The first time I saw her in my new existence, it was the day after I was changed. She didn’t know I was watching, but I had to say goodbye somehow. So I said goodbye, whispering that I loved her. She turned around and the sun caught her golden hair. Some primal fear of the Slayer battled within me against the love I’d always felt for her when I was alive. Love won; it always does. Although I sometimes wonder how my life—or rather un-life—would’ve been if the fear had won. Probably dark, like a normal vampire’s.
That fear was the strangest thing in my whole life. Well, accept the fact for waking up and finding out I was a vampire, the same thing I’d learned to hate and despise. But even more shocking than me being a vampire was noticing that I had a soul and a conscience. The night I woke up, I found out about all kinds of new stuff I never dreamed of I could do. Things I shouldn’t be able to do: like flying and crazy hypnotizing powers. Sounds like a lot of fun, doesn’t it?
To me, it was overpowering and downright scary. I knew what I was, while at the same moment, I didn’t. You’d be surprised to see how much a person changes when he gets turned into a vampire. Other than the loss of soul and obvious physical changes. When you go through your wardrobe and find nothing there but screaming, colorful clothes, you seriously wonder what you were thinking as a mortal boy. At least that was what I did.
Over the years, I found out how I could be a vampire with a soul. All because I met another like me, who was ages older than I was and more powerful than I could ever dream to be. His name was Kashak. Nothing else. Just Kashak. He was born in the age of the ancient Egyptians, more than 3000 years ago, in what is now known as Romania. He’s searched for the answer as to why he was what he was, and he finally found it two millennia later. There are these so-called immortals around. When one of them gets changed into a vampire, they won’t change completely. Unless, of course, you give in to the demon willingly. The demon only comes forth in your game face and in the bloodlust.
When I met Kashak, I lived on the streets of New York, miles away from my old friends in Sunnydale, confused and scared. He sensed me, and I sensed him. There was the familiar tingle of another vampire, but also an unfamiliar knot in my stomach, which was growing by the second. It stopped when he looked me in the eyes and simply ordered me to follow him. I was hungry and stupid, so I did. The years that followed were spent in happiness. He trained me to the point that I could easily defeat him, both with and without weapons, which was surprising in itself because he was so much older than I and should have been more powerful than I was. He treated me like his child, taught me everything he knew. I can remember sitting in his office for days in a row, without sleeping or feeding, just to test my self-control. It’s needless to say that over the years, I gained a lot of self-control.
My world was shattered when he died. Or better, he was murdered by his arch nemesis, a vampire so evil that his minions only dared to speak of him in terms such as ‘master’. Up to today, I still don’t know what Kashak did to piss him off so badly. Sometimes, however, he let things slip, and I believe it had something to do with a woman. Things like that reassure you that humans never change—it’s you who does.
And now, I have to go to Sunnydale again. That was what Kashak told me to do, and I respect his last wish. I’m not looking forward to it, and I have no idea as to how they’re going to react. Willow will forgive me as soon as she knows that I‘m no threat to her. Giles and Buffy will freak, I’m sure of that. The thought of their faces brought a little smile to my lips, as well as a knot in my stomach—the kind of knot you get when you’re really nervous.
I reached for my bag with all my belongings in it, put on my black leather coat and closed the door behind me. The chapter Kashak in my life was closed, forever.
I watched Spike dust some vampires in the all-too-familiar graveyard. There were about seven or eight, and Spike seemed to be holding his own, so I took gratification in just watching the fight. In my mind, I remembered the last hours: the flight to L.A., borrowing a car, parking it at the parking lot of the mall, so I could have a nice, midnight stroll, which somehow led me to the graveyard where I heard fighting noises. And so, I was there. I could feel the Hellmouth pulling at me, at the demon within.
Spike was getting tired; he had dusted about four of the vampires and three were still standing, including two big males and a vicious looking female. They all attacked at once. I saw Spike disappearing under the weight of the three combined vampires and decided to step in.
