Disclaimer: I do not own any property claimed by any media company used in this story.
Xander noticed the change as soon as he passed the city limits it was like he'd spent his entire life with his head wrapped in gauze and cotton, not only in his ears but in his brain as well, and someone had just removed it. It reminded him of the way he could see, hear, and smell things when he'd been possessed by the hyena spirit except there was a distinct lack of aggressive urges and he didn't feel any stronger than normal.
Hearing some disturbing noises from under the hood, Xander took the first exit he could find and looked for an auto mechanic. Spotting a wrecking yard he pulled in. "Close enough," he muttered.
The first surprise was the size of the place. It seemed to stretch on and on in the distance. The second surprise was the fact that the sign read Shady Cove Automotive Museum and DMV.
Parking, he got out and smiled at the wave of warmth that rose from the asphalt, which replaced the warmth that had vanished with Sunnydale. He hadn't realized he was cold until that moment.
Entering the office he found it looked a bit like a warehouse and there was an old man leaning on the counter, watching a small black and white TV, who looked up when he entered. "Morning young'in, what can I do for you?"
"My car is making some strange noises, so I thought I'd get it looked at," Xander explained.
"Well let's go take a look," the old man said cheerfully.
When they got outside the old man whistled. "I haven't seen one of those on the road in at least 20 years. Pop the hood and let's have a look."
Xander popped the hood and the old man raised it up and looked inside.
"Yeah, while the engine could do with a rebuild it's the engine mounts that are going to go first and by first, I mean the first pot hole you hit." He pointed out the rusty and corroded mounts holding the engine in place with his free hand.
Xander looked over his shoulder and winced as one actually snapped as they were standing there.
"I think you're in the market for a new vehicle," the old man said with a chuckle.
"Damn, I was planning to see the US and that's going to be a bit tough unless you have some really cheap vehicles," Xander admitted.
"You get what you pay for," the old man said with a shrug, letting the hood drop back down. "Have you considered a motorcycle? It'll stretch your gas budget about tenfold and let you go places cars won't."
"No license," Xander admitted.
"It's easy to learn and since I'm also the DMV clerk for this little no horse town I can get you licensed in minutes."
Xander perked up. Like most guys he'd always wanted to have his own motorcycle. "How much do bikes run?" he asked with a little cautious optimism.
"From cheap to expensive," the old man replied. "Of course the best deal is my 'five hundred dollar build your own' deal."
"Build your own?" Xander asked.
"I've got everything you need to build a bike scattered across my twenty acres. So go find the bits you need and build your own. Heat and boredom get most people, so I end up with half built bikes and they buy one of my completed ones."
"I don't suppose you have a map with everything listed?" Xander asked.
"Nope, though you can buy parts from me if you can't find them, and if you give up you can turn in a partially completed bike for a five hundred dollar discount on one of the bikes I have for sale."
Xander laughed. "So it's a chance to build a bike and if I fail I really haven't lost anything but a little labor and time, and you get a ½ finished bike you can finish and sell?"
"Exactly," the old man replied cheerfully.
"Can I borrow a truck or golf cart to drive around the lot in?"
The old man grinned. "Would you believe most people don't even bother to ask for that?"
Xander smiled. "My uncle runs a wrecking yard."
The old man tossed him some keys. "Flatbed truck in the back with tools."
Five Hours Later…
Xander pulled his bike around to the front and the old man whistled when he saw it.
"Nice work. Looks a mite heavy, but you'll adapt. Now let's get you on the track so I can run you through the licensing requirements."
An hour later…
The old man examined the bike one more time. It looked to have been constructed from blue steel and chrome and the tires were solid disks with a featureless black surface you'd think would give no traction but clung to the road like tar. The seat was covered in white leather and the fenders and engine cover in a smooth black material that looked vaguely insectoid. The gas tank had a raised Superman logo as a gas cap on its gleaming silver surface and the built in fuel gauge read full.
"Someone abandoned a half-wrecked bike in a pile of unsorted stuff or I'd have taken a bit longer," Xander said shaking his head. "The hard part was finding the right tools for all the specialty bolts and getting some of the pieces to line up."
The old man only knew of one unsorted pile and that was all debris from the various local disasters dealing with invaders or super villains, waiting for the Justice League to get off their lazy asses and collect it. "Were the tools also in the pile?" he asked.
"Yeah, I'm probably going to need them as well. Will an extra fifty do?" he asked hopefully, as most of them looked pretty high tech and probably would cost an arm and a leg from a specialty store.
"Sure," the old man replied easily. It was no skin off his nose and he wasn't getting paid to store it all anyway. "Let's get you a plate and a license."
