Title: The Dopplegang Effect
Chapter 17: The Aftermath of the Aftermath
Logan glanced at his unusually quiet companion. It had been a week since... that day... and no one quite knew what to do.
The dark-haired mutant glanced at Xander's inert form. He still didn't really know what happened. He'd been powerless at that time, unable to move as his healing factor kicked into overdrive to mend his broken spine. Well, not _broken_ per se, but Xander had hit him with enough force to _bend_ the adamantium out of place.
He'd seen the vampire look around for help, and Logan could still remember how his heart had contracted painfully as he watched Spike run headfirst into that... _power_. The only thought that had crossed his mind was /I can't lose them both./
He'd had only a moment to glance at Cyke and Wings, only a moment to see the blonde whisper something to the unconscious man, before It had happened. It was like nothing Logan had ever seen before. All of that power had been ready to destroy them, to destroy _everything_ and then it just... paused. If he had to put it into words, it looked like the power had actually _stopped_ for a moment to _consider_.
After that, everything had happened in fast-forward. The power had contracted, and he'd seen Xander's silhouette shove Spike away. All of that energy had slammed into Xander with full force, but Logan had seen a tiny fragment of it spiral off and hit Sinister in the chest. Both the dark-haired mutant and his former "Master" had collapsed, and a bizarre sort of quiet had come over the clearing. Everyone seemed to be unconscious, save himself and Warren, and it had taken their combined efforts to secure everyone in the Blackbird and find Charlie and Magneto. They left Sinister where he lay, facedown in the dirt. If Logan had to guess, he'd say the mutant was finally dead.
On the way back, Spike and Cyke had woken up. Scott and Warren had talked quietly as they piloted, and because Logan had been so busy dividing his attention between the vampire and Xander, he hadn't heard what they were saying. And both the Professor and Magneto were too busy staring at opposing bulkheads that he doubted either of them had a clue.
When they'd returned that day, there had been confusion, and Scott had pushed Jean aside to talk to her. Apparently he'd been so busy in his role as leader that he'd never gotten a straight answer from her as to _why_ the Professor had sealed her abilities. And when he'd found out... well, Logan couldn't _ever_ remember seeing Cyke so _pissed_. There had been yelling and cursing from their fearless leader, and a lot of crying from Jean.
Scott had filed for divorce the next day.
As for Jean, she was a ghost of her former self. Not that Logan minded. He'd gotten over his lingering infatuation with the redhead the minute he found out she'd hurt Xander. Apparently so had the rest of the school. After hearing how she'd manipulated both Ororo and Rogue, it would take a long time before anyone trusted her again.
Logan snorted quietly, earning a curious glance from Spike. The bitch was getting a taste of her own medicine, which suited him _just_ fine.
Ororo, on the other hand, was doing her damnedest to make sure that classes didn't suffer from Jean's absence. She'd taken on all of the red-haired woman's classes, and still found the time to drop by and see how Xander was recovering. Even though Jean had been mostly at fault, she still seemed to want to make up for lost time.
Warren, usually accompanied by Scott, also checked in periodically. As did Bobby, who spent _all_ of his free time there. After "the incident," Rogue seemed to be in hiding.
The Professor and Magneto had avoided each other after their rescue, and on the few occasions they had run into each other, there had been tension. The white-haired man was still around, though, waiting for Mystique and his two children to fully recover. They'd all been conscious at some point, but for the most part, Henry kept them bedridden as they healed.
Xander had been unconscious since that day, and neither Logan nor Spike left his side. Spike had been silent, for the most part, and Logan found himself missing the blonde's biting remarks. Bobby was kind enough to bring Logan's meals to him, and Logan had no problem letting Spike feed from him. His blood regenerated so quickly that the vampire could have a full three meals a day without harm.
Henry had surprised all of them when he discovered that Xander's mutation had finally stabilized. He'd even been so kind as to explain it to everyone in laymen's terms. After several failed attempts to get around complicated medical terminology, he'd been so exasperated that he'd told them to visualize Xander's mutation as if it were a mortal injury. Then he'd told them that the power was like an iron; it had somehow managed to cauterize the wound, effectively sealing Xander's powers away. The dark-haired mutant would still have everything he'd learned, but he'd no longer have to worry about picking up anything else through his mutation.
With so much going on around them, it had taken Logan awhile to pinpoint one final change. Whatever it was between himself and Spike had grown; he could feel it. And after a week of near silence from the vampire, he was more than willing to force the issue.
