For a while, Xander was more than content to simply pace his room in a full on panic.
Finally getting the answer as to what's been going on with his body lately, was not what he had expected. Sure there was a part of him that was kind of hoping that he'd get abilities that would allow him to be a bit more heroic, but having his brain and body being turned into a time share to provide him with said abilities was a little more than he was willing to pay. Time and time again it's been shown that he and Murphy, never really been on good terms, so it was understandable for him to be concerned about what the Harris Luck might have in store for him. Thinking about it for a second, the most obvious answer would probably have been him becoming a super-villain given the history of the costume he was now wearing, but that would probably have been too easy, so something else was probably waiting in the wings.
Had Xander had the time to calm himself down, instead of continuing with his freak out, he would have realized that his every thought, his every concern, was being shared with his new partner. The symbiote had known what Xander had been thinking and feeling ever since its joining with Xander on Halloween. And now that it had finally opened the bond with its host, there was nothing that made Xander who he was, that was not open for its viewing. Taking the time to go over Xander's rapid fire thoughts it traveled through his memory to find the source of Xander's panic over bonding with it. In a matter of seconds it had gone through his knowledge of what the symbiote would have become if it had remained bonded with its original host. A feeling, that it would one day come to understand as concern, came over it as it realized what kind of monster it would have turned in to. What was puzzling to the alien was the fact that it had never had those sort of experiences before, never been in those situations. From a certain point of view it was no longer the symbiote that Xander was so familiar with and being in this new world, it never would. Wanting to bring peace to its bonded the symbiote triggered a chemical release in Xander's body that calmed him with a feeling of euphoria .
Moving over to sit back on his bed, Xander allowed the calming wave to pass over him as he tried to collect his mile a minute thoughts. A thought at the back of his mind made him realize that the symbiote was what had triggered his sudden calming and once again a sense of dread started to well up inside him.
'Please, Xander, calm yourself. You are my host, I would never do anything to bring harm to you or cause you unhappiness.'
Lifting his head up, he looks to stare into the reflection of the mirror, "That was you just now, right?! With the shot of whiskey to the nerves."
It was only a moment before the symbiote understood his question, 'Yes, you needed to be calmed down before you did something rash.'
"I wouldn't have did anything rash."
'Your previous actions would say otherwise.'
"Just how long have you been here?"
'Since the night we first met.'
"So that dream about the black ocean and that thing coming out of it… that was you?"
'Yes, it was a representation of the original homeworld. I had hoped that you wouldn't have been frightened, but I had not been joined with you for very long so our first meeting did not go as I had originally planned.'
"So why the dream with Buffy, Cordy, and Willow? I mean don't get me wrong I loved the outfits, but it was a little off-putting."
'After our initial disastrous meeting, I realized that a more familiar setting would be the best place for our next encounter. As for the appearances, I chose them because of… you. Most of the thoughts in your mind pertain to dealing with them in some fashion or another. And with such a wide range of emotions behind them, I decided that approaching you again as one of them would be the easiest way for us to complete our bond.'
"I thought we were already bonded. I-I mean I am wearing you."
'On Halloween, after the spell was ended, we remained behind and yes we were together. However, I can only truly be joined with my host when they accept me. Unlike the others of my kind I wished to form a true bonding with my hosts, not just use them up and throw them away. Up until just now you have been against the bonding process.'
"So are you why things have been happening to me lately, you know the whole being faster and sensing stuff?"
'Yes, while I was not fully bonded with my first host, and out time together brief, it was more than enough for him to have left imprints upon me. These imprints I share with you now, as I would any traits that I gain from you with my next host.'
"Well… thank you. I appreciate the help you've given me."
'As I told you in the dream, you are my other and we are one.'
Xander lets the comment hang in the air for a moment before speaking, "Y'know you're a lot different than what I had expected."
'That is because of you, our other. We were bonded with our first host for only a short time, but we gained some a sense of… humanity… from him. Since our joining I have learned even more from observing your interactions with others. Your thoughts and feelings, as you think and feel them, are free for me to study and learn from. I've learned much about you and those you care about. I also learned why you were first afraid of me, but you must understand that the symbiote you are familiar with is not one that I will ever become. I was not bonded with Peter Parker long enough to go through the experiences that they went through or experience the emotions that they did. Though the symbiote you know as Venom and I may have shared a common origin once, our experiences have greatly differed since that point of commonality. That is why you should not fear our bond.'
