Not So Normal
Authors Note: This story is a one shot based off a story challenge I stumbled upon over on twisting the hellmouth. Normally I wouldn't do a story challenge but this one caught my interest.
Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy The Vampire Slayer or the character and history of Superboy that I'm about to mangle for my own use. They belong as always to MGM and DC comics respectively and I make no profit from their use.
Xander Harris felt like his heart was breaking as he gazed upon the distorted, utterly inhuman features of the thing that had until earlier today been his brother in all but name. He'd been closer to Jesse than anyone else in the world, his friend knowing more about him and the secrets that he had been taught to hide for as long as he could remember than anyone. Not even Willow knew the things that Jesse had known about him. Now the vampire snarling at him confident that he would do nothing knew them as well.
"All right put me out of my misery," the vampire sneered a hand shooting up and wrapping around his throat. "You don't have the guts do you. Look at you, what you are you have so much power and you do nothing with it," he started to squeeze only for nothing to happen as he could feel something resisting, something invisible but at the same time tangible preventing him from squeezing resisting his supernatural strength with equal pressure. He knew what it was, he – or rather the weak pathetic looser human he'd been – had periodically seen Xander employ it before. A faint predatory grin graced his features.
"Resist all you want that telekinetic field of yours won't hold me off for long freak," a cruel smirk teasing his distorted brow as he Xander visibly flinched at the term, "oh what's wrong, Xander; afraid of the truth of the reality that you're an inhuman freak?"
Xander winced again then his features hardened as he realised that Mr Giles had been right. This taunting monster wasn't his friend, not anymore. Jesse was gone, replaced by this creature of darkness. "Well you'd know all about that wouldn't you vamp," he snarled before with his free hand punching the vampire hard in the chest.
For Jesse it felt like being hit in the chest with a freight train, the force of impact ripping him away from Xander and sending him flying right across the room to slam hard into the wall. Pain exploded along the length of his back and stars exploded before his eyes as he slumped down momentarily stunned both by the fact that Xander had actually hit him and that impacting the wall had hurt. He was a vampire he should be immune to things like this. Snarling he leapt back to his feet thoughts of how he was going to painfully kill his one-time friend for daring to strike back blossoming in his mind, but before he could take any action Xander blurred towards him and sharp pain suddenly blossomed in his chest.
Looking down he was stunned to see a wooden stake protruding from his chest. Features contorting in pain and disbelief he looked back up at Xander even as searing agony spread throughout his body as the spiritually pure nature of the wooden stake piercing his heart began destroying him. "You…" he was just able to say before the world dissolved in a blaze of pain that swept his thoughts away until he knew no more.
Xander felt a tear come to his eye as before his eyes Jesse seemed to both shatter and explode, before crumpling into a sad little pile of dust on the floor of the Bronze. "Goodbye Jesse," he whispered softly wiping the tear away. A moment before an inhumanly strong pair of hands grabbed his right shoulder and spun him to face a vampire, snarling furiously at the dusting of the order's newest fledgling. Looking at it he could only see another of the things that had taken his best friend away forever and with an angry snarl of his own he lashed out with the full strength of his muscles for the first time in his life. Striking the vampire even harder than he had struck the one that had once been Jesse, the impact of his fist on the vampire causing an audible crack as one or more of the beasts ribs shattered even as the force of the blow picked the vampire up and sent it flying across the room, the undead creature crying out in a combination of pain and surprise as it suddenly found itself air born. The vampire flew past Willow who he could tell was gaping at him in shock.
"Xander," Willow exclaimed stunned beyond words by what she had just seen Xander do, it was obvious from the way he'd hit the vampire that Xander was strong, superhumanly strong, but why had he never told her?
"Not now Willow," Xander replied knowing he was going to face one hell of an interrogation from her about his strength. And truth be told he didn't really want to hide it from her anymore, didn't want to hide the truth – what little of it he knew – from her anymore. He knew he should have told her years ago but he'd been scared to. Hell he wouldn't have told Jesse if his abilities hadn't saved both their lives when they'd gotten lost in the woods on that summer camp when they were eight. "I'll tell you later okay?"
