Chris and Leo. He talked of Tara, her death by a man and a stray bullet. To Willow going bad. Facing down a Hell-goddess. To the latest and greatest and dealing with the First Evil. The consequential destruction of Sunnydale and the loss of his Ex-fiancé, Anya. He had spared no detail when it pertained to her. He talked of her past, their almost wedding, and how proud he had been of her in the end. By the end of his story he found himself pacing, not sure if they were going to see him at fault for the destruction of an entire town and calling, perhaps even raping, all those innocent girls of their innocence and youth, as they were now being called as slayers. He had left some key details out, such as the current plans of Giles, and Buffy with the New Watchers Council. He also decided to leave out that Dawn was also the Key. He was still waiting for them to digest his story when someone made a move. Quite surprisingly that person was Chris. He walked up to him and pulled him into an embrace of that as a brother.

“I’m sorry for your loss. Both past and present. It’s more than anyone should go though. Especially someone at our age.” Xander looked at him and could tell that he had an idea of what it was like to loose someone you love. He gave him a nod. Soon he found himself in the embrace of the entire family. He found himself unable to stop the silent tears that were streaming down his face. Some for the past, some from the present, some for himself. He felt cleansed for the first time in far too long. And he quietly thanked them. As they all took their seats Phoebe looked at him.

“What are you planning on doing now?”

“I haven’t much thought about it. Back home I used to be the ‘Zeppo’ the normal guy. I could handle myself against a vamp but still, nothing special.” That earned a snort from the three sisters.

“Xander you took on countless vampires and beat the crap out of a Demon. Zeppo you are not.” Paige said with sincerity.

“Well. I guess after a while I got used to fighting things that were stronger and faster and was able to compensate. Although I have to admit. The vamps I’ve been facing here are much easier than the ones back in SunnyD.”

Leo commented, “I can’t be sure, but it’s most likely caused by the closing of the Hellmouth in California. It has been the active one for longer than I can remember in most books, and those span back thousands of years. You may not be aware of it, but there are more then one Hellmouth on this world. Hell, there’s more than one in the US.” Xander shook his head to that and decided to give some more trust.

“Yea, actually I do. The now active Hellmouth is in Cleveland, its going to be protected but please don’t ask me more. There are some secrets that aren’t mine to tell.” Leo and the rest were nodding along. It didn’t take a genius to figure out who would be protecting it but they wouldn’t press the issue. Xander decided to continue, “As for taking down all of those vamps and beating that Demon. Those memories are extremely fuzzy to me. I remember getting clobbered by those vamps, then nothing. I’m getting vague memories but nothing I can hold on to.”

Leo stared at him for a moment. “I think I can explain. I think your conscious mind either shut down, or gave control to your subconscious.” Looking at Xander intently he continued. “You had said that you were possessed twice. Once by a Hyena, and another by a Green Beret. It looked to me…” Leo frowned suddenly but continues, “and I haven no idea how this happened…as I have never heard of this before…but it looked as though those two possessions merged, or were working together.” He looked up at Xander to make sure he was following. Seeing him nod along in amazement, he decided to add in his last bit of observation. “It looked like you had the speed and strength of the Hyena and the intellect and fighting skills of the soldier.”

Xander was still nodding along, “Come to think of it…I can almost remember feeling a mantra going through my head, and it had an almost animalistic nature to it.” Looking up towards the ceiling he tried to recall the experience. “It felt compelled to protect its pack. And I think it saw all of you, all of my friends, as its pack.”

Leo decided to resume the conversation, “I can ask the other Elders if they have ever heard of this occurring, in the meantime, it might benefit you to learn some meditation skills. I could teach you.” Looking over at Xander he could see Xander debating the issue, so he decided to press on. “You may be able to learn more that way. Also, I think meditation could be important for you.” Looking over at the sisters momentarily, he received nods from all of them, though they knew what he was thinking, he turned back to Xander. “There’s something you need to know.” Seeing Xander’s slightly worried expression he went on. “When I healed you last night and healed your eye today…I could feel a power in you. A strong power, one that was more pure than anything I felt before.” A smile formed on his face. “And that is coming from someone who spends their time with the Charmed Ones.”

Xander’s face became pensive. “Do you think I can do magic, because I have to tell you that I haven’t had much luck with it in the past.”

“I’m aware of that Xander, I was listening when you told us of the love spell.” Xander turned a few shades darker amongst the snickers. “And it may have been this untapped power that did it. I have to admit, it doesn’t feel quite as ‘magical’ so much as it does feel ‘pure’ you may be able to use it to aid you in magic. But I’m not sure of its source.” Leo looked Xander in the eyes trying to express his sincerity in the matter. “But meditation will definitely help you to tap into it, and perhaps control it.”

Xander nodded along once again to Leo’s like of thinking. “Ok, if you’re willing to help guide me, I’m willing to listen. However, and please don’t take this the wrong way, I’d prefer it if the other Elder’s weren’t involved in this. I trust you, but I have a hard time trusting some of the higher powers after the hell they have put most of my friends through.”

“I promise you Xander, I won’t say a word without your consent. However, if not having that knowledge will result in the loss of life, you have to know where I stand on that.” He pierced Xander with a penetrating stare as though he were looking into his soul.

“I understand, and feel the same way. You also have my word that I won’t divulge your secrets, or even your identity without your consent. You are my friends, and I can say with complete honesty that I will do all that I can to protect my friends.” He looked at all of them. Each giving him a soft smile, he felt with certainty that he needed to bring them together with Buffy, Giles, and the rest. He decided to broach that subject. “I would like to tell my friends about you. Who you are if not some of the stories you told me. If for no other reason that it would be good to start forming allies.” He looked at all of them, hoping that he wouldn’t see looks of outrage, or betrayal on their faces.

With a smile on her face, Phoebe spoke up. “As far as protecting your friends go, I think you demonstrated that well enough the other night. I can’t speak for everyone else, but I’ll trust your friends. You have my consent to tell them who I am.” The other two sisters nodded there consent as well. “And if you are going to train mentally with Leo, I think you should train physically with me. Unlike my sisters, my powers aren’t really active, I’ve had to learn to fight in lieu of using a power.” Looking at him with a sincere look she said, “And since you never talked about training. I think its time you got some.”

“Hmm, physical training with a beautiful woman how can I say no?” The smirk on his face dropped once Piper put her two cents in.

“Yea, and while your at it, you should teach him how to dance. He seemed really interested in watching tonight.” While the rest of the room was snickering at him he just shook his head then placed in his hands in his hair with a groan. It has definitely been a long night.

“Well, to leave on a high note, its getting kind of late, or early in the morning seeing how it’s now 5:45 am. Perhaps someone could bring me back to my suite so I can get some rest, and perhaps some of my dignity back.” The rest of the room erupted into laughter.

Leo decided to bail him out. “I can take you back to your suite.” Looking intently at Xander he decided to add. “About you exposing us to your friends…like the sisters…I’m fine with you telling them who we are. So long as they can keep our secret. However; I would feel more comfortable if at least one of us was there with you.” Xander thought it over for a moment before nodding his consent.

Leo looked up.

“How about I Orb you back. Do you have a car and know how to get here?” To this question Xander nodded in the affirmative. Looking back at the sisters he told them, “I have to go see the other Elders after I drop him off. You should all get some sleep.” Looking back at Xander he suggested, “Why not try to make it here around Noon so we can begin your training. Normally I think we should start around 10 am, but being that its now almost 6….well…We’ll figure out a schedule tomorrow.” Upon agreeing everyone said their goodnight and went their separate ways.



Haliwell Manor: Noon

Xander arrived right at 12 the next morning/day. He was wearing clothes to train in and carried a gym bag that had his clothes for working in. His jackets full of weapons were hung over his bag. He knocked on the door and turned around to look at the California sky. He marveled at having both eyes again. He heard the door open, turning around to see Phoebe wearing form fitting shorts and a tight tank top. And he thought the scene before him was breathtaking. Phoebe beamed him another killer smile and led him into the family room where Leo was already waiting.

“Good you made it on time. We decided to break up your training in parts. First we’ll start with an hour of meditating. Then I’ll hand you off to Phoebe for 2 hours where you’ll be doing warm up exercises. Whether it’s running or weight lifting I’ll let her decide. After that, we’ll all have some lunch. Then from about 2-4 well do some more meditating. Probably less to start with, but once you are able to tap into your energy we may bring it up some more. After meditating you’ll be going back to Phoebe who will then teach you different forms of martial arts and the use of different weapons, mostly sword technique since she doesn’t know much more.” This earned him a death glare from the Middle Sister before he continued. “Most of the martial arts you learn will be hand to hand combat. After you’re done with that you can have a quick dinner here, shower and go to your shift at the bar. If you need any time off for any reason just let us know. This is going to take up a lot of your time and we want you to still have a life.”

Xander gave him a self-deprecating grin, “Can’t say that I have much else going on. Although I was hoping that you could teach me some magic, or perhaps potion making as well. I may not have had the best luck with it in the past, but I believe it may be a good weapon to have in the future. And I don’t want to go around being inexperienced with such a powerful weapon. It would be just as insane to go around with a loaded gun and not know how to use it.” Leo thought about it for a moment.

“I’d like to hold off on that for a while, until you are able to learn a good deal of meditation. Only because we don’t know what affect the energy within you will do. As far as learning potions.” Looking towards the kitchen for a moment he turned back to Xander with a small smile. “I think we could get Piper to help you with that. Though that would be more studying and learning how things react together. I’ll let her talk it over with you.” Xander nodded his acceptance and decided that patience was a virtue. When he looked back at Leo, he noticed that the man was seriously studying him, making Xander a little nervous.


“There’s something you need to know about magic. It’s what’s called The Three Fold Rule.” Seeing Xander’s confusion he went into more detail of just what the rule meant. After thinking back to Willow, he could only agree with what he was being told. A warning of what not to do. A rule, which he whole-heartedly agreed with.


Every morning he would arrive and do some meditating exercises with Leo. It took him weeks but he was amazed when he could actually begin to feel the energy that Leo had been referring to. While he enjoyed working out with Phoebe, and watching her work out, he was sure she was trying to kill him though exhaustion. He had never been so happy and relieved when their two hours of warming up would be over and it would time for lunch and more meditating, you wouldn’t think that two hours was much. He also thought that he was in decent shape after working construction, and he was. But Phoebe must have been in unbelievable shape. He had never been so tired when he arrived at work. Not too tired to stop flirting with the female customers, but tired nonetheless. He would get back to his suite just in time to pass out. Back in Sunnydale he would wake way before his alarm, but now, that was a rare occurrence.

He found less and less time to answer Dawn, and Willow’s e-mail. And even the few that Buffy sent. But he was glad to hear that things were progressing smoothly in Cleveland with only a few bumps along the way. He had kept his word and had not to tell them of the Charmed Ones until he was with them face-to-face. He figured that would be a long conversation. Not to mention he wanted to see the look on their faces when they saw him with two good eyes. That brought a smirk to his face. It also brought a frown to his face when he thought over how, with the exception of Dawn, and somewhat with Willow, no one had said anything about Anya. No one really made any mention of his eye, other than to remind him that he was handicap. It was a complete stranger to offer their condolences for all that he lost. When he never even received so much as a thank you for sacrificing himself, and his eye for another Slayer, or potential slayer at the time. He wasn’t really bitter. There was no way he wouldn’t have done it. It’s just the way he is. He would still do it, even knowing that he would receive no recognition, or gratitude. Sure it would be nice, but that’s never been why he did any of what he did.


After about a month of training he was coming along well. He was becoming quite good at flirting with Phoebe, and even felt them growing closer, though he couldn’t seem to take the next step towards a relationship. Perhaps that was because of Anya…he just didn’t know.

Through meditation he could, to a small extent, control his energy. He could use it to levitate objects near him. The complex the movement, the more concentration needed, the harder it was to accomplish. He could move multiple objects at once and control its path, but it exhausted him quickly. One thing he found came easier to him was to use his energy to form balls, much like the demon did. Leo had brought him to a secluded field with rocks and boulders surrounded by nature. He wasn’t sure where Leo had orbed them, but it sure was beautiful. There he could test his energy balls without worry of destroying the house or hurting someone. While not extremely powerful they were coming along well.

Physically he had never been in better shape. Where once he was out of breath trying to keep up with Phoebe, now he was able to easily keep stride and not be winded when they returned to the Manor. Every martial art form she threw at him, he was able to absorb like a sponge. Within the first three weeks he was more than a match for her in all the styles she had shown him, and he was quickly approaching her ability with the kendo sticks as well. He wondered if learning to meditate was helping him absorb all of these lessons. Learning to mix potions was by far the most difficult and complex procedures he had encountered. He had more than his fair share of potions blow up in his face. He also found that casting spells was difficult, until he began to concentrate on bringing out his energy as he was casting the spell. Before he knew it he was casting them like a Pro. As soon as that happened he was quickly warned about the 3 fold rule. One that he whole-heartedly agreed with.

He realized that drawing on his energy, like he did with spell casting, that he was able to move quicker, and felt stronger. It felt somewhat unnerving at times, but he kept it up nonetheless. One thing he simply couldn’t accomplish was to find the Hyena, or the Soldier. If they were there, they were keeping away. It wasn’t like before. He no longer had the strain of the mental barrier he never even realized he had. It just felt as though they were no longer there. However; he was almost positive that wasn’t true. But until they decided to show themselves, there was nothing he could do.


Three months had passed since he had made these new friends. He hadn’t felt so good in a long time. It surprised him that there was still no relationship between him and Phoebe. The flirting was still there, but it had become few, and far between. It was when Leo orbed in on their training session that he knew something was up. Leo had a sad and somewhat upset look in his eyes.

“I’ve been talking with the Elders. Recently those talks have been about you. They witnessed your new abilities and the energy that you are now able to tap into. And while it may feel powerful, it is only the tip of the iceberg that lies within you. According to some, it’s even being muted now.” He looked Xander straight in the eyes and saw him following along with this new information. “They won’t tell me what they know, but after conferring with some oracles about you, I was told that your destiny lies in the journey ahead of you. They told me that you must depart soon in order reach even a fraction of your true potential.” He could see the look in Xander’s eyes begin to darken at that statement, so he continued. “While I don’t like it. I know that they were serious. I know how you feel about others trying to dictate your actions.” He saw the look begin to lighten. Showing a look of concern himself, he placed his hand firmly on Xander’s shoulder. “I want you to know that you have become like family to me. And I am sure that can be said the same for everyone else here. If you want to stay no one will stop you. No one will force you out. And if you do decide to start your journey, you will always have a place with us.”

Looking over at Phoebe he could see her tearing while nodding her head. He watched as she slowly made her way from the basement and could now hear her sobbing. He felt as though something had been taken from him and didn’t know what to do. He looked over to Leo whose expression was one of compassion tinted with sadness. “I could really use some advice. I don’t think I want to go. But I’m not sure if maybe I should.”

In a low, soft tone he replied, “I think you should do as you know you should. I don’t know what your destiny is. Or how, or where, this journey will take you. I know that I trust the source of the advice. If that helps as all.”

“Yes Leo, it does help. And thank you. Not just for your advice, but for everything you said. I fell like I’m part of something here. A family. Thank you for all that you have done and for accepting me.”

Leo looked up and took him into a fatherly embrace, “You are always welcome here. And this isn’t goodbye, so much as a farewell for now. It may not feel different right now but I promise you. In time it will.” With that the two men broke up and headed up the stairs and out of the basement.

Once Piper returned home and heard the news she decided to let him have him last night in San Francisco off. They had a good heart-felt conversation for about half an hour ending with both shedding some tears while saying goodbye. When Paige arrived she too had tears in her eyes at the news of him leaving. He became like the brother she had never had but always wanted. Even Chris seemed a little down at the news, while baby Wyatt cried himself to sleep.

Xander went up to Phoebe’s room and knocked on the door. When he was told to come in he opened the door to see phoebe drying her eyes. He closed the door and sat next to her on the bed trying to think of something to say but nothing came to mind. He looked down upon her and looked into her eyes as she was looking up into his eyes as well. He was amazed even after shedding those tears she was still a thing of beauty in his eyes. Before he knew what was happening they were kissing. There was far more passion in that kiss than he had ever experienced before. Not with Cordelia, not even with Anya. This was the first time he could think of her name without feeling guilt and sorrow, but this wasn’t the time to think about that. With much reluctance he broke off the kiss as she followed his movements.

They looked into each others eyes once again. It was a good thing he was already sitting, he was beginning to feel week. He looked to the floor for a second to try and gather some thoughts. “As much as I want to continue this, and I really do, I don’t want you to do this because I’m leaving. I don’t think I could live with myself knowing that I took advantage of you in such a way.” When he looked back up she was smiling.

“I’ve wanted to do this since I first met you. That we haven’t is a shame, but I’ve been wanting this for a while now.” Her smile now turned into a smirk “So I think you should get back over here and kiss me.” With that he leaned back down to share her embrace once again. He hugged her to his chest as if trying to physically become one. Their lips didn’t break apart until breathing became an issue. And then it started up all over again. They let their passion take them wherever as it was meant to. Clothes started to get strewn across the floor and as Xander looked down upon her once again, he marveled at how every time he believed she couldn’t look more beautiful she exceeded his wildest expectations. And with that Xander had one last thought before he lost himself in their shared passion, ‘My journey better lead me back here really fucking quick.’



It was around noon the next day. He was sitting in a bar at the airport thinking about his previous night with Phoebe. He just couldn’t seem to get that stupid smile of his face. He shook his head and took another sip of his scotch. It seemed somewhat unnerving, not the memories. Those feelings those gave would keep a smile on his face for a long time to come. What got him on edge was a conversation that he had finished up no more than 10 minutes ago. He had arrived perhaps an hour or two earlier after selling his car and checking out of his suite. He had been looking at the list of departures but nothing was really catching his eye and decided to proceed to the bar to mull things through when he noticed it. In the far corner of the bar, away from the viewing public was a familiar shower of lights. His first though was Leo needed to tell him something, however it was Chris, and he had a smirk on his face.

“How are you doing there Xander.”

“Not bad, is something wrong?” Chris shook his head and sat down on the stool next to him.

“Nah, it was just good to see you again.” From Xander’s clearly confused expression he went on. “You do realize that I’m from the future.”

“Yea, It’s kind of hard to forget something like that.”

Chris began to chuckle, “When Dad and I orbed into the manor when you first arrived I had to stop myself from saying ‘Uncle Xander!’ It was a close one.”

“Uncle Xander!?! Wait a minute, Dad!?!, Leo!?! Leo is your father?”

Chris winced to that, “Yea, they’re bound to find out sooner than later, but please don’t say anything. I don’t want to screw things up too badly. It would suck if I was never born.” Certain things started to click in Xander’s mind and he was able to put Two and Two together.

“Wow, that’s pretty heavy. I’ve had to carry my fair share of secrets as well from people I care about, but man, I had no idea. I promise you I won’t say a word to anybody.” Xander was still going through things, when something caught him as funny. “Wait a minute, did you already know my story when I was telling it before?”

Chris nodded his head while ordering a coke, “I knew some of it. Well, I suppose most of it. I learned a lot from listening to you. Some of the more private details that you told the sisters you never told me. You never really liked to talk about some of the painful memories. You’d tell me about the people, but the stories I’d hear from second hand parties. I know now why you never really wanted to tell me.” Looking down at his newly arrived coke he continued. “Even though I had some idea of how your stories would end, none were exact from what I was told, and they were also far more emotional coming from the source.” With a small smile he looked back at Xander. “I meant when I said that I’m sorry for everything you’ve lost.” Chris’s smile faltered and the look he was now giving was of such an apologetic nature. Xander never knew he could have such an affect, or would have such an affect, on someone.

“Hey, no, don’t worry about it. First of all, you had no choice in the matter. And secondly, I’m glad that you know. I really am. But is this why you came here?” A look of pure relief washed over Chris’s face as he released a breath he never realized he was holding.

“A part of me wanted to say something, but the reason I came is another matter. That’s Phoebe.”

“Is something wrong?”

“No, not really. I’m not sure how to say this, but you can’t hold on to her right now. I’m not saying to make a clean brake. But I have knowledge of some things that are going to come to pass for her. And while, I’m not sure of the specifics of your particular ‘journey’. I know holding on to her, or perhaps feeling you have to come back to her is something you can’t afford.” He looked over to Xander for some type of response. Finding none he looked back into his soda and with a soft voice begged, “Please don’t be too angry, I’m not saying that you can’t be together. And I’m not saying that you will, or will not, be together in the future. I just know that the immediate future, you two shouldn’t be together.” He looked to his right, praying that he wouldn’t find and irate Xander staring at him. What he saw was Xander staring into his half empty drink.

“I appreciate your help and advice. But it wasn’t really necessary.” Xander looked over to him with a small smile of his own. “It may, or maybe it won’t surprise you, but Phoebe had a similar talk with me this morning. Neither of us are sure where we will wind up. But we decided that for now, we aren’t together. However she is planning on keeping in contact with me through e-mail, and I plan on responding as much as I can.”

“Oh, well…that’s good. I was worried that I being here could have affected something small. I’ve already affected it more than enough. I’d hate to think that I would do anything to ruin your life too.”

“Hey…it’s not a problem Chris. I promise.” Chris looked over and was about to say something when he looked upward.

“I have to go, duty and all that. Good luck Xander.” Just as he was about to orb Xander grabbed onto his arm so he looked over.

“Thanks, you take care. And also, orb from a bathroom or something. No need to scare the locals.” Xander was smirking when he said that. Chris looked around with a sheepish grin on his face,

“All right, you be good. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.” With that he walked away and into the Men’s bathroom and vanished from sight.


Outside, at a private gate, a man was departing from one of him private jets. He was slightly above average height. While the clothing he wore made him appear lanky, with perhaps a little muscle, that couldn’t be further from the truth. His hair was of a dark shade of brown with eyes of the same brown hue. He was currently thanking the stewardess and pilot of the craft as they made their way toward the airport. Due to airport security he now had to make his way across the airport. Upon reaching the entrance he said his farewell to the flight crew and made his way into lobby. Once inside he wasn’t even able to take five steps before he was assaulted with a strange sensation. It was a sensation that he just couldn’t explain. He knew what it was, at least what it was supposed to be, but it was too different than what he had felt in the past. Beyond that, it was far too powerful. Putting those thoughts aside for the moment he began to search for the source of this latest conundrum. For a short second he was able to lock on a set of eyes from the reflection in a mirror in the airport’s bar. That was the source, of this he was certain. There seemed to be no recognition by the other man as he stared back into his drink and looked to be lost in thought. Not one to like an unknown variable, especially one that could have the potential to be as dangerous as this young man certainly would become without guidance, he made his way to the bar himself to observe the young man, his limo temporarily forgotten.