Xander was silent as he sat there and realized what the symbiote was trying to explain to him. It was the whole nurture versus nature deal with first hand experience. His symbiote would never become the monster in the comics for the simple reason that it would have never had to deal with the things that the Venom symbiote would have. For the first time since this whole thing had finally come out, Xander was actually starting to feel at ease with the situation… and all without the aid of what basically amounted to taking a Xanax.
Standing back up, Xander moved in front of his mirror to study his body's changes. Like on Halloween, his reflection showed a guy that was in pretty good shape, but as he took the time to really look himself over he could notice a few changes from the last time he'd inspected himself. His muscles looked to be more defined and sculpted than the last time he'd looked at himself in this costume.
A voice in the back of his mind informed him that it had been trying to slowly enhance him over the last month, as it waited for the opportunity to speak with him again.
Running his hands over the suit, Xander noticed that while it feels like normal clothing, he could feel his caress like if it were on bare skin. Flexing the muscles in his arms, Xander strikes a couple of a poses in the mirror, before deciding to move on with the demonstration and see what other abilities the symbiotes had granted him. His first test was trying out wall-crawling, something every little boy who read comics wanted to do, right after being able to fly. Soon after Xander found himself experiencing his room from an entirely new view as he crouched on the ceiling turning his head this way and that way. A few minutes later an unspoken though of wanting to get down caused Xander to suddenly disengage from his ceiling and fall head first to his bedroom floor. However, with an impossible feat of agility Xander corrected himself so that he was heads up and landed on the floor with the grace of a feline, the thud that followed was only a muffled noise, no louder than a heavy pillow falling on the floor.
With a few more tries, Xander was able to consciously activate and deactivate his wall-crawling. Standing on the roof of his house looking down on his backyard, Xander stared at the large oak tree on the side of the house. Raising his arm to look at the white patch on the back of his hand, Xander couldn't help but wonder. Remembering the abilities of the Venom symbiote in the comics, and thus what his own should be capable of, Xander raised his arm and pointed it at a solid looking branch. Another mental command and a single strand of webbing shoots out from the top of his hand with a *THWIP* and connects to the side of the branch. Giving the strand a couple good tugs, Xander wraps one hand around it, closes his eyes and mutters a silent prayer, before jumping off of his roof.
He sails through the air for a moment, almost like he'd attempted to do this in the past, before coming in far too low in his swing and slamming face first into the side of a fence.
A short while after his first disastrous attempt at learning to swing on a web, Xander glided through his neighborhood, the low sounds of nature and the rhythmic thwiping, the only noises being made. Thanks to the tried and true method of 'try-try again', and some muscle reflex on behalf of the symbiote, Xander was able to grasp the intricacies that is web-slinging.
After a short trip through the silent neighborhood, Xander found himself close to one of Sunnydale's many graveyards. Wanting to see what else he was capable of, he made a slight detour and heads in. At the peak of his swing he released the webline and sails through the air before coming to land on top of a crypt. Crouching down he immediately leaps into the air and proceeds to land on tombstone after tombstone, with a dazzling display of both aerial acrobatics and superhuman agility. He continues this activity for only a few minutes before coming to a stop. Taking a seat on one of the box shaped mausoleums, Xander tries to figure out what moves he could practice next, but his are thoughts are suddenly interrupted by a shuddering sensation passing through him.
A deep growl emanates from behind him before a powerful claw swipes at him from behind. Evading the attack, Xander back flips over his attacker and lands softly on the grass behind. Xander frowns underneath his mask as some kind of demon that they've never encountered before turns around and looks at him.
The creature towered well over his own six foot frame, covered in some kind of bone armor along both of its arms legs. The creature's chest had none of the bone protection, but the thick leathery looking skin covering the rest of its body appeared to provide more than enough protection. The demon lets out another menacing growl before rushing towards him, with Xander once again leaping over his opponent's attack. Growing frustrated by the lack of success at killing its prey, the demon closes in to close quarters and begins lashing out with its clawed fists and the occasional biting attack. Ducking underneath, Xander manages to dodge the clumsy attacks before landing one of his own into the creatures gut. The power behind the punch forces a large gust of air out of the creature's lungs as Xander proceeds to deliver blow after blow on to the creature's head, forcing it to curl in on itself.
