A/N: I'm tossing a Co-writing nod Cyclones way. Because as much as he's helped me understand his Reforged universe he deserves it. Also, for those of you who haven't read Cyclones fics (the very few of you who haven't) You need to give them a glance. The Nighthawk Chronicles is a great read, not to mention his many other terrific fics.
Conner Kent walked slowly around the perimeter of Titans' Tower.
"You and I can get in no problem," Xander said with a slight smirk. "What about the Buffinator here?"
"I'll handle it. You said Tim spends most of his time in the basement?"
"Then that's how we'll go in," Superboy said as they reached the basement entrance. Conner frowned at the security system with a trained eye. He reached out and touched the box of the system and closed his eyes. A moment later, he moved his hand, and the door slid open.
"How did you do that?" Xander asked with a shocked look.
"Something Batman and Warrior taught me. I can use my TTK to reroute the wires in just about any system. The Bat put me through the wringer on a lot of the higher end systems."
"Remind me to try that some time."
"Takes a lot of practice," Superboy said with a tight smile as they walked into the basement of Titans' Tower. Xander quickly took point, leading them down the winding staircase to Robin's secret hideaway. As the trio reached the main room they stopped in shock. "He's trying to clone me?"
"Was trying to clone you, I'd say," Xander said. "This place is trashed. Pretty recently, too. Maybe it was the Titans East. He gave a slight shrug, "Can't say I'm suprised he tried."
"Well, I am," Superboy muttered to his companions. "Rob and I are great friends. Him, Warrior, and me, we were like brothers. But... I never would have thought he'd do this."
"Death changes people, Conner," Buffy said with a slight frown. "Some people, they can handle the pain of death, some... can't. Some people have to do something, anything, so they don't feel beaten and useless."
"Don't mourn the dead. Mourn the lives they left behind," Xander said with a low voice as the trio walked deeper into the lair.
"When did you become a poet?" a voice asked from the darkness. Superboy cursed to himself as he saw Robin melt from the shadows.
"Damn it. I thought I had finally gotten used to that crap."
"Who are you?" Robin asked as he glared into the face of Conner Kent. A voice as strong as steel, and though his eyes could not be seen, Conner knew the steel was present in them as well.
"You are not Conner."
"I am, and I'm not. It's a long complicated story."
"I think I should hear it," Robin said as he took a step forward. Superboy sighed and surveyed the remains of the lab.
"Yeah, you should."
Warrior and Kyle Rayner stood before the Guardians. Smiles adorned their faces.
"So what can we do for you, Papa Smurf?" Xander said as he smiled at Ganthet. He was slightly shocked when Ganthet gave no reaction.
"We wish to speak with you about Hypertime," Ganthet said with a tight frown.
"I like you better with a ponytail and smile," Xander said with a nod. Knowing that, though the Guardian showed no emotion, he was beginning to get on the blue man's nerves.
"What can you tell us about Hypertime?"
"Pretty much zilch," Xander answered with a shrug. "Metron gave us these watches and showed us the way. I know as much about Hypertime as I know about Jennifer Love Hewitt's undergarments."
"What does that mean?"
"It means he doesn't know anything," Kyle said with a shrug. "Hell, I got sent through by Darkseid's Omega Beams. So I know even less."
"The New God has that ability?" Ganthet asked with a slightly shocked tone.
"I doubt it," Xander said with a hard voice.
"Explain," another Guardian said with a sharp tone.
"Say please," Xander growled out only to recieve an elbow in the ribs from Kyle. "I think there was a higher power involved. Darkseid couldn't have sent Kyle into Hypertime on his own."
"What are you saying?" Kyle asked with a slightly confused look on his face.
"I'm saying we were being played. I've known that from the beginning."
"Then why come after me?"
"We're Green Lanterns, Kyle. More than that, we're friends. You'd have done the same for me."
"Who do you believe orchastrated these events?" Ganthlet asked carefully.
"I don't know. But... when we get home, I am going to find out.", Warrior stated with a confident tone. "If that's all you need, we should get back to my friends and go home. We've been gone for a while."
"Very well," Ganthet said with a sigh. "You may go."
"Later smurfs and smurfettes," Warrior said with a slight laugh as he and Rayner walked from the room.
