Disclaimer: Neither Buffy the Vampire Slayer nor Supernatural belong to me.
Note: This was written for the Slaying the Supernatural weekly challenge: weather.
Xander knew he couldn’t do this anymore the first time, after Sunnydale, that he watched a Slayer die and couldn’t bring her back.
It wasn’t Buffy, of course, and Buffy had probably run out of get out of death free cards anyway, but Xander was tired of watching teenage girls die. Willow assured him he’d located all the Slayers in Africa, so he decided to join Willow and Kennedy in South America. Only that didn’t last, because even though Willow was still Willow, Xander found her lifestyle with Kennedy somewhat off-putting. They spent a lot of time in bars and clubs, partying, and Willow was happy, which made Xander glad. But he wasn’t in the mood to party, wasn’t sure he’d ever be in the mood to party again.
So he left Rio, and headed for Rome, but that didn’t work out so well, either. The Immortal creeped Xander out. Buffy seemed happy, but she also seemed a little bit like stepford-Buffy to him; the Immortal seemed to have a nearly Dracula-like effect on women, and even Dawn was a little starry-eyed about him. Xander tried for a while to prove the Immortal was up to no good, but couldn’t, and was forced to conclude that he should butt out. He left for England over Buffy and Dawn’s protests, but he spent an even shorter time with Giles than he had with Willow or Buffy. A Watcher, Xander was not, and Giles was busy rebuilding the Council. Xander thought he would suffocate in tweed if he stayed.
He finally found himself back in the States, wandering aimlessly across the country. He told himself he was finally doing that ‘see America’ thing he’d tried to do the summer after high school, but really it was more because he didn’t have anywhere to go. There was nothing much to see in Blue Earth, Minnesota, unless you counted the world’s largest statue of the Jolly Green Giant. Xander had almost thought he’d found something in need of slaying when he first saw it; in his defense, it was after dark and snowing, so he should be forgiven for momentarily mistaking it for a giant green demon.
Unfortunately, that split second resulted in Xander crashing his car into a fence post when he slid out of control on the icy road. Luckily neither the car nor the post was much damaged; Xander had never driven in snowy conditions before, and he’d been going pretty slowly, amazed by the people who whizzed past him as though nothing was wrong with the roads. He supposed when you lived somewhere where you had to drive through this sort of weather for half the year, you got used to it. But Xander decided he’d probably pushed his luck enough for one night, and went looking for a place to hole up for awhile.
He found himself in a small church. Xander had never spent much time in churches, beyond the occasional theft of holy water, but it seemed to him that they were usually open at strange hours, so despite the dark, he went in.
Apparently churches were creepy at night, Xander decided as he walked in to the deserted rows of pews. The only light in the room was the glow of some candles on the altar, and Xander thought the church was empty until he saw a shadow move near the pulpit. Instantly, he whipped out his stake, before realizing that whatever was lurking in the church, it wasn’t very likely to be a vampire.
In fact, it appeared to be a preacher, which didn’t make Xander much more inclined to put down his weapon. Sure, he knew that they weren’t all like Caleb, but he was wearing the collar, and Xander’s remaining eye twitched just seeing it.
The preacher stepped out of the shadows. “You won’t need that here,” he said, nodding at the stake. “Evil creatures cannot step foot on consecrated ground.”
Xander lowered the stake, but didn’t put it away. “I’ve seen demons in churches before.”
“Does that mean you’re wondering if I’m a demon?” the preacher asked.
“Well, you wouldn’t be the first evil preacher I’ve met,” Xander said. “The last one gave me this.” He pointed to his eye patch.
“Evil takes many forms,” the preacher said. “My name is Jim Murphy, and this is my church. You must be a hunter.”
“No,” Xander said, confused. “Not big with shooting Bambi, or anything like that.”
“I meant a demon hunter,” Jim clarified.
“Oh,” Xander said. “Yeah, I guess….retired, or trying to be, anyway.”
“You’re a little young to be retired,” Jim said.
“I’m just not sure it’s worth it anymore,” Xander said. “We fight, and we die, and the evil’s still everywhere. I’m tired of watching people I care about die.”
“It’s never easy to be the one left behind,” Jim agreed. “But does that mean the fight isn’t worth fighting? Maybe you should be thinking less about those who are dead, and more about those who are not, because you fought.”
Xander put the stake away, thinking about this. He sighed. “I was hoping you’d have a phone I could use. Had a little trouble with my car, need to find a place to stay tonight.”
“Of course,” Jim said. “Actually, if you need a place to stay, I have a spare room. You’re welcome to it. I can help you get back on the road in the morning.”
Xander was still a little uneasy. He opened his mouth to say thanks, but no thanks, but what came out instead was, “Are you a demon hunter?”
“It sort of comes with the job,” Jim said. “But I’m semi-retired myself these days. Mostly save the hunting part for younger folks than me. I help with research, give hunters a safe place to stay, and lend a helping hand occasionally.”
“Like a Watcher,” Xander said, then realized he probably shouldn’t have.
“A what?” Jim asked.
“Never mind,” Xander said. “I will take you up on that room, though, if the offer’s still open.”
Jim smiled, and nodded. Xander followed him out of the church without a word.