Charles Xavier sighed softly. There were a lot of things that should be on his mind after everything that happened: concern for Xander, dealing with his wayward "daughter", finding Rogue, planning the school's defense if Sinister's henchmen tried to avenge their leader's death, and generally calming the entire school down. As it was, all of those thoughts were present in his mind, but the one though that obliterated _everything_ was Eric.
After being forced to deal with one another in Sinister's captivity, it seemed as though his old friend wanted nothing to do with him. Not that Xavier could truly blame him. He'd been in so much shock after admitting the thoughts that he'd kept hidden all these years, he hadn't even realized that Eric would have to deal with his impromptu confession on his own.
Perhaps he was getting old, but Xavier didn't think he could deal with having his heart broken again.
The door to his study opened, but he didn't look up. Instead, he asked quietly, "Can I help you?"
Surprised, Xavier looked up and met Eric's eyes.
The white-haired man looked away after a moment, and there was an uncomfortable silence. Finally he said, "I've come to apologize, Charles."
"For what?" came the hesitant reply.
"For everything. For not listening to you when I should have known better. For not believing in you when you've always had my best interests at heart." Eric took a deep breath and said quietly, "For not telling you I loved you when I had the chance."
Xavier blinked stupidly. "You... what?"
Eric shifted uncomfortably and said, "When we slept together, Mystique was a different person every night. It was... it was part of her appeal. But the only times I _ever_ made love to her were the nights she wore your face."
Still stunned, Xavier could do nothing but listen.
"All these years I wasted, all the pain I caused... I thought you wanted nothing to do with me. I felt... I felt I no longer deserved you. But after everything that's happened..." the quiet voice trailed off.
"What are you saying, Eric?" There was hope Xavier's voice, tinged with disbelief.
"For a telepath, you must be the dumbest person I know." Eric crossed the space between them and wrapped his arms around his oldest friend. "I love you, Charles. And if you'll still have me, I'd like to spend the rest of my life proving that to you."
There were tears in both their eyes, but Xavier smiled anyway.
"It's unheard of fer two Alphas ta share a claim," Logan said abruptly, startling Spike out of his silence.
The vampire looked at him oddly. "Yeah, mate, I think I know that, seein' as I'm the one who said it. Y'gone daft or somethin'?"
Spike's attention was drawn to Logan's hand as he gently brushed a lock of hair from Xander's face. Something about such a soft action from such a hard man touched something inside of Spike that he thought was long dead.
The mutant stood abruptly and looked the blonde straight in the eyes. He grinned and said, "It ain't unheard of for an Alpha to claim another Alpha, though."
And before Spike even had the time to blink, Logan pounced.
Sometime later, Xander slowly opened his eyes. He was in his room, or rather, he was in the room Professor Xavier had provided for him when he first arrived at the Institute. He... remembered. He remembered _everything_. God, he'd been such a fool to accept Sinister, but there wasn't much he could do to change that. Heat spread across his cheeks when he realized he'd been ready to kill the X-men. He simply couldn't find words low enough to describe himself.
He propped himself up on his elbow, wincing a little, but all pain was forgotten when he saw Spike and Logan snuggled up next to each other on the floor like kittens. A smile tugged at his lips. They looked... cute.
Not wanting to wake them, he settled back into the bed as quietly as he could. They'd been waiting for him to wake up. The thought warmed him. Maybe he'd just go back to sleep for a little while until they were awake. He didn't want to spoil their moment, after all.
Xander awoke to two familiar voices arguing. Biting back a smile, he decided to play dead for a bit longer.
"Forceful bugger, you are, mate."
"Ya weren't complainin' last night," came the amused reply. "Least now I know how ta shut you up."
"Sod it. Ain't worth a fight anyway."
There was a pause, then he heard Spike snort. "'Sides, we need to figure out what to tell Xan-pet when he wakes up."
"Tell him I love him an' you love him, then fuck him 'til he can't protest."
"Bloody romantic, aren't you?"
Xander felt a curious blush spread across his face. /They love me,/ he repeated stupidly to himself.
"What's that supposed ta mean, bub?"
"Obviously, you are not a golfer," Spike replied blandly.
That snapped Xander out of his self-titled, "Happy Xander Land," and the dark-haired mutant startled both men by laughing. They rounded on him just as he got his eyes open.
"Bloody 'ell, Xan!"
"Welcome back, kid."
"Love you both, too," Xander said with a weak grin. "But could you fuck me _after_ my head stops pounding from what feels like the worst hangover of my life?"
Their twin expressions of shock sent Xander into another hysterical fit of laughter, which hurt, but somehow he knew that given a choice, he wouldn't change it for the world.
