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 ...
June 1999 - Graduation Day
It had long since passed dusk when the bus came to a stop in one of the seedier sections of Los Angeles. It sped away as soon as Xander stepped onto the curb. He had left Sunnydale as soon as the battle was over with nothing more than the clothes on his back. He stuck around, hidden in the shadows, only long enough to be sure the mayor had died in the blast. Then he was gone. No goodbyes. he thought.
Slowly Xander took in his surroundings. There's a drunk in an alley down the street reeking of booze, mumbling incoherently. An old, clichÃ©d monster movie is playing in an apartment on the third floor of the building across the street. There were smells in the area that he didn't even want to try and name, but one stuck out above the rest. An overpowering scent that was undeniably demonic.
Xander looked skyward with a sightless gaze in protest. "Come on!" He exclaimed to the unseen force. "Haven't I been through enough today?"
Shaking his head at his luck, Xander started towards the scent. It didn't take him long to find the source. His heightened senses picked up a high-pitched howling sound and told him that there were a whole lot more than just one demon in the building before him. Shrugging he opened the door thinking .
But what he found in the building surprised him. Demons laughing and drinking and just generally having a good time. None of that surprised him as much as when he realized what the high-pitched howling was though.
The demons watched with a mixture of confusion and curiosity as Xander walked to the bar. Not many humans came in here. Those who did were wary or ran in fear. This one, however, walked through with an air of confidence around him. And he looked like he had been through a war. He hadn't bothered to clean himself up after graduation.
A green skinned demon behind the bar looked at him as he approached. "Sorry Baby-Cakes, we don't serve minors."
"Waters fine." As he got his drink Xander winced as another demon started singing. Worse than the first, as impossible as that seemed a few moments ago.
"You should give it a try." The green demon told him. Where most saw the boy as confident, he could tell he was lost. "It might help you find your way."
Xander didn't even look up as he took a sip from his drink before replying. "How's that?"
"Names Lorne." The demon said cheerfully. "If you sing I can read your destiny. Maybe tell you something of the path you should be on."
Xander polished off his drink as he stood up. "No thanks. I don't care much for destiny." He told Lorne as he began walking away. "I make my own."
"Hope you find what your looking for kid." Lorne said quietly to the retreating figure. "I really do."
As Xander stepped into the night he thought of two things. First if anyone was going to follow him. While inside he could feel the lingering magic in the air on his skin. It felt comforting, and he just knew he was in no danger in there. Outside, however, he was fair game.
It was the second that occupied most of his mind though. he thought.
Xander started walking aimlessly after making sure he really was not being followed. It wasn't long before, in keeping with the nights luck, he heard a scream. Without a second thought he sprinted towards the sound.
He ran as fast as he could push his body, using his radar and enhanced senses to avoid any obstacles in his path. The scream grew closer as he made a sharp turn into an alley.
Xander knew there were two of them attacking the woman long before he reached them. He also knew they were human, being able to hear their heartbeats. The bigger one was undoing his belt and it sickened Xander that not all monsters were demons.
Without bothering with the usual wisecrack, Xander charged him. There was nothing funny about this.
Xander hit the big guy with a tackle hard enough to make a linebacker jealous, followed quickly by an equally hard right cross. He raised his fist to strike again before he noticed the smaller guy coming up behind him with a knife. He never got to use it.
Spinning around at a dizzying speed Xander caught the man's wrist and delivered a kick to his side. The force of the blow caused him to drop the knife. Xander, however, still had a firm grip on his wrist and hit him with a hard punch to the face. With each blow he was pulled back for another until Xander finally let him fall in a bloody heap. The bigger guy had made it to his hands and knees.
As he vicously kicked the other guy in the face, Xander was surprised to find that humans put up a significantly less challenge than a vampire. Grabbing the thug by the hair Xander delivered another powerful punch.
Dropping the now unconscious thug he walked up to the woman. "Are you alright?"
"I, I think so." She managed to get out through her shock.
The woman got her first good look at the young man who had saved her when he offered her a hand to her feet and gasped. Xander was still covered in the dust from the explosion at the high school. That, combined with the bruises and dried blood (not all of which was his), made for the sight of someone who has been through hell. Her heart felt for him.
As Xander walked into the guestroom of the large house he wonder again how he had got convinced to stay here.
