He who Dwells in Darkness

By William Gilmor

"My name is Xander Harris I was once the joker of Sunnydale high but now I am some else I am a defender of those who can not defend themselves."

To Xander Harris the day after Halloween had been a welcome relief from the night terrors that had come. The nightmares from the solider he had become were as worse as any demon he had ever encountered. As the School Day closed Xander was going over to the deli across the street to grab some snacks and sodas for the Scoobies' after school movie fest at Buffy's house. That's when he saw it Harmony complaining about how her new shoe had its heel stuck in a manhole cover. Completely ignoring the truck coming now the street Xander watched in horror was he saw the driver waving his hand and slamming on the horn. The truck was a runaway. Xander don't even think as he dropped his bag and ran at Harmony at a full tilt Xander took to the air tackling her as the truck swerved and hit a light pole missing the two teens by a few centimeters. If not for Xander's actions it would've been the end of Harmony Kendall. Xander and Harmony rolled to stop on the ground as a they stopped neither heard they sound on a chain break and a barrel falling to the concrete a loud bang and a splash of green liquid and the world went black for Xander Harris and his World exploded in Pain.

"Am I dead?" Xander asked the darkness around him that's all he saw was Darkness. He could make out shapes in the Darkness and the seemed to be familiar to him. "No little pup your not dead." snarled a voice Xander and long since hoped to never hear again. "But you may wish you were." Came a second voice one that he knew all to well. It was the voice he used in the nightmares that had come from his nightmares. Solider boy.

"What happened where am I?" Asked Xander.

Solider boy stepped forward. "Your inside your mind kid you see you risked your neck for the some blonde who was gonna get hit by a truck, And while you saved her you got this biohazard shit on your face. It blinded you kid." The solider stated with no emotion.

Xander fell to his knees. "B…. Blind?" he whispered.

"Sorry pup but since we have a vested interest in keeping you alive we are gonna help you." Growled the Hyena

"If you can't make me see again fur face how the hell are you gonna help me?" Snarled back the angry teen.

The Solider stepped up and put his hand on Xander's shoulder.

"He can give you the physical power and enhance you remaining for senses to make up for you loss of sight while I can give you the skills and knowledge to defend yourself against most anything."

"What's the catch?" asked Xander weary of anything that comes his way especially on the Hellmouth.

"Fur face and I will forever more be a part of you. We will always be with you."

Xander nodded. "Do it." He stated.

The pair of former tenants of his body touched him and once again Xander screamed.

BANG BANG BANG the loud sounds echoed thru his head as Xander bolted upright in the bed. Grabbing his ears with his hands. He saw the room in detail like the sonar images from science class last week.

He was hearing thinks he shouldn't be able to he was hearing babies cry down in the maternity ward he heard a couple going at it in a car in the parking lot he even heard a pair of vampires in the sewers outside planning to rob the hospital blood bank.

"I'll be damned fur face pulled it off." Xander smiled in a Hyena like grin Xander pulled the covers off his bed and slowly made his way to the window and opened it Xander let out with a smile as he felt the warmth of the sun against his skin a warm feeling flowed over him. "I guess Hyena and Solider boy did something that is making me accept this so easy. You'd think I'd be bouncing off the walls screaming my head off."

Just as Xander was waking up across town a young lady one of the popular crowd was staring at his picture from the yearbook. "Why did he do it why did he risk his life for me, All I ever did was hate him make fun of him and yet he still saved my life and he is the hospital because of it?" the tears in her eyes burned as they were shed she owed her life to someone who should not have cared about her and yet she couldn't help but feel hurt that he was hurt because of her. " What's going on with me?" asked Harmony as she wiped her tears away. "Why do I hurt so bad?" If anyone in was in the room and if they could see auras they would see her aura flash from red to white and back to red again the red it changed to seemed faded as if losing it's power.

Xander stood at that open window for he didn't know how long as he knew was everything would be different. And maybe just maybe he could make things better he felt no fear about the future. It was almost as if the warmth of the sun was filling him with hope.

A knock on the door the broke him from his reflections. The door opened slowly and a scent of vanilla and honey entered the room and Xander broke into a smile as Willow entered the room.

"Hey Wills what's the what?"