I went for the biggest male, who looked strong but incredibly stupid and made my move. Knowing I could defeat him in seconds if I wanted to, I waited to see what he was going to do. The punch to my head wasn’t unexpected, and I had my guard up for it. Then he kneed me in the stomach with a kick strong enough to send me flying through the air, smashing into a tree. Never knew why they put trees in graveyards anyway. Luckily, I landed right next to a mean looking branch, which would’ve dusted me if I’d landed on it.
The impact had been so hard that I lost control of my demon, and I felt my face change. A low growl erupted from my throat and I launched myself into the vampire. He landed on his back from the impact and that was when the fight was over. He was dust, and I lived. I turned around to see how Spike was doing and saw him finishing of the last of the three vampires. He turned around to see whom I was, when suddenly he gasped, which was really strange to hear because vampires don’t breathe and, therefore, don’t gasp. Most of the time.
That was when I remembered I was still wearing my game face. Quickly, I reverted my face back to its human features, but Spike had seen enough.
Better to face it.
“Hello Spike,” I said.
“If it isn’t the Slayer’s supposed-to-be-long-dead friend. Now, where did you come from?” he questioned mockingly.
“Cut the crap, Spike. Bring me to them.” I don’t know why he did as I asked, but he did anyway. We were walking through the streets towards Giles’ apartment when he started asking the questions I’d expected. I explained everything to him, and he seemed to understand. He trusted me, but how about the others? How was I going to convince them that I wasn’t evil?
“Don’t worry. They won’t hurt you… Much,” Spike said with a grin.
“That’s not why I was afraid.”
We were getting closer and closer to Giles’, and I spoke less and less. Spike noticed how silent I was, but he didn’t push it. Somehow, I felt a brotherly relationship with him, as if being a vampire triggered emotions I didn’t know I had.
“Here we are, Xander. Giles’ apartment,” he said in a unusually soft voice, as if he was understanding what I was going through. Of course, he had been on the receiving end of Buffy’s fighting skills more often than I’d been and knew what it was like to piss off the Slayer.
Knock. Knock. The knocks on the door woke Giles, who had been reading up on Slime demons on his couch. “Coming…,” he said with his stiff, British voice. He wasn’t prepared for what he saw in his door opening. The faces were familiar, but one hadn’t been seen for over three years, while the other had left his apartment four hours ago.
“Xander,” he breathed with a voice that sounded much like the Ripper’s. The face triggered emotions he would like to forget.
A night like many others. Buffy was patrolling the graveyards with Spike, who was eager to ‘kick some demon-butt’, and me. It was a quiet night, and Giles and his books were ready for a nap when he heard a knocking on the door. The next moment, I lay on his couch, dying from blood loss. Buffy had begged Spike to turn me, and Giles had taken her to his bedroom and they’d talked. A lot. But the shocked and determined Slayer could not be convinced of any other way to save her friend. At last, Giles said he’d go along with it, but if I caused any trouble, she’d be responsible for it. Spike turned me, and they chained me to the walls of the old mansion. When I woke, I was wearing my game face. Willow and Giles were performing the spell of the gypsies to return my soul, but it didn’t seem to work. That was when I broke free of the chains, smacked Buffy in the head and ran out. And that was the last they had seen of me, Alexander LaVelle Harris, until this day.
And Giles did the only thing he could do. He fainted.
Spike hurried in and lay the former librarian on the couch. “Let’s hope the Slayer doesn’t come in.”
Conveniently, Buffy chose that time to walk to the door. I felt like lightning struck my heart as I saw her in the moonlight, more beautiful than in my best memories.
“Who is there?” she asked. She hadn’t noticed me yet, for I chose to remain in the shadows. Spike came to the door, and she rushed in, holding a stake in front of her and threatening to kill him unless he told her what was going on.
I took that moment as my cue and moved to get in, which of course I couldn’t, so I was forced to stand on the doorstep. I looked at her and Spike and heard what she asked. “Look behind you,” was the only thing he said, and she turned around slowly. That was when she saw me.
“You!” she growled. Unwillingly, I shuddered as she approached me, my demon screaming to either fight or flee. I fought it and just stood there, waiting for her to make her move. The next thing I remember was being chained up in the mansion once again, only with many more chains. When the fog cleared, I groaned.
