Once, there was a boy. An ordinary boy living an unfortunately common life as the child of alcoholics who were anything but anonymous. A boy, who one day met the new girl at school and promptly discovered that his boring little California town boasted a doorway to Hell.
And that’s when the troubles started.
One spring morning, Xander (that was his name) decided to be the hero for once, donned a speedo and joined the boys’ swim team. Whether the priest of Neptune turned swimming coach was dosing the team with triton demon pieces to win matches or to repopulate Atlantis, the world may never know, but Xander was pretty damn sure that chapter in his life had closed with said coach’s death. When a day had passed and he had neither grown finger webbing nor felt the need for ten hour sea salt baths, he let himself concentrate on the new demony flavor of the week and forgot all about his brush with gills.
This is, of course, the point when his changing internal systems decided they were finished biding their time. I.e. he grew gills. Xander remembered feeling them slice open on his neck and attempt to jump-start his rewired insides. Water probably would have helped. He seemed to recall a lot of screaming.
Mostly, though, he just flopped around on the library floor like a fish until he passed out.*
Xander woke shortly thereafter chained to a bathtub. Little did he know that this would be the start of a tradition. He was just trying not to freak out. He surfaced from cold water to see Giles out of his tweed jacket. Ergo, Xander was in his house, chained to his bathtub. Buffy and Willow peeked around the librarian. So whatever the hell had happened, there had been successful slayage with no best buds dead, always a plus. By the sink Oz waved his hand in a tiny jerk that made the palm turn upward questioningly.
Translation from laconic: “Hi. I found you sort of suffocating. What’s up with that? Anyway, we brought you here. You OK, man?”
OK? Xander ducked his head back the surface when he body cried out for…water. He banged his head on what looked suspiciously like the air filtration system for the biology classroom’s fish tanks. And on that note, he was officially freaking.
*** *** ***EDIT: I had to tweak a few things when I realized Go Fish is the last episode in season two before the two-part Alcatha finale. Seriously, who decided to put the creature of the week there, of all places? Oh, right. Joss, explain your reasoning behind that, please. Originally, when I thought the swim team incident was early season 2 or even late season 1, the hellish energy unleashed by the Judge's demise is what jump-starts Xander's transformation. Now it all happens directly after Go Fish ends. Got it? Great.
DISCLAIMER: I own neither Buffy nor Hellboy. This is written purely for writing practice and fun and not for the making of money. Also, first Buffy and first crossover fic, so feel free to pat me on the head and coo or chase me with sharp, pointy objects, depending on your mood.