Xander could hear the quiet sobs his redheaded friend let out.

"Oh Xander I'm so sorry this happened to you."

Xander felt his way back to his bed and to his Willow playing the blind part as well as an actor plays a part. He knew exactly where Willow was this Radar Sense that he had discovered this morning was almost the same as if he could see.

Wrapping himself firmly around Willow he kissed her forehead and whispered to her.

"Don't cry Willow I'm still alive and Harmony is alive because of what I did. I know you feel it but please don't hate her for this. It may not seem like it but I made a difference I saved one life and it may have cost me my sight but some one else now has the chance to live because of what I did."

Willow sniffed as Xander finished it was burning her up inside that her Xander had been hurt and it cost him dearly all to save the life of someone who any other time in her life would've been her worst enemy aside from Cordelia. Harmony had made her life hell from 1st grade on. Her was her best friend the one who always protected her. Her Superman and he was now blind and he was telling her not to hate Harmony for the accident.

"But if she hadn't been dumb enough not to notice a tuck heading right at her you could still see." Willow sobbed into his shirt.

Xander just hugged her tighter. "Willow all the what ifs in the world won't give me my sight back. But hating Harmony can hurt you burn you up inside and make you bitter. That is something I know my Willow is not. My Willow is not some bitter hag she is a kind loving person who I thank god everyday that she is in my life."

Willow smiled as Xander said that. Xander spun around as he heard Giles, Buffy and Dawn enter the room.

He spun Willow in he embrace so they were she was facing the rest of them as well.

"Now I am only gonna say this once I want you guys to listen to me ok?"

Xander waited till they all answered yes. "I maybe Blind but that doesn't mean I am unless so don't treat me as such I don't want you to pity me for this." Xander said as he waved his hand over his bandaged eyes. "This is not gonna stop me from being useful to you guys it just means that I am out of commission and before anyone starts in I am not talking about fighting. I mean research and communication and intelligence." I'm still gonna help once I'm back in the swing of things."

Buffy opened her mouth if to object when Giles shook his head. "You're more then welcome to help Xander I could use someone else to talk to on patrol nights."

As Buffy and Giles moved to a corner Dawn wrapped herself around Xander to hug him close and talk to him. As Dawn and Willow chatted with him he heard Giles and Buffy whispering in the corner. "Giles how can you let him stay with us he is blind for Christ sakes?" "Buffy do you realize that with out something to work for and do a lot of people injured like Xander was often become depressed to the point in which they commit suicide?" Buffy froze in horror of the thought that she could've put Xander on path to suicide while trying to protect him.

Xander smirked, as he smelt the fear on Buffy. She had no idea how much the idea of suicide was laughable to him since the Hyena and the Solider merged with him he had a survival instinct that put the slayer to shame.

Harmony hid in the small dark alcove just outside of Xander's room she could hear the Buffy and her little sister and that stuffy Brit librarian and Willow saying goodnight and that they'd be back in the morning. She waited in the darkness till they left and she snuck into Xander's room. Once again Xander stood at the window listening to the sounds of the world before him making the connection to the world around him. Making him feel not so alone in the darkness.

Xander smiled as he heard the door open he had heard Harmony mumble to herself outside. He had hoped she would stop in to see him.

"Xander?" came her weak voice.

"Yes Harmony what can I do for you?"

"How did you know it was me?"

"I heard you mumbling outside and I know your voice Harm I've know you since kindergarten I know almost everyone's voice by heart."

"I have to know something Xander why did you save me? You should hate me and have let me die and dance that stupid snoopy dance on my grave." Cried Harmony as she grabbed his gown as pulled him close.

"Why don't you hate me I'm a world class bitch and popular you're the class clown and an outsider. Why didn't you let me die? Whispered Harmony as tears started to run down her face. Xander never one to let a girl cry pulled her close and hugged her as she cried.

"Good or Bad Harmony your still a person. You were once my friend and I never forgot that. You and me once along time ago made a deal that if I ever needed you or you needed me that we would help each other. You need me in that moment and I was there for you."

Harmony gasped as the long forgot memory from 1st grade came back. Harmony sat on the monkey bars all alone because she had said Cordelia's new Barbie looked stupid with its new dress.