Xander had an off feeling. He wasn’t sure how to describe it. He didn’t feel as though he were in any danger. But something was definitely off. He searched the bar, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary. He looked into the mirror behind the bar, but then again, nothing out of the ordinary. Whatever the feeling was, it wasn’t going away. He hadn’t had too much to drink. He was barely feeling a buzz as it was. He continued to do periodic sweeps of the area around him to no avail. Suddenly, without warning, the sensation grew. He knew without a doubt that something was happening. Now if he could only figure out what. As if by magic he had his answer in the reflection in the mirror. It came in the form of a slender brunette. She had one of the most amazing figures he had seen, and since he had just been with Phoebe, that was saying a lot. However, it wasn’t her beauty that drew his attention. It was the way she was walking.


To the untrained observer nothing would seem out of the ordinary. But as he turned on his stool to get a better look he was sure of it. There was a slight uneasiness in her steps, and her eyes constantly capturing everything around her, he included. Whoever she was, she was well trained. So why did she seem so nervous, at least in his eyes. He shook his head, about to write it off when he saw exactly why. Trailing behind her were five men. Everything about the men screamed ‘Soldier’ to him. If they were after her, then she was in trouble. Those five men were causing his mental warning to ring in loud and clear. Without missing a step he laid some money on the bar and proceeded at a safe distance behind those men. If he had bothered to look back, he would have seen a man following all of them, walking in the exact direction he had come from no more that Twenty minutes earlier.

Xander exited the airport no more than Thirty seconds after the last of the five thugs. He was unsure of how to proceed. Something was about to go down, if it wasn’t going down already. Of that he was sure, it was just a feeling of certainty. He was in the process of deciding if stealth was way to go, or to make his presence known. However, there was really no need to formulate a plan. As soon as he came upon the scene in front of him he just acted without a thought.



The five men had started their assault. She was holding her own very well. One man was on the ground, slowly getting back up, while another was on his way to the ground. She was already turning to her next foe. As good as she was, it wouldn’t make a difference if something didn’t happen soon. Xander, quickly and without a sound, approached one of them with his back to him. He sent a kick low, to the back of the man’s knee, causing the thug to fall backwards in incredible pain. Before the body was even half way to the ground, Xander sent an elbow into the man’s face, accelerating his downfall into the ground. It was a good thing the man was unconscious when he hit, or he would have been in a lot more pain. Before the body had the chance to bounce once, Xander was in the process of sending a kick into the side of another thug. The kick landed solidly, sending the man sprawling backwards, onto the ground, and colliding with an empty parked security car, leaving a large dent on the driver side door. The third thug, to his right, was a large, muscular man, and boy did he look pissed. He pulled out a device from his pocket that resembled a baton, except that it was crackling with electricity.

The large man lunged at him with a speed that was impressive for a man of his size. To Xander, who had spent the last several years fighting vampires and demons that move far faster, and were far stronger than your average human, ‘the hulk’ may as well have been moving in slow motion. He easily avoided the cattle prod and sent a punch though the mans defenses just above the kidneys. While that should have sent a man to the ground the big guy just shrugged it off and advanced again. Xander decided he needed a new tactic. The man was either to stupid to realize he should be on the ground in agony, or too well muscled. When the man lunged at him again, he sidestepped him, grabbed the mans arm, and tugged it at such an angle to get a nerve lock. As the mammoth of a man released the electronic devise, Xander grabbed it and firmly placed it where the neck and shoulders met. The guy convulsed a few times before falling limply to the ground, unconscious like thug number one. A glint of metal caught his attention. He looked over to his side to see the man he had knocked into the car pulling out a gun. On instinct alone he threw the still active baton at the man, hitting him dead center in his chest. The shock from the baton sent him flying into the car while his gun went flying in another direction. The man had somehow managed to stay conscious but a quick backhand to his head and his lights went out. The ominous clack of a safety being released sent a sense of dread through Xander’s entire body.

He glanced toward the sound to find the vision of beauty he had come here to assist holding the gun at him. What was worse, he didn’t like the look in her eyes. They definitely weren’t showing trust.

“Get down on the ground now, hands out in the open.”

“Wait just a moment, what sort of screwed up gratitude is this?” The sound of the hammer being cocked could be heard.

“I don’t know who you are but I can’t take the risk, just get down now. I don’t want to shoot you, but I will.”

Not believing his luck he decided to humor the woman when that overwhelming feeling of danger overtook his senses. He looked up and around. All the while ignoring the shouts coming from the woman in front of him. When he saw it, his eyes went wide and he lunged towards the woman, immediately followed by a sharp BANG.


Seeing him lunge at her, she reacted on instinct and pulled the trigger. Truth be told she was surprised. She didn’t think he was a danger to her, but she had to be careful. She was well aware, in her line of work, nothing was ever as it seemed. When he came straight at her it was a real shock. The fact that he made a move at her was shocking enough, but with the speed he was moving, it seemed almost inhuman. She was even more shocked when the bullet struck him in the shoulder and he kept moving forward. The man pushed her down and to the side when she heard something that distinctly resembled gunfire. She twisted on the ground and looked on in horror to see the man she had just fired upon, on the ground clutching his stomach with at least four bullets center mass. It wan only the years of training Agent Sydney Bristow had undergone that kept her alive in the moments to follow. She shifter her position on the ground, rolling along the pavement, and brought her gun, drawing a bead on the shooter and caressed the trigger. Her shot was true to aim, and the bullet was placed right in between his eyes.

As quickly as she could she went over to the man who had saved her, not once but twice today. One look and she new he wasn’t going to be making it. Tears started to form in her eyes. ‘It should be me, not him, ME!’ In the distance she could hear muffled footsteps of people running towards the scene. She looked in its general direction and saw more Covenant operatives coming from a hanger in the distance. She knew she had to get to her extraction point, but she didn’t want to leave him, he was still alive.


Somehow, Xander’s sense of danger was still present in his mind. He forced the pain to subside to a point where it was bearable. In the distance, through bleary eyes he saw more men coming in there direction. Even though he could feel the life draining out of him, and it was getting hard to breath, he marshaled up more will power. Looking straight at the woman kneeling over him he whispered, “Run.” Seeing that she made no movement, he pulled all of his reserves, drew a deep breath and shouted with all of the force he had remaining, ‘RRRUUUNNN” He slumped further to the ground, with all of his energy spent. He could feel her shift, and heard the sound of her running off. Shortly after, he heard the sound of several feet running after her in pursuit, not paying any attention to him. His last thought before dying was of the ones he was leaving behind. Dawn, Willow, Buffy, Giles...and the rest of the Sunnydale crew. Even Cordelia, Angel and the rest of the Fang Gang in LA. And now, especially Phoebe and the rest of the Halliwell family. His last coherent though before dying was, ‘Leo, I am so coming back and haunting your eternal ass.’



The man stepped out from the shadows. He was initially impressed by the boy. The power he felt within him drew his attention, but what he just saw truly impressed him. ‘I bet he’s almost as much of a Boy Scout as Mac. If not more of one.’ That thought brought a smile to his face. ‘Interesting times are definitely ahead of us now.’ He looked at the boy, his shirt soaked in blood with multiple bullet holes going though it. The fact that the Kid had been shot by the girl and still managed to save her impressed him to no end. To care more for a complete stranger that you would sacrifice yourself for their wellbeing, that was something he wanted as a quality within himself one day. But that day was far in coming.

He directed his attention at the child once more and could feel the power within growing. He looked down at his suitcase and opened it up. He pulled out a t-shirt and an oversized sweater. Closing the suitcase back up he sat down on top of it and waited. With absolutely no warning the power within the child spiked, causing the man on the suitcase to clench his head between his hands. The power continued to rise and the man had to force himself to mute his ability to sense others of his kind. His head was now a dull throb. As soon as he was able to get his senses under control, he slowly allowed himself to feel for the child’s energy once again. Now that he was prepared for it, he could handle it. The power had leveled out, and what he felt was disturbing. No child of his age should have so much power. It may not rival his, but he had been around for a long time. Shaking his head, he was sure the answers would come in time, he waited. He didn’t have to wait long.


Xander’s eyes snapped open. His back was arched and he took a deep breath in. He started taking several breaths, no coherent thoughts could be made. He began to slow his breathing, and with it the memories came flooding back. He had been shot. He looked down to see his blood soaked, bullet ridden shirt. He pulled up his shirt to find his skin unblemished. There was some blood that seemed to be drying, but no bullet holes. Not even a scar. He pulled down his shirt again to verify that he had been shot. ‘Yep, definitely shot, why aren’t I dead? Not even a scar?’ He looked up into the sunlight, ‘Well, at least I’m not a vamp. This is definitely Hellmouthy. Ah crap, am I some sort of demon now?’ A million scenarios began to play though his mind. None of them he liked, or would accept. It was then he noticed a shadow off to his side. There was a man with a slight smile, sitting on top of a suitcase looking down at him. The man stood up and approached him. The man started to talk to him but none of the words registered. He was just in too far in a state of shock. With much effort he finally formed a semi-coherent thought. “Whah?”

He looked down at the boy. He wasn’t doing to well. Not that he could blame the child. After all, how often do you witness someone coming back from the dead, let alone be the one to do it? He took a deep breath and just looked into the boys eyes looking for a moment of clarity. When it came, he said in the most soothing voice he could manage, “Here, take these and put them on. I don’t think we need to attract attention.” The kid looked down at himself and comprehension began to dawn on him. He began to slowly take off his shirt and grabbed the t-shirt and sweater from the man. The boy put them on and began to stand, a little shakily. The t-shirt was a bit small, but the sweater covered that and reached down below where the blood had splattered onto his pants. If one looked closely you could see some spots of blood, but he wasn’t too worried. He looked down and retrieved the child’s bloody shirt, picking it up by one of the few dry places. He began to walk to a garbage been when he heard the voice from behind him.


He turned around. “No?”

“No. I want to keep it.” With that said the boy seemed to go back to his previous state of being half conscious. The man looked back at the shirt with a bit of understanding. He continued walking to the trash barrel with no objections coming from behind him. When got there he looked inside. He overturned the barrel making the few papers and wrappers fall out and removed the garbage bag. He placed the shirt inside and tied off the bag. He righted the barrel and walked back to the boy. He carefully placed the bag into his suitcase where the sweater had been. He looked back at the child who was now staring at him.

“I know that you have a lot of questions. And I promise you, I will answer them to the best I am able. But I have much to tell you, and doing so out here would not be wise. It is much better to do this in private.”

Xander looked around and saw the battle scene in front of him. He saw the damaged car, his blood on the ground and the men still lying on the ground unconscious. He looked back at the man and gave a quick nod. The man smiled at him, picking up his suitcase he put his arm around Xander’s back and guided him to the door.

“By the way child, what’s your name?”

“Alexander.” He wasn’t sure why he used his full name but it felt right at the moment. The man smiled at him.

‘Alexander, the protector of man. How appropriate for this child, already sacrificing himself for someone else.’

“It’s a pleasure to meet you Alexander. My name is Adam, Adam Pierson.” And with that he led him through the airport to the limo waiting for him out front.


A thin black man in a chauffeur’s uniform was leaning against the limo with a bored expression while holding a sign the read PIERSON. Adam walked over to the man smiling. Holding out his hand he said “Hello Roger, glad to see you were sent to pick me up, how is your wife and kids?” Roger’s expression changed from his bored one to that of a smile and shook Adam’s hand. Picking up Adam’s suitcase and heading for the opened trunk he replied.

“Brenda is great. So are the kids, though they can be a handful at times, but worth every minute of it. Does your friend have no luggage?”

Adam looked over to Xander with an enquiring gaze. “I have one black duffel bag, but I left it by the bar.” He spoke so quietly that only Adam could hear him. As Xander started to make his way back to the airport, Adam placed his hand on his shoulder stopping Xander.

“Roger, he left his bag back by the bar. It’s a black duffel bag, could you please retrieve it.” With a quick nod he went into the airport.

“Alexander, please get inside. This entire experience must be rather unsettling. Not to mention how tired and hungry you must be after experiencing your first death.”

Looking at him oddly for using the term ‘First Death’ his stomach suddenly began to rumble in agreement with Adam’s statement. He put on one of his patented goofy grins and nodded. Electing to just get into the spacious stretch limo and wait for the answers. He was feeling rather tired as well. Soon enough Roger came back out and placed his duffel into the trunk. Adam got into the limo sitting across from Xander, and Roger closed the door and made his way to the driver seat. Once they were on their way Adam lowered the partition.

“Roger, do you think you could stop at the closest convenient store and pick up some food for out trip.” He looked over to Xander and motioning over to the small fridge by the mini bar. “Would you like a beer?” Adam slid across and pulled two out. Xander thought about it for a moment, but decided that getting drunk at the moment, while it had its merits, would not be the best idea at the moment, so he declined the offer. For now. Adam merely shrugged and put one away, but stayed near the bar.

“Sir, I’m pulling into one now. What can I get you?”

“Oh, get a few things, all high energy and full of sugar. And perhaps a few cold sodas will do well as well.”

“Some Twinkies?”

Adam looked over to Xander, where the voice had originated seeing a hopefully look in the child’s eyes. He chuckled to himself and responded. “And lots of Twinkies.” He moved up to the partition and handed Roger some money. Soon enough Roger came back out holding a few grocery bags with a few types of junk food and some sodas.

Adam was amazed. He knew how hungry one of his kind would become after dying. But to this date he had never seen anyone inhale a Twinkie quite like that. “You must really be hungry there Alexander.”

Xander was feeling much better, the soda was just what he needed for his dry mouth, and the Twinkies, ‘Ah, behold the Power of Twinkies.’ He thought to himself when he heard Adam’s statement. Shaking his head he replied. “This is how I always eat my Twinkies; it’s the only right way to do it.” There was a definite grin on his face. Yep he was starting to feel better now.

Adam’s eyes became quite a bit larger, going from one of amazement to that of disbelief. Finally, he began chuckling, which quickly turned into a short bout of laughter.



As the laughter died down the car was filled with an amiable silence. Adam glanced at the boy and frowned at what he saw. ‘He’s taking this far better than I would have expected.’ He began staring out the tinted window observing the highway and cars passing by in the midday sun. ‘I may not have done this in quite a while but usually one would be brimming with questions by now.’ Another quick glance at the child brought a small, almost hidden smirk to his face. ‘I suppose cramming an entire Twinkie into one’s mouth would prohibit that.’ That thought brought about a quiet chuckle. Though, perhaps it wasn’t quiet enough.

Xander sat in the back of the limousine with a delicious Twinkie in his mouth. He was trying to calm his nerves and thought he was dong quite a good job. ‘Ok, I’m sitting in a limo with a complete stranger, not so long after DYING.’ Having swallowed the Twinkie, he stared down at his feet. He could still see small drops of blood drying on his dark pants that had gone unnoticed while they made their way though the airport. He thought back to what had just happened and could clearly remember dying. He could clearly, and painfully, remember being shot numerous times. The pain of the bullet ripping through his body was still deep within him. He could still feel the searing heat of the bullets as they bore into his body. The difficulty in breathing almost drove him into a panic attack back then. And if not for the meditating and breathing exercises Leo had taught him, it would have done so again. But above all he remembered the girl. The girl he saved, or hoped he had been able to save. ‘I wonder if she got away.’ He glanced out of the tinted window of the Limo before looking at his own hands and closing his eyes. ‘Something extremely Hellmouthy is going on. I can’t be a demon. I don’t want to be evil.’ He opened his eyes and stared ahead of himself catching a glimpse of the man ahead of him moments after the man, Adam, looked away.

Xander looked down next to him and saw the bag of groceries. He reached into the bag and pulled out a cold soda. Opening it he put the bottle to his lips and began to drink while reflecting on his current situation. The man in front of him was definitely an enigma. Who was he? He said his name was Adam. The last guy named Adam didn’t work out to well, but Xander wasn’t about to hold that against the man. He stole another quick glance at the man and noticed that his senses weren’t telling him he was in any danger. Sure, there was definitely something different about the man, but he didn’t feel threatened. But could he trust his own senses now? He took the half empty bottle from his lips, and took a deep breath. ‘What if I’m evil? I don’t even know if I can trust myself.’ He looked up at Adam again, who was still staring out the window. Reading his expression he could feel concern coming from the man, along with sympathy, or perhaps empathy. He could tell that Adam was nervous as well, if only slightly. Taking that in, he realized that he himself didn’t feel evil. He didn’t feel like he was a demon. He knew he wasn’t the same, but he was beginning to think that perhaps this wasn’t something evil. Oh, it was definitely still Hellmouthy; but perhaps not evil. With that thought he decided that he needed some answers. He was about to speak up when he heard a soft chuckle.

Xander, knowing somehow that the chuckle was related to him in some way, wasn’t sure if he should be offended or not, but quickly shook it off.


Adam looked up. He was surprised that the boy heard him. He looked into his brown eyes and smiled slightly.

“It was nothing really. I just had a mental image that made me laugh slightly. I apologize.”

He could see the boy’s brow scrunch up in slight confusion, but he could also see him shaking it off. The boy looked nervous, as though he was about to speak but wasn’t sure what to say. ‘He’s about to start with the questions. Damn, well…he held out much longer than I ever could have.’ Just then Xander began to speak with a surprisingly steady voice.

“No. No, that’s ok…Look...I…I…” he kept pausing, trying to get his thoughts to form into a coherent question. However; before he could continue Adam broke in.

“I know you have questions, but if you please…wait until we get to my home to start this.” The way Xander was looking at him, he knew the child was about to object. So, he decided to press a little harder.

“Please, Alexander, this discussion is best done in private. And I have quite a bit to tell you.” He glanced out the window trying to stall for a little more time. Looking back at Xander he could see the child was waiting for him to continue. “As I am sure that you already have a lot of questions, I can promise that you will have even more once my story is done.” Breaking eye contact he stared at the bottle of beer he was holding in his hand. “We are talking about a long conversation. And that will most likely be followed by a long bender.” Looking at Alexander he could still feel he wasn’t quite convinced. “Besides, at the very least you need to have a shower and change out of your…current wardrobe.” Waving his empty hand with a mock look of disgust, he looked pointedly at the dark trousers with the splotches of blood on them.

Xander too looked down at the pants stained with blood, his blood, and relented. With a smirk he looked up at the man in front of him. “I don’t know Adam, this shirt is amazingly comfortable”

Looking at the boy he could barely contain his shock, and let out a snort. He pulled his face into a look of mock-outrage and stated “Of course it does, child. Do you have any idea how expensive those shirt and sweater are that you’ve now ruined? What am I going to use it for now? They’re completely ruined!” He had his own smirk gracing his face until he heard Xander murmur in a mock English accent.

“And on our next episode we have ‘Dishrags of the rich and famous’.”

Xander looked up and realized he must have said that a little too loud. He was worried for a moment ‘I survived multiple bullet wounds…I wonder if I could survive jumping out of a speeding limo going down a highway while going at least 80mph?” He shook off the thought and opted to place another smirk on his face as Adam began mumbling to himself.

“I definitely need another beer.” They looked at each other. Looking each other in the eyes for a moment before both began to chuckle. Once that had died down, they sat in companionable silence.

Adam was trying to gather in his thoughts for the upcoming conversation, while Xander was trying to formulate his own questions all the while trying not to burp from downing half a soda in less than 5 seconds. It was though sheer willpower alone that he was able to accomplish such a feat.

It was no more than 15 minutes later that Adam and Xander found themselves arriving at Adam’s home.



Xander stood there, his mouth agape in wonder at what lay before him. It was, without a doubt, the largest estate he had ever seen before. He had been to the mansion where Angel had resided for a short while. He had even been to Dracula’s mansion while he was in Sunnydale. However; both places paled in comparison.

He glanced back towards Adam, who was just getting out of the car. His mouth was still hanging open, causing Adam to give him a smirk. ‘What in the world could anyone need with a house, mansion, this large?’ He couldn’t get his mind around it. Taking in a deep breath, he began to observe this new environment. The front of the house had a long walkway going to the enormous double doors adorned in marble. In front of the house was a yard, clean cut, wide open, and was the purest shade of green he had ever seen. It looked to be freshly mowed. ‘His front yard could easily be described as a park.’ Shaking his head he looked back down the long driveway to the Iron Gate blocking the driveway…over to the connecting cement walls that went in both directions, most likely continuing throughout the perimeter of the property. He couldn’t be sure because he lost sight of it in both directions when it was blocked by the trees that seemed to make its own wooded area. He looked towards the wooded area and saw tall, healthy trees, which completed the privacy that the mansion obviously afforded. Just the front of the place put him in awe. ‘I wonder what the back is like; let alone what its like inside. This place should have its own zip code.’ He was brought out of his musings by a hand gently applying pressure on his shoulder. Turning his head he saw Adam with a small smile on his face.

“You own this place?” You could still here the awe in his voice and see the wonder in his eyes.

Smiling at the boy he replied, “Yes, I own this place, as well as many others. Most are not as large as this place. They range from small studios, flats, houses, to mansions. I own several pieces of property all over America, and many times more all over the world.” With a smooth movement Adam was walking an awed and wide-eyed Xander towards the front of the house. “There is much for you to know, but I do insist on you showering and changing into some new clothes.” Upon entering the front doors Xander stopped short almost causing Adam to collide into him.

The inside was indeed as large as the outside appeared. There was a long hallway that seemed to go past some rather large rooms, it then opened up at the other end. From what he could see there were four large rooms along this hallway. Two on both sides before the hallway emptied into another open area. Looking to his left he could see a stairway that began near a wall and seemed to arc inward to the center of the room where it ended on a second floor. Looking to his right he saw an identical stairway that seemed to be a mirror image of the other, both basically running into each other where they ended and the second floor began. Looking up he could see a third floor. He could see the edge of the rail from the stairs going to this third floor. Following the rail, it seemed to end near where the first two stairways let you off onto the second floor.

Looking back at Adam he asked, “Where do I go?”

Looking at Xander, Adam looked as though he was trying to make a serious decision. After a short bout of silence he spoke. Pointing towards the stairs he spoke, “Go up those stairs, and follow them up to the next set. When you get to the third floor turn to your right and go down the length of the hall. There will be a room at the very end facing the hall.” Pausing in mid speech he looked into Xander’s eyes and came to a conclusion that he had been internally debating since noticing the young man at the airport. “Take that room. It’s yours for as long as you stay. My room would be in the same location had you turned left.” At saying this he heard Xander gasp, and knew what was coming.

“Adam, no…that’s alright. I really don’t think…” he never got the chance to finish as Adam held out his hand making a stop gesture.