Willow reluctantly nodded before a crash of breaking glass caught their attention. Both of them spun in the direction of the sound, to see the big vampire that had been leading this group in their attempt to free The Master stumbling away from Buffy, monstrous features contorted in pain and defeat a wooden stake protruding from his back. After a moment he fell off the stage shattering and exploding into a plume of dust as he did so. The remaining three vampires – including the one that Xander had knocked flying – froze and then looked at Buffy before looking at each other. Before in a flutter of cloth racing away, with Luke dusted they knew there was no longer any chance of freeing the Master and their was no point in staying here and possibly getting themselves dusted as well.
"Is it over," Willow asked approaching the stage and gazing at the silent club house.
"We averted the apocalypse," Buffy answered getting down from the stage grinning as she imagined how the Master would be screaming in fury and despair at his bid for freedom having been resoundingly defeated.
"Indeed the Master will still be trapped though he is sure to try and escape again we will have to be watchful for any more attempts," Giles added adjusting his glasses before giving Xander an assessing look as he'd seen how Xander had first knocked the vampire that had been his friend against the wall with what appeared to be somekind of enhanced strength before moving over in what had to be super speed and staking him.
"Why are you looking at Xander like that Giles," Buffy asked frowning at her new Watcher wondering why he was giving one of her new friends such an assessing look.
"It appears Buffy that you are not the only one here gifted with special abilities," Giles answered his Slayer. "It appears that young Xander here has some powers of his own."
"What are you talking about," Buffy demanded before her eyes widened as Giles quickly explained what he had seen Xander do before giving Xander a look of her own as she tried to reconcile the person she thought she was just starting to get to know with such abilities. "Giles is he somehow supernatural," she asked hoping that Xander wasn't some evil supernatural thing that she would have to slay.
"I don't believe so, Buffy," Giles answered prompting Buffy's shoulders to drop in relief that she wouldn't have to kill Xander.
"Okay if you're not a demon of somekind then what are you, Xander?" Buffy asked.
"Metahuman?" Willow suggested looking at her old friend. It was the most likely explanation for the powers he'd displayed here tonight and would certainly explain why he'd never said anything to her about his abilities. Despite the fact that super powers were an accepted part of society – due to the influence of individuals like Superman and The Flash – there was still a certain stigma attached to being a metahuman which would be the last thing anyone would want to deal with let alone a teenage boy.
"I suppose you could call me that," Xander admitted with a small somewhat mysterious smile. "But can we not talk about this here? The cops are bound to show up soon and I for one don't want to have to explain all this to Sunnydale's finest."
"Yes that would be inconvenient," Giles agreed. "And Buffy you should get back home before your mother realises you slipped out. We'll discuss this in the library tomorrow morning before you all go to class so be sure to get into school early."
"Alright I'll talk to you all in the morning," Xander replied grateful that they were putting off the discussion until tomorrow at least. It would give him some time to wrap his head around what had happened here tonight and work out exactly how much to tell everyone, and how he was going to explain it to his parents assuming they hadn't vanished into the bottle in the way they were increasingly doing these days. Without waiting for a response he turned away and ran out the exit allowing himself to slip into super speed as he did so.
"Whoa," Willow breathed as Xander disappeared in a blur of motion and a gust of displaced air.
"You said it," Buffy agreed gaping momentarily at the display of power before shaking herself. "We should go ourselves."
"Indeed if you'll come with me Willow I'll give you a lift home."
The darkened, near disserted streets of Sunnydale flashed past as a blur of colours and shapes as Xander raced home. In mere moments he came up to his back door and stopped before opening it and stepping through into the kitchen at a more normal walking pace. He wasn't really surprised to find that the house was dark and silent. He hadn't spotted the car on the drive so he didn't doubt his folks were over Uncle Rory's getting rat arsed, if he was lucky he wouldn't see them again until later tomorrow when they'd recovered from the hangovers brought on by Rory Harris' love of peach schnapps. He was in no mood to deal with drunken parents tonight, not after what had happened with Jesse. If he'd had to he was sure he would end up saying or doing something stupid.
Not bothering to turn the light on he locked the door and in another burst of superhuman speed disappeared up to his bedroom. It was only here that he flicked the light on before flopping down boneless on the bed as he couldn't help but start to think again about Jesse and what had happened to him. A complex mix of emotions filled him anger and hatred for the vampires that had taken his bestest friend away forever, guilt for having been the one to kill the monster that Jesse had become – even though he knew Jesse wouldn't have wanted to live like that as a monster feasting on the blood of others to survive – and more than anything else overpowering sadness that he was gone.
