A lost knight, a found slayer
A very special thanks to JonnyNapalm for his incredible work betaing this story.
I do not own any of the fandoms used herein, this is a work of fanfiction and can not be used for commercial gain.
please feel free to comment or send me an email on your thoughts on this story.
A side note on cannon, all seasons of BtVS will be considered cannon but after that the comics are not followed as closely.
if some of the characters act out of character to how they are known in their respective source materials, please give it time all will be explained.
Thank you for reading.
A woman walks along the grime covered London street. She was in one of the most rundown sections of the ancient city, with purpose. She stops at a doorway, it has little to distinguish itself from the doorways around it, peeling paint, graffiti, and a scuffed nature implying years of heavy use. She knocks firmly, eliciting a drunken murmur from the other side.
A sharp clack of a deadbolt sliding to the side rattles against the heavy door. She knocks again.
This brings greater response causing the occupant the haul the door open.
"What," asks the half dressed man angrily.
“Ethan Rayne?" Asks the woman.
"Who's asking?" His voice is heavy with sleep and the hangover that the woman has awakened him to.
"I have a proposition for a chaos mage looking to have some fun," she says with a smile.
Xander wakes in a strange place. His eyes have trouble adjusting to the darkness around him. He makes to get up but quickly finds himself lying back down, a splitting headache making it hard to think let alone move. He tries to place how he got here, from what he can tell he is on the floor of an abandoned building, The last thing he remembers is going out for Halloween. No, wait; he was in the castle training with Faith. No he was trick or treating with Willow and Jesse, or was it getting dressed for the ball?
It was all confused, jumbled; he had two distinct versions of what happened. Then he finally remembered.
It had seemed too good a deal for the fine leather jacket the store owner had offered him. Ethan Rayne had said that he should have a good night on him. Xander feels his blood boil when he finally realizes what happened. Somehow, the world had been changed, Ethan had come early to Sunnydale. Xander reaches up to pull off the eye-patch that had drifted up to cover his brow rather then an eye. The servant of chaos had no idea what he'd just brought down on his head.
Xander kicks in the door to the costume shop. It was much as he remembered it but unlike the first time Ethan had no reason to rabbit now. Well at least no reason he knew of yet.
Xander finds him in the back of the store cleaning up the remnants of the spell from that night.
"Hello Ethan," says Xander in a dead voice.
"Why hello," replies Ethan in a slightly nervous voice.
"I have one question for you before we begin," says Xander "Why now? Last time you didn't come to SunnyHell till your friend Ripper was here to be messed with, what altered the timeline?"
"What, look if you weren't happy with the costume all sales are final," says Ethan backing away. There’s panic in his voice now… Xander can almost see it. How does he know about Ripper? The anxious thought running through the Mage’s head. What did that costume do?
He doesn’t see the table standing between him and the door. The obstacle sends him sprawling before he can make a run for it.
"Why did you come here?" Xander almost growls.
"A woman, she came to me told me that the Hellmouth was ripe for some chaos, seemed it would be fun at the time," says Ethan in fright.
"And why did you sell me this jacket?" Asks Xander, his voice never raising from a low dead pitch.
"She said that it would make the night one to remember if I gave that jacket to the right kid."
Xander steps back, he hadn’t really had a plan to do anything to Ethan, running high, or low on the new emotions and memories in his head. Now that he had answered his questions there doesn’t seem to be a point in holding him.
Xander turns and leaves, his attention no longer on the chaos mage, Ethan doesn't run, he is too surprised at the boys reaction. The impression of immanent violence was clear…then gone.
Xander makes his way out to the street and collapses into a sitting position on the curb.
He takes a moment to look down at the worn leather of the jacket he is wearing. He has no idea how it is here now. It was the same jacket that had become like a second skin after the battle against Twilight. A million thoughts are running rampant through his mind. Somehow he had dressed as himself, instead of a random soldier he had just spent the night possessed by his own ghost of sorts. He can feel the memories settling into his mind, memories of years of battles, of losses.
Xander stands outside the shop looking out at Sunnydale, intact and crater free. Thinking on all the new memories…after a while he gets up and starts to walk, the sun is already starting to set but it makes little difference to him. He finds a paper left on a bench, the date puts him over a year before Buffy first comes into town, a year before the battles start once more.
Xander walks through one of the larger cemeteries. He couldn't have been advertising himself as an easier kill if he'd taken an add out in the Penny Saver, but no vamps make an appearance.
He is starting to think perhaps the whole thing was just a psychotic break; that he'd imagined it all, when he finds himself standing outside Willy’s Alibi Room. It was the same dingy exterior he remembered from the dozens of times he had come here for information. He finds himself walking in.
