A Jump to the Left
Disclaimer: I don't own BTVS, Married with Children, or Sliders. For a more complete list of intellectual property I claim no ownership of consult IMDB.
Cordelia watched wordlessly while Xander walked away from her, ignoring her like she didn't matter.
"Oh no," Willow worried aloud, having caught the entire scene.
"What?!" Cordelia growled, still a little pissed at Willow, even though she placed the lion's share of the blame on Xander and not happy that she saw Xander blow her off.
"Jonathan looked content just like that, and then Buffy found him on the roof with a rifle."
"You're saying Xander's going to go postal?" Cordelia asked doubtfully.
"Jonathan went up there to kill himself," Willow said.
Xander stepped into the basement with a happy grin and a small bag of parts from Radio Shack. Hearing a noise he turned his head and scanned the basement. Seeing nothing he shrugged and quickly got to work.
He'd cleaned the basement out and straightened everything up, something that had surprised his parents, but they saw no reason to complain.
Flipping over a chalkboard revealed the sentence 'If it wasn't for my horse, I would have never made it into college' written on the other side. Each letter had a complex equation beneath it.
Xander dumped the bag out on a work bench next to a partially assembled gauntlet and remote. Plugging in a soldering iron and flipping on a desk lamp, he got to work.
Willow dropped the spell and both she and Cordelia exchanged worried glances.
"When did Xander become one of the pod people?!" Cordelia demanded.
"I don't know," Willow replied. "We have to get Buffy, she'll know what to do."
"Screw Buffy, we have to get Giles," Cordelia snorted. "He's not a vampire."
"We'll get both," Willow swore as the two hurried to the library.
Xander pulled on the metal and Gore-Tex gauntlet and squeezed his left hand a few times grinning as the red LED went off.
Turning his attention back to the remote he inserted a battery pack and checked the display. Tapping a button he slowly began programming in a long sequence of numbers, checking and re-checking them frequently to ensure they were correct.
"This would be so much easier with a computer," Xander muttered five minutes later as he finished programming it and a green LED lit up on both the gauntlet and the remote.
Nodding in satisfaction he put on a leather jacket and grabbed his backpack. Opening his backpack he retrieved a small orange latex package the size of a shoebox and strapped it to his left arm.
"I'm as ready as I'll ever be," Xander decided as he tapped a button and the remote lit up displaying two rapidly changing numbers and a pair of moving dots over a grid.
Xander jumped to his feet and saw something rushing at him, so he snatched a can off the work bench and sprayed it, dodging out of the way.
Buffy cursed loudly and clawed at her eyes, dropping the stake she'd been holding as the rest of the scoobs rushed down the outside stairs.
"Freeze!" Giles ordered pointing a crossbow at Xander.
"Guys, I can't come in without an invitation," Angel reminded them.
Oz helped Buffy to the sink over by the washer and dryer while Giles kept the crossbow trained on Xander.
"Come in!" Buffy called out before sticking her face under the faucet.
"What did you do to her?!" Giles demanded.
Xander ignored him and the look on his face made Cordelia and Willow flinch. "You. Invited. A. Vampire. Into. My. HOUSE!"
"What did you do to Buffy?" Giles demanded again, gesturing with the crossbow.
Xander tossed the spray can towards the four and Angel caught it. "Spray Starch," he read aloud.
"Why the fuck would you invite a vampire into my house?!" Xander cursed, truly pissed.
"What are you?!" Willow demanded, while Oz handed Buffy a towel from the pile of clean laundry.
"What?" Xander asked confused.
"He smells like Xander," Angel said.
"And you smell like a three day dead corpse that uses too much hair gel," Xander snorted. "Now would somebody explain why you felt the need to break into my house and attack me?"
"You're not Xander," Buffy said. "Willow and Cordelia followed you and saw you doing pod people stuff."
"Uh huh," Xander said slowly. "Will someone translate that into English?"