Xander was shortly on his way with a California plate that read Bob Fet on the back of his bike.
Xander made sure to keep pace with the surrounding traffic as the speedometer was in the same language as the heads up display in his helmet, which he was still figuring out. He'd counted himself lucky the old man had let him keep the riding gear he'd found, even if it looked a bit like cosplay armor, considering what he'd found with it, it probably was cosplay armor. He'd been tempted to use the skull from the fake skeleton it was on to decorate his handlebars but felt it'd be a bit much. He'd kept the skull just in case he changed his mind later.
LA traffic ensnared him when he hit rush hour and everything slowed to a walking pace so he puzzled out the radio controls on his helmet and picked up the strangest radio play.
"This is the Channel Six news team on the scene where Black Manta is currently holding the governor hostage having grabbed him during the start of the summer regatta. Aquaman has just appeared-"
"What do we have on him?" Aquaman asked as he looked at the still form in the infirmary of the JLU.
"Alexander LaVelle Harris, age 19. He's from Sunnydale California, a town which is an enigma in and of itself," Batman replied. "He just received a motorcycle license not quite four hours ago. Everything else we know about him is from physical observation. He was wearing Yautja armor and carrying a Thanagarian axe. He has scars that we can't identify the source of beyond large and claws. Best guess at this point is he ran into a Yautja who took him as a hunting partner for some reason."
"And the reason he attacked Black Manta and almost killed him?" Aquaman asked, not sure how he felt about the situation, as Black Manta was responsible for a number of deaths but wasn't sure simply killing him was justice, no matter how often he'd thought about doing just that.
"That would be your doing," Batman said.
"What?" Aquaman asked confused.
"You called up the local sea life and ordered it to attack right?"
"Yes…" he admitted wondering where Batman was going with this.
"His DNA has been altered to encompass genes from several different aquatic species including an unknown source that could be a distant offshoot of Atlantean."
"So he was affected by my telepathic call," Aquaman said surprised.
"Yes, and you ordered him to attack, so he did, with a Thanagarian axe."
Robin and the rest of the Teen Titans watched as Batman and a dark haired teen with a black eye materialized in the living room of Titan Towers.
"Hi," Xander said giving a friendly wave that only Starfire responded to.
"Why did you want him to stay here?" Robin demanded, ignoring Xander.
"I'm kinda curious about that myself," Xander admitted. "Why am I doing this?"
"You need training to prevent a repeat of today's events and to avoid prosecution," Batman said bluntly.
"Prosecution?" Cyborg asked raising an eyebrow.
"Not my fault the DA is in someone's pocket," Xander replied with a shrug.
"Are you claiming to be innocent?" Batman demanded.
"Nope, but I don't consider the death of a mass murderer a crime, even if I wasn't being controlled at the time. The only way I would be prosecuted for his death is if someone in power was trying to railroad me," Xander said reasonably.
"And the Thanagarian axe?" Batman demanded.
"Legally mine and you can't prove otherwise. I'll expect it's return when I leave here," Xander said firmly. He'd thought it was just part of the cosplay outfit, but it fit his hands perfectly and had been remarkably effective against Black Manta's armor.
"The Justice League-" Batman began.
"Doesn't have the legal authority to keep any of my possessions," Xander interrupted. "I agree with keeping it out of my hands while I can be controlled by others, but once I'm no longer Aquaman's bitch, I'll expect all my property to be returned to me."
"Aquaman's bitch?!" Beastboy exclaimed.
"You know how blondy can telepathically control sea life?" Xander asked.
"He has a partial DNA graft of Atlantean DNA," Batman interjected. "It makes him vulnerable. And I still don't have a decent explanation for that."
"Swim team coach went nuts, that's all you need to know," Xander said flatly.
"We'll see," Batman replied before tapping a button on his belt and vanishing.
"So what happened?" Robin demanded.
"I was driving along minding my own business when the next thing I know I'm in the infirmary on the Watchtower. Apparently Aquaman's telepathic command to 'stop him' was translated as 'chop up with axe'. "
"Dude, you count as sea life?" Beastboy asked.
"I had an insane swim team coach who screwed with the DNA of the entire team using a variety of sources. I was one of the only ones who survived and didn't become a mindless monster."
"What happened to the swim coach?" Robin demanded.
"Tragic story of monster devoured by his own creations," Xander replied with a shrug.
"You don't sound that broken up," Robin accused.
"Pity for the guilty is treason to the innocent," Xander said daring Robin to argue. "If you save the life of a mass murderer you bear some of the guilt for his future crimes."
Robin repressed the urge to groan. This had 'long day' written all over it.
Typing by: The Last Primarch!