White Knight!

A Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Static Shock! Crossover

Author: Joshua <joshua[at]grandt.com>

Author: Joshua

Spoilers: Season 4

Disclaimer: Joss Whedon is the original writer/creator of all that is Buffy, and Monster/Enemy also holds those rites. Dwayne McDuffie is the creator of Static Shock, Sandra Schwartz and Jean Macurdy are the producers of, and the WB, or Warner Brothers are the main distributors.

Summary: Xander manages to get a bit further than Oxford on his summer "trip of discovery", and is in Dakota City just in time to help a young black kid get home after the 'Big Bang'.

Rating: PG-13

Latest addition

Part 1

"On the road again, I'm on the road again," Alexander LaVelle Harris sung horribly off-key and even in his own opinion very badly as he passed the exit for Oxnard in the turquoise Chevy convertible. As he noticed where he'd just gone past, Xander couldn't help feeling a jolt of déjà vu-ness sweep through him, only it wasn't. It was more like he had just forgotten something or missed it. Shrugging, he just kept driving on until the gas meter told him to stop, and since it was still over the three quarter mark, he wasn't about to do that anytime soon.

"And in hopes of getting better singing talent than the sardonic voice of Mister Harris, we turn with bright hopes to the AM radio," Xander said sarcastically and flipped the AM-only radio on. To find static, static, static, and yet more static.

"See, this is why I love road trips, nothing but peace and quiet," Xander said over-enthusiastically as the radio was turned disgustedly off. He thought back to one time where the word quiet had come out of his mouth before.

"I like the quiet, yeah right," he mumbled bitterly to himself.


It was nearing sunset and Xander was hoping for a place to stay, but every hotel he saw by the side of the road was either a Holiday Inn, and therefore out of his price range for his budget, or the sign 'No Vacancy' was flashing or turned on.

Finally, after another three or more hours, and getting close to where he would have to stop anyway for gas at the least, he entered a town called "Dakota City". When he saw that he blinked and stared in shock. He had no idea he'd gone that far in just, he paused to look at his watch, in just…THREE DAYS!?

No wonder he was hungry, he should have stopped back at Oxnard at that diner his Uncle had told him about, but no, he just kept on driving. And driving, and driving it seemed. He distinctly remembered stopping for gas and snack stuff on occasion, but he had driven all through the night for the past two, and now here he was in Dakota city!

He got off the highway and began looking for the first gas station he could find, and afford. Unfortunately, both were not the same. The cheapest that he could find was the last he could find, nor expected it to be. It was an old, run-down self-service shop down near the docks. Xander got out and was surprised to find somebody actually working the station and quickly filled the Chevy. Only cost him twelve bucks rather than the twenty it would have back at the stations next to the highway.

Xander went inside and immediately alarm bells started to go off in his head. There was something…a smell, no a stench in the air that made him want to gag, and at the same time reminded him of home. Home sweet Hellmouth.

Unconsciously, Xander had never gone a day without a weapon ever since his sophomore year of high school. Superconsciously, he always made and excuse with vampires, demons, and living and going to school directly over the Hellmouth. Consciously, he was just thanking god and anybody listening that he had remembered to bring a supply of stakes with him and had grabbed one out of the car before coming up to pay.

"Twelve dollars," the young looking blond guy said with a straight face and forced smile as Xander came up. Xander just nodded, needing to buy time. He started fumbling for his wallet while almost casually, by appearance, scope-ing out the inside of the gas station as he did.

"So? Worked here long?" Xander asked casually, having retrieved his wallet and finished mapping the layout of the place. He took his sweet time getting out the cash, noticing a mirror directly behind the vamp, which of course showed nothing but Xander and the store…and a crumpled figure on the floor at the vamps feet.

"Not really, it's my first night," the blond said conversationally, letting the forced grin fall into the more common predatory smirk vampires bore, and Xander knew he was right. Even if the mirror hadn't already proved it.

"I'll bet," Xander said he triggered the wrist-stake he'd fashioned earlier in the summer, the stake coming out of the sleeve of his jacket, and faster than even the blond vamp could register, Xander drove the weapon forward and into the vamp's heart.

The kid didn't even have time to vamp out before he crumbled to dust, a curse word on his lips.

Xander just sighed and quickly walked around the counter, to find the gas station attendant already dead, from a broken neck, but only after the vamp had apparently fed. Xander closed his eyes and just sighed again and left the twelve dollars he owed on the counter. He found the light switch and turned everything off and locked the doors. Then he got back in his car, planning on either continuing his road trip, or going to the police to report the death. They would just chock it up to gang members on PCP if his experience with police was worth anything.

Sighing at the waste of life and consequence of being the Hellmouth's favorite target, Xander drove away from the gas station, his tank now full and began looking for the cheapest place he could spend the night. That is until he was buzzed by at least three Police choppers and the sound of gunfire and fighting reached him from across the way.

Xander actually hesitated as he listened and watched the choppers. Thirty seconds later, and after he saw the spotlight of one of the choppers get blown off, Xander made up his mind and took the next turn that took him in the direction of the choppers and the fighting. He even sped up when he heard and felt an explosion that quaked the ground.

He was finally forced to stop when it became obvious that he had reached the area where the fighting/explosion was. It was a fenced off factory, or maybe a storage depot as there was a lot of crates and barrels around. A purple mist was quickly spreading throughout it though, and Xander could make out shapes of people, possibly teenagers, through it. Quickly getting out of the car, Xander raced to the fence when he caught sight of a young black teen, maybe no more than 15, already leaning over the fence, but had been stopped from breathing too much of the mist.

Xander did not hesitate now and quickly climbed up the fence and pulled the kid the rest of the way over and down safely on the other side. Unfortunately, he had breathed and absorbed some of the mist himself, but Xander never let the consequences affect him when he was working to save someone's life.

"Hang on kid, I'll get you to a hospital," Xander said.

The black kid tried to speak but he seemed to be going in and out of consciousness. That was when Xander looked back and around at the other teens in the mist. Some of them were close enough that he could see the details of. What immediately set him rigid was that some of the kids were still fighting between themselves, but only between ones who were wearing different colored scarves. But they all had guns and other weapons that could best be described as 'gang weapons'.

Xander looked back down at the kid he'd just pulled out of there and realized he neither had a weapon or a colored scarf on. 'Probably some innocent bystander that got caught in by the fighting,' Xander thought as he picked him back up, just as a Police helicopter stopped overhead.

Xander had just put the kid in the passenger side of his car when the spotlight was turned on to its brightest and shown down on Xander. He tried to cover his eyes, but the light was so bright. The purple mist was still moving throughout the area, especially around Xander and his car. Before the Police could issue orders for Xander to stand down and wait to be taken into custody however, there was a second, larger explosion that nearly knocked all the helicopters from the sky. Xander thanked his lucky stars as the helicopter left him and he quickly raced around to the drivers side and sped away as fast as he could.

He tried to look for signs of a hospital nearby, but he didn't see any. Seeing no other option, Xander tried to rouse his passenger and ask him directions.

"Hey kid! Hey kid!!" Xander poked the kid in the ribs.

"Ow! Cut it out Sharon, I need my beauty sleep," he mumbled. Xander shook his head and sighed.

"My name's not Sharon, and you'd have to sleep for a hundred years to qualify for beauty anything. Kid wake up!" Xander shouted louder.

"Huh? Wha? Hey, who're you?" he asked.

"I'm the one that just pulled you out of that turf war back their kid. We both breathed in some of that purple mist stuff, and you looked like got hurt or something. Not to mention you were delusional. And my name is not Sharon."

He blushed furiously and scratched the back of his black dreadlock covered head. "I'm Virgil Hawkins. Uh, Sharon's my sister. She's usually the one that wakes me up in the mornings. Uh, listen, thanks for savin' my tail back there."

"No problem. Are you all right though? Think you need to go to the hospital?" Xander asked, concerned.

Virgil seemed to consider the question for a few moment before deftly shaking his head. "Nah, nothing's broken, I just got too much of a lungful of whatever the heck that mist stuff was. You, uh, mind taking me home instead? I really don't want to worry my pops by calling from a hospital."

Xander nodded. "I understand. No problem. Uh…ya mind giving me some directions though? Besides your house though, know where a cheap motel would be around here?"

Virgil actually laughed. "Don't sweat it. My dad's the guy in charge of the Shelter in town. You can spend a night there, no charge."

"Really?" At Virgil's nod, Xander felt like doing the Snoopy dance, "Cool" was all he said though.

'See, my time with Oz has not been wasted after all,' Xander thought to himself with a smug grin.


Xander was genuinely surprised when Virgil directed him to one of the nicer looking neighborhoods, and right up to a two-story house that even his rich Uncle and Aunt in LA couldn't afford and still call it a nice house. Because it was actually a great house. From the outside anyway.

"This it?" Xander asked as he parked the car where Virgil had pointed. Virgil nodded.

"Come on in an meet my Pops. I'm sure he won't mind letting you spend the night at the Shelter," Virgil said as he stepped out of the car, and stumbled the rest of the way out of it.

"Shit!" Xander cursed and quickly got out of his own door and raced to the other side. He couldn't blame Virgil for being disoriented, he was feeling pretty weird himself. What was that purple stuff anyway?

"Hey Virgil, you all right man?" he asked, picking the black kid up by one arm.

"Yeah, I'm ok, I just forgot about the curb there," he said, scratching the back of his head and ducking his head slightly. If Xander didn't know any better, he'd say Virgil was blushing. Xander couldn't help himself as he laughed at the klutz trick of tripping over the curb. That was when Xander noticed the other things though.

"Nice shiner, the curb do that too?" Xander asked as Virgil stood under his own power while Xander locked up his car.

Virgil tentatively touched his cheek and grimaced. "No. This was the reason I was at the docks with all those other…people."

"I don't often call gangs people," Xander coldly remarked. "I call them wild animals. Of course some 'people' also deserve that title in the wrong circumstances. It seems to be healing nicely though. Take it from someone who knows."

"You have much experience with gangs?" Virgil asked.

Xander shook his head. "I get into a lot of…fights with…gang members on PCP. Pain, injury, and I are not strangers. In fact we often get together every week or so. You sure your dad doesn't mind…"

"Just wait until you meet him. My Pops makes Mother Theresa look like Oprah. Not literally though."

Xander laughed as they reached the door. "I figured that."

Rather than just walking right in and announcing he was home, like Xander would at his own, Virgil rang the doorbell and calmly, if not nervously, waited for the door to open. It did, less than five seconds after the bell had finished its knell. The man that had opened it was really quite impressive, he was at least a few inches taller than Xander himself, was black and had well-trimmed black hair and a soft mustache that seemed to make him almost dignified. He also wore simple glasses and a short-sleeved dress shirt with a maroon tie and gray slacks. But it was his eyes and face that immediately made Xander like him.

His eyes went immediately to Virgil and his face showed the gravest and most loving concern that Xander had seen on anyone's face, except maybe for Joyce Summers. Coupled with the suppressed anger and fear that flashed through the man's eyes, Xander knew without a doubt that this man loved his son and would do everything in his power to protect him.

"Virgil, oh my god, are you all right? What happened? Where have you been?" Virgil's father, Robert Hawkins asked in a deep bass, and concerned, voice.

"He's fine sir, just a little shook up and maybe a little worn around the edges, but he's all right," Xander answered for the youth.

Only then did Robert seem to even notice Xander. "Not to be rude or anything, and since my son doesn't seem to remember his manners about introducing people, but who are you? I'm Robert Hawkins, Virgil's father," the large man introduced himself and held out his hand.

Xander took the hand easily and with a smile. "I'm mostly a drifter. I happened to be drifting by when Virgil here ended up getting caught in the middle of a turf war. I helped him to my car and got the both of us out of there as fast as I could. Virgil gave me the directions to your house and other than a black eye and a stubbed toe; neither of us felt the need to go to the hospital. He also…"

"Uh, Pops, we're all right, really," Virgil interrupted quickly. "Uh, also…he kinda needs a place to stay, since…well, you know, I figured maybe he could spend the night at the Shelter, if it was okay with you that is…" he trailed off at his father's continued stare.

Then, after a bit of silence, Robert's face flipped completely around and he smiled easily and said kindly, "I don't think it's a problem at all. And it's the least I can do to repay you for helping my son out tonight."

Xander blushed and shrugged, "It's no big deal sir. I would have helped no matter what. I'm not one to turn my back on those that need my help."

Robert's smile grew. "That's a good thing. Come on, I'll show you the way to the Community Center and get you settled in. Virgil, you go inside. Sharon's got supper ready. I'll be back in a little under an hour."

Virgil, looking like he was about to make a whining complaint, wisely closed his mouth, nodding his head, "Yes sir," and went inside, looking dead tired.

Xander could sympathize. He was surprisingly beat himself, and this was normally still "early" for him.

"Listen sir, I really appreciate what you're doing for me…" Xander started to thank Virgil's father.

"It's no trouble at all. We always have a free bed or two at the Center anyway. And call me Robert."

Xander nodded, smiling, "Robert. Well, thank you anyway. You mind if I follow behind in my car, I really don't want to leave it just anywhere."

"No, that's perfectly all right. Just follow me," and he got into a station wagon in the garage and soon pulled out. Xander was in the Chevy before the station wagon was out of the driveway and followed Robert to the Community Center, only a few minutes away. Once Xander's car was taken care of, Robert quickly set him in one of the empty dorm rooms there and the moment that Xander's head hit the pillow he was fast asleep.


Strange dreams haunted Xander's sleep. The purple mist from the factory was swirling all around him, and then the spotlight from the copter, at least that's what he thought it was, was always on him, surrounding him with blinding, endless, pure light.

He had restless sleep, despite being so tired, and when he finally woke in the morning, he was surprised to find the sunlight streaming directly onto him from the window. Yawning, Xander got up and went to the window, planning on shutting it so he could get a few more minutes sleep, but the moment he got there, he saw the sunrise. Xander smiled, and couldn't help feeling more awake and slightly more alive just from the sight. He stood there for several more minutes, forgetting sleep entirely and just soaking in the sun's rays. Unknowing that he was doing so quite literally.

Xander sighed after a time and the sun had fully risen, and finally noticed the time. He winced and then looked at his watch, noting the date. He pulled out his wallet and counted. His trip was over. He, barely, had enough to get him back home, and as great as Robert Hawkins had been, he wasn't too anxious to answer questions. Especially if, or rather when, the police came upon the dead attendant from the gas station the night before. Finding an attached bathroom, Xander quickly showered and brushed (the materials were all there, better than a motel even!) and then dressed back in the same clothes and quickly slipped out to the parking lot where his car was parked.

Much to his surprise, he wasn't that hungry, but for habits sake; he opened a package of Twinkies and quickly swallowed them on his way out of Dakota City, heading back to California. He was supposed to have a whole other month to his trip, but he wasn't that delusional. Maybe… Maybe he could stay with Cordelia for a few nights in LA before showing back up in ole Sunnyhell. He'd gotten a few 'courtesy' letters from her after they had finally made their peace, and knew where she was staying.

"Oh what the hell, worth a shot," he remarked to himself as he came to the exit that would take him to LA.


Xander's relationship with his ex-girlfriend, once debutant Queen C of Sunnydale High, was if anything incredibly complex. Especially now.


"Can I come inside to let you finish insulting me?" Xander asked.

He was standing outside of Cordelia's door to her apartment, and judging by the hallway, it would be a miracle if the inside looked half as better than his soon-to-be home in his parent's basement. Cordelia herself was looking remarkably…drab. Her hair was uncombed, but clean at the least, and she was wearing rumpled gray sweats, and no make-up. Although she did have a little blush, but Xander figured that was more from seeing him than any effort to look good.

Xander's calm statement forestalled the rest of Cordelia's wrath and she was left standing there for a couple moments, her mouth left open, and then she finally sighed, closed her mouth, and stepped aside, opening the door. She didn't invite him in with words or hand motions.

"Thanks," he said quietly and with his backpack of clothes on his shoulder, stepped into the apartment.

The moment the door was closed, he expected more yelling. Instead, Cordelia just turned the locks and walked back around him into the "living room". She walked over and carefully seated herself on the couch, which looked like it had come with the apartment…and whatever had been here before the apartment too.

"So, what brings you here Xander?" Cordelia asked in a much-subdued voice.

Xander sighed and walked over to the couch. He placed his backpack on the table before the couch, not trusting that floor for anything, and just as gingerly as Cordy had sat down, sat across from her on the couch. "I needed to get out of Sunnydale. Wanted to 'see the world' so to speak, so I borrowed my Uncle Rory's car again, packed up my life savings, and went on a road trip. About two days ago, I reached my spending limit and still be able to get back home. So…I came here."

"Why?" Cordelia asked immediately.

Xander was silent for some moments, staring at a thing on the wall he couldn't identify before finally quit stalling and answered, "I don't know." Cordy didn't say or ask anything more after that, and Xander didn't know what more to say.

"You're sleeping on the couch, no way in hell am I letting you sleep in the bed with me," she finally said, getting up and walking across the room to the "kitchen", opening the fridge and grabbing two sodas from within. She handed one to Xander, who accepted it gratefully and returned to her place on the couch.


Later that night, after Xander had brought the rest of his valuables up from the car, and got his sleeping bag settled on the couch and he sprung for Cordelia's and his pizza-delivered dinner, and at least an hour of catch up, how are things in Sunnydale, and I still don't have a job talks with Cordy, he had finally settled in to sleep. He didn't trust anything, save for his hostess, in this building so he was sleeping for the second time in his clothes, shoes included.

While he slept, a strange dream kept reoccurring throughout the night. Light of every color, shade, hue, and form surrounded him, but this wasn't shadow puppet light or even the light from the spotlight during the Big Bang. The Big Bang is what the news was calling the explosion in Dakota City; he'd heard it on the radio on the way to LA. The light that surrounded him in his dreams however, was not that light.

It was…it was as if light were more than just light, an energy traveling through the air, but more like it was a combination of water and some kind of Jell-o mix, but more like the air than water whenever it brushed up against him. That was the really freaky part of the dreams; he could actually touch the light and feel it. Not like you feel the heat of the sun or a lamp, but he felt it in a way that he had never known or imagined before.

Also, the purple mist was still all around him, and it was definitely not to be confused for the light around him. Where he felt the light in all intensities and sensations, the mist was a constant liquid burning, like it was burning him, moving throughout him constantly.

Xander had to wonder if that stuff had done something to him. At least in his dreams he wondered that. Consciously, he wondered what was happening to Virgil if this was happening to him. Virgil had been exposed to that stuff longer than he had been.

When he awoke in the morning, he planned on starting breakfast to further thank Cordelia. Or at the very least start the coffee to shorten her bad mood. He both was and wasn't surprised to find the fridge almost empty, save for a couple bottles of soda, and still in the bags leftovers from restaurants.

Xander paused just before he close the door however, spotting a McDonalds bag from when he was a kid. Curiosity getting the better of him, he carefully grabbed the bag at the top, careful not to touch the bulge of the contents at all. He pulled it out and opened it, letting the light fall on it to show him what was inside. He stared for about ten seconds and only blinked twice before quickly rolling the bag back shut and shoving it to the farthest bottom corner he could toss it to.

"And I thought all the weird stuff was on the Hellmouth," he mumbled as he turned around and started putting his stuff together.

When Cordelia stumbled out he smiled gently at her. She stared at him and seemed to be weighing some decision in her mind. Before she came to it though, Xander interrupted her thought processes asking, "Hey, mornin' Cordy. I thought I'd spring for breakfast today. And, hey, to say thank you for being such a gracious host, I remember you have that party tonight, so I'll pay for your hair appointment and manicurist too!"

Cordy stared suspiciously at her ex for half a minute before finally asking, "The McDonald's bag?"

Xander nodded, a guilty look on his face, "The McDonald's bag," he confirmed. Cordy nodded back, no longer suspicious or grumpy looking. "It made me want to eat at a Café, a last taste of…of tasteful food in a tasteful restaurant. I ordered Chinese instead. You're really paying for breakfast?"

Xander nodded. "Well…Anywhere under a ten dollar max item and not Mickey D's." Cordelia graced him with a rare smile. And then something even rarer and to be valued more than anything in the world. "Thank you Xander." Then she turned and entered her room to get ready for the day.

Xander blinked. Then he smiled.

An hour later they were driving through the Hardees Drive-thru when Cordelia, feeling human once she had food in her belly, gave her first insult of the day. "You know Zeppo, you kept me up half the night with your nightlight or whatever the hell it was you had on last night."

Xander frowned, confused. "Night light?" he asked.

"Well, it might've been the TV, I never even turn the damn thing on, but I didn't hear any sound. All I know is that there was a really bright light coming from where you were sleeping and it kept waking me up." Cordelia further explained.

Xander made a confused face and was about to argue the point when Cordelia grabbed his unbitten hash browns and asked as she moved them towards her mouth, "Are you going to eat that?" and then without waiting for an answer she quickly ate them.

"No, it's all right, I'm not very hungry," Xander said distractedly. Surprising, what he'd said was true, he wasn't very hungry, and he didn't mind Cordelia eating the rest of his breakfast. If she had been paying attention, she might have been concerned that Xander had only consumed his orange juice.

Xander was driving them through the city with the Chevy's top up to cut down on the wind and was trying to follow Cordelia's directions while at the same time paying very close attention to the sky. Specifically the sun. She had a hair appointment that she had used half her savings to get so she could go to this 'Producers' party tonight, and still had a dress that she looked stunning in to wear to it as well. Xander was being gentlemanly in trying to get her there, but first he had to find the damn place.

But what was distracting him though…was that Xander thought he was still dreaming, because like the wind passing through his open window, he swore by everything he believed in…that he felt the light of the sun and just about everything else that had light in/on/or reflected off it. In fact it was almost as if he could reach out and touch it…

"Xander! Are you dumber than even I thought! It's green! GO!" Cordelia shouted in his ear, startling the young man, and he noticed that she was right and quickly sped through the intersection.

"What's wrong?" Cordelia finally asked after another couple minute's silence.

"Nothing," Xander said immediately.

"Don't give me that. I may not like it, but I know you better than that. You were more than just a little, 'oh, there goes a hot piece of ass' distracted. You were more…'Buffy's in trouble and I gotta go save her' distracted. I guess that translates to 'Hellmouthy' distracted. What's wrong?" Cordelia asked, sounding like she genuinely cared.

Xander sighed, and closed his eyes to think. He opened them shortly, a decision in mind. "That the place?" he asked as they passed a decent looking boutique. Cordelia quickly turned and smiled and turned back and answered with a nod. Xander nodded back and turned the car around to go the way they had come. He parked at a nearby children's park not too far from the boutique.

He then got out of the car and sat on the hood. A minute later, Cordelia joined him.

"The end of my road trip was in Dakota City," he began.

"Hey, isn't that where that 'Big Bang' everybody on the news is talking about happened a couple days ago?" Cordelia automatically made the connection.

Xander nodded, looked across the way at the pond reflecting the sun's rays. "I was there a couple days ago. Drove into town, just stopped for some gas when I was buzzed by a police helicopter. Well, you know me. I followed it, just in time to see the explosion, the Big Bang, happen. I managed to get a civilian, an innocent kid that had gotten caught in between the gangs fighting and I got him home. His "Pops" gave me a place to spend the night. After that, I came straight here, knowing my 'vacation' as it were, was over."

Xander stopped as he stood and turned to face the former cheerleader. "I've been dreaming about that purple stuff for the past two nights."

Cordelia gasped, her eyes widened. "Xan-Xander, you know what they're saying about…about those kids, the former gangs that were near that stuff. They…they're calling them Bang Babies. I listened to it on the news because, well, Sunnydale screwed me over so bad that I actually pay attention when anything Hellmouthy makes the news. But…you've heard."

Xander nodded. "Caught the report on my way into town. Meta-humans. I…ever since I woke up, things have been, I don't know…weird. I…I feel, as in can touch and feel the same way that you can feel water and the clothes on your skin…I can feel the light. And not just the sun. The light from the car radio, the stoplights, even reflected light, I swear I can actually…feel it."

Cordelia blinked. Then she blinked some more. Her thinking was short-circuited. "So…omigod, last night. Your 'night light'. That was you!" she suddenly realized.

Xander blinked. He hadn't thought of that.

"Great, so I'm some kind of light battery, and a living night light to boot," he sarcastically commented. He sat back down on the hood with a huff. "Do you hate me now?"

Cordelia looked at him, shocked. Then she considered what to say and realized what he was thinking at the same time. "No Xander, I don't hate you. I…" she sighed. "I never really hated you. Although I came pretty close to for the whole fluke thing, but… No, I could never hate you because of something like this. If you can love Buffy because, or even in despite of what she is and her Angel, then I'm certainly not one to hate you because of what…would make you different."

Xander was quiet for a time and then he looked up and smiled at her. "Thanks Cordy."

"Come on, let's get you to your appointment."

"We can walk," she said, taking his arm. Xander smiled and let her guide him back to the boutique.


"I'll get the car before we leave, and will drive with the windows up." Xander promised. Cordelia just smiled broader and they walked along in companionable silence.


While Cordelia was being "done-up", Xander went back to the park. It was late afternoon, so while the sun was low, there was still plenty of light and a long way off from being sunset. The park was deserted, and Xander was glad for small miracles. He needed as much privacy as he could get for what he had planned.

A theory had struck him while he had been handing out the cash for Cordelia's appointment. While the cashier had reached out and taken the money actually. If he could feel the light, and according to Cordy generate it as well, what if he could also touch the light in the same way the cashier touched and took the money from his hands. The light, to him anyway, actually felt more solid than any kind of liquid, but just as flowing and unrestricting. And with the right ways you could hold and mold liquid into different shapes, forms, whatever. What was stopping him from doing the same with light?

Taking a deep, calming breath, Xander cleared his mind of all confusing thoughts and reached out his hand at the reflection of the sun on the pond. He wasn't even sure what he was trying to do, so he tried focusing his mind like Yoda kept telling Luke to do in the Empire Strikes Back with the Force. Nada. He then tried to force the light from his skin like he'd done last night apparently and maybe try to lasso the light from the pond. Zip. Getting frustrated, Xander calmed himself once more and just felt the light flowing around him. He closed his eyes so he could feel it better, no longer distracted by what his eyes were telling him. Feeling it was like constantly being in the shower, only with no bad elements to it.

His eyes still closed, Xander reached out his hand to where he felt the reflected light, and in his minds eye, through this new sense of his, he saw the stream of particles/waves from the pond, somehow brighter against the 'background noise' of the sun in the sky and even the light of the sky itself. That had surprised him, to find that the sky, not just the sun, had and cast its own light rather than just reflections of the sun or the moon. But what really surprised him was that when he cast out his hand, he felt it brush up against the stream of light, like rubbing your hand against a fountain of water. Only…this fountain was solid like a steel pole.

Xander, his eyes still closed, wrapped his fingers around that pole and pulled. The light resisted at first, but was easily bent, having already been so. Xander opened his eyes. He stared in complete shock as the reflection of the sun on the pond hovered before him. But not as a beam of light, but the actual reflection. The waves were still distorting the image, and it was 'life size' not what his eye said was its size. A quick look at the pond provided another shock; there was no longer a reflection of the sun on it.

Xander quickly closed his eyes and tried to feel what he had done.

It was surprisingly simpler than he'd thought. The light of the sun was still hitting the pond, but the light of the reflection, what casts light to your eye for you to see it, was not however many micrometers off the surface of the molecules, it was now hovering five centimeters above his hand.

He quickly looked back at the pond and saw something even more interesting. There was no shadow where he had grabbed the reflection from. In fact…there was nothing at all. Xander, now that he was looking for it, could identify what had happened. He had grabbed the light of an object, light that people use to see that object with. His, and anyone else's eyes would say that there is nothing there, but the human mind can't comprehend 'nothing' so it was making him fill in the 'nothing' with the color and motion of the rest of the pond so it just looked like there was no reflection. Xander smiled as he figured out the enigma.