Willow pointed at the chalkboard. "That!"
"Well that is a complex mathematical formula along with the mnemonic phrase that lets a bonehead like me remember it, I don't see how me using a mnemonic phrase to help me remember something way over my head equals, there's Xander lets stake him and invite a vampire into his house!"
"And what about that?!" Cordelia demanded pointing out the gauntlet on his hand.
"This is something I built out of spare parts I bought from the mall, no eye of newt or magic happening here."
"But how do you know how to build something?!" Cordelia demanded. "You're an idiot!"
If looks could kill, Cordelia would have been a corpse.
"Like most people, I can read and follow blueprints. You don't even know what the hell this is and you claim I'm the idiot?" Xander growled. "You know what? We're through here. My life is my business not yours and just because I'm smart enough to follow directions doesn't give you the right to break into my place and threaten me."
"They were worried about you," Angel quickly spoke up in their defense.
"I seriously doubt that," Xander said flatly. "And even if they actually cared, this is unacceptable behavior, as my grandmother would say. Now, who's going to fix the lock on my door and magically uninvited the vampire or do I just call Joyce and dust Angel?"
Things got loud as everyone tried to talk at once until someone stomped on the ceiling and yelled, "Keep it down, down there I'm watching my shows!"
Everyone fell silent and stared at the ceiling.
Xander rolled his eyes. "This is my house, where I and my parents live, how do you think they'd respond to a bunch of yelling coming from the basement?"
"Well… you still aren't smart enough to build things or know formulas like that," Cordelia argued.
"How many honors classes am I in?" Xander asked flatly only to receive silence. "That's right, I take and pass all the same classes as Willow despite putting in only a fraction of the effort, so yes I am more than smart enough to build things by putting pieces together. I'm not claiming that I can build transistors from scratch or anything, but I sure as hell can use them. You don't need to be the inventor of the wheel to put a bike together."
"Err, sorry," Giles offered.
"Now let's get to the uninviting or staking of a vampire," Xander said.
"You can't stake Angel," Buffy said loyally.
Xander and Angel stared at each other for a moment as if Buffy hadn't spoken and Angel nodded. "I know a witch that hires out for stuff like that. I'll have her come by tomorrow."
"Ask her if you can uninvited people too," Xander added making the girls flinch.
Everyone started filing out leaving Xander alone in the basement. "Ok, more preparations for the stuff I didn't see coming," he muttered.
Xander finished his history exam and handed it in before returning to his seat and pulling out a copy of Popular Mechanics.
Willow had already handed in her test so she took a peak at the article Xander was reading before returning to her own work.
After class Willow and Buffy headed towards the library.
"So what was he reading?" Buffy asked.
"An article on flashing data," Willow said as they entered the library.
"What does nudity have to do with computers?" Buffy asked.
Giles and Oz raised an eyebrow in unison.
"Not that kind of flashing," Willow corrected. "It just means to imprint the data."
"They really should use a different term then," Buffy said.
"Scientists get bored too," Oz pointed out. "Let them have their fun where they can."
"Quite," Giles agreed with a bit of humor.
The four fell silent as Xander entered, checked out a book and left.
"What did he check out?" Willow asked.
"A book on jewelry making."
Xander poked through the thrift shop that had replaced Ethan's costume shop. The few electronic odds and ends were so old they had vacuum tubes and the jewelry was so gaudy and out of date even he shook his head at it.
"Finding everything ok, sir?" a young saleswoman with a name-tag reading Lisa asked.
"Yeah, just nothing I could use. Too bad you didn't keep the stuff from the shop that was here before you, they had some costume jewelry that would have been perfect. "
"I think we still have all that," Lisa offered. "It's all boxed in the back. We'll probably bring it out for Halloween."
"I don't suppose you'd let me buy some of it early?" Xander asked hopefully.
"Sure," Lisa said waving the other salesgirl over. "Sal, you want to take the front while I help this gentleman with the rear?"
