Xander is blinded and his remaining senses are heightened to superhuman proportions. He also gains a 'radar' like sense in place of his sight. All of which he'll need when a rift forms between him ...
February 3, 1999
Xander awoke with a start from a deafening sound like a thunderclap. The sound continued in a steady rhythm. Boom. Beat. Boom. Beat.
Everything was dark and his eyes hurt. Instinctively Xander brought his hands up to them only to find that they were bandaged. A wave of panic swept through him causing him to fall of the bed.
As he pulled himself to his feet Xander found the sound assaulting him with renewed vigour. It wasn't alone. People talking, hundreds of them. The hum of machines as the worked. The squeak of carts as they're pushed down the halls. Even the cars and people going by on the streets below him. Xander heard all this and more in an instant. He did the only thing he could at that point. He screamed.
The doctors found him curled up in a corner with his hands covering his ears repeating the same three words like they were a mantra. "Make it stop." Nobody notices the steady beat of the IV drip.
Later that day Xander stands by the window in his room. To an observer he looked as if he were staring out while he pondered what the doctors had told him after they had managed to calm him down. While his other injuries would heal in time, he would never see again. They told him that his remaining senses would strengthen to compensate for the loss. Although, he noticed that the doctors seemed surprised by the speed and degree this affected his hearing. They didn't question it too much though. This is Sunnydale after all. The police aren't the only ones who have learned to turn a blind eye to weird happenings.
A knock at his door caused Xander to wince and he was able to pick out a smell out of the myriad that had been assaulting his nose as the door opened.
A hesitant, quiet voice flowed into the room. "Hey Xander."
Inwardly sighing he plasters on a lopsided grin. "Hey Wills. What's the what?" he added only to himself.
Seeing the grin and attitude she associated with her childhood friend seemed to put Willow at ease as she came the rest of the way into the room. The rest of the gang followed, most nursing their own injuries from the previous night's activities. An uneasy silence reigned while each person thought of the best way the broach the subject. It was Xander who broke it when he asked a simple question. "What happened?"
"Shouldn't we be asking you that?" Buffy spat bat a little harsher than she had intended.
Xander gritted his teeth as he replied. "I meant how did I get here? Last thing I remember is oz jumping at O'Toole."
"Your damn lucky too." Faith threw in before anyone else. "Wolf-boy over there was too full after the other guy to go after you." Oz, for his part, seemed to go a little green at that comment. Though his expression didn't change any.
Willow gave Oz's hand a comforting squeeze as she said. "We found you when we went to check on Oz after the Apo..." Buffy's glare cut her off, but that did not stop Xander, his grin and humour now gone. "You mean after the Apocalypse you guys didn't tell me about? And G-Man stop cleaning those damn glasses!" Giles had been doing just that for the past few minutes and the squeak of cloth against the lens was irritating.
Everyone was shocked silent. Not from the outburst but from the hurt expression that accompanied it. It was Giles who spoke next, deciding to play mediator. He spoke in a gentle tone. "We thought it for the best. To keep you out of it for your own safety." If he was honest with himself, Giles didn't even think he believed his words. They also did the opposite of their intention.
"Keep me safe!" exclaimed Xander. "What do you think I was doing all night? Running around with zombies THAT"S WHAT!" His face was beginning to get flush from anger. "And when I went to my so called 'friends' for help they turned me away!" He faced each person in the room in turn, as if staring into their very souls with bandaged, sightless eyes.
It was Buffy who spoke next. "What could you have done if we had told you? It's not like there's anything you could have done to help!" Anger at being yelled at for actions she thought were right was fuelling her. She is the Slayer. Things get done her way!
Xander had had enough. All the anger and resentment and pain of the past few months came boiling to the service with a fury. And he did something he had swore he would never do. He hit Buffy.
She fell to the ground more out of shock then the actual force of the blow. A shock Buffy shared with everyone else in the room as they all stared at Xander trying to take in what they had just witnessed. Xander didn't seem to notice.
"What could I have done!" he spat with more venom than anyone present had ever heard him use. "I stopped zombies from blowing up the school with you in it! I saved you ungrateful LIVES! Or did you think that bomb was just for decoration?!"
Nobody really knew what to say after that. Each thinking what they could have done to have prevented this and what to say to make it go away. They never got the chance to though.
Apparently the argument had been loud enough it could be heard all the way down the hall causing a nurse to interrupt. "I'm sorry, but he needs his rest. I will have to ask you to leave." Something in the woman's voice made it clear that she was not asking.