A sob broke through and in moments he was crying full force, grieving for the friend that he'd lost in such a brutal inhuman fashion. Instinctively curling up into a foetal position, tucking his knees into his chest and wrapping his arms around them as he cried himself to sleep.
Xander felt drained as he walked to school, still emotionally spent from the events of last night. Though not for the first time he was glad that his parents weren't home when he got up this morning and washed thoroughly to erase the signs that he'd cried himself to sleep the night before. He didn't want to deal with the questions they would have certainly asked him, didn't want to go over the circumstances of Jesse's death again especially as they probably wouldn't have believed him when he said about vampires being involved as vamps were supposed to be creatures of mythology nothing more. Hell he certainly hadn't believed vampires were real until a few days ago when he'd first met Buffy.
Thinking of Buffy he winced slightly knowing there was no way of getting out of having to tell her, Giles and Willow the truth about what he was. He didn't regret using his abilities at the Bronze last night; it had been instinctive almost to use them to defend himself. If he encountered anymore vampires he certainly wouldn't hesitate to use his abilities on them. Still it wasn't going to be easy to talk about, after all how did you tell someone that you were not as human as you looked?
As he arrived at school and began weaving his way through the crowd of fellow students milling about the grounds before lessons began he considered confirming that he was a metahuman as Willow had theorised last night. It would be a convenient excuse to cover his existing abilities and any he might still be yet to develop due to his nature but at the same time it didn't feel right. After all Buffy was trusting him and Willow with the fact that she was the Slayer, the bogeyman or bogeywoman so to speak of the vampiring world, so why shouldn't he trust them with his own secrets. What did he really stand to loose if he didn't tell them and they found out later? A lot truth be told especially Willow's friendship and if he lost her he had no idea what he'd do.
Xander jumped emitting a small yip of surprise as Willow called abruptly from beside him before spinning around and mock glaring at her for startling him like that. "Damn it, Willow what are you trying to do give me a heart attack," he asked.
"Sorry," Willow said apologetically, "I called you several times and you didn't answer me."
"Sorry I didn't hear you," Xander replied a familiar sheepish grin appearing on his face, prompting a laugh from Willow as it confirmed that whatever the hell else he was Xander was still the Xander she'd known since they were little kids. "I had a lot on my mind."
"I know," Willow answered looking down. "I still can't believe all this has happened. Jesse gone, Buffy is somekind of mystically empowered warrior and you have superpowers. What are they by the way? How long have you had them? Why did you never tell me?"
"Chill Willow," Xander replied smirking at the normal hyper speed questions Willow was firing at him. "Save your questions for later will ya? Let's go find Buffy and Giles. They need to hear this as well and its going to be hard enough as it is. I would prefer to only go through it once."
"Giles is over by the covered walkway but I have no idea where Buffy is."
Frowning Xander looked around and despite the milling throng of students soon spotted the vampire slayer. Buffy was standing by a bush out of sight of Cordelia and her leading Cordette follower Harmony who appeared to be talking though about what he had no idea. "There she is," he said pointing in Buffy's direction and heading over with Willow in tow.
"...must have been rival bike gangs or something though it was really weird," he heard Cordelia saying as they came within earshot.
"I should have been there," Harmony answered.
"Trust me you wouldn't have wanted to be," Cordelia replied before the two girls walked out of earshot, talking animatedly about who knew what.
"I take it Cordelia was telling her minion about last night," Xander said to Buffy as he and Willow arrived.
"Yeah," Buffy replied looking at Xander and eyeing him carefully stunned despite herself that there was nothing about him, no giveaway sign that he was anything other than a normal human being. She couldn't wait to hear his explanation for what he could do, it was sure to be interesting. "It was weird," she said as she walked into the shaded covered corridor where Giles was waiting. "I know Cordelia saw the vampires but she's convinced that rival biker gangs on PCP were responsible for everything that happened last night."
"Yes well most people rationalise what they can and ignore the things they cannot understand," Giles explained hearing what they were talking about. "Most of the world is ignorant of the supernatural and to be honest its better that it stays that way. People have enough worries in their lives without having to concern themselves with the threat of vampires, demons and other forces of darkness."
"It still seems strange. But at least the Master has been stopped," Buffy replied.
