On Angels WingsAuthors Note: This is a sequel to A New Destiny I would advise that you read the first story before reading this one otherwise the story might not make that much sense. As with the previous story this is a crossover between Buffy: The Vampire Slayer and Charmed, though it will be focused primarily on Buffy, Xander and the Scoobies you can expect some appearances from the Charmed Ones and Leo as the story goes on.
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters that I am about to play around with for my own amusement. They remain the property of their respective creators.
Summary: Second story in the Whitelighter Harris series. As Xander begins to learn to use his new powers the Scoobies have to learn to deal with the changes to Xander, put up with a green new Watcher and all the while face their greatest foe yet.
Xander Harris resisted the impulse to sigh as he stood at the base of the steps leading up to the main entrance of Sunnydale’s main public library. He had put off coming here for a few days, taking the time to adjust to the reality that despite appearances he wasn’t the same Xander Harris that he had been just a week ago. Adjusting to the reality that he wasn’t a human anymore hadn’t been easy not that he regretted the choice he’d made to become what he was now, it was just hard getting used to the reality of being not just a whitelighter but the only whitelighter on the Hellmouth.
Mentally he shook himself before he could descend back into the thoughts he had an investigation into their illustrious mayor to start an investigation the other Scoobies knew nothing about yet and wouldn’t until he had something to present to them as they wouldn’t believe him otherwise not that he could blame them. He had initially thought to include Giles in the investigation but the technically ex-Watcher would certainly ask why they were investigating the mayor and he would not be able to provide him with an answer, certainly he couldn’t tell him that the Elders had indicated that he needed to do it when they transformed him into a whitelighter as the Elders had been clear that he was to keep his new status a secret from the others for as long as possible. Not that that would be long as Buffy already seemed to know something had changed with him, though at the time she’d dismissed the odd feeling she got off him as being the result of exhaustion it was only really a matter of time before his secret came out.
With calmness that he wasn’t sure he really felt he ascended the steps and entered the air conditioned comfort of the library and approached the front desk. A middle aged woman in a light grey suit looked up as she heard his approach. “Can I help you young man,” she asked surprised to see a teenager come in as few bothered to come to the library mostly because it wasn’t considered ‘cool’ to come here.
“Yes I was looking to do some research on the current government of Sunnydale for a school project,” Xander replied with a small white lie, the research was for a project after all just not a school one.
“Ah right this way,” the librarian answered with a smile before leading him into the main part of the library. Xander noticed idly how very much like the high school library it was, it had the same smell of old books but it was a lot bigger and there were many more books. Giles and Willow would have a field day in here,
he thought with a mental smile as he followed the librarian past multiple rows of bookcases to a room separated by a glass wall from the rest of the library. Arranged around the edges of the room were a number of computers.
“You’ll be able to find the information you require on any one of these,” the librarian told him, “they will also allow remote access to the city council’s archives. Just follow the on screen instructions to log into the system.”
“If you need any further assistance please let me know,” the woman replied with a kind smile before walking away. Picking a computer Xander sat down and followed the instructions to log into the system and began looking for any information on Mayor Richard Wilkins the Third.
Willow was in a bad mood as she walked purposefully through the public library, she had been planning to visit one of her favourite Wicca websites on her computer at home only to find that it had picked up a virus from somewhere and she couldn’t even get windows to load up let alone run the programs needed to clear the virus. Normally she would go over Oz’s to use his PC but her honey was away this weekend with the Dingoes who were doing a gig at some club in San Diego and since it was a Saturday the high school was locked up so she couldn’t use the terminal in the school library either which left the public internet terminals here in the library. It wasn’t perfect as she wouldn’t be able to use the chat rooms or functions like MSN messenger but it would have to do.
Arriving at the computer room at the back of the library she instantly forgot her annoyance at the circumstances that had brought her here when she saw who else was in the computer room. Sitting at one of the PC’s and looking like he had been there for awhile going on the number of print outs and notes he had with him was the very last person she had ever expected to see in a library.
“Xander,” she said in shock making her oldest friend jump slightly in his seat as he clearly hadn’t heard her come in, so intent on what he was doing. “What are you doing here?”
“Oh hey Wills,” Xander replied looking over at her and she immediately caught the serious look on his face. “As for what I’m doing here research and if my findings are correct we could have a serious problem on our hands.”
“What do you mean?” Willow asked in concern.
“Because it looks like the same man has been the mayor for the last hundred years.”
“Here take a look,” Xander said offering her a number of print outs. Sitting down at the computer next to the one Xander was on Willow began carefully reading through the print outs. What she saw and read sent a chill down her spine.
“This can’t be right,” she breathed after a few minutes of careful study.
