Disclaimer :

I do not own BtVS, nor anything it might be crossed with (sorry, but I want you to be left guessing, at least at first), they are owned by their creators. Only the plot is mine.

Summary :

A young boy growing up in Sunnydale gains a new friend, and everything changes.

Author's Note :

I just want to state that this fic is for those people who have been checking back to see if I've updated any of my other stories, and might be getting worried I wasn't returning. It's just one more case of too many plot bunnies, and nowhere near enough time. As it is, I know that many will be wishing I was updating one of my other stories, instead of posting new stuff. Sorry, but not yet.

Now I leave you to enjoy the insanity.

xXx

Rock of Friendship

xXx

Humans, a race on a small planet they imaginatively called 'Earth', often wondered if there existed anywhere else in the universe, life, and what it would be like when they met. Whether they would become friends. Share life, loves, technology and knowledge.

If they only knew.

To the question of whether there were other beings, other races, the answer was a resounding yes; but to the question of whether they were friendly or not…

Laughable.

Yet, though many of the races would have cheerfully wiped out all life on Earth as easily as a human stepping on a bug – or maybe, a bug stepping on a human – some were simply indifferent. True, if they came across a human they would, with gleeful abandon, turn them into small smears of red paste, but otherwise they wouldn't go looking for them.

Passive-aggressive, in a sense.

Luckily, for the most part, almost all life in the universe was trapped in its own solar systems, sometimes even on its own worlds. Few ever made it to a technological level where they could escape their world's confines, where they could be a threat to the human race – and frankly, with all the wondrous and terrible worlds that lay scattered throughout space, even of one of these races was to come across Earth, they would turn around and leave soon after.

It was such a boring little pile of dirt, after all.

But on one of those small worlds, where life had evolved in as unique a way as was possible, life that would never feel the yearning to reach for the stars, content with its existence, something was about to happen that would change… everything.

Or at least, so the humans would say. The rest of the universe would never even notice.

But since the humans did consider themselves the centre of the universe, that was alright.

xXx

On a planet of sunblasted deserts and seas of stone, a small group of pebbles tumbled into a small depression.

And then tumbled back up out of it.

Life was unusual. It tended to try to make things that could exist without trouble, but occasionally, it had to improvise. And on a world without a single drop of liquid of any kind, it became very inventive.

So life had formed… using rocks.

Yet not just any rocks. Sentient rocks.

How they could exist, when there was no brain, or blood, or… well… anything, other than rocks, was a mystery – but then, what else was life but a mystery.

And while most life followed the familiar pattern of organic growth, these life-forms could not. They grew by slowly absorbing more and more rocks into the… collective body. Not to mention that time itself had no real effect on the creatures, so their lifespans tended to be… extended.

But for this one, still young by any race's standards, things were about to dip into the realm of weird.

Without a nose or any other olfactory ability, it was unaware of the ozone filling the air around it, nor did it see – since it had no eyes – the strange flashes of light that lit the landscape in colours that didn't exist in normal reality. It continued to roll along in its near-gravel form quite happily, blissfully unaware of the impending finger of fate, until it struck.

With a gut-wrenching lurch, which the rockling would have been glad to have missed out on (due to the lack of a stomach) if it had been aware of it, the small pile of sentient pebbles found itself sucked into a vortex and sent screaming through time and space (or would have if it had a mouth).

Yet without sense it was not, which was why when it was spat out onto unfamiliar soil, it remained still, or as still as a small mound of trembling stones could be.

It reached out with its senses, trying to understand what could have happened, when it realised it wasn't alone. Something large was looming over it, reaching out for it. Knowing it was too late to move, it cringed, only hoping to survive the encounter.

Then came the touch.

It flinched. How could it not? Though rock it might be, it did not make it immune to predators.

On its own world there had been strange and exotic beasts that roamed the wastes, hunting for the ever elusive prey, eager to swoop down upon an unassuming and innocent rock monster, carrying it away to be devoured at leisure. So horrific were these things, that no other description is, or will be – ever – necessary.

But the touch was gentle. Light. Soothing. Slowly it relaxed, its worries mysteriously easing as the stroking continued, and as it did more information from the world around it seeped in. This new place was completely alien to anything it knew, filled with strangeness, and at the heart of the matter was the small being giving it comfort. Nowhere near as small as itself, but nothing like the threat it had thought at first; in fact, it suddenly realised it felt no threat whatsoever from the creature.