After the police had taken the thugs away, he had refused treatment for his injuries. They were minor anyways. Not to mention that those thugs had nothing to do with them. To his surprise, the cops didn't press the matter too much. The woman, Margaret Murdock he had learned, had been much more persistent. Xander smiled as he thought of that conversation.
She offered to look over his wounds at her place. Maggie saw his hesitation and quickly added, "Don't worry, I'm not a some psycho. I'm a lawyer."
Xander crack one of his trademark grins at that. "Is that supposed to make me feel any better?"
As it turns out her first aid kit was almost as well stocked as Buffy's. Maggie's husband was a former boxer known as Jack 'The Devil' Murdock. Apparently she has had plenty of practice cleaning cuts.
Jack was a pretty nice guy himself. Out of gratitude Jack had offered him a place to stay for the night. Xander didn't think he could have gotten out of it if he wanted to. Which he didn't, he was beat.
All these thoughts were quickly lost as Xander's head hit the pillow. He was asleep in an instant, both mentally and physically exhausted.
When he left Sunnydale Xander had no particular destination in mind. LA was just going to be a pit stop in his travels, only stopping when his meagre savings ran out. That is not how it worked out though.
Over the next few months Xander and the Murdocks would grow close. With nowhere to go they took him in. Since he had arrived with nothing but the clothes on his back they even took him shopping to help him get settled. Though, after his horrible fashion sense became apparent they managed to get him to concede to mostly solid colours. Xander, however, snuck in a few Hawaiian prints anyways. He may be blind but he still has his standards.
They helped him further when Maggie managed to get him a part-time job at her law firm. Granted his was little more of than an errand boy, he wasn't going to complain. It was better than flipping pizzas. Besides, the odd time he got to help with some of the research and was able to surprise people at how good he was at it. When asked he would just grin and say "I've got a lot of practice".
But even that pales in comparison to what else they did for him. They helped him find his future.
It had been during a dinner about two weeks after he had arrived. Jack had surprised Xander when, out of the blue, he asked what he wanted to do with his life.
Not knowing how to respond, Xander said the first thing that came to his mind. "I want to help people."
"That's a very noble thing Xander." Maggie had said. "But there are lot's of ways to 'help people'. Anything more specific in mind?"
"I haven't really thought about it." He admitted.
"Just give it some thought."
That was easier said than done, as Xander found out. Living on the Hellmouth, he never made plans for the future. He never thought he had one. Even before he discovered demons thanks to his father. But now, for the first time, Xander thought it might be a real possibility.
Everything clicked the following week. Xander was sitting in a courtroom during one of Maggie's cases. She was defending a group of people against a major corporation. The company had been working on a secret, possibly illegal, project that caused the deaths of several people. When their families began making inquiries into how their loved ones had died the corporation had sued THEM!
Maggie won and even managed to get the families some compensation. As much compensation as money can bring for the loss of life anyways. The corporate representatives were pissed, yelling at their lawyers. They were from some law firm called Wolfram and Hart. Maggie just smiled as each family thanked her in turn.
In that moment Xander knew what he wanted to do. He wanted to be a lawyer.
When he mentioned this to Jack and Maggie they were happy. Well, Jack was happy, Maggie was ecstatic. Apparently she had been hoping he'd say that. He quickly found himself enrolled at UCLA despite admissions having been closed. Some of the board members owed Maggie a favour.
There was one condition though. Since his grades weren't quite up to par he would need something a little more practical before the fall semester starts or no deal. That's where his job at Maggie's firm came in.
The Murdock's have done a lot for Xander. It comforted him to know there were still people like them in the world.
September 12, 1999
Foresight CafÃ© was always busy. It was located close to UCLA and had become a favourite hang out of many of the students. A tall dark haired young man wearing blood red sunglasses sat with a slightly stocky man. The two joked and laughed like they had known each other for years. The truth was they had only recently met when they became roommates at the dorm. They became quick friends. Probably due, in part, to having similar senses of humour.
"I'm telling you Xander, there really are alligators in the sewers." The stocky man said.
Xander casually dismissed it with a grin and a "Sure there are Foggy."
Franklin Nelson, known as Foggy to his friends, persisted. "Really, my cousin knows a guy who knows a guy who saw one."
"Well that's reliable intel if I ever heard it." Xander replied.
Foggy was about to press the issue further when he saw this look pass over his friends face. Even in the short time he'd known Xander he knew what that look meant. It meant a beautiful woman was nearby. Foggy didn't care how Xander knew, he just had one word to say. "Where?"