“I know I checked it three times it is correct,” Xander replied sounding equally grim. “As hard as it is to believe our current mayor is the same Richard Wilkins who founded this town a hundred years ago.”
“We should go and tell Giles and we need to tell Buffy.”
“Giles first maybe he could use whatever contacts he has left among the Watchers to corroborate these finds. Whoa did I just use corroborate?”
“You did what you trying that word a day thing again?”
“Maybe it just slipped out,” Xander replied grinning back before turning serious again. “Giles should be at his home he didn’t say anything about going anywhere today. My car’s parked out back.”
“Then let’s go shall we?”
“Yeah let me just log off and clear up then we can go.”
“Okay,” Willow agreed and watched as Xander got all his notes and print outs together and slipped them into a folder which he then slipped into a backpack she hadn’t seen before logging out of the system.
In a few minutes they were outside again heading for the public car park at the back where Xander’s car was waiting to take them to see Giles.
“Xander what made you research the mayor in the first place,” Willow asked abruptly as they drove down the busy streets of the town. “I mean you normally don’t like doing research.”
“Just a feeling,” Xander replied evasively.
“Don’t give me that mister I know you too well to not notice your being evasive.”
“I can’t tell you Willow. You wouldn’t believe me.”
“Oh fine,” Xander replied with a sigh knowing that he was beaten. He never could argue with Willow’s resolve face, their was just something about the puppy dog eyes mixed with the steeled features that just made all his defences melt like butter. “I was asked to look into Mayor Wilkins, I wasn’t told what I would find – and to be honest I probably wouldn’t have believed it even if I had been told – only that what I found would be precisely what it is interesting and more than a little alarming.”
“Who asked you? And when?”
“I’m not sure who he was,” Xander admitted truthfully as he didn’t know the name of the Elder who’d spoken to him, or even if the Elders actually had individual names. “As for the when it was after I defeated Jack and his posse of zombies but before Buffy found me making safe the bomb in the basement.”
“Buffy would have seen him.”
“I’m still not sure what he was but he called himself an Elder and he used magic to speak with me in the moments between beating Jack and Buffy showing up,” Xander answered skilfully mixing a white lie with the truth while wishing not for the first time that Willow wasn’t such an attack dog when it came to wanting information. He didn’t know how much more information he could give out without telling her that he was a whitelighter.
“An Elder and he used magic?” Xander didn’t answer but before she could really press him for an answer he pulled them up outside the small townhouse where Giles lived. Eager to avoid being quizzed further by the redhead and possibly slipping up and saying more than he should, Xander stopped the car and hopped out Willow followed immediately, pausing long enough to grab Xander’s backpack, before Xander locked the car and began walking up the path to the front door.
“Coming,” a familiar voice called from inside moments after Xander rung the bell. The door opened to reveal Giles – who to both their surprise was actually wearing jeans and a green t-shirt as opposed to his normal tweed suit – who blinked in surprise at the sight of them. “Xander, Willow this is a surprise is something wrong?” Giles asked stepping aside to let the two teens into his home.
“You could say that Giles I think, no I know, that we could have a very serious problem on our hands,” Xander replied as they entered.
Giles frowned in concern. “Take a seat in the lounge it’s through there,” he pointed to the right, “can I get you both something to drink before we talk?”
“I’m fine thanks,” Xander replied a sentiment echoed by Willow.
Giles nodded in acceptance and led them into the living room. Once they were all comfortably settled he wasted no time in asking them what the problem was. Xander immediately answered detailing what he had found out about Mayor Wilkins apparently being at least a hundred years old and being the same man who’d bought the land the city was built on from the original Spanish inhabitants and transformed their tiny community into Sunnydale.
“Do you have proof,” Giles asked after listening in silence, his concern growing all the while as only a very powerful practioner of black magic would be able to live for so long and even then they would have had to have undergone any number of dark rituals in order to ensure that long life. Xander nodded and handed him the folder with the printouts inside, among which were a number of photographs of the three people who’d called themselves Richard Wilkins over the last century. People who it was clear from the images were actually all the same man though the different hairstyles and period clothing made sure that they would seem like different people on a cursory inspection.
“Good lord,” Giles muttered at last putting the papers down before taking off and starting to polish his glasses in his normal coping mechanism for situations like this one. “I’ll call Buffy and Faith they need to be told about this. We’ll have to fill Oz in when he returns from San Diego. Though I am curious as to what possessed you to start looking into this Xander.”
“Apparently he was told to,” Willow answered before Xander could speak.
“By whom may I ask?”
“Someone who called himself an Elder and who used magic to speak to Xander after he defeated Jack but before Buffy found him in the basement boiler room.”
