Xander Harris watched, as the water fills the white sink, in the boy’s locker room. When it was about halfway full, he leaned over and splashed some of the icy water onto his face, before dunking his head under the spray of the faucet with a relieved sigh. Causing the throbbing headache that had been as constant as a ticking clock or the last two weeks, to taper off a bit and to become just a dull ache behind his eyes. With his face under the water Xander opened his eyes, frowning when he saw the cloudy redness at the edges of his vision, he jerked back from the sink. Bright scarlet blood covered the sink. It ran down the front of it and onto the floor into a puddle that stopped just before it touched Xander’s sneakers.
Xander, clenched his fists as he closed his eyes, shaking. From behind he heard a low animalistic growl. Xander turned away from the sink and opened his eyes to look at what caused the noise. By the door of the locker room lay a Spotted Hyena, with radioactive green glowing eyes, but instead of fur like it should have had, it had metal spikes, in blacks, silver and rust colors, of varying sizes all over it. Making the animal otherworldly and frightening to behold. It had been his companion for the last two weeks along with the headaches. Mostly though it had stayed in his dreams…this was the first time he had seen it while he was awake…at least Xander thought he was awake this time.
Xander left the locker room, pausing by the hyena to pick up his backpack that was laying by the animal, she rumbled at him before it slowly got to its feet, the spikes on its back clanked together in a pleasing chiming noise. Xander ignored her when it followed him out of the locker room and down the hall to the library. Giles had called for the Scooby’s to meet. Yay, Xander thought, unenthused.
Xander entered the library, the hyena laid down by the door. He walked over to the table where, Buffy Summers, the current Slayer, the ideal when it came to being a California girl, tossed her shoulder length blonde hair. Buffy’s hazel eyes were bright and happy as she flirted with her souled vampire boyfriend, Angel. Buffy was, Xander knew, brilliant when Buffy was in slayer-mode but as just Buffy, the girl?
Buffy, well, at least she was pretty? That had to count for something, right?
Xander didn’t like Angel, though. For several reasons. The biggest one was that Xander had been trying to get Buffy’s attention. Something Xander had been trying to gain from the moment he had seen her. Not so much so now. But the girl hadn’t seemed to notice that and would treat Xander like gum to be scraped off the bottom of her shoe before remembering she was supposed to be his friend.
Another one was that Buffy didn’t want to face facts about how useless Angel was when it came to helping them keep Sunnydale safe from those who tried to use the Hellmouth for bad things. The dark haired and eyed vampire also did not know any pop-culture references that someone who had been around for as long as Angel had should of, even dressing in a metro-sexual style, did not make him cool.
Not even a little bit.
Xander’s best friend, Willow Rosenburg watched Buffy and Angel with a wistful look even as she hid behind long locks of her shiny red hair with an envious look in her green eyes, when she wasn’t looking at Cordelia Chase lustfully, from beneath her eyelashes.
Xander wondered how long it would be before Willow did something about how she felt about the black haired and brown eyed cheerleader. Cordelia was filing her nails in a bored fashion, and Xander wondered why she was even here for this meeting until he saw her sneak a glance at Willow.
Oh, things were starting to make sense.
Ever since they had got stuck in that closet after Parent-Teacher Night, Willow and Cordelia had become closer, but Xander hadn’t realized that Cordelia might share the same feelings for Willow. The wealthy girl was a new addition to the gang and Xander had thought she was only here so they could keep her alive. Queen C was no dummy, she needed to know who was protecting this town and wanted to make sure they were protecting her from the demons and monster that roamed it.
Xander walked over to the table they were sitting, he pulled out a chair and sat down, hanging his backpack on the back of the chair. Rupert Giles came of his office; the Englishman dressed in his one of the suits that he always wore, adjusted his glasses as he came over to the table, he asked, “I need to know if there are any aftereffects from Ethan’s spell from Halloween.”
“What kind of aftereffects?” Willow asked.
“Have any skills or memories lingered from that night,” Giles said, his eyes pausing on Xander before looking at Buffy.
The Slayer shrugged, “I can speak and read French like a native, and I know how to needlepoint as well as manners from the sixteenth century. Nothing useful.”
Willow looked uncomfortable, shifting in her seat, “I know the afterlife exists in some fashion now without a doubt,” her voice grew soft, “I, I sometimes see people, who I know have died. They look like a negative from a photograph. They don’t scare me or bother me. So like Buffy said, nothing useful.”
“I got my costume from Party City, remember,” Cordelia said, scathingly, when Giles looked at her.
“And you, Xander?” Giles asked.
Xander looked up from the table, then over to where the hyena lay by the door, before dropping his gaze back to the table. He didn’t want to do this but knew he would have to show them, or they would never believe him. Xander raised his head and let his eyes slide over Willow, no, she would be too easy. Xander knew her too well already. Then over to Buffy, and no, she was too much like Cordelia deep down, and Xander had known Cordelia as long as he had known Willow.