"What does this Smurfs mean?" one of the guardians asked after the duo had left.
"It must be a sign of respect," another said with a hard nod. None of the other Guardians noticed Ganthet hiding a slight smile.
Guy Gardner stood beside Salakk with a slight smirk on his face. He so loved to aggravate the annoying insectoid. He dropped the smile as Warrior and Kyle walked out of the Guardians' conference room.
"So you both heading home?"
"As soon as we get back to my friends," Warrior said with a slight smile as he slapped Guy on the shoulder. "Take it easy, Guy. Don't let the midgets railroad you."
"Don't worry, I'll always be my charming self, kid."
"See to it that you are," Warrior said as he floated in the air. Kyle followed behind him with a smile.
"See you later, Guy."
"Probably not," Guy answered with a smirk of his own as he turned and started walking toward the bar.
"You ready to go home, Kyle?" Xander asked as the duo flew out of Oa's atmosphere.
"I can't wait to see Jade," Kyle said with a genuine smile. Xander smiled sadly to himself for a moment.
"I don't blame you."
"You have to let this go, Rob," Conner said as he motioned toward the shattered cloning tank in the center of the room. "This is going to eat you alive."
"What do you know about it?"
"When Tana died. I wanted to clone her," Conner said with a low voice. "I tried to talk Serling, everyone at the project into helping me. You know why I didn't do it?"
"I think you're going to tell me," Robin said in a tight voice.
"Because it wouldn't be her. It would be a cheap carbon copy. It would look like her on the surface. But... it wouldn't have that spark of light in her dark eyes. It wouldn't laugh at my stupid jokes and mock my immature attitude. On the surface, I'd have Tana back, but in truth, I would just be lying to myself."
"Really?", Robin asked with a slightly sarcastic tone that made Conner's eyes shine with anger.
"Yes. Really," the young hero stated as the control panel beside him burst into flames. "I know you've lost a lot, Tim. More than your share, that's a damn certainty. But... you're smart enough to know that isn't going to be me!"
"I can make it you. In every way."
"Will it have my soul?" Conner asked with a hard tone.
"You're just as stubborn as always," Conner said with a slight smile. "You're telling me there's no way to talk you out of this?"
"Looks that way."
"I'm willing to bet I can," a dark gravel-filled voice said from deep in the shadows.
Xander Harris flew through the air quickly. Kyle Rayner at his side.
"What's wrong, Xand?" Kyle asked as the wind rushed by at high speeds.
"Jade was devastated, Kyle," Xander said with a low voice that still seemed to travel. "Losing you, and the baby, it almost destroyed her. It took me months to get her to smile."
"I wish none of this had happened," Kyle said with a sad tone. "I wish I had been faster, smarter."
"She doesn't know where I am."
"You didn't tell her?" Kyle asked with a slightly shocked voice.
"I wasn't sure I could pull it off," Xander answered with a defensive tone. "I couldn't get her hopes up only to break her heart. I couldn't pick up the pieces again, Kyle. I love her more than you can imagine and I couldn't put her through that!"
"It's not what you think," Xander said with a sigh. "We're friends. That's it."
"Xand. Is she with someone?"
"No," Xander answered with an honest tone. "She's not with anyone. But you have to understand we were close, Kyle. If things are different for a little while when we get back. Don't worry about it."
"I can't help but worry, Xand."
"It's been a while, Kyle. She... never moved on, but she was about ready to take that step. Just don't rush anything when we get back."
"Ok," Kyle said with a nod. "I get what you're saying. I understand, really, I do."
"Good," Xander said as he released a pent up sigh. "Now let's go to Centenial park and wait for Buffy and SB. I'm so sick of fucking Hypertime."
"Do you really think we should have left them alone?" Buffy asked as she held tightly to Conner's hand. She loved to fly, but to her embarrasment, she was still slightly afraid of it.
"Yeah," Conner said with a slight smile. "If anyone can talk some sense into Tim, it'll be him."
"I'll keep an eye on him," Xander said with a slight smile. The trio landed at the memorial statues a few minutes later. Immediately noticing the two men waiting for them. "This was interesting."
"The new wore off around three universes ago," Warrior said as he shook his double's hand. "You have some big shoes to fill."