He released his hold on the light of the reflection, and faster than thought, and in a bigger flash of yellow light, the "hologram" disappeared from over his hand and the reflection returned to the pond. Xander smiled as he began to no longer look at what was happening to him as a curse, like vampirism or something like that. Sure it had power, but he saw the down sides with stuff like that before he saw the benefits. Here…well since Cordy wasn't freaking there wasn't a downside yet.

For the next hour or so, Xander experimented with his new abilities. He created several holograms, first by stealing the reflected light at its source, and then he learned that he could also mold new light, taking it from the very air, the sky, and of course the sun, and making exact holographic replicas of several things in the park. He also learned to bend light to make illusions, and how to make several things, himself included, disappear by simply canceling out the light right at the reflected source, in other words the object he made invisible. The point wasn't to make light avoid what was being made invisible; it was making it so nothing else could see the light it would have reflected to the eye.

Of course what Xander didn't know at the time was that he wasn't just working with one spectrum of light, ie visible light, but the whole spectrum of all light in the area. So when he made something invisible, he made it completely invisible, to both infrared and x-ray as well.

Bending light was more fun though, for Xander anyway. There were several mirror-reflective surfaces in the park and he had fun making himself a strong man in several of them as well as the whole fun-house mirrors deal. Then he tried bending the light in a way that would totally rework the image. It was a bit harder, but surprisingly not at all a strain for Xander as he made himself look like Cordelia, and then a tree into fire hydrant, and then the pond into a scaled down replica of the Great Pyramid. He found that he had to "borrow" the extra light from the air for bigger illusions, and that was where the strain came in.

Forcing light into new forms was one thing, but apparently taking it and reworking it into something it wasn't, was a whole other deal. The more light he took, the more it felt like he was stacking his arms fuller and fuller, like carrying too many groceries or something like that. So it wasn't hard as much as it became awkward.

Finally, the time came to pick up Cordelia, and Xander thought of playing around a little. Making sure nobody was around, he reworked how the light reflected off his car so that people no longer saw a '57 turquoise Chevy convertible, instead they now saw a cherry red mint condition Mustang convertible. Xander smiled as he pulled off the illusion perfectly, having memorized the entire layout of the Mustang convertible from thousands of pictures when he was still young enough to be dreaming of cars and girls instead of nightmares about vampires and demons.

Xander pulled up to several wolf whistles just outside the boutique and waited patiently inside the car until Cordelia came out. He smiled when he saw her, already wearing the dress she was planning for the party, and looking absolutely spectacular.

He got out, standing by the driver's side door and waved to get her attention. She stared, open-mouthed at the car as she came up to him. "I thought you were out of money!" she hissed, staring in complete disbelief.

Xander shrugged, giving her a lopsided grin. "Get in, I'll explain." Then he just slid back down behind the wheel.

Cordelia did, with a stunned silence, which ended the moment she sat down and closed the door.

"IT'S THE SAME CAR!" she shouted. Xander winced and started down the street towards uptown, Cordelia had to be at her party before sunset.

"Yeah, it is. Remember how I mentioned that I can feel light now?" Xander prodded.

Cordelia's eyes went wide. "It…it's an illusion! You did this with…whatever is happening to you because of the Big Bang?"

Xander nodded, keeping the lopsided grin on his face.

"All right, so you aren't the Zeppo," she conceded. They spent the rest of the time driving to the party in silence. Cordelia was easily admitted, having been chauffeured in such a classic and expensive car, but before she even got out, she looked at Xander with a new light, not literally, and graced him with a kiss on the cheek.

"Thank you Xander. Be safe. I'll…I'll see you around I guess. Good bye," and then she got out of the car, and that was the last Xander saw of her. For a while anyway.

Xander spent the rest of the night driving home.


"All those who enter, abandon thee all Hope"

"Appropriate," Xander commented as he drove past the sign, and to his new residence, his parent's basement. Stowing his stuff, and giving his father the first month's rent, Xander walked downstairs and stared at the mess and the hide-a-bed couch.

"Home sweet Hellmouth," he mumbled.

Part 2
Birth of the White Knight

Xander spent his 'other month' doing pretty important stuff. Like finding a job. Learning how to control his powers. And not using those powers to kill his father. He and his mother had the same relationship they always had, just that he lived in the basement and gave them money now, in that they were survivors aka victims of Xander's father.

He managed to get himself in with a local construction company, unfortunately the first job they had didn't start until November, and they weren't willing to give him a desk job until then. So he spent his first week back going around town and filling out applications. He spent his first two weeks after that week of applications, getting trained at 'Double-Meat Palace' and quit the day after he got his first paycheck. The only other place that would take him…Ice cream truck man.

There were exactly three genuinely good things about what he had once thought of as the greatest job in the world. He did get to eat the ice cream free, but after a box of fudge 'cicles and the first dozen creamy puffs…his stomach protested that particular job perk. He got to drive around town, learning more about the streets of Sunnydale and its residential areas than he had ever known before. And the greatest of all, he had a lot of alone time. Giving him time to practice his powers and train himself in using them.

Holograms, even ones using massive amounts of the light in the air, were easy to him now. But what he wanted to do, what he was trying to do, was create a Star Trek hologram. He could do illusions perfectly, but what he had yet to learn how to do was create force fields.

'Maybe I should tell Willow,' Xander thought as he drove along. 'Cordy already knows, and it's not that big of a deal with her. But then again…'

Xander remembered that despite the total witch-kick Willow was on right now, she was still, at her heart, a total scientist. Which meant experiments, observation, researching involving him being her guinea pig… And maybe even contacting the authorities about the Big Bang mess.

He really wanted to avoid that one. He'd heard, as had the rest of the Scooby Gang, about how there was already special medical and scientific divisions being set up within the government to help the Bang Babies deal with their mutations. He was already dealing with it; he just wanted to take it to its maximum potential.

'Why though?' he asked himself as he stopped at a red light.

He didn't even hesitate in answering, whispering to himself, "Buffy…"

But would Buffy understand? Willow would, again going back to the scientist thing, but Buffy… Buffy was the Slayer, and without regards to one ensouled vampire currently not in Sunnydale, weird things + Slayer = 1 slain Xander. Him being able to control light would definitely be a weird thing.

Oh sure, she would understand eventually, but it would be the initial confrontation that would kill him. Or at the very least endanger his life. He sighed. His whole point to learning how to use these powers of his was so he could contribute to the Scooby Gang, help protect people, help fight the demons and other nasties on the Hellmouth.

He paused. 'Well…why can't I? I can still protect the innocent, fight the forces of darkness with my powers of light, but who says I have to do it with the Scooby Gang?' he asked himself. His face lit up, not literally though. 'I just got myself a secret identity. I'll have to make myself a costume. Like Spiderman.'

But that brings us back to the whole full potential of these powers, he realized.

'I've got no choice. I have to tell Willow. Experimenting might be just what I need.' He thought. 'I'll tell her tomorrow.'


That night, Xander walked to Giles apartment, which is where Mrs. Summers said Buffy was, to announce to the gang that he was back early. Just before he got to the door he paused. He'd have to make something up to tell Giles and Buffy about where he'd been during his road trip. Well…he had wanted to stop at that diner in Oxnard, but instead kept going, which is where he ran to Dakota City, just in time for the Big Bang. He could just say his car broke down in Oxnard and he…what? Washed dishes to pay to get it fixed? Nah, that'd never fly because it's been used on TV too many times.

He paced and thought about it for about nine more minutes on Giles' front porch before he finally made his decision and settled his courage to actually say it. He stripped. Well, that is to say to pay off his car getting fixed. He stripped for money. Or he was a Bouncer at a strip club… Better stick with washed dishes at a strip club, he decided.

Taking a deep breath, Xander walked into Giles' home. Only to find it empty. It looked as if the G-man was finally finding a life outside of being a retired Watcher, Xander thought as he came down from the Englishman's bedroom. If the discarded clothes were any clue that is, he added, because I shudder to think of any other reason the G-man would have lady's undergarments on his floor.

Disappointed, and slightly relieved, that the gang wasn't hanging around Giles researching the next apocalypse, Xander made his way to the only other place he could think of where he might be able to find Buffy or Willow. The Bronze.

He found her all right. Looking about half as miserable as he felt. Then he stopped when she suddenly seemed to perk up, and he tracked her line of sight. A guy, that from the back coulda been Angel's twin, was just now turning around to show that he was not Angel, and Buffy deflated again, looking even more miserable, no doubt berating herself for hoping it was Angel.

Xander couldn't stand this any longer. Silently, well, silent enough in the din that was the Bronze, he snuck up behind her and gently tapped her shoulder, and said, "The whole world in front of her and she comes back to this dive." He'd heard it in a movie that he'd watched on TV recently.

"Xander!" the blonde Slayer exclaims and immediately gives him a bear hug, forcing him to bend down to accept it. The welcome doesn't last nearly as long as he would have preferred, but it was enough to remind him why he'd even come back here.

"Hey Buff," he said gently as they released each other. He still couldn't help wondering about his thoughts of Buffy's attitude of 'Slay first, ask questions later,' and what her reaction would be if he confided in what had happened, but it was just a momentary thought and he concentrated more on being back with her. In the sense of hanging like best buds do.

"Oh, when did you get back?" Buffy asked.

"A couple of… days ago," he'd almost told the truth and said 'weeks', but his common sense dictated otherwise.

Buffy frowned. "You freak of nature! Why didn't you call me?"

Xander winced at her term, but answered honestly this time, "Well I knew you guys were starting the whole college adventure and I didn't want to, um, you know... help you move. Plus I had to settle myself in, and one moving trip is quite enough thank you."

Buffy giggled good naturedly, the complete and total opposite to what she had been a few moments before. "I missed you," she admitted with a fond smile on her face, "So, spill. How was your trip? Was America nice? I hear it's nice."

"There's some purple mountain majesty, I'm gonna have to say," Xander joked.

"What'd you do? What did you see?" she quizzed as they sat down in one of the available booths.

"Well…" Xander hesitated, thinking 'This is it. Crunch time. Where's Shaq when you need him?'

"Tell me." Buffy outright demanded.

"Grand Canyon," he told her.

"You saw the Grand Canyon?" she asked, surprised.

'Why would she be surprised?' he wondered.

"Well, no, I saw the movie Grand Canyon. On cable TV. Really lame." 'And it's also where I got that stupid line from,' he thought.

"Hunh?" Buffy's look was completely clueless.

Xander sighed. From the moment that he had left his… "apartment" he had been thinking over and over in his mind what to tell his friends when he saw them and they asked what he did on his trip. From the moments he had walked into the Bronze and saw Buffy, he had perfected the details of his "washed dishes in a strip club" story.

"Basically, I got as far as Oxnard and the engine fell out of my car, and that was literally. So, I ended up washing dishes at 'The Fabulous Ladies Night Club' for about a month and a half while I tried to pay for the repairs. No one really bothered me or even spoke to me until one night when one of the male strippers called in sick and no power on this earth will make me tell you the rest of that story. Suffice to say I traded my car in for one that wasn't entirely made of rust, came trundling back home to the arms of my loving parents, where everything was exactly as it was except I sleep in the basement and I have to pay rent. How's college?"

"Male strippers?" Buffy asked, a cute and curious look on her face.

"No power on this Earth!" Xander said with absolute finality, and brought out Resolve Face. Willow may have perfected it, but he knew how to use it.

"OK," she let it go, and then frowned and with a voice so glum that he briefly mistook the Slayer for her once broody vampire boyfriend, "College is good."

"OK, uh, once more with even less feeling," Xander commented.

"No, really! I-I mean, Willow's in heaven, and Oz even has this off-campus house with the band," she listed the good things that she had observed.

"And yet you're still sitting here alone at the Bronze looking like you just got diagnosed with cancer of the puppy," Xander pointed out. "Come on Buff, seriously. This is me here. What's wrong?"

Buffy frowned and sighed. "It, it, it's just… I don't think I'm ready for college. The classes are unbelievably hard, my roommate is a nightmare and a half, Willow and Oz don't have any time for anyone but each other, and then I couldn't find you anywhere and Giles is saying I don't need him anymore and Mom turned my room into a storage place for her art stuff and…"

"Is that all?" Xander asked with a laugh in his voice.

"Well, I also got my arm broken by this skanky bitch vamp the other day before I finally managed to stake her and half her goon squad. It's been hurting for a while, but other than that I've just been feeling miserable."

"Oh," Xander muttered as he settled more comfortably into the couch. "Want me to get you some mocha?" he asked after a minute's silence.

Buffy turned and graced him with a slight smile that slowly grew, "Thanks, I'd like that."

Xander nodded with a full lop-sided grin. "Stay right here, I'll be right back." He got up and made his way to the refreshment bar. Luckily, nothing happened on his way to the bar, nor while he waited to get Buffy's mocha and his own soft drink. It was when he was walking back that suddenly every light in the place seemed to get about a thousand times brighter than normal, although Xander seemed to be the only one who noticed it.

He momentarily staggered, incidentally right next to a table whose sole occupants were without any doubt "nerds", and then froze. A moment later, he seemed to have adapted as suddenly every iota of light in the dark club became twice as intense to normal once the brief overload of light had subsided. He almost called it night vision but the fact that he could still detect shadows; only now see through them, was what changed his mind. It was more that, he now realized, he had somehow subconsciously commanded all the light around him to send a few extra particles of itself to his eyes only.

He paused by a mirror and looked at himself, and was pleasantly surprised to find that the only side effect was that his eyes looked a bit brighter, which could easily be blamed on the weird lighting of the nightclub. He quickly moved on with the drinks to where Buffy was waiting.

"Hey, took you long enough," Buffy teasingly commented as he handed her drink over.

"Yeah well, blame the people in front of me who couldn't tell a five from a fifty and insisted on haggling it out with the cashier," Xander replied in the same tone, eliciting a soft smile from the Slayer.

"So besides not great, how are things? I mean really," Xander asked, switching to his rarely used 'serious voice'.

Buffy frowned as she put her mocha back on the table beside them. "I…I guess it isn't as bad as I thought it was. I just missed my Xander-shaped friend. You always make everything not quite as serious, and I missed that. Things just weren't as fun with you not around."

Xander smiled. "Well gosh!" he suddenly gushed and play-acted like he had just been given an Emmy. Buffy giggled and laughed at his antics. The rest of the evening was spent catching up with one another and making plans for the near future. Such as going to visit Giles for a Scooby meeting the next afternoon.

By the time the two young adults had left the club, they were both feeling much better about themselves, and the rest of the world. Buffy, apparently, was feeling so good that she gave Xander a kiss on the cheek good night before leaving. Xander sighed and watched after her for some minutes, until she finally walked out of his view, and he headed, rather glumly, back to his own residence.

Not five minutes after he and Buffy parted company that Xander heard a telltale crash down an alley he was passing. Making sure he had the stake that he always kept with him, especially after his road trip, was in his hand, he quickly headed down the alley, unconsciously calling the light in the alley to his eyes so he could see better. What he saw greatly disturbed him.

Because it was a gang of vamps, or even a single vampire beating up a victim. It was three overgrown, mountainous thugs that might have been jocks when they were in high school like ten years ago, beating up, and looking to do worse to a young girl that looked like she still was in high school.

Xander almost growled himself, his temper getting the better of him as he triggered his powers with a single thought.

The small alley was flooded in blinding light, causing all but one to cry out in pain and cover their eyes. The thugs were knocked back, and then suddenly Xander struck, not with more light, as the most of it was coming from him directly, but with his fists, feet, and legs. Before they knew it, all three thugs were knocked out, unconscious on the ground.

Without dimming the light he was emitting, mostly because he hadn't figured out how to yet, Xander turned to the beaten young woman and asked as kindly as he could, "Are you all right?"

"I…I-I, I t-th-think s-so. Th-thank you," the timid blonde stuttered out. She kept blinking her eyes, but slowly, her vision was clearing, however the light around the mysterious man that had just saved her was so bright that she couldn't clearly, or actually, see him. "Who…who are you?"

The man seemed to hesitate for a moment and then she got the funniest impression he was smiling as he said to her, "I'm just your friendly, neighborhood white knight, at your service milady." He then did a funny little bow and righted himself, still smiling at her.

"Tell you what, why don't you go call the police, tell them what happened and where you are. I'll keep these thugs here to keep them out of trouble. It can be dangerous out at night here. More dangerous that I would have thought apparently."

The young blonde, a girl named Tara Maclay, hesitated for only a few moments before quickly scurrying out of the alley and then to the nearest phone. Leaving Xander, still brightly glowing, in the alley with the three unconscious goons.

'Can't very well leave them here, too much of a chance of a vamp strolling along and getting them, and even they don't deserve that,' Xander thought. He began to cast about the alley, looking for something to use, when he saw a coil of wire that if it wasn't already tightly wound up, he might be able to use. Unfortunately, he was nowhere near strong enough to actually use it. He wished that he could just make a 'light' copy of it and use the hologram to hold the guys, but he still…

Xander startled when suddenly strands of light that he was emitting reached out and almost seemed to absorb themselves into the wire he was looking at, and then moments later rejoin him, and half a moment after that, he felt the light reshape itself into a way he hand never imagined or seen before, but somehow was still natural for the light, into a solid, white, hologram of the wire, except fully controlled by him.

Ecstatic, but still too nervous to be celebrating, Xander directed the 'light' wire to wrap itself around the three thugs, and then hang them from the fire escape right above them. Like a snake-rope in a cartoon, the white colored wire did exactly that. It was as easy as manipulating the light and creating holograms to him.

Then he heard the cops and felt the blue and red lights, and casting about for a way out of the alley, absently wishing he had wings to fly him out, he felt the light reshape again, and suddenly he had wings on his back, picking him up and carrying, and then gliding him away from the alley.

"I'm starting to get the hang of this," Xander said to himself as he controlled how and where the wings took him and set him down on the ground, in another dark alley closer to his house. Xander relaxed himself, feeling tense ever since seeing that young woman in danger, and as he relaxed, the light he was emitting slowly ebbed, and then disappeared all together. Denied of a light source, the wings, and the rope back in the alley, dissolved away into nothing.

Xander sighed as the realization struck home closer than ever. "Gotta talk to Wills about this," he mumbled depressingly. He couldn't just keep figuring things out like this by accident. He needed a path, and Willow was the only person that he trusted enough and he knew was knowledgeable enough to help him.

Sure Giles was a full adult, graduated with honors, Watcher-guy, but he was the expert in the supernatural. What was happening to Xander wasn't supernatural it was science. And Willow was the expert in science.

"First thing tomorrow," Xander promised himself as he walked back to his bed in silence.


Xander, thanks mostly to good thinking, and ending up calling Oz first by accident, called ahead for Willow so they could meet, catch up, and have some privacy for their talk. Willow was completely busy with classes, as it was still the beginning of the semester, until 2 o'clock, but unfortunately his shift didn't end until 4. 'Stupid ice cream truck job,' he thought bitterly as he planned to meet Willow at a college campus coffee shop at 5.

Xander have been practicing the solid hologram trick all day, as he had practiced with the rest of his skills. By quitting time, he had figured out how to do it at will rather than instinctually as he had last night. The big thing though, it always required the light that he himself generated, using any other light source just didn't work. Although, he could use another light source to fuel the hologram after he turned his own light off so it could still last, to initiate it at all required the light his own body generated.

That was another thing he had discovered from his accident the night previous. He seemed to store up extra light inside himself, and he wasn't even sure how much of that he could, but he now had an answer as to why he felt "hungry" that morning in LA, and in Dakota City…that is until he was standing in sunshine. He was absorbing the sunlight and keeping it in his body somehow, though he couldn't begin to explain to himself how. Just another thing he'd have to ask Willow to help him with.

He quickly went home to shower and get off 'ice cream' smells, although not too bad, he still didn't want it on him, as well as stickiness from his own snacks. At it was, he was only five minutes late to the coffee place, but that was mostly because he spent fifteen minutes looking for it.

At the sight of Willow, with her hair fashioned into a cute bob no less, Xander's heart soared and he felt a piece of him that he hadn't known he'd been missing suddenly fill in and sing with joy at the sight of his oldest and dearest friend. It was like finding a long lost sister safe and sound.

"Willow!" he cried as they embraced. "It's great seeing you!"

"Xander! Omigawd I missed you so much you have to tell me everything that happened to you now don't hold anything back and Buffy told me that you worked in a stripper bar in Oxnard and you…" Willow babbled, but Xander smiled lovingly down at her, and then pinched her lips closed with his forefinger and thumb.

"I've missed you too Wills. Now lets go someplace and talk. Privately please. Willow, please?" Xander begged until he saw the acceptance in her eyes and finally let go of her lips.

"Xander? What's wrong?" she asked, concerned, and grabbing her purse as they left.

"Will…is there some place we can talk privately, and be really alone? I'm serious Willow, I've…I need to tell you something and only you, no one else." Xander, for good measure pulled out his puppy-dog eyes.

Now Willow was really concerned. She nodded numbly and led him through a virtual maze that was the college campus until finally they entered a dark building, which apparently was a science building as they entered a locked lab, which Willow had the key for, which was darker than the rest of the building.

"We can't get any more alone than this Xander," Willow told him. "Now…if this is about…you know, the whole fluke thing, then…"

Xander immediately shook his head, emphatically denying that scenario. His…feelings over Willow were now for all time siblings in nature only.

"No, no, no, and again I say no," Xander said, putting the emphasis of his denial into words. "I'm entirely over that, and now more than ever I believe that you and Oz belong together and I would never in my life risk your happiness with him for anything. This is… quite a bit more serious I'm afraid." Xander started to pace around the dark lab.

"Xander? You're scaring me," Willow's voice conveyed just how true that was.

"I'm pretty scared myself Wills, believe me," he sighed, and ran his hands through his dark hair. "You, uh, have you been keeping track of the news? Heard about that explosion in Dakota City they're calling "The Big Bang"? Willow, have you?"

Willow was staring at Xander, praying with all her might to the goddess that what she felt and knew in her heart he was telling her was not what he was telling her. She nodded, knowing almost every detail of the chemical disaster. She even knew quite a bit more than she had a right to about what the chemical in the Big Bang was.

Xander sighed again and kept pacing.

"I lied to Buffy. I never even stayed in Oxnard. I was going to stop there for a bite to eat, but for some reason, I…I didn't. Instead I kept going, only stopping to get gas and food, and I found myself in Dakota City…the night of the Big Bang." Xander paused and took a deep breath. "I stopped for gas about half way into the city. There was a vamp there and I dusted it. After I got back in my car, I got buzzed by a police copter, and that's when I noticed what was going on down by the docks. I…I'm not sure why, but I went in that general direction when suddenly there was this huge explosion."

Xander stopped and turned to look at his best friend, his face and front covered in shadows. "By the time I got there, this purple mist was damn near everywhere. Where I parked, I saw this young kid in trouble, some innocent bystander that got caught between the crossfire of a gang war. A real gang war Wills, not vamps. I grabbed him, pulled him in my car, and we hightailed it out of there. But…not before we both got a lungful of that purple mist. I drove him home, and his father ran a kids shelter and let me spend the night. By morning, I was on my way back to LA."

"Xan…Xander…wh-what are you saying?" Willow stutteringly asked.

"I guess it's better if I just show you," was all he said before slowly the lights came on in the lab. Until Willow realized that the lights weren't on, but the room was lit up as if they were.

She looked back at Xander, and immediately had to cover her eyes from the incredibly bright glare he presented her with. Almost immediately the room was plunged back into its darkened state.

"Xan-Xan-Xander, you-you-you're a, a, a…" Willow stuttered.

"I'm," Xander finished for Willow, "a Bang Baby. Ever since that day, I've been able to control light, and just last night I figured out how to generate it as well. Normal guy got powers. Must be a sign of the apocalypse somewhere."

Willow was almost too stunned to speak.

Finally, she managed to gain enough thought to actually form words. "Why didn't you…why did you lie to Buffy? And why haven't you told us about this sooner?" she asked.

Xander shrugged and took a few steps forward until the light from a blinded window illuminated his face. "Willow, think about it. Buffy Slayer. Slayer live on Hellmouth. Hellmouth equal weird things and weirdoes that always want to destroy or control the world. Normal guy gets powers. Normal guy is now weird. Slayer kill weird and dangerous things, and until I can prove that I can control these powers, that makes me pretty dangerous Willow. Willow, I, I'm scared."

"Oh Xander," Willow raced forward and embraced her now meta-human friend. "I…I promise, I'll help you. No matter what, I'll help you."

Xander smiled, feeling a warmth fill his soul. "OK, first rule, until I can control this thing," Xander told her as they released from their hug, "we can't tell Buffy or Giles. Think about it Willow. Even with you backing me up that this is a science freak accident thing, they're going to think an evil supernaturalness is at work."

"Buffy would never hurt you Xander, you should know that better than any of us," Willow protested, "And, and look at Oz. He's a werewolf, but he's still part of the group."

"Yeah, because we know how to control him when he's dangerous. Willow…I don't think you quite understand what all I can do here. I control light. Our eyes are dependent on light to see. Remember the funny monkeys, "See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil"? Well with me, it'd be "See no anything!" And that's not all, I can create illusions, as easily as you can write your name with a pencil, and just last night, I actually created a very for real, solid hologram. I'm talking Star Trek Next Generation holograms here Willow. I need your help, and not just keeping this secret. I need your help to help me figure out my powers, how to help me control them, hell, explain to me what they do or what it is. I'm going on instinct here, and considering I've only been a meta for three weeks, that's not comforting even to me!"

Willow frowned with thought as Xander finished. She believed him about what he said, if anything his earlier display was more than proof enough. Then she really began thinking.

Slowly, the need for secrecy became more and more relevant in her mind. She nodded, a resolved and strong look in her eyes. "All right. I promise Xander. And I promise to help you as much as I can. But…I'm not an expert in meta-humans. If, if you get sick or something…"

Xander shushed her, a fond smile forming on his face. "I promise, if anything goes really wrong with me, I'll turn myself into the proper authorities. Like S.T.A.R. Labs. They're the people that take care of Superman, remember?"

Willow nodded and smiled. Then she looked thoughtful again before an even bigger smile came up on her face. "What?" Xander asked. He recognized that look.

"A new branch of S.T.A.R. Labs just opened up outside of town. They've set up a kiosk near the Academic building. They're asking for student volunteers. Not for like experiments or anything, but like internships, only actual jobs and stuff. At first I wasn't going to do anything with it, but…now I'm going to sign up," Willow told him.

"Wait, what? Why?" Xander tried to follow, but falling just short.

"S.T.A.R. Labs is the premier organization into the study of meta-humans, funded through multiple grants and donations from many generous business owners. They also have the latest in technology to help them in that study," Willow explained. "Once I'm in, it shouldn't take me too long before I can access the lab and tools, and then we can start getting real data on your new meta-humanness."

Xander grinned, then a thought suddenly struck him that took it from his face. "Wait, Willow, won't using equipment like that leave a trail, like a listing that someone used it at this time, or maybe even the results of what was done with it. They'll know it was me!"

Willow gave her lanky friend a disturbingly evil grin. "Xander, Xander, Xander, do you truly doubt my, and my hacking skills, that much?"

Xander stared for about three seconds before a very similar grin appeared on his face, and he started chuckling. "Remind me to never, ever underestimate you Wills," he laughed, and hugged her again. She laughed with him, until they let go of each other, and then she got serious in a heartbeat.

"OK, first of all, I have to get a baseline of what all you can do. What are you doing this weekend? I have a feeling this might take a while," she said, getting down to business.

"My weekend is entirely yours Willow," he said with a smile, feeling a great weight lift from his burden. Whether that was from getting Willow's help with his new powers, or finally telling Willow, or a combination of both, he couldn't tell. He was just glad it was gone.

"All right then. I'll see you tonight at the Bronze with Buffy, but plan to meet me just outside this building at the side entrance we came in on Friday night. That's when we'll start. Right now, I've got to hurry if I'm going to catch those S.T.A.R. Labs people before they leave for the day. Don't worry Xander, I'll help you learn to control your powers, and then everything will be all right," she leaned up and kissed him on the cheek before running off, presumably to the kiosk near the Academic center.

