Justice League Xander:
An Arrow's Flight

By Paradox761
Paradox761@mail.com
http://memberstripod.com/~Paradox761

Disclaimer: I do not own these characters, nor do I claim to. No copyright infringement is intended, so please don't sue. I don't have any money anyway.

Spoilers: “Halloween” (BtVS), “Graduation” (BtVS), “Pangs” (BtVS), “Grave” (BtVS), and “Patriot Act” (JLU).

Summary: When Xander dresses as one of his heroes for Halloween, the path his life takes is changed forever. Will his friends be able to deal with the choices he makes? (note: this is *not* YAHF)

Author's note: This story is part of the “Justice League Xander” series, the rest of which can be found at my website (link above).

*

(3/?)

 

(Additional Author’s Note:  To clarify, this is a crossover with the DC Animated Universe, specifically Justice League Unlimited and Teen Titans.  So the Titans team that Xander is a part of is the Titans East team from the cartoon series, featuring Bumblebee, Aqualad, and Más y Menos.  Also, the date at the opening of the pervious part was incorrect, it should have read November 2000, not November 1999.  Thank you.)

 

June 2002

Kingman’s Bluff

 

Willow stood at the top of the bluff, her hair and eyes blackened from the dark magic that she had absorbed.  In front of her stood the long forgotten idol, unearthed now and glowing from power that she was filling it with.  The power of an entire planet filled with fear and pain and anger.  Her face contorted in fury as she fed the effigy.

 

What she didn’t notice was an arrow fly up over the edge of the bluff and stick into the ground.  A cable attached to the back of the arrow and running down the side of the ledge suddenly went taut, and a moment later a masked figure in red climbed up and over the edge.  He quickly took in the scene before him, the look on Willow’s face, the power that she wielded with barely a thought.  The task ahead of him seemed hopeless, the fate of the world inevitable.  Still, he had to try.  He set his bow and quiver on the ground, the treasured weapons would do him no good today.  He thought briefly about the irony of what Ollie had said when he gave him that bow, about how it would likely be with him until the day he met his end.  He reached up and peeled off his mask, dropping it to the ground next to his quiver.  If he was going to die this day, then it would be as himself, with no masks between him and his best friend. 

 

Xander stepped between Willow and the effigy, interrupting the flow of magic.  It stopped almost as soon as it touched him, but still it stung like hot electricity.  His muscles tingled and felt slightly numb, but he bit down the pain.  “Hey, black-eyed girl.  Whatcha doing?”

 

Willow looked surprised for a moment, but only a moment.  Her features quickly shifted back to their mask of pain and rage.  “Get out of here,” she hissed.

 

“Oh, no.  You’re not the only one with powers, you know.  You man be a hopped-up uber-witch, but this archer can still split the wings off a fly at fifty paces.”

 

Willow ignored him and went back to charging the idol, blasting it with another stream of energy.  Xander stepped in front of the effigy again and winced in pain as he broke the magical connection.  Willow growled, “You can’t stop this!”

 

“Yeah, I get that.  It’s just…where else am I going to go?  You’ve been my best friend my whole life.  World’s going to end, where else would I want to be?”

 

“You hate me!”

 

Xander shook his head.  “I don’t hate you, Willow.  As mad as I was, I could never hate you.  I love you.”

 

“Is this the master plan?  You’re going to stop me by telling me that you love me?”

 

“Well, I was going to try a boxing glove arrow but somehow I thought you’d see that coming.”

 

“Still making jokes.”

 

“I’m not joking.  I know you’re in pain.  I can’t imagine the pain you’re in.  And I know you’re about to do something apocalyptically evil and stupid and hey, I still want to hang.  You’re Willow.”

 

“Don’t call me that!”

 

“The first day of kindergarten you cried because you broke the yellow crayon and you were afraid to tell anyone.  You’ve come pretty far, ending the world not a terrific notion, but the thing is, yeah, I love you.  I love crayon-breaky Willow and I love scary-veiny Willow.  So if I’m going out, it’s here.  You want to kill the world, you start with me.  I’ve earned that.”