“An Elder,” Giles repeated then his eyes widened as he only knew of one group who used that title and who had the power to speak to Xander in a single moment of time. “You mean a Whitelighter Elder is that who spoke to you, Xander?”
“Whitelighters? What are they, Giles,” Willow asked.
“In a moment Willow. Well Xander was it a Whitelighter Elder who spoke to you?”
“It was,” Xander admitted reluctantly. “Though he only called himself an Elder he left the whitelighter bit out.”
“Good lord. Why didn’t you tell me at the time that they had visited you?”
“I was told not to. Please Giles don’t ask anymore about me talking to the Elder, I really shouldn’t be telling you about meeting him at all.”
“Giles what are whitelighters,” Willow broke in frowning. “From the way you’re acting I’m guessing that they are something big.”
“They are. Whitelighters are essentially guarding angels Willow they look out for good witches such as yourself and other forces of light. The Elders are their leaders and they are immensely powerful higher beings it is almost unheard of for them to interact with the mortal world directly. They usually just send a whitelighter,” Giles explained before looking back at Xander.
“Xander I understand why your reluctant to speak of this,” he continued. “But you should have told me immediately after the Elder came to see you as while they are very powerful beings they cannot force you to be silent on the issue of them being involved to do so would be against free will upholding of which is one of the highest principles. The only way could really order you to be silent is if you… were...,” his voice trailed off and his eyes widened as he suddenly understood the reason why Xander was so reluctant to talk about the Elder, why they had contacted him to ask that he investigate Mayor Wilkins and why he was obeying an order from them to keep quiet. There could be only one conclusion.
Xander was a whitelighter.
“Is if Xander was what Giles,” Willow demanded feeling a sudden apprehension grip her stomach. Giles didn’t answer “Giles.”
“It’s okay Giles you can answer,” Xander said softly resigned to the fact that his secret was going to come. He just hoped the Elders didn’t get mad at him about it though they had indicated that they didn’t really expect his secret to stay that way for long given how he hung around with a Slayer and how Buffy already seemed to be able to sense that he was different.
“Answer what? What’s going on? Xander, Giles you’re scaring me.”
“Xander,” Giles took a deep breath to calm his sudden nerves, though Willow wouldn’t know what was involved in someone becoming a whitelighter – up until a few moments ago she hadn’t even heard the name whitelighter let alone what one was - he knew that people who became whitelighters had to die first and he couldn’t recall any time when Xander could have actually died. “Xander is…”
“…a whitelighter,” Xander finished for him.
Willow froze. For a moment her mouth opened and then closed opened again but no sound came out of it. “What! But Xander’s human how can he be a whitelighter you said they were angels,” she demanded.
“No I’m not Wills,” Xander answered softly knowing how hard this was going to be for Willow to hear. “I’ve not been human for a few days now. It’s why I’ve been so quiet recently, I’ve been getting used to what I am now.”
Willow froze again before beginning to shake. “But how…”
“How did I become a whitelighter? I died Willow,” Xander answered softly standing up and moving over to his oldest friend. “Jack he… he killed me Willow after I stopped him from blowing up the school.”
“You’re, you’re dead,” Willow asked shaking more violently with emotion feeling her eyes burn with gathering tears.
“No I’m not dead, Willow, not now. I’m alive just not human, I look human, think like I did when I was human, feel all the same emotions even still have my soul but I’m not human,” Xander explained gently sitting on the couch beside Willow and putting his arm across her shoulders and pulling her close as her emotions broke free with a sob, which was followed immediately by another and in moments she was crying full force.
Giles felt like his own heart was breaking as he watched Willow break down to be comforted by Xander. The reality that the younger man had died, died saving them and the world from Jack O’Toole, and come back as a whitelighter was hard to bear and made him want to scream, to cry himself and wishing O’Toole hadn’t been eaten by Wolf-Oz – Buffy had filled him in on Jack’s fate though neither of them had told Willow or Oz as they hadn’t wanted to upset them – so he could tear the bastard apart with his own two hands. But with the legendary self-control of the British, the tradition often referred to as the stiff upper lip, he clamped down on his own emotions as Xander looked up at him, there would be time for him to deal with his own emotions later.
“Call Buffy Giles get her and Faith over here, they need to hear this as well,” Xander said softly while massaging Willow’s back.
Giles nodded and moved for the phone while Xander turned his full attention back to the hysterically sobbing Willow. “Sshh its alright I’m here, Willow,” he said softly rocking her, “I’m still me, still here for you and I always will be.”
“No buts I’m here,” Xander answered softly continuing to comfort his distraught friend. “And I always will be for as long as you need me and want me to be.”
