Title: Another Matrix
Author: Knife Hand
Feedback: Constructive feedback appreciated, flames unappreciated
Spoilers: Up to Halloween in Buffy and Arc 2 of season 3 of Reboot.
Disclaimer: Do not own Reboot or Buffy. I would buy Tara and Andraia but I am broke.
Summary: AU. Xander dresses up as a unique individual for Halloween, but when things go very wrong, what do a renegade Guardian and a former Game Sprite have to do with it?
AN: Xander was never possessed by the Hyena.
" " denotes speech
' ' denotes thought
Xander wandered around the inside of Ethan's costume shop. He already had the vast majority of what he needed for his costume, to escort the kids that the troll had forced upon him.
"Ahah!" he exclaimed, pulling an item out of the discount bin.
Having found the last piece of his costume, Xander wandered over to where Buffy and Willow were admiring a 17th century noblewoman's dress.
"Ugh. To bulky. I prefer my women in leather or spandex." He said.
"Xander!" Willow exclaimed.
"So, you got your costume yet?" Buffy asked.
"Yep." He replied holding up the item.
"That's not a costume." Buffy replied. "Not unless you plan to go naked covered in tattoos."
Xander looked down at the temporary tattoo artwork kit, then looked up at Buffy and waggled his eyebrows.
"Matching costumes?" he asked, earning him a punch in the arm.
"Ouch, Slayer strength. Actually the rest of my costume is at home." He continued. "Actually, Wills? If I give you a design, can you draw it on my bicep?"
Willow blushed and nodded.
"That's my gal. Wills, see ya in two hours for the Tat. Buffy, meet you at your place at seven." Xander said before leaving the shop.
The doorbell rang and Buffy hurried downstairs in her dress to answer it, the image greeting her causing her mouth to drop open. Outside stood Xander, and his outfit was nothing like what she had expected. After a quick scan, her eyes fixed on the tattoo, which Willow had simply said was unique.
Xander glanced down at the fake tattoo on his right bicep, smiling at the amazing job Willow had done with it and at Buffy's reaction. The centre of the tattoo was a circle, the top half white with a black upward facing triangle that met base to base with the white downward facing triangle in the black bottom half of the circle. The circle was surrounded by a large white triangle, wreathed in flames with a five pointed star at the panicle of the flames.
Buffy's mind shut down at the view. Apart from the amazing tattoo, Xander was wearing heavy black, knee length boots, a set of trousers that were jet black and cut in a miliary style, but seemed to shimmer slightly, as if hinting scales. His belt was black leather and the clasp held the same symbol, the two triangles in a circle, except the top half of the circle and the lower triangle were yellow instead of white. Instead of a shirt, he wore what looked like a hardened vest, something like a bullet-proof vest, but slightly more shaped, as if it had been created to fit him, however it also had a faint inlayed pattern that Buffy could not quite discern.
Around his wrist, Xander had a pair of bracers, the top of the bracers having an intricate, yet subtle design, while on the underside they are secured by several heavy and sturdy leather buckles. Attached to the top of his right bracer was what looked like a chunky compass, a box with a compass face on it, but Buffy could see that it had no needle not hands, if it had been a watch, which seemed to have melded into the bracer. Attached to his right thigh, there was a wicked looking gun, as if someone had fused a pistol with an assault rifle. His left thigh held what looked like a large combat knife.
"Well, aren't you the rogue?" Buffy said, indicating for him to enter, and trying to regain her composure.
"Renegade, actually." Xander said quickly, walking past Buffy and his eyes scanning the room.
As he passed into the light, Buffy noticed his hair was no longer the same brown it had been, instead in was a very deep green that, in most light, looked black. In a flash she also noticed that his eyes were now a deep, dark purple colour.
Gathering her many layered skirts, Buffy turned towards the stairs.
"Willow, Xander's here!" she shouted up the stairs.
"Interesting outfit, Xander." Joyce Summers said, entering from the kitchen.
"Thank you, Mrs S. You too." Xander replied.
Mrs Summers was dressed in a British RAF uniform as was used in World War II, with a Reynolds nametag and a set of pilot's wings.
"WWII RAF Women's Auxiliary?" Xander asked.
"Yep." Joyce said with a smile. "My mother's old uniform. Twenty Six missions between 41 and 45, shot down five ME109's."
(AN: throughout WWII, female pilots flew war plains from factories to the RAF basses. In 1941, around the height of the Battle of Brittan, these women from the RAF Auxiliaries were allowed into combat. Around 150 British female pilots fought in the skies from 1941 to the end of the war. This is a small tribute to those gallant women who received far to little recognition.)
