Genre: Halloween remix, the sequel to Halloween, Episode X(ander)

Series: Xander: Twilight Lord of the Sith

Rating: PG-13, just to be safe

Summary: Here's the beginning of my 'Xander: Twilight Lord of the Sith' sequels.

Timeframe: Surprise/Innocence

Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. Don't sue me, I'm poor.


The sound echoed throughout the room, making Buffy and Willow huddle together more closely in fright. Willow, especially, looked nervous.

"When I left you, I was but the learner; now I am the master." Darth Vader purred over the monotone of his respirator.

"Only a master of evil, Darth." Obi-Wan replied evenly.

The tension of the epic battle was broken when Xander snorted out loud and spat "Can't we just fast forward through this senile babble until Vader cuts Obi-Wan in half like he deserves?"

"Xander!" Willow cried out in indignation. "How can you even say something like that? Vader's the bad guy!"

They were at Buffy's watching 'Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope' in her room after he battle with the demon der Kinderstod. Buffy had to be taken to the hospital by Angel after she had collapsed during a patrol she had sworn she would not go on; a fact that earned the vampire a certain amount of brownie points with Joyce. There she had discovered and killed the demon that was killing children to feed off of them.

"I've talked to the real Vader, Willow. He was angry, not evil. And technically, everything he did was legal under the marshal law the real bad guy, Palpatine, had declared. As he saw it, he was doing his duty to a recognized government that replaced a decrepit and corrupt Republic, much like the Roman Empire replaced the Roman Republic that came before it. And Vader never lied to kids and tried to train them to assassinate a father who would have loved to raise his children. If that old goat had half a brain and actually talked to Anakin, none of that would have happened. The first time Darth Sidious threatened Luke and Leia, he's have been taken out. No Force user even in existence was stronger than Vader. If you got him single minded about something, it got done. Hence the Jedi purges."

"Are you saying you agree with genocide?" Willow asked in mounting horror, as he associations with Hitler's atrocities against her people came to the forefront.

"Of /course/ not! But I don't think you place the blame on the man that had his /Master/, the closest thing he ever had to a father steal away his wife and children, toss him into a lava pit, and leave him for dead, just because an evil man that put him back together knew how to say 'They did it! Hurt them!'" Xander responded evenly.

"No offense Xand, but from the point of view the movie..." Buffy began trying to make peace between her two closest buds.

"Yeah, yeah. I'm seeing it from real life versions, not Hollywood ideals. Even Obi-wan calling him 'Darth' is an insult. 'Darth' is just a prefix to identify Vader as a Sith. It would be like calling Giles 'Limey' or Willow 'Jew'. It's a flat out racist and religious insult to use Darth alone as a name, and Obi-Wan knew it. Think about it, everyone in the empire called him 'Lord' Vader. There was a reason for that." Xander replied as he tried to explain his position.

"Wow. I never knew that." Willow said meekly. The idea that Obi-Wan Kenobi was using a racist slur intentionally was a bit unsettling.

"That puts a dimension on things I never saw." Buffy added.

"And that is one of the reasons I'm no longer fond of Obi-Wan Kenobi as a character. Even as a young man he was a selfish snot that resented having Anakin for a Padawan," Xander added angrily, even as he watched Vader strike Obi-Wan down on the screen and smiled.

"Things grow dire. The Sith is too powerful. Already he shifts the balance in his favor. We need a champion to face him," a timeless voice stated in a formless void.

"None of our champions are ready. The Slayer would not try to stop him, and the ensouled vampire both fears him, and lacks the gratitude of his freedom from Hell to aid Us." another replied.

"We need one versed in his methods to deal with him," a third suggested.

"A Jedi?" asked the first.

"No. His use of the light and balanced views would make him too controlled for a Jedi to attack. He would simply talk his way out of any attack. Besides, his power is too strong for Jedi to attack. Warfare was never their true power," the third responded.

"Another Sith, then? One not willing to touch the light?" the second asked.