"As long as you'll cover for me during break."
"No problem," Lisa replied and the two vanished into the back room.
Xander stumbled out the backdoor and into the alley, his clothes rumpled and carrying a box. "I'll have to shop here more often."
Humming cheerfully he headed for home, unaware Buffy, Willow and Cordelia had followed him and were waiting for him to come out and spent the next two hours wondering what was taking him so long.
Arriving at home Xander reached for the basement door when his dad called out, "Hey kid, take a look at the TV, it's all staticy."
"Let me get my tools and I'll be right there," Xander promised before heading downstairs to dump off the box.
Grabbing the handful of odds and ends he used he headed upstairs and found his father sitting in his Lazy Boy sipping a beer, clearly annoyed at the static rolling across the screen.
Xander pulled the old Magnoroix forward and undid the screws holding it closed. He winced as he looked inside.
"What's wrong?" Tony asked.
"We need to take it outside and fire up the air compressor," Xander said. "It's got enough dust in it to cause overheating, which doesn't help matters."
Tony turned on the compressor and handed Xander the air hose once they'd gotten everything ready.
It took a good five minutes to blow the inside of the television clean and Xander was glad he'd drug it out on the porch, because Jessica would have killed them both for the mess it would have made inside.
Tony put away the air compressor and plopped back down on his Lazy Boy with a fresh beer. "The colors are a lot clearer but the static is the same."
Xander looked at the frequency tuner and had an idea. "I can improve reception so we get all the channels, but the number of channels will make it hard to find anything."
"I'm not that picky, I just like a clear picture," Tony replied.
Xander nodded and ran down to the basement for a couple of the chips he'd just flashed and a couple of small LCD screens salvaged from broken calculators.
Tony watched curiously as Xander worked, shaking his head as he finished and handed him a remote. "You got brains I know you didn't get from me and, as much as I love your mom, you didn't get them from her either."
At Xander's hurt look Tony winced. "Try not to be such a pussy, son. I raised you and I love you, but I'm still hoping she cheated on me because… Do you believe in magic?"
"Hard to live in Sunnydale and not believe in it," Xander replied.
"Sunnydale?" Tony asked in confusion while handing Xander a beer. "Drink it, it won't kill you."
"A lot more goes on in this town than you know, dad. People accept the wildest explanation for things as if they're true, even when they've seen what actually happened," Xander explained edging around the facts. "We call it Sunnydale Syndrome. Have you ever seen a wild dog in this town or people running around with bar-b-Q forks?"
Tony winced. "Thinking about that makes my head ache for some reason. Anyway, back on topic. Somewhere back in history an Indian shaman cursed the bloodline. How and why we've forgotten, if we ever knew, and they're all dead and gone so we can't get it removed. So when I say you're not my son I'm hoping for a better life for you."
Xander took a long pull on his beer. "Seriously?"
"Seriously, you're either not my son or your mom's curse is stronger than the Harris one, and considering the cursed-charmed life they live I wouldn't be surprised."
"Mom's curse?" Xander asked in shock.
"Yep, remember your Uncle Al?"
The pebble that started it all.
Whistler sighed. He really hated screwing with people's heads, but when the Boss' said frog, he had to hop.
Increasing the urge to push Xander out of the group was pretty simple, Cordelia would do it to hurt him, Willow would do it out of guilt, and Buffy… for a handful of contradicting reasons.
He scratched his chin and frowned in thought . All of this was useless if the kid wouldn't budge and god knows how pushing at the conflicting bundle of thoughts that made up his brain would make him act.
It'd be so much simpler if he hadn't gotten possessed. So much, Whistler thought to himself. Or, if he'd stayed possessed one of those times cause the version of him who was a soldier wouldn't put up with the crap his friends put him through.
Whistler froze for a moment and then he began to grin as an idea occurred to him.
Typing by: Last Primarch!