Xander tried to grab the last toy gun out of the bin but missed it by
a hair. "Damn," he said, looking around the costume shop with a lost
look, "How can I be a soldier without a gun?"
"IS there a problem young man?" A British accented voice asked from
"Ah!!" Xander screamed and jumped around.
"Don't do that man, especially in this town."
"I do apologize, my friend, I didn't mean to startle you, Ethan Rayne
is the name."
"No, no, it's ok, just, this town is not a safe place, sorry. Geeze,
are all you Brits so Stoic?"
"I don't believe so, and how many Brits'," he said the word with a
little coarseness, "do you know?"
"Just Giles and he's got the whole Stiff upper lip down to a science."
Ethan almost fell over with the shock of hearing that name but
covered quickly, "Yes well as I said, I do apologize. Now, what can I
do for you?"
Xander looked disappointed at that, "Nothing now, I was after a gun
but that didn't work out, now I've got no costume to wear."
The man touched his chin as if in thought and said finally, "I'll
tell you what, you pick a costume ANY costume you want and if you'll
promise to take care of it, and tell everyone where you got it, I'll
allow you take the costume at no cost."
"Are you serious?" Xander asked, wondering what the catch was.
"Of course I'm serious, I'm a new business in this town and I'm
trying to compete with an established business, good word of mouth
would go a long way to helping me out."
"Ok, you've got a deal." Xander said.
"Excellent," the man said, slapping his hands together, "I'm Ethan."
"Xander," Xander said putting his hand out and shaking it.
"So, Xander, what have you got your eye on?"
"I don't know what have you got that's good?"
"I have an idea," Ethan said. He led Xander to the back of the
store. "I didn't get a chance to put these out yet." He said, pulling
out a box, "Apparently they were some movie props that aren't going
to be used, there's a movie, that's still in the production phase
and, well these were going to be costumes that they use however it
seems they aren't going to for some reason."
"What kind of costumes?" Xander asked, interested,
"I believe the movie is called," he checked the side of the box, "ah
yes, here it is, something called, "The X-men?"
Xander's eyes bugged out, "No WAY, the X-men? Which costumes do you
"Let's see, I have someone called Rogue?" he looked to Xander who
shook his head, "No that's a girl"
"Hmmm, Cyclops?" Ethan said, not really recognizing any of the names,
but trusting Xander would.
"Hmm, nah, he's a little to stick in the mud for me?"
"All right, how about this one?" Ethan held up a costume.
Xander's eyes nearly bugged out of his head. The yellow and blue
costume had distinctive blue hash marks on either side of it. Xander
swallowed once and asked, "What character is that?"
Xander's reaction wasn't lost on Ethan and he smiled internally as he
said, "I believe the character is called Wolverine'."
Xander nodded once and said, "I'll take it, please."
Ethan nodded and said, "That will be fine, you go on out and I'll
gather the accessories together and have it out to you in a moment."
As Xander left out of the back room, a malevolent, evil glint entered
Ethan's eye. "So you're here in Sunnydale, are you old man?" he said
to no one in particular, "Well, I'll have to give your young friend
something extra special, now won't I?"
Quickly he grabbed the components that he used to curse the costumes
for his upcoming ritual and said a few choice phrases over the
costume for Xander. The resulting enchantment would be much more
powerful for him than anyone else.
"This is going to be a good night." he smiled.
Xander slipped the costume on, it fit him perfectly, adhering like a
second skin. It really showed the muscles that he had acquired over
the last year, fighting vampires and demons with Buffy. He slipped
the boots and gloves on next, testing the triggers in the palms that
released the fake claws from the back of the gauntlets, giving the
illusion that they were coming out of the back of his hands, just
like the character he was dressing as. Finally he pulled the mask on
and then looked in the mirror. This is gonna be great. he thought.
"What are you doing up here?!" the voice screamed at him.
Xander spun around, and the mask was the only thing concealing the
fear on his face, "N-n-nothing dad, the principal is making a bunch
of us take some kids around for Halloween and we have to dress in
Anthony Harris stepped up to his son, and Xander shrank back, years
of abuse training him well. "You look like a fairy." he said and
slapped Xander across the side of the head, "Why couldn't you go as
something a little more manly? Too much for you?"
"This was all they had left." Xander said, pleading in his voice.
"Don't talk back to me you worthless piece of shit, I'll…"
"Anthony here's that new bottle you wanted." another voice said
suddenly cutting the man off.
"Well give it here bitch." Anthony said snagging the bottle from his
wife, and pushing her aside as he did. "I'm going to go drink this;
you better have my damn dinner ready soon."
Jessica Harris nodded her head fearfully and then turned to her
son, "Go on, get out of here Xander," she said, "I'll make sure he's
asleep by the time you get home."
