Call me Xander 2

Cordelia checked her teeth in the mirror before putting her toothbrush down as she considered what to do about Xander. She couldn't keep him in the pool house forever… or could she? 'Maybe if I get him trained in how to clean the pool I could slip him into the staff and daddy wouldn't notice?'

She finished her morning ablutions and got dressed, stressing over how she was going to keep him hidden, before heading down to breakfast.

"... ahh, but that is where you are wrong," Lex lectured, "since company B is technically a person for tax purposes, he is taking a loss, meaning they have to reduce the tax burden by an appreciable amount, however since it is still one of your assets, you can also claim depreciation on it as well."

"That can't be legal," Jeffery Chase said, the older man shaking his head in disbelief.

"Completely," Lex assured him. "You have to remember the IRS is composed of people, people who don't care about the big picture. It's not how much you pay the IRS, it's how much they individually get you to pay, since their bonuses and promotions rely on it. Let me give you an example. Let's say you underpaid the IRS to the tune of five million dollars over a period of years. If the IRS as a whole finds out they will steamroll you, because it looks good in their records and all your assets get counted in their totals. However, if you go up to an agent who is just a bit short of the bonus they are aiming for and explain that you discovered a discrepancy in your taxes and want to start a payment plan, they'll bend over backwards to accommodate you, allowing you to pay as little as five percent a year."

"Really?" Mr. Chase asked, leaning forward in his seat.

Lex nodded. "And since you can always pay more if you choose to, you can even use that to alter which tax bracket you fall into."

"That's brilliant!"

Lex smirked and took a sip of coffee.

A stunned Cordelia numbly sat down and a servant appeared at her side and poured her a cup of juice.

"Dear, you should have told me you had a friend with such a mind for business," Mr. Chase told his daughter.

"To be fair we mostly snipe at each other, not discuss business," Cordelia said.

"Oh really?" he asked with a smirk. "That's exactly how your mother and I met."

"It's not like that!" Cordelia exclaimed in embarrassment, before leaping to her feet. "We gotta go! Xander, we have to meet up with your friends in the library before school."

Mr. Chase just chuckled to himself as his daughter hurried the young man out of the house, a large weight off his shoulders as he decided to schedule a meeting with his accountant.


"How did you run into my dad?!" Cordelia demanded as she started her car. "You were supposed to be hidden, not having breakfast with him."

"Well, it turns out he swims every morning to stay in shape," Lex replied, hiding his amusement and wondering why he felt so relaxed.

"What? Really? Huh," Cordelia replied as she shifted into drive and sped off.

"It really is a good habit," Lex told her, "he managed to match me lap for lap."

"You were swimming? Of course you were swimming, why not?" she grumbled to herself.

Lex forced himself not to laugh, finding her irritation even more amusing than tweaking Superman's… Clark's nose for some reason. "It's the best form of exercise," he offered, unable to resist.

"You know what? I'm just going to let that one go," Cordelia decided. "I'm going to let that one go and we are going to talk to Giles and see if he can fix you."

"I don't feel all that broken," Lex replied, wondering if his unusually good mood was caused by being in a teenage body. His intelligence seemed to have been unaffected by being placed in the teen's body as he ran some complex mathematical calculations to check his mental acuity, but even a cursory check of his emotional index showed a much more positive outlook than he was usually capable of without chemical assistance.

"Can you remember being Xander yet?" she asked hopefully.

Lex shook his head. "Still a blank there."

"Then you are still broken," Cordelia told him as the light changed and she pushed on the gas. "Not that I'm saying that's a bad thing, you are a lot easier to get along with and are carrying yourself better, but… Sunnydale isn't exactly safe and you are one of the few people who actually does something about it. Not to inflate your ego or anything but most people who run into vampires die while you… don't. That's not to say you don't get banged up, but you don't get seriously injured."

"Vampires?" Lex asked with a frown, recalling the events of last night but having thought they were caused by a spell which had been broken.

"We live on a Hellmouth, it's a thing," Cordelia said as they pulled into the school's parking lot. "I'll let Giles explain it, he has the whole speech written out. It just sounds better with an English accent."

"If you insist," Lex said, wondering if Giles might know of a way to transfer his mind back to his original world or at least provide some insight into why the breaking of the spell hadn't done so, so he could do it himself. Regardless, he was planning to do some heavy research into the media based on his world before attempting it, as this was too valuable an opportunity to pass up. Thankfully it seemed to be a rather simple animated show, so there were probably only a few seasons he'd be forced to watch as the production value seemed relatively low.

Cordelia put the car in park and turned off the engine. "Follow me and let me do the talking," Cordelia said, "I'll break the whole amnesia thing to them."

"Alright," he said agreeably, amused at her ordering him about.