Xander sighed, and took a deep breath of relief. Then he too left the science building. Neither aware of the watching eyes, hidden so deep in the shadows that even the light meta couldn't see them.


Two weeks later had seen greater change for everything than anyone expected.

First of all, Buffy's roommate from hell ended up actually being from Hell, and because Buffy interrupted some ritual she was doing that was draining Buffy's soul, she got sent back to wherever she came from, and Willow moved into Stevenson Hall to become Buffy's new roommate.

Second, Willow was not only accepted into the S.T.A.R. Labs program, she was made Senior Management Director of Student Applications at the lab just outside of town, which was actually about a ten minute drive, or a single bus ride from the campus. Basically she was put in charge of all the other "interns" and answered only to the Head Director of the Lab, a Professor Laura Clarkson, or "Laurie" to Willow.

Interestingly enough, this also gave Willow exactly what she had promised Xander, access to the lab and all of its meta-human studying equipment, and equal access to the computer system that would allow her to cover up their tracks after using the equipment to study Xander's powers over light.

Giles had slowly become a more active role in the Scooby Gang's life, after briefly parting from it as they were in college and he was living off his savings. He was in particularly valuable when dealing with Buffy's demon roommate, and later in dealing with a couple of demons Buffy had come across on her patrol that had nearly beaten her before running off. He provided once more the needed research to show exactly how Buffy could, and did defeat the demons.

Xander's job with the construction company was still a month away, but his skill with his powers was increasing in droves, day by day. Willow claimed that it was because light was almost always all around us, and it was like he was swimming in his element, completely natural.

Xander still gave credit to Willow for her helping him.

That first weekend experimentation period had been rough, for both of them, as Willow had not figured out how to safely contain Xander's powers, and he hadn't planned on spending all Friday night, Saturday morning, afternoon, evening, and then well past midnight into the early hours of Sunday morning being Willow's guinea pig. So she was temporarily blinded at least five times, and he was nearly a walking corpse, with less life than a vampire zombie by the time Willow let him get some sleep.

Nevertheless, Willow got her baseline results. After that, she checked up on him in his basement home several times during the next week, showing him her results of the tests, and giving him exercises he could be doing with his powers, like creating holograms from a distance, finding out what that distance was and trying to do it from further away. Things like that and other things even more difficult.

By the next weekend, where they once again planned on spending the weekend in the lab, Xander felt he had a very good control on his powers, but Willow pointed out to him, not full control. At least things weren't going out of control around him. Yet.

That second weekend was all about pushing Xander's limits with his powers, and push them they did. His range, from the baseline, nearly doubled in his ability to affect outside light, and exponentially increased according to days on how much and how far the light he himself generated and could control that.

He also learned control over the solid holograms, or solholos as he liked to call them, at first as a joke to Willow, but it quickly caught on. He could pretty much create a holographic reconstruction of anything, even stuff just from his imagination, but the difference quickly became that holographs were only light, while his solholos had no color and were only a pure white. Shadows rested on them, so one could define their shape, but at the same time they shined.

Willow was at a loss to explain it and came to the conclusion that the only way they could get any real answers, was with S.T.A.R. Labs equipment. Willow had a scheduled lab time that Tuesday afternoon, and Xander was off that day, so they were making plans with how to get Xander into the lab with Willow, without actually bringing him into the lab, through Security and all that.

"It's not that hard, you've done it dozens of times already Xander," Willow chastised him. "Just make sure absolutely no light, nothing hits you. Make all the light go away from you."

"But Willow…" Xander tried again to protest.

"How else are we going to get you past security? We've already discovered that your powers don't affect just visible light, and when you turn stuff invisible, it is completely undetectable except through touch." Willow tried again to convince him to do it.

"And sound," Xander added. Then he realized she had just given him the perfect opening. "What if I make all light just go around me. There would only be a slight distortion, true, but if I'm careful nobody will even think to look for me."

"No, not good enough. Xander, I don't think you realize just how good this security is," Willow told him.

"And I don't think you realize what you're asking for," Xander told her just before he disappeared.

Willow stared for a moment, and was filled with an incredible unease as she stared at the empty space where Xander had been. It…it was just wrong somehow. She couldn't explain it, but it was like there was a space of just nothing there, and that was just wrong.

Then Xander suddenly filled in the nothing. "That is reflecting all light away from me. I know what it looks like. And even though it is a big strain, I could just make it so no light can reflect off of me at all."

"But…won't that turn you into like, a walking shadow?" Willow asked.

Xander and several things directly around him suddenly disappeared. There was no sense of wrongness, or even a distortion. It was like Willow was alone in the lab until footsteps sounded. Suddenly Xander was right beside her, causing her to jump.

"What about lasers?" she asked once she had calmed down, no longer trying to force Xander's way of doing things.

Xander shrugged, "I can just tell them to avoid me. Not that hard after practicing all day yesterday with that laser machine of yours."

"It's the schools, and okay. Just remember, meet me at the coffee place, then we'll find some place for you to turn invisible, and then stay with me on the bus until we're at the labs. And hopefully Security won't be that bad. Or maybe…"

"Wills, you've got a class in half an hour, do we really have time for a babble-lecture?" Xander teased.

She smiled at him and hit him on the arm before saying her good byes and then quickly heading to her class. Xander sighed and lay back on his bed, staring up at the ceiling, imagining what the next day would bring, and what he might have to end up doing if he and Willow got caught. Turning her invisible with him would definitely be one, but creating distracting holographs and solholos were also near the top of his list.


Tuesday early afternoon, everything had gone rather smoothly and straightforward. Xander and Willow had met at the coffee shop, talked for a little bit, relaxing away the last bit of their nervousness, and then Xander looked at his watch and made an excuse of needing to go to the bathroom, but didn't want to make Willow wait for him and miss the movie they were going to see. He made sure to say it casually out loud.

Willow had smiled brightly and put up an almost typical protest and wanting to wait for him, except that she didn't babble once. So, walking around behind the building where the restrooms were, Xander canceled out the light reflecting off of him, making for all intents and purposes as far as anything could care, that he wasn't even there. Because what light didn't reflect, it just went through.

Xander touched Willow at a specific point on her neck occasionally to let her know that he was still with her, and then with just enough time to get to the bus stop, she made a bit noise about Xander making her miss the movie, and then "stormed off" without him. Even Xander was pretty convinced.

The bus ride, since it only went three places, the campus, S.T.A.R. Labs, and it's fueling station in L.A., was also easy, though to keep the driver and what few other passengers there were from being suspicious, Willow made Xander stand the entire trip, although he assured her that it would be no trouble to project a holograph of a seat without a person-depression in it. She still made him stand.

It wasn't until they got to the Lobby security gate that Xander realized that Willow had forgotten one very important detail. The metal detector.

"Willow," he urgently hissed in her ear, dragging her towards the restrooms and water fountains.

"What?" she asked mightily pissed as she aimed for the water fountain, not even considering taking Xander with her into the ladies restroom.

"I need you to take the metal off of me. Just a few coins," coins appeared in the water fountain dish, "my watch and my wallet," they too appeared as Willow opened her purse and put the requested items into it, "and this." A chain floating in the air appeared right before Willow's eyes. She almost panicked, but realized that the object was hidden by her head and body from view. Then she noticed the object on the chain.

"Xander," she reached up and took the chain from her friend, holding the object in the palm of her other hand, "what is this?"

The object was a pendant of some kind, looking kind of like a Ying Yang sign, but wasn't at the same time. It was circular, but the wave down the middle was horizontal, not vertical with Ying Yang, and there were two colored lines separated the black and white spaces. The black half wasn't really black, but the uncolored metal of the pendant, and had two symbols written in red on it. The white half, separated from the metal by a gold line and a silver one, held a bright white crystal on one side, and on the other another symbol.

"Something from my grandfather, on my mother's side before he died," Xander explained, the emotion plain in his voice. He had loved his grandfather. "It means, 'the light in the dark shines brightest'. You can't really see it, but the symbol for brightest is etched into the center of the stone there."

"Xander…" Willow started to ask more, but he interrupted her.

"Wills, that's all the metal on me, now lets move. Don't wanna get caught at the entrance to the Lion's den," he joked. Willow smiled and quickly put all the items away and walked back to the security gate.

"And you could have mentioned the metal detector earlier," he whispered into her ear a few feet from the gate. She just smiled and nodded at the guard, who smiled back, but said nothing.

She placed her purse and a couple other things on the X-ray conveyer belt, then stepped through, and held baited breath as she waited for the alarms to go off about the unauthorized meta-human in the building. But no alarms went off, and despite her holding her breath, she smiled again as she retrieved her purse and other items and went on into the building.

Only once she was in the main hallway to the primary lab, did she begin to worry overtime and slow down, trying to look around her without appearing to look around her for any trace of Xander. She was halfway down when she felt the familiar touch on the back of her neck and let out the breath she had been holding in relief and whispered, "Xander?"

"Who's Xander?" a familiar, but not Xander's voice said right behind her.

She jumped and shrieked a little when she saw her direct boss at the Labs, Professor Laura Clarkson, right behind her and looking concerned. She got her breath back under control quickly and her mind already on overdrive quickly gave her an excuse.

"Oh, Laurie, you startled me!" Willow accused the older woman. "Xander is a friend of mine, and he's been having some trouble lately. He, uh, he didn't get into college and is kind of feeling left out, so I was preoccupied with trying to think of some way of getting his spirits back up, that doesn't involve drinking or anything too dangerous, but he is a guy and I guess that…"

"OK, OK, I get the idea, and I am now very sorry I asked," Laurie threw her hands up to stall Willow's continued babbling. "I thought you felt me when I tried to get your attention. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to startle you. You headed to the lab?"

Willow nodded, relaxing somewhat more.

"Cool," the adult smiled at the college student, "I left everything unlocked for you, since I knew that you wanted to check everything out. Oh, here, my access card so you can get back out," the Professor handed Willow a magnetic card. "Don't worry, it expires at the end of this week, and I've already got my new one. Have fun Willow, and I'll see you on Thursday. Who ever heard of having your weekend in the middle of the week anyway?"

Willow laughed at the joke as Laurie left and then smiled at what the woman had just handed her. Suddenly she felt a tap on the back of her neck and tensed and turned around…to see she was now the only person in the hallway.

"Whoa, chill Will, it's me!" she heard Xander's voice. Willow relaxed again.

"Sorry," she apologized and continued on her way to the lab, now confident that Xander was beside her…or behind her, one of those.

"Yeah I saw. Sorry, but I had to run the gauntlet. You would not believe how many passive laser systems they've got here, that are activated by air displacement, not visual movement. Took me a while, but I managed to get the lasers tracking a couple cockroaches. Hopefully they'll desensitize the system now. Wouldn't want a fly to send Security teams on Full Alert," he explained.

Willow smiled, but again didn't reply as she came to the lab entrance and swiped Professor Clarkson's card through the electronic lock, which immediately opened the door with only a soft buzz.

"Hold on Will," she felt Xander's hand on her shoulder. "Where are the Security cameras in there?" he asked. Willow quietly told him, and then Xander stuck his invisible head in to confirm it. A minute later, a fully visible Xander waved her in.

"What did you do?" Willow asked as she walked in to find everything still on, including the lights.

"I took some light from the air and put up an illusion right in front of the camera lenses. Well…actually, I froze the light right in front of them. Same as putting it in a loop, only none of the electronic stuff. And I don't even have to maintain it, " he told her.

Willow blinked in surprise. She had never thought something like that was even possible, but Xander had just done it automatically, probably without even trying. She needed to get things started. She pulled out a sheet with the baseline and progressive data so far for Xander from her notebook and then quickly decided what to do first.

"All right, we're short on time, so we'd better get started," Willow told him, receiving a confirming nod.

And get started they did. First, the physical work-up, his dexterity, endurance, strength, reaction time, and reflexes. Then, Willow started to work with the equipment available. Xander quickly lost track of how many and what the tests were called, but roughly about three hours later, Willow told him that, for now, he was done and could go rest on a cot that was conveniently placed in the corner. Putting his shirt back on, he did exactly that.

45 minutes later, Willow woke Xander up and dragged him to the computer where she had been running all the data through the computers for computation and copulation. The results were finally ready.

"You've been covering your tracks, haven't you Wills?" Xander asked worried as they walked back to the computer station.

"Don't worry, I've got it taken care of and then some," Willow reassured him. "And I've been deleting all traces of this data in the computer records and saving it to a CD that will come with us when we go. And don't worry, I'll keep it in a very safe place."

"Uh, yeah, since this is me we're experimenting on, I'll keep the disc, and bring it next time you need to update it, and I will keep it and there will be no copies made. I trust you Willow, but even you have to admit that in the wrong circumstances, you're kind of gullible and naïve and it's the people that would try to take advantage of that or break into wherever you would hide this that I don't trust." Xander told her.

Willow thought about it, and finally nodded in agreement. He was right. This was his life they were talking about. And as much as she wanted to keep this with her at all times, she would not risk her best friends life over scientific curiosity. Just as it was passing 99% complete, Willow swore to herself to forever keep Xander's secret until he himself broke it.

The computer beeped that the information had been compiled and Willow rapidly began going through everything. A good deal of it was nothing but charts, the direct results of all the tests run, but what Willow, and Xander, were interested in was the summary and detailing paragraphs at the end.

"Here we go," Willow commented and pointed at a large paragraph on the screen, "Data sheet summary. "Subject is class A-S12 meta-human. Mental instabilities and physical malformations are not present and no early signs of either can be detected. Physical abilities are registered as top performance human level. Physical attributes include the subject being a Solar Battery, containing an entirely unique photosynthesis process, neuro-luminescence, and radiation immunity. Immune system is normal human class. Mental capacity is registered as normal human level. Mental ability is registered at Teenage level. Mental attributes include identifying and sensing all types of radiation, manipulating or controlling any light wave/particle within distance of 1 mile (minimum with possibility of expanding), and subconscious thought processes known as "Meta Instinct". Meta Instinct (definition) is the common term of the inbred knowledge of meta(s) knowing how to use and control their meta human abilities. Details on ability of powers are on pages 7-13."

"Oops, guess I didn't have to read that part," Willow apologized and quickly flipped through the beginnings, which were the detailed "reasons why" of most of what she had just read, until she got to page 7 and began to read.

Xander was scratching his head and interrupted her, except that she kept reading, "Uh, what exactly does that all mean Willow?"

"What? This?" she pointed at page 7.

"No. The summary. I…barely understood a word of that. Care to translate?" he asked.

"It's pretty straight forward Xander," she said. "OK, yeah, I can understand how you might not know some of the words, but basically it said you are in perfect health, there is no chance of you becoming poisoned or going insane from having these powers, physically you're a normal human who can control light, and mentally you're a below average student that graduated high school but didn't get into college."

"Very funny," Xander sarcastically snapped back as she went to page 8, her brow furrowed in concentration. "Fine then, let's start at the beginning. What the heck did it mean subject is class…something meta-human?"

"A-S12. It's a classification for meta humans that S.T.A.R. Labs started using a few years back and it kind of caught on. There are about 10 different classes of meta human, based on power and potential of its power," Willow explained as she kept reading, moving on to page 9 as she did so.

"The lowest is F, then G, E, D, C, R, B, T, A, and S, which is the strongest, and incidentally was inspired by Superman. Because there are things out there that have proven to be stronger than Superman, Class S was given a number system. The higher the number, the stronger the meta. Right now, you're strength is…an A class…" Willow's eyes widened at what she was reading, but before Xander could ask her what was wrong, she continued, "…and what it means by A-S12 is that you have the potential of reaching the level of strength of an S12 meta." She stopped talking and quickly moved to the next page and then flipped through the last three much more urgently.

"Willow, what is it? You not talking is scaring me more than you babbling on about the world being doomed and being right," Xander teased nervously.

"Sorry," she turned to look at him to convey her sorrow, but quickly went back to the screen, "Sorry, but this, this is just too amazing for words Xander. What this says…what it says you can do, Xander some of these things are completely impossible as far as science is concerned."

She turned back around and saw the look on his face and quickly started to explain.

"Look, here," Willow pointed back at page 7, "First of all, the solholos? Xander, you're turning ordinary light into something that can move and pick things up and are actually solid! No radiation of any kind, it's just ordinary light, except that it had enough raw power in it that it could light the entire Northern American power grid for two months straight. They're made up of what light is made out of!"

"Huh?" Xander was confused.

"The sun!" Willow exclaimed. "Star plasma, except no radiation, no too high temperature. Purified, mostly harmless light. I mean, if you like hold it against your skin for like a day, you might get a small sunburn. Every amount of energy goes into maintaining the structural integrity of whatever you make. Meaning that instead of being as unstable and dangerous as real star plasma is, all that energy is directed to making it solid, making it real. Science can't even begin to imagine what it would take to do something like that."

"Uh, okay. Wow. Next?" Xander was feeling just a tad bit overwhelmed.

"Oh, right," Willow startled and moved to page 9. "Uh, when you manipulate light into either canceling out at the very point at which it would reflect on a surface or doing something else that it isn't supposed to do, you leave behind a very faint but barely detectible infrared trace. Uh, that means that you make the air just a bit hotter than normal, but on such a small degree that it's only about as detectible as detecting sulfur traces in a crowded lunchroom where they just served beans. That's a fart in the wind Xander," she explained off the blank expression on his face.

"Next," she switched to the last two pages, "is the symbiotic effects your powers now have on…whoa."


"The, uh, the symbiotic effects of your powers with your, your biological energies. Basically that means that if you're running low on energy, then you can't use your powers, or if your tired either probably. The same could be said for the other way around. If your powers are severely drained, then it's going to start taking the energy to use them or maintain them from your body directly," Willow explained.

Xander blinked, and then nodded. "Yeah, I kinda figured it would be something like that," he said aloud. At Willow's confused and concerned look he added, "Remember I told you about the first day after the Big Bang? Well, at first I was like ravenous, then I opened the shutters and watched the sun rise. I didn't eat anything until that night."

"Oh," Willow nodded, following the logic. "Yeah I guess you did kinda already know that. Okay, that's all we can do here for right now. I'm going to get started on covering the last of our tracks. You go through everything and around to make sure we don't leave some physical evidence."

Xander nodded and quickly went to do as told and sooner than Willow was done at the computer station, he had gathered all of their things and made it so everything was just about where it had been before they came. Any minor discrepancies could be excused away that Willow and Professor Clarkson had been in here.

Not too long after, Willow, with CD, and print outs of what she wanted hard copies of, was ready and they exited the Lab, and Xander took the 'light loops' off of the cameras. Once outside, a feat incredibly easier according to Xander than entering, Xander became visible just outside the single occupant bus stop and sat down next to his bestest friend in the entire world.

"Thank you so much for doing this Willow," he said with every fiber of his being put into that sentence.

Willow handed him her notebook, with CD, printouts, and personal written notes in it without a word.

"I won't betray your trust Xander. Never. Not even by accident," she swore. "I love you too much to let my curiosity get the better of me. See you tonight at Giles'?"

Xander smiled and accepted the notebook, and then quickly hugged her, which she immediately reciprocated. "I love you Willow. If you ever need me for anything, and I mean anything, just call, and I swear by all that I hold dear that I will be there for you. For as long as you need one, and even after you don't, I'm your knight in shining armor."

Willow nodded.

Then they let go of each other and Xander got a dangerous look on his face. Usually the same face associated with a plan forming in his mind. "Uh oh," Willow mumbled under her breath.

"Do you really want to sit around here waiting for the bus?" he asked her, teasingly serious with a lopsided grin on his face.

Willow sighed and shook her head. 'That's my Xander,' she thought.

"Why? What did you have in mind?" she asked, sure she was going to regret it.

Xander's smirk deepened and she stood and walked around to the back of the bus stop, Willow following him. "Ever since I saw Top Gun I've wanted to fly in one of these," he said before he held his arms up before him and began to glow himself. The air shimmered in front of them before the light began to coagulate into a somewhat familiar shape.

A plain white, unmarked, and slightly distorted from subtle inaccuracies, F-14 jet fighter appeared before them, canopy already open.

"Oh my…" Willow's jaw dropped in shock at the display of power, but the implications suddenly forced themselves upon her mind.

"No!" she protested when Xander took her hand. "No way am I getting in, in, in that! I don't care how much control over your powers you have Xander, I'm not getting in that!"

"Aw come on, you'll have to wait around at least another two hours here for the bus," Xander used logic. "This way, both of us are back home in minutes. I swear, I'll take us back down to the ground at a safe speed the microsecond there even looks like their might be trouble. Wills, I would never do anything to intentionally hurt you. You know that."

"Yeah but…" Willow weakly protested.

"I promise not to break the sound barrier. If I can help it," Xander grinned.

Willow snorted, shaking her head again. "I've got a bad feeling about this."

"Hey, I thought I was the Han Solo wannabe!" Xander shouted good-naturedly.

Willow rolled her eyes and stepped forward. "So how the heck do we get in there anyway?"

Xander smirked and held his hands out again, white stairs appearing up to the cockpit.

With not another word spoken, they both climbed the steps and got in, Xander called "Top Shot Gun!" and got the front seat. Willow got the back one. The stairs disappeared once they were seated in the very realistic cockpit seats. There were no instrument panels however.

"Uh, Xander? Now what?" Willow asked, wondering just how far she would go to humor her friend.

Xander smirked and the lid closed. He then closed his eyes and shouted, "Hi ho Silver! AWAY!" And with that the solholo jet just took off at a speed that pressed them into the white seats. Then, with no visible effort of any kind, and with no sound but themselves and the wind, it went vertical.

"XANDER!!" Willow shouted, wishing she had looked for restraining harnesses or seatbelts at the least before sitting down. Almost as if he had read her mind, a crash webbing identical to that used in Top Gun appeared and wrapped around her, keeping her safely against the seat.

"Sorry about that," Xander said as the jet leveled on a course for Sunnydale. "I realized in that climb that I forgot something very important there. Taking off with my eyes closed was cool though."

"NOT FUNNY!" she shouted over the wind. Xander just laughed and they sped back to Sunnydale.


That night at the meeting at Giles' apartment, Xander felt considerably more relaxed around the Watcher Slayer combo than he had for weeks now. Most of that was in the reassurance that he would no longer present a threat to the general public or them specifically, and now that he was on the way to fully mastering his powers, he would be a bigger help to the team than ever before.

He almost felt like he was safe enough to tell them, when Buffy told them about the sudden lack of activity she'd been having on patrols. And that meant one of two things. The demons were hiding, or somebody or something was making the demons stay in because of a larger plan. AKA, a new Big Bad.

"What do you think Giles?" Buffy asked.

The Watcher looked thoughtful for a couple moments, and then shook his head, answering his Slayer, "Well, until we have more concrete evidence there is not much more we can do at this time beyond react to the situation. But we should all definitely keep an eye out for any…er, weird occurrences or strange creatures about the Hellmouth."

That kept Xander's mouth shut for the rest of the meeting, some irrational fear keeping him from shouting out to the world that he, the normal guy, the Zeppo of the Scooby Gang, had powers and knew how to use them to help save mankind and destroy demons. Buffy, while he loved her to death and enough to bring her back to life, could be heavy on the irrational when in a bad mood or without the whole on the information.

After the meeting, Xander took a walk, needing to clear his head some before heading back "home".

As he was coming from Giles instead of the Bronze, he was forced, or more like needing to take some frustration out, to take shortcuts through several cemeteries. And as luck would have it, he just happened to come across a small gang of vampires.

"Well, well, well, lookie what we got here," Xander said the moment they noticed him, "A bunch of dust bunnies that don't know what they're messing with. Please consider me another helpless victim and attack me, I've been looking forward to this ever so much."

"What? Being dinner?" the "leader" chuckled.

"No, this!" Xander shouted as he 'lit up' as he found himself thinking about it, and immediately formed a solholo rendition that was a very good likeness of Buffy, except being totally white, glowing, and slightly bigger boobs, stake in hand. That all happened in about five seconds. It wasn't until those five seconds were over that Xander looked at the vamps again, and normally even with such a lapse in attention time he would still have enough to duck or scream out.

What he saw…well, it did make him want to scream, but not in terror. The vamps were already screaming, but that was because that those closest to him were already in flames and dusting before their eyes, while the ones not close to him…well, some of them were being set on fire, others were having their flesh char and catch fire while they stared, and the ones inbetween those, well their flesh was charred, catching on fire, and melting off of their slowly dusting bones.

For all accounts, it was as if they were out in sunlight. The holo-Buffy ignored this and moved to the last standing vampire. It began to have the same effects the others were having at her approach, but "she" didn't give it time to do anything about it, and the moment her 'light' stake punctured its heart it vanished with a grateful scream into dust. The others finally combusted about the same time.

Xander blinked, not even sure what had just happened. He hadn't controlled every move of holo-Buffy has he had the jet earlier that afternoon. That was proven when she turned back to him and smiled, the same way Buffy might have if he had been the one to dust the vamp instead.

Not sure how to handle this, Xander quickly dissolved the solholo and turned his light off. Then he remembered what he had found out that day. He absorbed solar energy, sunlight, and then somehow purified it. Apparently this "purification" didn't do anything for the effect the light would have on vamps. In fact, from the looks of it, it seemed to enhance how the light worked on vampires.

"Too bad demons aren't the same way about light," he muttered as he walked on. He met two more vamps, singly, but didn't waste the energy in making any more holograms and just 'lit up'. Although he would never say it aloud, that's how he thought of it now.

He was almost to his house, just crossing the street that would take him to the residential area when a screech of tires made him pause. He heard sirens quickly coming closer, and the roar of engines sounded like they were right around the corner. And Xander's luck with the Hellmouth would have it, they were.

A large armored car, very similar to the kind that banks shipped their cash in, took the corner at the end of the street so fast that it almost toppled, but didn't and raced down the street, incidentally straight for him. Right behind it were at least two, lights flashing black and white police cruisers, more than likely with more behind them. They weren't close enough that Xander felt they could stop the truck before it ran him over, so he reacted instinctively. Although, thanks to his "Meta Instinct" in hindsight he felt that wasn't such a good idea, but still unavoidable.

Lighting up so brightly that he knew his face couldn't be recognized, let alone seen by anything but a camera, Xander held his arms up in front of his face when the truck was less than ten feet from him and imagined a wall between him and it.

There was a loud thud and crashing sound all at once and then Xander opened his eyes, surprised to see a large seven by ten foot solid white wall in front of him, and no sign of the truck that he could see. He dispelled the wall, being sure to keep up his light and saw the armored truck right in front of him, slid to the side as though the driver had tried to swerve at the last second before hitting the wall, and as far as the wall went, the only sign that the truck had hit one was a broken headlight that was still casting its light and a very small dent by the fender.

The cruisers screeched to a halt around the truck and immediately at least four police officers, all wearing the uniforms of L.A.P.D. poured out and held guns on the truck. One of them briefly cast a glance at Xander before squinting and looking back at the truck, blinking for a couple seconds afterwards.

Xander watched while one of the officers risked getting closer and flung the door open while the others covered him. The driver, a guy wearing all black and a ski mask rolled up on his head, was unconscious against the steering wheel. Quickly and efficiently, something Xander wished the Sunnydale PD, a subsidiary of L.A.P.D., were more often than once.

Once the guy was handcuffed and in one of the waiting cruisers, Xander knew their attention would turn back to him and he so did not want to answer any questions right now. 'Think Xander, think!' he thought to himself. He had to find a way out of here; preferably in a way they wouldn't be able to follow him.

'Definitely not doing the wings again,' he thought adamantly. He didn't have the time for a jet, and he didn't trust making it appear directly around him until he had a bit more experience. That left…

He heard another engine in the distance. Not coming closer, but it was familiar enough that it gave him an idea. He took all of the light around him, from what he himself was emitting to every light source around and damn near took all of it to rapidly form a large motorcycle that happened to have flapping, flying wings on them. It could never exist if made out of materials, but as it was made out of light, all it took was a little concentration and not only could it exist, but it could fly.