 

“You think I won’t?”

 

“It doesn’t matter.  I’ll still love you.”

 

“Shut-up!” Willow shouted, her face twisted in anger.  She slashed at the air with her hand and Xander winced as three large cuts opened on his face.  He touched his face and looked down at the blood on his fingers.

 

“I love you,” he repeated.  Willow slashed at the air again.  Xander staggered but stayed on his feet, his face twisted in pain as the slashes ripped across the front of his costume.  He looked up and their eyes met again.  “I love…”

 

Willow reached up and a stream of energy shot out from her hand, striking Xander and knocking him to the ground before he could finish.  He slowly pushed himself up, clutching his midsection.  Willow’s anger slowly turned to sorrow as she watched.  Pain and death, that’s all she had to give anymore, she thought to herself.  There was no more love, no more joy.  It had all slipped away, just like Tara’s life.

 

Xander staggered to his feet and began moving toward her on hesitant legs.  “I…love you.”

 

“Shut-up,” she commanded again, her voice quivering.  Another bolt of magic shot out and struck Xander.  He grunted in pain but stayed on his feet.  The blasts were getting weaker.  How could he say that?  After what she’d done, after what she’d done to him.  All she ever did was hurt the people she loved.  She hurt Tara by abusing magic, and her trust.  She was so afraid of losing Xander that she lashed out and pushed him away.  She didn’t deserve love anymore.

 

“I love you, Willow.”

 

“Stop,” she said weakly, as her tears started to come.  She held up her hand again but nothing happened.  Xander continued toward her.  She could always tell when he was lying, she knew him too well.  But his eyes held no deception now, only concern and empathy.

 

“I love you,” he said again as he reached her.  She struck out with her fists, hitting him in the chest as he pulled her into his arms.  Tears streamed down her face as the agony of her grief rolled over her in waves.  She succumbed to it, sinking to the ground and letting her head fall against Xander as she cried.  Somewhere inside of her, her grip on the dark magic she had absorbed faded, and her black hair faded back to its original red.  The pain of her loss and the shame of what she had done, what she had almost done, still ached in her chest.  But there was another feeling there now too.  It was hope, and she clung to it like a life preserver in an ocean of despair.

 

“I love you,” Xander whispered softly as he held her.  Somewhere behind them the glowing effigy began to fade.

 

*

 

Xander got into his truck and started the engine.  He turned on the air conditioner and waited for it to cool him from the summer heat.  He closed his eyes and laid his head back against the headrest, letting the white noise of the truck’s engine lull him into a daze as a million and one thoughts ran through his head.  But a few seconds of peace was all he was allotted before his cell phone rang.  He growled as he picked up the wireless headset from his cup holder and pushed it into his ear.

 

“Hello.”

 

“Xander, it’s Ollie, where are you?  I’ve been trying to call you for hours.”

 

“I’m sitting in the parking lot in front of Sunnydale Memorial Hospital.  I had to leave my phone in the truck, sorry.”

 

“Is everything okay?  The message you left me was kind of vague, just that the world was coming to an end and you’d be in Sunnydale if I needed you.  Is anyone hurt?”

 

“You could say that.  Willow’s girlfriend was killed yesterday.”

 

“Oh my god, what happened?”

 

“This guy Warren, he’s been messing with Buffy all year.  He came into her back yard with a gun and took a couple shots at her.  Buffy took one in the shoulder.  She’s fine now.  A stray bullet went through the upstairs window and hit Tara in the back, went right through her heart.  Willow saw the whole thing.  Can you imagine, Ollie?  After everything they’ve been through, everything they’ve come up against, and just some guy with a gun…” he trailed off.

 

“Xander, I’m so sorry.  How’s Willow doing?”

 

“She didn’t take it too well, and that’s putting it mildly.  She absorbed a lot of dark magic, then she went after him.  She killed him, flayed him alive.”