The creature lets out a deafening roar as it throws its arm out and knocks Xander back, leaving the male Scooby open for a powerful kick to his chest. Launched through the air, Xander slams into a tombstone crushing it. Momentarily stunned by the strength of the creature, Xander is unable to crawl away before the creature grabs him by his left leg and proceeds to lift him through the air before slamming him against the ground, and whatever else is nearby. Xander's rag doll like body proceeds to crash into several tombs and mausoleums.
Surprisingly, while each blow knocks the wind out of Xander, the tremendous amount of pain he should be feeling doesn't seem to be appearing. Oh sure, he's gonna be sore after the fight, but given what he was being subjected to, he was really surprised that he wasn't hurting more.
As the demon prepares to lift him back in to the air for another round of whack-a-mole, Xander uses his remaining free limbs to brace himself against the ground. As strong as the creature was, Xander's new found abilities proved to be far more impressive as no matter how hard it tried to pull him up, Xander's body would not move. Unfortunately, the same can not be said for the ground that he's sticking to. While the tugging from the demon is unable to yank Xander's grip away, the tugs do cause clumps of the ground to be pulled away still in his grasp. The constant rearranging to get a better grip on the ground is beginning to turn into a loosing battle. Knowing that staying on the defensive isn't going to keep him safe for much longer, Xander decides to go on the offensive.
As the demon releases the tension in Xander's leg in order to try tugging on it again, the male Scooby uses the opportunity to yank the creature off of balance. Stumbling forward, the demons chest lands against Xander's maneuvered feet as he proceeds to use every ounce of strength he possesses to send the demon flying clear across the cemetery. A few moments later a loud crash is heard along with the momentary sound of a car alarm going off and then dying.
Standing up, Xander wiggles his leg around to make sure that nothing was pulled out of place as well as a minor once over to see if anything else might have been injured during the life size game of ring the bell. Sure that everything is fine enough, Xander leaps into the air before firing a webline and heading in the direction that the demon went. It's only seconds later that he sees the destroyed SUV that indicated the demon's landing point.
Landing close by the wreck, he hears what would have to be creature's equivalent of groans coming from the wreckage. Grabbing the SUV by both of the caved in sides, he pushes the sandwiched vehicle open before reaching down and grabbing one of the demon's legs. With a mighty pull he frees the demon from its containment, but the momentum from such a strong tug sends the creature tumbling end over end before coming to a stop after colliding with a tree a dozen yards away. The demon wearily begins to try to climb back to its feet, its prey haven taken over as predator in this hunt. The force of a powerful punch sends the creature back into the tree, before it collapses to one of its knees.
Moving around to the side of the demon Xander waits for it to raise its head before delivering a powerful roundhouse kick to the demon's head.
Not being entirely used to having super strength yet, Xander delivered a powerful kick to the demon that would usually have just been nothing more than just another strike against his opponent. However, Xander's strength had grown far beyond what he was used to, as the added strength behind the attack not only defeats the demon, but it also decapitated it in the process. He looks on in astonishment as the creature's head flies into the side of a mausoleum wall before bouncing to the ground next to it.
The creature's body draws his attention away from the unexpected projectile as it makes a loud thud.
"Remind me not to hit things when I get mad."
'That would probably be for the best, Xander.'
Early the next day found an excited Xander bouncing through the doors of the library to find Willow sitting off to the side reading something and Buffy and Giles off on the main floor with Buffy doing a series of very impressive combination attacks on a padded watcher.
"Guys you are not gonna believe what kind of night I had last night."
Stopping short with a high kick, a sweaty Buffy turns around to face Xander after he gets all of their attention. A grateful Giles moves to sit down on the steps as Buffy grabs a water bottle before taking a seat next to Willow.
"Okay, now the last few weeks we all know that things have been changing for me. I've been getting way smart and I even got a new power. Last night after I got back home I found out why!" Moving to stand in front of the table, Xander looks at them for a second before closing his eyes.
For a there was nothing happens and then suddenly Xander's clothing begins shifting colors before their eyes. Not long after the color change the clothing turns into a liquid as it begins to slide over Xander's exposed skin.
A shocked and slack-jawed Buffy and Willow can only look on as their best friend is covered entirely by the liquid.
Giles can only mutter a whispered 'Good lord' at the remarkable sight in front of him.
All to soon the symbiote takes a more solid form over its host's body and quickly begins forming the familiar symbol on their chest. To an outside viewer the entire transformation only took a matter of seconds to complete.
