Note: This was a plot bunny that would NOT go away!
Disclaimer: See the bottom to prevent spoilers
Summary: In the years following the opening of the Sunnydale Hellmouth and the deaths of half the Scoobies, one surviving hero is forced to step down from the Good Fight.
"Such a damn shame when it happens to good men like that," sighed the General. "Let me see the paperwork on Harris, and gimme an overview, Sergeant."
"Of course, sir," said the over efficient NCO, handing a thick sheaf of papers to his commanding officer. "Major Alexander Harris, aka Xander, codename Beastmaster Prime. Binary bonded to feline subject Gamma - 42F7D, and canine subject Omega - D13AA1. Major Harris signed up during the so-called Hellmouth Overload, upon the deaths of his friends Rupert Giles, Elizabeth "Buffy" Summers, and Willow Rosenberg, the 'Martyrs of the Hellmouth' as the press have dubbed them."
"Dammit, this is him?" cursed the General. "He's one of the greatest heroes of the Hellwar! Only Major Lehane and Captain Osbourne even come close!" He stumped out his cigar and leafed through citation after citation. "The three of them, and their binary bonded companions, have been instrumental in nearly every major offensive since Sunnydale blew up and became Demon Central. Why are we losing him?"
"A curse, sir."
"Yes sir," continued the sergeant. "It seems that another Hellmouth Overload survivor, one Amy Madison, held Major Harris responsible for the destruction of Sunnydale since, she claims, he was not present in the Hellmouth chamber when Summers, Rosenberg, and Giles faced off against the unknown entity that destroyed the seal. Miss Madison is a class IV metakinetic, and used the tainted energies of Sunnydale to curse him somehow."
"What kind of curse?" demanded the general. "And is there any way to reverse it?"
"No way to reverse it, sir," noted the sergeant, "at least to our knowledge - the curse was backed up by an Extra-Planar Entity known as D'Hoffryn. It basically declared that for every success he has, another person close to him will die."
"Damn. How's he holding up?"
"Not good, sir. He has developed a pathological fear of success, which is reinforced by the inferiority complex he used to have. Even worse, it transmitted down the binary bond link to Gamma-42F7D and Omega-D13AA1. In the former, it manifested as an extreme desire to overeat, especially human foods, while the latter has been practically lobotomized by the trauma."
"Great, just great," spat the General sarcastically, rubbing the bridge of his nose. "How are Major Lehane and Captain Osbourne taking the curse on their friend?"
"We're not sure about Captain Osbourne, sir, he's rather hard to 'read' even in the best of times. But Major Lehane seems quite concerned, and has requested she be allowed to go undercover to keep an eye on him after his retirement."
"Right. What's the scenario for the hypnotherapy?"
"We're setting him up as a single civilian, living with his two pets. He supposedly inherited a large trust fund that will support him in comfort but not extravagance as a way to explain his military pension and his own savings. If allowed, Major Lehane will be undercover as the veterinarian for his 'cat' and 'dog'."
"What names are we giving them?"
"Major Harris will be renamed Jonathan 'Jon' Quincy Arbuckle. Subject Gamma-42F7D will be his rather large cat 'Garfield', and Omega-D13AA1 will be his dog, Odie."
DISCLAIMER: Nope, I own neither the Buffy crew nor the Garfield crew. Though I do own the Sergeant and the General, and let me tell you, it's good to have a General in your back pocket. :P