Angel? No. But…Angelus? Yes, he would do. Xander closed his eyes and let the gold pendulum swing back and forth in his mind— Xander opened his eyes and looked at Angel— No, Angelus dressed in a white linen shirt and brown pants. He watched as the vampire kicked up a foot on to the table revealing black calf high boots. Xander stood and strolled around the table. His eyes never leaving Angelus’s, the vampire’s smirk falters for a moment before growing more prominent, the monster ran a hand through his shoulder-length brown hair.
The pendulum swung again—
“I awake in the cold and dark. I can’t breathe. Slowly I realized I don’t have too. I can feel the grain of the wood above me. I want out. I need out. I will get out, and the world will tremble before me.” Xander blinks and found himself in the cold and dark he just spoke of; he can feel the wood under his fingertips, “I punch at the wood above me.” Xander punches at the wood and feels it break and give way even as his knuckles bleed, then quickly heal, from the force he is using.
“Dirt falls in on top of me, I crawl through it until I break through the surface, I take an unneeded gasp of breath,” Xander said as he broke the surface of the grave, gasping for air in the chill of the night even colder than what it had been in the grave, it made him shiver. “I stand, knowing that I am no longer who or what I was before, and I’m grateful for that. I’m grateful that my creator, my sire for making me more than the drunkard that I was…” Xander paused, frowning, his stomaching rumbling, “But, I’m hungry.”
Pain, like Xander, had only felt when his parents had for forgotten to feed him when he was younger because they had spent the money on beer instead of food, hit him. Xander took a deep breath, to feel this…hunger all the time? Knowing it could only be sated one way, “I know where I can get a meal…I, go home.”
Xander blinked, and he was standing outside of a small cottage. And for once he wasn’t afraid to go inside of it. What he had once been scared of could no longer hurt him. He was strong now. “My sweet, trusting girl, my dear little sister, is the one who lets me in. I kill her quickly,” Xander snapped, the ten-year-old girl’s neck, catching her before the body hit the ground.
Xander picked up the child with long brown hair and cold dead brown eyes and placed her on the nearby bed, “I didn’t want her to see the monster I know that I will become this night, that I am. I don’t feed on her. But I lay her in bed.” Xander pulled up the blankets and sweetly tucks them around her, “Tuck her into bed as I have always done. I ignore the tear on my cheek. It means nothing. She means nothing now.”
“I hear the front door open, and I sigh. Now my hunger can be sated on the true monster in the house, my father. He will never be able to hurt me or my sister again. I stand,” Xander stood turning to face his father, he smiles, baring his fangs and lunged at the man grabbing him and drinking deeply from his father’s neck, not at all bothered by the man’s struggles, or screams of terror. Xander reveals in it, it’s so good, the taste of fear in the hot, thick blood flowing into his mouth, like rich red wine.
“I drop my father’s corpse on the floor of the cottage,” Xander wiped his father’s blood off of his mouth as he made his way out of the cottage, “There my sire waits for me. I leave my father’s house. Never to return, never wanting too—”
The gold pendulum swung once more,
“This is my design,” Xander whispered into Angel’s ear. Before he straightened and walked back over to his seat, Buffy, Willow, and Cordelia all looked at him horrified, Giles looked concerned.
Angel paled and for a vampire that was saying something, when he said, swallowing hard, “Who,” he stumbled over the word, “who did you go as on Halloween?”
Xander said nothing but opened his backpack and pulled out a book, and tossed it on the table before closing the bag and shouldering it; then he walked out of the library without saying a single word.
Buffy pulled the book closer to her, “The Red Dragon, by Thomas Harris.”
Willow frowned, “Isn’t that the book with Hannibal the Cannibal?” Willow got a terrified look, “Tell me that Xander didn’t go as Hannibal Lecter! Xander couldn’t have...” Willow trailed off not even able to finish the thought.
Giles held out a hand for the book. Buffy gave it to him, and Giles quickly read the back of it, “No, Willow. Xander didn’t go as Hannibal Lecter.” Willow let out a sigh of relief, but her breath catches in her throat when Giles said, “No, he went as the man who caught Hannibal Lecter. Will Graham, an FBI profiler, with an empathy disorder that allows him to empathize with anyone to the point where he can almost literally become them.”
“It that what just happened here?” Cordelia asked, “Did Nerd boy become Angel?”
“No,” Angel hissed. “That wasn’t me!”
“He became Angelus?” Giles asked.
Angel closed his eyes and nodded.
Buffy shifted in her chair, “Will this make Xander dangerous to us or others?”
Angel laughed coldly and wondered why she couldn’t see Xander Harris for what he was, “Harris has always been dangerous.”
“Will Graham has hundreds of serial killers in his head, the most dangerous being Hannibal Lecter. If Xander doesn’t have Will Graham memories but only his abilities then,” Giles paused, “Right now, Xander only has one of the most dangerous vampires ever to live in the last few centuries in his head.”
“So,” Cordelia drawled, “That’s a yes, right?”