In a near-blinding flash of light, the flying motorcycle came into being pure white, but also some parts of it looked like high-polished silver, the metal parts of it. Xander had begun to wonder if more went into his solholos than just the image and shape of it, and now he had proof as he cranked the handle and a real engine growl roared from it. Xander just counted his blessings and doing what he knew to do on a real motorcycle, as well as willing his creation into the air, he held on for dear life as the flying motorcycle roared into the night, taking a high speed run before the flapping wings picked it, and Xander, up into the air and higher and higher until Xander was fairly confident that they could no longer distinguish him from the stars.

Moving quickly, and finding that he could control the sound his creation made, and quietly, he "landed" in his back yard and turned off his light and letting the flying motorcycle disappear that way before sneaking down to the basement, and crumbling on his bed with the lights still off. Not that it bothered him.

What did bother him was what he said next was absolutely true. "Guess I don't know quite how to control these powers after all, huh?" he asked the empty room.

He just shut his eyes and prayed for the rest of the night that the whole thing was just a big nightmare.


The next day marked the morning of the last day of Xander's "weekend". He woke up to the sun shining in his eyes from the window, which immediately filled him with energy while also replenishing what he had spent the night before.

Without even a yawn, Xander got up, feeling as miserable as he had when he went to bed, and got out of his clothes from the day before and showered and readied himself for the day. What he would be doing, he had little idea, but he knew he wasn't going to hang around here all day.

Once he was showered, he got dressed in rather plain clothes, worn blue jeans, a white undershirt and a plain red one over that. He didn't feel like being "comfortable" today, which is what he called most of his Hawaiian shirts and plaid pants and sweater shirts. Just as he was getting his shoes, the phone rang. He got to it first and answered with a, "Hey there, Harris residence."

"Xander!" Willow's voice came through sounding very, very panicky. He could tell from an added tremble and a slightly higher pitch that this was not a long forgotten small-I'm-embarrassed-panics Willow had during early High School, but a real trouble, Hellmouth, Buffy-in-danger panic.

"Willow, what is it?" he asked, his voice steady and strong, a sharp contrast to the normal joking exterior he had, but when his friends were in trouble or needed his help, only God could stop him.

"Xander, hurry and get to Giles' place," Willow told him, though in a quieter tone, "Buffy…found something last night on patrol. And please hurry!" The last was a hissed whisper, but said with even more panic than the rest of her speech had been. This was no longer the-world-is-in-danger scared. Willow was scared for him. He was in danger.

"Shit," he softly cursed as he hung the phone up. He knew something like this was going to happen. He only hoped he didn't lose Buffy's friendship out of it.

Suddenly, his eyes hardened. No, nothing could sever his friendship with Buffy or any other of his friends. Her trust in him might be damaged, but their friendship would not end over this. This settled and confident in his mind, Xander walked out of his room and quickly started running for Giles apartment.

He got there in record time, somehow he was barely even sweating by the time he walked up the steps, even though the sun was shining brightly over head. He looked up at it without even squinting. Maybe that was why he wasn't even tired after such a brisk run.

He knocked, and then barged into the apartment once he was sure it was unlocked and quickly entered. "What's the emergency? Willow sounded panicked on the phone!" he exclaimed the moment he was in and found all three of his friends inside.

"Yes, Buffy believes that she saw last night what it was that has been taking out the demons," Giles explained. He stood up and walked over to his bookshelf and removed a volume and carried it back to his seat. "However, I'm having trouble finding any reference to the creature she described, and we have yet to determine if it is, suffice to say, good or the next Big Bad."

Xander nodded, absorbing the information like a sponge and quickly joined the group in the "living room" and sat in a rather sunny spot on the couch. "All right, but that doesn't explain why Willow was so panicked," he pointed out.

In response, Willow lifted a remote control for Giles' new 18" screen TV and turned it on. After a moment, it became obvious that it was on a News program, and normally Xander tuned that kind of stuff out, that is until the main story was announced.

"And our main story of the hour," the female news anchor introduced, "Last night, the infamous "Night Janitor", the criminal responsible for stealing over $500,000 from several banks in the Southern Californian region, by hijacking the armored trucks that bring in the shipments of reserve cash for the banks, was finally caught. Through a sting operation in work for months, the police identified and gave chase to the Night Janitor, alias Jack Nate, escaped felon, spending several hours chasing him through downtown Los Angeles and into the subsidiary community of Sunnydale, which is where the chase abruptly ended. We now take you over to our correspondent in Sunnydale."

The screen suddenly switched to the street Xander had been standing on last night when he had almost been run over by the armored truck. He paled as he recognized one of the officers standing with the white 'preppy' news reporter with the microphone. It was the one that had glanced at him and had been temporarily blinded.

"Thanks Kristy, I'm Colin Feral," the news reporter said into the camera, "and standing here with me is Lieutenant George Michaels. Lieutenant, can you please tell me what exactly happened here last night? How this hour long chase finally ended here on this street."

The microphone was placed under the officer's face, and for a moment they all thought he wasn't going to answer, because he was looking rather disgustedly at the reporter. Finally he looked at the camera and gave his story.

"Yes I can. It started when Nate somehow caught wind of us and knocked our undercover agent unconscious and drove off in the armored truck. We gave chase and set up multiple roadblocks in efforts to cage him in. Some of them he just drove right through, but the ones that would let him leave the county were so well blocked that he had no choice to go avoid them. Unfortunately, he somehow made his way into Sunnydale after almost giving us the slip. We continued pursuit until we reached this street here, coming around," he paused and stepped back to point behind him, "that corner at roughly 60 or 70 miles per hour. I was in the lead pursuit car and I noticed that there was a pedestrian just beginning to cross the street right when we rounded the corner. The truck was too in the way so I couldn't make any features out."

"And then what happened Lieutenant?" the reporter asked.

The officer sighed and gave that same disgusted look at the reporter, then looked back at the camera.

"Just before I was sure the truck was going to hit the civilian…a bright light appeared, so intense I could have sworn that a halogen spot lamp had just been lit right in front of my cruiser, it blinded me enough that I slammed on the brakes, as did the other pursuit cars, and once our vision was restored, we proceeded with apprehending the suspect. Only once we were sure he was in custody did any of us turn to check on the pedestrian."

"And Lieutenant? What happened to the pedestrian?"

Again, the disgusted look. "He was all right as far as we could tell…except that he was surrounded in an aura of light so bright that there was no doubt it was the same light that had stopped the armored truck. His features were hidden by the light, none of us could even tell if he was white, black, or what color hair he had."

"He? You sound so certain that it was a he, yet you keep saying that you cannot identify his features, Lieutenant," the reporter observed.

No doubt about it, a look of pure and utter revulsion and anger appeared on the officer's face, looking only at the reporter.

"The build and height were easy to distinguish, and I will admit there is a possibility that the light was so intense it could have confused me to believing a female form to be a masculine one."

"So what happened next Lieutenant?"

The officer looked back at the camera, his face once more professionally neutral. "Once the perp was in custody, I turned to thank the person, but he, or she, suddenly seemed to panic and then there was another intense flash of light that left us blinking for a couple seconds. Then we heard the roar of a motorcycle and by then our vision had cleared enough to see the person being lifted up into the air on a solid white motorcycle, with wings on it."

The reporter had a blank look on his face for a couple of seconds, because it was obvious he had not heard this part beforehand. "Lieutenant, are you saying that this pedestrian that stopped the Night Janitor was…some kind of angel?"

Xander, on the verge of fainting, puking, laughing out loud, or all of the above, put his hands over his mouth and rubbed his face, mostly to wipe the cold sweat off and rub some color back into it. Willow was alternating biting her lip and looking as bad as Xander felt.

"I'm not saying that, I'm just telling you the facts of what happened last night. Although…" the officer looked thoughtful for several seconds, "…I wouldn't discount the possibility. People would have gotten hurt, innocent civilians, if the chase had gone on much longer, as we were dangerously close to several residential areas."

Suddenly the screen switched back to the newsroom. "Thank you Colin," 'Katie' said the moment she was in view, shuffling a set of papers on her desk that hadn't been there a few minutes ago. "We'll have more on this story in just a few minutes, but now the weather and later a brief commercial break." The view switched to another news anchor and Willow hit the mute button and turned back to the others, who had been glued to the screen as she had been.

"Is that it Buffy?" Willow asked, sounding kind of nervous.

Buffy nodded. "I don't know about a flying motorcycle, but yeah, that light thing, that's exactly what I saw last night. At first, not long after you guys left, I was doing a last patrol of the cemeteries when I saw this incredibly bright light, and when I went towards it; I saw something I never imagined. Vampires were dusting in front of it and it had barely moved and only staked one of them. Then it suddenly disappeared and I had to wait a few minutes for my eyes to adjust to the darkness again. By the time I could see again, it or whatever was long gone. I tried to follow it, but it's almost like it vanished. Then I heard some kind of racket on Picket Street, which was probably that street on the news there." Buffy pointed at the TV, which was now on commercial.

"I saw the light against the horizon, but long before I got there, something took off from the ground. I tried to track it against the sky, but it came back down too fast for me to see where it might have landed, or if it landed at all," Buffy finished her story.

Xander nodded, feeling stupid for purposely going after vampires when he should have known Buffy would be patrolling.

"Is it possible Giles?" Willow asked, quicker than Xander thought she would have. "Is it possible that what Buffy and those police saw last night was an actual angel? From Heaven and wings and holy light and all that?"

They all, even Xander, blinked in shock over that. A real angel? From Heaven? On the Hellmouth? None of them had ever considered the possibility, and Xander had never considered that he, with his powers, would be mistaken for one. Ever.

"It…is…possible," Giles slowly conceded, obviously doing some heavy and fast thinking. "First of all, it would explain why just standing before it would dust vampires, and the part about the wings and an all-white motorcycle, and the overwhelming light…yes, even I must admit that it fits all the mythos about true angels, but…I don't think in all of the history of the Watcher Chronicles there is even a single mention of a true angel of the Heavens coming to earth…just to…"

"Kill some demons and save the lives of countless innocent people by stopping an escaped felon from getting away, and in a way that was not harmful to the police or the criminal?" Willow interrupted.

Even Giles had to look sheepish at that. Before any more comments could be made however, Willow noticed that they had finally gotten back to the story and she quickly un-muted it.

The female anchor was speaking, "…and now to continue with this breaking story, just a few minutes ago, we received a call in from a viewer who claims to have been rescued by this mysterious angel just a few weeks ago. She is currently a student at University of California in Sunnydale, so Colin is…" she paused as it was obvious she was actively listening to the person speaking in her earpiece. Then she smiled brightly and nodded at the camera before continuing, "We now go to Colin Feral, live, just outside UCS, who is speaking with…Tara Maclay, a Biology major living on campus. Colin."

"Thank you Katie," the screen rapidly went to a rushed looking reporter standing with a timid blonde girl dressed in form-hiding earth tones. "I'm standing here with Tara Maclay, who called the station just half an hour ago when she caught our news broadcast on what happened last night. Tara, would you mind answering some questions?"

"N-n-no, I-I, I w-wouldn't mind at all," she appeared to be even more nervous and fitful than Willow had been when their nightmares were made real. At least she was talking.

Xander had paled the moment the screen had switched, however he carefully kept his expression frozen to the way it had been. He just hoped he could keep it up.

"You said that you had encountered the person that Lieutenant Michaels said single-handedly stopped an on-rushing armored truck, is this true? And when and where did it happen?" the reporter rapid-fire asked.

Tara seemed to shrink back from the abruptness and forward nature of the reporter, but at the same time it was quite obvious she was committed to having her say. "I-it hap-pened about t-two weeks ago. I, I was walking home, a-aft-er dark; I had b-been going to the st-store. Suddenly I…I was attacked by three very large men. They, they dragged me into an al-alley, a-and I, tried to fight them, b-but…"

Tara looked down. When she looked back up, a steel-like resolve was shining in her eyes as she finished her story.

"They would have killed me. Or worse. Before they could though, I-I heard someone else enter the alley, and-and, and then this amazing light blinded all of us, eve-even m-me. I c-couldn't see what was going on, b-but I heard what sounded like a fight, and when I could see again… This man, he was surrounded by this amazing white aura, shining brightly all around him. It hid his face, but I could feel such, such warmth and concern coming from him. A-and when he-he smiled…it was like sunshine on my face. I mean that. I felt light and warmth on my face, like the sun was, was really shining."

The reporter seemed awed by this, so Tara finished her story. "I-I asked him who he was. He laughed, and told me, "I'm just your friendly neighborhood white knight milady" and then he bowed. He looked at the men, who I saw were unconscious on t-the ground, and he told me to go and call the police. I-I did, and by the time they arrived and I took them back to the al-alley, we found all three of them hanging by a glowing pure white rope. When the police got near them, planning on getting them down somehow they told me, the rope suddenly disappeared."

The reporter seemed to shake himself slightly before clearing his throat, away from the mike, and he asked, "And, uh, what happened to these men that assaulted you?"

Tara flushed again and returned to her timid shell, but still answered, "I w-was t-told that it was not their first offense on such charges. The officers taking the information for his report, later on, s-said that they w-would be imprisoned for a short while. He also said I d-did a good thing, calling the police when I did. But…he didn't believe me about the man that saved my life."

"Ah…well, yes, thank you very much for your time Miss Maclay. Uh, back to you in the studio," the screen cut back, but Willow turned the set off after that.

"White Knight?" Giles repeated.

Xander chuckled, "Probably just a joke G-man. I mean, what are the chances that this is the same guy, or thing? Two weeks? If it were a demon, there would have been more appearances, wouldn't there have been?"

"Well…it could be that he's just laying low, or he usually does…whatever he does, where no one can see him," Buffy suggested.

"But what about the differences in the stories?" Willow asked. "This…Tara, she definitely identified it as a man, and while the police officer said he thought it was a man, he said the light was so bright it could not be completely identified, and Buffy couldn't even see a person, only the vamps dusting and the light."

"It could be he, or it, is getting more powerful," Buffy pointed out. "Two weeks ago, it's light or whatever, couldn't hide his body entirely, but now it can, and not only that, he or it can stop a very fast armored truck so that no one else is hurt. Plus it seems to be focusing on criminals. First a group of would-be rapists, then a felon that could hurt innocent bystanders if allowed to continue. Could it be some kind of demon that gets off on punishing evil?"

Giles had been in a thoughtful pose during all of this and was slowly nodding his head in agreement with Buffy's question.

"Perhaps, but something about "white knight" keeps ringing through my head," he said. "I'll need to do some more research, unfortunately through my sources rather than my books. But it is quite possible that this is indeed some kind of powerful demon or wizard that has a vendetta against other evil."

"Wait a sec, if it's hating and punishing all this evil…why do I get the vibe that you think its evil too?" Xander asked.

Giles looked at Xander. Buffy gave him a pitied look.

"Xander, it's a demon. And demons…well, are evil. Although it might be kinda like Angel, with a soul or whatever and that's why it's killing all this evil." Buffy rationalized.

"No Buffy," Willow almost heatedly disagreed with her roommate. "It, or he, or whatever, isn't killing. Sure, the vamps dusted, but it only staked one of them, probably in self-defense too. The rest, well its mere presence caused them to die. Or its light or whatever. But it didn't hurt any of the humans, except to stop them from hurting others. He restrained the muggers, and that Janitor guy was said to only have a light concussion, and no other injuries. Who or whatever this is isn't evil in the slightest Buffy."

Buffy frowned, but after a minute or two of thought, her eyes blinked rapidly and she nodded. "You're right Will. But…an angel? A real angel? I find that…kinda hard to believe after all this time. I mean, if they exist at all, why haven't they, or he, shown up earlier? And why now of all times?"

"Maybe something big is coming," Xander said, a dark tone to his very serious voice. "Something so big that we need a little bit of help." That gave them all something to think about.

"Well, whatever, I've got class," Buffy suddenly said, getting up. "I'll be back before I go on patrol Giles. Let me know what you come up with."

"Yes, of course, and keep your eyes open Buffy," Giles said as the Slayer departed.

"I've got to go too, but I'll see you later Xander, at the coffee place," Willow said to her friend with a meaningful look at him. Xander just nodded, while saying in his normal voice, "Sure thing Wills, catch ya later!" They waved bye to each other and that just left Xander and Giles.

"Well…" Xander looked around him at the stacks of books that he knew would get larger much too soon if he stuck around too long, "…I'm off. See you tonight G-man, and let me know what you tell Buffy!"

Xander quickly left to go and do some heavy thinking.


He knew Willow wanted to meet him, and he almost didn't go, and then he went back over the conversation, and can't honestly remember promising to meet her at the coffee place this afternoon. Besides that was yesterday afternoon when they went… Oh.

He caught Willow just outside one of her classes, and saw Oz heading towards her direction as well, but it seemed he hadn't seen her as yet. Quickly, Xander grabbed Willow and pulled her into a corner before creating an illusion around them that the wall just continued for another couple of feet before becoming a corner.

"Xander?! What…?" Willow started to ask but he quickly put his finger on her lips. Surprisingly, he didn't even feel the temptation or the need to remind himself of the fluke. Willow for all accounts and purposes were truly his "sister" in his eyes.

"I might be able to hide us in an illusion, but I can't do a thing about sound," Xander whispered to her. "Now why do you want to go back to the Lab?"

Willow smirked at him and he felt that she too now only saw him as a brother in her eyes. "Took you long enough to figure it out. Instead of going to the coffee place, just hang around the back of the Science building and then you can jet us there instead. I've got an idea that I need to test, about hiding your identity and avoiding a manhunt at the same time." Willow whispered back.

"Great, I'm all ears," Xander said enthusiastically.

"Well," suddenly Willow looked nervous.

"What is it Will?" Xander asked, now more concerned than enthusiastic.

"Well, it, you, that is to say…the only metas that are truly and widely accepted by everyone in the world are the innocents that can do no harm and will do no harm with whatever they can do…and superheroes." That clinched it.

Xander blinked rapidly and shook his head, almost losing the focus needed to maintain the illusion. "You…want me…to become a superhero?" Xander asked weakly.

Willow frowned and nodded, backing it up with, "It's the only logical thing I could think of and it would clear up this mess with the media, and you wouldn't have to do much, just show up in a costume a few times. You've already got the reputation of saving people's lives…"

Willow was interrupted by Xander suddenly giving her a bone-crushing hug.

"Ever since I got these powers, no heck, ever since I was 6 years old and read my first comic book, I've wanted to be a superhero Willow!" he told her quietly. "And ever since we started helping Buffy, I know what its actually like to help people, and now I know how to use my powers I can actually do that!"

Willow started laughing, but stopped herself in time when she saw through the haze of light around them, Oz, looking for her. "OK, I've got an idea for the costume, both practical and identity hiding without following your normal fashion sense."

"Hey," Xander whisper-warned.

"Science building, I'll be done with classes by 2. And remember the safety belts this time! Now would you mind," she gestured at Oz. Xander looked and muttered, "Oh, sure thing." Then he concentrated and created a holograph of Willow, walking away from where Oz was, just over twenty feet away. Oz turned and called out "Willow" and started to give chase to the holograph.

Xander took one last look around and then dispelled the illusion, they reappeared in a flash of light as the wall became slightly shorter and Willow quickly caught up to Oz while Xander got rid of the other illusion. Then he quickly made his way to the science building, just via another route.

Luckily he found a couple of benches there and seeing that he had at least a couple hours, he laid back on them, enjoying the sun, and took a brief nap. He woke up shortly after a cloud had covered the sun, casting him in shadow, and grumbling to himself, seeing he still had a lot of time, went into town to get some food. After eating, he returned just in time and making sure no one was around, reconstructed the jet, remembering to make more comfortable seats with safety harnesses. Willow walked around the corner just as he'd finished the steps leading up to it.

Smiling she quickly ran over and cried out, "Top Shot Gun!" and raced him up the steps until she was in the front seat.

"Oh come on, I'm the pilot, I should be up front," Xander whined. Willow just stuck her tongue out at him. Squinting, suddenly Xander smiled as he did something he had only experimented with private in, manipulating an already formed solholo.

"Hey! What the…!" Willow suddenly cried as it was almost as if the sides had turned to jelly and she was sliding backwards, already strapped in, until she was now in the back seat, a new front seat forming as hers absorbed and took the place of the back one.

Xander smirked as he made to get into the front, when Willow glared at him and muttered, "Not funny."

He just shrugged and answered as he got in and was automatically strapped in, "May not be funny, but I did have a point about the whole pilot thing." With that, he willed his creation to go straight up. Hovering, without moving an outward part, it did exactly that, then he turned it in the direction of S.T.A.R. Labs and "hit the afterburners". Something to be said about wasting function with design as he compared his ability to simply will the hologram in any direction or path he decided, and his other holograms that used wings to fly.

Before too long, they were setting down behind the bus stop, making sure no one could see them land or the plane disappear in the afternoon light. They quickly repeated the other day's sojourn into the lab, although Willow still had the access card and Xander had a much easier time of it getting past the deactivated laser security system.

Not thirty minutes after they'd left the Science building, they were alone in the lab, with the frozen light illusions in front of the cameras, and Willow was hurriedly typing away on the computer station, searching the database for something.

"Uh, Wills, what exactly is it that you're looking for?" Xander asked after several minutes looking over her shoulder, which he knew she couldn't even tell was happening she was so far into the computer.

"Something I saw a couple years ago, and no nothing classified, just something that got discontinued. Not enough funding," she answered absently, her eyes never leaving the screen.

"That doesn't tell me what," Xander pointed out.

"It would take too long to explain. I have to find it first then you can read about it yourself while I figure out how to get it here. Don't worry, it's not like a robot suit or anything like that," she added after a brief uncomfortable silence. "Ah! Here we go…" she trailed off as she read a screen that had just popped up.

She began to rapidly type and multiple screens were appearing and disappearing on and off the screen so fast that Xander began to wonder how Willow did it. Her eyes never once blinked and it wasn't long before she began to smile, a sure sign that Xander knew Willow was getting what she wanted out of her hacking.

After another ten minutes, that Xander spent pacing instead, Willow finally declared triumph and waved Xander over to her. He quickly hurried, but stopped short at what he saw on the screen. A rotating digital image showed, in great detail, a solid black suit that could easily be mistaken for some kind of full body armor, except that there was no head, so quite obviously this was just to showcase the suit.

Right next to it in another window was a security layout of what looked like the building they were currently in. Showing a blinking yellow dot that actually did say "You Are Here" with an arrow and everything, and then a red dot on the other side with a serial marking next to that dot.

"Uh…Wills, what exactly am I looking at here?" Xander asked.

"Your new costume. They actually have one here in the facility. Unfortunately it's going to take some doing, but we can get it two ways. We go and get it…or bring it here to us. As unbelievable as it is, it's riskier to have it brought to us," Willow told him.

"Yeah, I get that, and we'll come back to it I promise, but what am I looking at?" Xander repeated, placing special emphasis on certain words.

"Oh, it's an experimental body armor, meant for SWAT and police forces. Unfortunately it costs about 2.5 million dollars to make an entire suit, and that's at cost," Willow told him, knowing he knew what 'at cost' meant. "It's constructed out of several materials, including at least one alien fabric that we humans have been able to manufacture. The basic concept though is that it works pretty much the same as kevlar, except that it's almost a million times more resilient. For real, here are the test results, it actually came pretty close to a million times of anything that kevlar couldn't survive through. This particular model is also equipped with bio-sensors, since it's one of the 25 prototypes made, as well as a couple other bonuses."

"This one can be folded down into a one by one by two inch space, it also, once in its compacted form, the moment you activate it to full size, automatically puts itself on you, molding to your body for the perfect fit immediately. Hey! The one at this facility even has pockets!"

"Hip, hip hooray," Xander sarcastically quipped. "How does this help me keep my identity secret?"

"Well, so far your light powers are what's kept your identity secret. How difficult would it be for you to make some kind of hologram face cover? What this," she pointed at the screen, "is about is keeping you safe. From like bullets and stuff. We can discuss that part later. Now how are we going to get it?"

"You said something about bio-sensors?" Xander asked. "How will we know that all my bio-data isn't going to some secret underground government bunker that still has the receivers for those things?"

Willow rolled her eyes. "Because their short-range sensors, they stop working outside of one kilometer. Or at least the receiver would have to be within one kilometer to pick anything up, and I can fiddle with the frequencies so that only I will be able to access the data. Now stop worrying about that, and how we get it. Because we snuck back in here, and I'm not even on the schedule until tomorrow, and it would be pretty pathetic if we did this much for nothing. The armor works Xand, the only reason it's not being used is because it costs too much to make!"

Xander sighed. "How much riskier?" he finally asked.

Willow looked thoughtful for a moment before looking him in the eye and said, "Riskier than going through thirteen levels of high security and a vault that not only do I not have access to, I shouldn't even know it exists."

Xander sighed. He considered everything. If they went and got it, and somebody walked into that vault or wherever it is and saw it missing when their records showed it still in there, there would be serious repercussions if it was suddenly found out that Xander, the new superhero in town was wearing it as job attire. But if their records showed that it had been taken out, for whatever reason…

"Bring it to us," he said finally.

Willow took a deep breath and turned back to the computer and began typing vigorously and very fast. He no longer saw a smile on her face, only an intense look of concentration.

At least one hour later, Xander had lost track after he started exercising just to pass the time, a noise came from the computer terminal, but Willow and her expression didn't change. Xander slowed down and finally stopped and went over to check on her.

"How you doing?" he asked.

"Could use a mocha, but can't have everything," she absently commented. "The biggest problem is convincing, and keep convincing the system kernel, watchdogs, and computer security analyst that I have the proper access to be requisitioning a robot carryall to unload the armor from its storage point and drop it off in this lab with no questions. So far…" She stopped talking after that, and Xander stopped checking up on her.

Another hour after that, Xander had done every exercise with every exercise/testing equipment in the lab possible, twice even, and in fact was just coming back from the vending machines down the hall. He took a 'Student' pass with him so nobody questioned him being there.

An hour before sunset, Willow finally stopped typing, and when Xander looked up, he saw an amazed look on her face. "Willow?" he asked, concerned, "What is it?"

"I…I-I did it," she said, her voice coated in pure awe.

Xander wasn't the least bit surprised. When she put her mind to it, there was nothing that his Wills couldn't do. "Way to go Wills! When can we expect our delivery?" he congratulated her.

Willow slowly shook herself back to the real world and answered, "Uh, right about…now," she said just as a set of steel doors that Xander thought were always locked opened and a machine that looked like a forklift without the driver seat and painted beige and blue came in with a vertical silver and glass crate. Behind the glass, hanging up exactly as it had been on the screen, was the solid black armor, looking for all intents and purposes like a spandex body suit, on the outside anyway. As part of the suit, aside from boots, were gloves, but they weren't gloves, it was like the sleeves just didn't end with the arms and covered the hands too. Xander imagined the neckline would go to just above his collarbone on him. That is if it would fit him at all, it looked like it was made for Arnold Schwartzeneger.

After several jerky movements, the automated forklift sat the armor case down and then backed out of the room, the metal doors slamming shut behind it.

"Quickly!" Willow rushed forward and keyed in a code into the vertical case. "It'll be back in five minutes to retrieve the crate. We have to be gone before that happens!"

"I don't have to take my clothes off, do I?" Xander asked, worried as he helped Willow manhandle the suit, which amazingly only weighed about 5 lbs, out of the crate. He had expected, since it was armor and all that, to be much heavier. And to not actually feel like spandex.

"Are you sure the reason they didn't give these to cops is because it cost too much, or is it maybe because they thought the cops might quit when they're given spandex to wear as a uniform?" Xander gruffly asked as they got the suit over to a dressing area, where one might put on a hospital robe for instance.

Willow ignored him, but she did grin at the joke.

"All right," she said, out of breath, "to answer your first question, no, just the red shirt, or button it up or something. Then I'll key this thing to be set for a new user and it'll loosen up so it's like real spandex, except a lot bigger and looser. Put it on and once its around your shoulders and your hands are in the hand parts, it'll adjust itself to you automatically, and then begin taking user data, like DNA, clothing size and all that. It takes a couple minutes, and it might be a little weird, but don't worry. This is not dangerous."