The air is thick and smoky, he can smell the acrid stench of the preferred beverages on Willy’s patrons, and he can see demons in every color of the rainbow.
Xander walks up to the bar. Taking a seat he just takes in the dank space for a moment.
"What’d you want kid?" asks Willy across the bar after a moment. A bit disconcerted at his newest patrons youth.
"Fire-whiskey, double," he replies laying a few bills on the bar. Willie takes to money and pours the drink.
Xander downs it in a single gulp coughing as the harsh liquid burns his throat. He slams down the now empty glass and leans back. He feels a swelling in his chest, a great welling of emotion needing to escape his body. His shoulders shake, and the stained knight laughs. Deep and long, with tears streaming from his eyes while it echoes through the Demon bar.
The assembled demons both good evil and somewhere in the middle decide to ignore the crazy human, it was widely accepted that it's bad luck to kill the insane.
Willow was in a panic. Neither she nor Jesse has seen Xander since last night. He had disappeared in the chaos of the gas leak. They had assumed that he would be there for school today, but he was nowhere to be seen.
Jesse was doing the best to calm his friend, saying that Xander had in all likelihood just stayed home to recover from the previous night. But Willow would have none of it; as soon as the final bell rang she was dragging him to Xander’s. It was a fairly short walk to their friend’s house. When they arrive they are unsurprised to find the elder Harris’ absent, they were rarely around, but they were surprised to find Xander also missing. Willow is now really starting to panic.
"We should be out looking for him, or calling the police, or the National Guard. How much does it cost to put a face on a milk carton? No that would take too long-" Jesse was at this point tuning his friend out, as she had been spewing a continuous drabble of words since they had gotten at Xanders.
"Willow, all we can do is wait here, Xan will have to come here eventually," he says finally. Willow stops talking and sits on the porch next to Jesse.
"I'm scared Jesse. Xander never just disappears like this," she says after a moment, her eyes starting to water.
"Well you don't have to be anymore, look,” says Jesse gesturing with a grin. He has spotted Xander in the distance walking toward them. He was almost unrecognizable at first, the clothes he was wearing were part of it, but more it was in his walk, he walked with a confidence Jesse had never seen in his friend. He doesn't say anything at first when his friend arrives, Willow greets him by throwing herself into his arms with a choked sob of relief.
"So decided to play hooky without us?" Asks Jesse distantly. He doesn't know why but he has a bad feeling about what Xander is about to say.
"Yeah, had things to do," replies Xander with a crooked grin, it was the first time Jesse had recognized his friend since he had arrived.
"We were so worried about you, don't ever do something like that again" says willow.
"Sorry, kind of lost track of time."
"What were you doing," asks Jesse.
"Signing the paperwork to get out of school for a while" says Xander.
"Xander why would you do that, school is important-"
"I need to leave for a little while," says Xander cutting off Willow, startling his friends. Xander never cuts off Willow.
"Where are you going?" Asks Jesse.
"I have to stretch my legs for a bit, get out of Sunnydale" says Xander turning to Jesse, he has an odd look in his eye. If Jesse didn't know any better he would have called it relief.
"So you're just taking off, what about your parents" asks Willow. At Xander’s expression she tries another tactic.
"What about us, we're the three musketeers, we can't be that with only the two of us…" she says her voice getting quieter as she speaks.
"I won't be gone forever," says Xander in a placating voice.
"When do you leave?" Asks Jesse getting to his feet.
"Now, I was going to come find you after I got some things," says Xander.
"We'll help you pack."
It doesn't take long to gather the few possessions that Xander wants. Most of his wardrobe is left for the moths; he can hardly believe he ever wore a few of those shirts. He takes a few changes of clothes and when Willow and Jesse aren’t looking his grandfathers pearl handled 1911. He had carried it in the war. Xander had never gotten on well with his parents but he had been very close to his grandfather before he died. He had left him the gun as a remembrance. Last time round his uncle had pawned it.
He made his goodbyes, and headed for the bus station. He dwells on his last word to Jesse as he left his house.
"Jesse, you know more goes on around here then the papers report. Be careful, keep Willow safe. And don't walk the streets after dark."
Xander gives one last look at Sunnydale before boarding the bus to Boston, he wouldn't be back for a while. He takes a window seat and watches the world rush by he spots the Welcome to Sunnydale sign for a moment before it too is left behind, he was leaving the well worn track now. Gods help him; it's the right thing to do.
Xander had never been to Boston before. He had heard faith talking about her hometown but when the Scoobies had gone global he had gone to Africa. After that it was Scotland and England for the most part. He hadn't been back to his home country for close to three years by his account, though in all reality in this timeline he had never left. Xander was finding thinking of his history exhausting of late.