Now that it was paying attention, it found the creature was making strange sounds, just as light and soothing as the touches that continued to run gently over its small form. It relaxed more, only for the tenseness to return as it felt itself scooped up and lifted towards the being's mouth. Fear, laden with regret briefly shot through it, then it sagged, awaiting the inevitable.

And waited.

And waited.

Finally it opened its 'eyes', and found, instead of being eaten, it was being carefully carried within the small creature's arms and… it twitched in shock as it was placed on a nearby rock. Not only had the thing not killed it, it had fed it! Gratitude, a feeling almost alien to the small pile of rocks, flooded it, and though it was as expressionless as a rock face could be, if anyone had been looking they could have felt the thankfulness rolling off it in waves.

This place wasn't its home, it knew, but that didn't matter. Here was something never experienced before, and it found itself filled with stony determination to never leave as long as the feeling stayed.

Not to mention that as far as it could tell it was the only one of its kind within sensing range, which meant a complete lack of conflict over resources. That the new and unusual rocks that filled this place were just lying around waiting to be found, was besides the point.

As it settled in place, a small sigh of stones rubbing together could be heard, and as it dozed it considered what to do next. Here it could be happy, unthreatened, and it was all thanks to the small one nearby.

Content at last, it drifted into its sleep, knowing all would be well.

xXx

Watching for a few minutes more, until he was sure his new friend was… well… 'out' for the night, the small boy leaned back with a small giggle. Never in his wildest dreams had he ever thought something so wonderful could exist – and just because he was only six, didn't mean he hadn't dreamt and fantasized about other places.

After all, it helped him to escape the cruel realities of his life.

He knew his parents loved him, he just wished they showed it with hugs, not fists. It happened more often if they drank the foul-smelling liquid that he wasn't to touch, but it also happened the day after too. They were his parents, and he loved them, but sometimes… he was afraid.

That night had been one such time. Both had been slurring their words more than usual, and he had noticed the way they had been looking at him as he'd brought them their drinks, and decided that it was a good night to spend outside, under the stars. How was he to know a new friend would arrive in a shower of pretty lights?

At first he'd thought someone had been throwing stones at him again, but then he'd noticed they were moving, trembling, though there was no wind. He'd reached out a tentative finger to touch them, only to see them flinch from him.

Shocked, he made sure to use the lightest of touches, while murmuring quiet nothings; having found that the few feral cats, dogs, or other things that lurked in the alleyways near his school reacted positively to such tones, he was pleased when the pebbles did the same.

Thinking it might be cold he had lifted it up, but found that though he could hold all the stones, they were awkward and difficult, and regretfully he put them back down, knowing if he did not he'd drop them.

But then a sense of giddy happiness filled him, and he was astonished to realise it was coming from outside him, coming from the stones. Giggling to himself, he lay down next to the piece of slate he'd placed the pile on, and rested his head on his arms. For a moment he gazed in childish joy at his new friend, but as sleep crept up on him he snuggled deeper into his arms and, with a quiet 'goodnight', closed his eyes and slept.

Together at last, stone and boy slept the sleep of the blessed, untouched by trouble, content in the knowledge that they weren't alone – not anymore.

xXx

Time passed, as time tended to do, and soon the boy was celebrating his eight birthday. Not with his parents of course. If they did manage to drag themselves from their drunken stupor to see him on the day in question, the only present he tended to receive was a slap to the back of the head, and an order to bring more booze. No, he was celebrating his birthday with his two best friends.

His continuing companion Rocky, and a girl he'd met in kindergarten a few months before.

Back when Rocky had first appeared he hadn't known what to do, or exactly how to act, and it had taken much trial and error to discover the best way to proceed. Yet Rocky almost never complained, and when it did it was without rancour – yet the boy was more than bright enough never to make the same mistake twice. As time had progressed, he'd even found he could understand Rocky sometimes, as it rubbed its stones together and grinding was heard.

Of course, the only thing he really understood at first was its name.

It had puzzled him that whenever he tried to pronounce it, instead of the word he heard, 'rock' would emerge. Eventually he'd stopped trying, but he never forgot 'Grignak' – but it didn't really seem to matter. Rocky didn't seem to mind what name it was called, as long as it was the boy himself speaking.

When, on his seventh birthday he was told he would soon have to start attending kindergarten, he had been heart-broken. The thought of not spending all his time with Rocky was bleak, but Rocky somehow changed his mind, and he found himself going – if not with a light heart, then at least one not burdened down with sadness.