The room was silent as the gang sat in shock for a few more moments before, just as expected, Buffy and Willow started rapid firing questions at him.
"Oh my god, Xander, are you okay?" Willow asked in concern
"Of course I am, Wills. To be quite honest I've never been better. I've never felt this strong before in my life. And when I say strong, I mean strong!"
That last part piqued Buffy's already curious mind, "What do you mean you're strong?"
"Alright, well after everything came out last night I figured that I should try and see what was what.", a nod from the girls shows him that they know what he means, "So I head out back to figure out how to swing around, which is surprisingly easy once you get the hang of it, and I decide to just get a little air before I go back home. I wound up near one of the cemeteries by my house so I decide to goof around and see what I can do. For a few minutes I was just jumping all over the place doing flips and other stuff that would make an Olympic gymnast jealous. I stop for a second and pop a squat on a tombstone somewhere near the middle and then all of a sudden my I get that weird shuddery feeling down my back. I did a back flip which had me land behind this big ass demony thing that tried to pull a 'Predator' on me and yank my spine out. We go at if for a little bit and then I send it flying into a car. We get back at it again, but I just completely dominate it this time. So I go over there to finish things and when I went to go for a kick the next thing I know I'm using this thing's head life a football."
Willow and Buffy look a little ill at his comment, but decide to let it pass.
"And that, they say, is that. So what do you guys think of the new and improved Spider-Xan?", he asked with a completely serious tone in his voice
"Spider-Xan?! Are you really gonna go with Spider-Xan.", Buffy complained
Xander stared at Buffy seriously for a moment before breaking down in to a grin, "…Nah, I just wanted to see what you guys would think."
Buffy would have commented further, but Giles cut in first "This transformation that you've gone through is absolutely incredible, but from your own experiences last night, I think that testing you to see what exactly you're capable of should be the first thing we do. U-Using a demon's extremities as playthings is, while certainly… disturbing… it's also not that much of a cause for concern in the long run. What is a cause of concern is you using that kind of strength against a normal person. Whether or not you can control this incredible power when you're not consciously trying to use it, such as when you're hugging someone or shaking their hand"
"That thought actually had crossed my mind, G-Man, but I don't know where I could go to figure something like that out at. It's not like I could go to a gym and bench press a couple hundred pounds. I could do that and finish eating breakfast at the same time."
"Well, maybe we should have you spar against, Buffy. It would allow you test your control under a more frantic situation and it would also be the easiest way for us to see what sort of agility you've gained from these changes. As far as a means of safely testing the limits of your new strength… I'm afraid I don't have the foggiest."
Xander switched back to his 'civilian' gear, while everyone sat around trying to figure things out, but once again it was Willow that came through as she started bouncing around in her seat with her arm raised. Everyone watched her for a moment with an air of amusement at her enthusiasm.
"Ooh I figured it out! What if we went to the junkyard outside of town. It's got a lot of old cars and stuff, those are heavy enough. Aren't they?"
Pulling his glasses off to clean them, Giles considers her suggestion for a moment, "That's… actually a good idea. I-I'm sure that there's something there that we could use to test your limits. At the very least we wouldn't have to worry about you breaking something by accident. In fact wasn't it abandoned some time ago."
"Yeah, the owner got killed by a vampire and the city just shut it down.", Willow replied
"Well then I suggest that after patrol tonight we should head over there, but for right now let's test out the control you have. I'm sure that sparring against Buffy will provide you with some kind of workout.", Giles said as he moved to slide the training dummy that had been set up for later, off to the side
"Don't worry, Xander, I won't be too rough." Buffy joked as she moved over to the mats and started to stretch
"Well you don't have to worry your pretty head, Buff, I think I'll be just fine. Besides if I really am gonna go all the way with this then I can't sit around doing it half assed. In order to become Spider-Man, I need learn how to fight like Spider-Man. I mean I know that I'm stronger than you are, but on a strictly martial arts basis you've got me beat hands down. I remember from the comics some of the things that Peter Parker could do just by reflexes alone. Now that I've got the symbiote, somewhere in this manly body of mine, I've got the same potential. All I need to do is learn to bring it out so that it becomes second nature for me as well."
Seeing the determined look on his face Buffy dropped into a fighting stance opposite Xander, one he quickly mirrored. "Okay, but I promise I won't go all out. At least not yet."
Xander gives her a silent nod as a response and prepares himself. The two teens stand in opposite of each other, before some silent command prompts them into action.