"I was thinking this one," the third replied as a shadowy portal opened and showed a figure in black robes, with red and black tattoos on his face being cut in half by Obi-Wan.

"Darth Maul was skilled, but not so skilled as to even face the Jedi Kenobi. He would be struck down," the first scoffed.

"Kenobi was fully trained, Maul was tired from the battle with Qui-Gon Jinn, and our Sith has yet to even face a true adversary," the third countered.

"You are right," the second agreed.

"It will take time to bring him to our purposes. We must pull him here before his death and heal him carefully without revealing our true powers," the first warned.

"It will be worth it. We will claim to be agents of Sidious and send him to redeem himself against a Sith blasphemer. Then we shall return him to his dimension and toss him into a sun. No balance will be altered except where we want it to be," the third assured.

"Then let us begin," the second said as the image of Darth Maul vanished just before the rest of the portal did, and the two halves of the defeated Sith materialized before them. To Maul all he saw was a group of figures in robes similar to his Master's secret brotherhoods that did his dirty work on Coruscant.

"Be still, Darth Maul. The Master wants you to heal before your next test on the path to the Darkside. Your time for revenge against the Jedi will come soon enough." one of the figures said before the alien Sith fell into unconsciousness.

As Xander watched Luke Skywalker blow up the Death Star, he felt a horrible tremor in the Force, but he could not divine what was causing it.

"You okay, Xander?" Willow asked in concern as she saw him blanch and shiver. "You didn't catch Buffy's flu, did you?" she inquired.

"No. I just felt a tremor in the Force. I have not felt one like it since...we ran out of Cheezy Chips. Who wants me to get the bag Buffy's mom has hidden in the cupboard?" he asked with a goofy grin as he did his Vader impersonation.

Once he was out of the room after the laughing encouragement of his friends, Xander's good cheer vanished. Something was terribly wrong.

That evening Xander was on his way from his 'home' that he only really stopped at to change clothes and meet Willow anymore to his real home, a.k.a. his lab, when he was stopped by a not entirely unexpected figure.

"Hey, Cordy," Xander greeted cheerily. "You out to burn a hole in your daddy's wallet?"

"It's time, Xander. Things have calmed down, Angel isn't evil, and I want to know what's going on," Cordelia said in a tone that left no room for argument.

Xander thought about arguing for a moment, before he sighed and nodded in agreement. "Come on, then. Let's go someplace more comfortable," he said with a defeated air as he started walking toward his lab again.

"That better not be a pick-up line, Harris. You know damned well I'm not that kind of girl," the May Queen warned good-naturedly.

Xander let a small smile creep onto his face as he thought of five different nasty retorts by force of habit alone but held then in as he responded, "I know, Cor. I know."

It was only a few minutes until the pair was at his lab, where Cordelia exclaimed, "Xander, this place is amazing. Willow would so wet herself if she saw all of this. Why haven't you been showing it to us?" she asked.

"It's just my lab. Besides, This is where I hid Deadboy, and I have had Miss Calendar here. As to why, you'll know in a few minutes," he answered.

"What?" Cordy asked in confusion as she sat down in a chair that literally /floated/ up to meet her rear (OOC: think human sized seat like Yoda's floating peat from Episode II.)

"You know I had Vader in my head, right? That's how I know how to build this stuff. What I haven't mentioned was the other half of what I inherited from him," Xander began. "In fact, that's how I came to own this lab. The old owners already wanted to just be rid of it after the mess with Moloch, and a little application of the Jedi mind trick was all I needed to get the deed for free," he added as he waited for her to connect the dots.

"Oh," Cordy replied as she mulled that over. Eventually she caught just what he was implying and exclaimed, "What?!? You mean you can use the Force? Like really use it? Like it's real and stuff? Vader gave you the Force!?!"

"Yes, yes, yes, and no. In that order." Xander replied evenly even as his eyes lit with a little twinkle.

"What the hell are you talking about dweeb-boy?" Cordelia snapped.