She was crying then she slipped and fell thru the bars. When out of nowhere comes Xander and catches he before she hits the ground.

"Got ya Harmony. You ok?"

"Y..Yes." Whispered the scared girl.

"Good can't let someone get hurt cause she is sad."

Harmony hugged Xander tight.

"Xander will you be my friend?"

"Sure Harmony I'll be your friend forever. I'll always be there when you need me." Smiled Xander to the still scared girl.

Harmony felt pain as the memory came back she felt as if something bad happened soon after. Something she wasn't supposed to know about. And it scared her.

"I gotta go." She said and ran from the room.

Xander was in shock he could almost feel a change in her the instant she remembered his promise and it scare her. Xander hoped she would come back she had been upset and he wanted to help her.

Buffy and Willow returned to the hospital carrying flowers Twinkies and some books on cd for Xander.

But what they found when they got to his room was Xander was reading a book. A Brail book.

Willow was shocked. Buffy wanted to know how.

"Xan how are you doing that?" demanded Willow. Resolve face firmly in place.

"You can cut the Resolve face Willow it doesn't work if you can't see it." Xander smiled

Willow gasped.

"I know you to well Willow. Solider boy knew how to read Brail his mom was blind so he learned it too. Plus some times they'd use it as a code on ops missions."

Buffy and Willow were unsure about this but let it slide for now.

"You gonna love those Hellmouth study methods right Buffy." Xander deadpanned after hearing he tell Willow about how easy French is now thanks to Helloween.

"Look guys this isn't anything bad I just want to learn so I can get some semblance of a life back soon. I am going nuts in here."

The girls nodded understanding Xander's frustration and wanting to leave because of their own fear of hospitals

The trio of friends sat and chatted about how things were how much Dawn missed him coming around. The made small talk and ate Twinkies. A knock on the door startled the group as at the door stood a young man in a suit. "Mister Harris my name is Lindsey McDonald of Wolfram and Heart my firm represents the trucking firm that was involved in you accident."

Xander focused his hearing on Lindsey's heart rate to listen for any lies. Another trick from Solider Boy's mind.

"What can I do for you mister McDonald?"

"Well Mister Harris as I said represent the owner of the trucking company that was involved the accident that blinded you and the Owner of the Company Mr. Russell Winters wants to offered not only pay for all you medical bills and the cost of refitting you place of residence to suit your new needs. He also offers you a settlement of 10 Million Dollars for you pain and suffering."

Xander smiled as Lindsey's heart rate told him he wasn't lying.

"Tell your client I accept his offer. If you have the necessary paper drawn up I'll sign them."

Lindsey smiled as he thought this was easier then I thought. "I'll have the papers to you tomorrow. Thank you Mr. Harris you just made everyone's life easier I'll see you tomorrow."

With that Lindsey left smiling that he had prevented the Mayor from finding out that Wolfram and Heart's clients were trying to pull a fast one on him.

Xander smiled as Willow and Buffy looked at him in shock.

"Xander why did you take that offer so quick?" asked the worried Willow.

"Because Willow with that kind of money I won't have to work and I can do something with my life something worthwhile."

Buffy smiled at Xander. "That is very commendable Xander."

Xander pulled Willow and Buffy into a hug. "Hey guys look I want you to know even though I'm rich down that will not change who I am. You two mean the world to me. So I want you to know that I'll always be here for you."

Willow and Buffy had left an hour ago with a promise to return tomorrow with Giles, Ms. Calender, Joyce and Dawn.

Xander picked up his Braille book and started to read. Hidden in the book however was a newspaper want ads Xander was running his finger tips over the print and reading the legal notices just as if he could see.

"Ahh here we go New York style brownstone. Three floors indoor pool and skylights prince tag 30 grand for back taxes. Doable with the savings I have now plus thanks to the settlement I should be able to start on my plans to get in shape and start training." Xander smirked. He may be blind but what better identity for a masked warrior then a Blind man.

The Instincts from the Hyena to protect his pack and hunt coming the surface as his smirk took on a Hyena-like quality to it.

As Xander thought out his plan to the fullest a familiar scent drifted to his nose. Hairspray baby powder and rose oil. "Harmony." He whispered as he dropped his smirk and put a welcoming smile on his face.