“Listen Alexander, just take it for now. We can talk more about it later.” He glanced down at his feet and furrowed his brow in concentration. “I’m hoping once we’re done talking you will want to stay for a while.” Looking back up he continued while stepping in front of Xander, “Now, when you finish…I’ll be down that hallway,” pointing behind him, “When you get to the end it opens into a large room that is actually two. To the right is a kitchen, and to the left is a den.” Looking at Xander he could see the child was following him thus far, even as over-shocked as he obviously was. “If you look to the den their will be a door on the far wall that I’ll leave open. I’ll be inside.”

With that being said, Xander looked at him for a moment before glancing at the stairway. With a sigh he made his way up to his new room. ‘I really need to get some answers, and it seems as though Adam is the one who is going to give it.’ Looking up the stairs, he held his duffel bag in one hand and gripped the railing with the other and progressed up the stairs. ‘This has got to be the most fucked up beginning to any journey I’ve ever heard of.’ After reaching the second floor and making his way up the second set of stairs a thought struck him. ‘Oh man…if Chris knew about this…oh he is so going to be a dead man!’ Shaking his head and chuckling lightly under his breath he made his way down the hallway to his room determined to wash away whatever stress he could, knowing full well that said stress would be finding its way back to him very shortly. And with that he entered his new room.

“Holy Shit!”


Watching as Xander made his way up the stairs, Adam thought to himself ‘How do I wind up in these situations? I wonder if I shouldn’t try to get out of it.’ He shook his head. Those questions were more programmed into his line of thinking, for he already had his answer to his second question before he had internally voiced it.

There was no way he was turning his back on Alexander now, he had decided that a while back. He now had confirmed it. He began to make his way down the hallway and past the four rooms. The two rooms on his right were interconnected. The one closest to the front door was a Rec. Room complete with pool tables, dart boards, and televisions. There were comfortable black, plush leather couches and chairs lining the walls.

The room connected to it was a mini lounge with a bar. The bar, which was fully stalked thanks to Adam, would have been an envy to most bar across the western coast. It was made of a fine, thick wood. Its edges had a light padding, making anyone sitting there just a bit more comfortable. There was a wide array of alcohol in front of the mirror covering the wall behind the bar. And best of all…there were multiple beer taps of imported brews. All recently restocked and refilled. There were a few small round tables in the middle of the room, and more couches, similar to the ones in the other room, along the walls.

The two rooms on the left were identical in every aspect. While both appeared to be open, they had the capability of closing off and soundproofing the room. Inside of the rooms had all of the latest technology. There were several flat panel monitors adorning the walls. There was a large table in the middle of the room surrounded by large leather seats. At each seat there was a computer terminal built into the table with a monitor built into the table to make viewing easier. A large projector adorned the ceiling and was pointed towards a plain white wall. Each room was identical and also had the most up to date technology when dealing with Telecommunications and Videoconferencing.

Making his way past the rooms, Adam thought back to his previous stays as this place. He had only stayed here a few times in the past. He had always been bored here, but he liked his privacy. And here he could live isolated from the rest of the public, yet not be too far away from them. He had only been planning on staying here for a few days, but now that he had a guest, at least he was fairly certain he would, he figured to be spending quite some time here. And at least this time, it wouldn’t be boring.

As he made his way through the nicely furnished den, equipped with the newest home theatre package, including a specially made, wall mounted 100inch flat panel screen, an advanced surround sound until, DVD player, and Stereo. Along the wall opposite the TV were more plush leather couches. Between two of the couches were end tables, and between those was an expensive leather recliner with a remote control sticking from its pocket. Where most remote controls would operate the entertainment center, this one operated the messaging mechanism in the chair. In front of all that was a long and thin table.

Looking at the chair Adam raised an eyebrow, ‘Best damn investments those idiots ever made.’ With a small chuckle he opened the door at the far end and entered his ‘Smoking Room.’

Inside the room, which was about a quarter of the size as the den, was a small couch, and a few chairs. Each had end tables on both side and a round coffee table in the front. There was a small bar on the far side of the room that Adam made his way too. He opened up a refrigeration unit and took out a couple of beers before making his way to one of the chairs. He placed the beverages on the coffee table and looked at the telephone on the end table closest too him.

Picking up the phone he knew his life was going to change from what it once was. Resigning himself to his fate, he picked up the phone and dialed a number from memory. ‘I only hope we can pull this off without me losing my head.’ His thought was cut off by the ringing in the receiver. Taking in a deep breath he looked down at one of the bottles, and tentatively picked it up. Taking off the cap with a smooth motion he waited for the phone to be answered.

[Joe’s Tavern. Joe speaking.] came the reply from a ruff, but pleasant voice.

With a small smile Adam spoke, “Hi Joe, long time.”

[Adam, that you?]

“Yea Joe, in the Flesh, so to speak.”

[You ‘Old Bastard’ where the hell have you been. You just took of and we haven’t even heard from you in over a year!] Adam could hear the irritation in Joe’s voice and could just imagine the expression to match.

<smirking> “Hey…haven’t you ever heard of respecting your Elders child!” He had to hold in his chuckling from the response that got.

[Why you, Old, good for nothin’, irritating, beer guzzling….] the rest of his reply was cut of from the howling laughter on the other end of the line. Looking at the phone in disbelief he did the only thing he could think of. With a smirk of his own…he hung up.


Adam’s laughter began to subside as he heard the dial tone once again. Smirking to himself he took a long pull from the bottle while hitting the autodial on the phone.

[Are you done yet?]

Noticing there was no real bite to his voice, Adam smiled as he replied, “Quite.”

[Good, so where were you?]

With a sigh he responded. “I had to get away for a while Joe. I went to Egypt, and I’m sorry, but there weren’t any phones where I was. It was about being alone with my own thoughts for a while.”

[And now?]

“I still wanted to be alone…but I wanted to come back around people. I’m in California, actually.”

[What do you mean…wanted?]

“Caught that did you? Well…this is part of the reason I’m calling…I need a favor from you.” Drinking some more beer, he awaited the explosion from the other end of the line that never came.

[What’s wrong…what do you need?]

“Well, you remember the plan we were hashing out after my immortality was almost uncovered?”


“We need to go forward with it.”

[Is someone hunting you…I haven’t received any Intel on anyone matching your description?] slight panic could be heard in Joe’s voice.

“No…no…no one knows yet.” With a sigh he continued, “But they will soon enough.”

[What? Why would we find out? How?] Where there was once panic, not only confusion remained.

Looking up at the ceiling, as though he could see through the two sets of floors, he responded, “I’m taking on a student Joe.”

[WHAT!!!] Now the explosion came.

“Joe…before you start getting into hysterics, let me remind you that this is my choice. And it’s not like I haven’t put A LOT of consideration into this.” Looking into the bottle in his hand with a deep concentration he went on. “I watched his as a pre. Not even knowing what he was, he took on multiple bullets wounds from an assassin with an automatic weapon meant for the girl between them. He went straight for her without any thought to his own safety.” Adam’s eyebrows shot up and a look of admiration covered his face as he thought about the events that took place not so long ago. “Even after the woman shot him herself…he still continued on to push her out of the way…taking the bullets meant for her.” Taking another, short, pull from his bottle he rethought everything that had transpired. “Joe…I don’t know how he did it. When those bullets hit him…he should have been dead when he hit the ground. But not only did he survive…” He paused in mid speech still in awe of the scene that had laid before him.

[What did he do Adam?] The awe, and appreciation, in Joe’s voice could clearly be heard, if not the respect itself.

“I don’t know how, but he was still aware of his surroundings. Aware enough to know that the woman was still in danger…After she realized her mistake, she shot the assassin between the eyes from quite a distance. She went over to Alexander, that’s the boy who is to be my new student. As I was saying before, he must have known she was still in danger, because with his last breath he screamed, at the top of his lungs for her to run.

There was silent contemplation coming from both sides of the line before Joe broke it. [What do you need from me?]

“Well…I’m not prepared to train anyone. God, you don’t want to know how long it’s been since I last had a student.” With a small chuckle he continued. “I’m not prepared, I have no weapons of any kind beside my own.” Taking a break to finish off the last of the bottle he continued. “I need you to get in contact with Mac. Tell him everything I told you. Ask him for whatever he can spare. He knows I’m good for it.” With a sudden smile he changed the subject. “Say how is Mac anyways?”

[Hmm…oh…he’s doing good, still has his dojo.]

“How have things been?” There was a slight bit of worry in Adam’s voice.

[Things have been somewhat quiet since you left.] Adam nodded along, though Joe couldn’t see. ‘I guess that means only a few heads have rolled.’

[You know…he’s still seeing Amanda…so I’d say about as quiet as you could expect.] This got a chuckle out of both men.

“So you’ll help then Joe?”

[Yea…Mac should be in later tonight. One way or another I’ll make sure to see him tonight.] With that statement Adam let out a breath he hadn’t realized he was holding. [There is one slight problem though.] With a groan Adam responded.

“What’s the problem Joe?”

[Well…the Watchers found out about you a while back] Now it was Adam’s turn to explode.


[It happened shortly we discovered the high increase in Watcher deaths. You remember that ordeal…the one that almost ended with me dead?] Adam nodded along…there was no way that event would be soon forgotten.

[Soon after the trial…the Watchers did a more thorough background check on every watcher. Hell they went so far as to do checks on anyone associated with a watcher. It was then that you were found out.] Joe waited for Adam to speak but only silence came across the line while Adam silently cursed his stupidity.

[Someone discovered a past identity. It was that of a Benjamin Pierson, who at first they thought your father was, but because of an overzealous worker…the truth was discovered.]

“Why wasn’t I terminated then Joe?”

[I’m getting to that. As soon as I learned your secret had been revealed I went ahead with the plan we came up with….with a slight variation to include your Benjamin identity in there as well. Anyways…they decided to do some more research on you before they acted. With them finding that you never used any of the info available to you to hurt us, or others of your kind, and especially because, I and a few other friends you have amongst the watchers, spoke in your defense…they decided not to ‘fire’ you. And it was through my recommendation that you be allowed to continue your work...You know...I’m still surprised no one was able to make the connection.] That brought a chuckle to both men, before Joe continued. [I was under strict orders not to inform you that we knew. I was well aware that they would be watching me…so I kept my mouth shut. I remember what happened last time I lied to you…we still friends Adam?]

Adam smiled, thinking about the time he had played Joe for an entire car ride while driving Adam to his ‘Impending Death.’ He gave a quiet chuckle thinking back how he had played with Joe’s emotions until Joe finally confessed to what was going on. Adam was smirking at the thought. ‘That was so much fun.’

“Yea Joe…we’re fine. It’s just disturbing that I had no clue.” With a sigh he opened the second bottle and took a good, long sip.

[I understand…and for what it’s worth…I’m sorry.]

“It’s ok Joe, like I said we’re good…So you’re still going to help right?”

[Yea…I’ll see Mac tonight and be there as soon as possible.]

Adam thanked him and began rattling off his address and telling him to call his cell phone once he reached the main gate when he felt the Buzz. Getting off of his chair, he put the bottle onto the table and made his way to the door with the receiver still in his hand. He looked through the door to find a recently showered and newly dressed Xander in extreme discomfort. With one hand holding his head and the other holding his stomach, it looked as though he was either going to throw up or faint onto the small bundle of clothes at his feet. As soon as the two made eye contact Xander’s eyes cleared and widened in surprise. His posture straightened and his posture became defiant.

With anger tinged on every syllable of every word he asked, “What did you do to me?”

With a sigh he brought the receiver to his ear and heard chuckling coming from the other side. Shaking his head he spoke, “Thanks Joe, I’ll see you when you get here.” As he pulled the receiver away from his ear, he could clearly hear Joe’s laughter erupting from the small receiver as he shut the phone off. Looking up at Xander, he could tell the child was just a heartbeat away from attacking.

“Well…” while gesturing to the ‘Smoking Room’ he continued, “I suppose we have a lot to talk about.”



Xander looked at the apartment that was masquerading as a bedroom. ‘Every time I think this place can’t amaze me any more…it does.’ Shaking his head, he walked into the room, which by itself was at least one and a half times larger than his apartment in SunnyD. ‘What’s left of it that is.’ He reminisced wincing. He glanced to the right of the huge bedroom, which was occupied by a large leather L-Shaped couch. A nice flat screen television sat at an angle in the corner so it could be easily viewed by all those who sat, or rested, on the couch.

Directly behind the couch, about 10 feet away, was a nice ornately hand carved dinning table. There were four exquisitely carved chairs placed at the table. One on each side. Beyond all of the furniture, one side of the wall was occupied by an elaborate entertainment system that looked expensive and tastefully put together. What caught Xander‘s attention however, was the rather large window that ran along one side of the room and was shrouded with large shades which were partially open. Near the end of the window was a door which too was partially open. Placing his bag onto the carpeted floor he made his way over to the window.

Pushing some of the vertical shades to the side Xander glimpsed into the front yard of the mansion. Looking into the distance of the impressive mansion, he followed the massive wall, which ran all along the way, to the wrought iron gate’s that opened up into the entrance’s slanting driveway. Shifting to his right, he tried to see what was to the left, but only saw more of the mansion. Letting go of the shades he proceeded through the partially open door.

Inside was a small office tastefully furnished. Its window looked out across the mansion. One could just make out the expansive garage at the end of the driveway. “Judging from the rest of this place, there must be some amazing cars in there.” Xander concluded. That thought brought a smile to his face. Turning his attention to the room, he saw a desk that went along the wall connecting the office to the bedroom. When the desk got to be within about five feet of the door, it turned at a right angle and became perpendicular to the wall. On the corner of the desk was a fairly large flat panel monitor, the type he had only seen in movies and malls. ‘This guy really goes all out…doesn’t he?’ Thinking that, Xander walked around the desk and pushed the chair out of the way. After all he did not want to take the chance of getting any blood stains on it. Standing in front of the desk, he could see a drawer under the corner. Pulling it out, he found a wireless mouse and keyboard. Looking closer at the monitor he could make out the small camera at the top center, and the microphone on the bottom right corner.

Stepping back from the computer, he eyed it sadly. ‘I wonder if Willow really kept up with her hacking skills once she became a witch.’ he pondered to himself. ‘It’s amazing how dying can put your perspectives in order.’ he darkly thought. He could still feel the overwhelming need to be around his friends. And he hated the idea that he hadn’t kept in close contact like he had planned. Walking over to the far side of the office he stared out of another window that overlooked the wooded area. Reflecting on his recent past, he felt that, at the time, it seemed more as though he was just too busy living his life, growing, and didn’t have the time. And it wasn’t like he could really tell them what he was doing. In order to tell them that, he would have had to tell them about the ‘Charmed Ones’. He had promised Leo that he would wait until one of the sisters, or Leo himself, would be there.

Looking down at his shoes, he realized how rotten he felt for having not spoken to his friends. Looking back at the computer he resolved to himself. ‘Tonight I am going to get in contact with them. Whether its through, phone, e-mail, or some form of telepathy I’ll talk to them.’ Shaking his head with that resolve he began to smile. ‘It’s not like I have to tell them everything. I’ve had secrets in the past. Probably always will. I used to be the guy people would talk to…I should still be that guy.’ he resolved determinedly.

With all these thoughts in mind, he walked out of the office, towards his duffel bag which lay bag on the floor. Suddenly with his new resolution and plans, he felt as if a small weight had been lifted from his shoulders. He then picked up his bag and tossed it onto the King Size bed that was against the wall opposite the front door. Standing at the foot of the bed, hovering over his bag, he straightened up and slowly turned around.

What he had initially thought was a dresser with a mirror above it was in fact something else. The dresser was what he thought it was, it was the ‘Mirror’ that wasn’t. It was another television, set into the wall. Taking a quick glance to the other side of the room, he could still see the television there. ‘What possible reason could they have to have 2 freaking televisions in one room!??!’ Shaking his head at this weirdness he turned back towards his duffel bag.

Pulling out the clothes he wanted to wear he walked towards the two doors, opting to enter the one closest to the television. Entering the small room he could tell it was a walk-in closet. ‘Wow, this is the first bare room I’ve seen.’ he thought sarcastically. Turning around he noticed a boxed off portion of the wall. ‘Must be where the TV is inset.’

Walking out of t room, he then entered the bathroom. The bathroom inside was mostly simple, with a nice Jacuzzi and a shower stall off to its right. Across from that were two connected sinks. A mirror covered the wall just above the sinks. Stripping out of his dirty clothes, he could see the dried splotches of blood that covered his upper torso. Turning around, he went to the stall and turned on the water waiting for it to steam. Getting into the shower he relaxed letting the hot water wash away the caked on blood which had crusted over and given his skin a red tint for a short while. Reaching for the soap his body went on autopilot while his mind wandered elsewhere.

Coming out of whatever trance he had been in, he looked down at himself. Realizing he was now clean, and the shower was extremely hot, he turned the temperature down slowly until it was ice cold. The arctic like water still could not completely get him out of his daze, so he decided to end the shower anyways.

Getting out of the shower, he noticed the entire length of the mirror was fogged up. ‘I must have been in there for a while.’ Shrugging it off, he decided to waste no more time. Grabbing a towel from a nearby towel rack, he dried himself off before slipping on his new clothes. Eying his pants in distaste he decided to discard them. Glancing at Adam’s shirt and sweater, he figured it would be a good idea to bring them along. ‘He said they were ruined…but I might as well give him the option.’ and with that thought he made his way out of his bedroom, down the hallway and to the stairs. All the way, trying to figure out what he would ask first…and who would talk first. ‘Adam said he wanted to tell me what was going on. But there is definitely something off about him. And what about this place? Who needs a place like this?’ reflecting on the opulence of the place and the unobtrusive, but now clearly visible, security measures present in the mansion With a thousand thoughts, pulling him in a thousand directions, he walked through the main hallway near the entrance. Turning towards the den he was still lost in thought until IT hit him.

Like a Sherman tank driving over him, he felt it. In his head, it felt as though thousands of angry bees had taken up residence. The feeling at first felt like a vibration running through his entire body. It increased shortly, causing him to drop the clothes he was carrying, and grab his head. in blinding pain. The feeling that was going through his body seemed to center in his head and in his gut, and he was certain that if this lasted much longer, there would be Twinkies along with rest of his insides covering the floor soon, so acute was the pain.

An indescribable urge made him look up. There, standing in the doorway, was Adam. As soon as Xander managed to make eye contact the feeling went away, as though it had never existed. His sudden confusion at this latest inexplicable event became tinged with a growing amount of fear, and a sudden amount of great anger. Inside now, he was suddenly seething and cursing himself. ‘Why the fuck did I trust him?’ Ignoring his senses that were still telling him he was not in any danger, he straightened his posture, slipping subconsciously into a defensive position.

Mustering the righteous amount of anger in his voice he asked, “What did you do to me?”

He was half expecting some half-baked answer, or perhaps some form of denial. What he was not expecting was the calm and accepting look in Adam’s eyes, which seemed now ageless and ancient, like the shore of a cliff worn down to its elements by the force of the water hitting it for millennia. Seeing Adam’s calm demeanor, slowly Xander’s anger began to bleed away. With a gentle, non-threatening movement, Adam motioned to the room behind him.

“Well…I suppose we have a lot to talk about.”



Neither man seemed to move. Neither man seemed to breathe. Finally it was Adam that made the first move. Turning around he began to make his way into the room; pausing mid-stride he turned to the side. Briefly meeting Xander’s eyes he said, “Take all the time you need.” With that, he turned and resumed his walk back into room.

Xander stood there, still not moving. He wanted answers, but at the moment…his mind was on overload. Trying to calm himself, he slowly began taking deep breaths. Once sufficiently calm, and thinking somewhat clearly, he made his way towards the opened door.

Upon entering the room he saw Adam placing a bucket, filled with ice and holding a few bottles of beer, on the center of a round table surrounded by chairs and a small couch. After taking his seat, Adam motioned for Xander to sit across from him. After taking the proffered seat, Xander reached for a beer and placed it upon the table in front of him. One he was settled comfortably he nodded for Adam to begin.

Adam took a deep breath in an effort to order his thoughts. 'This isn't going to plan,' he thought morosely; chastising himself for this predicament. Chasing away the unproductive, and useless thought, he decided to open with, "I suppose we should start with what happened in there," pointing toward the other room. He continued, "That feeling, the tingling sensation that spread from your mind throughout your body building in intensity is how you know that someone like you is about."

Looking at Adam intently. Xander asked, “Like me?”

Nodding his head Adam calmly said the one word that would get this started. “Immortal.”

Xander’s eyes went wide with that small, yet extraordinary, statement. He, of course, knew that immortality was possible. He had witnessed it himself. And with the exception of Oz, the only way he knew of to gain immortality was through darkness. And he in no way wanted to become part of the darkness. With a burning passion he knew that he would prefer to be dead than become part of which he had spent so long fighting.

“How did I become Immortal?”

“Actually...you were born that way.” Seeing the confusion in the child’s eyes, he elaborated. “Ever since you were born, there had been an energy, an extraordinary life force within you. An energy that is known as ‘The Quickening.’” Looking directly at Xander’s chest he continued, “You died today.” Xander’s hand went up to his chest, where there had been fatal bullet wounds only hours earlier.

There was confusion in Xander’s voice as he spoke. “It was always in me? But I’ve been hurt many of times…and I’ve never been a fast healer. Well…nothing like this.”

Nodding his head, “As I was saying…You died today…but before that…this power, your Quickening, was in a recessive state. It is unlikely that anyone would have noticed it. It was completely dormant. However, when you died today, it became active.” Looking deeply into Xander’s eyes. “Today Alexander…you awakened your Quickening, and became an Active Immortal.”

Many thoughts were going through Xander’s head at this moment. Most of them were revolving around what he would have to sacrifice, or who he would have to sacrifice, in order to remain Immortal. And he knew that there was no way anyone was to die, so that he could selfishly remain Immortal. Thinking of how vampires needed blood to remain immortal, he was betting that he would have to steal other people’s energy to remain alive. There was one question that was burning on his mind right now…one that he needed answered. But how to ask it without sounding insane if he was wrong?

“What do I need to sustain myself? What do I need to survive?”

Those questions threw Adam off guard to a degree. “Well…those aren’t quite the same question.” Furrowing his brow in concentration, he continued. “To ‘sustain’ yourself, you only need what you’ve always needed. Food, and beverage.” Saying this he held up his beer and took a long pull. “You may find yourself eating more at meals, but that's all right. You’ll find that you have a better metabolism to compensate for the excess energy your body is producing.” Seeing the relief Xander’s eyes, he proceeded to the next part of his question. “In order to survive….” Adam’s eyes became darker, reflecting on times of the past, then as soon as it had happened, they reacquired their softer tone. “…I think that we’ll get to that in just a moment.” Realizing that this was as far as he was going to get with this topic, he nodded his consent, making a mental note to come back to it later if need be.