"The door. Not yet..." Xander replied as he took in the scent. It was the most intoxicating he had ever experienced. "Now. Well..."
Looking towards the door Foggy took in the sight of the raven-haired beaty that had made her way inside. As he picked his jaw off the floor he answered his friend. "Oh! She's hideous."
Xander didn't even miss a beat as he stood and walked over to the now seated goddess. "Could you pass the honey please?"
Not the exactly the best line but it had the desired effect. Without looking up from her paper she said "It's right in front of you."
"You'll have to be a little more specific."
"What are you bli..." She caught herself too late as she took in the cane and the eyewear.
Xander just plaster on his trademark grin as he finished her sentence. "Blind?"
The woman quickly handed him the requested honey as she stood up apologizing.
"No problem." He told her. "Xander Harris. It's nice to meet you..." He left the sentence hang hoping for her to fill in the name.
She just smiled. "It's nice to me you Xander Harris." Then she turned and headed for the door.
Xander's voice called out to her. "I didn't get your name."
Half turning, she gave a grin that could easily match his own. "I didn't give it." And then she was gone.
After a brief moment of stunned hesitation, a grin appeared on his own face and he was out the door after her. His friend long forgotten.
Xander walked down the busy street with a mission. He followed that amazing scent as it grew stronger and stronger. Suddenly he stopped and made one final sniff of the air to confirm.
"Why are you following me?"
Entering the playground the voice had come from he said, "I just wanted to get your name."
She turned to walk away when he gently grabbed her wrist. "Wai..." And quickly found it pinned behind his back.
In a flash of motion he reversed the hold so that he had her pinned in his arms. She smiled at him as she said "Are you sure you're blind?"
Releasing herself from the hold she steps back as he does the same. She tosses her jacket to the side and enters her fighting stance. Xander casually tosses his cane in the air and removes his own jacket. He simply opens his hand and the cane lands in it. Both are grinning like fools.
The fight resumes as the woman comes in with a furry of punches. All of which are avoided or deflected with Xander's cane. A kick comes up towards his head, but Xander just brushes it aside and strikes out with his weapon. He quickly finds himself dropping it as she dodges the blow and smacks his hand.
As they continued exchanging blows a group of schoolchildren gathered at the fence bordering the playground and their school. The combatants were too wrapped up in their flirtatious fight to notice.
It went on for several more minutes with neither gaining the upper had. Xander dodged an incoming swing that the mystery woman had sent his way. It didn't slow him down a beat as went straight towards her. "Does every guy who asks your name have to go through this?"
As she easily dodges a punch, the woman smiles. "You should try asking for my number!"
"Your number!" Xander exclaimed. "I'm more worried about what happens when I ask you out!"
Several more minutes went by and still neither of them had landed a single blow. Finally they conceded to an unspoken draw. The grins from the start still present on their faces.
They turn as they hear clapping behind them and see a large group had formed. They laughed together as they took a theatrical bow.
After the crowd dispersed the woman turned to Xander. "The cafÃ©. Eight tonight. Don't be late."
"I wouldn't dare"
As she walked away, the woman called over her shoulder. "By the way, my name is Electra Natchios."
That afternoon Jack 'The Devil' Murdock was training his latest amateur. He did that a lot now. After having retired from the ring the year before he opened a gym. Devil's Hook he'd called it, after what the fans and announcers had named his own devastating left.
"Keep your guard up!" He yelled. The kid was good, but was far too cocky.
It was a welcome interruption when a voice called out behind him. "Hey Jack."
"Xander, you here to train?" He'd been coming to the gym every day since they met. Much to Jack's protest at first.
"Don't you know it." It wasn't said as a question.
A voice from the ring interruption any further conversation. "Come on Jack. Thought we were going to go a few?"
Xander faced the young fighter eagerly. "I'll fight you."
"Funny, but I wouldn't want to hurt you."
Xander just grinned. "You won't"
"I think it's a good idea." Jack said, startling the amateur. he thought
The fighter just shook his head as he watched Xander get in the ring. "C'mon Jack! This guy could get h... ah!" He was cut off as a powerful right hook nearly knocked him on his ass. The boxer simply stared at the blind man in front of him in shock. Hint taken, he came in with a series of his own punches.
