Title: Caught on Video
Author: Jinni (email@example.com)
Disclaimer: All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon, et al. All things Highlander belong to Davis/Panzer, et al.
Distribution: The normal places.
Author's Note: In response to Calia's challenge: "Okay on the night that everyone saw Anya and Spike having sex they see something else instead. No Anya/Spike or Spuffy in this universe. Instead they see Xander. It can be that they see him doing something humerous or see something horrible happening to him. I prefer angst, but thats just me."
Warning: Could be considered dark/angsty.
"They're everywhere." Willow muttered, staring in abject horror as one by one she scrolled through the cameras. On the streets, outside of their homes. . .
"That's the Magic Box," Dawn gasped. "Look - there's Xander."
Xander glanced up as he heard the door to the shop open, brow furrowing when he saw the dark figure standing there. He stood up, watching warily.
"Can I help you?"
The figure turned, hood falling aside to reveal the face of a tanned man that Xander couldn't recall ever seeing in the shop before.
"Just looking," the stranger smirked, reaching for one of many trinkets on the shelves that Anya kept meticulously stocked.
"Just a tourist," Xander muttered, trying to convince himself more than anything.
"That guy looks shady, Buff," Willow whispered, catching the blonde's eyes.
"Yeah," Buffy nodded. "You know, I think I'm going to go over there, keep him company 'til Anya gets back."
"Good idea." Willow turned back to the screen, hearing the door open and shut as the Slayer left. Dawn moved closer, leaning her head into her hands, elbows on the table.
"I don't like this." The teen sighed.
"Neither do I."
The stranger was just wandering around the store and, despite the fact that the guy was creepy - white hair and tanned skin, Xander felt himself starting to relax. If he was going to make trouble it would have happened already.
"Rumor has it --"
Xander groaned softly the moment the words left the man's lips. Conversations that started with rumors could never end well. He glanced towards the doorway, judging the distance and how quick he'd have to run to get the door open before the guy could grab hold of him. Sadly, it didn't look to be good for him.
"-- that a sword has recently come into the collection of this. . .shop." The stranger spat out the word as if it were dirt in his mouth. "A rare piece, something of legend."
A crazy looking for a weapon - just great, Xander thought.
"Xander looks scared."
"He does," Willow nodded, hoping that Buffy would get there soon. She wished there was sound on the video, but supposed that she should be lucky just to have the images.
Although, the way things were going, those images could very well turn out to be her worst nightmare.
"I'm just watching the shop for someone," Xander shook his head with a shrug. "I don't know anything about a sword."
The stranger opened his mouth, snapping it shut again almost immediately. His head turned towards the door and a second later it opened.
Great, Xander sighed, another strange guy. And, look, they don't get along.
"You!" The first stranger hissed.
"I warned you to let this go, Bane." The second seemed almost resigned. "It's a legend - a myth."
"So be it, Highlander. You want to make this a fight?"
Xander backed up as first one, then the other drew a sword.
"Oh shit," Willow cursed, eyes widening. Her heart was beating in her chest. Buffy would be there any second, she told herself. Any second now.
"Will--?" Dawn whimpered.
"It'll be okay, Dawnie. . ."
Xander cringed, narrowly resisting the urge to duck under the counter and hope that they just killed each other. They were nearing the back of the shop with their little fight now, their swords clanging agianst one another. Well, if they wanted to fight in here, he'd just have to leave them to it, right?
He scrambled from behind the counter, getting all of three feet towards the door before he tripped over one of the cases that had gotten knocked down in the scuffle. The breath left him in a great whoosh of air and he gasped to get it back. He teetered unsteadily to his feet, focus back on the door and getting away from the loonies.
And then it happened.
"XANDER!!!!" Willow screamed, scrambling back and out of her chair so fast that it toppled over, nearly sending her sprawling to the floor. It was going through him. Oh, goddess, it was going through him. Right where his heart should be. A sword. . .
"No. . .no. . .no no nonononononono!" Dawn moaned, her eyes shut tight against tears that were already starting to fall. She hadn't just seen that. She hadn't seen the psycho crazy guy run Xander through. . .
"Stay here. . . Dawnie, do you hear me - stay here."
All the brunette could do was nod. How did Willow get up around that pain, she wondered? How did she move when her heart had to be just as broken as even Dawn was feeling right now.
Xander. . .
Buffy saw the lightning crackling through the shop as she rounded the last block. Time slowed down as her feet sped on towards the shop, denying what she was seeing. It was like the heavens had rained down their wrath on the shop, lightning flying everywhere. It wasn't hitting any of the other buildings, though; just pouring through the roof of the Magic Box in a concentrated dose of nature's fury.
She hesitated before stepping into the building, afraid for what she'd find. The lightning was bright, almost blindingly so, and she held her hand up to shield her eyes.
And then it was over.
Lowering her arm, the blonde looked around the wreck of the store, gasping in horror when her eyes caught and held on the scene in the middle. A headless body, hand still clutching a sword, lying on the ground next to Xander. . . Xander with a bloody t-shirt where his heart was, not moving. And another man. With long, dark hair. . .and a sword. He had killed the other one. . the one that had been in the shop. . .the one she somehow knew had killed --
"Xander. . ." She whimpered, hesitating between taking a step towards her fallen friend and trussing up the dark haired man to question, or torture, later.
"He'll be alright."
Dawn sobbed, watching her sister fall to the ground next to Xander. She pulled her legs up, feet in the seat of the chair she sat in, and hugged her knees to her chest. Fat, wet tears fell heavily down her cheeks, but she was far past caring.
Xander was dead.
Her heart hurt. Her chest hurt. Her lungs and eyes were killing her. . .but the crying felt like she was at least doing something, even if it were something as pointless and bawling her eyes out.
A movement on the screen brought her back to attention. Willow was there. She'd been quicker than Buffy. Probably teleported part of the way, Dawn acknowledged belatedly. The witch was with Buffy now, cradling the body of their friend as the dark haired stranger looked on.
And then --
No, that couldn't be right. . .
But, there, it happened again.
She squinted, leaning forward to see better. The camera had been hit during the lightning thing, and wasn't broadcasting the greatest of pictures anymore. But. . .there it was, Xander was moving. It looked like he was gasping for air, but he was moving.
Xander shook his head, not quite ready to get up from the floor. "That's just. . . unreal. . ."
Dawn smiled, watching as Xander got to his feet. She wasn't sure what had happened. . .or how.
But it didn't matter.
He was alive.