Buffy was the first to move forward and threw a jab to test Xander's reflexes. Xander moved to block the punch, but he caught a weak kick to the side instead. He threw a punch to her chest, but Buffy knocked it off to the side and gives him a soft jab into the shoulder which he leans with to keep from taking any damage. Quickly following up her attack with a leg sweep, she manages to knock him down, but Xander manages to plant a hand on to the mat before he can completely fall and turns the move into a cartwheel, allowing him to get back on his feet. Xander tries a right jab on Buffy that she easily catches, but Xander turns the tables around by grabbing her wrist with the arm she's holding and draws Buffy closer to him, landing a knee to her stomach. Backing away from him for a moment, Buffy gives Xander a smile for the blow he landed before continuing.
Giles stands over to the side watching as the two of them go back and forth. Quite impressed with Xander's ability to quickly recover from any of the attacks Buffy has thrown at him or turn said attacks to his advantage like with the leg sweep. So far the two teens had only been fighting each other at a speed slightly faster than what a normal person would be capable of and Xander's current fighting style, which was basically just a more acrobatic version of street brawling, was hardly up to snuff for dealing with the things that their group faced on a regular basis.
"Buffy, I want you to take things up a notch."
Looking over to her Watcher for a moment she turns back to Xander, only to stagger back from a punch and cover her face with her hands.
"I'm so sorry, Buffy! I-I didn't mean to do that. I-I thought you saw it coming!" Xander exclaimed.
"Ow my nose!" Buffy moaned. Pulling her hands away from her nose and sniffed an inward breath. "You didn't break anything , but I hope you realize this means war." Not bothering to give him a chance to get ready, Xander comes under assault of a series incredibly fast kicks and punches, most breaking through his guard and landing with complete accuracy. Just as Xander is about to try and make a move of his own and try and fight back, a wave of sluggishness comes over him. The sluggishness quickly passes as begins to attack Buffy. What seems to be on odd to him is that when Buffy had resumed their fighting, she had been striking out at him as if she was fighting a real opponent, like a vampire. But when the feeling of sluggishness had hit him, the speed of Buffy's movements had decreased drastically. To Xander, Buffy was fighting against him now with a speed even slower than when they first started. Buffy is still managing to evade his own attacks, but it seems to be just barely. However, just as Buffy is managing to dodge his strikes, Xander is doing the same to an almost unbelievable degree of ease. Soon the two began to move around each other in a deadly dance of both skill and agility. With the grace of a dancer, Buffy flowed around Xander's strikes, while he dodged hers with the flexibility of a contortionist.
Off to the side Willow and Giles watched as Xander and Buffy sparred against each other. At first it was plainly obvious that Buffy was the better martial artist and especially so after Xander popped her in the nose by accident. The speed that she had resumed her attacks with would have easily been able to take down one of her normal opponent, but as it was just a spar they were little more than love taps… at least the slayer version of a love tap. However, it seemed that Xander's speed had been unable to keep pace with Buffy's faster pace until something happened. Like flipping on a light switch, Xander had suddenly gone into overdrive and was moving just as fast as Buffy was. Not one to be outdone, Buffy revved things up even higher as she began to move faster, but for every increase in her attack speed, Xander somehow managed to match it. Eventually the two were moving in a dazzling display that left the watcher and the genius gawking in amazement. Amazement not for the fact that Xander was able to fight against Buffy like he was, but the fact that he was doing it with such ease that it made it seem like he was used to doing so.
It wasn't very long after Xander's increased speed and agility kicked in, that the victor of the match was decided. Diverting Buffy's punch away from him, Xander stepped inside of Buffy's reach and landed an openhanded palm strike to her unguarded stomach. The strength behind the blow manages to knock the air from Buffy's lungs and backs her up far enough for him to sweep her legs from under her and drop her to the mat. Before Buffy has a chance to try and get back to her feet, Xander is already on top of her pressing her legs together with his knees as he straddled her and pinned her arms above her head. Buffy glared at him as she struggled for a few moments, her arms pulling back and forth while Xander kept her wrists pinned to the mat. Buffy continued to wiggle and grunt, twisting her body as much as possible and seeming to push and pull with every muscle in her body. But still she remains trapped underneath her best friend.
Eventually she stops struggling and blows a loose strand of her hair out of her eyes, "Okay you win, now will you please get off of me."