And then he had met Willow.

It had been during one of the playtimes near the beginning of kindergarten.

All the various kids had been scattered around, doing whatever they wanted, and he had been depressedly tapping a few stones together, thinking of how much he wanted his friend with him just then, when he heard someone crying. Looking around he'd noticed a redheaded girl sitting nearby, staring forlornly at the snapped crayon in her hand with tears running down her face. Not really having any interest in drawing himself, he had leant over and passed her his own, not thinking anything about it.

The smile of joy that lit up her face, and the bone-breaking hug she had wrapped him in told a different story. Instantly she had declared him her best friend, or 'fwend' to be more accurate, and demanded to know his name. Her inability to pronounce it properly, and thus gifting him with one that brought another smile to her face, had melted any doubts he'd had – and so Willow and the newly dubbed Xander had become the closest of people, spending all their time together. Even when he wished it otherwise.

Ever since then she had been constantly at his side, involving him in every aspect of her life and, though it took him a while to become comfortable with the new closeness, he soon grew to love it.

It felt like having a family, like the ones he saw on television.

Yet for all of that, it took him over a month to bring himself to introduce his new sister to his stone brother. Even then, he had almost chickened out, only able to succeed because of how much they both meant to him. In the end the meeting had been almost anti-climactic. The girl had stared at the moving pile of rocks, and the moving pile of rocks had… well… given the impression it was looking at her, then they had both turned as one to him and asked him what the big deal was.

Or at least Willow had, but he'd got the impression Rocky had agreed.

After that, the three of them had been as thick as thieves, where one was the other two were guaranteed to be nearby. It got to the point where Willow found Rocky just as easy to understand as Xander did.

So the surprise party they threw for him was the highpoint of his life so far, not just for the company, but for the sheer love he felt inundated with.

He knew then, with a sudden clarity, that regardless of what happened from then on, it wouldn't matter. With his two best friends by his side – his true family – nothing could ever hurt him.

xXx

Laughing gaily, Xander watched his stony friend galumph back towards him, skidding to a stop only inches from his position and dropping the small rock at his feet. When Xander picked it up, the granite expression on his friend's face took on an almost pleading look, and Xander couldn't help another peal of laughter from escaping as he threw, a peal answered by the redhead sitting nearby studying.

He still couldn't believe that Rocky's favourite game had turned out to be Fetch, played with Rocky's own stones.

Following the stone's flight, Xander couldn't help but wince as it landed in the midst of some bushes, knowing a definite case of carnage was upcoming. Over the years, as all three had matured and grown, they had found that they'd had to adapt the way they played together; primarily because, as Rocky had incorporated more and more stones into himself, they had quickly discovered that having him step on or, god forbid, jump on anything fragile, would have a very final outcome.

Things like Xander.

Or Willow.

Or a cat.

It had an innocent mistake, something no-one could have foreseen. The three had been messing around in the woods, and Rocky had been intent on unearthing a tasty looking rock he'd found. It was just bad karma that he hadn't noticed the purring feline slinking around behind him when he'd overbalanced. And sat down. The only good thing about the tragedy had been knowing the poor cat wouldn't have felt a thing.

Best not to consider that afterwards its body could have doubled as a frisbee.

But ever since, they had been careful to check the ground whenever they played, just in case. But seeing the speed with which his exuberant friend was pounding towards the thicket, Xander had a feeling it was about to be time for another animal funeral; something that had quickly gotten old, since Willow always got so emotional over the pancake-shaped boxes.

On the upside though, it did give him a reason to hold her hand, which was definitely of the good.

A wicked crash and a screech of pain shattered the daydream he had become caught in and, with only a slight tinge of red to his cheeks, he grabbed Willow's hand and they raced to the cry's origin. Blundering to a stop, Xander could only frown in confusion as he tried to find the… remains, but could only see a slightly sheepish looking mass of free floating rocks next to a small crater.

Again, Xander wondered how something without a face could blush, but ignored that for a more important question.

"Okay Rocky, where's the body?"

Rumble.

"'Beg your pardon?"

Xander couldn't believe his ears. Willow however, was less restrained.

"Rocky," her wavery voice making Xander wince, "what do you mean it deserved to die? Nothing deserves to die!"