“Alexander, there is much for you to know about being Immortal. What it means of your past…what it means of your future…and how it will affect your present.”

Adam then spent the next few hours going into great detail about Immortality in general. Xander was pleased to know that since his ‘first death’ was relatively private he wouldn’t have to move and assume a new identity. Adam was pleased to learn that there wasn’t anyone waiting for Xander at the moment…causing them to make up a reason for Xander not showing up to wherever he may have been going. Xander was somewhat surprised to learn that he was more than likely adopted. That all immortals seemed to be without biological parents. How this was possible, Adam did not know. He was deeply saddened to learn that having children was not in his, now ever so long, future. While he had never really talked about it, except the few times with Anya, he had always assumed he would have children one day. Besides, he had seen children in the vision of his future the demon had shown him on his almost-wedding day, even if that was a false vision. He knew that in time he would learn to cope, and to live with this. What came as the real shocker, was when Adam got to the part about playing ‘The Game’. Though thinking back, his life as a mortal was never easy. So why would his life as an Immortal be any easier? Decapitation as the only way to end his life as an Immortal…He really should have seen this coming.

“Why? Why would anyone want to play this ‘Game’?” There was a great deal of anger in his voice.

“It’s ‘The Game’…and the reason why people want to end your immortal existence…is to gain the very thing that makes you Immortal.” Looking straight into Xander’s eyes….trying to make him understand how important this was… “Your Quickening. Other Immortals covet it. If they take your head, they will also gain all the power from your Quickening, adding it to their own. There are many out there who only want to become more powerful. They do that by searching for Immortals…and taking their heads.” Never breaking eye-contact he continued, “They are known as ‘Head-hunters.’”

Taking a deep breath, that did nothing to calm his nerves, Xander asked, “What am I to do?”

“Learn to defend yourself.”

“I don’t want to kill.”

“Alexander, earlier today I saw you give your life to save a total stranger. If you don’t learn to defend yourself, and they take your head…who will be there to stop them when they come upon their next hapless victim. I may not know you very well…at the moment…but I firmly believe that you would never let them happen.” Putting his head in his hands, Xander nodded his consent.

“And if I offered them a chance of surrender?” Xander asked with a little hope in his voice.

Knowing he had to crush this now, before it began to fester, he replied. “Then they will continue to come after you. And they won’t stop with you. To get your undivided attention, and to get even, they will go after your loved ones. They will go after friends and family alike. They will rape and murder those you hold dear until you do something that costs you your life.” Xander’s eyes began to burn with the intensity of two small novas. Allowing his friends and family to be harmed was something that Xander would never allow to transpire as long as he was still breathing. Seeing that look in Xander’s eyes Adam decided to press forward. “You have to realize Alexander, the men and women who you will be facing have been fighting for many centuries, if not longer. They grew up with swords in their hands before they could take their first step. They have fought in Wars that were decided by the blade of a sword. And they have been playing in ‘The Game’ against other master swordsmen for centuries as well. They have every advantage over you.” The fire was still burning brightly in Xander’s eyes.

“What do I do?”

With a small smile, Adam responded. “Become my student. I will teach you how to survive.” Leaning in closer to Xander he continued, “I am fairly good with a sword and have much to teach you. You can stay with me for as long as you wish and we will continually train.” Leaning back in his chair, “You know the rules of ‘The Game’, and I think we can both agree that the life of a monk is not the life for you.” Both men were smirking at this. “What you should also know is that if you are challenged before you are ready…it is my right to accept the challenge on your behalf, until such time as I think you are ready.”

Looking down at the two empty bottles on the table next to him, he picked up the half consumed one. “I don’t want you to accept a challenge offered to me if it may lead to you losing your head.” With that said, he drained the rest of his bottle.

Waiting for him to finish drinking, Adam replied, “Why don’t we jump off that bridge when we come to it.” A sudden smile came across Adam’s face. “Besides…there is someone I want you to meet. As good as I am with the sword, he is still much better. I think there is a lot he can teach you too. Like you, he is Immortal, but you need not worry about him challenging you. He tries as hard as he can to stay out of the game…doesn’t really work to well for him…but he tries. And like you, he’s a damn boy scout!” There was a deep smirk on his face.

Xander looked outraged for a brief moment before it faded into one of slight confusion. “If you want to be my teacher…then why pawn me off to someone else?” There was the tiniest hint of hurt in his voice.

“Because Alexander, when the chance to learn under a master, such as Duncan, comes around…do not waste it. Especially when it can vastly improve your chances of surviving. He is considered one of the best…if not the best himself. He is considered one of the most likely candidates to win ‘The Prize” as well.” Adam distinctly heard Xander mumble something about ‘Stupid f*cking prophecies’ and something about ‘constantly f*cking up his life’. But wisely chose to ignore it, for now.

Xander was looking down at the table muttering about the injustices of life, and how all prophecies should go to hell, when he stopped. With a small smile on his face he looked up to Adam. Giving Adam a quick nod he replied, “Ok Adam…I guess you got yourself a student…for a while at least.”

With a smile of his own, Adam reached out his hand, to which Xander quickly reciprocated. Soon they were shaking hands and cementing another friendship that would put another nail into the coffin that was the darkness.

Looking at Adam with a strange expression, Xander finally asked a question that had been bugging him. “What the hell is up with this house?”



In a somewhat exasperated tone Xander asked, “What the hell is up with this house?”

With a quiet chuckle, Adam waved his hand around the room. “Oh this little thing?” He tried to sound as innocent as possible. But from the sudden widening of Xander’s eyes he couldn’t help but to laugh. His laughter was short lived as he noticed the stern expression coming over Xander’s face. “Actually this place isn’t mine.” He smirked at the confused expression he was receiving. “The company I own acquired this place when they took over a Tech-firm that went bankrupt.”

Curiosity entering Xander’s eyes he asked, “What company?”

“The one that was taken over?” he paused for a moment and looked to be deep in thought. “Hmm…I know I have the records in a bank vault…but I can’t really remember the name. The idiots running it leveraged everything and went under. They tried to keep this place…but since it was bought with company assets it transferred to my company.”

Rolling his eyes Xander replied, “No, what company do you own?”

“Oh that” There was a smirk on Adam’s face. “Pierce Industries.” Seeing Xander’s eyes getting a somewhat glazed look, his smirk deepened. “What…is it that hard of a leap to go from Pierson to Pierce?” He was really enjoying this.

Xander’s eyes seemed to come back from its amazed state and he voiced a question faintly. “So, how old are you then?” Adam seemed to observe him for some time before answering.

“I’m old enough to have started that company over 250 years ago.” Xander’s eyebrows shot up at this. He was thinking of pushing the issue a little further, but he had the notion that he wouldn’t get any further than that.

“So…how often to you stay here?”

“The board uses this place every once in a while for company retreats. They basically run the company.” With another smirk on his face, “I’m just the nameless lucky inheritor that reaps the benefits of this windfall. Anyways, they use this place a couple times a year. Other than that it doesn’t see too many people.” Seeing Xander forming another question he continued. “This is only the third time I’ve been here since we acquired it a few years ago. I come here when I want to be alone. Not many people can connect me to this place.” Seeing Xander nod his head he decided to try to bring the conversation in another direction. “I come here for a few days at a time. It’s good to be able to be alone with myself, but still be close by. However,” He paused and looked intently at Xander. “This time…I think we will stay here until we have completed the first part of your training…and…until it will be safe for you to be out in the real world.”

Sitting back into his chair, Xander closed his eyes. Opening them, he gave a quick nod. “How long do you think that will take?”

Pondering the question for a moment, Adam finally told him, “I really can’t say until we start the training.” Realizing that more needed to be said, “It may take a month, or it could take a year. Look, I’m not saying that we need to stay cocooned here, but until we get you prepared to use a sword with enough proficiency…it will simply be too dangerous out there for you.”

‘Oh great!’ Xander thought vehemently, ‘Another person who wants to protect me by keeping me on the sidelines.’

Adam noticed the dark wary look that entered Xander’s eyes and tried to placate him. “I’m not trying to keep you away from people Alexander. But you have to realize that it would be foolish, and irresponsible for me to send you out to this new world for you when you are ill-prepared to face it. And it is not something that I’d do.” There was a slight edge to his voice, a conviction that Xander couldn’t ignore. So, he resigned his fate, and immediate future, into the hands of a man he hardly knew. It was with the next statement that he knew the ‘Harris Luck’ was still with him. “Besides…there’s something you need to know” Adam’s voice was not much softer, with a hint of uncertainty.

Reaching towards the small bucket, Xander took the last beer. Opening it, he took a long sip before replying. “What is it that I need to know?”

“Your ‘buzz’ is stronger than it should be.” Seeing that Xander wasn’t following completely, he elaborated. “You see, in a new Immortal the buzz is softer. In time the power grows. Also, taking in the Quickening of another Immortal will intensify your buzz. Your buzz is far more intense than it should be.”

Shaking his head Xander asked, “How will this affect me?”

Adam, shaking his own head in response, answered. “I’m not sure. I think it may wind up being both a blessing and a curse.” Looking over at Xander, and seeing that he wanted him to continue, he did. “You may be able to bluff your way out of a challenge. Another Immortal may assume that you have either taken quite a few heads, meaning that you are an excellent sword fighter, or that you have been around for a long time. That would probably lead them to the same conclusion. If you play your cards right, you may be able walk away without a challenge.” Looking down at the beer in his hand, he took a long pull from the bottle before continuing. “If, by chance, you can’t get out of the fight…it would most likely mean that you are being challenged by a master swordsman who is calling your bluff. Older immortals can read a person’s body language. Some are able to gauge emotions and even determine your true age from the strength of the quickening however misleading it may be.. And with a buzz like yours they will be trying that much harder, and being that much more careful in the fight.” Adam looked into Xander’s eyes in an apologetic manner. “I am sorry, but I know of no way to fix this. I know of some ways to make you more aware of other’s buzzes…it may give you a few moments to prepare yourself…but beyond that? I can only train you.” In his mind Adam was trying to figure out if there was any way that magic may be able to help his new student. He, at this time, figured that it would not be a good idea to bring up that possible scenario. ‘Let’s give him a while before we turn his entire world upside down ……again.’

Unknown to Adam, Xander was thinking along the same lines Telling the ‘Charmed Ones’ or the Gang about his new condition was definitely going to be put on the back burner until he was able to protect himself, and more importantly, protect his friends and loved ones. With all the conviction he could muster he replied. “We’ll deal with this. And…we’ll do what we must.”

With his admiration growing for the young man, Adam smiled while getting off of his chair. Making his way around the table, he placed a hand on Xander’s shoulder. “That we will Alexander. That we will.” And with that, both men left the ‘Smoking Room.’


Two hours later, both men are sitting at a table in the kitchen, eating a meal prepared by Adam. One is drinking water while the other is consuming his favorite beverage.

“I can’t believe you don’t have anything to drink besides beer and hard liquor.”

While snickering, Adam replies “What else would there be?” Trying to hold in a chuckle at Xander’s unbelieving look, he relents. “I was only planning on being here for a couple of days by myself. We’ll go shopping tomorrow. We’re going to need more food.” And with a sigh, “more beverages. Not to mention that we both need more clothes if we are going to be staying here for a while.” Giving Xander a stern look, “You are going to need clothes to train in.”

“When do we start training?”

Adam pondered this for a moment before responding. “We’ll start with your physical training tomorrow. My friend Joe…he was the one I was on the phone with when you felt the buzz for the first time.” Xander nodded to this, so he continued. “He is visiting another friend, Duncan…he’s probably the best Immortal swordsman that I know of…Joe will get some training equipment and an assortment of swords to bring here. He should be here in a day or two.” With a smirk gracing his features he concluded, “Then the real training begins.” Xander could only nod and give a small smile of his own.

“I’ve kept myself in pretty decent shape. And I have had some training with kendo sticks.” Adam nodded his head to this then suddenly smiled. His smile darkened and Xander knew no good would come of whatever was about to be said.

“We’ll see just how good you are Alexander. Don’t you worry, we’ll see.”

Xander sat there, feeling an impending doom, when he heard a soft buzz coming from Adam’s jacket.

“Your coat it buzzing.”

Walking over to his coat, he pulled his cell phone from the pocket.

“Hello?....Joe?....You’re here already?” Adam looked at his watch and had an incredulous look in his face, “How did you get here so quickly?....A plane!?!....I am not paying you back for a plane ride here!” Adam gripped the phone a little tighter as Xander began to chuckle. “Oh he did, did he? Well tell him the next time I see him it’ll be his head!” Even Xander could hear the laughter coming over the small speaker on the cell phone. “All right….fine….Give me a moment to open the front gate.”

With a sigh, Adam put his phone back into the jacket’s pocket while putting the jacket on. He then walked over to the wall near the hallway. Next to the base of a telephone, hanging on the wall, was a large button labeled ‘GATE’. Pushing the button, he motioned for Xander to follow him to the front door.


They watched as the limo made its way down the long, winding driveway.

“I can’t believe they got a limo.” Shaking his head, Adam complained. “If he thinks I’m going to give him a dime then he’s finally lost his mind.”

Smirking, Xander said, “It’s not like you can’t afford it.”

Looking over to Xander he responded, “That’s not the point. The point is” the next part of his statement got cut off as both Immortals felt the sensation of ‘The Buzz’ as the car neared, causing Xander to stiffen while he fought to keep the sensation from overwhelming him like it had earlier. While discretely reaching inside his coat, placing his hand on the pummel of his sword, Adam smirked. “I guess Joe brought some friends along with him.” Xander relaxed visibly.

As the car pulled to a stop, the back door opened. A grinning tall man with the body of a warrior stepped out. That had to be Duncan MacLeod. ‘The Buzz’ lessened considerably, but did not vanish entirely. Adam withdrew his empty hand from his coat while Duncan stepped aside from the door. Holding his hand towards the door, a female hand grasped it. A long, slender, and elegant leg was all that Xander could see emerging from the door. Once helped out of the car, a lady with a killer body that had to be Amanda, with a smile holding far more mischief than it should looked in their direction. Once eye contact was made, ‘The Buzz’ vanished completely. Duncan went to the opened trunk to grab their luggage, as a man in his mid 50’s got out of the car. Holding a cane he made his way, limping, towards Adam and Xander with Amanda and Duncan not too far behind.

As the three made their way to the front door Adam gave a small smile in Duncan’s direction before speaking to Joe. Smirking he said, “I see you picked up some stragglers along the way.”

“Yea, well when I told Mac about you taking on a student, he told me there was no way he was missing this.”

While Duncan and Adam had some playful, yet sharp word tossed back and forth, Amanda made her way over to Xander who was quietly listening to the barbs being thrown back and forth. Running her hand along his chest she commented “Well, aren’t you the strong silent type.” Running her hands along his body, the most coherent thought he could come up with was ‘huh urm gah heh ’.

Duncan, seeing that Xander was momentarily distracted glanced back at Adam with a question in his eyes. Adam, catching the glance, gave a short shake of his head as a ‘No.” Nodding his acceptance to this, he saw Amanda take a step back from Xander and he smirked slightly.

“Amanda, give it back to him.” Turning her head, and putting on an innocent expression she had mastered for over a thousand years of existence she replied. “I have no idea what you mean.”

With a stern look he replied, “Amanda, we’ve been here less than 10 minutes, and you’re already at it.” His stern expression suddenly brightened and he was smiling. “Now give it back to him.”

With a defeated sigh she gave in. “Fine.” Turning back to Xander she had in her hand a wallet. Looking closer at the wallet, Xander realized it bared a close resemblance to his own wallet. Reaching to the back of his pants, he felt the pocket back there finding it much emptier than it should have been. ‘How did she?’ but shook off the unproductive thought as he took back his wallet and made a show of counting his money while the others chuckled. Satisfied he put his wallet back in his pocket, deciding just might be fun having them around.

Breaking Xander’s current train of thought, Adam looked at MacLeod and said in an exasperated voice, “I bet you all had to fly first class too!”

Before Duncan could reply, Amanda beat him to it. “But of course darling. We couldn’t fly any other way.” Sauntering up to Xander she hooked her arm around his leading him inside. “Alexander is it?” seeing him nod she continued. “Well come inside. We have much to discuss.” Leading him back into the mansion he could be seen checking the location of his wallet every few steps.

Adam quickly turned around and proceeded after his new student, wondering what trouble they were going to be into, while Joe wordlessly followed. They had just made it to the beginning of the hallway when Duncan’s voice could be heard.

“Isn’t anyone going to help me with the bags? The training equipment is kind of heavy !! ”

Joe and Adam’s voices could be heard at the same time “No!”

Duncan just shook his head as he watched them walk down the hallway and turned to the left. He picked up their luggage and trudged his way after them


The rest if the night went along smoothly. Adam had to quickly explain why, and how, he was staying at this place, which got a surprised and shocked reaction from Duncan and Amanda, while Joe began to curse Adam out about running such a huge bar tab at his tavern when he had all of this money. While the rest of the room snickered, Joe fumed a little more before relenting after Adam presented him with a check that not only paid up the tab but with interest. Duncan and Amanda talked about their time in Paris, and recently returning, where Mac had reopened his dojo. Nothing truly important was raised during the rest of the conversation. Xander, however, began to feel more apart of these people and began to enter the conversation.

Adam mock complained about the possibility of having Mac and Alexander in the same place for too long, as they were both complete boy scouts. This got a snicker out of Joe and Amanda, and two identical grins coming from Xander and Duncan, causing Adam to groan for real. A little later in the night, Amanda decided to tell everyone that she was making Alexander her new project, which got a groan out of everyone,.

Around 10:30 at night, though it was still early, everyone decided to turn in. It was decided that Adam and Mac would begin Xander’s training in the morning, while Amanda and Joe would do some shopping for the necessities of the house, causing Duncan to glance at Amanda and snicker. Duncan agreed to help in the training for as long as he was there, but figured on having to leave in a few weeks to go back to his Dojo.


Letting out a sigh of exhaustion, Xander entered his room. He was tired down into his bones. Both physically and mentally, he was tired. However, he knew there was one more thing to do before he could go to the loving embrace of voluntary unconsciousness. Making his way to the office, and the computer inside, he halted. Shaking his head, he made his way back to his bed. Reopening his duffel bag, he pulled out a cell phone and turned it on. Xander looked down at the phone morosely. ‘I haven’t talked to them in a while. This should be done over the phone, and not by e-mail.’

Using the first number in his ‘speed-dial’ he pushed send while taking his duffel off of the bed and laying down on the extremely comfortable mattress. Each ring of the phone seemed to hammer in his ear. He could feel his heart beating faster with each passing second. Soon he found himself holding his breath, more nervous than he had been in a long while. Then, after what seemed like an eternity, the ringing stop and a voice answered.

[Hello?] That one word, in that sweet voice brought a smile to his face. His heart went back to its normal beat, and his breathing relaxed.

“Hello Dawnie.”

[XANDER!!!] He had to pull the phone away from his ear. Looking at the phone in amazement, that such a small speaker could produce such a loud response almost seemed hellmouthy to him. With an even larger smile he brought the phone back to his ear. On the other end of the line was a whirlwind of a conversation that, if he had not had so much practice with in the past, would have baffled his mind. [Where have you been? Why haven’t you called? It’s been so long!!!! You didn’t forget about us did you?!? What have you been doing? I’ve missed you so much over here? Why aren’t you answering me?]

Xander couldn’t help but to chuckle into the phone. “Breathe Dawnie, don’t forget to breathe. You remember, inhale exhale?” He could feel her blushing on the other side of the line.

In a somewhat meek voice she replied, [sorry]

The meekness in her voice made his smile falter. With a caring voice he told her, “Oh Dawnie, don’t be sorry. Really, that babble was Willow worthy.”

That earned him a giggle, which seemed to lighten his heart. [So…how are you? Are you still bartending and hanging with your boss and her family?]

“I’m doing ok. I actually left Piper and her family this morning. Though they did make me promise to keep in touch.” Dawn diplomatically decided not to point out his previous inability to keep in touch for an extended period of time.

[So…what have you been up to? Where are you now?]

“I’ve been keeping myself busy. I’ve been working and keeping myself in shape. Not much of a social life so far.” Xander laid there, thinking that was about as close to the truth as he was getting, and not wanting to outright lie to Dawn, decided to switch topics instead of lying about where he was. “So, how are you and the rest of the gang doing?”

There was a brief pause before she answered. [Well…things have been a little rough trying to set everything up on the Hellmouth. But we’ve managed to do ok for ourselves.] There was another brief pause before she came back. [It took a couple of months for it to happen…but we lost 2 slayers about a week ago.] The sadness could be heard in her voice, and it almost brought tears to Xander’s eyes. [Buffy has been blaming herself. She keeps second guessing herself. I think after you separating from us in Oxnard, something changed with her. She really hasn’t been ‘The General’ since…and she took this really hard.]

Xander made his voice as solid as possible when he replied. “Buffy is a fighter. She’ll get passed this in no time. She has you to help her. As well as Willow and G-Man. She should know that she can call me anytime to talk.”

[I know, and I think that she knows too. She has been talking to Giles like she used to in the old days. Its just hard for her still.]

There was a long pause until Xander’s eyes lit up. Smiling he asked, “Hey, you should have started college by now. How’s that going?”

With a lighter tone she replied, [It’s going well. Classes are interesting, even made a few friends. It’s a little hard not being able to bring them around here and all…but I’ll deal.] Even Xander could feel the smile on her face.

“You pick a major yet?”

[Xander…I’m only a freshman…I’ll pick my major sometime when I’m a senior] This got a small chuckle on both ends of the phone.

For the next half hour they talked about nothing, and everything. From Willow still being with Kennedy, to her still having no boyfriend. Giles attempting to create a New Council of Watchers. It seemed money was a bit tighter than they thought. It was harder than predicted to gain access to the Council’s funds…but they expected to gain more access any day now. Once they got the money, there was already talk of a Slayer school. While Robin wanted it to be based more on the lifestyle of a Slayer, it was surprisingly Giles who wanted their schooling to be based more on academics. A real shocker was that Andrew seemed to be pulling more than his fair share in responsibilities. He was apparently an above par chef, and his ability with computers, or those ‘infernal machines’ as Giles prefers to call them, was even better than Willow’s.

‘Will wonders never cease??.’ He thought to himself with a smile as he hung up the phone. Having told Dawn to give the rest of the gang his love, he went to bed feeling much better than he had in a long while.


The next morning he made his way down to the first floor. Adam, Joe, Duncan, and Amanda were all sitting around the table eating some eggs and having a light conversation. Duncan, noticing Xander’s entrance, wordlessly pointing over to the frying pan that still had some eggs on it. Without being told twice he gave himself a portion and sat at the table next to Amanda. Looking over at Adam, he saw something somewhat shocking.