"Don't try too hard," Conner said as he slapped Xander on the back. "You're not me. Don't try to be."
"I'm glad someone agrees with me on that."
"No offense, guys," Kyle said with a slight smirk. "This is all very emotional and all, but I'm ready to go home."
"Get out of my universe," Xander said as he smiled and shook Kyle's hand. "Thanks for everything."
"You too, kid."
"Everyone ready to go home?" Warrior asked with a slight smile as he grabbed Kyle's shoulder.
"Oh, yeah," Buffy said with a smile. "I really want a hot bath, and I actually miss my bed."
"Believe it or not, I'm looking forward to milking cows in the morning," Conner said with a slight smirk.
"Take care of yourself, other me," Warrior said to Xander with a slight smile.
The group smiled to one another and hit the buttons on their watches. The four figures disappeared from sight with a slight wind in the air. Xander Harris turned and looked at the statue.
"I have every one of your memories. I thought my respect for you couldn't get any higher," he said with a sad smile. "Looks like I was wrong." Xander Harris, the reforged teen of steel, took to the air with a large smile on his face. Feeling better than he had in a long time.
Xander and Kyle landed on the sidewalk, a large smile on Kyle's face.
"Top floor penthouse," Xander said with a forced smile on his face. "She's probably up, she doesn't go to sleep 'til after midnight."
"Thank you, Xander."
"You have nothing to thank me for, man," Xander said as he began to float into the air. "It's good to have you back."
"Good to be back," Kyle said with a smile as he moved toward the door of the building. "I'll see you soon, Xan."
"Later, Kyle," Xander said as Kyle was buzzed in by the night watchman. The young Warrior sighed to himself as he flew into the air toward his bar. Thinking that someday, fate may cut his love life a break.
BREAK The clock ticked just past one a.m as Xander sat at the empty bar. Buffy and Huntress were off to the side playing pool at one of the many billiard tables. Though they were actually there to keep an eye on him. He heard the chime as the door opened and turned to tell the new arrival they were closed, only to see Jennie Hayden standing in front of him. Xander's head flew back with the force of the slap. Buffy quickly moved toward them only to stop when Xander held up a hand.
"You should have told me!" Jade screamed in pure anger. Xander only nodded as he looked at the shot glass on the bar.
"Why didn't you tell me, Xander?" Jade said with an angry tone. "Why didn't you tell me you were bringing him back?"
"Because I wasn't sure I could!" Xander yelled in defense. He took a few calming breaths before grabbing the bottle of Jack Daniels off the bar and moving toward a table. Jade followed him, breathing deeply to calm herself. "Have a seat," Xander said and motioned her to a chair. Jade sat with a scowl on her face as Xander sat across from her.
"Are you going to answer me?" The beautiful woman asked with a hard edge.
"I didn't think I could do it. So I didn't tell you," Xander said with a sigh as he couldn't meet her eyes. "I couldn't get your hopes up, Jade, then see you fall again. I know it's a selfish reason, but I couldn't deal with seeing you hurt again."
"How do I look to you now?"
"More confused and angry than hurt," Xander answered as he finally looked her in the eyes. For one moment, she saw the same emotions in his blood shot eyes.
"Damnit, Xan. What am I supposed to do?"
"Whatever feels right, Jade," Xander answered with a small smile. "Whatever you want."
"Damn it, Xander. I want you, and I want him," Jade said as tears began to fall from her eyes. "I'm so confused."
"I never expected to fall in love with you," Xander said with a sad tone. "And I never thought in a million years you would fall for me."
"Yeah, that's because you're an idiot," Jade said in a voice half laugh, half gasp. "God, a month ago, I was trying to figure out how to say I love you. Now I know how, but I'm not sure I should."
"I just want you to be happy, Jade," Xander said with a soft tone. "I won't lie and say there weren't times I thought about not finding Kyle, he's one of my best friends, and I thought about leaving him so I could spend the rest of my life with you."
"Yeah, but I couldn't do that to you. I wasn't sure I could ever make you as happy as he has in the past. You deserve the best. So does he."
"I... I don't know what to do."
"Yeah," Xander said with a nod. "Well, neither do I. I'm as lost as you are, Jade. I don't want to hurt you, I don't want to hurt Kyle"
"You should have just stayed away from me."
