The eye was gone. He knew that. Knew it with the certainty only someone who had to clean the damn socket every day could have. It was gone.
He'd seen the doctors. The girls had been worried when he went, but he hadn't told them why. They had their own stuff to worry about. Buffy and Giles had their hands full trying to get a New Council set up to handle the influx of new slayers; the G-man spent most of his time flying around the world as he worked to locate the few remnants of the old one. Wills was still trying to overcome the spanking new wave of addiction that had come with the spell to activate the Potentials. They didn't need to worry about his shit on top of all that.
So when they asked him what was wrong, Xander just waved them off with a grin so well-practiced it didn't feel forced even to him anymore. "It's fine," he told them. "Just a little check-up on the local Cyclops. Nothing to worry about."
They believed him, all but Dawn, but then she had ever been the most observant of all his girls. It really hadn't surprised him when she alone saw something different in him after Caleb stuck a thumb in his eye. "The One Who Sees," the insane preacher had called him, but he hadn't been. Not then, not for years before then. Not since his mother had married Anthony Harris when he was nine and his new stepfather demanded his name be changed.
He hadn't seen Them since his name was Cole Sear, since he and his mother lived in Philadelphia, since instead of coddling his strangeness Tony had succeeded in beating it out of him, over his mother's screams.
Xander didn't blame his mother. She couldn't have known what kind of man Tony was when she married him; he'd worked to hide it. He'd never liked the bastard, but then he wouldn't have liked any man who tried to replace his father. And by the time they'd fully realized, Tony had already discovered he could control the actions of one by simply threatening the other.
And Xander had to hand it to the man. He hated him, for every bruise he and his mother had taken, but at least he'd made Them go away.
But now he saw Them again, and he didn't know what to do.
The doctor said there was nothing wrong. His damaged eye socket had healed as well as it ever would. When Xander asked him about hallucinations, phantom sight like a phantom limb, the doc shrugged and recommended a good psychiatrist. Xander left in a hurry after that. The shrinks had never helped before, they wouldn't now.
But Dawnie, dear sweet Dawnie, wouldn't give up on him. She'd called together their core here in Cleveland, all of the Scooby Gang she could reach, and dragged him in front of their concerned, inquiring eyes. This time when they asked him what was wrong, he sighed, reaching up to touch his worn eyepatch.
"My… my name isn't Xander," he began, to their shock. "It never has been. It's Cole."
He took a deep breath and looked up into the faces of his friends. "And I see dead people."
A/N: This is a one-shot. It will not be continued, not by me anyway, because I'm working on another crossover between these. I started trying to write it and it segued into this, so hopefully now that this is out of the way I can get on with it. However, I offer it freely to anyone who wants to flesh out the skeleton. Feel free to use any of the text in this.
I own neither Buffy the Vampire Slayer nor The Sixth Sense.