Henry had told him not to get out of bed, and usually Xander would listen to him. However, Henry had no _idea_ what it was like to be confined to bed with two of the most overprotective mother hens on the face of the planet hovering over him. He loved Spike and Logan, he really did, but he was grateful when they finally took a hint and went to find themselves something to eat.
Groaning, he rummaged through the drawers for something else to wear. He didn't think he could manage a shower yet, but he'd be damned if his clothes were going to reek, too.
He felt two familiar minds outside his door, and he sighed. "Come in."
The Professor and Magneto entered quietly.
Xander stared at both of them for a moment, then said pointedly, "Yes, I forgive you for using me to create a perfect weapon to destroy humankind. I do not have any intention of calling you 'father,' because other than the genetic ties, I don't really know you. I will, however, concede to getting to know you, and in time, I may call you 'friend.'"
Without giving Magneto any time to respond, he turned to Xavier. "I forgive you, too. I'm kinda' miffed that you knew about all this and refrained from clueing me in, but I'm sure you had good enough reasons at the time. I also wish you the best of luck with your X-men, but I'm not going to join them. If you really mean that about making me an honorary member, I'll accept for two reasons. The first is that if you ever have any problems you feel you need my help with, I will be more than happy to assist. The second is to see the look on Buffy Summers' face when I tell her I'm an X-man."
He quirked his brow at them. "Now that all _that_ is out of the way..." He grinned, "Congrats! When's the wedding?"
Xavier glanced at Eric, who still hadn't managed to wipe the surprise from his face. The telepath muttered quietly, "And you think _I'm_ bad?" Turning back to smile at Xander, the Professor said, "Thank you for... making a very long and painful conversation into a fairly short and slightly amusing one."
"No prob," Xander grinned. "Oh, and I figured out what your codename should be."
"Oh?" Xavier patted his lover's hand gently and wished that Eric would stop impersonating a fish and start paying attention again.
"Interesting." Charles cocked his head to the side curiously and asked, "Why?"
"Well, beyond founding the X-men, the word implies stability, a home, and someone to turn to. Which you are, by the way, for a whole lot of people." The dark-haired man ran a hand through his hair, more than a little embarrassed.
"Thank you," Xavier said quietly, knowing that Xander's words were from his heart. "Have you thought about your name?"
"Sure!" Xander replied brightly. "How about 'The Amazing Alexander,' or 'Alexander the Great.' Maybe a little too flashy, though."
The Professor laughed, and a voice from the doorway said, "Cor."
All three mutants turned to Spike who was munching contentedly on a box of Weetabix. "Your name should be 'Cor,' pet."
Xander quirked a brow. "Care to clue me in? I though that was just snarky British speak for 'wow.'"
"S'Latin for 'heart,'" the blonde responded casually. He glanced at Xavier who seemed surprised and shrugged, "What? M'not a complete git, y'know."
It was a week later that Xander, Spike, and Logan decided to leave. Xander had healed up nicely and was more than ready to get on with his life. After careful debate, they'd all decided to make a stop off in Sunnydale before continuing on to some nice, remote beach for a little vacation.
Henry, of course, had swept Xander up in a gigantic bear hug, and had given the dark-haired mutant a printed copy of his latest thesis. Xander had graciously accepted and tucked it away for Willow.
After the school's initial shock of seeing first Magneto and Xavier as a couple, then himself, Spike, and Logan, no one was surprised when Warren and Scott admitted they were officially "seeing" each other. Ororo had made some crack about the entire community being gay when Henry had shocked them all by presenting the white-haired woman with a rose and the suave reply of, "Not everyone, my dear."
No one had been more surprised than Henry himself when she blushed.
Rogue had been seen flitting about the school, but for the most part, she stayed in her room and listened to _really_ loud music. Xander figured it was probably because she was drowning out the rest of the world, but he couldn't bring himself to care.
Last, Jean had seemingly disappeared. Either she was hiding, or she'd taken a little time off to get her head straight. Either way, Xander didn't think the woman would be bothering him or anyone else for quite some time.
Xander was packing the last of his things when he heard the door open. His lovers - God, how that made him smile - were off shopping for a box of Twinkies, a box of cigars, and a box of Weetabix, and probably wouldn't be back for another half hour. They'd be leaving after that on a small, comfortable jet plane the Professor had generously given them.
A gentle mind probe revealed the intruder's identity, and he smirked, "Hey, Bobby."
As he turned around, he caught the very end of Bobby's eye-roll. "Never try to sneak up on a telepath," the blonde muttered. "Yeah, I know."