Xander nodded and said, "Mom, be careful, he's really mad today."
Jessica nodded and said, "I'll be fine Xander, don't worry, just
please, be careful out there, I don't like you out after dark."
Xander smiled weakly at his mom and then gave her a hug before
rushing down the stairs and out the door.
Logan felt the cobwebs clear a moment after they had begun and he
shook the rest out of his head before he looked around. He definitely
wasn't in Westchester anymore. He could smell the salt air and it
definitely wasn't the Atlantic he was smelling. He smelled
unmistakable odor of the desert, and, putting that together with the
fact that he was hearing English, he made a quick deduction that he
was somewhere on the West Coast, probably California. "How the hell
did I get here?"
He reached for the communicator that all the X-men carried intent on
calling the mansion when he noticed it wasn't there. That tid bit of
information was cast aside as he felt a presence behind him and he
spun, his claws popping out with a Snikt' as he took up a defensive
posture, ready for battle. Instead of an attacker however he saw one
of the most beautiful redheads he'd ever seen, next the Jean. And
this one would definitely give her a run for her money.
"Xander, oh god, what's happened to you?"
Logan looked at the girl in confusion and said, "I don't know no,
Xander girl, but you best get out of here, I smell a lot of trouble
coming this way, and you don't belong out here." Logan reached to
grab her hand so he could lead her to safety, popping in his claws as
he did so. Another shock, in a night of many shocks was his hand
passing right through hers.
"What are you? You phase through matter, like Kitty?"
"Kitty?" the redhead asked, then her face lit up in
understanding, "Oh, oh, I get it, you're, you're Wolverine."
"Yeah, what of it?" he asked just a little defensive.
"Nothing," she said in a little fear, taking a step back even though
she knew in her current state he couldn't hurt her. "I need you to
listen to me very carefully Wolverine. These little demons running
around here, they're not demons they're kids. They've been turned
into demons somehow. We need to find Buffy and figure out what's
Wolverine looked at her like she was crazy and asked, "Who's Buffy?"
Xander literally collapsed into his bed, paying no heed to the
protestations of the bed springs. It had been one hell of a night.
He's actually BEEN Wolverine, the comic book character. He couldn't
believe it, Then again it's the Hellmouth, of COURSE I can believe
it. He didn't understand WHY he was so tired, he was used to staying
up later than this, but he'd figure it out in the morning. It was
another day tomorrow, and Xander slept…..
And as Xander slept the final remnants of the spell cast by Ethan
Rayne went into effect. This spell was unlike ALL the others, it was
not designed to simply be broken, but instead to make itself
permanent. It had already affected that partially, initiating a
change in its targets genetic structure, a change which had started
in a single cell, and had slowly begun to multiply throughout his
body. It had at first been the magic that let him heal at the rate
expected for who he was. Now however with the change in his DNA
spreading and the un-dissipated magic began to allow the mutation
that was to be his was fully kicking in. First it dispelled all of
the damage done to his body over the years of abuse, bone that had
been broken in the past fused more solid that it had ever been, while
organs strengthened and in some cases began to increase in capacity.
Xander's heart and lung capacity doubled, and his living tissue of
his rib cage expanded to allow for this, the magic still remaining in
the costume allowing the Adamantium fused to his bones to liquefy,
while his bones went about making the necessary adjustments to his
body to allow for optimum performance, the magic also acting to keep
him blissfully unconscious while this painful endeavor took place.
Meanwhile, as this was going on, Xander's muscles began to stretch,
swell, and grow, easily doubling the mass on his structure. Where
once he had been of fair size with potential for more; now he had
thick muscles throughout his arms and torso. Where once he had been
not even pushing 180 pounds now, with the Adamantium infusing his
bones he was pushing 500 pounds, and none of it fat, it being burned
away as energy to fuel the massive physiological metamorphosis he was
undergoing. As a final step, the magic set about adjusting his five
senses. Eyes, ears, nose, taste, and touch all were affected by the
new genetic code, increasing their sensitivity at an exponential
level. It took six hours for all of the changes to be effected, and
as a final "gift" the magic in the costume, before tapering off and
fading completely made a dump into Xander's long term memory.
Everything that the character Wolverine, had been and was, now, so
was he. Everything he had known, Xander knew too. All of the good,
and all of that bad, it was all his.
Xander's eyes snapped open and then slammed back shut. It was like
someone was flashing a hundred spotlights in his eyes. He couldn't
bear to open them. It was as he was trying to adjust to this fact
that the memories came flooding into his mind, it was almost painful
as these memories and this knowledge infused itself within his
consciousness, and instantly he knew exactly what had happened.
