- Permanent Injury
- Alternate Universe
- Dimensional Travel
Xander was meditating when John returned. He had felt him getting closer to the village but was trying to concentrate on his meditation. He was having trouble finding his center. His skin felt odd. Almost like his muscles were too tightly packed, too dense, but he didn’t feel stiff exactly. It was just odd.
“You’re not concentrating.”
Xander breathed out and relaxed his posture. “I’m trying. But I feel weird.”
“Like there’s not enough room inside your skin for all your muscles and blood vessels?” John chuckled. “Yeah, I’ve been there. It’ll get better.”
Xander sat up. “So that’s the C24 then?”
“Yeah. Sorry about that, what with the not asking.”
“No.” Xander reached out toward the purple. He could see the vague halo of blue outlining the purple. “I know you couldn’t do that. Besides, according to Kre’ot culture decision like that, matters of life and death, are yours to make if I am unable to make them.”
John snorted and leaned forward. “I don’t know if you noticed this, but I am not Kre’ot, and neither are you. We’re both missing rather impressive Thambo’li.”
Xander reached a hand up and pulled John forward so the other man tumbled down on top of him. Xander had a firm grip on his neck, his other hand had reached around and held his hip in place making sure John only went where he wanted him to. Xander opened his mouth just as their lips met and John groaned into him. They kissed for a moment before John slid to his side. “You fight dirty.”
“All’s fair in love and in war.” Xander laughed. “And in point of fact, as far as the people in this village are concerned, or any other Kre’ot community, we are in fact Kre’ot. I am Fleh’mu’s successor. It will be another decade before she’s ready for the Voh’lar rite, but her wishes are known.”
John hummed. “And the fact that you were not born a Kre’ot doesn’t matter?”
“No.” Xander shook his head. “What matters is the path and the fact that I follow it, and I have followed her teaches and will continue to do so.” He huffed. “I’m sure my bonding of the EYe hasn’t hurt me any, but they honored my place as her successor long before that had happened.”
“Okay.” John traced the marks on his face slowly. “And what of your…friends?”
“I want to make one last trip to England. I’m sure ELis would like to as well.” Xander admitted.
“To what end?”
Xander smiled as he watched John’s colors shift, the grey staking over. “I owe them one last visit. If Willow brought you here as some sort of effort to cure me, she did ultimately do me a favor. Either because the C24 saved my life, or because she brought be you.” Xander ran a hand through John’s hair and felt him shift slightly.
“Agreed.” John kissed his fingers. “But no more magic.”
By the time the group made it back to the castle they had been gone for almost three weeks, so they weren’t really sure what kind of situation they were going to be walking in to. Xander wondered if Buffy had been called. One hand, he thought maybe they would have called, but on the other, Willow would have figured out there was nothing Buffy could have done and bringing her in at that point would have just been an added frustration. Calling Dawn might have been the smartest move they could have made because Dawn had actually been to the Kre’ot village and she had contacts with both the Frehven and the Venthar. However, the people at Headquarters knew less about what Dawn did in the field than they did about what Xander did.
“The coven is here,” Elis said as they entered the gate.
Ronar looked at her through the rearview mirror as Sam held her fingers tightly.
“They’re in the ritual room in the basement,” Elis said.
“Can you tell what magic they’re working?” Xander asked worriedly.
“A finding,” Sam said, in a tone that clearly told everyone in the car she wasn’t sure how she knew that.
“Yes, they’re doing a searching…for you, I think, Alex.” Elis finished.
“Alright, then.” Xander reached into the rucksack at his feet and pulled out the Eye. He looked at the glowing symbols at either end and started pressing them in a specific sequence and it began to hum, the tones almost too low for anyone to hear.
The energy field is released quickly and stretches far, farther than the last time Xander used the Eye in this manner.
“Let’s go,” Xander says. “They’ll only sleep for an hour.”
They entered the castle and found Giles in his library sitting at his desk, looking a little bewildered. No doubt he had felt the energy wave and wasn’t sure what had caused it. “Elis, take John to collect Willow from the basement. I’d like to have this settled before the others start to awaken.”
“Xander? What’s going on?” Giles took his glasses off and began to clean them.
Xander smiled sadly. “You remember my friends Samantha Grimm and Ronar?”
“Yes, of course. Willow said you’d left town.”
“I did, but something happened I wanted to take to Willow about.”
“I told her to let you be for a while. She didn’t do something else did she?” Giles asked, alarmed.
“Well, she was done in the ritual room casting a spell to find him when we arrived, so it’s possible she might have intruded on my sanctuary had she located me, however, she was not involved with happened, no.”
“Oh.” Giles frowned.
“We do think we figured out why her spell brought me and my brother here.” Sam offered.
“Have you figured out a way home?” Giles asked.
“We won’t be going home,” John stated as he brought an unconscious Willow into the room and set her down on the couch.
“Oh good Lord. What happened to her?”
Xander stepped closer to her and pressed three of the runes and then touched the Eye to her forehead. Willow’s eyes fluttered and then she opened them.
“Xander!” She sat up. “You’re here! But, we haven’t even done the ritual yet, and…”
“Willow.” Xander sighed. “We came to say goodbye.”
“What? No.” She reached out for him.
Xander knelt in front of her and took off his sunglasses. “I love you, Willow, but I can’t be what you want. My eyes may look like they do when we were in high school, but they will never see the same.”
“But how did you…they re-grew, or are they implants? I don’t understand.” Willow started to cry.
“They’re real. But, my vision, the way I see now, it’s meant to be, so that will never change. How it happened, that doesn’t matter. Though, I do owe you. You brought Sam and John into our lives, so thank you for that.” He got up and moved away.
“You’re just going to leave?”
“My place is elsewhere now, so yes.” He moved towards Giles and gave him a hug even though it caused John to growl. As he moved towards the door he stopped. “Oh, and Willow, your coven will awake soon. I don’t know if your ritual would have worked or not, but if you try to find me, and are successful, you won’t be welcome.
Elis waited until John, Alex, and Ronor and left before she looked at both Rupert and Willow.
“I was a member of your coven for many years, Willow. I saw much growth and many amazing things, however, I also saw how you refused to see how Alex has grown and changed and stepped away from who he used to be. He’s not the young man he was in high school. If you don’t heed his warnings, you will awaken something that you are unprepared for.
“Elis, I know you mentioned that you joined the coven and stayed because of your visions and that Xander played a part in that, but why are you going with him really? Where are you going?” Giles couldn’t imagine where Xander had been. He was completely off the grid, as far as any of their supernatural contacts could tell them.
“There are things in this world, in the mystical world, that even the Watchers and the Slayers, and those that help them, are not yet ready to know, Rupert. The connections Alex has made these many years are among them.” She smiled sadly and walked away, Sam following silently behind her.
When they had left the gate Xander reached out to Elis, her gold and green now haloed by the purple, red and white of Sam. “You didn’t have to give them even that much information.”
“Rupert means well, and I fear Willow will not heed your warning. At some point, the coven will become involved, and worse still Buffy.”
Xander grunted. “I’ll need to contact Dawn so she knows what really happened.” He sighed. “For now, let’s go home.”
He lay his head back into John’s shoulder and tried to get some rest, it would be a long journey.