Willow was staring at Rocky, and even though it wasn't aimed at him, Xander could feel waves of guilt crashing over him at the luminous power of her gaze. He could only imagine what Rocky was going through. Not enough to try to divert her attention though.

He wasn't stupid.

The stones that made up Rocky's head shifted, shuddering in place slightly as her attack came into effect, but it was clear he felt he was in the right.

Rumble.

"What?" Both teenagers said in unison, shocked anew.

Rumble.

"I heard what you said," snapped Xander, "just… what do you mean it was hunting us? It's the twentieth century, things like that don't happen anymore!"

Willow's frantically bobbing head showed her complete support for her dear friend, and Xander was bolstered to add, "Even so, it was a living creature – it didn't deserve to die. Hurt, maybe, but not die. You should feel at least sorry for…"

Rumble rumble.

He blinked, turned to look at the equally nonplussed Willow, then looked back at Rocky with another blink.

"What do you mean 'already dead'?"

But Rocky was clearly done explaining as his stony expression showed and, shrugging his shoulders with a sound akin to a minor landslide, turned and moved back towards the path, ignoring the puffs of dust his passing left. Xander and Willow could only gaze in confusion at their friend's retreating back, before exchanging bewildered looks. For all that the three of them had been together for years, both kids were well aware that their friend wasn't human, and didn't always see things the way they would have liked.

So, with a small shake of their heads at the impromptu burial, they quickly made their way to the rocky friend's side, and soon all three were back to their old ways, the death almost already forgotten.

By them at least.

Behind them, in a suddenly much emptier thicket, a shadow suddenly detached from the darkness and stumbled forward into the light. The ridged forehead and glowing yellow eyes showed its origins clearly enough, but the all encompassing terror gripping it was new. It kept shifting its gaze between the place its several hundred year old sire had been standing, and the direction that the two meatbags and… their friend had gone. It had never even heard of a creature like that, but if something like that was in town, protecting the food supply…

Suddenly it was overcome with a need to see Los Angeles. Or Paris. Or Guam. Whatever one was furthest away from Sunnydale would be its choice. It just needed some liquid refreshment before it left.

So, with only a slight stumble to its gait, the figure disappeared into the darkness from whence it came, making sure to stop off at a bar it knew on the way out of town. And if by chance, as it was drinking, the tale managed to leak out to the astonished and horrified ears – or otherwise for those things that didn't have ears – then so be it.

As the sounds of the dead thing's partner faded, heading in the other direction, Rocky let a slight smirk form, an expression alien to its race but one eminently useful in times like this. The ones called Xander and Willow were the closest it had ever come to having a family, and it was determined that no-one and nothing would ever hurt them, not as long as he was around.

Besides, Jumping up and down on the things tended to work really well.

The fact that it was a lot of fun was just a bonus.

xXx

Soon after – strangely enough – the death rate of Sunnydale, which was far higher than the norm, suddenly began to subside, rapidly approaching the standard for towns its size, with the number of gang related deaths cut almost to nil. Those people in the know were startled and perturbed when they realised that the majority of the evil denizens of the town had left. Overnight as it were.

It was almost as if something had grown tired of evil's depredations, and had decided to do something about them.

The most vocal and strident voice of those was the then Mayor of Sunnydale, a man with fingers in many pies, a man who oddly disappeared one night when a meteorite hit his house.

Or so people said, though no-one had known it was coming, or could find any trace of it afterwards. Only that there was a large hole in his roof where something had crashed through, and a larger hole in the Mayor where it had landed on him.

Coming down on him like a ton of bricks, as it were.

But for two young and innocent teens, none of that registered. All that mattered was that they had each other, and their rocky friend.

As far as they were concerned, life was good. And as for Rocky's feelings on the matter…

Who knew.

xXx

–– Finis ––

xXx

Author's Note :

Told you it was insane.

So did anyone guess the name of the film this was crossed with? I hope you did, but if you didn't here you go: Galaxy Quest. I really have no idea where the idea for this came from, but the moment I got the image of Xander playing Fetch with a two ton rock monster – I just had to write it. You understand.

Also, I'm aware that in the film the planet in question did in fact have water, or a liquid at least, but for the purpose of the story I removed it. Artistic licence and all that.

If you're wondering about Rocky's name, just remember that Xander was only six when they first met, and at that age kids are kinda uninventive.

Well, I do hope you enjoyed the latest foray into my twisted psyche, and hope you continue to tune in as and when I post other stuff.

Until then, cya all!

Punster-Zero