"That bastard." he growled out as he leapt off of his bed, but not
yet quite being used to his new body he ended up slamming into the
wall. This only served to fuel his anger even more. "I'm going to
find that son of a bitch and I'm gonna gut him like a pig." Xander
screamed, as the claws popped from the back of his hands. This
reality stopped Xander cold and he could only stare at the claws in
numb shock, so great that his superb hearing didn't allow him to
understand the sound of squeaking bed springs, and screaming voice
was the herald of trouble coming his way. Xander was still staring at
his hands and more specifically the claws when his bedroom door was
shoved in and his father screamed at incoherently at him before
slamming a fist into is head, "Damn it boy, don't you know better
than to wake me up. You good for nothing piece of shit." He kicked
him in the ribs. "That ought to teach you, you piece of garbage."
Jessica came in and saw her husband kicking their son and she tried
to pull him away, "No Anthony, please." It was as far as she got
before an elbow slammed into her mouth. "You worthless bitch, I'm
your husband, haven't you learned by now what that means?"
Anthony began to move towards her, intent on teaching her a lesson
she wouldn't soon forget. That was until he heard a voice behind him
that made his blood run cold.
"Why don't you pick on someone your own size, Tony, or has the
alcohol shriveled up your balls?"
The insult served to drive out the fear the voice had momentarily
instilled and Anthony Harris spun, throwing his fist as he did. He'd
teach the little bastard who had balls.
Anthony Harris was a bully sure, but he was the worst kind, in that
he was a bully that actually knew how to fight. He wasn't all talk.
Far from it. He had been a barroom brawler for years and he knew how
to throw a punch. Not that it did him much good this time, as his
fist was stopped in mid swing by a hand catching it out of mid air.
Xander might of let his father beat on him some more. He could feel
the minor injuries that Tony had inflicted healing almost as fast as
they were received. He might have let the man get away with it, if
for no other reason than it was a habit. That was until the man
struck his mother. That was something he didn't have to put up
He easily caught the fist in mid air. His eyes locked onto his
father's and then he squeezed. Almost immediately the bones in
Anthony Harris' hand began to give, but Xander didn't stop when he
heard the first crack, or the second. He didn't stop when his father
began to whimper and then cry out, and then finally bellow in pain.
He kept squeezing until the man that had terrorized him for more than
ten years was on his knees, begging between gasps of pain for mercy.
"Mercy doesn't live here, dad." he released the hand and then grabbed
his father by the throat and lifted him off the ground. "Rules have
changed old man. You better get sober and you better make yourself
worth keeping alive, or I'm going to change my mind about letting you
live and the only thing the Sunnydale cops will ever find of you is a
wet spot, you hear me?" he screamed in his father's face.
Anthony Harris could only nod his head in fear, and Xander dropped
him before rushing to his mother. "Mom?"
Jessica Harris just stared at her son and said, "Xander, what
happened? What happened to you baby?"
Xander tried to smile but it didn't reach his eyes, "It doesn't
matter mom, all that matters is I'm never going to let him hurt you
There was something in her son's tone that told Jessica that whatever
it was, she could trust him, that finally, fro the first time in as
long as she could remember, she was safe. She looked at her husband
and was surprised she didn't feel the hatred she should; she only
felt pity for him. "Someone should take him to the hospital Xander."
Xander nodded and said, "Do you mind, I need to get to school."
Jessica nodded, "Ok." she smiled at him as he quickly gathered some
clothes and put them on over the spandex costume he had been wearing
last night. Jessica nodded a difference in his wardrobe, this morning
too. Gone were the ugly shirts, and instead he stepped into their
bedroom and pulled one his fathers large shirts out of the closet and
put it on. Normally the shirt would have been too large for Xander's
smaller frame but she noticed that not only was it not to big, it was
almost too small. A pair of his father's jeans were also borrowed,
their greater size allowing them to fit over Xander's thickly muscled
legs. "Going to need to go clothes shopping." Jessica heard him say
to himself as he stood and walked over to her, helping her up from
the floor where she still sat.
He pulled her into a hug and said, "I love you mom," and then he was
out the door. Jessica watched him go and then turned to her husband
and said, "Tony, we have a lot to talk about." Anthony looked at his
wife, his hand now only throbbing dully as he nodded and said, "Yeah."
Outside Xander pulled on a pair of sunglasses he had taken from his
father's wardrobe and looked in the window of his dad's car. "Well
the hair's going to take some getting used to." he said to no one in
particular as he noticed the twin peaks his hair was now growing
into. No amount of pushing or pulling would keep it down either. "Oh
well, I'll deal. Right now I need to get to G-man and see what he can
tell me," and with that he took off at a quick easy pace that would
have him to the school in no time."