Harmony opened the door to Xander's room not sure why she had come back it was almost as if someone had made her forget Xander and his friendship. His presence was the only thing lately that calmed her. When she was in school she was with her friends and she was fine but after school when she was alone was another story. Her feelings were all over the place she felt as if she was near blind panic but Xander had calmed her the night before maybe he could do it again. Quietly she slipped past the night duty nurse and headed to Xander's room. She was cold and hoping to find the warmth of his embrace once again she entered his room.

Xander smiled as he heard Harmony at his door. As the door opened Xander spoke up. "Come in Harmony I was hoping you'd come back."

"How did you know it was me?" she whispered.

"Your scent baby powder and rose oil. I've noticed things like that a lot since the accident."

Harmony smiled Xander knew her scent and cared enough to remember it. She wasn't sure why it made her happy but it did and she loved the feeling of it. Harmony sat down on the edge of Xander's bed. Xander walked over and sat down next to her.

"You ok?" Xander asked softly while taking her hand.

"No I'm not" whisper Harmony as squeezed hand.

"Wanna talk about it Harm?"

"No not right now Xan I just want to feel safe. At school I the normal me but when I'm away from there I'm so scare so afraid but the only place I'm safe is with you." She whispered as she moved closer to Xander.

Xander pulled her close and hugged her tight.

"You'll always be safe with me." Xander smiled as he kissed her head.

Harmony gave a weak smile as she wrapped her arms around him. Here she was warm here she was safe. Leaning back on the bed Xander held Harmony together they drift off to sleep both know that she would be safe there for as long as she needed him.

Harmony woke up feeling warm and content a feeling she had never had when she woke up. Smiling as she opened her eyes she was shocked to find herself in bed with Xander. Leaning towards blind panic at her situation Harmony quickly got up and smoothed her wrinkled clothes and made a move to the door. But as she looked back at the sleeping young man who saved her life Harmony did something she never imagined she would have done before. Before she could stop herself Harmony leaned over Xander's sleeping form and left a feather-light kiss on his lips.

And with that she was out the door and heading for home trying like hell to forget how good it felt to sleep in Xander's arms and to stop the tinkling feeling in her lips from that kiss.

As Xander awoke he knew Harmony would be gone.

Something was up with Harmony and he hoped one day he would know what. But right now he had bigger things on his mind.

Xander sat waiting for a visit from Warren Meers Andrew Wells and Jonathon Levinson

He decided to gather the three top computer and techno students to put some things together for his plans to protect the Scoobies even if the didn't know they were being protected. He needed a weapon, some protection and a computer to help him translate and transcribe into brail for appearance sake.

Today he had signed the papers prepared for him by Wolfram and Heart. He was now an Emancipated Minor with a Ten Million Dollar Bank account and a brand new brownstone. Which was currently being refitted for him by the construction company his father worked at. Much to his amusement Xander had listened to his father complain about how he never could catch a break. Xander was about to call in a lunch order to the pizza place down the block because not even he could stomach the crap hospitals call food. When the door opened and in walked a non-breathing person who smelt of death and without the overwhelming stink of hair gel.

As her heels clicked the floor. It dawned on Xan that the only Vamp crazy enough to do this at high noon was Drusilla.

"Hello Dru" stated Xander his voice even and flat.

Dru clapped her hands as Xander identified her.

"My little Kitten knows when his mommy is near."

Xander smirked at she edged closer to him thinking he was helpless.

"Mommy is going to bring her Kitten into the darkness take my naughty William's place in my heart you will."

Xander leaned against the wall as Dru started to walked towards him.

Just as Dru got close enough to make a grab him Xander hit the window remote in his hand and the window blinds opened bathing him in sunlight.

"Sorry nut bar but I'm one man who will always stay on the side of the light."

Dru vamped out as Xander started to laugh as she tried to make a grab for the remote in his hand only to pull it back as her hand started to sizzle.

"Do I smell cooked ham?" laughed Xander.

Just as Dru made one last swipe for the remote a gasp came from the door. Jonathon Levinson had shown up early for his meeting with Xander.

Dru smiled and started to move toward Jonathon.