Xander just laughed inwardly. This was way too easy! A few years of experience from fighting demons in Sunnydale had taught him a thing or two. He may not have been a Slayer, but he could hold his own. Even if the others didn't want to admit it. Combine that with the stuff he picked up watching Buffy train and the martial arts classes he had taken secretly and you have a fairly decent fighter. Now adding the boxing and street fighting learnt from Jack and his own enhanced senses and you just have someone who is plain dangerous.
After a couple minutes the other fighter stopped his assault, frustrated at how easily a blind man had avoided and blocked each of his attacks. Xander just calmly listened. He could hear the mans was breathing had heavier and the murmurs in the gathered crowd. Most used to such displays by now.
Then he heard what he was waiting for. The muscles in his opponent's arm tensed. As the punch came out Xander dodge and struck the new opening with a devastating punch of his own, dropping his the cocky young fighter to the canvas.
Jack looked up at the grinning face of the young man he had welcomed in his family. "You're a real Daredevil you know? One of these days you're going to get hurt." He wasn't mad in the least.
There night sky was cloudy as Xander and Electra walked. There date had gone well and now they laughed and talked on their way back to the dorms. They were so preoccupied in each other that neither noticed the stray pop can on the ground. That was until Electra stepped on it.
Xander caught her as she fell forward. His hand brushed against the charm of her necklace as she stood up. "What's this?" He asked as his figures traced the characters.
"It was my mothers. It means hope."
"It's beautiful." He told her. Then he grinned. "Does it come in brail?"
Electra smiled warmly and though he couldn't see it he felt it. As she took his hand to lead him away she said. "Let's get going." He didn't budge.
"Wait, it's going to rain."
"All the more reason we should get going." It made sense to her, but he still didn't move.
"I love the rain," He stated softly. "Every raindrop makes a sound on what it lands on. For that moment it's like I can see again."
Almost as if on cue the rain began to pour down on them. Xander reached up and removed his sunglasses. The way his sightless eyes looked her way made Electra feel as if he really could see her."
His hand reached up to caress her cheek. "My god you're beautiful."
Without another word they kissed. The rain long since forgotten.
March 5, 2000
Lindsey sat patiently in Holland's office listening to his boss fume. Usually he presented a calm, almost cheery exterior. It was rare that it fell and even rarer that there was someone around to witness it. Being that he had a part in its fall, Lindsey really did not want to be here.
"I don't believe this!" Holland exclaimed. "Not only have you consistently failed in the Angel matter, but now this! Do you have any idea how much losing this case has cost us?" The looked he shot Lindsey shook the younger man to the core.
"It's a who lot more than just money! Some powerful beings had a stake in that company and now we've just lost their support!"
"Hey, I'm not the only one who's lost to that Murdock woman." It was a weak excuse and he knew it, but Lindsey had to try something.
Holland calmed visibly, but his voice still carried a venomous edge. "Ah yes, the Murdock woman. Something should be done about her."
Lindsey wasn't a stupid man by any measure. He took the hint. "I'll get a couple of my vampire contacts on it right away sir."
"No." Holland stated as his mouth twisted into a smile. "If you want to redeem yourself to the Senior Partners, you'll have to take care of this. Personally."
Xander, Jack and Maggie walked out of the restaurant laughing. Electra was having dinner with her father tonight, so it had just been the three of them. They were out celebrating Maggie's latest courtroom victory.
Suddenly, Xander stopped as his hands went to his eyes. "Crap, I forgot my sunglasses." He often took them off when around Jack and Maggie. They were among the few who weren't made uncomfortably by his eyes.
Jack just smiled. He'd been expecting it. This was a common occurrence with Xander. "Go get them, we'll meet you at the car."
As Xander ran back inside the two began the trek to the car. They had walked to the restaurant from the Jack's gym a couple blocks away. Neither of them cared much though. They just walked hand in hand enjoying the night air and the company.
When they reached the car at the abandoned gym a figure emerged from the shadows. He said two simple words as he raised his gun. "I'm sorry."
Walking out onto the quiet street Xander shook his head. The waiter had been there with a silly grin, standing patiently by the table. The sunglasses in hand. They came here often and the staff had become accustom to Xander and his eyewear.
One last shake of his head had Xander walking in the direction of the gym. A walk that quickly turned into a run as two gunshots echoes through the night.
Trash cans, people, all manner of obstacles couldn't stop Xander in his quest. He raced towards the source of the shots, his hear pounding. Fear caused him to quicken his already impressive pace as he realized it came from the gym.