The bus station was in a rundown part of the city, one that he doubted he would have wanted to walk alone given the option. Even with his 1911 though he had little desire to start a fight, he had the memories of a man capable of holding his own, but he was sorely lacking the body. It would be a frustrating few months getting back into any kind of fighting fit, but a necessity none the less.
Xander makes his way to the first bar he can find, if he's to find Faith he would be needing to get information first, nothing loosened lips faster that having a few drinks with someone first. It was when Xander first enters the bar that the flaw in his plan becomes readily apparent, though he might have an image of himself as a man in his late twenties he now possesses a body barely into it's teens. The bartender all but laughs him out of the place when he sits at the counter and orders a drink.
Xander decides that one he will need a good id to get around his current appearance, and two he should seek out a demon bar; say what you will about them they don't discriminate. Luckily for Xander both of his need can be answered in the same place.
It doesn't take long to find the demon bar; it was almost always as simple as finding the worst part of town then following your nose. Demons for all their supposed olfactory superiority didn't seem to care much for bathing on whole. The place is called Nights, the name seems to ring a bell in Xanders mind but he shakes it off and heads in. It’s laid out like most bars, a few tables scattered around and a high counter. Xander is amazed by the array of demons laid out before him, any other place half of them would have already tried to eat or at the very least eviscerate him, but demon bars were for the most part accepted as neutral ground. Granted it was really just a loose guideline, if any of the patrons got it into their head the wanted a fight there was little to stop it.
"Hey, I'd like a drink and some information," he says sliding a wad of cash across the bar. He had already run into a vampire looking for a snack, say what you will about guns: a .45 to the brainpan will even put a vamp down for a while.
Xander is surprised when the bartender turns around. For a moment he mistakes the mountain in front of him for Olaf. Xander however quickly realizes his mistake, the being in front of him is too kind around they eyes. This was the first time Xander had met a troll outside of Anya’s ex.
"What you after?"
"Papers; a full job. I can pay top dollar, but only for quality work. I need something that will pass heavy scrutiny, not something a teenager with a laminating machine cobbled together."
The troll considers Xanders words for a moment
"An why should I help you?"
"Because I have a trustworthy face?" It is clear from the Trolls raised eyebrow that wasn't the answer he was after. "Because I haven’t given you a reason not too, and because I'm going to pay you," says Xander adding to the cash on the bar top.
The troll pauses for a moment before reaching under the bar and withdrawing a small pad of paper.
"This'll be yer man," he says scribbling a name and address, "but expect to pay top dollar." Xander pauses noticing a beautifully done tattoo of a Celtic trinity knot on the trolls arm.
"Also, you know anyone good with a tattoo gun? I need to have a little work done, the kind of work which involves a little more then ink" says Xander pointing to the trolls' tattoo. The troll pauses for a moment before writing another name.
"The McManus brothers, can be annoying as all hell bu' they do beautiful work, and they’re old Irish, know how to put power into their work. Just tell them Barny sent you and they'll take care of you fine," he says with a too wide grin.
"Thanks Barny; you got anything Irish back there?"
"This is Boston."
"Pour me a double," says Xander putting another lump of cash on the bar. The troll grins at the money, "Keep the change," says Xander.
Xander walks out into the night. His lungs happy to breath the relatively clean air after being inside the bar for the past hour. That first drink had turned into several more, and before he knew it he was singing Irish battle hymns with a Sheang and a Crav'maka. They were ugly as all hell but their voices could make angels weep.
Xander straightens his jacket and tries to clear his head. It still throws him how similar the well-worn leather garment was to the one he had worn ever since Africa. An old soldier had given him it on his deathbed. The two of them had survived half dozen near misses only for John County to die of malaria. The old man had been a soldier, turned mercenary, turned freedom fighter. He was a legend in Africa, the American with his pearl handled revolver. Xander had brought that family heirloom back to the man's son. It had been passed through the family much like that for generations.
Xander pulls his mind back to the present. This wasn't the place to be lost in thought. Xander looks at the piece of paper the bartender had given him. Time to get back to business.
The first thing was to get the forger working on his new identity. The address wasn’t far from his current location. But considering the time Xander doubted they would appreciate him waking them in the middle of the night. He makes his way to a diner to wait for the sun to rise.
Xander spends the next few hours drinking truly dreadful coffee, flirting with the waitress.
When the sun finally rises and the city wakes Xander finds himself at the door of the forger. He gingerly touches the bruise forming around his right eye. The only VISIBLE sign of the nest he’d found on the way here. Once the dust had settled he had found what he hoped was enough cash to take care of his new identity.