A triumphant Xander hopped back to his feet before leaning over to offer her a hand up. For a moment Buffy considered yanking him back down to the mat with her, but decides against it since he was probably strong enough to keep her from doing it in the first place.
After bringing the impromptu sparring match to an end, Giles wanted to see what kind of dexterity Xander possessed and headed to the back for a set of balance beams he kept hidden. Xander on the other hand had different plans as he proceeded to flip all around the room, before doing a stunning back flip and landing on one of the posts for the staircase. What was most impressive was the fact that he manage to land so gracefully on but a single finger. Just to show off some more, he proceeded to walk down the banister with his index and middle finger.
A thoroughly impressed Buffy and Willow clapped for the impromptu show, while a gob smacked Giles could only mutter another silent 'good lord' while cleaning his glasses.
The rest of the day proceeded to go by like normal, save for Xander suddenly deciding to try and figure out how to recreate the formula for Spider-man's patented web fluid during chemistry class.
That night the group found themselves outside of the Sunnydale junkyard. In order to keep anyone from noticing anything out of the ordinary, going over the fence was their only option for getting inside. Problem was the entire fence perimeter was lined with razor wire. For a moment the gang wondered as to how exactly they were gonna get over the ten foot high barrier, until the mental prodding of Xander's roommate reminded him of his new abilities.
Wrapping his arms around Buffy and Giles waist, with Willow going for a piggyback ride, he squatted his legs before pushing off the ground hard and sailing through the air. Xander grinned widely, as Buffy and Willow let out loud squeals of enjoyment as the foursome easily cleared thirty feet in the air, well over ten foot fence, before they started to fall back toward the ground.
There was moment of worry for Giles as he watched the ground rushing toward him, but his trust in Xander made him believe that he would not allow any harm to come to them. His trust in the teenager was well founded as he landed on the other side with the same ease that anyone else would have had with jumping over a puddle.
For the next couple of hours Xander tested himself on different pieces of scrap metal and junked vehicles, while Giles jotted down notes for later. After the first few cars and pickups he had tried, it looked like he wasn't as strong as Peter was with the suit. It seemed that around 11,000 lbs, or 5 ½ tons, lifting things started to become a little hard to handle. His limit finally came when he tried to lift a demolished Dodge F450. The large vehicle weighed a whopping 14,500 lbs or 7 ¼ tons. He was able to get the massive pickup above his head, but it seemed that only a scant few seconds was his limit before the strain had become too much and he was forced to drop it. In the end they decided that five tons was a safe limit for Xander, six if the situation required it. Pushing himself any farther than that might end up with him doing more harm than good.
Not too long after they decided to call the weight lifting a night and head out on a quick patrol before heading for their homes. Before they could leave, Buffy had wanted to see if she could lift a car. Picking a tiny Audi, the blonde Slayer had managed to actually lift the car off its front tires and stand it up vertically, but even that had been a strain and lifting the 1300 lbs vehicle over her head was an impossible pipe dream.
Just like before a short leap over the fence and they were gone. Except for a few moved vehicles, that no one would ever notice, there was no sign left behind that anyone had actually been there.
2 Weeks Later
A man slammed into the side of a trashcan, knocking the container over. Shaking his head, he tries to clear the birdies away and get back into the fight, but before he can do so a hand wraps around his throat and lifts him from the ground. Several powerful blows connect with the vampire's face sending him into dreamland after the first blow. Tossing the unconscious vamp on to the ground Xander starts to pat him down and check his pockets. His efforts are rewarded when he comes away with a wallet full of money, a nice haul for a first try. As the undead creature begins to stir, Xander uses a mental command causing his symbiote to form a tentacle that reaches into a 'pocket' at his side. He grabs the wooden item before kneeling down and casually thrusting the stake into the vampire's heart.
The entire time he never even bothered to stop counting.
'I can't believe we never thought of doing this before. I mean we could make a hell of a lot of money just doing what we were gonna do in the first place!', he thought to himself as looked at the $83 he had just pilfered.
After the short patrol session the group had split up and started heading back to their houses. After dropping Willow off at home, only a few blocks from his own, Xander had come across a lone vampire walking through the street. The only reason he knew it was a vampire was the fact that he was complaining about having to go get "takeout" for his boss, Spike.