Xander came to a quick halt as he nearly stumbled over something. A moment later he realized what it was. The bodies of Jack and Maggie Murdock.
He fell to his knees as the tears flowed freely. The scent of blood and gunpowder was in the air, but there was another one lingering he couldn't identify. One he would never forget.
March 7, 2000
The sun shone brightly. Not a cloud floated in the sky. It was another perfect Californian day. A perfect contrast to the mood in the cemetery where the Murdock's services were being held.
Xander stood at the head of the large group that had gathered. Tears could be seen coming from under his dark glasses as he began to speak in a wavering voice. "I didn't know Jack and Maggie as long as many of you here, but we were close. You've all heard the story of how we met. Maggie says I saved her, but that's not true. It's the other way around
"I was in a dark place when I came to LA." Xander admitted. "Never planned on staying. Then I met Jack and Maggie. They took a stranger. A lost and confused kid and welcomed him with open arms." He stopped for a moment as he tried to collect himself.
"My home life growing up... well, it was never that good. Maggie and Jack showed me what a real family was like. They treated me like a son and they were the parents I wish I had."
Xander paused as he looked up to the sky. More tears flowed as his voice caught in his throat. "I love them. They will be missed."
After the service many of the assembled went up to share condolences with the Murdock's surrogate son. It was a man near the end of the line that caught the most of Xander's attention however.
"My name's Lindsey McDonald. I had a great deal of respect for Maggie, I'm sorry for your lose."
Xander just nodded his head, not trusting his voice. Each person has a unique scent. Most can't detect it. Xander can. He recognized this one. He knew with absolute certainty that this was the man who killed Jack and Maggie.
That night Lindsey sat alone in his office looking out at the night sky. A half empty bottle of whiskey rested next to him. He hadn't wanted to kill the Murdock woman, but what choice had he had? He could read between the lines. It was him or her. And Lindsey had a healthy desire to live.
So why did he feel so guilty. He'd even shown up at her funeral for Christ's sake! Maybe it wasn't guilt. Maybe he just wasn't used to having to do the killing himself. It didn't matter either way. Tonight he would drink, tomorrow he would deal.
That's what he thought anyways. Right up until the door of his office was kicked in by a figure in red. Fear crept through him as the imposing figure started towards him.
Xander laughed inwardly at how easy this was. He'd worn the red leather jacket and pants for a reason and not just a fashion statement. They were to absorb some of the blows he thought he would receive. It hadn't been necessary though.
He had snuck through the building easily with his senses and avoided most guards. The ones he could not avoided were pathetically easy to deal with. They wouldn't be able to give a description of him later anyways. He was wearing a black balaclava with his blood red glasses underneath.
As he approached Lindsey rushed for his desk drawer. Xander laughed out loud as Lindsey brandished a guy at him. As the shot rang out Xander twisted to the side, causing the bullet to completely miss him.
Lindsey was too shocked too get off a second shot as Xander charged him and grabbed his wrist in an iron grip. As he stared at his own frightened expression in the blood red lenses he managed to croak out. "Who are you!? What do you want!?"
Xander didn't' say anything for a moment and then remembered Jack's nickname for him. "I'm Daredevil and I want JUSTICE!"
Lindsey didn't get the chance to reply as he went flying across the room. He didn't even get to his knees before the figure lifted him by his lapel in a double-handed grip.
"Time to give the Devil his due!" Xander yelled as he threw Lindsey through the office window. All that could be heard was screaming as he fell twenty-two stories. Then a sickening thud. Then silence.
For a brief moment, underneath his sunglasses, Xander's eyes glowed red.
Back in Sunnydale, in the burned out ruins of a High School, the Hellmouth begian to glow an eerie red. A fraction of a second later darkness reigns once again.
March 8, 2000
Xander stood in front of the old, ominous building for hours. He wasn't sure what made him come here, but it just seemed right. He was just having trouble gathering up the courage to enter.
Words Jack once told him echo in his mind. "You can do anything if you're not afraid."
With a new determination Xander heads towards the building. The old wooden door makes a loud creak as he pulls it slowly pulls it open and he enters.
He stops in the middle of the large room for a moment. Enjoying the beautiful workmanship with his remaining senses. He could see himself building beautiful things like this. In a another life that is.
Pulling himself from his thoughts, Xander walks to a small booth in the corner. Pulling the cloth back he takes a seat inside. He bows his head and makes a cross with his hands. "Forgive me father, for I have sinned."