"Is that what you want?"
"Yes,". Jade said then shook her head quickly. "No. I just wish this was simple."
"Nothing ever is," Xander answered with a deep sigh. "I think you should go home. I can walk you, or if you want, Buffy can."
"I'll be fine alone," Jade said as she stood quickly.
"What do you want me to do, Jade?"
"You could stop being you."
"For you, I can give it a try," Xander answered with a truthful voice.
"No. Xander, I... I do love you. I always will."
"I love you too."
"I think it's just best for both of us... to..."
"You don't want me around, do you?" Xander asked as she couldn't finish the sentence.
"I'd like to have this talk in private," Jade said as she glanced at Buffy.
"There's always upstairs. If you want to get everything in the open."
"Lead the way."
"I'm still pissed," Jade said as Xander shut the door to his room at Warriors L.A.
"I get that."
"Yet, I kind of understand," Jade grudgingly admitted. "I just wish I knew what to do now."
"You and me both, beautiful," Xander said as he stepped toward her and locked eyes. Xander turned quickly and looked away. "Tell me what you need me to do. I'll do whatever it takes."
"To what? Be with me?" Jade asked with a downward glance.
"Or not. It's up to you, Jade," Xander said with a sigh. "I'd fight for you Jade, hell, I would die for you. But this decision isn't mine. You have to figure out who or what would make you the most happy. Then you just have go for it."
"I..." Jade started before closing her eyes, "I have a lot of thinking to do."
"I understand. If you need anything, anything at all, let me know okay?"
"Yeah," Jade said as she moved toward him gave him a hug. "Thank you, Xander."
"You don't have to thank me."
"I'm still pissed," the green skinned woman said with a slight smile.
"Don't blame you," Xander answered with a chuckle. He leaned in to press his lips to her cheek. Jade turned her head slightly and their lips met. Neither knew who deepened the kiss. Or who led who to the bed. But as they fell onto the soft mattress, they seemed to break the spell.
"I have to go."
"I think you'd better," Xander said as he took a deep breath.
"I'll..." Jade started only to stop for a moment, "I'll call you when I figure everything out."
"Promise," Jade answered with a sad smile as she turned and left the room. Xander sighed as he lay back on the bed. Counting the seconds till he heard a soft knock on the door.
"Come on in, Buff," Xander said with a sigh as he closed his eyes. The door opened quietly as Buffy walked in holding the open bottle of whiskey and two glasses.
"Thought you might want a drink."
"Want one, yes. Need one? Yes. Old enough to have one? No."
"Since when has that ever stopped a teenager?" Buffy asked as she sat down beside him with a faint smile. She poured a small amount of whiskey in each glass as Xander moved to set up. "How are you holding up?"
"I'm holding," Xander answered as he took the glass and gulped down the contents. Buffy poured him another before setting the bottle down.
"You haven't really talked about it."
"That too. I meant about Emerald," Buffy said with a sigh. "I think part of the reason Jade is tearing you apart is because of Emerald."
"You're probably right," Xander said with a slight sigh. "But if you really want to talk about this, I could bring up Angel." Buffy went silent for a moment. She didn't want to talk about Angel, she wanted to forget that time in her life. But she knew that wasn't possible. She knew Xander needed to talk about Emerald.
"I still miss him," Buffy started as she took a sip of the drink and grimaced. She sat it aside quickly causing a small smile to fall on Xander's lips. "I think about him alot. Or I try to, but all I can see is Angelus. All I can see is that twisted look in his eyes. I cry sometimes, when no one is around."
"I understand. I... I shouldn't feel this way. I mean, she wasn't really MY daughter. But... I wanted her to be. I want her to be," Xander sighed as a tear slid down his cheek. "I lost so much more than I wanted to. So much more than I thought I could."
"I know," Buffy said as she put an arm around her friend. Xander tried to keep his emotions in check, but a sob escaped his throat, followed quickly by another. Buffy closed her eyes as she held him tighter, moisture forming on her cheeks quickly. "I know." That night, two heroes, two warriors, cried to sleep in each other's arms. Purging demons and memories on the shoulders of one another.
END JOH: Hypertension.