Buffy looked ready to protest but Giles was able to quiet any objections and get her and the others to leave. he thought,
Xander simply went back to his window. It was strange. For the first time in months he felt at peace.
The next few months found Xander doing a lot of studying. Adapting to his blindness. He had managed to pick up brail remarkably fast and spent much of his time reading (Ya, that surprised him too). The cane he now carried wasn't of the popular metal brands but made of wood. This being Sunnydale he decided it was better safe than sorry. Besides, he didn't' think vampires would care they were attacking a blind man. Not that he wouldn't know they were there with his senses.
He didn't tell anyone about them either. That his remaining senses of sound, smell, touch and taste had somehow been heightened to superhuman proportions. But most bizarre was the 'radar' like sense he had developed in place of his sight. It had been disorienting at first. His mind unaccustomed to processing the 360 degrees that the radar provided. He was able to get used to it in a couple of weeks though.
One thing that had not improved, however, was his relationship with the gang. He avoided them whenever possible. It was funny to him that they asked for his help more often now that they had his blindness as a valid excuse not to. Xander even put his personal feelings aside and gave it when the situation was serious enough. Like with the mayor, like with Faith.
It had come as a surprise to them all when she had switched sides and joined the mayor. Xander started helping regularly then. It was clear to everyone, however, that he still was not their friend.
June 1999 - 3 days to graduation
It was a warm, quiet night as Xander was walking home from late night meeting at the library when he came to a sudden stop. He had known that the figure in the shadows had been following him since he left the school and had finally had enough. "You can come out Deadboy, I know you're there."
Angel disentangles himself from the shadows and walks towards the dark haired young man. "She's just worried you know. With the mayor and Faith out there she doesn't want anyone to get hurt."
"Doesn't want them getting anyone they can use against her you mean." Xander replied, his face unreadable.
"That too." A brief silence reigned as Angel debated on whether to broach the subject on his mind. "You have to talk with her about it you know. The hitting her. She's not mad." He paused. "Well she is. But she understands. She was more hurt that it was you doing the hitting. But until then I don't think she realized how much she hurt you." Angel really didn't' want to talk about this with Xander, but he didn't want any unresolved issues putting Buffy's life in danger at graduation either.
"It doesn't matter." Xander say, equally uncomfortable. "She's made her choices and I've made mine. That's just the way it is."
Neither man knew what to say further so Xander turned and began walking away. He knew he wouldn't be followed this time. He only got a couple of steps before Angel's voice reached him. "How did you know it was me following you?"
Xander stopped, a lopsided grin appearing on his face. "Come on! With that much hair gel I smelled you coming a mile away." With that said he continued walking leaving a self-conscious Angel bringing a hand up to his hair.
June 1999 - Graduation Day
Mayor Wilkins was at the podium giving his supposedly inspirational speech to the assemble parents, teachers and students. Xander, however, was paying no attention to it. He was lost in the thoughts of the previous couple of days and the battle to come.
Faith poisoning Angel. Buffy putting Faith in a coma, and Angel's recovery. Not to mention the preparations for the battle. His mind raced over all of this until it was finally brought back to the present. He didn't know how long he zoned out for but the mayor was still rambling on. At that moment Xander's thoughts mirrored those of many others in the audience.
As if answering his silent prayer an eclipse formed in the sky, followed shortly by Mayor Wilkin's rapid transformation into an absolutely huge snake. That's my que Xander thought as he rose to his feet with a group of students who revealed themselves to be armed with crossbows. "Fist squad fire!"
And the battle was on. Vampires began to flow in only to be met by another group led by Angel. Xander continued to give orders to students at the front line until he found a figure standing before him. A figure he couldn't hear a heartbeat in.
As the vampire attacked Xander used his cane with an end in both hands to block. The vamp gave a satisfied grin as it snapped in two. A grin that was whipped off his face as Xander began to pummel him with two makeshift clubs. The creature tried in vain to gain the upper hand in the onslaught of blows he was caught in only to get his wrist shattered from a double blow form the clubs. He quickly found himself on the ground as his knees were taken out from under him.
Another vampire tried to sneak up on Xander by rushing him from behind. He had no such luck as Xander casually threw his arm back impaling him on the piece of broken wood before finishing off his original opponent.
Xander slowly made his way through the opposition away from the building. Buffy was already inside. Followed closely by Mayor Snake. He was already down the steps when the building blew. He thought it ironic that he just helped do what he had stopped others from doing a few months before. Blow up the school.
As the dust settled and everyone gathered together they realized they were short one person. Alexander Lavelle Harris was nowhere to be found.