“Adam, no beer with breakfast?” Adam looked up at him, with a mock surprised look on his face.

“I knew there was something I forgot!” Xander thought he was serious until he noticed Adam wasn’t getting up. Everyone else gave a small snicker, while Adam gave a glance over at Duncan with a mock glare. With a smile Xander thought, ‘Apparently I’m not the first to ask this.’ With a snicker of his own, he dug in.

Duncan was the first to speak up after that. “Adam and I thought that it would be a good idea for you to see the skill that you may be up against.” Looking over at Adam, he received a nod from the man. Looking back to Xander, he continued. “We have an assortment of swords for you to train with. For now we want you to find the one you are most comfortable with. Once you are good enough with that, we will start to train you on others.” A smile suddenly appeared on his face. “Between Adam and myself, we have quite the collection of swords for you to choose as your own. If nothing you see there is what you want…don’t worry…I’m sure we can eventually find you something.

Clearing his throat to gain Xander’s attention, Adam spoke with a smile of his own. “The sword you choose as your own will be an extension of yourself. It will be your life-line. Make sure it is the one you want, because you WILL be using it to defend yourself at some point in your life.” With his smile deepening he continued, “Though I have a bet with Joe that I know which type of sword you’ll choose.” With a pointed look at MacLeod, he smirked and continued. “All you boy scouts use the same damn weapon.” This got a chuckle from Amanda, a snort of amusement from Joe, a grin from Duncan, and a confused look from Xander that just made Adam smirk even more. His smirk vanished and his smile became friendlier. “Once you finish breakfast we’ll have you take a look at those swords. Then Mac and I will have a light spar in the back as a demonstration. Joe and Amanda will do some shopping, and once that is over with…you’re training will begin.” Once again his friendly smile disappeared and became one the unnerved the hell out of Xander. But he just swallowed his egg, and nodded his consent.

“Oh Adam, if you think that I am going to miss you and Duncan sparring…then you are sorely mistaken.” Amanda had a smirk of her own on her face as Joe nodded his consent with a similar smirk. Adam just rolled his eyes but just shrugged.

Looking over at Joe he stated, “Please don’t forget to pick up the order I placed last night. I had Maurice put a rush job on it…so it should be ready by the time you get there.” Turning his attention to Xander, who was now finishing the last of his eggs, he smiled. “Well Alexander, lets find you a blade so we can begin.”

With that, everyone cleared their plates and made their way to the array of swords lying on the deck leading to the yard in the back.



The group leisurely made their way from the kitchen to the large deck overlooking a well manicured lawn. Off in the distance some tennis courts and basketball courts could be seen. Closer to the house a path could be seen leading into the woods. Off to the left was an enclosed area that looked to be translucent with a dome above. ‘Perhaps it’s a pool.’ Xander thought. However, as amazing as the property seemed, it was the objects at his feet that was truly holding his attention.

Before Xander, arrayed on the deck, was an assortment of swords. Rapier, Sabre, Claymore, and Katana sat next to one another, their blades glistening in the mid-morning sun. Reaching down he grasped the rapier and brought it to eye level. While eyeing the sleek blade and a hilt that looked to be more a work of art, Duncan began to talk.

In a sad voice Duncan said, “That blade is similar to the one I had first given to my last student” Xander was about to ask about his last student but could see Adam shaking his head ‘No’, so he decided not to ask questions on that.. “That has a swept hilt covering the handle. It will do well in protecting your hand when defending yourself. The rapier itself is good for both cutting and thrusting.” Taking a deep breath Duncan regarded him with a smile and put some cheer into his tremulous voice. “It is an excellent weapon and will be sure to serve you well.”

Nodding his head as he placed the sword back in its place he then tried to get a feel for the Sabre, and Claymore. It was when he held the Katana that a smile emerged from his face. Holding the sword in front of him, he took a few steps away from everyone before turning around. He twirled the sword a few times, feeling the balance of the blade like he had seen Giles and Buffy do. The nondescript Katana itself was simply a traditional one that would be found at most martial arts studios, but it felt right and evenly balanced in his hands. Turning around to face Duncan, and the rest, he found them to be wearing similar grins. Well, almost all of them. Joe seemed to be cursing himself for placing what had obviously been a bet against a unanimous opinion of the others. Xander’s own smile deepened and looking at Adam and Duncan he said, “I think I found my sword.”

Adam, Amanda, and Duncan were all grinning. Joe continued cursing his stupidity gaining a snicker from Adam. Judging from their reactions, Xander thought to himself that he had made the proper choice. Amanda decided that they had stood around for long enough and kindly reminded Duncan that he and Adam were going to put on a demonstration by having a friendly little sparring match. Duncan looked at Adam, who was smirking at him, and gave him a smirk of his own.

Extending his hand towards the plush lawn that lay behind the house he beckoned, “Age before beauty.” This got a grin from Amanda, a snort from Joe, a curious look from Xander, and a glare from Adam. Duncan’s smirk only deepened as he chuckled while walking behind a mumbling Adam. Xander looked them over curiously as they walked away from him and towards the yard. He thought it strange that they were wearing normal clothes, and jackets, when it wasn’t really that cold outside. But more than that neither man seemed to be carrying a sword with which to spar!

Looking over at Amanda, who seemed to be peering at him intently, he asked her about it. The only response he got was a not-so-innocent smile, before she took him by the arm and led him towards the pair that were now conversing quietly ahead of them. Joe waited a moment before joining them, quietly pondering who would wind up being this kid’s Watcher. Shaking off the thought he made his way towards the group.


Walking from the deck, Adam made sure they were out of earshot before he began speaking to Duncan

“Go easy on the ‘Old Man’ routine. I know I can explain it to his satisfaction, but I would prefer to not outright lie to the child.” Giving Duncan a penetrating stare he continued. “And he is in no way ready to know about my past...even that I have a past.” Adam’s eyes became softer and hint of sadness tainted his voice. “I don’t believe that I’m quite ready to tell him so soon anyways.”

Putting his hand on Adam’s shoulder, he gave it an affectionate squeeze. When Adam looked him in the eyes, Duncan simply gave a short nod. Adam gave one back and a small grin formed onto his face causing a similar one to form on Duncan’s.

“Well…let’s put on a show for your new student.” Adam only gave a quick nod while he glanced back towards Alexander, who seemed to be staring at them with a somewhat confused expression on his face. Looking back towards Duncan he gave a sigh.

“Duncan…you can’t hold back on this spar.” Seeing Duncan’s confused stare he explained. “I want Alexander to see just what he is up against. I’ve seen him in action…he thinks quick and won’t hold back if someone is in danger.” Looking at Duncan intently he continued. “He also told me he has had some small amount of training with kendo sticks. I won’t have him overconfident in his abilities, because that will get him killed.” Duncan gave his own sincere nod, his eyes becoming sorrowful with painful experiences from the past. “I want him to be shocked and awed by our spar. It’s the main reason I asked you to do this.” He gave another quick glance towards Xander, who was walking towards them with Amanda, Joe a few paces behind them. Looking back at Duncan he told him, “I also want you to start him on his sword training. I haven’t taught anyone in a long time.”

Duncan thought it over for a few moments before responding. “That’s fine. We’ll do what we must to make sure that problem doesn’t happen.” With a far-off look in his eyes he continued. “I won’t let it happen…not again.” When his eyes seemed to come back to the present he gave Adam a lopsided smile and a quick nod as Amanda, Xander, and Joe made their way over.

“Well…now that you are all here Duncan and I can begin. Please stay back and give us some room.”

Xander watched as Adam and Duncan began to take a few paces away from one another while circling each other. Then, at approximately the same moment, both men pulled swords from their jackets. His eyes grew large in wonder. ‘Where the hell did they pull those from.’ Looking over at Amanda, he gave her a quick once over. It was one that she apparently didn’t miss, as she gave him a knowing smirk. Shaking his head he put his attention back onto Adam and Duncan.

Adam’s sword seemed plain, yet beautiful. The sword was about 40” overall, the blade closer to 32”. The handle and guard seemed to be of bronze. Duncan’s sword was a Katana. He figured he shouldn’t have been surprised by this revelation, but it was still shocking. Like Adam’s sword it was battle ready and well cared for. The sword looked deadly and in Duncan’s hand it looked even more so. While he could not make out the pattern at the moment, the ivory grip shaped in the pattern of a dragon’s head was truly the work of a master. Looking down at the sword he had chosen, he realized he was off to a good start. His sword, as it was right then, was a traditional Katana, with no real way to distinguish it from another. Duncan’s katana was individual, unique. Perhaps it was part of his own identity, and while Xander had this sword to train with, he was looking forward to gaining his own unique blade.

He was interrupted from his musings as both swordsmen, through some sort of silent agreement, charged each other. The swords clanged with the sharp sound of metal hitting metal. After a few, yet quick strokes, Xander’s eyes widened in awe at the skill being displayed before him. Starting slowly they suddenly amped their sparring to the point where they were going with such great speed it was almost unnatural. They were parrying, blocking, and attacking without breaking their stride. It looked to be a well choreographed dance. A dance of death that was beautiful to behold. It amazed him and terrified him at the same time. If he were able to pay attention to the other spectators he would have seen their somewhat awed expressions as well. If it were at all possible, Xander’s eyes widened even fuller as Adam took a swing at Duncan’s head which he quickly dodged and went to counter. Separating from each other they were both grinning and Duncan gave a quick chuckle.

“That’s pretty good Adam. But why not bring it up a few levels…shall we?” He received a nod from Adam before they both started smirking at the dazed expressions coming from their spectators. And with that small breather their sparring match continued.

They began to move with more speed. Where they had been holding back slightly as a warm up spar, well that was no longer necessary. Duncan knew that he was more than skillful with a blade. He had been told so many times. Quite a few of those times had been by Adam himself. He also knew that one did not get to become as old as Adam was without a great amount of skill himself. After all the man had probably forgotten more than Duncan had learnt. It was this skill he was showing now. He remembered to the last quick spar they had.

It had been just after they first met. Adam was willing to sacrifice his own life to help Duncan best another immortal, Kalas. There he made no competition of the match. He even told him it wasn’t always the one with the greater skill that would win. There was more to it than that. There was a fire, a burning passion to live. It was something that Adam had told Duncan he was lacking, had been lacking for quite some time.

Looking into his eyes now, Duncan could see that there was passion in Adam’s eyes. It warmed his heart to see that in his friend. That fire may not be all consuming, but it was there. Adam still had a lot to get through, a lot to get past, he was sure of it. Duncan could only hope that Adam’s student, Alexander, would help build that fire within him. He wasn’t sure why, but he felt that the child would do just that. This brought a grin to his face as he upped his moves. He was going to make sure that Alexander knew what he was getting into and was as prepared as possible. Alexander may not be his direct student, but he was sure the boy would soon become kin to him. And as a MacLeod, he would always look out for one of his own.

Xander was almost dumb struck by the display of skill being put forth. When they had started he would have given them a 50/50 shot against a slayer. But now he could see that even a slayer would be hard pressed to defend themselves against an immortal. When he thought about it, he was able to take down a vamp or two. And they were at least 4 times stronger and faster than your average human. So it wouldn’t be impossible for an immortal or even a mortal to take down a slayer. He had hoped that their strength, along with their instinctive fighting ability, would have made it near impossible for anyone, not of a demonic nature, to kill one of them. But with the skill these two immortals were displaying there was no way that even Buffy would last against either of them. After all a master swordsman with centuries of skill and near instantaneous healing, even faster than a slayer’s, could probably take out a slayer without breaking a sweat. And it was this thought that scared the hell out of him.

The two sparring immortals were really going at it. It was hard to tell who was attacking and who was defending. At some points it seemed as thought they were each doing both. They moved so quick, with such proficiency, it was beautiful in its deadliness. Then, as quickly as it all started, it finished. Duncan parried an overhead blow from Adam. Using Adam’s momentum against him, Duncan swept Adam’s leg from under him causing him to fall flat on his back. Even though Adam was still clutching his sword, and could have moved aside, he called it quits

Turning his head slightly, Adam looked up at Duncan. Grinning up at him he complimented him. “That was a good match Duncan.”

With a grin of his own, he took the katana away from Adam’s neck and held out his hand to help Adam up. Grasping each other’s hand, Duncan pulled him up, and made a show of dusting off the back of Adam’s jacket.

Looking at Duncan with humor dancing in his eyes he gave his thanks.

“No problem.” There was humor in his voice and a small smirk on his face. Then Duncan turned towards the spectators and pointed towards Xander. With a grin on his face he spoke. “So…I guess your next.”



Xander still stood where he was, unmoving. His mind was still replaying the sparring session that Adam and Duncan had just finished. The level of skill they had displayed was incredible. And now Duncan had told him that he was up! Finally pulling himself together he slowly, nervously made his way from Amanda and Joe.

When he stopped to think about it, there really was no reason to be nervous. It wasn’t like Duncan, or Adam, were going to try and take his head, right?

No, what was making him nervous at the moment was the fact that there was a hint of a smirk in Duncan’s grin that Xander was taking to mean that he was about to get his ass handed to him. ‘Hopefully it won’t be done too painfully’ he thought. Accepting the inevitable. It was Duncan’s eyes that gave him a moment of pause.

There was humor in there. That was certain. But they were tinged with sadness and worry. Past pain, perhaps even ghosts of the pasts seemed to be reflected in those suddenly ageless eyes. He was about to learn a lesson, a big and important one. Xander was sure of it. He became far more nervous when those eyes seemed to steel for what was forthcoming. Xander, however, in his time had faced down vampires, demons, even a hell goddess. He would brave through whatever was about to transpire, and learn whatever lesson was deemed necessary. He would do whatever was necessary to help him protect ‘his girls,’ his friends, his family. Shaking off the last of his nervousness, he felt a calm steal over him, much like he had when he was meditating with Leo. He then faced towards Duncan, and got into a defensive stance that he had used against Phoebe,

Duncan watched intently as the young man made his way towards him steadily, albeit quite nervously. He knew what he had to do. He was just worried that Alexander’s self confidence may suffer from this, which by itself could be quite deadly. He was planning on taking Alexander down quick, yet hard. So he was also worried about how Alexander would react. He thought back to a student he had had not so long ago. That memory pained him still. He wouldn’t take the chance of Alexander becoming overconfident far too early in his immortality. He just prayed that after being put in through the rough training that was inevitable, the trust placed in him would remain intact by the time this was over.

Looking up at Alexander, the nervousness and anxiety seemed to have flown from the child’s body. Their eyes met for a brief moment. The awkwardness, worry, and the slight hint of cockiness that would be seen in most new immortals was not present in those calm eyes.

Xander knew that he was going to be completely outmatched, and most likely he would be thoroughly humiliated…if not humbled by the end of this spar. So he set himself, in a way in which he had done in the past, with no intention of going down easy. He needed to become as skilled as possible as soon as possible if he were to protect those he cared about. As much as he hated to admit it, he knew, without a doubt, that he would not win this spar. He was eternally grateful it wasn’t to the death, or part of ‘The Game.’ He figured that if he was going to impress the others he would need to strike fast, hard, quick, and most importantly, he would need to strike first. When his eyes met Duncan’s, all he could see was the eyes of a warrior. But it mattered not. Without contemplating his movement he went straight for Duncan with all of the speed and skill he could muster.

For the first time, in a very long time, Duncan had misjudged his opponent. It was only due to his 400+ years of experience, most as a warrior and swordsmen that he did not fail where others would have. His original plan was to take Alexander down hard and fast. He was lucky to have reacted fast enough not to get injured…he needed to revise his plans. Now that he was set up and in a rhythm, staying in pace with Alexander would not be a problem. He would need to take control of this spar, and in turn take control of Alexander. Where once it was going to be short and sweet, now it was going to be long and drawn out.

Whenever Xander went to attack Duncan, his attack would be parried, or blocked, as though it were nothing. And in return he would receive a sharp slap of the sword on his butt, or a quick slice from his body. No matter what happened he stayed with it. If this is what it was going to take, than by God he was going to tough it out until they had decided he had enough.

After approximately 15 minutes of being constantly beaten, Xander found himself on the ground. He decided to amend his previous thoughts of toughing it out. Enough was enough already. His butt was in pain, and dozens of small wounds ran along his upper body. By now most, if not all, of the wounds had healed. Too bad his clothes wouldn’t heal as well. Even though he no longer had the physical wounds, his entire body hurt like hell. And at the moment he was sending a death glare directly at Duncan, whose entire posture ‘screamed’ sorrow, yet held an air of experienced certainty. Xander had gone all flat out, and because of that he was now exhausted while Duncan looked not even winded

Not even bothering to get off the ground, he hardened his glare at Duncan, and in a cold voice asked “Why the HELL did you do all of this?” Duncan glanced down at his sword whose point was resting on the lawn. Surprisingly it was Adam who spoke up.

“We needed to make sure you understood just how much of a disadvantage you have right now. How under-prepared you truly are.” Staring straight into Xander’s angry eyes he continued. “It is vitally important to learn this now, as opposed to learning it during your first challenge. We need to do all we can to assure that you do not accept a challenge, or even receive a challenge, until you are ready.” Glancing over at Duncan for a moment, he turned to face Xander again. “Your lack of skill and experience will most definitely leave you dead…a permanent death.”

Closing his eyes and shaking his head, Xander responded. “I realized that I was so far out of my league the moment I watched the two of you spar.” He nodded toward both Adam and Duncan. “And if you were so worried you could have just talked to me. There was no need for me to receive this sort of lesson.”

With a quiet voice, Duncan spoke up. “But we couldn’t be sure. I wasn’t about to take the chance and let it happen.” Shaking his head he muttered a small mantra. “Not again. Never again.” Looking over towards Xander, he could see the curiosity in the child’s eyes.

Resigning himself, he took a deep breath and wound up slowly sighing. Almost painfully. He regaled the group about his tale from the past. It was about a student he had, that had only lived as an Immortal for a few days. When the young man had been mortal he was considered one of the best swordsmen around in the competitive circles. He foolishly believed that was still the case. He found out just how sub-par he had been against another Immortal, a mediocre one at that, and had lost his head. Duncan had felt so much guilt over letting down his student so early in life. Early by mortal and immortal standards. He was resolved to never allow that to happen again. He told Xander that he hoped whatever rift had been formed between them would be mended in times to come. His voice was so thick with emotion as he spoke, that he had virtually lapsed into his Scottish brogue ….one could not help but to feel an intimate connection with the events and people involved.

Duncan was so lost in his own thoughts that he never saw Xander get up from the ground and make his way over towards him. He never realized he was there until Xander reached out a hand, and gave an affectionate squeeze of support. Giving Duncan one of his patented lopsided smiles he took a step back. Giving him a full grin Xander let Duncan know that they were ok, bringing relief to the Highlander.

With humor twinkling in his eyes, Xander asked, “So…when does the real training start?”

Looking over at Adam, who was giving him a small smile of his own and quick nod of his head, Duncan answered with a smile of his own. “Umm…how about now?”



It had been just over a week and a half since Duncan and Adam had started to train Xander. While Xander knew he had a long way to go, he also knew that he was progressing nicely. He had overheard, on more than one occasion, Duncan and Adam talking about how well he was doing. They seemed more than just a bit surprised by Xander’s strength and stamina. It was far above where a new Immortal would be. Still a long way to go in order to gain the strength and endurance of a seasoned, or even your average Immortal. Those were things acquired with age something that Xander had in plenty now. It staggered him …. He had an eternity to explore new things and gain on new experiences.

What did not come as a shock to him, was the fact that he now recognized that he would have to push himself beyond defined normal human limits as he was not a mortal anymore He had a lot to learn and still had to a long way to before he could compare himself to Adam or Duncan. He had pushed himself when training with Phoebe, and he was going to do it again.

The wooded area, surrounding the estate, had natural paths weaving through them. Adam had him running those paths, to help him build up his endurance as well as running a man made track in the back part of the yard. The track surrounded a baseball diamond, and had both a basketball court, and tennis court on its edges.

. In the basement of the mansion was a set of rooms used as a gym/dojo. Mirrors lined the walls in one room. The other had both nautilus and free weights. In the week and a half since they started training him, he had had no problem falling into blissful unconsciousness at night, so exhausted he was. He had light sparring sessions with both men. Mostly it was done to test his reaction timing. At the end of those sessions, he would usually be very sore and bloodied.. Surprisingly still, it was Xander who wanted them to follow through when he wasn’t able to defend himself. Both men were reluctant at first, but Xander was quite determined to have it his way. In the end, they acquiesced to his request, although still reluctantly.

Duncan took up the bulk of the sword training, and most of that consisted of learning different styles of parry thrust and basic sword work. At this point on picking up the various moves, he was still working on his first kata. And until the movements became second nature to him, Duncan was not going to teach him the more advanced forms. No matter how much Xander had begged.

After a week and a half Xander had come to respect, his new friends. Duncan had a sense of honor that almost went hand in hand with his own. Duncan would also do whatever was necessary to protect his friends and his ‘kin.’ Joe was a pleasant man who he had gotten along well with. Like Xander, Joe had a good sense of humor and an interesting outlook on life. Xander quickly realized how observant the man was. He enjoyed just relaxing with the man and listen to the banter between Adam and Joe, even Duncan would join in every so often. Then there was Amanda. What could he say about her. She was beautiful in many ways. And she had a mischievous streak in her that was a mile wide. He was surprised to find out that she was over 1,000 years old. In that time she had apparently had mastered the art of ‘looking’ innocent, even if she was caught red handed with her hand in the cookie jar. Even though she was over 1,000 years old she exuded a youthful front that covered the world weary immortal that he got glimpses of now and then. And because of that they got along like two peas in a pod. In his most trying, and stressful time she was like a breath of fresh air. Best of all were the ‘sessions’ they would have.

After a long day of running, lifting weights, sparring, and going through a kata again and again, he would rest for a while before Amanda would show him certain tricks of her trade. To Adam’s never ending dismay, after just a week and a half he could pick most locks in the house. It still took him a while, but with the proper tools, he could get the job done. Even better than that was that he could pick the lock of a pair of police issue handcuffs. It was one of the first things she had taught him. It had taken him almost an entire day of his free time, with implicit instructions from Amanda, to be able to open the cuffs. And for the first few days it was hit or miss. Then as he began to feel what he was doing, he could open them with ease. When she cuffed his hands behind his back he had a bit of trouble opening them. It had taken him a couple of hours to feel it out. And by that time he was exhausted from Adam and Duncan’s work out earlier, but once he was able to pick those locks, he was able to consistently do it. She had told him that he was her fastest learning student, and that he must have had one hell of an inner criminal. He had wanted to tell her the story of him stealing the rocket launcher from Sunnydale’s military base, but decided there would be far too many questions. Besides, whenever he would inquire as to where she had picked up a pair of police issue handcuffs, she would give him her patented mischievous smile and nothing more.