"Hurry up, I've got to get the receiver that's still inside the case!" Willow quickly went back to the case after she had turned the armor into a pile of spandex pajamas. Xander had taken his red shirt off and to be sure, stuffed it inside Willow's purse. Then he started to get the suit on.

It took him a few moments to figure out how to orient it, but by the time that Willow came back with the receiver, he was just pulling the loose black fabric up over his waist. He fit his hands into the sleeves, and that naturally put it up on his shoulders, and the moment his fingers fit inside the glove parts, he felt something turn on around him.

The receiver in Willow's hand immediately came to life and began to beep and blink with lights. Xander didn't really notice as the suit was tightening all around him until his civilian clothes were pressed tight against him, and then it kept tightening until it felt like his clothes were either being formed into his skin, or the armor was just dissolving them away so that it could rest against his skin. Finally, it stopped and after a brief minute of the thing vibrating around him, it was finished and Xander was standing there in skintight black latex from just below his neck to everywhere else on him.

It didn't mold to him, like he had been expecting, and it didn't create fake muscles either. It just showed him, in something skintight, and black.

"Wow," Willow drooled.

Xander glared at her and using all the spare light in the place immediately made a holograph of Oz as they had seen him earlier that afternoon. Willow shook her head and shrugged at her best friend. "Sorry, female hormone reflex. Thanks though."

"No problem. Now…don't we have to get out of here?" Xander asked.

"But…your face…and head! People might recognize your hair! I think you might actually need a whole helmet. But I can't think of any that…"

"I've got it covered Wills, this is quite enough, thank you very much," he said the last sincerely.

Willow blushed and nodded. Then she looked back at the steel doors and quickly began to gather up everything that would show that they had been there, and then triple checked, and once she was satisfied, Xander turned the both of them invisible, and only after the forklift robot had taken the case away and the doors closed did Xander removed the illusions in front of the cameras and then they made their way, invisibly, to the bus stop, and Xander didn't even hesitate in making the jet and they both climbed in and were off before a full ten minutes had passed.

"You need to do something more than just wear the black armor like that Xander," Willow said mid-flight. "Come on, you're the one that said you wanted to be a superhero, think of something! Use your imagination. Maybe turn it white?"

Xander laughed and did a corkscrew. Willow screeched and he replied after done, "I'll leave it black, but I think I can add some…enhancements to it. And I've already got the face thing covered Wills. Now, you said this thing can go compact and the moment I activate it, it automatically puts itself on me?"

"Yeah, but I have to reset several things first. It'll take most of the night. Leave it with me, and you go to the meeting tonight while I take care of it." Willow answered.

"No, Willow, you don't have to…" Xander started to say.

"Oh stop it! I'm not doing this out of any obligation to you or anyone or anything else," she snapped. After a brief silence, "I'm doing this because I want to. And while you always wanted to be the superhero, I always wanted to be the person behind the heroes, like Professor X and that guy that helped the Punisher."

They didn't say anything the rest of the short trip, but both were smiling.


At the meeting, no new information was presented, except that Willow had some homework to finish and that Buffy hadn't seen anything else, and Giles hadn't been able to find out anything else either. So, Buffy went on patrol, Giles went back to research, and Xander waited until Buffy was long gone before heading towards where Willow was working on his costume, his basement home.

"Hey, how's it coming?" he asked after he'd closed the door. The suit was sprawled out in its loosened form on the bed while Willow tinkered with the receiver.

"Surprisingly fast," she told him cheerfully. "The frequency settings weren't that hard, I just had to pick one, it was easy to change it. From now on, only I, on my laptop alone connected to this receiver or any other one I specially improve, can receive the data being sent by the sensors in the armor. There is also no way that it can be tracked. At least you can't on this particular model. There were some made that could be easily traced no matter what, but thankfully this isn't one of those."

"And what about the compact mode?" he asked, going to sit beside her.

Willow smiled and quickly finished up the last of her fiddling and then she looked at the suit, and then frowned when it did nothing for several second. Then, suddenly, as they watched, like tearing wrapping paper on Christmas morning in reverse, the suit shrunk until it was a small rectangle of black material. And it was actually smaller than Willow said it was to be. It was about one centimeter length and width, but a full inch and a half deep.

"Cool!" Xander exclaimed, picking up the piece before Willow could. "How do you get it to come out again?" he asked.

"There should be a button you can feel with your finger through the material, kinda like those touch pads on toys. Oh, and a bit of a warning, make sure that when you activate it, its not like in your pocket or something. And it might feel a bit vigorous at first, but you'll get used to it," she assured him.

Xander nodded and felt around for a bit until he finally found the button in it, along one of the inch and a half sides. Taking a deep breath, then he looked down and rapidly removed his red shirt again, having put it back on before the meeting, and then he held the piece of material in his right hand, and pushed the button. For about half a second, nothing happened, until it was like a jack-in-the-box going off in his hand and he felt a soft breeze and tugging all around him for about two to three seconds and before he knew it he was in the black armor. "Cool," he said again, taking in his appearance.

He smiled at Willow. "Now," he said, "for the enhancements."

Taking a breath and closing his eyes in concentration, he lit up and immediately began to form what he wanted in his mind from the light around his body onto his body. First, solid white, but looking like high-polished steel, were the leg guards. They were smooth and went all the way around his calves, front and back, topping off at just below the knee with a soft point.

Then, the thighs received a plate of solid white armor on each thigh, covering the front and outer parts of the leg. At his waist a solid ring of white formed, connecting to the chest and back plates. The back were white also, but only covered the top half of his back, ending where his lungs did on his back, but also going with the smooth curve, a single straight seam where his spine was. The chest plates were three interlocked panels of the white metal-like armor, two large square ones over his chest area, and the third connecting with the 'belt' between the two panels and it over his abdomen.

On the back of each hand, another, small panel appeared, and then seamless white bracers covered his forearms, and curved, shoulder-enhancing shoulder plates connected with the chest and back plates. The last piece of it, Xander paused for several seconds before looking towards his closet and after a very brief digging through a single box, he revealed a solid black, that matched the black portions of his armor, baklava. He quickly wrapped it around his face, it was long enough that he could actually wrap it around his head several times so it covered both his hair and his lower face, leaving his nose and eyes open.

Willow could tell he was smiling with the way his eyes crinkled around the edge as he briefly glowed brighter and held his hands out in front of him. In a flash of white light, a helmet appeared. Willow blinked. It wasn't exactly a historical style of helmet, but rather, as they were talking superheroes here, an amalgamation of numerous comic influences.

The overall shape of it was a reminder of Magneto's helmet, smooth, curved, and covering the entire head. The mouth guard however was more like Cobra Commander's helmet from G.I. Joe. But that was where all similarities ended, as there was a place for the eyes to look out, but not curved, a straight line above the eyes. Xander put it on over his cowled head, and Willow gasped as she watched something happen to the 'visor' of Xander's helmet, and she could no longer see his face, just a deep black, and his eyes were actually comic book white, and glowing too.

Then Willow stood up to take in the whole picture. If she didn't know and help pick out the costume, she would never know or have guessed that this was her oldest and life long friend. It was further confirmed when Xander spoke, "Well, what do you think Will?"

The baklava masked his voice so well that even if he were trying to convince her he was really him with his voice, she would never make the connection unless he told her. She couldn't have dreamed of a more perfect disguise.

"It's perfect," she answered. "How'd you do that thing with your eyes?"

"You mean it worked?" he asked, sounding surprised. He walked over to the mirror and looked at himself. "Well I'll be blessed and called a saint," he muttered. Even he could tell the difference in his voice, and looking at this image that was he, but at the same time not, it made him feel more confident, so he spoke more confidently. No one, not even those that knew him best, would know that it was him!

He turned back to Willow. "Seriously though Willow, what do you think?" he asked again.

Willow blinked and seriously inspected him again. She nodded. "Are you sure you want to do this Xander? I mean, just being a Scooby is hard enough. Are you sure you want to go solo?"

She got the impression he was smiling at her, and she could have sworn she felt sunlight shining on her face. "But I'm not flying solo. You're the person behind me. None of this would have been possible if not for you Will. You're my Professor X. And yeah, Prof, I'm very sure."

Willow blushed slightly at her new nickname. "Well then, I support your decision, and suggest you start as soon as possible. But…stay away from Buffy. She might…you know…"

He nodded, a very interesting sight in the helmet. "Yeah, no prob Prof.. I was planning on starting off in LA anyway. More for me to do as a crime fighter than there is here in Sunnyhell. And I'm not just talking about demons Will. I have to focus on more than just that. I'm not about to ignore all the other crimes going on just because of demons being around."

"Sort of a triple life; normal guy, Slayerette, and 'angelic' superhero?" Willow teased.

Xander chuckled.

"Not to mention you can take out vamps without even trying now, and who knows what you can do to demons," Willow added and Xander nodded.

"All right, if I'm going, I have to go now," Xander finally said. "I'll see you tomorrow Will, Giles suggested we wait a few days before meeting again, until something else comes up, but Buff can fill you in later. Now go have some fun with your boyfriend."

"Yessir, angel sir!" Willow giggled and gave a civilian's salute.

Xander groaned. "If I get named "angel" anything I'm suing the first person that comes up with that name and demand that I get something better to be called."

"Well, the news media usually handle this, except for the cases of wannabe superheroes who already have their 'names' so I think its best to hold off on calling yourself anything. If anybody asks, do like you did for that girl in the alley, and say you were just glad to help out or something like that," Willow advised.

Xander nodded, filing the information away. "Thanks again Wills, I'll see you tomorrow."

With that said, he walked out, and as it had been a while since he'd gone skateboarding, he created a solid white equivalent of a hover board, jumped on it, and took off into the night sky, a white streak against the dark blue heavens.

A hero had been born.

Part 3
Test of Heroes

That first night, nothing happened. Oh sure, Xander was seen by people, somewhat of a spectacle, but at the same time, everyone that had seen the news broadcast several days ago knew what it meant. And he did manage to dust about 15 vamps.

He went back home and fell asleep the moment he hit the pillow, still conscious enough to take the armor off though. Willow had already shown him how to get it into its compact state even while he was still wearing it.

He went out every night after that for the next two nights and pretty much the same thing, except on one night there weren't any vamps about, happened. Then, on the third day as he was driving his ice cream truck and listening to the radio, he thought about extending his patrol all the way to Los Angelus. When the radio report of another bank robbery that had ended in the death of the gunman, two innocents, and a police officer came on, his face grew grim and he started making plans.

Those plans ended the moment he heard from the radio "BREAKING NEWS BULLETIN! A mechanical monstrosity has appeared out of the harbor and is making its way to downtown LA. It is causing mass destruction in its wake and appears to be shooting missiles randomly into the city around it! One moment… There seems to be a man standing at the center of the massive machine, and it would appear that he is actually controlling it…"

Xander wasn't listening anymore. He quickly pulled off to the side of the road, made sure all signs said closed, then opened the skylight and took out a black cloth and tossed off his hat and uniform. He opened the cloth and removed the compact armor while wrapping the baklava around his head as before. Then he activated the armor. Xander lit up, and in a flash of brilliant light, his armor appeared piece by piece in the blazing light until with a final burst, he was ready.

Xander created the hover board and quickly went through the skylight into the air, in the direction of LA. He frowned beneath his helmet as he realized that he would need something faster than the hover board or even a flying motorcycle.

Taking a deep breath, he formed the jet around him. He knew he shouldn't have worried. He was in enough control of his powers that there was no way he could hurt himself using them.

Ten, stress-filled minutes later, Xander was circling over LA, looking for the so-called "mechanical monstrosity". Didn't take him that long to find it.

The report was right to call it a machine instead of a robot, as he could tell, from the fading soldier memories, that it was just a glorified super tank instead of some kind of new automated weapon system. It mostly resembled a two story tall, steel gray, four-legged crab with machine guns, rocket launchers, and laser blasters at every joint and covering its "shell" and the underside. The man mentioned in the broadcast was easily visible from some kind of throne control center at the very top of the crab tank.

Xander dissolved the jet and unconsciously once again formed wings on his back to keep him in the air.

At the moment, the thing was just stumbling out of a warehouse district, but it was coming dangerously close to one of the major highways, and just on the other side of the streets was downtown LA, and it was getting pretty close to rush hour.

A couple of news helicopters were in the air around the thing, keeping well out of its missile range. A modified army chopper and several more police copters were a little closer, trying to make some kind of threat the guy on the throne would listen to and get him to give up. Obviously, they weren't having much luck.

Xander looked behind the thing at its wake of destruction. It had completely destroyed one of the docks and all of the boats there, though thankfully it looked like no people were injured there. From that point it was just random destruction of grooves where it's feet and legs landed and tore up the road, to things in its direct path that it had taken out with its various weapons. Xander took a closer look and realized that the madman had blown up two warehouses and set another five on fire that were in no way close to his path or destination. Most of the fires were already out and what was left was being taken care of as he watched. He saw a lot of ambulances, and other, black colored vans at the other two warehouses too.

He wasn't here to watch. He was here to stop this.

The wings pulled them back and up as Xander dove straight for the throne. At least five machine guns and a couple laser canons automatically aimed up at him and started firing. Xander concentrated and the lasers redirected themselves mid-air to destroy all the machine guns and then themselves while he formed a pure white bubble around him until the guns were done for, and before he knew it, Xander was hovering directly in front of the crab tank control throne.

It didn't take long for the man to notice him, but the guy waited until all of the buttons he pressed didn't work before asking Xander, "Who the hell are you and what do you want with me?" He had a gruff, angry voice that sounded like it belonged more in prison than on any kind of throne…except for those found in prison.

"Who I am is unimportant. What is, is that you are hurting and killing innocent people. Stop now, please," Xander said, trying to make his voice sound deeper and more impressive. Combined with his mask/helmet, his voice was entirely disguised.

The guy, dressed in a grayish green suit equipped with various equipment including a welder's goggle set and a helmet of some kind, stared at him in apparent disbelief for a short time before laughing his ass off.

"Are you kidding me?" he screeched between his laughing. "I just got this baby and the first thing I'm gonna do with it is tear open every bank in the city and get myself a retirement fund. So much that I can buy my own island! Now get the hell out of my way!!"

"And if I don't? Then what will you do?" the winged, white-armored figure asked.

Smirking, the guy pressed a different button and several hidden compartments all over the crab tank opened up, about six in total, and very large, mean looking laser canons with purple energy coursing over the blast point popped out and all of them aimed at Xander. "I'll say, adios sucker!" he then pressed the firing stud.

Xander had tensed and been ready the moment the compartments popped open. The moment they charged, he was ready, and the moment they fired, he was already acting.

The large purple beam lasers, about half a second after they were fired suddenly, seemingly on their own, decided to switch targets to all of the joints on all of the crab tanks legs. The whole thing began to sizzle and spark and stopped all forward movement, warning lights flashing up before the guy's face.

Xander hovered a bit closer and said in a conversational tone, "You know, a piece of advice…never fire lasers at a person that can control all light. Now please, I'm asking you to stop this and give yourself up so that you might be punished for these crimes and one day redeem yourself in the eyes of the law."

The guy was actually spitting as he snapped, "Fuck you!! I don't care what you can do! I'll tear you apart with my bare hands!" Like a rabid dog, that was exactly what he tried to do. Xander just floated back some until the guy actually leaped off his tank and into the open air. It wasn't until he started to fall that he realized what had happened. Like any sane villain, he screamed on the way down.

Lucky for him, he didn't fall far as Xander created a Pegasus solholo and chains on the guy, keeping him on the flying horse and from hurting himself. Once that was taken care of, he sent the guy on the flying horse down to the ground and turned to his next problem.

He couldn't count that it would blow up or its supports wouldn't suddenly give way, and there was no telling what it might take to move this thing until it was repaired. Taking several deep breaths, he began to concentrate. Hard.

He had never done anything this big before, but as he had discovered, manipulating large amounts of light was more awkward than hard. Like a second sun in the sky, Xander formed the largest solholo he had ever created, and molecule by plasma molecule, it formed.

Given that he was still pretty new to this, and it was the first time he had used his powers in this way, what he did was impressive enough, even if what he created wasn't. Basically it had two "Mickey Mouse" legs, it's entire body nothing but a big round bubble, and two, just as long and large as the legs, claws on arms, which was about five times the size of the crab tank.

Once the massive solholo was made, Xander kept up his mega-concentration and had it pick up the tank, and being careful of the helicopters in the sky, as well as where its feet stepped, being real careful of that, he had it move the damaged crab tank to an open and empty lot not too far from the damage zone. After that, he quickly dissolved it away and breathed a sigh of relief. Fortunately, his wings and the Pegasus were still there, as well as his armor.

He saw the police pull up in lots of squad cars around the criminal and his solholo, and once he was certain enough officers were there to cover the guy, no matter what tricks he might be able to play, he dismissed the Pegasus creation, and the guy fell to the ground roughly. Xander smirked beneath his helmet, but only stayed around long enough to make sure the guy was in custody with no way of hurting anyone else.

After all that, he finally noticed all the helicopters, both police and news reporters, the latter aiming cameras at him, around him and began to focus on ways of getting out of there. He flew higher up, above the choppers, but one of the police copters rapidly got above him, trying to keep him from escaping. Xander could only imagine the radio chatter this would be causing as he watched all the other helicopters try to keep him hemmed in. He flew towards the direction that was opposite Sunnydale, and several times had to cut it close to hitting the helicopters, both the spinning blades and the compartments themselves.

Finally, he got ahead of them all and knew immediately that the jet was out of the question. He briefly considered a rocket pack, but didn't feel it would safeguard him from the wind well enough, not as fast as he needed to go.

Then he remembered an old Disney movie Willow had made him watch when he was like 8. He 'lit up' brighter than before, temporarily blinding those chasing him and with the extra light, created a solid capsule around him, which after a second of shaping to look like a solid white version of the alien ship in "Flight of the Navigator", elongated into a needle-head version and shot off at speeds in excess of Mach 2.

Xander could see where he was going and knew that he had to get it so they couldn't track him back home. So he aimed his capsule upwards until he was in the very, very high atmosphere, but still in it, and then angled it so that Sunnydale was right below him and he shot back down at even faster speeds so that even if they could detect his heat trail, they wouldn't be able to see what had made it. At least not on radar.

As with all of his solholos, momentum and most motion physics seemed not to apply as he stopped exactly a foot above his truck with the only feeling he received was the same when you tap the brakes at a stoplight. He quickly dissolved the capsule and dropped back into his truck before anyone could ignore him (AN: He's in Sunnydale, remember?) and then put his armor back in its compact form and of course got rid of the light armor first, and put both it and his cowl back in his pocket and put his uniform and hat back on, and continued with his route. He hoped nothing bad happened because of all this.


The microsecond that Xander got home from work he knew that he would rather be grilled by police and newspaper reporters than what was about to come. At least they didn't know where the baby pictures of him were, or knew he most embarrassing moments with the supernatural. And he didn't fear what they could do to him either.

He walked in, ignoring what else that was going on (which was basically nothing), and walked to the flashing answering machine, briefly hesitating before pressing playback.

"First Message: Xander! It's Buffy. Scooby meeting, tonight, 8 o'clock. Usual place. BEEP!"

"Next Message: H-hey, i-it's Willow. I guess Buffy's already called. Uh, Xander would you mind meeting me at the coffee place right before the meeting? Uh, see you when you get off work, maybe. Bye! BEEP! End of messages."

Xander took a deep breath and let out a long, slow sigh. He went downstairs to shower and change, and then he went directly to Buffy and Willow's dorm room. If Buffy called a meeting herself, then he knew she would still be at Giles, if not talking to all of her "sources", namely Willy the Snitch. Willow would be alone.

Then he caught sight of Oz walking in right ahead of him and let out a sigh of frustration. Then he followed the guitar playin' werewolf, and caught up with him on the stairs so they knocked on the door together.

"Xander…" Willow said in relief, and then she noticed the person beside the Bang Baby and she said with enthusiastic happiness, "Oz!" She immediately leaped forward and gave him a kiss so he could not doubt that he had been thoroughly kissed.

"What are you two doing here?" she asked after they entered the dorm room.

"Why else," Xander commented, "I got Buffy's message and wanted to start early and maybe escort her…or more likely be escorted by her to Giles' since messages directly from the Slayer on my answering machine are not a sign of good things to come."

Willow giggled and said, "Good point. And you mister?" she poked Oz in the chest playfully.

"Wanted to see you," he said simply.

The redhead immediately melted into his embrace, "Awww…" and then kissed him again.

After Xander had counted to 100 and counted off two minutes on the clock, he softly cleared his throat. No reaction. He waited another whole minute, and they were still kissing all through this, and then he practically shouted and still managed to make it sound like a cough. Willow and Oz jumped apart from each other, a deep flush spreading across Willow's face.

"It's great, I mean it's really great that you two are so…in to each other, but could you please hold off on the mushy stuff while I'm still in the room," he begged. Then he switched to serious in an eye blink and asked Willow, "So, Wills, what's the bat signal for? Buffy find some uber-bad on patrol last night, or Giles find some apocalyptic prophecy?"

"Uh…you haven't been watching the news?" she asked, sounding slightly afraid.

Oz frowned, not from Willow's tone, but because quite obviously he hadn't been watching the news either. "Not really, I've been making spending and Rent money all day," Xander answered her evenly.

"Uh huh, well…I'll let Buffy tell you. We've got to start heading that way anyway. Come on," she said as she grabbed her things and led them out the door, locking it behind them, and then they walked to Giles as quickly as they could.

Not too surprising, they found Buffy already there, grilling Giles, who apparently had no better clue than the rest of them. Except maybe Willow, while Xander feared this was about "him".

"Hey guys, you didn't have to come early Xan," Buffy said the moment she noticed them.

"Actually, pretty much the moment I got your message I headed over to your place and met up with Will and Oz. Showing up early, after that became mandatory," Xander joked, eliciting a smile from Buffy. However no amount of laughter or smiling could remove the barely veiled fear he saw in her eyes.

"So, what's the sitch Buffster? New Big Bad? Already?" he asked, moving over to the couch.

"No, nothing…well, it may be nothing… haven't you been watching the news?" she snapped suddenly.


"Apparently we're the only ones that actually do that anymore Buffy," Willow said with a peculiar tone that made the blonde Slayer blush.

"Well then…" Buffy started to say, but Willow interrupted her by calmly walking around and switching on Giles' television. The channel that it was on just happened to be showing a special news report. At the moment there were just commercials on, but there was a scroll bar announcing the report that was "ongoing".

"My word," Giles muttered. "I'm sorry to have been so dismissive Buffy, but…are you sure that it is this "angel" character we heard about last week?"

At that moment the report came on and everyone sat down to watch it.

"If you're just joining us, an experimental weapon system was stolen earlier today by former Army Intelligence officer Mark Richwood, who was discharged from service seven months ago when the project he was working on, incidentally the same weapon system that he stole today, was canceled and blackballed."

The screen switched from the reporter to the LA docks where the crab tank was still sitting, and then showed several shots of all the damage. "According to police reports, Richwood was planning on using this "crab tank" to break into several banks in downtown LA and steal all the money he could at each before moving on to the next city. But fortunately for LA rush hour…he was stopped," the reporter's voice continued as the scenes showed across the screen.

Suddenly, footage from the earlier fight, minus sounds, was shown and there was a brief silence, allowing everyone watching the pictures could figure out what they were seeing. A black and white armored figure, with glowing white wings coming from his back, was hovering right in front of the tank, and for a moment looked to be trying to talk to the pilot. That was proved wrong as the tank fired several laser blasts at the figure, but he just waved his hand at the beams and they turned back on themselves, blowing up the canons as well as damaging the tank.

The screen went back to the newsroom. "The "white knight" that stopped an armored car robbery and rescued a young woman in the small town of Sunnydale just the week previous appeared suddenly on the scene before Richwood could get to the crowded highways and safely stopped the menace, and then placed the unstable weapon system in an area where if it did explode or collapsed in on itself, it could do so without harming any innocent people in the area."

"Police and other aircraft in the area tried to detain this White Knight for questioning, but according to eye witnesses, he "turned into light and went back up into heaven", is a quote from one of the pilots that chased the supposed angel after he resolved the threat of the crab tank menace."

Willow, apparently having heard enough, turned the TV off after that.

"Oh my," Giles mumbled.

"Same guy?" Xander asked Buffy.

She nodded. "It has to be. I mean we all saw it, and those pilots said that he turned into light, it has to be the same thing."

"What if it's not a thing?" Oz asked.

"What do you mean?" Buffy immediately snapped.

The werewolf shrugged. "What if it's a guy?" he asked.

"A…human, imbued with supernatural powers over light?" Giles asked, following what Oz was saying.

Again, the band member just shrugged.

"Well…which is it G-man? An honest-to-Heaven angel, a demon that kills other demons, or a guy with powers? And which one is more dangerous?" Xander impatiently asked.

"Oh, the demon would definitely be the more dangerous," Giles said immediately. "An angel would have no intentions of harming any human, if stories are to be believed. And if it were a threat, we would have already heard something from our sources. The demons would definitely be talking more than they are."

"And what if…what if he's human?" Buffy asked, very nervous.

There was a big hesitation on the ex-Watcher's part. "So far, this…entity, whether human, demon, or angelic, he has only done good. Killed vampires, stopped a robbery before innocents could get hurt, saved a young woman from…from something quite terrible I'm sure. And now he stops a major threat that not even the National Guard could have handled without a great deal more damage to the area and far many more lost lives. However, with humans, there is always the seed of corruption. If this White Knight as the news is calling him, is human, and he ends up becoming some sort of threat, then the most we could do would be to talk him back to the side of good. The side he's on right now."

No one saw it, but Xander had a huge, pride-filled smile on his face at those words.

"So he's definitely good?" Buffy asked, sounding almost disappointed.

Giles chuckled. "Yes, Buffy, as near as my judgement can tell, he is very good. I must admit that I am curious as to the source of his powers though."

"Well, hey, what if he's a chosen one like Buff and it ends up that the Big Guy said to him "Hey! You're my new chosen one, you get the powers of an Angel, and not that pansy Dead Boy vampire." And then Micheal and Gabriel would me like, "Well how come we can't just go to Earth?" and then the Big Guy would be like…"

"We get the idea Xander," Willow said, while trying very hard not to laugh. Xander, embarrassed now, stopped talking.

Buffy, also with a smile on her face, nodded. "All right. Xan, you wanna patrol with me tonight? I figure with this White Knight guy going around there won't be much action and I need entertainment if I can't get any action."

Xander laughed and nodded his head, agreeing to accompany the Slayer, when he suddenly stopped. In a thoughtful voice he asked, "So is that this guy's official name now? The White Knight?"

Willow shrugged and answered logically, "Well why not? The Daily Planet got to name Superman, and the Gotham Tribune named Batman I think. The news that first reports about a new hero usually gets to name him if he doesn't already have a name. I guess KTLA gets to name the White Knight. Plus…didn't he tell that girl that he was a 'White Knight'?"

"Well…yeah, but you don't think he told her that as saying his name, do you?" Xander shot back.

Willow just shrugged with a half-smile on her face. "Maybe he did, and maybe he didn't. Guess we won't know unless we can ask him ourselves huh? Why? Do you think he'll mind being called White Knight Xander?"

Xander squinted his eyes at his long time friend. Then he suddenly lightened up and remarked, "Now who wouldn't want to be called a White Knight. Isn't that like an automatic good guy name?"

"Got a point there Xan," Buffy interrupted the "argument" between her two bestest friends.

"I'll see you later tonight after your patrol Buffy," Willow said getting up, Oz getting up with her, "Oz and the Dingoes have a gig tonight and I'll be with them all night. So don't wait up."

Buffy and Willow giggled, while Oz had a "man's look" on his face and both Xander and Giles looks of disgust. "Enough, get out of my house you teenagers you!" Giles threatened them and effectively throwing them out for the night.