"For now but as I said last night he is bound to try and escape again at some point," Giles replied, "and you should be prepared for that and any other similar threat. This remains a Hellmouth and if there is one thing we know about Hellmouth's is that they attract vampires, demons and other dark creatures like nothing else does."
"Great," Buffy said with a resigned sigh as it appeared that her vampire-killing days were far from over. Is a normal life too much to ask, she thought not for the first time since she'd first become a slayer last year.
"It's not so bad Buffy you're going to have us there to help you," Willow pointed out seeing the resigned look that appeared on the blonde's face. "Just like we did last night. Right Xander?"
"Right we're not going to walk away from this," Xander readily agreed as they entered the school itself. "Not after everything that's happened over the last few days."
Despite herself Buffy couldn't help but smile. "Thanks," she said. "You have no idea what that means to me. Though while we're on the subject of last night..." she trailed off looking at Xander pointedly even as Giles led them into the library which was at this time in the morning empty of students.
"Indeed I believe you owe us some explanation," Giles added as he led them through the library into the backroom where they could talk privately. "What are you Xander?"
Xander grimaced. "Fine I'll tell you," he said with a resigned sigh. "But before I do I want you all to promise me that you're not going to tell anyone else about this. If my folks find out I'm telling you they'd freak out big-time I hate to think what would happen if anyone else were to learn about this."
"I won't tell anyone Xander," Willow agreed readily seeing how important it was to her old friend.
"Same here, Xander," Buffy agreed with Giles nodding his own agreement to keep silent about what the young man was going to tell them. He wouldn't tell a soul about this, not even his superiors in the Watchers Council.
"Okay," Xander replied, "okay where to start."
"The beginning would be a good place," Giles said.
"I guess it would," Xander admitted with a sheepish grin before turning serious. "Okay what do you all know about Lex Luthor?"
"He's the head of a major multi-national empire and is an acknowledged enemy of Superman. He's rumoured to have a lot of underworld dealings but no one has ever been able to pin charges on him long enough to take him down," Willow replied immediately. "Not even the Feds have been able to make charges stick, the guy is too slippery. Though what does Lex Luthor have to do with you Xander?"
"Lex is indeed an enemy of Superman," Xander replied, "years ago he somehow – I have no idea how – managed to get his hands on some of Superman's DNA planning to make a clone of him that he could use for his own purposes."
"I never knew that," Buffy exclaimed then her eyes widened as a thought suddenly occurred to her. "Wait are you that clone, Xander? Are you trying to tell us that you're a Kryptonian?"
"Not quite, Buffy. From what I'm told Lex was never able to make a long term viable straight clone of Superman. They either mutated into monsters like that Bizzaro guy that shows up periodically to cause mayhem or died within a few hours of being born so to speak."
"How do you know all this," Giles asked.
Xander paused for a moment before answering. "Because my parents used to work for Lex Luthor or rather my mom did. She was a geneticist working in one of his front companies. The company that was trying to make the clones for him," he answered at last. "After a while though she began to have doubts that only grew as Lex's people started to try a new track of research. Research not to create a straight clone of Superman but a being that was a hybrid of Human and Kryptonian. A being that Lex could then take and raise as a son slash weapon to be used against Superman and anyone else he perceived as a threat to his goals."
"My god," Giles breathed horrified by the thought of someone as ruthless as Lex Luthor, a man the Watchers Council kept a very close eye on as he had occasionally been known to dabble with supernatural minions having such a weapon at his disposal.
"Shouldn't crossing species as distinctly different as Humans and Kryptonians be impossible? Sure I know we look the same but shouldn't our DNA be completely different," Willow asked.
"It's not impossible to mix species but it is very difficult," Xander replied, "as the researchers found out. It took them nearly three years of solid work before they were finally able to create a viable infant. Me."
"So you're half alien," Willow asked gaping at her best friend in shock. Xander nodded. "Oh wow so what kind of powers do you have? Are they the same as Superman?"
"As fascinating as it would be to know those answers I'm more worried by the fact that they were able to create you in the first place – no offence Xander," Giles said. "After all if Lex created you then he could potentially create more beings like you and I shudder to think what that man would do with such power in his hands."
"None taken. But you need not worry Giles I'm the only one of my kind as far as I know. You see shortly after I was born my mom had enough of Lex's actions. With the aide of a sympathetic security guard – my father – she resolved to take me away to not let Luthor use me for his own ends. They erased all the data in the research facilities computers and then to destroy all the hard copy backups stored in a on site vault they destroyed the facility. I don't know how they did it but the whole place was obliterated literally razed to the ground though most of the staff escaped. As far as Lex is concerned I was killed in the explosion that destroyed the facility.