After a week and a half of the same routine, staying in the same place, Xander was becoming bored, and feeling somewhat caged. Everyone was starting to notice this, so it was decided that tonight they were going to go out to a restaurant/bar in LA. It was one that Amanda had recommended and Xander had leapt at the chance to get out of the house. Now Xander was shrugging on a custom made trench coat that had a sheath sewn into the inside of the coat. It had been a gift from Adam. One that he had given to Xander after knowing him for only two days. Adam had said that all Immortals needed something similar. Apparently a well known tailor named Maurice had done the work. And it was a masterful job if Xander had anything to say about it. Even now his katana was in the sheath, and he would be dammed if you could tell that he was carrying it even in the slightest. Easily one of the best gifts he had received in a long time. Though at times he did curse it because Adam had made him wear it, with the sword in the sheath, whenever he was jogging. Either on the track, or through the wooded path, no matter the heat, or rain, he would be wearing that jacket. It was good practice and helped with his endurance

At the moment he didn’t care about any of that. His coat was like armor to him. He felt far more confident with it on and his sword near, than he had felt in a long while. He couldn’t hide his smile as he made his way down the front hallway to the doors where everyone was waiting for him.

They went outside and towards a stretch limo. A smiling Roger was standing next to the door as he escorted everyone into the limo. Xander gave him his lopsided grin and nod of his head before getting in, taking a seat next to Joe and Across from Amanda. Duncan was sitting next to Amanda and across from Joe. Adam entered the limo and sat so he was facing everyone.

All of them seemed relieved to be leaving the house for just a while. And Xander was just pleased to be joining civilization again. It may have only been a week and a half, but it felt like a lifetime since he went out last. He was just looking forward to having a nice, pleasant evening with his new friends. Though with his luck, Xander thought bitterly, they would be lucky to make it to the end of the driveway without something going wrong.


Xander was pleasantly surprised when they made it all the way into LA without so much as needing to stop for gas, or a flat tire. They had actually made it to the club and didn’t even have to wait in the line that had formed. Apparently Adam, or Amanda knew some people. Though Xander did have to suppress a shiver when he read the name of the club ‘Le Diablo’. The front of the club was loud and busy. Tons of people were crammed onto a dance floor and everyone seemed to be loving it. As they were lead on the outside of the floor, past the bars, and into the rear of the club, they were brought to a second floor that overlooked the first. They had a reserved table that overlooked the dance floor. Xander looked down in wonder at all of the sexily dressed people dancing their cares away down below. He thought, with a chagrined expression, that he should have taken up those dance lessons from Phoebe that had been offered. While he did no longer look like a man having a seizure while still being vertical, there was no way he would be able to pull of what the people were doing down there. Then he decided he really should have taken those lessons as Amanda pulled him by the arm, not even giving him time to take a seat, and basically drag him towards the dance floor, leaving the men behind chuckling or snickering.

While he thought about trying to get out of it, internally at least, by the time they reached the dance floor he decided to stick it out and try to blend in with the crowd. It wasn’t like anyone knew him. Also, with Amanda next to him, he was fairly sure no one would be noticing him. And he was right. She was sensuality, and exotica personified. Her movement basically left him stock still. Her grace was that of a lioness, or perhaps that of a tiger. She stalked closer to him and brought her arms around him, making his body sway with hers to the music before he even knew it was happening. She had such a dazzling smile that it became contagious, and soon enough he had a similar one. He didn’t remember the song ending, bleeding into the next, but Duncan was suddenly upon them, and with a charming smile of his own, he asked if he could cut in. Xander complied telling them he would go to the bar and get everyone some drinks. Lord knew he could use one at the moment.

Xander made his may to the bar and stood behind a few of the patrons that were awaiting their orders. He was reflecting on the great time he was having, and realized that they had just arrived. Tonight was going to be a great night. A much needed night off. He was pulled out of these thoughts by the presence of another Immortal. He turned around smiling, expecting Amanda there to tell him what she wanted because he had never asked. His smile suddenly faded from his face when he found himself staring into the cold, hard eyes of a complete stranger.

The man’s demeanor screamed arrogance tinged with an air of evil that he could easily associate with Angelus. Similar to the Scourge of Europe than man liked to wear dark colors. But that was where the similarities ended. The man’s features were of a Hispanic origin. His face was narrow, and his dark eyes piercing Xander like a hawk. The man was wearing expensive black clothing. From a black silk shirt, to an expensive pair of black pants. He was wearing a black trench coat similar to Xander’s. While the trench coat cut off the man’s physique, his posture, the way he held himself was that of a fighter.

Xander could feel his heart pounding faster, and harder. He could both hear, and feel his pulse beating in his temple when he heard the immortal introduce himself.

In an ice cold voice he stated, “My name is Juan Fernando Vasquez. And I challenge you to The Game.” Pointing to a side door that Xander could only assume lead to an alley, Vasquez continued. “Either we go out there now, and do this, or I will kill you where you stand and hunt you down while you try to flee this false mortal life.” His cold eyes hardened even more and his face became tinged with a sneer. “The choice is yours.”



Xander was far more nervous at this point in time than he had been in quite a while. One would think that someone who had stood up to the demons and monsters that were the stuff of legend and nightmares and haunted people’s dreams world over this particular moment wouldn’t rate quite so high. He had, after all in his short career, faced of against a Hell-Goddess. Beyond that he had faced off against the First Evil. But for all that he had gone through; nothing had prepared him for this.

This was just his luck. Not even two weeks into being an Immortal, and he was already being challenged. ‘This must be some kind of record’ he thought sourly. And the night had started out so brilliantly as well. But none of that mattered at the moment. Nothing could get him out of this. He had been properly challenged. From the man’s posture, and voice there was no getting out of this. Xander wasn’t prepared to take this guy on. What’s worse was that he knew it. And what was beyond worse was that he had the feeling that Vasquez knew it too.

Xander had wanted to keep his worlds apart. He wasn’t going to mix his life with the ‘things that go bump in the night,’ things like magic, with his life as an Immortal. He didn’t think that he could protect his friends from either. But he’d be dammed if he wasn’t going to use every trick at his disposal to stop Vasquez from taking his head. Luckily for both of them, those worlds weren’t going to collide tonight.


After watching Alexander and Amanda dance on the floor for a few minutes, Adam had gone to get some drinks for himself, Joe, and Duncan. When he got back to the table Duncan was no longer there.

He smiled and hid a chuckle as Duncan politely took Amanda from Xander so he could dance with her. He shook his head and took a seat. Looking at Joe he gave an enquiring expression and gestured to where Mac and Amanda were dancing.

Joe chuckled before responding, “I may have made a comment as to how great of a dancer she was, and that I wasn’t the only one to notice.” From Adam’s amused expression he decided to elaborate. “Mac needs to relax a little. He’s been kind of wound up lately. I figured I’d give him a head start.” With a smirk he continued, “Besides…sometimes he just makes it too easy.” Both Joe and Adam were laughing at that statement, both nodding their consent.

Adam searched for Xander and spotted him waiting in line for a drink. He became somewhat suspicious when Xander tensed slightly, but his demeanor didn’t change too radically. Then, as Xander’s body began to relax, he turned away and saw another man. The moment eye-contact was made Xander’s body language got suddenly weary. This was what Adam feared in the first place, and without even realizing that he had done it, Adam made way down to the first floor while putting back on his coat that he had taken off only minutes before. His bottle of beer lay forgotten on the table behind him.

Joe watched Adam as he observed his friends below. Thinking how the ‘Old Man’ had come quite a way from the weary recluse of just a few years ago. He wondered how much of that was due to Mac, Amanda’s, and his own influence. And he wondered what sort of changes taking on a student would bring. He was cut off from his musing as he watched Adam suddenly shift slightly onto high alert. It was only slight, but still notable. Looking Adam over entirely, the man looked relaxed, as though nothing was going on. Though he was paying close attention to those below him. He was about to ask what was wrong when Adam sprang from his seat in a fluid movement that went entirely against his appearance. Before Joe even had a chance to ask what was going on Adam was half way to the stairs, his coat being flung onto his body as he went.

Joe looked down below trying to see what Adam saw. It didn’t take long to see what had gotten Adam so stirred. There was only one thought he could come up with. ‘Oh crap.’ Getting out of his chair, he prayed through the will of the Force that Duncan or Amanda would see what was going on. Perhaps through pure luck Duncan looked up in his direction. After making eye-contact he gestured towards Xander and took off. Adam had just gotten to the bottom of the stairs and he didn’t want to miss this.

Duncan looked to where Joe was pointing and saw Xander. He could read the body language being given off by Xander and the unknown man and knew without a shadow of a doubt what was going on. He grabbed Amanda and they made their way towards the bar where Xander was. As they neared both he and Amanda could sense the presence of both Immortals and Duncan cursed himself for leaving his jacket on his chair up above.


As he began to resolve himself to this inevitable fight, Xander felt the buzz of other Immortals. Looking to his left, Duncan and Amanda were coming towards them. Duncan stopped just short of the two Immortals and put himself between them, while Amanda stopped short and behind Vasquez. While Vasquez made eye contact with the two newly arrived immortals, Xander turned around to glance behind himself. Adam was just a few feet away with Joe was still limping his way down the stairs.

Sighing in relief, and letting out a breath he never realized he was holding, he turned his attention back to Vasquez, who was still staring down Duncan. When their staring contest ended, with no apparent victor, he looked back towards Xander only to meet the eyes of another...and since the ‘buzz’ had finally gone away...the last immortal present.

Glancing at all four of the Immortals, Vasquez gave a sneer and pointed towards Xander. “I have challenged this one. None of you can interfere.” His voice was arrogant and condescending.

Duncan took a step forward while replying, “I know the rules as do you. No challenge is accepted until blade meets blade, steel meets steel. Until then no challenge has been accepted.” Duncan somehow managed to get that statement out in a voice that was both frighteningly calm and matter of fact at the same time.

Vasquez narrowed his eyes, and tried to affect an intimidating look. Something that had no affect on Duncan, even if it did have a slight affect on Xander. “And just who might you be?”

“My name is Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod.”

With wide eyes Vasquez exclaimed, “The Highlander!?!”

With a smirk Duncan responded. “So they say.”

With another sneer Vasquez replied testily, “Don’t worry. Once I have his head, yours won’t be far behind.”

Adam looked around them. He was pleased, and somewhat amazed that they hadn’t drawn attention to themselves. ‘People have looked the other way since times immemorial. Why should it be any different now?’ he ruefully thought to himself. Making his way past Xander he confronted the challenging Immortal.

In a quiet voice full of steel he spoke, “The young man is my student. And as his teacher it is my right to accept his challenges for him until such time as I see fit.” Adam’s eyes became both cold and emotionless. “If it is him you wish to fight you will have to go through me first.” Where Adam’s eyes were emotionless moments before, they were now tinged with an underlying sense of fury. “But that is all moot now, because I challenge you. Now!”

Vasquez seemed to ponder it for a moment before nodding his consent. He gestured towards the side door leading to the alley. The same one he and Xander were supposed to have gone through. He received acknowledgement from Adam, and made his way towards the door, preparing himself for another battle to the death in the world’s ultimate bloodsport.

Adam made eye-contact with Joe, who was only a short distance away simply observing as he was supposed to. Though if you looked close, you could see how much will power was being exerted to keep him there. Adam gestured towards his wrist to Joe and tapped it. Joe took a quick glance around the active club and could only shrug his shoulders.

Adam was about to make his way there when he was stopped by Duncan.

“Adam you don’t have to do this. I can fight him.” Duncan’s eyes almost seemed to be pleading. Adam had to hide a chuckle at this. ‘Ah Duncan, ever the Boy Scout.’

“Duncan…this is something that I must do. For myself as much as for Alexander.” A small grin formed on Adam’s face. “Besides, you don’t even have your sword.” Duncan looked chagrined at this but couldn’t argue the point.

Sighing in defeat, Duncan looked right into Adam’s eyes. “Just make sure not to loose your head ‘Old Man.’” Adam looked like he was going to comment on the pending outcome of this challenge, but knowing what was going to be asked, Duncan beat him to the punch. “No need to worry. If, god forbid, something should happen…I’ll take Alexander in as my own and train him well.”

At hearing this Xander’s eyes went wide and gasped. He was about to protest all of this. Hearing the words, finally having the full affect sink in, he wasn’t about to let anyone risk their lives like this for him. To hear it being done was one thing. But to hear what would happen if it came to pass was another. But before he could get a word in edgewise, Adam continued his conversation with Duncan, ignoring Xander’s gasp.

“You are already one of his teachers. Official or otherwise. There is no rule that states an Immortal may have only one teacher.” Looking over at Amanda, he smiled and received a like smile in return. Glancing over at Joe he did the same. He looked over at Xander and nodded his head before looking back to Duncan. Placing his hand on Duncan’s shoulder he gave it a brotherly squeeze. “I just hope he realizes how fortunate he truly is.” Duncan returned the gesture before Adam turned towards Xander who had just replied in a soft voice, “I’m beginning to.”

With a soft smile he regarded his student. “I need you to know, that however this ends, none of this is your fault.” Seeing that Xander is about to protest he continued. “This is no more your fault than you getting shot was the fault of that woman’s. As you chose to step in there, this choice is mine.” Placing his hand on Xander’s shoulder, as he had done to Duncan, he stared into Xander’s eyes. “This is my right, this is my choice. It is one that I make freely and one that I would make again.” His face softened into that of a smirk before he finished. “I myself blame the boy scout over there.” This got the desired chuckle from everyone. Resigning himself to the upcoming challenge he straightened his posture.

“No matter how this goes Alexander, you have to see this through. This is part of your life now. And a Quickening is something that you should not miss. No matter how many times I could describe it, it wouldn’t compare to witnessing one, which won’t compare to the first time you feel it for yourself.”

After getting a quick peck on the cheek from Amanda, Adam exclaimed, “Come on now. Let’s not keep our little ray of sunshine waiting out there any longer.”

With that the four Immortals made their way to the alley outside. Followed by a man with a cane, trying to look inconspicuous.



Adam stepped through the side door and into the alley. His three immortal friends were close behind, and Joe was just a short distance away from them trying to look discrete.

With a wary look of caution, he approached the challenging Immortal. With the point of his claymore resting on the ground, Vasquez was unexpectedly waiting patiently for the gathering of the Immortals.

“Have you said your goodbyes?” There was still a mixture of ice and contempt in the tone Vasquez used.

“I have said all that needs to be said.” Adam pulled out his Ivanhoe as he shrugged off his tailored coat. “Shall we get introductions out of the way before we begin?”

Showing that his apparent patience was just a façade, Vasquez sneered. “I care not for your name, but if you must know my name is Juan Fernando Vasquez.”

Adam raised his sword slightly as to salute the man and replied, “Pierson, Adam Pierson.”

With that Vasquez gave a quick nod while tossing his trench coat onto the ground next to him. Then, without warning, he rushed Adam in an attempt to put him off balance.

Adam was able to quickly recover from the sudden and unexpected charge and soon the two opponents were simply probing each others defenses. Both men knew that the true sword fight hadn’t commenced yet, Without warning, Vasquez pulled a long knife from a sheath hidden on his back. Taking a swipe he was able to make a minor cut along Adam’s arm holding the sword. Adam, caught off guard, was barely able to keep a hold of his sword and just managed to parry a blow that would have decapitated him. Taking advantage of Adam’s distraction Vasquez swept Adam’s feet from under him.

Instead of falling flat on his backside, as Vasquez had intended, Adam was able to put himself into a roll. While it kept him moving and mobile and kept him away from Vasquez’s blade, it unfortunately made him drop his sword along the way.

Vasquez quickly went after Adam as the man went down, but much to his chagrin, Adam never came back up into a standing position. Instead, he pivoted on the ground, and using his momentum swept Vasquez’s feet from under him in a stunning reversal of moves. Unlike Adam, Vasquez hit the ground, and he hit it hard.

Not wanting to waste a moment, Adam nimbly leapt over the man, who was beginning to move again. He had just manage to grab his own blade by the pummel and just managed to bring it up into a defensive position in time to deflect another game ending blow from Vasquez.

With a speed and precision that belied his prior rusty performance, Adam changed gears. He slashed his blade across his opponent’s chest. As Vasquez reacted by leaning forward and clenching his wound, Adam made another slice along the man’s arm, causing him to loose his sword. Now standing behind Vasquez, he drove his elbow into the back of the man’s head as he was starting to straighten himself.

Vasquez slammed back into the ground. He had managed to get himself back onto one knee as he heard a voice from behind him. One that was laced with fury and it uttered the one line that all Immortals learned to dread.


Xander had been watching the battle between his teacher, a man he knew he could call a friend, against Vasquez, an Immortal who had initially challenged him, but was now trying to kill his own teacher. Sometimes, life was cruel.

While watching the two combatants test each others defenses, he noticed that Vasquez was no where close to being as good as Mac was. He could also tell that Adam was in control, well…as much control as was possible in such a situation. Even though he could believed Adam had the upper hand in this fight, he didn’t dare truly believe it. When one got overconfident in a situation, it tends to bite you in the ass.

It seems that in this situation merely having the thought was enough to turn the tables in this fight, and Xander was cursing himself for this ‘amateurish’ mistake.

Where Vasquez was once holding one blade, he was now holding two. Not only had he drawn blood from Adam, but he had managed to get Adam off his feet.

Xander’s heart skipped a beat as he saw what he believed to be his teacher’s demise. However, much to his relief and piece of mind, that was not how this challenge was to end.

It happened so fast Xander almost missed the action. Vasquez was bleeding from a few cuts; he was bending over, and clenching his stomach, as Adam, in a stunning reversal, had cut his opponent’s arm. Vasquez’s sword clattered to the ground, and Vasquez joined it there soon after.

Vasquez was attempting to get back up. He was on one knee when Adam’s voice cut through his process. Adam’s voice was clear for all to hear. What Adam had just said made Vasquez’s eyes go wide with fear.

Even without seeing the expression that Vasquez was giving, Xander knew down into his soul, that those words were going to have great importance for the rest of his hopefully long life. They are the words that no Immortal wished to hear from another. Most Immortals would have wished to never have heard the phrase let alone say it themselves. It was amazing what 8 little words can do.

“In the end…There can be only ONE!”

By the time Adam had reached the word ‘one’, he was on his downswing. His Ivanhoe slicing through flesh, bone, muscle, and tissue as though they weren’t there. Vasquez’s head rolled clean off his body from his kneeling position and stopped a few feet away. His prone body slumped to the ground, landing on his side with a boneless thump. Blood was slowly oozing from the open wound, creating a pool around the body.

Xander watched in a shocked silence as the scene before him played out. He watched as Vasquez’s headless corpse thumped onto the pavement of the alley. He slowly came out of his shocked state as he began to hear claps of thunder in the distance that seemed to come closer.

Looking up into the sky he could see darks clouds forming in the night sky. The thunder became louder, and louder. Dull flashes of lightning lit up the night sky. The sound of rain could be heard in the immediate area, as well as the smell of ozone in the vicinity, but it seemed as though no rain was making its way into the Alley.

Xander’s attention was drawn from the sky to the lifeless body that was one Juan Fernando Vasquez. The man’s body seemed to have a white, glowing mist forming from it and surrounding it. Bolts of lighting, similar to those he had witnessed healing his own wounds, but on a much larger scale, were cascading across the body as it began to hover about half a foot off of the ground.

Those bolts of lighting, the man’s Quickening, Xander realized, grew in intensity before shooting from the body of Vasquez straight towards Adam.

Adam was holding his sword towards the sky, almost as though it were a lightening rod. Every time a bolt would find him, he would shudder. To make the situation more surreal, the thunder from the storm seemed to crack at the same moments Adam would shudder.

From the look on his face it was hard to tell if he was in intense pain, or was experiencing extreme pleasure. At some points, it was hard to tell where one ended, and the other began.

The lightening would shoot through his body and then be released out into the world. There didn’t seem to be any set pattern to it other than the destruction it left in its wake. No matter what it touched it destroyed. The small windows of the building across the alley shattered as sparks flew through them and blew some outward and some inward. The bricks of the buildings shattered into dust leaving scorch marks along both buildings in the alleyways. Sometimes the lighting would shoot up into the sky sending a shockwave outwards once it was a few feet above the buildings.

It was plain to see it was raining in the area. However none of the rain made it into the alley. It was almost like they were shielded. But as the quickening was released upward, and shockwave after shockwave was released, the rain could be seen being sent away at high velocity. Some of the rain struck the building like mini bullets. Minute holes were being left on the upper edges of the building in the alley with small plumes of dust being sent down to the pavement below.

The Quickening began to fade. Whatever barrier that was keeping the rain away faded with it. Slowly rain trickled into alleyway, picking up in its intensity with each passing second. It was obvious then that Vasquez had been a hunter and had a powerful quickening due to the various quickenings he had taken

It was Duncan to come out of his stupor first. After looking around to make sure no one had witnessed this bizarre quickening, he walked over to where Adam had set down his jacket and retrieved it.

Adam by now was down on his knees and breathing heavily. It seemed as though all the energy he had within him was temporarily drained. Mac brought him his jacket and helped Adam to his feet.

Adam quietly mumbled his thanks, trying to save his energy, as Duncan lent his support helping to keep Adam remaining on his feet. After a couple of cleansing breathes, Adam nodded his head to Duncan and thanked him once again. He slowly made his way over to the dead body. He looked over it as the blood mixed with the now pelting rain. The diluted blood made its way to the closest storm drain. Adam bent down and wiped the remaining blood off of his sword onto Vasquez’s jacket before sheathing his sword.

Adam took his arm out of his jacket sleeve. His shirt was still split open, but there was no trace of any wound. His white shirt was stained with blood, but with his coat on you couldn’t tell at all. He put his coat back on and turned towards Xander, Duncan, and Amanda, who were standing together a few feet behind him. He looked beyond them and saw Joe making his way to a woman hiding in the shadows at the end of the alley towards the street. He watched as Joe finally reached her. He relaxed as he saw her shake his hand. Finally Adam spoke.

“Well, as much as I enjoy standing out in the middle of a downpour, I think I could use a drink.” Looking over at Xander, “I think my beer is probably warm by now, but under NO circumstances are you to leave the table and go to the bar.” Adam looked up as if in deep thought, he suddenly turned towards Xander with a mock sincere expression. “Strike that, you are to go nowhere near people unless accompanied by at least two of us…Ever!”

Adam smiled as that got the desired chuckle out of Duncan and Amanda, and a somewhat chagrined look from Xander. He put his arm around Xander’s shoulder and gave a short squeeze to let him know everything was all right.

Deciding that they each needed a good drink, the four Immortals made their way back into the club.