A few days later showed more and more headlines and news stories about this mysterious new hero "White Knight". Some fame seekers claimed to have seen him at night or at certain times of the day, which coincidentally coincided with Xander's break times. The Tabloids also took up some of the attention.

"Oh you have got to be kidding me," Xander snorted as he read the headline on the tabloid as he paid for his groceries for the day. "I HAD THE ANGEL LOVE CHILD OF THE WHITE KNIGHT" and below it was a picture of a cherub right next to yet another picture of an Elvis sighting.

He was in LA for the day, since the Sunnydale Supermarket never had what he wanted or needed; he had flown here after work to take care of his errands, which also included stopping by the bank to deposit his paycheck. Luckily his bank had a branch here in the city and it wouldn't take much to hold his groceries while he took care of that. Thankfully he was only getting the essentials today, leaving the heavy stuff like shampoo, soap, and laundry detergent for after the bank, and another patrol of the city as the White Knight in case anything more like the crab tank happened.

Thirty minutes later, Xander was cursing his luck.

About five minutes after he'd walked in, and been waiting in line for those five minutes, a bunch of heavily covered up individuals, roughly around thirty at Xander's first count, came storming in through the front and side doors and quickly spread out. They didn't shout or make any noise beyond what was necessary. They left two people at every entrance, which they quickly closed and locked, while a couple others went about closing all the shutters and disabling the cameras.

The first noise that this was a robbery came from one of the young, incidentally female, tellers screaming as one of the covered guys pointed a gun at her. With that, a general ruckus and commotion floated around for a bit, but was quickly quieted when one man walked in and fired a single shotgun shot at the ceiling.

The first thing that Xander noticed about him was his size.

He was a big man, at least six and a half, maybe more, feet tall.

And he certainly wasn't gangly or thin like all those basketball players. In fact, he was so muscular and wide that Xander briefly wondered if he was supposed to be taller.

He was wearing a mask that covered his entire head; one half of his head covered in black, the other in red the color of blood.

His costume was the same colors, but with no specific pattern to it other than just to cover his body. But that wasn't the only thing covering him. Aside from some armored boots and gloves, he had ammo belts all around him, and attached to each belt was a gun, different one with each belt, and a combat knife.

The weaponry didn't really impress Xander. His armor, not including the black super-kevlar Willow had gotten for him, could easily handle and stop all the bullets this guy could throw at him. What impressed, and inspired a little fear in Xander was the way this guy moved.

Long forgotten, but remembered, Soldier memories reminded Xander of the way a soldier moved, and what those movements could mean in combat. This guy was moving in a way that the Soldier memories were telling him to run back home screaming for 'Mommy', or 'Buffy' in Xander's case. This guy was way beyond hardcore.

He handed the shotgun off to one of the other armed men that had come in and immediately started into a parade stroll down the bank aisles. People automatically parted before him, scrambling back, but the other men kept people from getting too close to the windows or exits.

That is, until he came to Xander. Xander was scared out of his wits, but he wasn't being 'Xander' right now. He was being the White Knight.

The man slowly stopped, and then turned and looked down into Xander's brown eyes. Xander stared up into the cold, heartless, uncaring green eyes, and repressed a shiver. The man just smirked under his mask and let out a dry chuckle. "You've got guts kid. If you want to keep them where they are, don't try and play the hero.

No one is going to get hurt?unless some idiotic hero shows up."

Xander almost scowled, but as much as this guy radiated power, contempt, and unbearable evil, the Bang Baby could tell that he was also telling the truth. Not daring to risk innocent lives, Xander just bowed his head and stepped back with the rest of the crowd.

The man stared at him for a moment longer, before continuing on his way until he got to the employee entrance to the teller area. He calmly walked in and then over to the central teller booth. There he jumped up on the counter and began to address the crowd.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I truly apologize for the inconvenience," he began. "No, no, don't worry. We're only here for the bank, and keep your preppy wallets in your pants you stupid sheep. We'll be out of your hair momentarily? unless of course some one tries to interfere. And I'm sure that none of us want to be stuck in here all night while the local police foolishly try to negotiate with me. Pointless really. Now, no one touch any alarms, and no heroics. Wouldn't want someone getting hurt in the crossfire, now would we?"

Xander was livid inside, but he hid it well enough that none of the men looked at him twice. He actually had been about to do something, like create a hologram of a squad of SWAT running in, or dash to the restroom to transform, but the leader's little speech quickly changed his mind. So for now, he just glowered at them, waiting for his first opportunity where it was safe to stop them.

Then he paused. They weren't robbing the people, but something here at the bank. Maybe he should just follow them instead, after they left. Even if they went via the sewers, it should be pretty easy for him.

After that, there was mostly silence; the only sounds coming from some whimpering cowards or children and from the Vault area where the safety deposit boxes are normally kept. Xander just stayed right where he was, keeping his eyes on the leader.

Barely fifteen minutes after "breaking in", the robbers that had been in the safe suddenly ran out, the one in the lead holding a safety deposit box, carrying it to the masked leader.

"You got it?" the leader gruffly asked the moment they were before him. In reply, the man just opened the box and showed him what was inside. Even though his face was hidden, Xander got the impression that he was smiling at what he saw, and then he nodded and the robbers began to pack up so to speak.

"Thank you for your cooperation. See, now was that so hard?"

the leader said as he was the last to leave.

Xander didn't even bother with his business at the bank now, instead going out one of the side entrances and pulling out his black scarf and armor that he kept with him more than his wallet these days.


Already three blocks away, in two vans, one of them armored, Slade, the assassinterroristBounty Hunter for hire to the highest bidder, was admiring how well his plan had gone off without a hitch. Wolfram & Hart did not often bother him, especially with such trivial things like procuring some ancient scroll hidden away in a safety deposit box by it's previous owner before Wolfram & Hart had had him killed, but the money was worth it and it just so happened to work well with his plans involving another project of his.

The men were all Wolfram & Hart people, but they were good soldiers and never talked back.

"Take us downtown and through the suburbs a couple times to be sure we've lost any tails," Slade ordered the driver, "Then swing by the offices so I can drop this off and get my check. Then I'll need a ride to the air port."

"Yes sir," the driver answered in the affirmative, just like a good soldier should.

Then he crashed into a wall.

A wall that hadn't been there before.

A wall in the middle of the street. And made of light.

"Well, well," Slade pocketed the scroll in a belt pouch. "I finally get to meet this illustrious White Knight. Should be interesting."

"Tell me about it," a muffled voice said from above. Half a second later, the armored car's roof was peeled back by a solid white can opener which dissolved after completing its work in the noonday sunlight.

The black and white armored figure hovered above the thieves on what looked like a disc of solid light, making most of the men in the van squint against the glare. Slade was not one of them.

"So what do you want?" Slade asked him. "You vigilantes always have something that always sets you off and makes you demand justice for all. What's your gimmick White Knight?"

"Gimmick?" White Knight repeated. "Actually, I was just on a patrol of the city and I saw an armor plated van with gun mounts being followed by an unmarked, four year out of date, dirty van that you always see in the movies, and I thought to myself, 'Self?' Yeah? 'I think something is up here.' I think your right Self. 'Let's check it out self.' Good idea I said to myself."

"Funny," Slade monotoned.

"I thought so," White Knight glibly replied.

The men in the unmarked white van suddenly poured out, all toting heavy weaponry, and started to fire live rounds at the super hero. White Knight just automatically created a light shell around him, which either stopped or deflected the gunfire. In the distraction though, he also had time to gather the necessary light to create a complete and very solid dome over the shooters and the entire van in fact.

Once they were taken care of, he turned his attention back to Slade.

"Interesting," Slade remarked under his breath at the display of power.

"You ain't seen nothing yet," White Knight remarked glibly, right before he completely vanished, disc of light and all.

Slade tensed, unsure of this opponent. He certainly wasn't one to fear the unknown, but when facing someone like the White Knight, he much preferred to be more prepared for whatever tricks they could pull. Know thy enemy, know thyself, and the path to victory shall be clear.

There! A slight flicker of motion, Slade grinned and reacted as fast as thought, punching the visible White Knight as he reappeared on his right side. Slade's grin faded as he watched his fist pass harmlessly through the black and white armored figure.

"What the??" Slade turned as he felt a tugging sensation at his belt and growled when he saw nothing, until he turned back to the image of the White Knight, who was teasingly holding the scroll Slade had put in his belt pouch when the truck crashed.

Growling like an enraged mountain lion, Slade just jumped up through the hole the White Knight had made in the roof, leaping over ten feet easily into the air and landing on his feet on the sidewalk. People had already disappeared with the crash, and the sirens in the air spoke of the police on the way.

And leaning almost casually against the side of the wrecked armored truck, holding the scroll as his image had been, was the White Knight. "So?" the super hero drawled casually, "You know who I am, probably because you're a professional criminal and I have been in the news quite a lot recently, but, and I must apologize for this, I don't know who you are, and I didn't get the chance to learn the name of the last guy I trounced. No offense."

"None taken, I assure you," Slade answered in the same casual manner, but his tone was decidedly cold.

"I'm known as?Slade."

White Knight stood and put the scroll behind him, and when he retrieved his arm, the scroll was as good as gone. He started to walk towards the masked assassin, "Nice to meet you Slade. Say hello to Supes!"

"That is the oldest?Argh!" Slade was stunned as he felt a very powerful blow knock him down from behind. When he looked up to see what had hit him, he couldn't help himself in staring a little. Because floating about three inches off the ground, ready for more, was a solid white Superman. If not for what he had already seen and knew about this White Knight, Slade would have known right then and there that this was not the real Superman and was part of the new hero's mysterious powers.

"Clever," Slade commented before kipping to his feet and knocking a blow back at the solid white hologram. Pain lanced up his arm as the solholo reacted the same as if he had tried to knock the Sears Tower over with a punch! The white "Superman" just gave the assassin a lopsided grin, and returned the punch, almost knocking Slade off his feet, making him back up a couple paces and definitely giving him a bloody lip.

Before he could retaliate, Slade felt a tap on his shoulder and he looked and saw a pure white Captain Marvel, who gave him the same grin before slamming him with a punch that was easily twice as powerful as "Superman's" because that one actually did knock him off his feet.

"You don't play fair kid," Slade grumbled, getting to his feet.

"And what the hell would you know about 'fair'?" the White Knight asked angrily. Before Slade could reorient himself fully, White Knight was running right at him, glowing much brighter and just before he got to the assassin, he was surrounded in bigger and pure white armor that kind of looked like the Juggernaut from the comics. Now Slade felt like he really *had* been hit by Superman and Captain Marvel.

He flew up into the air, now his nose bleeding too, from the force of the hit, when suddenly a flash of light blazed past him and when he managed to look up, the White Knight, supported by very angel- looking wings, was hovering there above him, his right fist pointed at Slade. Slade's eyes widened when he saw one of those spring- loaded boxing gloves you usually only see in cartoons, white of course, aimed right at him. At the apex of his flight, the glove "fired" and knocked Slade back to the ground at easily twice his lift off speed.

Groaning, more at the stupid pun that had come to mind at what had just happened to him, Slade got to his hands and knees, even as his opponent settled to the ground a short distance away from him. Instead of standing again, Slade just fell sideways and then rolled so he was sitting, looking at the hero as if they were playing at a park.

"You know what? I think I'm beginning to like you. White Knight is a misnomer for one who doesn't play fair," Slade teased.

He got the impression the so-called "Knight" was smirking at him when he answered, "Do I look like I care what you think of me? You are first off, a criminal, second you don't seem to care in the least about human life, and while I do follow a code, a code of combat is not part of that. So when I fight people, and I use the term loosely, like you, I fight on your terms. Any questions?"

"Yeah? You bullet proof?" Slade asked as both his hands shot out, both with guns in them and firing their deadly spray of lead faster than the White Knight could move.

He held up his hands, and the same shield he'd used earlier had started to form between him and Slade, but before it was fully constructed, a number of the bullets had already gotten past it.

They clattered to the ground, flattened, in the aftermath of the roar of the gunfire.

"Well, that answers that," Slade said mostly to himself.

"I'll take those!" a harsh voice snapped out as two beams of light, ending in claws, reached out from the White Knight and tore the guns from Slade's hands. A third, before the assassin could fully react, the end shaped like a hammer, pushed him back against the wall of a nearby building, the claws trapping his wrists and feet before the beams vanished, leaving the very solid restraints.

"Now I've got a question," the White Knight spoke sourly, "Do you think you could carry an entire building on your back after uprooting it from it's foundations? Because that's the only way you're getting out of those restraints until the police come with a full S.W.A.T. team to take you away."

"I don't have to tear out the whole building, kid," Slade answered back, "I just have to tear out the mortar around your little restraints."



"Take a look at what building you're attached to," the White Knight smugly crossed his arms.

Slade looked up, and then right behind him and almost groaned with frustration. The local LexCorp office building, and they built all of their buildings with the new age stuff, not to mention the outer walls were all always solid lead.

"All right kid, you've won this round, but I have a feeling I'll be seeing you again," Slade growled.

"Yeah, like on the prison television in the dining hall."

Creating a couple more solholos, the Knight moved the armored truck and van, with the Wolfram & Hart people safely inside, off the main streets, just as the first of the cops and S.W.A.T. were arriving.

With a final cocky salute to the still captive assassin, the White Knight flew on the wings of angels into the bright sunlight.

Slade sighed with disappointment. So much for the rest of his money.


It was the next afternoon as Buffy and Willow were spending some, recently very rare, quality time with Xander. It started out with Xander getting everyone some ice cream cones, and joking about the advantages of being the Ice Cream Truck Man. He even made it sound like he was a super hero.

The girls certainly thought it was funny.

"So Xan," Buffy asked, licking her ice cream cone, "Other than being 'Ice Cream Truck Man'," she said it like he had, with the deep voice and 'superhero pose', "what have you been up to lately?" Xander shrugged, having finished his fudge-cycle a while ago, and answered evasively, "Not much really. Go workin', makin' money, getting my paycheck, and using said paycheck to buy groceries and increase my life savings."

"Savings? You wouldn't happen to be meaning bank savings would you?" Buffy asked.

Willow looked at her female best friend, wondering what she was up to.

"As a matter of fact or Mistress of the deductive reasoning,"

Xander flashed her his lopsided grin, "The First National Bank of Orange County. Same, if I recall correctly, as yours and your Mom's, and the only bank in town."

Buffy blushed slightly, and looked away briefly. When she looked back, she was actually blushing more and looking rather sheepish as well.

"Uh?I don't suppose you, either of you, heard about, well?you know? The White Knight? He stopped a bunch of bank robbers at a bank in LA the other day. Unfortunately, the one thing they stole was missing when the police finally arrested them, so because there was no evidence, they couldn't be convicted." Buffy told them.

Xander winced, looking away from the others, at the mention of the missing evidence, i.e. the scroll Slade had stolen. Xander had looked at it afterwards and decided that something like the scroll, which was written in several languages he had seen in a great many of Giles' books, was far too dangerous to even be put back where it was, let alone in police lock-up. He was still trying to figure out a way to get the scroll to Giles without it seeming a little too obvious. At least none of the press was reporting on what was stolen, if they even knew.

"It must just make him so mad, something like that," Buffy said.

"Huh?" Xander blurted, confused.

Buffy's blush increased slightly. "The?White Knight. It must make him really made that those crooks he helped catch are just going to be let right back onto the streets. I bet he's mad. Don't you think he would be mad?"

Willow's amused expression immediately shifted to concerned and angry when Buffy turned to look at her, and she immediately made agreeing sounds, "Oh, yeah, mad! I would be too. Darn our justice system and the 4th Amendment."

Buffy turned to Xander, who was still confused, and showed it.

"Buff?I don't think the White Knight is about making sure the bad guys, in this case bank robbers, are punished for the sake of being punished. He's more about learning from mistakes and second chances. He doesn't want enemies, he just wants people to live in peace without having to worry about their lives from moment to moment, and it would be better if the criminals he catches repented and reformed themselves rather than just ship them off to jail just to get them off the streets."

Buffy and Willow blinked in shock at their male friend. The former in mild awe, the latter in worried terror that he was practically telling Buffy his secret identity.

Then Xander gave them his lop-sided grin and said, "Besides, isn't that what Chosen One's do? Besides being the butt-monkeys of the universe that is?"

Buffy snorted with laughter, and Willow breathed a sigh of relief.

"So what else you two want to do?" Xander asked, smiling.

Buffy sighed. "It's too early to go to the Bronze," she said, "What about the beach? It's been a while since we've been there, and it wouldn't take long to swing back by the dorms or Xander's place to get swim-stuff."

Xander's grin became a bit lecherous as he got a step behind the girls and then came up between them, draping his arms over their shoulders as he said, "Ah, my two favorite babes in bikinis!"

Both females rolled their eyes, but before any more talk of beach, or Xander's perversions could be spoke of, Willow remembered something.

"Oh! I just remembered there's a carnival in town. Well, in LA actually, but it's closer than actually going into the city. We could go there and then come back in time for patrol and other stuff," she suggested.

That sounded a bit better than just waiting for the Bronze to open or even just going to the beach for the afternoon. So, with that plan in mind, the Slayerettes went to the Circus.


It was barely two hours before Buffy, Willow, and Xander were all sitting on benches in the Big Tent of the "Magical Circus of Light", named as such because most of the attractions with this particular circus had to do with light. Whether that be light bulbs, mirrors, prisms, or laser light shows, but even though Xander could now outdo everything that this place had to offer, it was still fun, even if only because he was with his two best friends.

Just as the show was about to start, smoke-makers began to release an eerie, white fog into the center ring, and all of the main lighting went out, or in some areas started to flicker, indicating the show was about to begin. Once the entire center ring was nothing but a cloud of white smoke, the lasers turned on and the light show began.

'Nice light show,' Xander thought to himself, 'but I can do better.'

Out of the corner of his eye, Xander thought he saw Willow looking at him like she knew exactly what he was thinking. Before they got caught starring at each other though, they quickly turned their attention back to the show.

After some dramatic music and some more fog entered the ring area, all of the surrounding lights, save for the lasers, suddenly quit. Several moments after that, amidst the muttering cloud, there was an incredible flash of light. Xander hardly blinked, but everyone else in the big tent screamed out in pain, however brief.

When the glare had faded, a man in a very weird costume was standing in the middle of the ring, the fog completely gone. He was a skinny kind of man, looking kind of like what any geek the gang knew in high school might have grown up to look like. He was wearing a black body suit with a big light bulb emblem depicted on the front, as well as silver boots and gloves. What made him look really silly was he was also wearing a light bulb on top of his head. A big one too.

"Greeting ladies and gentlemen," he said in a voice that matched his body perfectly, "I am the amazing Dr. Light!"

"Could this guy get any more cheesy?" Xander asked his friends.

Willow tried to hold in her laughter, which resulted in a barely concealed snort, while Buffy chuckled softly. And if it wasn't for what happened next, they probably would have kept on laughing.

"Now, gaze if you will into my magnificent Orb of Light!" he shouted, and as he spoke, a really big disco ball, probably with a light source inside of it, appeared suddenly at the peak of the big tent.

Everyone automatically, of course, looked up at it, even Xander. Who a moment later, felt a tingle at the back of his neck and a moment after that, right before his eyes there was a flash of light, which actually did blind him for a second, forcing him to look down again, shaking his head and trying to clear the spots from his eyes.

When next he looked up, if they were capable of noticing anything, Buffy and Willow would have seen that Xander's eyes were solid white, just like they are when he was in "uniform". Unfortunately, they, as was everyone but Xander and "the amazing Dr. Light" were still staring up at the orb of light, mesmerized.

Now that his defenses were up, Xander could easily see the streamers of light coming down from the orb and going into everyone's eyes, except they were avoiding Dr. Light entirely and somehow were being bounced off of his. Identifying them was another matter entirely. But, after the appropriate poking and waving in front of their faces and seeing the results on Buffy and Willow and everyone else in the place, the purpose really wasn't too hard to figure out.

Trying to keep from attracting too much attention to himself, Xander creeped through the crowd to the restroom, which was surprisingly empty, and quickly suited up in a burst of blinding light.

Back in the big top, Dr. Light was issuing his first commands to his new army of hypnotized circus goers. Cackling insanely to himself, he shouted to the crowd, "Now my legion of hypnotized slaves, you will all obey me with no question! You will all obey Dr. Light!"

"Yes Dr. Light" the resounding crowd repeated.

"First order of business, give me all the money you own!" he shouted with glee, cackling with laughter.

Before the crowd could repeat that back though, the White Knight, flying on angel wings flew into the bit top and shouted equally loud, "Sorry to break up the act Doc, but I will not allow you to rob these innocent people. Even if the only thing they did wrong was pay money to see your show!"

Dr. Light stared in disbelief at the spectacle the White Knight provided, hovering across the ring from him. "And who," he drawled, "are you?"

"Funny, I thought everybody knew by now," White Knight joked, subtly working on calling all of the light the orb was sending out to him, and away from everyone else's eyes. Slowly, but far more difficult than it should have been, it was working. "I've heard the news and several other people call me the White Knight. I'm not really inclined to argue with them about it. All I do care about is protecting innocent humans. Now, since you haven't really committed a crime... yet, I'm willing to let you go unpunished, provided you turn off that hypnotic orb up there."

Snorting, Dr. Light took a few steps forward and put his fists on his hips and stuck out his chest. What would have been an intimidating and heroic pose on anyone else, just made the uber-geek look even more pathetic.

"So, you figured it out have you? Well, I don't really care about some superhero nobody that doesn't even make the Daily Planet headlines. No one can defeat the awesome power of light! And as for my crime, it's only just begun, and I'd like to see you, you glorified snot nosed arrogant poser with wings try and stop me!" And with that, Dr. Light raised both his fists and shot a powerful beam of yellow light right at the White Knight.

"Well, on the power of light, I'm forced to agree with you Doc," White Knight said casually as he raised his left hand, as though to knock the beam of light aside. Instead it just curved around him like he was a rock in the stream and then making a sharp U-turn and slamming back into Dr. Light's torso in a matter of seconds.

The beam of light was raw, less uniformed light, and White Knight could easily control that. In fact, he had figured out what was giving him so much trouble with the orb. He could manipulate Dr. Light's attack because it was just raw light, the only difference between it and what the sun shown down was the intensity of it. The light streaming down from the orb was more controlled, uniform light, designed to go into the human retina and open the mind to suggestibility. Hypnolight might be a good term for it.

Raw light, the White Knight could form and mold into uniform or do anything else he wanted to with it. Uniform light, doing what it was designed to do, was far more complicated to change or form into something else. But he knew he could do it.

And with the good Dr. Light out from his own blast, he could be less subtle about it.

Landing in the ring, light suddenly flared around White Knight as he used all of his strength to call the hypnolight being emitted by the orb to him. Instantly, he had it. Now he just had to do something with it. And seeing the Doc get back up from his own blast, White Knight thought it ironic to use it as a weapon against him.

With a sharp twist of his will, the streamers flowed around him until they blurred together to form a very familiar solholo, the same Juggernaut armor that he had used in his fight against Slade.

When Dr. Light got back to his feet, and regained enough of his senses to stand without wobbling, he stared in confused disbelief at the transformed White Knight. "Wha...what did you do?" he asked weakly.

"Rather simple really," White Knight replied, his voice unchanged despite his new appearance, "I can control light you see. So I am now directing all of the light your orb up there is emitting, and transforming it into this very solid holographic armor I am now wearing. And because that light is now going into my new armor instead of everyone's eyes, the audience should be waking up any second now."

"What?! That... that... that's impossible! I am the amazing Dr. Light! I alone control the power of light in all it's prismatic joy! I developed this technology myself! No one could have a more sophisticated version! It's impossible!!" Dr. Light was raging, even as mumbles and muttering from the crowd began a hissing whisper throughout the bit top.

Buffy and Willow were confused for several moments before managing to get their bearings and realized what was going on, and to see the sudden and new spectacle at the center ring.

"Wills? You okay?" Buffy asked.

"Uh... yeah, I think so," Willow replied hesitantly. "Got all my major and very important body parts. Omigawd!! Buffy, look!" Willow pointed down at the center ring where Dr. Light and a glowing white hulking figure stood, poised to fight.

"Omigawd!" Buffy repeated, and then her panic increased several factors when she realized that Xander was no longer sitting in between them. "Willow! Where's Xander? He could be in trouble if..."

"He probably went to the bathroom without us seeing," Willow immediately excused her friend, already knowing that it was said friend that was the hulking white figure facing off against the criminal that had tried to hypnotize everybody at the circus for who knows what nefarious purposes.

"You've ruined everything, you accursed White Knight!" Dr. Light shouted with a squeak.

"White Knight," Buffy whispered, staring in shock.

"Turn off the orb and promise to leave peacefully and I'll let you go. There doesn't need to be a fight between us, and I certainly don't want to hurt you," White Knight offered the villain one last time.

Dr. Light just snorted and then did something on his belt, and before anybody could say anything more, there were suddenly a dozen or so copies of Dr. Light, each identical.

"Now lets see how you handle my holograms White Knight!" the Doctors all said together.

"Funny thing about holograms," the White Knight interrupted, "The ground they're standing on doesn't need to be stable for them to still be standing. It's quite another matter for humans."

Even though he could easily see and detect the real Doctor Light, or even dispel all the holograms with a simple thought, not wanting to fall into some kind of trap he might have set up, White Knight instead raised his solholo-encased fist in the air, and then with all the might he could muster, he slammed that fist onto the ground, creating a small tremor that amazingly enough was limited to the center ring alone, but it got the desired effect as the real and human Doctor Light lost his balance and fell to the ground, the holograms disappearing shortly after that.

Seeing his foe defeated before their fight had even begun, White Knight calmly crossed his arms and stared at the fallen Dr. Light. "I'm giving you one last chance here Doc," he shouted across the distance and over the noise of the suddenly cheering crowd, "Turn off the orb, and leave. I will not chase you and I will not hurt you. You've committed no crime here, and I'm not about to hand you over to the cops for doing nothing more than working in a circus and having a really dangerous show stopper. It's your decision."

Dr. Light slowly began to get up. He glared hatefully at his nemesis, and his hatred exploded moments later. "I've committed no crime, have I? Well here's my first crime ever! MURDER!!" he shouted and got to his feet, pointing his now brightly glowing fists right at the White Knight.

"See if you can handle pure, intensified ultra violet radiation fool!"

White Knight stared at the spectacle in front of him. The surrounding light was pooling around Dr. Light, very much the same way that it did around him when he created a solholo, except something very weird was happening that only the White Knight could see.

"No way!" he shouted as he watched the light actually being stripped of something that looked dark purple to his Bang Baby enhanced eyes, and the rest of it was being discarded like the bones from a stripped animal. All of that light was creating a larger and larger mass of purple energy, all directed at him, and he really didn't want to test his "armor" against something he didn't even begin to know how to describe.

Dodging however seemed to be an impossibility, and if he didn't want to try his armor against it, he certainly wasn't going to risk an innocent bystander's safety by allowing a ricochet or being unlucky enough to be behind him. Thinking quickly, White Knight poured all of his will in manifesting a solholo shield several meters in front of him. At the very least it would give him another seconds time to think.

Just before Dr. Light fired the ultra-violet blast, White Knight's shield, looking like a larger, thicker, and white version of an old knight's shield, appeared in glow of white light, angled slightly backwards due to White Knight's awkwardness at the moment.

"DIE!!" Dr. Light screamed and fired, incidentally right at the shield.

Instead of puncturing through the shield, or breaking up upon it, or even being stopped cold, like almost everyone was expecting it to do, the bright purple beam hit the shield, and then was reflected almost directly upwards, thanks to the angle, and then it exploded upon the still functioning orb at the top of the big top. The blast only lasted for a second or two and the exploding orb was much the same as a TV or a boom box exploding, dangerous only to those within a few feet of it. Since it was almost fifty feet in the air, no one, except White Knight and Dr. Light were in any real danger, because of falling debris.