"Afterwards my parents came out here to Sunnydale and got married. They faked medical records to indicate that my mom had been pregnant before they're arrival along with a birth certificate for me," Xander explained. "For much of my life I believed that they were my parents. It wasn't until I was eight years old that I really began to realise that I wasn't as normal as I thought I was, though they only told me the full truth last year when more of my abilities started to manifest themselves."
"Wow. So to echo Willow what can you do exactly Xander?" Buffy asked grinning slightly as she imagined the looks on the faces of the vamps when they encountered someone armed with Kryptonian powers. Having been a Superman fan for as long as she could remember she imagined it would be very amusing.
"Right now well as you saw I have both super speed and super strength," Xander replied grinning back, "I've always had a degree of the latter and I've always been nearly invulnerable to illness and injury. My hearing is slightly better than a normal person's though I don't have super hearing though I hope I never get that as I don't think I would be able to cope with hearing everything all the time."
"Can you fly?" Willow asked eyes shining in wonder.
"No at least not yet. From what my mom tells me there have been some instances where they've come in my room at night to find me floating a few inches above the bed so I guess I will be able to at some point. I'm still growing after all. The only other ability I have now is a kind of telekinesis. I can sort of generate a field around me or if I really concentrate around an object that will let me manipulate that object in whatever way I can visualise in my head. I guess you could call it a kind of tactile telekinesis as opposed to the normal definition of telekinesis." Xander paused for a moment, smiled then shook his head in wonder as he would have thought talking about this would make him uncomfortable to find that it wasn't was a very pleasant surprise. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that Buffy, Willow and Giles were listening calmly and seeming with understanding and weren't shouting and bawling at him or calling him a monster and a freak.
"You know I never thought I would talk about this," he admitted looking back up. "I've always been taught to keep quite, as if Lex learned I was alive he'd certainly come to take me back."
"He could try," Buffy replied moving over to him and putting a hand on his arm noting for the first time that Xander was warm certainly warmer than most guys were. "I wouldn't let him take you Xander."
"You'd fight him over me," Xander asked in surprise.
"Of course I would. Xander I've only known you and Willow a few days but your already a very good friend and your not intimidated by the wiggyness of my life. You have no idea how much I appreciate that. If dear Mister Luthor or one of his henchmen ever came after you well let's just say I would not be kind to them."
"Nor would I," Willow added. "Don't get me wrong Xander I am somewhat annoyed that you've never told me about this but I can understand why you didn't. Half-Kryptonian or not your still my best friend."
"Thanks Willow," Xander replied with a relieved smile before his eyes hit upon the clock on the wall of the backroom that also served as Giles more private office. "We should get moving its nearly nine and we all have different classes in different parts of the school first period."
"Then by all means the three of you better move," Giles said firmly. "We can talk a bit more about this later. Oh and Buffy before you leave this evening we need to meet and discuss your patrol schedule."
"Sure thing Giles," Buffy acknowledged before nodding at the door and her two new friends. "Shall we?" Before waiting for a response she slipped past Xander and out of the door. Willow followed a few paces behind, stopping for a moment to put a hand on her friends shoulder before leaving herself. Xander took a deep breath to steady himself for the day ahead before he followed the other two teenagers out of the room leaving Giles alone.
Giles watched Xander leave before settling down into his desk chair and leaning back thoughtfully. To say he was startled by what Xander had just revealed to them would be an understatement, though he could see the benefits that could be on offer having someone with at least some Kryptonian powers on their side could have. So long as Buffy didn't use him as a crutch or an excuse to slink off some of her duties as the Slayer then Xander could be potentially one of the best new allies for the side of light in years.
Still the revelations of Xander's origins were deeply concerning. While he would keep his promise and not reveal Xander's secrets to anyone else he would send an advisory to Quentin Travers that he'd received some intelligence that Lex Luthor was interested in creating Human-Kryptonian hybrids to use as weapons. The head of the Watchers Council would certainly immediately order an increase in surveillance on the crooked multi-billionaires activities just in case. Which could only be a good thing as the sooner Lex Luthor was brought down for good the better it would be.