“Welcome back, Xander,” she said with the icy sarcasm she saved for vampires. I replied with a muffled groan, trying to remember what happened. She punched me in the jaw with all her strength. There was yelling at her by someone else. Giles. The tranquilizer gun. Suddenly, all my memories came back, and I felt the wetness of blood sticking on my neck. Apparently, they shot me with a dart. The wound had already started to heal, so I must’ve been out for a while.
“Buffy, I’m not…what you think I am.”
“Looks a lot like it. Don’t know how you got Spike to get you to Giles. Don’t care. I want revenge.” And she splashed a bottle of holy water at my body. Although I can handle a bit of holy water, a whole bottle was too much. It burned like hell, and I could feel my face shift into that of the demon’s and a low growling erupted from somewhere in my stomach, growing more powerful as it reached my throat. What exited was the roar of an enraged lion. I threw myself against the chains and felt a pang of triumph as I heard the sound of iron bending. She heard it too and looked a little frightened. I fought to keep the demon in control, begging for the chains to hold because if they didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to restrain myself and keep from killing the Slayer. And I knew I would be sorry for that.
Luckily, the chains were stronger than they’d appeared, and they seemed to be fighting with me against the demon. Finally, I maintained control again and reverted to my human appearance.
This unsettled Buffy, but she recovered fast. “I still had hope, you know. Still hoped that you weren’t gone, wasn’t one of them. But you just showed me hope doesn’t exist in a Slayer’s life,” she admitted with a terribly cold and emotionless voice.
“Buff, please, I may be a vampire, but I’m not evil. Please, believe me. By god, all the times that I was lonely on the streets, I was thinking about you, and what you would be doing. I swear, I never killed a human being.”
Seeing those chocolate brown orbs that were once the eyes of her best friend almost brought Buffy to tears. She couldn’t kill me, couldn’t hurt me, although she knew it was her or me. If I broke free from my chains, I would probably kill her without any second thought, then go after her friends and family. Or the other way around. But what I had just said sounded so genuine, so true, because it was just that. She looked in my eyes and saw hope, love and pain in there. The same eyes her friend had before he was turned. No sign of the cold eyes any other vampire seemed to have. She looked away, trying not to loose herself in them. “Buffy,” came my exasperated voice. “I’m not here to hurt you. I’m not evil. Please, believe me.”
At the pleading sound of my voice, she looked down at my and saw me staring at her, my eyes now filled with guilt, so much like Angel’s eyes had been after he came back from hell. And she had believed him. No words were needed as she kneeled next to me, still looking me in the eye. Slowly, we moved toward each other and our lips met. Our kiss was one of mixed feelings, guilt, love, pleasure—all those and more. But magic, nonetheless.
Xander looked up at the sky. It was unusually bright, with an almost full moon and millions of stars. He couldn’t believe how much his un-life had changed since he’d convinced Buffy that he wasn’t evil and the kiss they’d shared was a blessing and not a curse. After that, she had taken him to Giles’ and asked the Watcher to invite him in. Reluctantly, he did so, obviously not trusting him.
They had called Willow, and all it took for her was one look in his eyes to see that he was telling the truth. Then she hugged him with all her power, crying and laughing at the same time.
Spike had gone off at some point, but no one seemed to care. This was a night of reunions, and even other members of the old gang joined them. Angel, Cordelia, Wesley and some guy named Gunn came in two hours later, when the sun was just about to rise. Just minutes before their arrival, Spike dived in, smoking from being exposed to the sun, carrying blood bags with him.
Xander took to calling Angel by his real name, although he sometimes wanted to call him Angelus for no known reason. He figured it had something to do with the demons inside of them.
“Brooding? Bad habit, never picked it up. Angelus did though. Bloody wanker.” Spike sat next to him. Xander hadn’t heard him coming. He lit a cigarette and offered Spike one, too. Both sat on the bench, slowly smoking. There was no need to talk. Talking would be saved for another night, one with less stars and no moon. But for now… Silence.