Little quick physics lesson. Everything dark or black, absorbs all, or at the very least all visible light. Those that are a color, blue, green, red, yellow, whatever, they absorb all of the light properties except for the pigments that reflect whatever color it is. White, objects, people, whatever, white is the opposite of dark or black. It reflects all light, absorbing none of it. At least, visible light.

White Knight's powers do not, (this has been mentioned before), work with only visible light, but all forms of light, and thereby radiation. Most especially including Ultra-violet.

When he created the solholo shield, he was using all light to create a "white" shield. Thereby it reflected Dr. Light's ultra-violet blast, and coincidently enough, at the same time destroyed the device the Doctor had been using to attempt his crime. And if it weren't for the White Knight, he would have succeeded in committing it.

Seeing the Doctor collapse in the face of his device's destruction, White Knight saw that he no longer needed to be on guard. The villain was beaten. He dissolved the shield and his Juggernaut armor. Moments after revealing his normal armor to the crowd, White Knight was distracted by the shouting and applause from the crowd. Something caught his eye, and he couldn't stop the swell of enormous pride in his gut when he saw Buffy smiling at him and applauding as much, if not the most out of all the crowd. Willow, beside her, just had that 'I'm proud of you Xander' grin on her face, which meant as much as Buffy recognizing him and applauding him. With a simple bow to the four corners of the crowd, the White Knight accepted the applause and then turned back to the defeated Doctor Light.

With simple constructs, he used rope the circus had lying around and tied him to the central pillar before summoning back the light he had used in the fight and recreated his angel wings, and with one final mid-air bow to the crowd, he flew out the entrance and took his leave. The crowd went wild.


Barely ten minutes later, Xander had finally caught back up with his friends, searching desperately through the excited crowd until he had found them. "Guys!" he shouted when he saw them just ahead.

Everyone, having gotten a better show than they paid for, was leaving, but at the same time several ambulances and the police had arrived to inquire about the trouble that had been reported. Several glory hounds were already giving lengthy reports, and interviews for the one news van that had showed up, even while the majority of people at the circus were just trying to get home.

Buffy and Willow paused, looking back as they heard Xander's voice, and then saw him making his way towards them through the crowd. By the time he made it to them, he was breathing heavily from the strain.

"Xander, where have you been?" Buffy demanded to know. "We've been worried sick!"

"Sorry Buff," he apologized once he got his breath back. "I snuck out to the bathroom just before the show started. After that, trust me, you don't want to know any more."

With a sick look on her face, Buffy silently agreed with her friend, and then startled when she realized that he had missed the entire thing that had her so excited. "Xander, you're never going to believe it," she gushed suddenly.

"What?" he asked, confused as they continued to walk along to the exit.

"The White Knight, you know that angel guy that saved that girl and has been on TV so much..." Buffy began to talk very fast.

"You mean the guy that you've been talking about almost nonstop for the past three days?" Xander interrupted with a grin on his face.

Blushing, Buffy continued, "He was here! There was this guy, I think he called himself Mr. Fight or something like that, but anyway. He tried to use this really big glowing disco ball to hypnotize everybody and then all of a sudden the White Knight shows up and saves everybody! He did something with his powers I think that made the disco ball not work anymore and then he totally whaled on that Fight guy before tricking him into destroying his own disco ball! He was amazing."

"Who? Dr. Light?" Xander asked, concerned.

Buffy looked at him horrified before slapping him on the arm. Painfully.

"Ow! What was that for?"

"The White Knight was amazing!" she corrected Xander. "And... hey, how did you remember the guy's name?"

Willow looked panicked for a moment, but Xander took it in stride and only shrugged as he replied, "I passed several people that were talking to the police while I was looking for you. They kept talking about this "maniac" that kept calling himself Dr. Light. Pretty logical to deduce from that Buff."

"Oh, yeah, I guess it is, Mr. Vulcan," Buffy teased him.

Xander automatically put his right hand in the Vulcan greeting and said in a monotone, "Live long and prosper." That broke them all up and the laughed all the way to the bus stop.

"So, are we going to tell Giles about this?" Willow asked while they waited for the bus that would take them back to Sunnydale.

They all looked at Buffy, who scrunched up her face in thought for a moment before answering, "Nah. I've made big enough noise on the White Knight that I'm sure he's not even interested in hearing anything more about him. Besides, the news finds out more about him than we can. And now I'm convinced that he's not some kind of demon or anything like that. I mean, he just saved almost a hundred people's lives, and from what I've seen of his powers, if he wanted to, he could do a lot of damage. Even Superman would be hard pressed to take him down if he wanted to go the villain route."

Xander looked at his hero, surprised. "Really? You think the White Knight could take on Superman?"

Buffy looked back at him, and said with total certainty, "Absolutely. Superman's great, I mean... he's Superman. But the White Knight..." she trailed off as her eyes glazed over briefly, "... He always gives the people he's fighting a chance to turn around and do the right thing. He works to redeem them instead of just stopping them, like Superman does."

Willow and Xander exchanged a brief look after that, until the former shrugged, not sure what to say.

"You know, I never thought of it like that," Xander finally said.


Part 4

Xander was walking home a couple weeks later, glad to be carrying with him, his latest paycheck. And his last from the ice cream truck job. He just couldn't take it anymore, so he had given his notice just the week before. His job with the construction company was to start in a few weeks time, the first job, building a new town library. The good news, they weren't going to name it after the Mayor.

Bad news, his secret identity as the White Knight was taking up more and more of his time as he learned how and what to listen for more crimes to stop or prevent. Unfortunately, while doing that, on more than one occasion, he ended up being chased after by some cops or news hounds that were also on the scene. Fortunately, with the ability to create holograms and disappear entirely, he always managed to escape without any big messes left behind.

A prime example would be that, even as Xander was just walking on the sidewalk, in Sunnydale, in broad daylight, a very large portal opened up in the middle of the street, and then ejected a demon that was equally large along with at least fifteen human-sized demon minions. The minions stayed around their master's ankles until he boomed in a large voice before the stunned crowd of onlookers, "This world will be mine! Capture me slaves my children, so that they can begin to build my castle!"

The moment the demon had come from the portal, Xander had ducked into a dark alley. By the time this proclamation had been made, the White Knight, riding in on a glowing white Pegasus, showed up before the minions could so much as twitch.

"Hi there, new to the Hellmouth?" White Knight greeted.

"What manner of creature are you?" the demon asked after staring for a moment or two.

"Well, I could ask the same thing about you," he glibly replied, "I am known as the White Knight, protector of the innocent and defender of humanity." Corny as it may sound, with the name 'White Knight', Xander figured it was as good a catch-phrase as "Fights for Truth, Justice, and the American Way". Better even.

The demon stared, and then began to chuckle, before laughing outright and very loudly. The minions nervously copied their master after several moments, and quit the moment he did. "So, White Knight, you fashion yourself a protector of this world? Very well then defender, face me in fair combat to the death and the victor shall do with this world as he pleases."

"Dude, you are so seriously over your head, you have no idea. I'm just the first line of defense here. And I'm certainly not the only super hero you'd have to fight if you want to take over the world. Not that you're going to live past this fight anyway, but just so you know," White Knight rambled as he reformed the Pegasus in to the angel wings.

At the sight, the demon hissed and growled, "So, an Archangel protects this world as well! Very well then guardian, I am the Demon Lord Mari-Nova and I will rip your wings from you and scatter the remains of your soul across the universe!"

White Knight stared for several seconds, before turning and saying to the remainders of the crowd below, "Now that's a threat."

"Here's another," he continued while lighting up and gathering as much spare light around him as he could. And given that it was the middle of the afternoon, there was plenty to go around. "You are going to die in ten seconds."

The demon began to laugh again, but before he could finish laughing, the construct that the young hero was creating began to form. Within five seconds of his threat, White Knight's solholo was formed and ready. A twenty foot, five feet taller than the demon, robot, white of course, standing on four pointed crab legs with four claw arms, two of which had four claws instead of just the pincers, was standing right behind the White Knight on the street.

In the remaining five seconds, all of the arms lashed out at amazing speed and proceeded to rip apart all of the demon's minions with no quarter or mercy. Once the minions were taken care of, the claws all waited before the demon lord while White Knight floated over closer to it.

"You're getting another ten second reprieve on the account that I need to ask you some questions demon," he hatefully spoke.

The demon lord gulped, and nervously nodded his agreement.

"Are there going to be any others coming through that portal of yours? Can I expect more of your kind to try and invade my world?" he asked, disdain and anger dripping with each syllable he spoke.

The demon hastily shook his head no.

"Where did you come from? And why should I believe that you aren't just some scout sent by some hell beast and if you don't report back, it'll be a full invasion? Huh?"

Hesitantly, the demon answered, "B-b-be-be, because I am an outcast exile of the 9 Circles of Hell. I came to this world in hopes of building my power to return and take back what was stolen from me. No one will care that I'm dead or that I'll never return. In fact... they'd probably be glad about it. And I came from one of the lower demon dimensions. This was the first portal where I found a world worth conquering, so I took it without hesitation."

White Knight smirked, his hatred for this creature growing by the second.

"I've got one last question for ya Mari-Nova," White Knight said, even as the solholo behind him began to tense, ready to rip the demon lord to shreds at a moments notice. "Why are you being so cooperative in answering my questions?"

Again, the demon gulped, but barely hesitated before answering, "Archangels aren't known for their tolerance. They destroy demons without hesitation or mercy, no quarter given. I'm surprised you just didn't kill me and take the information you wanted from my demonic spirit."

White Knight smirked as he replied to that, "It's not really my style. I prefer to let you demon scum feel the same fear you inflict in the people I protect before I kill you. Any other reason?"

The demon shook his head to the negative.

White Knight nodded, understanding. "OK, thanks then."

The solholo claws began to tear into the demon lord. A four-taloned claw ripped the demon's head off even while the pincer claws ripped his arms apart and the other shredding his torso apart into little pieces of demon goo.

Even as he watched this massacre, White Knight's hatred of the demon grew, until he felt a burning fist of fury in his gut. He couldn't bottle this down with jokes and humor, and he didn't want to. Unfortunately, as most metas in this day and age, White Knight's powers were tied into his emotions.

His eyes, beneath the helmet in the field of black, turned a bright and burning red, and with a scream of rage, White Knight tore the infrared spectrum from all of the surrounding light and concentrated it into a burning laser that atomized all of the demon's remains in a fire of fury. The moment that the light stopped, so did all of the fires, taking the demon remains with them.

The few remaining people on the street just stared, slightly afraid, and even more afraid to be relieved. However, everything there was to be afraid of left within moments of the demon's demise as the White Knight disappeared in a flash of blinding light.


Later that evening, Willow stormed into Xander's basement apartment, the look on her face quite clearly saying everything she was about to say. Xander took one look, then sighed, rolled his eyes, and laid back on his bed.

"What the hell is wrong with you?!" she screamed.

Xander looked back up, stared for a couple of seconds, and then laid back again.

"You, you, you... you killed a demon lord, and... and without even, without even..."

"Without even needing to consult Giles' books, or tell Buffy, or spend hours of worthless time researching while that thing was out and "catching slaves" until we found it's one weakness and Buffy exploited it while we cheered her on from the background, or tried to fight that thing's army of demon minions," he finished for her.

Willow just stared at her superhero friend for several long moments before belatedly shouting, "You pretended to be an Archangel. Everyone on that street is talking about it, and every news crew in the Western region of the WORLD is interviewing all of them!"

"He assumed I was an Archangel. I just didn't bother to correct him. And I just happened to be there Will. I was just walking along the street, minding my own business when the portal opens out of nowhere. What was I supposed to do? Run home and call Buffy and then head over to Giles'? I'm a superhero for crying out loud Willow! I did what I was supposed to do!"

Willow obviously didn't have a response to that, so she just stayed quiet for a little bit longer. Xander laid his head back down and went back to just staring at the ceiling.

"It's getting to you, isn't it?" she asked quietly as she sat down across from him on the bed.

"What's getting to me?" he asked with a sigh.

"Being a hero, doing amazing things, saving hundreds of people's lives, and rescuing me and Buffy from that Dr. Light character... and not getting any of the credit for it." Willow answered. "Superman at least got the key to Metropolis, not to mention his image is practically everywhere, and he's known as the greatest hero of the age. You... well, you're a mystery. The new hero on the block. You run from police and reporters alike, but you're still known as a hero. And Buffy has a crush on you and you can't even tell her that it's you."

"Oh," Xander mumbled.

"It... it doesn't bother me. Really! Doesn't bother me at all, not at all. OK, it bothers me a little. Especially the part about Buffy." Xander sat up suddenly. "I mean, I've dreamed of, and practically chased her since the first day I saw her, and I see her be attracted to every guy but me, and then because of this stupid secret identity thing... when she's actually looking at me as something more than a friend... argh!"

"I know how you feel," Willow sympathized with her friend.

"How could you possibly know how I feel?" he snapped.

She just calmly looked him in the eye and let him realize his own conclusions.

"Oh, yeah. That," he said sheepishly.

Willow sighed and looked around the room before speaking again. "Look, the whole, you killed a demon without us thing aside, that's not the whole reason why I came over here. There was something more in the report on the news that we need to talk about. Some people said that the White Knight shot a beam of red light at the demon as it was dying and that the thing caught fire and then was vaporized shortly after. What exactly happened?"

Xander sighed and fell back on the bed.

"Xander, talk to me," Willow begged.

He remained silent and still for several long moments, long enough that Willow began to wonder if he had even remembered what they were talking about, until finally he got up from the bed and began to pace back and forth around the basement.

"I got the idea, ironically enough, from that Dr. Light guy. See Wills, he fired a concentrated burst of ultra-violet radiation at me. But what is ultra-violet radiation? It's just another spectrum of light that normal humans can't see. But Will... I'm telling you, I saw him do something to the light around him when he fired that beam. It was like he... he... he tore something out of the light itself, taking only what he needed and then tossing the rest aside like, like, like something to be thrown away carelessly."

Xander paused and tried to organize his thoughts a little.

"It looked like he tore out purple light from all of the surrounding light. Which was majorly weird, until I started to think about it."

"Uh oh," Willow couldn't help commenting.

Xander glared at her, but still remained overall enthusiastic. "He fired ultra-VIOLET light at me. Violet! Purple! I actually saw his weapon working. So... like I said, it gave me some ideas. If he could take out only one particular spectrum of light and concentrate it like he did... maybe I could do the same thing."

"Xander..." Willow sounded worried.

"No, no, no, let me finish here Wills," Xander shushed her. "So, I've been practicing. Nothing dangerous or even outright reckless, cause you know me. Reckless I may be, but danger and I do not get along very well. Well, more like I try to avoid danger, but I still can't get that restraining order, so it keeps popping up around me. Anyway, I've been trying to pull only one spectrum, or rather color, out of ordinary light. And it's not the same as making something change colors, because that's just manipulating the spectrum's to show only one color over another. They all still interact with one another. What I've been doing is taking one spectrum and completely isolating it from others. What I used against the demon was a heavily concentrated burst of infrared light."

Willow was stunned for several seconds. Unable to think of anything to say, she just sat there, staring confusedly at her friend.

"And I'll admit, the whole fire thing kind of surprised me, but I just absorbed the light right back into me and the fires went out just like that. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not stupid enough to believe that I can stop forest fires or any fires just by absorbing their light, but if I accidentally start a fire with my Infra-Blast, I can just absorb it and nobody gets hurt!"

Willow perked up and glanced at him after he stopped talking and repeated, "Infra-Blast?"

He shrugged sheepishly and replied, "Came up with it myself. Had to call it something. What do you think?"

She stared for several more seconds before a soft chuckle escaped her throat and she just shook her head humorously. "Just don't go out there shouting about how if the bad guys don't stop you're going to fire your Infra-Blast at them!" Her chuckles then developed into full-on giggles.

"Yeah, yeah, yuck it up," he waved at her annoyed, sitting in a recliner across from his bed.

"So, was that it? You heard about the White Knight taking out a demon and using a new power and you came here to confirm? Could have just called and I would have said yes to all your questions Will," Xander told her.

She stopped giggling and quickly sobered.

"Well... those are all of my legitimate reasons," she admitted. "I also wanted to make sure you were OK. I mean... Xander, that was a Demon Lord. I don't think Buffy could have taken it out without some major help. Like either magical, or even another rocket from the army."

Xander nodded, saying he understood. However he did not really verbally respond.

After another minute or two of silence, he said to his guest, "Look Willow, I appreciate the concern, I really do, and I'm fine. But I'm sure you've got plenty of college homework to do, and actually, I am feeling kind of tired, so... if you don't mind?" he stood up and none-too-subtly gestured towards the door.

"Oh, right, how silly of me, it's so late," Willow began to bluster, and almost obviously was trying to appear like she wasn't about to start crying, despite being on the verge of tears.

Without another word, and only a lasting worried glance at the young superhero, Willow left.

Xander just went back to bed and lay there, staring at the ceiling. The same thought that had been in his head since he had first gotten home echoing through his mind once more.

'I killed a demon that Buffy could never have defeated.'


Xander was still wondering about his new life the next afternoon when he was meeting Buffy and Willow for lunch at the Espresso Pump on Main Street. And he had been assured when they offered that there would be no talk of the White Knight by anyone at the table. At least somewhat comforted by this, Xander had cleaned himself up and was sullenly walking along Main Street, keeping an eye out for his friends.

He had a lot more free time on his hands, being between jobs at the moment, however this also had the unfortunate side effect of putting him on a very strict budget so as to actually have money at any point in the future.

At that moment, he spotted Buffy and Willow already sitting together at a table in the restaurant. Putting on a smiling happy face, he quickly walked towards them, just catching the end of their conversation as he sat down.

"And they were saying that he just fried him like he used fire powers or something. Don't you think that kind of puts him in kind of the demon category? You know with the whole fire and brimstone thing? Or maybe in the really real angel category because people said that it was either an evil space alien or a real demon, and if it was a real demon, then him being a real angel could send the demon back to hell in fire and all that, don't you think?" Buffy was asking Willow.

Willow, who had seen Xander the moment he walked up, was briefly distracted from the conversation with Buffy, and chose to greet their best guy friend at the moment rather than answer Buffy's question. "Xander! Hey! Glad you could come. We saved you a seat, and guess what, I'm buying so if you want a mocha..."

"Nah, that's all right Wills, I'm OK for right now," Xander declined as he sat down across from the two young women, "but I am kinda curious about what you guys were talking about. Something about demons? Are you guys leaving me out of the loop again?"

Xander's voice, given the topic, was surprisingly neutral, Buffy decided, but her reaction was the same either way. "What? Gawd no, Xander! I promised never to do that to you again," she immediately responded, meaning every word of it.

"We were talking about the White Knight," Buffy said, a faint blush tinging her cheeks. "He was in the news this morning. Apparently, somehow Giles missed the fact that some kind of portal was going to open up in downtown Sunnydale and let out a whole bunch of demons. But the White Knight was there in like an instant and killed all the demons with some kind of fire powers."

"Fire powers?" Xander repeated, sounding surprised and excited all at once.

Across the table, the young hero noticed Willow squinting her eyes in what might have been either anger or annoyance at him. It was getting difficult to tell these days.

"Yeah, that surprised me too! So far he's only shown powers over light and making things appear out of that light. Now this thing with fire powers... I was thinking maybe he really is an actual... you know... angel. A real angel. It would explain how he beat the demon, if he sent him back to hell or whatever. At least that's what I was thinking. What do you think Xander?"

Startled slightly by the sudden question, Xander hesitated, racking his brain for any acceptable answer. But this is Xander we're talking about.

"I... think... that..." he said slowly, trying to gauge each of his best friends, "he did us a really big favor."

"Huh?" both women said together after a brief look of confusion at each other.

"Well, look at it this way," he said, getting slightly more enthusiastic since they weren't pounding on him or groaning like he had told a joke, "We don't have to do major research after Buffy coming across this guy and getting her butt kicked across half of Sunnydale late night on some patrol and Willow gets more time on the net to do school work and fun stuff instead of searching for hits that might not even be on this demon or whatever it was. Then there are the side beneficiaries of me not having to spend my hard earned money on snacks and Giles not having a headache and us hearing him complain about it because we're intruding on his domain so we could have a months later climatic battle with that demon or whatever it was."

They just stared at him for several seconds before he added, "And fewer people get hurt or killed too."

The result was certainly not what he expected.

"Are you saying that I couldn't take on that lame ass demon that the White Knight, easily I might add, wasted?!" Buffy yelled.

A breath later, "I'll have you know that I actually enjoy helping Buffy research and contributing to... certain activities Xander! And how dare you imply that I'm still the nerdy little bookworm I was in High School! I've grown, I've matured. Hell, I've even had SEX! There! I said it! You never saw me saying it in High School without going all red and embarrassed and stuff! Well not anymore! Sex, sex, sex, SEX!"

Willow suddenly stopped, realizing where she was and that everyone, except Buffy, was now staring at her.

"And another thing, favor or not, the next time I see this White Knight, I'm going to go up to him and see exactly what he's made of, and then I'll ask him what side he's on! And I won't apologize! Come on Willow!" Buffy, thoroughly incensed, grabbed the grateful redhead and dragged her out of the coffee shop, leaving Xander sitting there, wondering what he had done.


"I'll just never understand women," the White Knight muttered to himself for the thousandth time that evening. He was running a basic patrol over the downtown 'slums' area of LA and so far he had stopped 11 attempted rapes, thereby becoming several young women's personal hero of the hour, 15 muggings, 3 what could have been accidental murders, stopped a gang war just by flashing around blue and red lights, and killed over 30 vampires. Not all at once, or even synchronously really, in fact there were almost whole hours between the events that came to that total for the midnight hour.

He was glad that for the next couple of weeks at least he wouldn't be worried about having to get up in time to go to work. And it wasn't so bad, the hours he kept now were very similar to Buffy's, and there was the fact that the moment sunlight hit him in the morning, he was wide awake as ever. No matter how much sleep he had gotten the night before, or rather lack of.

At the moment he was flying along an unlit section of town, save for a couple of broken and flickering street lights and whatever porch lights or car lights illuminated the area. Of course to him, and his ability to bring a little bit more light to the area, as well as summon that reflected light right into his eyes, the street and the whole city might as well be in daylight at high noon instead of half an hour past midnight.

He was still mulling over the conversation he'd had with Buffy and Willow that afternoon, and still trying to figure out where he'd gone wrong. It wasn't going easy.

Fortunately at that moment, he heard a terrified scream from down below, shaking him out of his thoughts and without hesitation, his wings raising for a dive, dove down to the street searching out for the disturbance.

And he found it.

A young woman, about 25 or so, was being cornered in a dark alley by two hooligans in ski masks. Yep, that's right, hooligans. Cause they obviously weren't gang members and as near as Xander could tell, with his enhanced vision, they were hardly professional anything.

As the woman screamed again for help, White Knight entered the top of the alley, his solholo wings spreading, allowing him to hover above the two attackers.

"Evening folks," he greeted in a very calm manner, "Is there a problem here?"

The problem actually was from the moment he entered this alley he felt like he had just walked into a trap. Something left over from the Soldier memories, and it was not the first time those hidden instincts had warned him of such and saved his life, and the lives of his friends several times over.

"Oh thank goodness, you've saved me!" the woman suddenly cried in what Xander thought was a drastic over-exaggeration of gratitude, or just really bad acting. Especially with the way the moment that he had entered the alley, the two attackers had stopped attacking and just stared up at him, their faces neither afraid nor confused. In fact, they were entirely neutral.

White Knight decided to stay hovering for the moment, not trusting the situation entirely and not willing to give up the advantage of flight in an unknown sitch like this. "Well, seeing as there's no longer a problem here, why don't you all just go on home. No reason to be out this late. And it can be dangerous out here at night."

"Ain't that the truth," an unknown voice said from above White Knight just before he felt something incredibly heavy drop down over him.

At first, as the net, he quickly realized what it was, passed through his solholo wings, he managed to hold the weight and stayed exactly where he was in the air. Then, like magnets were on the end, the ends of the net connected with the floor of the alley and that dragged him down until he was on his knees. The moment he touched the floor, the entire net, and whatever he was resting on, became electrified.

"Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh!" he cried out in pain.

The four mercenaries, including the woman and the unseen man from above, walked around so he could easily see them. "Like taking candy from a baby," the woman, in heavily accented English, taunted.

"Don't struggle too much, we want to keep you in as good of health as reasonably possible," one of the 'attackers' told him.

"Who the hell are you?!" White Knight shouted as he struggled against the pain. He quickly realized that the armor, the real armor, was absorbing the worst of the electric shocks, but there was enough current that it made little difference, beyond the few seconds he remained conscious that is.

"Well, not that it matters much, but we're meta-hunters from Communist China," the woman answered him, "China is very strict in how it handles its metas, and we have very effective means of controlling such creatures. When it was learned that there was a meta in California with the powers of light and rumored to be an honest-to-God angel, we were dispatched to collect you. We hate metas, but they are useful, and one with the power of light, which we could control, would make us one of the greatest super powers on the planet."

"Enough talk. He's resisting the shock, tranq him," the man that had gotten the drop on the White Knight ordered.

Fortunately, the boasting of the mercs had given White Knight just enough time to gather his concentration as he focused his powers and lit up even brighter than before, drawing painful cries from his captors.

"It doesn't matter!" the woman shouted at him, hiding behind her hands and arms from his light, "The materials of the net are the strongest in existence. Nothing can cut them!"

White Knight only arched an unseen eyebrow at that as he created four solholo pruning sheers and then easily cut the four main power lines feeding the electricity into the net. In short succession, he quickly cut himself free.

"You were saying?" he asked as he stood up, lowering the intensity of the light he was emitting, and dispelling the 'light' sheers.

The four mercs just stared in uncomprehending horror at him. "How...?" the woman stuttered.

"Strongest materials, huh? Guess they haven't invented a material that can stop a solholo, or solid hologram. At least certainly not one made by me, huh?" White Knight glibly commented, keeping their attention on him, even while his was behind them, where he was creating his own surprise for the mercenaries.

Just before it was ready though, the two attackers seemed to become rather angry with him, angry enough that the tried to rush him, surprising the White Knight.

"Oomph!" he gasped as he was bodily tackled to the floor of the alley, barely able to keep his concentration. When they started punching him, it nearly became impossible. Until he lost his own temper.

There was a flash of yellow light and suddenly the two men were sent flying, propelled by the light. The source was proven as the White Knight got to his feet, glaring hatefully at the mercs, and his eyes, his eyes were solid yellow, and glowing.

With a burst of rage, White Knight slammed the light into place, creating the solholos he had been concentrating to create moments ago. Instantly, about 16 cupid angels, only a foot high, but still equipped with bows and arrows and wings, appeared in the alley and swarmed over the four mercs.

Screaming in fear, the mercs could only stand, or lie, there as the pure white cupids tackled them and then proceeded to beat them into compliance and then finally, when they were all bunched together, merged together to form a giant net, which formed completely around them, without the possibility of escape as the White Knight had done with their net.

In the process of beating them up, White Knight had noticed one of the mercs had dropped a cell phone. Casually, as they were being rounded and netted up, he went over and picked up the device and took a good look at it. "Nice cell," he commented, flipping it open and turning it on. "Mind if I make a call?"

Knowing these were international terrorists, at the very least, Xander recalled something Willow had taught him how to do, shortly after he had donned his armor, knowing there might be a reason he would need to 'officially' contact her, but neither of them wanted to be traced, so she had taught him a basic and very easy way to direct a call through numerous points and redirect points where it would buy them at least a few minutes, no matter who was tracing the call.

First, he dialed International Information, and gave them the code to get him connected to England, where he then got himself reconnected back to America and then routed himself through several 411 servers on the East and West coasts before finally asking to be connected to the University of California, Sunnydale branch.

During all of this he had finished tying up the mercs and then sported his wings once more and for a while just circled the city, making the mercs rather sick several times over.