"Oh shit." Snarled Xander as he grabbed a pitcher of water from next to his bed and threw it in Dru's face.

Dru screamed and ran out of the room and down the hall and jumped screaming down a laundry cute.

"You ok man?" asked Xander to the stunned Jonathon.

"What is that stuff acid?" Asked Jonathon as he pointed to the empty pitcher in Xander's hand.

"It's holy water. She was a vampire man."

"Are you shitting me Xander?"

"Never Jono. look man as hard as it maybe to swallow we are living near a portal to hell. And cue the Twilight Zone theme." Laughed Xander as he sat back on his bed.

"In all seriousness Jono a lot of the things that go bump in the night are real. My friends and I bump back. Or at least I did until this." Spoke Xander as he rubbed his face over the bandages around his eyes.

"Thank you for looking out for us Man."

"Forget it man it's what I did. Look man the reason I asked you here is because I hear you're the go to guy for anything technical."

Jono smiled at the compliment amazed that this young man in front of him was like some kind of super hero and he was complimenting him.

"I want to know if you can build me a weapon that I can carry hidden in plain sight when I'm in public and use to kill these blood suckers in case any of them try and make me a target because I'm blind.

Can you make me something like that?"

A wide grin came across Jono face as Xander spoke.

"I think I have just the thing Xan. It's a Billy Club that has a grappling hook bow staff wire twin fighting sticks and it can be hidden in a cane. I can have it ready by tomorrow if you want?"

Xander smiled "I like that Jono and I'll pay you 5 thousand dollars cash for it or would you need more?"

Jono when bug eyed he was gonna be paid for his work. Instead of forced to give it away. Jono was finally gonna get something for his inventions and he liked it.

"Is the weapon it or can I do anything else to help you?" asked Jono his eyes wide hoping the Xander would let him help.

Xander broke in to a grin. "You want to help I'm not gonna stop you. If you can come up with anything to help battle vamps I'd really be grateful and I'll help you by funding you. I just bought a Brownstone over near the Bronze how about when I get out of here tomorrow you come over to my place and we will come up with some weapons and other surprises for those blood suckers?" Grinned Xander.

Jono grinned back. He had a purpose now may his life wasn't so bad. He was getting a job and some money out of this deal and as Xander shook his hand to close the deal he thought maybe I'll get a real friend out of this deal too.

Xander and Jono sat and talk about all things that go bump in the night and began to form a true friendship.

After Jono left for his After School job Xander had a meeting with Andrew Wells to have him install and setup a top of the line computer system in the brownstone and he took a meeting with Warren Meers to have some custom armor build under the pretense of not wanting to get killed by the PCP gangs since he was now blind. Warren showed that he was a true prick by trying to get Xander to set him up with Willow or Buffy for a little back seat action afterwards. This set Xander off something fierce. He decided that after that point he would have no dealings of any kind with Warren Meers.

Xander also called a broker and invested 6 millions in bonds stocks and CDs. The last thing he did was to buy an old Hotel called the Hyperion in L.A. and begin to have it renovated so it could be opened as working hotel in downtown L.A. This suited his long term needs as he had plans to leave Sunnydale after School ended. Xander knew that despite the good he would do Buffy and Willow would never accept what he could now do. So after he was done with school Xander Harris was leaving the Hellmouth. His mind made up Xander stripped off the hospital gown and pulled on a pair of gym shorts and began a work out pulled from the Soldier's memories. Tai Chi and daily dozen.

Jenny, Giles, Willow, the Summers Family and Xander's parents all showed up to see Xander. Jenny was the first to his room and she and Dawn stopped dead and froze in the doorway at the sight before them. The pair could not hide the lust and surprise in their eyes as the watched Xander quietly sway in time to an unheard rhythm his body hidden underneath his gown had Harden thanks to Soldier and the Hyena using their powers to work his body out while he slept. The rest of the Scoobies rushed into Jenny and Dawn as they drooled over Xander's new body.

"Come on in Guys I have something to Tell you" smirked Xander as he turned to face the group Jenny and Dawn trying to hide their blushing face.

"Guys what I am about to tell you will change things for us and I want you to be the first to know what's going on. You see……"