Willow nodded feeling comforted and reassured by the words, words that she somehow knew to be the complete and total truth. Whitelighter or not, dead or not-quite dead but in a non-demonic, non-vampiric sense, Xander was still Xander. And he would always be there for her just like he had been since they were little kids and she asked to borrow his crayon.
Slowly she began to calm down, grief at the knowledge that Xander had died but at the same time not died becoming a whitelighter – whatever that actually meant as there had to be more to it than simply being a guardian angel of sorts – fading into the background for now. Replacing it was a deep, deep exhaustion that her slumping against Xander as he continued to offer her quiet support and the comfort that despite everything he was still here, still with her. She became so lost in the offered support that she didn’t even notice Giles return from calling everyone and sit down opposite the two of them.
“I’m okay now,” Willow said after a couple more minutes pulling away from Xander.
“Are you sure?” Xander asked in concern while feeling more than a little guilty for having made Willow break down like that even though it had been unavoidable from the moment Giles realised what he was.
Willow took a deep shuddering breath. “Not really,” she admitted, “you died Xander how can I be okay with that?”
“I see your point, but Willow we always knew it was a possibility that one or all of us could get killed. It’s the price we pay, the danger we live with for the choice we both made three years ago.”
“I… it just didn’t seem real until now. I mean I lost Jesse I don’t want to loose you as well.”
“And you won’t,” Xander replied. “One of the benefits of being a whitelighter is I’m very difficult to injure let alone kill.”
“He is right Willow,” Giles agreed seeking to reassure the young redheaded witch. “The Council has encountered whitelighters a number of times down the centuries and has gathered quite a large body of information on them and their abilities. I can assure you that whitelighters are almost impossible to injure let alone destroy, only weapons specifically designed for them like darklighter poison arrows and certain extremely rare and dark demonic magic’s can do so.”
“So I’m not going to loose Xander.”
“No your not,” Xander replied with a reassuring smile. “You and Buffy are both my friends and my charges you’re going to be stuck with me for quite sometime.”
“I can live with that.”
“I thought you might,” Xander answered smiling back.
“Buffy should be hear soon, Giles do you mind if I use your bathroom to freshen up a bit,” Willow asked.
“Of course you can,” Giles replied guessing why Willow wanted to freshen up before Buffy arrived with Faith, she wanted to erase the signs that she’d been crying. “It’s just down the hall second door on the left.”
“Thanks,” Willow said getting back to her feet and moving to go and freshen herself up before the two slayers arrived. Xander watched her go before leaning back on the couch.
“That was hard,” he said.
“Sometimes necessary things are,” Giles replied softly looking at the young whitelighter in sympathy. “I’m so sorry, Xander.”
“What for,” was the puzzled reply.
“For supporting Buffy when she said to keep you out of the battle with the Sisterhood of Jhe. If we hadn’t pushed you away…”
“…you’d have all been dead now and demons would be coming through the permanently opened Hellmouth to overwhelm the planet,” Xander interrupted with a surprising firmness. “Yeah I was pissed at you at the time but I don’t regret what happened afterwards.”
“Even your own death?”
“I’m still alive Giles, I may be a whitelighter but I am still very much alive, just not human anymore.”
“That you are,” Giles admitted with a smile. “Now before Buffy and Faith get here would you mind telling me why the Elders asked you to investigate Mayor Wilkins?”
“They didn’t tell me much Giles.”
“Tell me anyway.”
Xander nodded and began telling the technically ex-Watcher everything that the Elders had told him or implied in their brief meeting days ago. Giles frowned worriedly as he explained how Wilkins was related to some situation developing here on the Hellmouth, something so major that the Elders had forgone normal whitelighter convention and not assigned Xander to a senior whitelighter for field training before sending him back to the exact moment of his human death. But they had been maddeningly silent on what the exact details of the threat Wilkins posed.
“I don’t like the sound of this at all,” Giles said as Xander finished speaking.
“I don’t blame you G-Man in fact I don’t mind telling you that I’ve got a really, really bad feeling about this.”
“So have I Xander, so have I.”
~~//~~Authors Note: I admit I’ve been surprised at how this chapter just seemed to come together though the scenes when Willow found out that Xander is a whitelighter were really hard to write. I hope I got Willows reaction to the reality that Xander died and came back as a whitelighter right. As for how Buffy and Faith will react that’s for the next chapter.
Edit Notes: I changed the discussions somewhat between Willow, Xander and Giles as Xanaris correctly pointed out a number of problems with the original. Though I have kept the revelation about Xander’s status as a whitelighter as Giles was the most likely member of the Scoobies to immediately figure out what Xander is once confronted with the information given that the Watchers Council has encountered whitelighters and the Elders more than a few times in its history.