Once connected to the university, he asked to be directed to Buffy and Willow's dorm, and then their room number. The way Willow explained it, the university's phone system was a protection of it's own as far as tracing went, because the closest the trace could be tracked to would be the university from an outside trace, and the dorm only, not the room number, from an inside trace, actually connected to the system.

"Hello?" Buffy's voice came over the cell phone.

"Hey Buff, it's me, can I talk to the Prof for a sec?"

He could hear the annoyance in her voice when she responded, "Oh, it's you. What do you want anyway? To say how I can't handle myself, how I can't handle my job? Or would you like to tell the 'Prof' how useless she is?"

"Buff, that's not fair," White Knight growled back.

"Fine. Whatever, here she is anyway," Buffy gruffed back and there was some noise and then Willow's voice came over the phone.


"Hey Prof," he put special emphasis on the nickname, knowing she would figure out exactly what he meant and 'who' he was at the moment, "I need a little bit of help with something."

"What... kind of help?" she finally asked at length.

"Four mercs set a trap for . . . well, me in an alley while I was on patrol. I now have them . . . tied up at the moment, but I need some place to drop them off, and I'm thinking the police station ain't gonna cut it. Any suggestions?"

"Are . . ." she paused after her initial panic and then asked in more skeptical tone, telling him Buffy was still in the room with her, "Are you serious?"

"I'm fine, just a couple bruises I assure you," he told her, knowing what she really meant.

He caught her sigh of relief, and hoped Buffy hadn't, but he continued on anyway. "Prof, I am serious about needing a place to drop these thugs off. They probably have an international rap sheet, but unless I drop them off at the right place, they'll be gone by morning, either from legal ties or from killing their jailers. What should I do?"

"Hang on a sec, let me check something," she told him.

"Well, it's their dime, so I got the time," he joked, but he could tell that Will was already on the computer and looking up whatever she was looking for.

After a few more minutes, during which he showed the mercs the fabulous L.A. Skyline several times by circling the city, Willow picked back up. "Xa . . . uh, well, uhm, uh, c-could you give me a hint as to who, or-or-or what these . . . things you picked up might be from?" she asked.

"Chinese meta-hunters. Communist Chinese meta-hunters. They came after me after the story of an angelic superhero hit the International news." Xander answered.

"The NSA then," Willow said with startlingly more confidence. "The closest branch of which is in the middle of downtown, and ironically enough, is currently renting office space in the FBI building. Best bet is to drop the mercs off on their doorstep and then it won't matter who gets to them first, they won't be bothering us again."

"Buff left the room, didn't she?" he asked, already knowing the answer.

"Only just, and to take a shower. Look . . . Xan . . ."

"Call me Knight, I'm on the bad guys cell phone, just to be secure," Xander interrupted.

"Right. Knight. Although I could be talking about Zan, that blue plant lady you like on that new show on Scifi?"

"Subtle Prof, real subtle," White Knight began to turn to downtown. "Look, I kind of need an aerial address here. They unfortunately don't have a big neon sign saying 'Drop bad guys here'. They do for film development," he commented as he passed the sign, "but no big sign for the NSA or FBI."

"It's only about 20 or so stories high, so it's not the tallest building, but . . . Well there is a small plaque on the front door saying Federal Bureau of Investigations, but it's real small. And hidden behind a plant I think."

"And this helps me how?" White Knight wanted to know.

"Find the sign, and you'll find the building," Willow told him, then they both heard the door opening indicating Buffy had returned. "Tell you what, call me in a little bit to let me know how it all turns out and if you're still having any trouble, I'll help in any way that I can."

With a sigh, White Knight just nodded, then added to it by saying, "Thanks Prof. I owe you one. Oh, and for the record . . ."


"I don't think that all you do is research for Buffy, and I'm actually glad you do what you can. I'm proud to call you my friend, and I'm grateful for the help you've given me and that you give to Buffy. But I am not sorry I wasted that demon before Buffy even found it," he confessed.

"I know," Willow sighed. "And thanks. That means a lot, a whole lot. Especially the nice stuff."

"I'll call back later."

"Oh, wait!"


"Leave the cell phone with the . . . things. There might be things on it you-know-who might be able to use. And you did . . . ?"

"I went through the standard re-routing anti-trace lesson you gave me Prof, no worries. Hakuna Matata. Anything else?"

"No, that should be it. The first number you put in it would be the only one recorded in the memory, and I imagine these . . . things have their own security measures as far as their phone goes. Good night Knight."

"Night Prof," White Knight then hung up the phone, following the light trail where his powers had brought the light of the plaque Willow had told him about right to his eyes, the moment she had made the suggestion.

"Aw, angel got a girlfriend," one of the mercs teased from beneath.

In response, White Knight just gave them a few more full-G loops, making the woman puke one more time. "I really hope that hit a vamp," White Knight commented.


The next afternoon, Buffy invited Xander over to her house for dinner with her mother and Willow, and also to hear his apology for what he said. He didn't apologize, but they did have dinner, and despite the animosity between the Slayer and the unknown White Knight, a pleasant time was had.

"So, Xander," Joyce Summers spoke as she picked up the dishes from the table and proceeded to take them into the kitchen, Xander, of course, was helping her with the chore, "what's going on in your life these days? Buffy hardly talks about how things might be going for you. Although I think I heard Willow discussing something about a new job?"

Xander nearly choked on his own tongue, until he realized he did have a new job coming up in a couple weeks. "Uh, yeah, right, I do," he nervously answered. "I'm going to be working with a construction crew on building the new Library building across from the museum on the campus."

"Oh yes," Joyce nodded as she started the sink, "I'd heard about that. When do they start?"

"Just before Thanksgiving," Xander answered, "But that's just to lay the groundwork. Actual construction won't really begin until mid-December, though they've told me they're hoping to have it finished by summer of next year."

"Oh, well that's good to know," Joyce observed. They remained in comfortable silence, Joyce washing the dishes, Xander drying, for several minutes before the Slayer's mother spoke again.

"So, how are . . . other things? Do you, uh, have a girlfriend?"

Xander looked up sharply, a wary look in his eye. For the rest of his life, for as long as he lived, he would never forget the Valentine's Day Love Spell, i.e. Curse. Mrs. Summer's question had just caught him a little off-guard and he couldn't help recalling her own seduction techniques.

"Uh, not at the moment, but I guess you could say I'm always open to options," he hesitantly told her.

"Well, with Angel being gone, I happen to know that Buffy certainly does not have a boyfriend currently," Joyce said off-handedly handing him another dish to dry.

For a second he just stood there, then finally took it from her to wipe it clean and put it with the others. Buffy's mother, Joyce Summers, was trying to set him up with her daughter?


Or . . .

"Uh, Mrs. Summers . . ." he began.

"You can call me Joyce dear," she interrupted him with a smile. "After all, you are pretty much a grown man by now, and I do consider you a very good friend of this family Xander."

Blushing with pride and emotion, Xander just smiled and nodded before continuing where he left off. "Joyce. Uh, forgive me for being kinda suspicious here, but what exactly is this about?"

Joyce smiled warmly at him, like he often wished his own mother would have a lot more, before answering, "All right, you caught me. Xander, I'm worried about Buffy. As much as I understand about first loves and first time crushes, believe me, I may be old but I do remember myself when I was her age. I know she's still pining after Angel, and that's not good. For her or her relationships. I know you well enough Xander Harris that while you have your faults, same as every man on the planet, you are a good man. And seeing as you and my daughter are already friends, it couldn't hurt if you . . ."

"Mrs. Summers . . . Joyce, are you trying to set me up with Buffy?" Xander interrupted her.

Joyce gave him what he could have sworn was a coy grin and just shrugged.

Before she could actually answer him though, Willow came rushing in, a wild and worried look in her eyes that only Xander recognized. "Xan-Xander! The . . . TV! Come see, you have to . . . The news! Uh, something happened and it's about the White Knight!"

Xander exchanged a glance with Joyce, who shrugged again, and then they both dried off their hands and followed Willow into the living room where the TV was showing a news broadcast.

"What is it? What's going on?" Joyce asked as they all took their seats, watching the TV.

"We've been keeping up with anything the news, the real news, has to say on the White Knight," Willow answered her. "Because . . . well, because we think Buffy ran into him, sort of, a couple weeks ago and we're trying to figure out if he's a demon, a real angel from Heaven, or something else."

"Oh, well . . ." Joyce began, but was interrupted at Willow turned the volume up as the news got to the report about the White Knight.

"And more news on Los Angeles' newest and greatest superhero, the White Knight, apparently saved the city last night from some kind of terrorist attack as just this morning, he dropped a Communist Chinese Terrorist team of four into the arms of the NSA. Not much is known about the terrorists, but the FBI did release this." She looked down and picked up a piece of paper and began reading from it, "The four alleged terrorists claimed to have been in the country for the sole purpose of capturing a metahuman for experimentation. Under interrogation however, they did reveal that there was a fifth member of their team that remained uncaptured. The FBI and the NSA have begun working together in hopes of finding this fifth terrorist before he can cause any damage, and they're hoping before he, or she, can complete their objective. No information on where the other terrorists are being held, but with the White Knight out there, I think Los Angeles can sleep soundly tonight. Back to you Ron."

Willow turned the volume back down, but her eyes were entirely on Xander, who had stiffened at the mention of another meta-hunter out there. He would have to be on guard on patrol. Even more than usual.

Heck, he should probably skip it for a few nights, but he quickly convinced himself otherwise from that with just remembering what he was going out there to stop. Danger to him or not, he wouldn't stop being the White Knight just because some people had hired a hitman out on him.

Later, after desert and some more general talk between the gang and Buffy's mom, Willow managed to pull Xander out back to talk to him alone for a couple minutes. Once she had closed the door and made sure they were alone, she confronted him, her eyes worried, and asked, "Those are the mercenaries you called me about last night, weren't they?"

Xander hesitated, and then finally nodded. "Yeah," he admitted. "I left the cell phone with the authorities, just like you suggested, and that's probably how they really found out about the 5th man. He might have been hiding in the shadows where not even I could see him, or he might have been at their base or whatever, waiting on confirmation of success. No way to be for certain."

"But it is certain that he'll either try to get his team out or just forget them and go for you. Either way, you're in danger!" she exclaimed.

"When am I not Wills?" Xander demanded. "Yeah, I got that armor you got for me, and my powers protect me from a lot, but . . . It's still dangerous, protecting people. And it always will be so long as there are people and creatures out there that want to hurt people. I'll be more careful, that's all I can promise."

"You could give it up! You know how to control your powers now, you can't hurt anybody like you were afraid of! The White Knight hasn't been around long enough that people would miss him if he disappears for a couple of weeks. You, you, you could, could . . ."

"Could what Willow?" Xander angrily challenged her, "Could let innocent people get hurt when I have the power to stop it? Buffy ran away from her problems and it only made things a hell of a lot worse for her. And for us, the people that depended on her. Or did you forget that summer? It was only a year and a half ago! I'm not going to run. If this guy wants me, he'll find me, and then he'll have to deal with me. I handled his friends fine enough. One guy is not going to be a problem."

With that said, Xander turned and stormed off.

"Xander! Wait!" Willow shouted after him, but all she got for her trouble was a blinded eye as he lit up and the next thing she was able to see was the White Knight taking off into the sky on a flying Pegasus.

Worried, but unable to do any more than she had, Willow just turned around and went back inside.


The next afternoon, avoiding his friends by spending most of the night before and today in LA, the White Knight was making another pass over the city. So far he'd stopped a few day time muggings, stopped another car chase without any injuries and only some slight dents to the cars, and helped keep rush hour to an all-time record low.

He really wasn't expecting anything to happen with the mercs' fifth member, at least not for a couple more days, although he was keeping an eye out for anybody else that might be trying to capture him for a bounty or something else like that.

So despite being on his guard, he really was surprised when seemingly out of nowhere, he was knocked out of the sky by an anti-air mortar. The explosion had been close, close enough to knock him for a loop and send him flying for the ground, but he was undamaged except maybe for the ringing in his ears.

By the time he regained his senses and reoriented himself, he saw another of the grenades heading right for him, fired from some place on the ground. Seeing no other option, White Knight just wrapped himself up in a perfect sphere solholo shield, protecting himself against another explosion.

He could tell when the grenade exploded against his shield, although he couldn't really say he had felt it as the shield had fully absorbed the impact of the explosion. Sensing no other immediate impacts, he first created the outer illusion of the shield remaining in place, even as he made himself invisible and dispelled the real shield before dropping down as fast as he could until he was just above the tops of the buildings and created a small solholo disc under his feet to keep him in the air.

Quickly, he got to where he thought the grenades had been launched from, still invisible, and then dispersed the illusion. As he expected, the moment it looked like the "shield" was dropping, another grenade launched out. Unfortunately, it was from right beneath him, and aimed right at him! Or rather the disc of light at his feet.

He created another shield, dispersing his invisibility, only this one was more like half a shield, so he wouldn't be left completely blind to his surroundings. The explosion pushed him back, further into the air, so he reformed his wings and waited for the smoke to clear before lowering the shield to see who, or what, was firing at him.

Even he, who had seen more than many humans alive ever saw in their entire lifetimes, was stumped and shocked at what he saw. The mercenary was wearing a robotic armor that made Ironman in the comics look like some idiot wearing medieval armor from the Dark Ages. It was mostly colored red, intermixed with black and metallic colors. His arms were still arm-shaped, but looked like they hid several hundred cannons all along them connecting to shoulders just as big, if not twice as much. The rest of him was just as much an overstatement to masculinity.

"What the . . . ?" White Knight muttered, dropping his shield as the last of the explosion evaporated.

"Greetings White Knight, or whatever kind of angel you are," the mercenary's voice came through a speaker just beneath the visor on his own helmet, "I am called Meta Hunter. And you have the unmentionable pleasure of being my latest prey."

"Yeah, more like Meta Merc!" White Knight shouted back. "Met the rest of your cronies last night. I imagine they can tell you, but I take great offense at being electrocuted!"

White Knight wasted no time in creating more solholos and sending them after the Meta Merc.

The mercenary in armor just hovered there on his jet boots, waiting for the fast-moving solid holograms to get to him. Then, suddenly and deftly surprising the White Knight, he fired a couple shots from his hand cannons into the solholos, and to everyone's, especially Xander's, surprise, there was an incredible explosion around each of the solholos and then they dispersed and disappeared.

White Knight wasn't hurt, but he was shocked. Nobody, nothing except him had ever destroyed one of his solholos, and whatever that cannon this Meta Merc had used, it took only one shot in order to completely obliterate White Knight's primary line of offense. And defense, now that he thought about it, and quickly backed off and started to fly away from the armor-clad hunter as fast as he could with the wings on his back.

He could hear as the robotic armored mercenary took off with the suit's rockets, coming after him. Instinct warning him, he quickly dodged to the left, and then immediately back to the right. Each time, not even a second after he'd moved, a blast from that cannon on the suit's arm shot the space where the White Knight had been, instead impacting on the streets below them.

Not wanting, nor willing to put civilian's lives in danger, White Knight suddenly arched upward in a steep climb, going for all of the altitude he could get, still dodging the blasts from his pursuer. At least this way no innocent bystanders would get hurt in the crossfire, he thought to himself.

Just then, a low flying plane, inbound for LAX crossed not even a hundred feet above White Knight's head. At that moment the Meta Merc fired another blast at his unguarded back. Sensing it, but knowing he couldn't dodge and let the blast hit the plane, he reacted as fast as his powers moved. Creating a barrier between him and the plane, White Knight turned, transforming his armor, with the full power of the sun beating down on him, into a modified form of the Juggernaut armor, the wings being transformed along with so they looked more like the metallic wings of a giant robot bird.

All this happened in the space of a second as White Knight turned towards the oncoming blast, and then reeled back, and as it was almost upon him, punched the blast of yellow energy. Of course as soon as it touched him, it exploded, and even with the extra protection around him, the young hero was knocked for a loop, falling from the sky as his solholos began to fade away.

About halfway to the ground he regained consciousness, realized what trouble he was in, and reformed the white armor around him and recreating the wings on his back. Just in time too, as the Meta Merc was zeroing in on his position.

And even as good as Xander was, he could only wait with dread as the Meta Merc shot another mortar at him, exploding almost right in front of him, flinging him through the air and against the wall of a nearby building. Groaning with the pain, White Knight only just began to peel himself off the wall, when his instincts suddenly screamed at him again.

As fast as light, White Knight was airborne on wings of light a moment later, only just having narrowly dodged what looked to be the same electric net the other mercs had used the night before. Not wanting to take the risk, he took off into the air, keeping a closer eye on the armored mercenary. Only to not be able to find him.

'What the... Hey! That's my trick!' Xander realized that the armor must have some kind of cloaking device. 'Not that it'll help him.' Xander thought to himself as he began searching the surrounding light spectrums and very quickly found his man.

Unfortunately, he was nearly right on top of him, and the White Knight barely managed to dodge another blast from that cannon on the Meta Merc's arm. Below him, an unfortunate fire hydrant took the blast and exploded with concussive force before the water exploded itself out of the same spot. White Knight paused to look back at his pursuer and was vaguely surprised when he could clearly make out the armored figure, as he was hovering over the water spout, the water landing on or avoiding his suit which made it stand out clearly from the surrounding area.

Then, he spotted it. It really wasn't even there, not visually. But he could see the spectrum change, as there was a small electromagnetic surge in the EM field around the cloak field, which White Knight could only detect through the high-band frequencies. The suit sparked.

Not too different from a toaster or some other electronic device tossed into water.

'Bingo,' Xander thought to himself.

Unfortunately, such a distraction severely cost him as the Meta Merc brought his arm up and fired again, and this time the White Knight didn't move fast enough, and was slammed down onto the street below with a powerful explosion.

Groaning, he shook his head, clearing the ringing from his ears and watched as the armored Meta Merc appeared out of thin air above him.

"Well, you aren't hardly challenging at all, are you?" the mercenary taunted.

"Oh I don't know," the White Knight quipped right back, concentrating, "I've been told I am very trying to people's patience. And I can trade bad jokes with the best of 'em."

Before the Meta Merc could work through that, beams of light shot out in several directions from the prone figure on the ground, halfway out forming into wrenches. Then, before the mercenary could really react, they reached their goals of all of the fire hydrants on the street and nearby. They rapidly unscrewed the hydrants and then reformed into fire hoses connected to the water spouts and then aimed themselves at the armored figure in the middle of the street. And not the one on the ground.

"What do you think . . ." the Meta Merc began to ask, but got his answer shortly as all of the 'light' hoses poured forth with incredible water pressure, actually pushing the robo-suit down to the ground, despite the full force of its jet boots.

"My suit is water proof fool! I don't know what you're trying to do, but it won't work!" the mercenary shouted.

"Not as water proof as you think," White Knight replied as he got to his feet. Then he directed one of the hoses to spray directly on the spot where he had seen the spark in his cloaking field. The combination of force and water pressure, powerful enough that it dented even the reinforced armor of the suit, was just enough to get the water inside where the short was, and after that, it was just a matter of physics.

At first it was just a small little spark, not even as big as the one the hero had noticed earlier. Then it repeated, and again but brighter, more intense. Then there was a small arc of electricity. Very shortly the man inside the suit noticed this, even as the water kept pouring down on him, suppressing him and keeping him on the ground. Not long after that, the entire suit began to short out and electrocute the man inside.

"Like I said earlier," White Knight told the merc coldly, "I really don't like being electrocuted."

Finally, after the suit's power supply had fully shorted out, the sparking stopped and White Knight replaced the fire hydrant covers. The mercenary, having just been electrocuted with over 5,000 volts of electricity remained conscious and on his feet for only another half a minute before his eyes rolled up in his head and he blacked out, falling over backwards into a puddle of water.


Two hours later, the police, FBI, and NSA had shown up and were packaging up the last member of the mercenary group that had been hunting the Bang Baby, who was still standing there on the street in the middle of the commotion. Thankfully the press were behind the police line, because as much as Xander hated the lime light they just kept trying to put him in, he felt he needed to be here to answer the questions of the authorities more.

The nervous Sergeant in front of him, for the moment, was the one asking those questions. Jittering nervously, and continuously loosening the collar on his blue uniform, the young man, only a couple years older than Xander himself, was holding a pen and notepad, both of which were shaking even more than the man himself was.

"So, uh Mr. White Knight, sir, uh . . ." the police officer squeakily began.

"Just White Knight, or maybe Knight for short," Xander interrupted, trying very hard not to laugh at the man. The way he jumped the moment he'd said anything almost made the Bang Baby lose it and start cackling and rolling around on the ground with laughter.

"Uh, right, I mean, yes sir, Mr. Knight sir, I mean, uh, White Knight, sir," gulping the man held out the pad and pen and even more nervously asked, "Uh, c-can I have your autograph?"

Xander stared and then looked around the crime scene. The only guys in suits, four of which were standing around the van which the Meta Merc was being loaded into, stripped of armor and handcuffed of course, were another two, who were talking to a higher ranking police officer, looked like a captain from what Xander could see, next to where the suit was being carefully stored away in a S.T.A.R. Labs van, with NSA division beneath the primary logo.

With only the press actively watching him from at least fifty feet away, the White Knight shrugged, took the pad, making sure it was just a notepad of paper instead of some kind of confession or parking ticket or something like that, and then with a flourish of his left hand, the hand he did not normally use to write with, he wrote out White Knight and then handed the pad back to the police officer.

"Th-th-thank you!" the Sergeant exclaimed, looking like he was holding the Holy Grail.

"Not a problem. Just please, don't go bragging about it. I don't like the attention I'm getting as it is, and if I have to start handing out autographs everywhere I go . . ." the hero trailed off.

"Oh, I totally get it, don't worry about a thing," the Sergeant spoke like he hadn't heard a word that Xander had spoken, and he probably hadn't.

"That'll be all Sergeant," a far more stern voice spoke from behind the Bang Baby.

Xander turned and saw one of the suits that had been talking with the police captain. He was very stern looking, especially with his sunglasses on. Tall, only a little taller than Xander himself, with dark hair cut military fashion, broad shoulders, big hands, and an expression that lead the young hero to believe this man spent about 90 percent of the time frowning, including sleeping.

"Uh, yessir," the police sergeant mumbled and quickly walked away.

"How can I help you Mister . . . ?" Xander asked before the suit could ask anything himself.

His frown deepening, the suit replied, "Agent Wissper. And you can begin by telling me your full name, address and contact information."

Surprised at the abruptness of the agent, Xander just shrugged and answered easily, "Well, people on the news have been calling me White Knight, and that's close enough. Address? Well, you see it's kind of on the other side of this really big chasm across from Hell. Contact information . . . well I don't have a cell phone, and much as I'd like to suggest an Angel signal, I think it's already taken, so I'm sorry to say I don't really have any contact information. Anything else I can help you with Agent? Like, for instance, taking my statement in regards to the international mercenary group, the last member of which you are currently taking away in the big van over there, and the rest of which you found trussed up in front of the FBI Headquarters building?"

"So you admit you had something to do with that?" the agent asked, like he was asking Xander to frame himself.

"Of course I had something to do with it!" the White Knight exclaimed. "Those mercenaries attacked me after setting up a ploy of a woman being mugged just to lure me to them. Then, entirely unprovoked I can assure you, they attacked me, trying to capture me with technology I know for a fact is illegal in this country, first of all for the fact that it was lethal level poaching equipment, and second of all, they used it on a resident of the United States. May not be capital offenses, but they are reasons to hold them for trial, and I would imagine people like them have a rap sheet with both the CIA and the NSA at least a mile long. Any other questions agent?"

"I still need your contact information. For the trial," the agent smirked at the young hero.

"I'll just watch the news and be there whenever it is, provided it's in the LA area, and only if I'm needed to be there to put these scum behind bars. Hurting people by design or accident is bad enough, but hunting another creature for any reason other than punishment or food is just plain wrong. If that will be all Agent Wissper, I have to be going." And without waiting for further permission, White Knight took to the air, a brilliant flash of light indicating the reappearance of his wings as they carried him into the sky.

Despite the flash of cameras, which really didn't bother him that much, and the explosion of questions from the media, White Knight continued on without pausing or looking back. For the moment though, his mind was on things other than his direction.


Finally, after about an hour of just flying around, only paying attention to his surroundings enough to keep from bumping into things and to help people who genuinely were in need of help, he went high in the atmosphere, made himself completely invisible, and glided home in the little spaceship orb of light thing he used to get away from the media the first time.

Back home Xander was faced with either going back to his basement and risk running into his money-grubbing, alcoholic parents . . . or going to the Bronze to hang out with his friends. Whom, the last time he checked, he was angry with, and was equally angry with him.

It was a weighted decision, with nothing to tip the balance in either way, until he was actually on his own doorstep. Turning invisible one more time, he snuck down to his basement room, showered, got cleaned up, and left all before his father even tried knocking on the basement door to see if it was Xander down there or not.

Chances were, the youth thought as he walked along to the Bronze, if he thought it was somebody else down there, the most he would do would be to lock the door to the upstairs and leave whoever it was to go through his stuff as they liked.

The Bronze was it's typical self when he entered, right down to the Dingoes playing on stage. And of course, he thought, where the Dingoes are, Willow can't be far behind.

Sitting in the booth closest to the stage was the redhead he expected to find, as well as the blonde he needed to speak with as well. With a deep sigh, and bringing a pair of mochas from the bar as peace offerings, Xander headed over to Buffy and Willow.

"This seat taken?" he asked once the volume was to a level he was certain they could hear him at.

Together they looked up at him from the band, and then their faces fell into shock. Immediately Buffy was up beside him and Willow only a second behind her. "Oh my god Xander! What happened?" the blonde demanded.

"What do you mean?" he asked.

"Your face is all bruised!" Willow told him.

"Did a vampire do this? Damnit Xander, I knew I shouldn't have let you go home alone last night!" Buffy berated herself.

At a loss for a moment, and then remembering the fight he'd had this afternoon, and the hits he'd taken, he was just surprised he hadn't noticed his injuries until now. "Oh, yeah, sorry. But don't worry," he tried to assuage Buffy after a brief hesitation. "It was a vamp, but I managed to get lucky and got him in the end. And I know how to take care of myself Buff, so it was no big deal to patch myself up today. Sorry I didn't have time to put my makeup on."

Giggling, Buffy just grinned and made a place for him at their booth, placing him in between herself and Willow. Then gesturing at the Mochas in his hand, she asked, "Those for us?"

"Yeah, sort of a peace offering I guess," Xander sheepishly shrugged. "Wasn't too sure if you were still mad at me or not."

"Is that why you left last night . . . ?" Buffy asked, sounding a little self conscious.

"What? No, I just . . . well, there were a number of no good reasons actually. I guess you could say I just needed to clear my head a little. Thankfully the vamp bashing seems to have done it's work, and now I'm here on a mission of peace," Xander made excuses.

Buffy looked down, ashamed of herself somewhat.

"Xander I'm sorry," were the next words out of her mouth.

"What for Buff?" was his immediate reply.

"For being a haughty bitch these past couple of days. First of all I talk non-stop about the White Knight, then you make an innocent comment about how he might really be on our side and I bite your head off for thinking you were saying he was better than me. Hence, I'm sorry."

Xander waved it off, "No big Buffy. Really. Besides, I don't think the White Knight is all that. You'll always be my hero Buffy, no matter what, or whoever else comes along. I hope you never forget that."

Buffy blushed and ducked her head some.

"Well, I hope you don't mind that your hero has a hero of her own," she told him, "The White Knight is like the . . . the . . . the embodiment of good almost. He justifies what I do. I mean, it sort of proves I'm not alone in this fight. There are other people, other creatures with powers fighting to protect the world from ending same as we are. We aren't alone."

"We were never alone Buffy," Willow told the Slayer, "You were never alone. You've always had us. And you always will."

Smiling brightly, Buffy thanked her friends, "Thanks you guys. You have no idea how much that means to me."

"Oh, I think I may have some vague clue Buffmeister," Xander replied, smiling as he felt the warmth of pride in his heart from Buffy calling him, albeit a disguised him, her hero. And that justified him.