Switching into costume on instinct, Xander snagged a tree limb with a webline and used the leverage to send himself through the air, landing with gracefully in front of his target. The next couple of minutes consisted of Xander mocking the male vampire and a good old fashioned country ass whooping. Somewhere along the way, and if asked he would still say he had no idea where it came from, the thought of checking the vampire's pockets to see if he had anything of value seep in. The success from a first go started to interest him in the new business venture, but his workout earlier and the long day he just decided on calling it a night. With a final look around to see if there was anything else that required his attention, Xander fired a webline and made a beeline for home.
Over the following days, Xander continued his new business practice of helping vampires unburden themselves with weight pockets. Only downside was, that for right now, he was going solo. He had brought the idea up to Giles when he asked why nobody had ever thought to do it before. Giles surprised him when he said that a lot of other hunters had done the same thing in the past, the problem being that trying to restrain their targets long enough to search them was too risky and in nearly all the cases, people had died. Slayers had never done it before because all of the ones before Buffy had been under strict council control or more specifically the control of their watchers. To be honest, Giles was surprised that the thought had never occurred to Buffy to try. Or maybe it had and she had just never bothered acting on it. Either way, it was a fact that Giles was grateful for.
So Xander found himself going it alone. After patrol with Buffy and Willow he would then go off on his own and with vamp season always being in session in Sunnydale, there was never a shortage of patrons. Usually he would take down a dozen or so, unless it was a slow night, before heading home to count out his collection. He was never more thankful for a costume with instant storage space, than when he came across three vampires headed out somewhere.
He had been heading for one of Sunnydale's cemeteries, when for some reason he shifted his movement and began swinging back towards town. It was only a few seconds before he found them walking down the sidewalk into an alley. Leaping from the tree limb, he landed on an adjacent so he could see them. Instead of just jumping down and getting the show on the road, he decided to follow as he began to crawl on the side of the brick building.
For about fifteen minutes he had followed the trio through the twists and turns of Sunnydale's alleys. Every couple of minutes or so one of them would turn around and look, the feeling of being watched creeping out the group. Every time one of them would stop to look around, he would duck into one of the shadows and just sit. He could feel his blood pumping and his heart racing as he continued to stalk them. He knew that they were no real threat to him, at least not as a trio, but the excitement of being the hunter instead of the hunted was just so exhilarating.
The symbiote was also enjoying their little part time business. The adrenaline that was being produced by Xander's body was feeding it. To put it in a way that Xander would have understood, it was like eating a twinkie. Their extracurricular activities was causing his body to produce a lot of adrenaline on a regular basis, a fact that the symbiote was most grateful for. And with the symbiote giving Xander powers and abilities far out of the reach of normal people, he would continue to do so.
After the vampires had stopped looking around for him they had moved on and after the adrenaline rushed had passed, so had he. It wasn't long after that they had come across a somewhat ratty looking house, one that seemed to belong to them as the threesome walked in with no problem.
He had gone through a hole in the roof thanks to a little blade action from the symbiote and moved inside. After making his way downstairs from the attic, he had found himself in a vampire nest. Besides the three that he had followed, there had been another three lazing about watching a movie.
At first he had thought about turning around and leaving, safer to bring Buffy and take them out together, but something was egging him on. Being bonded with Xander the symbiote would never be in danger of not having a food source, but the little spikes of adrenaline Xander would release when he was in a tight situation always brought it enjoyment. A chance to get that feeling again was something it didn't want to pass up, so it had silently began prodding him on. It wasn't long before he decided to thrown caution to the wind as he crept silently alongside the walls and across the ceiling, before he was perched upside down outside the archway entrance to their living room.
There had been two girls and four guys. A couple, from the way they were embraced, sat on a love seat along the wall. The others sat on or around a blue couch that was perpendicular to the love seat. One of the male vampires got up and left the room, his path taking him directly underneath Xander. Surprisingly, even with supernaturally enhanced senses, the vampire never even noticed the threat from above him. One moment everything was as it should be and then the next thing he knew something wrapped around his head, lifting the struggling vampire from the floor.
Moving further away from the entrance, the struggle had only lasted for a few more moments before a muffled whoosh signaled the end of one of his prey.
He had watched the group for a few more minutes, before the boredom of just watching them became too much. Whistling to draw their attention to him and waving back to them, he was surprised to see their individual reactions. The two female vampires had a look of momentary fear, the blonde of the group actually letting out a short shriek. The look the three remaining males had given him was one that he hadn't been surprised about.
Apparently even dead guys still read comic books.