 

“What?!”

 

“Then she tried to end the world.”

 

“Wait, Willow is the one who tried to end the world?!  What happened?”

 

“I stopped her.”

 

“Is she…”

 

“She’s fine, physically anyway.  I’m not so sure about the rest.”  Xander paused.  “I can’t even begin to imagine the kind of pain a person has to be in to go someplace like that, to want to end all life as we know it.  My best friend, in that kind of pain, and I wasn’t there for her because of some stupid fight we had two years ago!”

 

“You were there Xander, you saved her.”

 

“I stopped her, I don’t know about saving her.  I wouldn’t even know where to begin.”

 

“You should stay, be there for her.”

 

“No, she doesn’t need me now.  Giles is taking her back to England, to some coven that can help her.  They’re leaving tomorrow.”

 

“What are you going to do?”

 

“I don’t know.”  Xander rubbed his face and let his head fall back against the seat again.  “I’m fried, Ollie.  I’m burning out.  I’m being pulled in so many directions that I don’t know which way is up anymore.  Splitting my time between Steel City, Seattle, Sunnydale, and now this new Justice League thing that you want me to join…I can’t keep up with it anymore.  Maybe Willow was right, maybe I am just wasting my time.”

 

“You don’t really believe that.  Nobody works as hard as you do unless they really want it, and I’ve never met anybody who wanted more than you.”

 

“Maybe wanting it isn’t enough anymore.”

 

“Xander, listen to me.  I’m going to tell you something that you already know, something that I told you a long time ago when this whole thing started.  This isn’t an easy life, especially for people like us.  We have to work ten times harder than the big guys just to keep up.  Nobody can keep that pace forever Xander, and you’ve been going full speed for the last four years.  So it’s only natural that you feel this way.  It doesn’t make you weak, it just makes you human, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.  It might be time to make a few adjustments, that’s all.”

 

“What kind of adjustments?” Xander asked skeptically.

 

“Well, for starters, stop spreading yourself so thin.  Maybe it’s time to start thinking about leaving the Titans.  Their roster is pretty full now, I think they can get by without you.  Besides, you’re not exactly a teenager anymore.”

 

“Sounds like you’re talking about hanging up my quiver.”

 

“No, that’s not what I’m talking about.  I’m talking about slowing down a little, that’s all, so you don’t keel over from exhaustion.  Maybe the Justice League is exactly what you need right now.”

 

“What are you talking about?  How is joining another team supposed to help me slow down?”

 

“The Justice League isn’t just another team.  I’ll admit, I was skeptical at first.  It all seemed a little too ‘Big Brother’ to me, but maybe a bigger support system is exactly what guys like us need.  Besides, some of these real powerful types, as well intentioned as they are, scare the crap out of me.  Maybe what they need is guys like us to keep an eye on them, make sure they don’t overstep their bounds.”

 

“Exactly how big is this League?”

 

“Big.  Near as I can figure, they’ve made contact with just about every mask and cape type all over the world, powered and non-powered.  And they’ve almost all agreed to work with them in some capacity.”

 

“Oh boy,” Xander sighed.  “You didn’t drink the Kool-Aid, did you?”

 

“It’s not like that, Xander.  Come up to Seattle, let me introduce you to some people, make your own decision.”

 

Xander sighed again, turning it over in his mind.  It didn’t feel right to just leave so soon after what happened, but there wasn’t anything that he could do for Willow right now.  And sitting around in Sunnydale waiting for her to come back would just make him feel even more powerless.  He loved her, he had meant it when he told her that, but that didn’t mean that things were suddenly fine between them and he couldn’t pretend that they were.  He wanted to fix things between him and Willow, but he just didn’t know how.

 

“Give me a few days to help pick up the pieces here in Sunnydale and I’ll head up.”

 

“I’ll see you in a few days then.  Take care of yourself, Xander.”

 

“You too, Ollie.”

 

*