"Yes, I can use the Force, yes I can really use it, yes it's real, and no Vader didn't 'give' it to me. I was born Force sensitive. There was just nobody alive that could recognize and train me in how to use it until I bonded with Master Anakin."

"Oh...wait, what do you mean /bonded/ to /Master/ Anakin?" she asked after another pause.

From there Xander began a long and drawn out explanation of just what had happened with Vader, how he felt about it, and what had come since then. When it was all taken care of several hours later, Cordelia only had one question left.

"Okay, I think I understand all of this stuff and why you're hiding it. Lord knows Miss Slays-a-lot and the Tweed-man would freak over you having powers that make her look wimpy. She doesn't exactly like competition, and Giles is like uber-research-new-stuff-guy. But...why is this making you push me away?" she asked mildly.

Xander let out a frustrated sigh at her question. He'd been trying to prepare a way to answer that from the day Cordelia had given him her conditions for backing off. He'd come up with arguments anywhere from 'I don't want to saddle you with the uber geek-god' to even crap like 'A Jedi knows no passion' and still could not find something that sounded fair. Finally, he decided to go for broke and replied, "I meditated on you for days, Cordelia. On us. I tried to find every possibility for us to be together, and it always ended the same. You get hurt because of me, and eventually you go away and die. I can't tell you the details. The future is always too much in motion for that, but I can tell you that us being together would hurt you more than I will ever risk. I...I just have to trust the Force. I've seen too much now /not/ to trust in it."

"So that's it, then? You get a bad juju and you just ignore what we've felt? You just toss aside something I /know/ would be wonderful?" Cordy asked with tears in her eyes.

Xander watched her tears for as long as he could stand before he exploded, "Damn it Cordy, if it protects you it's worth it! Any sacrifice is worth keeping any of my loved ones safe!"

Unfortunately, the explosion was in Anakin's first language, Huttese, so only Willow would have been able to translate even every other word. Cordelia just look on in confusion and replied, "Huh?"

Xander had to mentally rewind and realize what he had said and in what language before he responded, "Sorry, I slipped into Huttese. What I said was 'Damn it Cordy, if it protects you it's worth it. Any sacrifice is worth keeping any of my loved ones safe.'"

"Oh. Well, what the hell gives you the right to make that sacrifice without telling me about it? Huh, Mister?" the bitch queen of Sunnydale screeched at him.

Xander saw where this heated debate was leading, though, and calmed down visibly as he latched on to the light side of the Force. "That's what I'm doing now, Cor. If we're together, it will lead to your death. After what I told you about those manipulations by those 'Powers that Be' jerks that says a whole lot. I care about you too much to risk it. I won't get you killed for being with me. I just have to trust that it's right, and Force help me every time I look again I get more certain that it is," he answered hollowly.

"But Xander..." Cordelia began until she saw the raw pain in his eyes.

"Cordelia, I love you. But I can't love you that way. Not at the cost of your life. I think we're close enough friends that I can say that without losing you totally. Please tell me we are," he asked.

"Grrr...damn it this would be so much easier to deal with if it was 'I'm gay' or 'I'm screwing Willow behind Oz's back because it gets her hot' or 'Buffy and Giles don't want another normal person in our Scooby orgies'. Then I could be mad without feeling all...bad about it, then support you like a friend and stuff. Well except for the orgy thing. Then I'd be throwing up. And I'd kick your ass over the Willow thing," Cordelia began.

"Amen to that," Xander agreed.

"But instead," she continued as if he had never spoken, "here you are, being all noble and protecting me, and damned if I can't find /anything/ to argue you out of it. God knows walking away from you will cost me the only person who ever cared about the fact I was a real person, and that definitely includes boyfriends and the sheep alike."

"So you're not abandoning me?" Xander asked cautiously.

His answer was a hug from the May Queen that made him feel light-years better as she responded, "Of course not you doofus. You need someone grounded to keep you sane around Buffy and Willow. Without me your ego would get entirely too big."

Xander's grin was huge as he replied; "I so don't deserve to have someone like you in my life, Cordelia Chase."

Her grin was impish as she replied, "I know."