The four Immortals had made their way back to their table and were now slowly consuming their drinks. Duncan had opted to fetch everyone a refill while Adam made sure that Xander didn’t leave his seat. They were all waiting for Joe to get back, but Xander kept sending nervous glances towards the door to the alley.

With a sigh Adam asked, “What is it Alexander?”

In a quiet voice Xander nervously stated, “We just left Vasquez out there.” He just let the statement hang out there. He wasn’t expecting to see the small smiles that graced their faces.

”Don’t worry about it. Joe is taking care of everything even as we speak.”

Xander noticed Joe walking into the club from the side door just after Adam had told him that it was being taken care of. He let off a small smile which made the rest of the table glance over to where he was looking.

“Well…speak of the devil.” Adam muttered with his own grin. They all waited for Joe as he slowly made his way up the stairs and over to the table they were all sitting. Taking the seat at the end of their table Joe looked pointedly at Xander before turning to Adam.

“I’m assuming that you are going to tell him…if you haven’t already.” By hearing Joe say this, Adam knew he had just been given permission to tell Xander about the watchers…which was good since he was planning on doing it anyways.

“I was planning on telling him when we got back home. Adam admitted.

Hearing Adam say this, Xander started draining the rest of his beer. Putting his empty bottle back onto the table he slammed his hand onto the table before pointing at Adam.

“You…hurry up…drink quickly.” Adam smirked at this and gave him an enthusiastic ‘Yes Sir!’ Xander then looked pointedly at Amanda and Duncan. Duncan rolled his eyes but began to hastily drink his beer. Amanda just smirked at him and sipped her martini. Once she had set it back down again, Xander took it and gulped the rest of it down, not really enjoying the taste but wanting to find out what the hell was going on. As he finished the drink he put it back onto the table and looked over at Amanda.

Amanda was trying to glare at him, but the humor held in her eyes, and the grin she was trying to suppress effectively nullified her glare. Xander stood up proclaiming that ‘The night is shot to hell.’ Joe looked up at him with a mock hurt expression, asking if he could get a drink too. To which Xander immediately told him ‘No!’ That got a chuckle out of everyone as they got out of their chairs and proceeded to put back on their jackets. The four eldest of the group were trying to think up what exactly to say, while the youngest was trying to think up what to ask. Hence the limo ride was uncharacteristically quiet.


Adam was the last to enter the mansion. The door hadn’t even had the chance to close before Xander started to assault everyone with a barrage of questions. Adam just gave him a sheepish grin while directing everyone into his ‘smoking room,’ making a quick detour at the fridge to get some drinks for everyone.

Adam had persuaded Xander to allow them to tell their own stories. If he had any questions when everyone was done, then he could feel free to ask. Not seeing a problem with that, he conceded.

Everyone knew it was the quickening that would be standing out in his mind. If they didn’t at least try to talk about it first, it would most likely be a distraction until it was discussed.

With a sigh, Adam started, “It was really quite a night. Wasn’t it?” This got a snort from everyone but Xander. He just had a sorrowful expression.

With sad and worried eyes Xander looked at Adam. “You almost died tonight.” His voice was soft yet carried to the others in the room sitting around the table. “I suppose it did come close at a few points.” Adam face was solemn for a moment. He then looked at Xander with a minute smirk on his face. “Remind me that there are some exercises I want you to learn.” This brought a small smile to Xander’s face and a nod of acceptance. “As far as the fight went…well…no two are the same.” He looked straight into Xander’s eyes before continuing. “No matter how much we talk about the fight, until you face another Immortal on your own, there isn’t much we can tell you.” Seeing the slightly worried look Xander was projecting, he amended, “Of course, I promise that you will have someone to watch your back until you are ready.” He could see the quiet protest in Xander’s eyes, but nothing was ever said. Instead, Xander decided to change the topic.

Xander glanced around the room a little uncertainly. “What happened after the fight…the Quickening…was that normal?”

It was Adam who spoke up once again. “I have witnessed countless, and have received many times more. I can tell you that no two are alike.” Adam’s eyes became distant, as though he was reliving a thousand old memories. Duncan spoke up to cease the silence. “He’s right. They all contain amazing power that manifests itself in different ways.” Duncan had a thoughtful look in his eyes before turning back to Xander. “Though, tonight was a bit more bizarre that I am used to. The power put forth by the bolts of energy…that seemed normal…but the rain? That was a new one.”

Amanda couldn’t help but to agree. “And what the Quickening did when it came in contact with the rain,” there was a certain gleam in her eyes, “it was simply breathtaking. I’ve never seen that happen before.”

Joe decided to put in his two cents. “While I may have not seen as many…I can’t recall any being recorded like that.” He then shrugged, “Not that I’ve seen all of the records.”

Xander looked at him for a moment with a curious expression before inquiring, “Records?”

There was a smirk on Joe’s face that reminded him of Adam’s. He wasn’t sure what was about to be said, but from the serious, and somewhat amused expressions he was receiving from everyone else, he knew that what was about to be said was going to be important.

Everyone gave Joe there undivided attention as he turned to Xander and asked him a question.

With a friendly smile on his face he asked, “Have you ever heard of a Watcher?”

Xander gulped ‘Ah crap!’



Xander was deep in thought. The term ‘Watcher’ didn’t always bring pleasant thoughts with it. It was true that he loved Giles like a father, but just thinking of the Council of Watchers left a bad taste in his mouth. Well, the old Council did. A new Council was being made even now. He couldn’t let past experiences cloud his judgment. The only thing he knew about this particular type of ‘Watcher’ was that Joe was presumably one of them. And he liked Joe.

Xander looked around the room. Everyone seemed to be honing in on his reaction. He needed to say something. He wasn’t sure if Joe had anything to do with the Council, well the old Council, though he doubted it. He wondered if Joe even knew about the Council. If they didn’t, Xander wasn’t about to inform them of its existence.

“Let me guess. It’s someone who watches?” This got a snort from Adam, and slight grin from Joe. “I take it you are a Watcher?”

“Actually I’m Duncan’s watcher.” He paused and spared a glance at Amanda before continuing. “I’m also Amanda’s watcher while she stays with Duncan. When she decides to spend some time by herself, her official watcher takes over.” A proud smile graced Joe’s features. “I’m also the head of the North American branch.”

Xander sat there with his brow scrunched in a pensive manner. “So what are you guys then? Are you like a club, or Council?” He tried not to stress the word Council.

Joe smiled fondly at Xander, he seemed to be taking this well. “We are a society actually, The Society of Watchers.” While saying this Joe rolled up his sleeve and showed Xander his tattoo identifying him as a watcher. Peering at the tattoo, he began studying it. There were two circles, one placed within the other. Inside the inner circle was what Xander assumed was an inverted W. The edges of the W getting cut off at the border. Within the border created by the space between the inner and outer circles, were eight small circles completely filled in. The eight circles were placed symmetrically around the circumference of the border. The entire tattoo was inked in blue.

Xander looked up at Joe after he was finished staring at the man’s tattoo. “Is every Immortal assigned a Watcher?”

Joe looked thoughtful for a moment. He figured he knew what the kid really wanted to know. “Most Immortals do have at least one. You and Adam will most likely only have one once I leave.” There was a full smile on Joe’s face. “Until then, you get the pleasure of having me as your Watcher.”

Xander gave him a small smile while almost in a state of panic on the inside. Did this Society have any knowledge of the supernatural? This was certainly going to mess with his life at some point. How many Watchers would die following him into a dangerous situation, not knowing what they were getting into? He wasn’t too keen of the idea of having a watcher to begin with, but another’s well being overrode those concerns. He decided that he was going to have to come clean about the supernatural and his past, but not now. He needed to be sure he could truly trust Joe and his Society. Because if he couldn’t he was going to have some fast thinking to do.

Joe spent the next while talking about the Watchers. He talked of some of their history. He tried to impart that the Watchers were solely observers and did not take an active role with their assigned Immortal, nor were most Immortals aware of the Society, present company excluded on both accounts.

It was about 15 minutes through Joe’s story that a flash went through Xander’s mind. He had remember seeing that tattoo before, but from where? Then it hit him. His eyes grew wide and he threw an unbelieving stare at Adam, who was gazing at him intently. When their eyes met, and comprehension passed between the two, Adam began to smirk and gave a quick nod of his head. It wasn’t hard for the others to catch Xander with his shocked expression. And they quickly figured out what he had just discovered. Joe let out a groan, while Duncan and Amanda both snickered, Adam’s smirk just grew.

“You were a Watcher?” Xander’s voice held a bit of awe mixed with confusion. “How did you stop other Immortals from sensing your quickening?”

“There are more than just the field agents. There are also researchers, and I was such a researcher.”

“What sort of research?”

“Mostly the research done is historical. The topic of my research was that of a myth among Immortal.”

Xander waited impatiently for Adam to elaborate, but apparently that was all he was being given. ‘Like hell!’

“And what was this myth you were researching.”

With a theatrical sigh Adam continued. “I was researching a man who was supposed to be the oldest of the Immortals that are still in existence.”

“The oldest? How old? And who is he?” There was a collective chuckle from the group due to Xander’s sudden child-like enthusiasm.

With a smile Adam relented. “The Immortal’s name…Methos. His age...well...he’s at least 5,000 years of age…that we know.” A sudden look passed between the four elder people in the room, but Xander missed it. He was trying to imagine what it would be like to live for over 5,000 years. The history involved. He had thought that the 1,000 years that Amanda had was amazing, which it was, but to live for so long that no one really even knew if you were real or a myth…that’s just amazing. Then a sudden thought hit him.

“You let Immortals join the Society?” Joe just let out another groan.


As time progressed so did Xander’s skills with a sword. Duncan had left a few days after Xander had witnessed his first quickening. Amanda and Joe had left with him. They would return every few weeks, but for the most part it was just him and Adam, who started calling him both ‘Alex’ and ‘Alexander.’ He was tempted to ask him to call him Xander, but somehow being called Alexander, or in some instances ‘Alex,’ felt right. For him it marked the start of a new future...a break from the past.

With it being just the two of them, they began to form a strong bond. He figured most teachers and students formed bonds like theirs, but he was grateful for it. He felt Adam’s concern for his well being was genuine. He knew that in time it would be something he truly cherished. Perhaps in time it would be similar to the bond he felt he had/has with Giles. Besides, one could not have too many father figures. Even at his age, he would gladly accept now what he was denied as a child.

Adam’s training was intense and could be quite painful at times. But it was something he welcomed, even asked for at times. After witnessing his first fight, Xander knew that he needed to learn to act and defend himself even when he was at a disadvantage, such as being unarmed by your opponent. So Adam taught him tactics of evading your opponent while unarmed. He also began to teach quite a few fighting styles. From brawling to complex martial arts, he trained in them every day. Even more important were the dirty little tricks that Adam was teaching him. And boy, did Adam know a lot of them.

Adam had quite a bit of knowledge on just about everything. He also had nuggets of wisdom to impart on all subjects. One thing that Adam believed religiously was something he had tried to impart through Duncan’s thick skull.

“Live, and grow stronger.”

It was a saying that Adam was quite fond of. It sounded almost like a mantra at times. Xander had no intention of staying in a fight if he had the option of getting away, especially if his opponent had the upper hand. He did not feel ‘honor bound’ to fight anyone, even if he was challenged. Contrary to popular belief, he was not a suicidal man. He only took the stupid risks when someone else’s life was in danger.


Here he was. He was standing next to Adam in an alleyway at night in the empty industrial area of Los Angeles. ‘Why does this shit keep happening in alleyways?’ He looked over towards Adam who was still giving him an incredulous expression.

“What?” Xander asked defensively.

With an exasperated sigh he spoke quietly to his student. “This is the FIFTH time you have been challenged since you became Immortal!”

Turning his head from the challenging Immortal he replied, “It been like what…Three months?”

With eyes bulging out of his head Adam shouted, “We’ve only left the Mansion SIX TIMES!!!”

Xander’s only reply was to shrug. Looking back towards the still awaiting challenger he asked, “So…am I ready for this yet?”

With a sigh Adam took a few steps forward while unsheathing his sword. His voice softened as replied, “No.” Walking a few more paces, he turned back towards Xander with a smirk on his face. “If I survive this you’re grounded for the next century.” And with that he went forward to accept the challenge on behalf of someone he cared greatly about.


Tonight was a night that was going to remember for then next ten millennia, should he survive for such a long time.

It wasn’t the fight that was so memorable, though he doubted he would ever forget a duel between two immortals, even if he wasn’t participating in it. The fight itself only lasted a few minutes. Adam was defensive for a short while, but was quickly able to find holes in his opponents form and made short work of it.

The quickening itself was always a mind blowing scene that would leave an imprint in his memory well after he went the way of the dodo. No two were the same, yet they were all unbelievable. The power being released was always staggering, and the destruction it would cause to the immediate area was always slightly horrifying. However, on this night it was the attention that the release of the Quickening brought that would change his life.

There were Vamps, and a few demons heading down the alley. Adam was still resting on his knees, his body drained of energy, but his consciousness was slowly regaining cohesiveness.

He unsheathed his sword from his coat. It was something he had done quite a few times and was now an action he had grown accustomed to. One of the vamps was laughing at ‘The man with the pointy blade’ the rest were trying to figure out where in the hell he had pulled it from.

Before anyone, including himself, realized what was happening, Xander had descended on the closest vampires. Three of them were dust settling at his feet before any of them reacted. The 11 other vampires and two Polgara demons were stunned and shocked at his brutal, and lethal display. It wasn’t until another two vamps were dusted that they began to react.

As quick as the vamps moved, they were still sloppy. And as much as he had been training with Adam, he had little problem evading their claws. Using his katana to fend them off worked wonders as well.

There were small cuts along his face that were already healing. If his jacket took any punishment he couldn’t tell. There was a quick lull in the fight as he studied the six vampires left along with the two Polgara demons. One such demon had several wounds along with a missing bone spike that had been jutting from its arm. They were about to start the fight again when a war cry split through the air like a foghorn and Adam entered the fray.

Between Adam and himself the vampires were taken care of in short order. Adam had also decapitated the injured Polgara. They were both advancing on the last remaining Polgara demon that hadn’t moved since Adam had entered the battle. It was trembling, and if it was possible to tell on a Polgara Demon, it was pale as well.

With a trembling hand it pointed at Adam. It spoke with a base voice that was hampered in fear. “I know your War Cry. It is one I have not heard in thousands of years. You are DEATH.” Adam’s eyes went wide for a moment and then become orbs of ageless darkness.

Xander caught the look and wondered what the hell was going on. He had never seen a Demon this afraid ….this scared of anything before. Yet it seemed to be petrified of Adam, and what was worse, it was referring to him as Death.

Before it could continue its ramble Adam advanced on it. In short order its head rolled to the ground. It body began to break down into its component substance that looked like a blue gel before vanishing completely. Looking around the alley all of the demons’ bodies were gone, only the headless Immortal remained. Xander knew the watchers would take care of this. He just prayed they weren’t around to witness this little scene.

Xander looked over towards Adam, who actually looked ashamed of himself for a second before he covered it. When he looked over at Xander he gave a soft smile.

“So…vampires and demons, huh?”

Xander gave him a smile that was laced with a smirk. “So…vampires and demons huh?” He began shaking his head. “And what’s this stuff I’m hearing about Death?”

Adam sighed, “It’s going to be a long night. I suppose we both have a lot to discuss.”

Xander nodded his head in agreement. They most definitely had a lot to talk about now. A whole new world in fact. He just looked back at Adam with a lopsided grin. “You think we have enough beer back at the house?”



Both men were seated in the ‘Smoking Room’ waiting for the other to be the first to speak. Placed between them on the round table was their usual cooler filled with ice and beer. Adam reached into the cooler and pulled out two beers keeping one for himself and giving the other to Xander. This was the signal used to decide who would speak first. Coincidentally, Adam was usually the first to reach for the beer.

With a sigh he began, “I have to admit, while I have thought about this particular conversation quite a few times…I can’t really decide how I should start this.”

Xander knew that they were about to step onto rocky ground. In the three months they had spent together they had grown quite a close bond. Yet through all the time they spent together neither man had taken any steps to inquire about the others past.

It wasn’t that he didn’t trust Adam, or the rest of his new friends, with his past. As long as he could delude himself into believing that keeping his two lives separate would keep his friends safe, then so be it. Now, however, there was a problem. It seemed that Adam was well aware of the ‘night life.’ He knew he had to come clean, and all his friends would take one step further into this raging inferno of danger.

While Xander had been reluctant to impart information on his past for his own reasons, he never truly considered Adam’s reasons for doing so. He figured that leaving everyone’s past in the past was of the good and not to be questions. Now, while looking into Adam’s eyes, he wasn’t so sure.

He was expecting to see uncertainty, perhaps some nervousness. Those characteristics were present; however there was a great deal of trepidation in those eyes as well. And that put Xander on edge.

Trying to relieve some of the new found tension, Xander gave a lopsided smile as he looked down into his bottle of beer and took a pull. After finishing he looked back at Adam and told him to simply start from wherever he felt most comfortable.

Adam gave a slight nod. “How about my name for starters, only a small handful of people actually know it.” Xander leaned in slightly showing his interest a smile gracing his features showing his pleasure at being trusted in such a way.

“So…what’s your name?”


Xander looked at him thoughtfully for a moment before leaning back into his chair and furrowing his brow in thought. He knew he had heard that name from somewhere in the past. Was it in one of Giles’ books? He didn’t think so, but if not…then where had he heard it?

Realizing that Xander wasn’t placing the name Adam simply raised his arm, his watcher tattoo plainly visible.

Staring at his tattoo everything clicked in his mind and his eyes widened in surprise.

In an incredulous voice he asked, “Methos?” As an answer he simply received another head nod. Then more things began to click into place. Before Xander knew it he was snickering. “You’re Methos? You spent all that time with the Watchers researching yourself?” Receiving a smirk in response, Xander couldn’t help but to fall back in his chair and laugh harder than he had in a long while.”

“Oh man that great! You must really suck at research” *laughing*

With a mock outraged look Methos responded. “Please, I’ve had thousands of years to hone in my researching skills. I simply made sure that Methos remained a myth that was probably real.” With a deep smirk he added, “I was simply in charge of tracking myself, and I made sure I’d never be found.” His expression suddenly became serious. “If Immortals were to find out the truth about me…I’d have every Head Hunter in the world coming after me.” Xander simply shook his head in agreement as he tried to regain control of himself.

“Alexander, it is very important that when we are in public, or anywhere where we may be overheard, that you call me Adam.” Xander immediately nodded his agreement and steeled his posture to show how serious he took that statement.

“I promise you Adam…Methos” Xander couldn’t help but smile. “I’ll keep your secret, you have my word.” Xander smiled and looked down sheepishly. “Thanks…for…you know…” He let the sentence trail off as Methos gave him a smile. There were a million questions and thoughts going through his mind at that moment. But he knew there was a lot more to talk about tonight, and besides, they would have a long time to have more chats. Xander couldn’t help but smile at that.

Xander was taking another sip of his beer when a memory of earlier assaulted him. He looked back at Adam…no…Methos, with a questioning glance.

“How long have you known about Demons and things that go ‘bump in the night’? And what did the Polgara Demon mean when he said that he knew your War Cry? And why did he call you Death?”

The easiness that had filled the room between the two men vanished suddenly. The trepidation that Xander had seen earlier was again present in his teacher’s eyes. Methos sat there contemplating how to go about this. He decided the most direct approach would be the best one to take.

“I’ve known about demons and their ilk for almost all of my existence. They were much more prevalent than they are today. Once they started to make their presence known they had no reason to hide from the real world, no reason to try and blend in.”

“My ‘War Cry’ was something I used in battle.” There was a far off look in his suddenly ageless eyes. When they returned they were laden with pain, sorrow, guilt, and so many other emotions that Xander couldn’t even contemplate what he must have been reflecting on.

With a heavy sigh he continued. “After living in my own hell for nearly a thousand years, I was not a nice person. I was filled with such anger, hatred, and even fear it overwhelmed me, perhaps even to the depths of my soul.” He took a long pull from his drink, trying to gather his thoughts in order. He hated telling this to people. Duncan had found from Cassandra what he had been, what he had done. Alexander, on the other hand, had no prior knowledge. He was afraid he was about to loose his first student in a really, really long time.

“About Four Thousand years ago I happened to meet a few other Immortals who shared my hatred of all things. It was lead by a man named Kronoss. There were four of us. We were brothers and we rode in each others company destroying, maiming, killing, plundering, and god knows what else over three continents, for over a thousand years. We were brothers.” He looked up into Xander’s eyes and wasn’t surprised to see the horrified expression he was receiving, but he continued nonetheless. “We were known as the Four Horsemen.”

Xander sat there. He was trying to process what he had just heard but nothing was getting through. Suddenly a stray thought entered his mind. With wide eyes he brought his focus back to the man sitting before him and whispered one word.


Methos’ shoulders slumped in defeat, averting his eyes, looking anywhere but at his student. The man, who would most likely be his ex-student.

Suddenly Xander was standing on his feet. Looking up, Methos was expecting to see unbridled anger being aimed towards him. What he wasn’t expecting was the entirely blank, calm, yet otherwise emotionless expression he was receiving.

Grabbing his coat, Xander told Methos that he needed to get some air and think on things for a bit. And he needed to do it alone.

Following Xander out of the room, Methos got a set of keys from a board in the kitchen and handed them to Xander.

“This is for the Porsche in the garage.”

Xander simply nodded and wordlessly took the keys and abruptly left the house. The next thing Methos knew he was alone in the mansion and he could hear the sounds of a powerful engine getting distant. Suddenly he felt very alone, and somewhat empty. Without even knowing it, he had pulled out his cell phone and was dialing Duncan’s number. He really had no clue that he had made a call until Duncan’s voice broke through his daze.


[Adam? Are you ok?]

“I told him Duncan. I told him everything.”

[What! How much is everything?]

“I told him who I really am…and I told him who I used to be.”

*sigh* [How is he? Is he ok? Are you ok?]

“I don’t know…he left a short while ago. He wanted some time to think by himself.”

[Well…that’s good at least. I don’t think you can really ask for more.]

Adam was shaking his head in agreement and was about respond with such when a sense of foreboding washed over his body sending a shiver down his spine. With wide eyes he looked off into the direction of the driveway.

“Duncan…I have to go. I think Xander is in trouble.”

[What?!? Adam…what are you…] the rest of his question was cut off as Adam disconnected the phone

Grabbing another set of keys, Adam dashed like a madman to the garage.



“I don’t care Mike. I am the head of the entire fucking company. He is in a company car…it has GPS tracking in it in case of theft. Now tell me where the fuck he is!”


“Oh for the love of god…I set up the damn procedures! You know what…put Johnathan Marshal on the Phone…NOW!”