Xander knocks on the heavy barrier and waits for an answer. He isn't kept waiting for long, the door opens to reveal a large man with a shaved head.
"What you want," asks the man through a heavy Russian accent.
"Barny sent me, I want papers" says Xander in response.
"You got cash?" asks the man. Xander produces a wad from his pocket.
"Come" says the man opening the door. Xander enters the house. Twenty minutes later Xander leaves again, the IDs should be ready within the day. Assuming they weren't swindling him.
Xander looks out at the fair day rising over the city. Xander looks down at the paper once more. He had another stop. The tattoos were a precautionary measure that he had been introduced to by a Sorcerer in Africa. It was an art all it's own creating tattoos to protect, heal, even to strengthen a fighter. That Sorcerer had inked Xander, and he felt naked without them.
The brothers were definitely an acquired taste. The two would be talking affably one minute, arguing the next, throwing punches shortly after but Xander found himself unable to dislike the twins. It only took moments to explain what he wanted done and to diagram the tattoos that would cover much of his chest and shoulders. The new designs were almost identical to the old, but he’d decided to add a few aesthetic changes.
A tattoo is painful under the best of circumstances, but enchanted ink. When the magic first interacts with your flesh it feels like fire, pure fire, liquid and molten under your skin. Xander bites deep into the leather of his spare belt focusing on the pain and letting it carry him into unconsciousness. After what feels like and eternity of waking agony, he finally he passes out.
Xander finds himself in a deep wood. He knows this place familiar and alien, though it isn't real. He is in the spirit plane now, and he is not alone. Xander turns to see a massive dire wolf staring at him, it's yellow eyes glowing in the unreal light.
"Hello old friend, did ya miss me?" he asks with a crooked grin.
Later Xander lays across the McManus brothers couch recovering from what has just happened.
"You ever heard the story of the old warriors," asks Conner passing Xander a bottle of whiskey.
"No," replies Xander taking a drink savoring the burn of the barley malt.
"In the old days of Ireland, before the British ever laid their greedy hands on our emerald isle; old warriors fought to keep the borders. They were ancient and undying. They turned back all that was dark and twisted. They are the reason Ireland is devoid of vampire, werewolf, and all other things of darkness. Some say they were the last remains of the Fey, others say that they were warriors escaping an unending war. But for a thousand years they protected Ireland, until they disappeared."
"Anyone know where they went?" asks Xander passing back the bottle. Conner takes a long drink before responding.
"There are stories, everything from they returned to their war, to they finally died, but I think they still hold the borders, Ireland is still free of all demons, we have never had a single drop of blood spilled by a vampire."
"Why you living here then?" Asks Xander taking back the bottle.
"’Cause this is where the work is," says Conner in response.
"How you feeling man," asks Murphy coming back into the room.
"Feel like I've been flayed alive, but I'll live" says Xander taking back the bottle.
"I've never seen a design quite like this, what’s it do?" Asks Murph looking over the fresh dark lines which now run across Xander’s upper body.
"Lots of little things mostly. Makes it harder to scry me, I'll heal faster, even give me a little boost in strength." Says Xander, glossing over the reality of the tattoos purpose handing Murphy the bottle. Xander grabs his shirt from the chair beside him and painfully shrugs it on.
"You probably shouldn't be moving around just yet," says Conner.
"Yeah, you got a place to stay?" Asks Murphy.
"Don't have anything lined up yet," says Xander looking about for his jacket.
"Stay the night, should be healed up enough to move by then," says Conner pushing Xander back down onto the couch.
"Thanks, could use the rest," says Xander already starting to nod off. Xander doesn't know why but he feels safe here.
Xander wakes with a start. He has his 1911 put and scanning for a target before he remembers where he is. Luckily the McManus brothers where too involved in their fistfight to notice.
Sheepishly Xander holsters the weapon, before they brothers notice his slip.
"You want breakfast?" He asks the brothers getting up from the couch. Simultaneously the brothers say "Yeah," before returning to their scuffle.
Xander crosses to room to where the fridge and stove are. Opening the fridge he finds a carton of eggs and some bacon. Taking a pan he sets about fixing a meal.
"Runny or hard?" He asks over his shoulder to the brothers still involved in their fight. They pause long enough to confirm they both like their eggs runny before retuning once more to their fight. Xander chuckles lightly before setting about his work.
The brothers have resolved their differences by the time breakfast was ready to eat.
"So what brings you to Boston Xander" asks Conner as they eat.
"Looking for someone" says Xander around a mouthful of food.