Using the group's moment of surprise as an opening, Xander leapt from the ceiling to land in the middle of the five vampires. Whatever effect seeing a real life superhero had provided had come to an end, as the trio of men rushed up from their seats to charge him.
The first vampire to reach him caught a heel kick to the side of his face, but the vampire had managed to turn his head to the side turning the attack into a glancing blow that still knocked him away. Maintaining the momentum of the attack, the largest of the three males was struck into the chest with a powerful palm thrust sending him flying into the wall 10 feet behind him caving it in. Having only a single vampire to deal with, Xander dodged the clumsy strikes, of what he would later realize was only a fledgling vampire, with ease. The speed the creature possessed was amazing as its fist blurred with each thrown blow, but Xander's symbiote enhanced reflexes allowed him to dodge the attacks with a great sense of ease. Sensing the first vampire getting back up to attack, Xander slammed his fist into the third vampire's chest breaking several ribs and knocking him back a couple of feet. Using the breathing room to his advantage, Xander dropped to his hands bracing himself as he does a spinning kick to his two opponents. The strength behind Xander's kick sends the third vampire in to La La land before he even hits the ground. The first vampire to attack is not so lucky as the opposing force behind his charge and the strength behind Xander's kick, snaps his neck even as he is sent sailing over the couch.
With two of the vampires unconscious and a third left groaning on the floor, Xander turned his attention toward the two women. Surprisingly they stayed in the room as the short fight occurred and were now huddled together on the love seat against the wall. For a moment he was shocked that they hadn't tried to help their friends, but it seemed that even vampires could realizes the presence of a more deadlier predator.
Which was strange since they always seemed to keep trying to fight back, even after figuring out who Buffy was.
The pathetic looks and their pleads of mercy almost caused Xander to stop, hurting a woman was something he never wanted to consider himself capable of. Usually he left the fights with female vampires up to Buffy, since it always made him uncomfortable, However, Buffy wasn't here this time to help out.
Reminding himself of the people that the two of them might hurt if he let them go steeled his resolve, if barely. Snapping his arms forward he wrapped powerful hands around the two girls throats before slamming their heads together and rendering them unconscious.
Rummaging through their pockets and removing any jewelry they might have had, he set the pile aside before turning his attention back on the group of vampires. Deciding on being a little merciful, he used his symbiote to form a sharp blade before decapitating the two unconscious women. The males however got to be the guinea pigs in a little experiment as he sent tentacles to wrap around the throats of the trio of males, lifting them in the air. The movement wakes the slumbering men only for the pressure around their throats to increase, before their heads pop off like bottle caps. Thankfully the only mess that's left is the piles of dust floating to the ground.
With the threat of the vampires gone and no sense of any other hidden danger, Xander proceeded to go through the house thoroughly searching the room. Apparently one of the group had been the sire, because the house showed evidence of long term habitation. It seems that one of them, the sire most likely, liked to keep little trophies. An entire closet upstairs was filled with all sorts of trinkets, one of them a Sunnydale High yearbook from 1986. Besides the trophies there was nothing of any interest in the upstairs rooms, but when he went into the basement was when he hit jackpot.
On a workbench was several plastic containers, no bigger than VCR, filled with jewelry of all kinds. In a smaller one he found dozens of wedding rings, some looking they would bring in a pretty buck. On the shelf above the workbench was a metal safety deposit box. Breaking the lock and opening it, he found several large stacks of rolled up money. Moving his bounty to the living room with the rest of his find, he ran upstairs to grab one of the blankets of the bed.
Tossing everything on to the blanket and wrapping it up, with a little webbing for extra security, Xander started to head for front door before pausing and then turning back around to head towards the kitchen.
Xander was kind of surprised as he watched the house burn from her perch on a wall. Truth be told, it didn't take very long for the old house to become completely engulfed in flames after Xander set fire to the kitchen and living room. He'd stayed close by to make sure that the impromptu nest removal didn't spread to anything else before the fire finished with its work. Once the top floors of the house finally caved in and the sounds of fire trucks started to get closer to his position, Xander decided to make his way back home and count the impressive bounty he'd made.
I'm really sorry about the long wait time. Real life problems, lack of motivation, and etc contributed to the delay. One thing I want to make clear is that even if I'm not posting, it doesn't mean I'm not writing. I've been working on several other stories at the same time as this one and by the time the next chapter is posted I should have some of those up as well.
Drop me a review and let me know what you think.