He followed her into the nearly empty school, few students having arrived this early and the teachers and staff still getting ready for the day, and into the school library where the Librarian and two students were waiting.

"Xander has complete amnesia, he can't remember a thing and a good night's sleep didn't fix it," Cordelia announced before they could even greet the pair.

"That's how you planned on breaking it to them?" Lex asked, the corners of his mouth twitching as he suppressed a laugh.

"I didn't say I would do it gently, that'd just waste time," she replied bluntly.

He silently chuckled as the two young women he'd met the night before, Willow and Buffy, talked over one another as they asked numerous questions much too quickly to answer and in several cases too fast to understand.

"Girls!" Giles half shouted. "Give the poor boy a chance to answer."

Seeing the two settle down, Lex quickly figured out the best way to deal with things without admitting he was still himself, as from the cartoon he'd see he was the 'bad guy' which would not get the cooperation he was going to need to solve things to his satisfaction. "I seem to be suffering from Retrograde Amnesia, as while I do know my name and how to perform just about any task, I don't recall any people or places. Cordelia was nice enough to let me borrow her pool house last night, to see if sleeping on it would solve matters. Alas, it has not."

"Well, your command of the English language and dictation seems to have improved," Giles offered absently as he cleaned his glasses.

"Was it deficient before?" Lex asked curious as to what this Xander had been like.

"Only to British people," Buffy quickly assured him.

Giles sighed and put back on his glasses.

"What do you remember?" Willow asked anxiously.

Lex started listing off academic fields and continued on for several minutes, trailing off when he saw how everyone was staring at him. "What?" he asked, trying to look clueless.

"Xander… you were a C+ student," Buffy said as delicately as she could.

Lex blinked. "Seriously? I don't feel mentally handicapped."

"You weren't stupid you just didn't apply yourself," Willow quickly assured him.

"Also there is the whole sneaking around at night fighting vampires thing," Buffy added with a wince, "that really doesn't help you maintain a high grade point average, trust me on that."

"Yes, that would interfere in my studies," Lex agreed, pretending to think over things.

"You tended to be irreverent and not care about your grades, however I did notice you were quite studious when the situation called for it," Giles added.

"How do we get his memories back?" Willow demanded.

"I don't know," Giles admitted. "I'll have to do some research, but it's entirely possible that he may never regain his memories. Chaos magic is exactly what it sounds like and its side effects are not only chaotic but also extremely powerful. There is a reason no one sane dabbles in it."

"This is horrible," Willow said, sniffling as if she was just about to cry.

"How so?" Lex asked. "I may have lost my personal memories, but I can easily make new ones and I seem to be much better educated than I was previously."

"Yeah, but that big brain isn't going to help when you run into a vampire and don't remember how to fight it off and stake it," Cordelia told him.

"I know quite a few fighting styles, as long as I know what I'm facing I should be fine," Lex told her.

"You know fighting styles? How do you know fighting styles? In fact, how do you know all of this?" Buffy asked, waving her hand in the air.

"He dressed as Lex Luthor," Willow reminded her, "who was pretty much the pinnacle of human evolution according to Xander. The only reason Lex ever lost against Superman was because he was working with bad data, since he assumed that Superman was hiding malevolent intentions and wasn't what he appeared to be. It depends on the story and the writer really, but that's how Xander viewed it."

Giles nodded. "And if the spell was tapping into what Xander believed about the character then the sheer amount of knowledge he needed to fill the role… would be astounding."

"So, Xander's belief that Lex was all that means his personal memories were drowned in pretty much everything mankind has ever learned?" Cordelia asked.

"Yes, that does fit the situation," Giles said thoughtfully, "there is every possibility that Xander's memories will return in time, they are simply buried under the mountain of knowledge he has absorbed."

"That seems a reasonable explanation," Lex agreed. "Now, can someone educate me on what a Hellmouth is and how vampires are involved?"

Giles nodded. "Certainly. The world is older than you know…"

Lex listened intently to Giles' explanation, but the more he heard the angrier he got until he finally burst out, "Vampires are nothing more than cockroaches, we should scour them from the face of the Earth, raze their homes and burn them out!" He froze, realizing he'd just done what he'd been warning himself not to do, reveal himself as something other than the friend they expected. He was scrambling for an excuse when the blonde and redhead swept him up in a tight hug.

"I knew you were still you!" Willow exclaimed happily.

Giles and Cordelia let out relieved sighs and smiled, happy that Xander hadn't really changed all that much regardless of his new vocabulary.

Lex smiled and hugged the two while trying to hide his confusion. He'd figure it out in time, he always did, in the meantime he would wait and learn what he could, and then the creatures that considered humans nothing more than food… would pay.

Beta by: Abyssal Angel & Mist of Shadows

AN: Lex and Xander might have a few things in common, like the belief that anything that would prey on mankind should be eradicated with extreme prejudice.