“John…it’s Adam Pierson.”


“You heard? Good! What’s its location…I needed it 10 minutes ago.”


“Yes…Yes…Got it. Thanks John. I owe you one.”

Making his car pull a u-turn, Adam headed off in the opposite direction breaking every single traffic law.


Xander had parked the Porsche in front of the Waverly Park sign. He was currently strolling through the deserted park while looking up at the moon and stars that were shining brightly in the night sky.

He had been contemplating his feelings since he had walked out of the kitchen. He wasn’t sure just how to act. Here was a man that, in his past, had been so horrific a person and had caused such death and destruction that it was considered to be of Biblical proportions. And he had done this for over a thousand years.

When he thought about it, there was no one reason that could justify it. Hell, not even an infinite number of reasons could justify it. But despite it all, he just couldn’t see the man that had been sitting across from him being that man. He had no doubt that everything he was told was the truth. He was also sure that anything he should choose to ask would be answered with the same horrible truth. But he couldn’t place his teacher of the past three months, the man he had come to know, and respect, the man who had, on more than one occasion, fought to save his life as the man who had done those horrible deeds.

How could he truly hold this against the man? He wasn’t there when it had happened. He knew that neither man would condone his past actions. Anya had been a demon, whose main purpose was to do much the same to the men of scorned women. In the end he couldn’t hold it against her. And in the end she had sacrificed her own life while defending another. Another man on top of that. One should not be condemned now for the acts of their past. He could forgive Anya. How could he not get past this with Adam…Methos? What he had done happened over Three Thousand years ago. And he was most certainly not the man he been when he rode as Death.

So what was the problem? Was it because, unlike Anya, he had met Adam first, and Death last? If that was all it was then all he needed was some time to get over his shock.

He still held Giles as a father figure of sorts. Rupert was no innocent. Especially in his past. Xander realized that he had been able to get over the fact that Giles had been ‘Ripper’ in his youth. Granted Adam being Death was a *tad* bit more than that.

Calming himself down, he realized two things once the initial shock had worn off, and he could think clearly. One…there was a DAMNED good reason that Adam, or Methos, kept his past secret. Two…at the end of the day…the two of them would be fine. This brought a small smile to his face. It was a smile that didn’t last as he felt the presence of another Immortal wash over him.

Glancing around the empty park, he searched for the other Immortal. The man stood about 30 feet in front of him. He was directly below a lamppost, the light showing his thin body covered in a trench coat, his sword already drawn from its sheath.

From the distance he was standing he couldn’t make out the guys eyes, but he felt as though the unknown man was boring holes into his body. His golden, slick hair was gelled back. His overall figure reminded him greatly of Spike. Before he had much time to contemplate anything else, the man wordlessly charged with his sword raised. Xander barely had enough time to get his own katana unsheathed from his coat to block the man’s rapier.

They both circled each other while shrugging off their coats and letting them settle on the grass below.


Adam skidded to a stop next to the black Porsche that he had told Xander to take. Jumping out of his car he ran towards the semi-lit park. His heart almost stopped as he heard the telltale signs of blades meeting. A sword fight was commencing. A challenge offered, and a challenged accepted.

As he rounded the first hill he could see the two opponents in the semi-lit area. The sight he saw made his breathing stop. With wide eyes his blood turned to ice in his veins. He could feel the bile rising in his throat at the scene that was now being played out.


The man he was fighting was damned good. Xander had already been disarmed once, yet his training kept his head attached to his body as he kept himself in motion and was able to avoid the other man’s blade. Xander was able to dodge the blade as it was swung at his neck and tackle the other man using reflexes honed in from years of fighting the supernatural.

Rolling from the tackle, he landed near his katana. Grasping the pummel with his hands, he brought the sword into a defensive position. As hard as Xander tried he knew that he was being bested here. Heeding Adam’s words he decided that trying to get away from this man was his best option. Adam had told him earlier that night that he wasn’t ready, he would never doubt that man again…not that he had in the first place.

His musing cost him dearly as a slash caught him across his chest. It was only the hard and painful workouts that he enthusiastically went through each day that prevented the next slice of the sword from sending him to a permanent death. As short lived as that little victory was, he soon found himself on his knees in incredible pain while putting a death’s grip on his sword. That’s when he heard those five horrible words that would give haunt him for eternity.

‘There Can Be Only One!”

A short distance away he could feel his teacher and friend there. A silent gasp at what the man was being forced to witness. Xander barely had enough time to look back and see the mad gleam in his opponent’s eyes as he brought his rapier in a downwards motion.

After that, all he knew was darkness.



Methos was cursing himself. His student was about to die. There was no contemplating that, it was a certainty. Why in the Hell did he let the child leave the house in the first place? It did not seem likely for such a situation to occur. One in which his student would be challenged twice in one night. The kid was cursed.

This went beyond that. His student was about to die…and he froze. There was no chance he would have reached the battle in time. But if he could have gotten close enough, perhaps his Buzz could have served as a distraction. But there was no chance of that now. He was still to far away, and the man had Alexander on his knees. He could barely hear the words spoken by the Immortal, yet they pounded on him like a sledgehammer. He watched as the man raised his sword and began his swing for the decapitating blow. It would be over in a split second, but he would be damned if he was going to allow that son of a bitch to have the pleasure of his student’s quickening. In the end all he could do was scream.


With eyes full of fury, a rage erupted within him that had been repressed for the better part of 3000 years. He raced forward with his Ivanhoe raised, his ‘War Cry’ on his tongue. He was still advancing when he suddenly found himself on his knees staring before him in utter shock.


Xander blinked himself from the darkness that he had been emerged in. Had it been for a mere moment or an eternity he could not say. Shouldn’t he be in incredible pain? He always figured being beheaded would be a painful experience. That thought caused him pull out of his revelry and take stock of his surroundings. Bringing his vision into focus, what he saw before him didn’t make sense.

Lying at his feet was a headless body. The head was laying a few feet off to the side, the golden hair was still slicked back. That didn’t make any sense. Shouldn’t he be the one on the ground? He clearly remembered the man standing behind him while he was kneeling on the ground. Hell, he even remembered seeing the blade coming towards him.

He looked down at his own blade. There was a sheen of blood covering it. Some seemed to be oozing off the blade while others looked as though they would stain the blade for the rest of eternity.

What the Hell had happened? He looked up and saw a man….Methos…on his knees just a few yards away. His Ivanhoe was lying on the grass just in front of him. Methos was staring at him with wide eyes. There were so many raw emotions going across the man’s face that were slowly being reflected in his eyes.

Xander was about to call out his teacher’s name when he noticed the slight shimmer of glowing mist emanating from the headless corpse at his own feet. The sight made him take a few steps back. He had seen this before. He was about to receive a quickening. All of his previous thoughts were pushed to the side. A new array of emotions took over. While he couldn’t pinpoint them all, the two most prevalent ones were both extreme fear, and an even more extreme feeling of curiosity.

Lightning leapt from the body and into Xander. The energy seared every nerve in his body. Yet every sensation was amplified beyond belief. He had never felt such incredibly pain. Yet he had never experienced such mind, body, and soul numbing pleasure either. One would strike, then the other. They were so random in their intervals that there was no way to get used to it. Sometimes it felt as though they would merge and the power forced into his body increased exponentially. With those sensations came the memories. Those memories were not his own, but of the recently deceased Immortal. A thousand atrocities had been performed by that man. And I use the term ‘man’ loosely. What was worse, was the fact that he was reliving them as though he were the one to commit them. He had to thank whatever Deity was available when those memories, and the feeling associated with them, receded into a far part of his mind. He went from living those memories himself, to the, being similar to a well told and emotional story.

The energy from the Quickening began to grow in power. It grew to such an extent that he actually began to hover many feet into the air. The lightening was still entering his body, only to leave his body destroying anything in close vicinity. Tree tops were scorched and began to blaze asunder. All of the lampposts in the entire park seemed to explode outwards as one.

The lightning began to wrap itself around his body before shooting out into the atmosphere. How far away they reached was anyone’s guess. The fact that they seemed to go out in all directions probably wasn’t a good sign for the residents of the neighborhood.

The last of the quickening left the headless corpse and entered into Xander. The bolt seemed to enter and only grow in intensity. By the end, Xander felt as though he was screaming so loud he was going to rip his own throat out just by the sheer force he was using. Finally, the energy reached a crescendo and exploded from his, still hovering, body.

The shockwave was immense. Methos was thrown back several feet. For miles around glass could be heard shattering and car alarms could be heard going.

Xander lay on the ground. Entirely drained, and unable to move, Methos got back on his feet and made his way to his sword. Once he had sheathed his sword he warily made his way to the prone form of his student.

He slowly, and carefully, pulled his student into an upright position. He could see the weak smile on the young man’s face. Alex’s voice was so soft he almost missed the question.

“Adam, what happened?”

What the hell could he tell him. Screw that! How much did he understand it himself. It was simply amazing. He had been alive for at least Five Thousand years, he had seen many amazing things, and he was still witnessing new things, new miracles.

They decided that anything that was to be said should be said back at the manor. Helping Alexander onto his feet, he supported his student as they made their way back to their automobiles.



Adam stood there looking at his car in amazement. His nice little cherry red sports car was a wreck. There were multiple scorch marks covering the car. The hood was off to the side, the tires were completely shredded. All of the windows and mirrors were completely shattered. The damn thing was still smoking! And there was Xander’s car. That black Porsche didn’t have a scratch on it. It looked like it hadn’t even been touched. Hell, it even looked as though someone had washed and waxed it while they had been in the park. He shot Xander an incredulous look.

“You did this on purpose.”

That only got him a sheepish smile before he rolled his eyes. Pulling the keys out of his pocket, Xander clicked the remote turning off the car’s alarm. Coincidentally this action seemed to activate the other car’s alarm which then started blaring. Adam just ruefully shook his head. He looked up just in time to catch the keys that had been tossed to him. Xander made his way into the passenger seat of the Porsche.

“I’m exhausted. Wake me when we get back home.” With that he shut the door, leaned back into the passenger seat, and reclined it as much as possible. Closing his eyes, Xander just waited for Adam to get them back home.

Shaking his head, he tried to deactivate the alarm in his car to no avail. With a sigh he gave up and simply got into the Porsche and made their way back to the manor.


After inhaling some fruit and downing a few glasses of juice, Xander was feeling a lot better. Both he and Adam were sitting at the table in the kitchen while Adam was staring at him intently. Becoming weary of the silence, Xander decided to speak up.

“Just what happened tonight?”

Adam looked at him with a curious expression. “Why don’t you tell me what you remember.”

Thinking back, Xander could remember getting his ass handed to him. Everything had happened so quickly that he was forced to rely on instincts. While that wasn’t the first time he found himself in such a situation, it was the first time that he had felt so far out of his league. His last memory, the blade coming towards his neck, reaffirmed this. That last memory caused him to bring his hand to his neck.

Even though the action was quick, Adam didn’t miss it. With a sympathetic voice Adam asked, “Do you remember anything after you almost lost your head?”

The question made Xander shiver slightly, an unpleasant reminder of the fact that he should be dead now, and had no idea why he wasn’t.

“I blacked out…the next thing I know I was standing behind the guy, and his head was no longer attached to his body.”

Adam looked down into his own drink, trying to find the words to describe what happened. “You know…I’ve been alive for a long time…but I don’t believe I have ever seen a human move as fast as you did.” Looking up from his beer, Adam stared into Xander’s eyes. “You moved so damn fast. It was more a blur really.” He just shook his head. “You really have no memory of this?”

Xander shook his head. He had been trying to remember anything from when he had apparently blacked out, but it was to no avail. He was about to respond as such when he was bombarded with the short, yet vivid, memories.


He was looking up at the descending blade. A feeling of rage, primal in its nature, took hold of him. While most of his body was possessed by this rage, the rest of him was held by the essence of a warrior.

With an almost animalistic snarl, he spun and drove himself up and in a standing position behind the other Immortal. The sudden lack of having a body to decapitate threw the Immortal off balance. It was at this time that those warrior instincts took over, capitalizing on the position he now found himself, his katana flashed down and through the neck of the Immortal as though it wasn’t there. There was a feeling of satisfaction that spread throughout his body. It slowly dissipated, and with it his mind came back in focus, leaving him staring down at the, now deceased, Immortal. It was just moments later that he would experience his first quickening.


With wide eyes he looked at Adam. The last time this had happened was when he was at P3 that first night, and even then he had some recollection of what was happening. Xander just put his head in his hands and groaned. This was going to be a long night.

Looking back up he could see Adam’s worried expression produced from his groan. With a soft smile, he took a deep cleansing breath. “Suffice it to say, the memories just came flooding back, and what happened tonight has a lot to do with my past.”

Before Xander could say much more he was interrupted by Adam. “Before we get into that…I wanted to know if you had come to a conclusion as to whether or not you want to remain my student.” Adam tried to place a calm façade, but there was still a slight emotion of sadness that was able to seep through. “I understand if you didn’t have time to come to a decision…you did have a rather hectic night.” That got a snort from Xander. Adam continued, “I’m sure that Duncan would be willing to take you on as his personal student…something he’s already begun.” Xander smiled at this and was about to respond when Adam’s cell phone went off.

“Hello?” Adam’s eyes went a bit wide. “You’re coming here?” Adam looked over towards Xander with a sheepish smile before he sighed. “No, we’re both fine. It’s been a long night…I’ll tell you about it when you get here. Sorry I didn’t call you sooner…things have been a bit hectic.” Adam nodded his head a few times and a small smile crept onto his face. “Ok, we’ll see you soon…Ok, bye.”

Hanging up the phone he looked into Xander’s inquiring eyes. “Speaking of the devil.” There was a definite grin on Adam’s face. “I sort of hung up on him in the middle of our conversation. I think I told him I had to find you. There may have been some small amount of distress in my voice.” There was a sheepish smile that replaced the grin as Adam took another sip of his beer. “He actually hung up and hopped onto a plane. Duncan will be here soon. I’m sure he’d be willing to stay here and train you, or you could go with him if you would prefer.” The small smile was gone and Adam seemed to be staring intently at his bottle of beer.

Xander looked at him with a sympathy and a small amount of confusion. “How did you know I as in trouble?”

Without looking up from his bottle, Adam just shrugged his shoulders. “Just a feeling.”

Xander just shook his head. “Huh…well first of all I came to a decision before that nut challenged me.” This seemed to draw Adam’s gaze from his bottle. “Let me tell you a small bit of my past, then later we can get into the rest…it’s going to be a long night.” Adam simply nodded his agreement, starting to feel a bit of hope that he may not loose his first student in a very long while. “Anya was my fiancé. She was a woman that I loved until the day she died. Hell, I still love her even today. She was a Vengeance Demon for over a thousand years. I knew this, but I couldn’t help but to fall in love with the human woman she became.” Adam seemed shocked by this, really shocked, by held off any comments. “The man I’ve considered a father since my sophomore year in high school has a very colorful past. While nowhere near as colorful as yours, it was still pretty dark.” Adam was looking at him intently while simply nodding along. “I’ve been fighting the darkness for years. I was even fighting along side a soulless vampire. I didn’t trust him, but I fought beside him. Hell, one of the people I would trust, and gladly fight beside nowadays, she tried to kill me in the past.” Xander paused to let that sink in. “I have no idea what ‘Death’ was like. But I’ve spent the past three months of my life living with you and I *know* that you are not him, not anymore. I won’t hold something against you that happened thousands of years ago. Something that you haven’t been in thousands of years.” Xander looked at Adam. The man was trying to show a calm face, though he couldn’t hide that relief that was flooding him.

Adam felt as though he was finally able to release a breath he had been holding in for months now. It was a feeling that had formed a few months ago, when he realized how alike he and his student were. It was at that time he realized that his secret would have to come out at some point and he wanted more than to just be sure that Alexander would have a good teacher. He grew to care for the child, and he wanted to be the one to remain as his teacher. He had talked about this on occasion with Mac, but hearing it from Alex was like a balm to his very soul.

Xander took a sip of his juice while Adam did likewise with his beer. Both men suddenly had dry throats. Xander was the first to recover and looked intently over at Adam. “I suppose now would be as good as a time as any to tell you of my past.”

“Actually, if you don’t mind, I’d like to wait until Mac gets here.” Seeing Xander nod along with a curious expression in his eyes, he decided to elaborate. “Mac has actually gone up against a demon…and lost someone very important in the process.” He looked up to see Xander staring back with nothing but compassion in his eyes.

With a sad and heavy voice, Xander spoke. “We’ve all lost people at one time or another.” Nodding his head and leaning back in his chair, he continued. “How long until he gets here?”

“He was calling from a cab. He should be here in about twenty to thirty minutes.” Trying to keep the conversation rolling, Adam decided to change topics slightly. “I was thinking, since we both know of the supernatural, that I have Duncan contact a friend of his. She may be able to help you mask your quickening by using magic.” He couldn’t help but to smile at the hopeful look that appeared in his student’s eyes.

“God I hope that helps. I don’t want to be challenged every time I leave the house.” With an incredulous voice he continued. “I tell you, it’s almost like I’ve been cursed!”

After saying that both of their eyes grew wide. Xander shook his head. “You don’t think…”

“I don’t know. But it couldn’t hurt to ask.”


It was twenty five minutes later that Duncan had arrived. They told him an abbreviated story from earlier that night and the revelations that came about. Xander had a captivated audience for the next three and half hours while he regaled them with tales leading from his learning about the night life until the closing of the hellmouth and their dealings with the first.

Duncan told his tail of his experience going up against Arahman. He talked of how he defeated the demon by denying it battle, but it had cost him dearly in the form of his student, Richie Ryan, when he had taken his student’s head during a hallucination. His words were thick with emotion, and Duncan couldn’t help but to feel a little betrayed that Methos had known of demons and had said nothing during the affair.

Methos had told him that, while he knew of the night life, he knew nothing of this demon. No matter the research he did, he couldn’t find anything. He had not had any contact with the ‘night life’ in thousands of years and had no real contacts in recent times. He had promised that if he had any information that would have been even the remote bit useful he would have happily divulged the information. Especially since his ass was on the line with the rest of the world. This seemed to placate The Highlander to a good degree.

They all sat in the smoking room with the door closed to make their private conversation seem that much more private. They were all thinking about what sort of impact this would have on their future.

It was decided that Duncan would contact Cassandra and have her help if she were willing. He didn’t have much doubt that she would come, but Adam was a bit worried that she wouldn’t come if he were there, and had told them that he would take his leave for a short while until everything was sorted out. They had both told him that it wouldn’t be necessary, but Xander knew that if it came down to it Adam would in fact leave to give him a better chance at surviving. Learning to mask a strong quickening using magic was simply too important, and if he was in fact cursed, Adam wanted to make sure that was removed before all else.

Now they were all sitting around the table in an introspective mood when Xander felt it. It was a slight tingle, the hairs on the back of his neck were beginning to stand on end. It was a feeling he learned to trust. It was always present when danger was present, or about to be present.

Looking around he took stalk of the room. Adam was still lost within himself, but Duncan looked to be quite a bit paler. His eyes were wide and focused on the middle of the room though there was nothing there. With a quick nudge he brought Adam out of his introspective gaze and locked eyes with him. Shooting him a look towards Duncan, Adam brought his attention to The Highlander and saw him with the same expression that Xander had seen moments ago. He called for his friend’s attention, but he seemed transfixed on the middle of the room. He looked back towards Xander with a somewhat panicked expression to find him deep in concentration.


Sensing something was wrong, but not able to actually see it, Xander began to put himself in a meditative state that Leo had been showing him. When he opened his eyes he could feel the presence in the room. It was located where Duncan seemed to be transfixed. Through sheer willpower he made himself focus on that spot. A figure began to waver into existence.

It was a silhouette of a female. The silhouette began to waver and a person could be seen to form. It was a beautiful woman with blonde hair. Attractive features and a look of innocence.

He had no idea who she was until Duncan uttered one word.


He looked over to Methos who was staring at Duncan with worried eyes.

“Who is Tessa?”

Methos looked over to his student. “She was someone who Mac loved. She died before we met, so I’ve only seen pictures of her. He doesn’t talk much about her. What’s going on.”

“Tessa, long blonde hair? Complete knockout?” Adam simply nodded. “Deceased?” Adam simply nodded again. “Oh you have got to be fucking kidding me!” He stood up and placed his coat on, when danger was in the area it was better to be safe than sorry. He made his way to the center of the room.

“Duncan, its not her” He said this while walking straight through the apparition of Duncan’s long lost love. He made his way over to Duncan and kneeled in front of him, making sure to keep eye contact to the man who was not stating at him. “You remember the First Evil? The last big bad we faced? I think this is her, again.” Duncan simply nodded while a tear cascaded down his face. Xander turned around to see that it was no longer Tessa he was looking at but Anya.

Feeling a lump form in his throat, he ruthlessly squashed it. ‘It’s not her, its some sick fuck that’s trying to get to you.’

“Well, its looks like the ‘One who Sees’ has finally come into his own.” Morphing into Buffy she continued. “It always made me crack up to be in the same room with you. You were one of the few beings that could actually see me when I’m present.” Waving her hands at him “Due to your ‘unique status.’” She looked him up and down. With a smirk she continued. “Glad to see you’ve got that eye taken care of…I was really worried.”

“Yea, I’ll bet.”

Duncan had now collected himself and was seething in anger. “So this is the First? I’m not impressed.”

“No?” The First in Buffy’s form morphed into James Horton. “Why don’t you just call me Arahman then?” A large smirk appeared on his face. “Impressed yet?” Duncan’s eyes went wide with that and he was mumbling to himself about beating him. “Oh please! You really think that be not fighting me I’d go away?” The First/Arahman was laughing at the Immortal. “I was actually worried that you would defeat me when you returned. But then you decided that the only way to beat me was to deny me battle. Ha! I wanted you to believe it.” The First morphed back into Buffy. “Our time apart has been well spent. I’ve got a present for you Duncan.” Looking over at Xander, “The fact that I get two for one just makes this all the sweeter.” With a girlish giggle, that did just not seem to fit, she faded away leaving her last words hanging in the air. “Let the games begin.”

The three Immortals were staring at each other wondering what was going on when they all felt the ‘Buzz’ of another Immortal. They all stood and drew their swords, not quite sure what was going on. The ‘buzz’ was becoming intense and was gaining in power. They could all feel the other Immortal on the other side of the door when it exploded inward. With great force the door splintered and imbedded itself into the wall. As the dust from the exploding door settled a figure could be seen. The hate emanating from the Immortal could be felt in physical waves. As the ‘buzz’ died down, and the identity of the man in front of them could be made, both Duncan and Methos let out a gasp of surprise.

It was Duncan who was the first to recover.