Buffy looked stunned at this new information about her grandmother. A few minutes later Willow finally came down the stairs, dressed in a ghost costume.
"Typical Willow. Told you Buffy, she always goes for the Ghost." Xander said, giving his lopsided grin.
"Off you go." Joyce said, playfully chiding. "Don't you have some little monsters to baby-sit?"
"Mom!" Buffy groaned.
"Yes ma'am." Xander said, thumping his fist over his hart, with a grin.
"Get!" Joyce said, following them out and heading for her own party.
Willow ran up to Xander and passed right through him.
"Damn. Incorporeal. That's gotta suck Wills." Xander said. "Interesting."
A massive scream ripped through the night. Xander immediately turned and ran off towards the sound, leaving Willow to follow behind him. The scream came from the noblewoman that Buffy had transformed into due to the spell. Drawing his gun from the breakaway holster on his thigh, he fired a few shots into the air, which scared away the few children that had turned into demons. Still running at full speed, Xander drew the combat knife in a reverse grip with his left hand. Noblewoman Buffy was cowering on the ground with a real vampire standing over her. Xander's katana passed neatly through the vampire's neck as he passed. As he slid to a stop, he looked down at his left hand. The combat knife had transformed into a full blown katana.
"Oh boy." He whispered as he willed the katana back to being a knife.
Holstering his gun and sheathing his knife, Xander raised his right wrist and spoke to the box.
"Lagg. Contact Glitch, priority channel one." He ordered.
The dial on the box rotated out and up into a small screen and beeped at him.
"Record message. Matrix, I need to talk to you and Andraia as soon as possible. Next few Milliseconds. Something's happened here. I got full power release. Contact me. End message."
"Xander, what is going on?" Willow asked.
"We got to get Buffy inside." Xander commanded, indicating to the now passed out Slayer. "She's going to be useless till whatever this is ends."
"Xander, are you still you?" Willow asked, cautiously.
"Not still, Wills. Finally." He replied as he slung Buffy over his shoulder.
Xander paced the library nervously, trying to gather his thoughts, as the sun shone strongly through the window. Buffy and Willow were sitting at the main table while Giles was leaning up against the counter while drinking a cup of tea.
"Ok, one more time. Why are you still dressed in your costume from last night?" Buffy asked.
"For the last time, Buff. This is not a costume." Xander snapped. "Argh. I thought this part of my life was over."
Xander sighed and rubbed his hand through his hair, still the dark green of the previous night.
"Willow, you ever wonder why I never let you play any computer games?" he asked.
"Yeah, but I never figured out why." Willow responded.
"That's because you've never been on the other side of the Game Cube." He whispered, just loud enough to be heard.
"Believe me when I say, Huh?" Buffy interjected.
"I was born in the Games. I was two cycles old when I came to this world, but you grow up fast in the games. By then I had seen hundreds of Sprites nullified when they lost the Games."
"Xander, are you saying what I think you are saying?" Willow asked, cautiously.
Just as Xander was about to continue, the doors to the library opened to reveal a beautiful woman with aquamarine green hair and a lithe figure.
"Xander." She said simply.
Xander strode across the room and for a second the rest of the gang though he was about to attack the newcomer, until he hugged her.
"Mum." He said happily as he spun her around.
"You know, if you weren't my son, I'd kill you for touching Andraia like that." Came a deep male voice from the door.
"Good to see you too, Matrix." Xander replied.
Buffy stared at the newcomers, she could definitely see some resemblance between them and Xander. Xander's physique was much closer to that of his mother than his father, but he had his father's height and hair. Definitely his father's hair. While Xander's outfit closely resembled that of Matrix, Buffy could plainly see the influence of Andraia's clothing. Two things struck Buffy immediately about Xander's father, apart from his largely muscled form. The first was the golden artificial right eye, with the accompanying scar. The second….
"Xander. You're father is green." She blurted out.
"Well, this one's obviously a genius." Matrix said sarcastically.
"Shut it, honey." Andraia commanded. "She's in shock."
"What's going on? Giles, are they demons?" Buffy almost pleaded.
"Daemon?" Matrix growled, drawing his gun and scanning the room. "Where?"
"Cool it dad." Xander said before turning to Buffy. "We're not demonic, Buff. We're programs."
Buffy looked at him with confused and pleading eyes, begging her friend.
"Computer Programs." He clarified.
"Dear God." Giles exclaimed.
"Oh." Buffy said, frowning slightly as she processed the comment, then realisation hit her. "OH!"
Xander was barely able to catch her before she hit the floor, because she had just fainted.