"This someone gonna end up in the ground from your finding them?" asks Murphy seriously.
"Not like that, have a friend that's here, think she could use some help."
"Ahh, that's the sort of looking yer doin’, has a bonny lass captured your heart," asks Conner with a grin.
"Not exactly," replies Xander.
"What's the girls name?"
"Faith Lehane, least that was her name when I knew her."
"Sorry mate but I don't know her," says Conner.
"Boston's a big city, but I'll find her eventually" says Xander.
"That's the spirit," says Murphy with a grin.
Xander gathers up his few belongings after finishing eating. He makes his goodbyes. Conner tells him he can stay there as long as he's Boston.
Xander heads back to the forgers. They had finished their work. The price was exorbitant but their work was excellent. He had enough cash left over to just barely cover their price.
Xander walks out into the street. He looks down at his knew identity once more before stuffing it into his pocket. He was now officially Alex Knight legal adult and taxpaying citizen of the United States. Say what you will, the Russians were good with paper, his new identity was a full job, and he was in the system.
Xander looks out at the city, now he had to track down one girl in that population. Guess it was time to get started.
Xander starts at the first place he knows Faith will eventually be. Maybe Faiths' future watcher already has eyes on her would be slayer.
Xander makes his way through the city. He knows where Faiths' watcher lived, lives.
It was a long night in Scotland; and neither he nor Faith had been able to get to sleep. It had led to them raiding Giles’ liquor cabinet and claiming one of the castles’ turrets. They had gotten drunk and morose. Faith talked about her past, Xander his. The memory was a little hazy…but the address was real.
Xander finds the address he is looking for. The sign proclaims quality antiques and rare manuscripts in peeling lettering.
"Wondered when you might show," says a female voice from behind Xander. He turns in surprise, not many people were able to sneak up on him.
"Who's there?" he asks his hand close to his weapon.
"I should be insulted boy toy, am I really that forgettable?" The figure moves into the light, killer body, dark makeup, darker hair, a smile which should be illegal.
"Faith," says Xander with a grin.
Faith sits across from Xander in the rundown diner. It was odd seeing Buffy’s white knight so young, so unscarred. She had barely recognized him without the eye patch.
"So," she says finally.
"Yeah, so," he replies with a grin, they can't stand it any more they both burst out laughing.
"How are you here?" asks Xander finally.
"Ethan Rayne, far as I can tell. I was minding my own business when out of the blue this dude comes up and gives me a coat. Nice leather, not like I was gonna toss it," says Faith palming her coffee "then Halloween night I get flooded with these memories, wake the next morning with a splitting headache. I ain't the Slayer no more but I know what’s gonna happen for the next dozen years, you?
"Same, pretty much. I tracked Ethan down the next day, before he could rabbit. He said some woman put him up to it."
"Any ideas who?"
"A few, nothing that makes sense though."
"X why ain't you in the dale, shouldn't you be takin’ care of red waiting for your Slayer?"
"Couldn't stay there, too many memories, it'll be a while before Buffy comes, things should stay quiet till then," says Xander sliding down into his seat. “Say what you will about they Mayor, he managed to keep a tight leash on the Hellmouth until Buffy turned up.”
"What you planning on doing till then?"
"Always wanted to see the country, you know after graduation I was gonna drive a car to all fifty states."
"You do know Hawaii is an island right?"
"I was young and foolish; reality had no hold on my plans. Only got as far as Oxnard, ended up stripping to get enough cash to fix the car after the transmission dropped out."
"How did I not know about this?"
"’Cause I never tell ANYONE, and I knew I'd be finding g-strings everywhere as soon as you found out," says Xander with a smirk.
"Want a co-pilot?"
"Why you think I'm here. So what do you say young lady, wanna see the world meet interesting creatures, show them what their insides look like?"
"How could a girl say no?" Says Faith with a grin.
"I was planning on tracking down a car tomorrow. I have a place we could crash unless you had other ideas," says Xander noticing that Faith has been checking out the busboy with a predatory glint in her eye. It’s a little disconcerting in a girl of 14.
"No plans, I don't think I'm quite ready to be jumping back into that game yet," says Faith gesturing to her seemingly underage body.
"You have a point," says Xander.
"X, I need to ask you something, why did you come for me? I mean of everyone, all the Scoobies; why me and not Buffy?"
"I don't know," says Xander after a moment "I didn't even think about it, I just headed here." They’re both quiet after that.
The woman watches the two displaced warriors from across the street. She can't help but smile at the success of her endeavor. They were here, together ready to fight, a success.
I hope you liked this story. this is the begining of an ongoing series which I will be posting here
I am also looking for writers interested in contributing.