"So," the dark-haired mutant regarded his friend for a minute and said, "Let me guess. You're going to miss me, you want me to promise to write at least once a week, and if I don't visit, you're going to find me and freeze my underwear. While I'm still wearing it. Oh! And now that you've broke up with Rogue, you've decided to swear off all women and was wondering if it's okay to be gay."
Smirking, Xander shrugged. "And no, I wasn't reading your mind. I just saw you checking out Spike's ass this morning and thought I'd mention it."
Without a word, Bobby walked over and pulled his friend into a warm embrace. "I'll miss you, Xan."
The dark-haired mutant tightened his arms around Bobby's waist. "I'll miss you too, Icecube."
Pulling back a little, Xander continued, "But, just in case you're wondering what to do when I'm gone, I think you should go to the door in about five minutes and answer it, okay?"
The blonde gave his friend a puzzled look, but Xander just shook his head and laughed, "Trust me."
Exactly five minutes later - Bobby was timing - the doorbell rang. Nibbling his lip, he opened the door and came face to face with one of the most _gorgeous_ men he'd _ever_ seen. Unruly hair, tanned skin, and a body that screamed "walking-sex-God-here" were enough to make the blonde's mouth drop in shock.
The other man looked like he was having the same reaction, though Bobby couldn't quite be sure as he was wearing glasses.
"Um..." Bobby said stupidly. He extended his hand and said breathlessly, "Bobby Drake. Iceman."
After a moment, the other man reached up and took his hand, pulling Bobby forward to gently press a kiss to his knuckles. He stepped back and removed his glasses, and two of the most stunning red and black eyes captured his own. "Remy LeBeau," he said silkily, and Bobby's mind spluttered, /Accent. Sexy accent. Goo puddle, now./
"Dey call me 'Gambit,' cher," the voice continued in a husky tone, "But I tink you can call me, 'mon ami.'"
"Bibble," Bobby said. And then he didn't say anything because his mouth had better things to do.
Xander smiled as he watched Logan pack the last of their things into the jet. Or rather, he beamed with pride, into _their_ jet. After a lot of debating, Spike had finally coerced them into letting him christen it "Vicious." Logan had laughed a little, and Xander had been left in the dark until he remembered Spike was a die-hard Sex Pistols fan. Somehow the name fit, and in private he'd heard Spike telling "Sid" how he'd take good care of him.
Walking over to where Spike was, he gave his blonde lover a quick kiss on the cheek. "Love you," he said, and he couldn't keep the grin off his face.
Spike rolled his eyes, grabbed Xander around the waist, and pulled him into a deep, passionate kiss - the kind of kiss that made Xander melt into a happy puddle of Xander-goo. After a minute, the vampire released him and muttered, "Bloody git. Two bloody lovers and you don't try and take advantage of us?" He smiled, then leaned over and whispered, "Love you too, whelp."
The blonde's calm exterior was abruptly shattered when Logan walked over and growled at him, then proceeded to thoroughly kiss him. When the vampire came up for air, he looked dazed. "Bloody 'ell! Warn me when you're gonna do that, mate!"
Logan smirked. "Vicious is ready. Jus' makin' sure you are, too."
Spike spluttered and Xander laughed. "We're ready," the dark-haired man said with a snicker. "So, where to?"
"I was thinkin' we could drop in on your ol' pals," Logan answered, a wicked gleam in his eyes.
The vampire grinned. "I think I've told you before, but I _like_ the way you think, mate."
Xander shook his head. "Love you both," he finally said, and he realized that whatever it was that had pushed him had done a damned fine job. Because, despite, or perhaps, _because_ of everything that had happened to him, he was finally happy. He had a group of friends who accepted him for who he was, and a home to come back to if he ever needed it, and not one, but _two_ people who loved him unconditionally and who would stand by his side for the rest of his life.
And without a doubt, Spike and Logan would make it an interesting one.
Note: Well, that's a wrap, folks. At 100 pages, it's by far the longest story I've ever written, and more over, the biggest project I've ever finished. A big thank you to everyone who has given me feedback, because you and my persistent betas are what got me through.
Now, I realize that there are a few people out there who love Xander and feel that Xander should go back to Sunnydale with his spiffy powers and his sexy lovers and that this ending, while satisfactory for wrapping things up, isn't exactly what you'd hoped for.
Luckily for you, I am also one such person.
So, please bare with me while I muddle through writing a sequel called "Served Cold," where Xander does just that. I don't know when I'll be posting it, but I am in the process of writing it. I hope that you welcome it as wonderfully as you did this fic.