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*HE DROPPED IT!
Letting off the rest of his ammo into the nearest onrushing Turok-Han, Xander performed a tactical reload of his AA-12 combat shotgun so smoothly and quickly that he was firing again even before the empty drum magazine hit the cavern ground. Only the fact that he had more than enough targets currently trying their best to rip him into tiny pieces kept Xander from wasting a shot in the general direction of that…that butterfingers…vampire
now frantically fighting off his own opponents.
Blasting entirely through Turok-Han chests with his FRAG-12 high explosive armour-piercing rounds, both of these U.S. Army munitions were a souvenir of his and Cordy’s exploit years ago when this pair of high school students had sneaked into the armory of the military base outside the Sunnydale town limits. Apparently, his then-girlfriend had never mentioned this to the rest of the Scoobies, and Xander himself had always kept quiet about what they’d done right after finding what they were looking for, something that’d hopefully take down the Judge. After all, if anybody had caught them at that point, they were already going to be in plenty of trouble over stealing a measly little rocket launcher, so why not take a few more things that could one day possibly help out the Scooby Gang?
Back then, Xander had basically loaded himself down with lots
of military goodies, so much that he’d barely been able to stagger out of the place.
Blowing a few more of those primordial vampires back to hell, Xander absently muttered to himself under the uproar of the battle between the First Evil’s most dangerous minions and the Slayers, which besides Buffy and Faith, now included the new warrior women created by Willow’s worldwide spell, “Shoulda brought the Claymores.”
Damn straight. It wasn’t like he’d been saving up those anti-personnel mines for Christmas gifts, anyway. This ultimate fight in the Hellmouth cavern was specifically what those weapons were created for, which a glum Xander had long ago realized, after reluctantly storing away his cherished treasures from the raid on the Army base. While he would’ve been overjoyed to use every single one of those lovely guns and the rest of his explosive keepsakes to help cleanse his hometown of the hostile demons infesting this California city, the sad fact was that this would have drawn a great deal of unwelcome attention to the Scooby Gang from the authorities. Even the local police force, those corrupt, lackadaisical, ‘I-know-NUSSING!’ cops would’ve finally gotten off their fat duffs due to the continuous automatic weapons fire breaking out nightly somewhere in the municipality’s many graveyards.
The muzzle of his weapon tracking in sync with his sweeping gaze, Xander took out a particularly fast-moving vamp that was getting too close to Faith decapitating her own foe with one smooth swing of the Scythe (*Sheesh! That thing’s a modified Lochaber axe, for crying out loud!*). Ignoring the brunette woman’s startled look of thanks, Xander glanced over at where Spike had managed to defeat his adversaries and had then dropped to his knees on the stone floor in a desperate search for the magical amulet which was supposed to save all their asses, according to Buffy’s big plan this Slayer had finally deigned to share with them all.
Using Soldier-Boy’s reflexes to cut down the small group of Turok-Han trying to outflank them, Xander’s ire started steadily increasing in time with every blast of his shotgun. Yeah, right.
Give the most vital task AND the irreplaceable wonder weapon to the same guy who’d spent years trying to kill the entire Scooby Gang. Who after getting chipped by the Initiative, somehow always wormed his way out of trouble, despite what Xander remembered of at least a half-dozen attempts to betray or sell them out. Then, there was Spike’s attempted assault upon Buffy that she’d managed to overlook, her own bright idea to turn the walking British corpse into her lover, and most mind-boggling of all, keeping him around even after he’d murdered several of the Potentials who’d come to the blonde Slayer for protection. That worked out great for them, didn’t it?
Of course, Buffy always had an indignant defense concerning her necro cuddle-bunny, which mainly involved an imperious statement that never failed to make Xander gag: “He was being controlled by the First then, and he’s got a soul now!”
Unknowingly having a truly savage expression upon his features, Xander destroyed two Turok-Han that were bearing down on Spike. This spiky-haired vamp didn’t even notice, what with still looking for his fumbled prize. Beginning to feel his head about to explode in sheer fury, Xander snatched out from the AA-12 his latest empty magazine, and just to express to the entire universe his seriously pissed-off mood, the Sunnydale native hurled the metal disk right into the craggy face of the closest creature. Blinking in shock over that very odd act of defiance, this Turok-Han next received the first round of Xander’s only remaining magazine right into its crotch.
With there now being an abruptly cleared space around the maniac with the shotgun, Xander had enough time to think some more, while also paying no heed to how his blood seemed to be boiling. So, Spike had a soul? And this meant what?
Plenty of human monsters throughout history had created immeasurable misery, all while having a soul. At least Deadboy had felt guilty about what his body had done under Angelus’ control, but Spike didn’t even have this excuse. Moreover, that undead English demon hadn’t ever shown the slightest signs of remorse over anything from his century of torture and killing to even right now, when he was still wearing the leather coat that was his trophy of a Slayer’s murder. Spike had basically kept his usual personality of ‘sod you, wanker’ throughout everything, flaunting his insolence while living in close quarters with people he might slaughter at any moment.
Wrathfully firing through the intangible image of Tara Maclay waving its forces into another attack, Xander broke up the First Evil’s latest assault with the last of his special ammunition. Dropping his useless shotgun to the ground, the man pulled out two Glock 21 pistols loaded with .45 ACP cartridges from their holsters on his combat harness, and Xander started firing both weapons at once with amazing accuracy. Regardless of every action movie of the last couple of decades, very few people are actually capable of doing this, but Soldier-Boy just happened to be one of them.
It also helped that Xander had whiled away the last couple of years when he had a spare hour or two in modifying his pistol ammunition into explosive rounds. After delicately hollowing out the tips of his bullets and injecting a few drops of very special water into this space before sealing up the projectile again, this resulting in Xander enjoying the successful detonation of his rounds that burst apart under their impact into golf ball-sized chunks of metal after directly hitting the target. Which was usually either the left or right eye of a chosen Turok-Han, who never had the chance to survive the Scooby Gang member’s holy water rounds.
Still, in the end, everybody eventually runs out of bullets, and after discarding his empty pistols, the Sunnydale man reached behind his back, and he pulled out his next-to-last-ditch weapon. Ordinarily, Xander would’ve used his favorite axe, but Soldier-Boy had wanted to go out in style with his own preferred chopper, and hey, that guy sure deserved a last favor. So, Xander gripped a WWII-era short entrenching tool purchased online from E-Bay, with its shovel edges sharpened to a razor keenness. Breaking away from the startled group of warrior women, who tried to hold off their own enemies while screaming at Xander to come back, the running man ignored them to sprint directly at the biggest group of Turok-Han in front of him.
Dashing past a gaping Spike still on his knees, with a last sincere “ASSHOLE!" yelled at him, Xander held onto his primitive hand weapon, while the other monsters stood ready with fang and claw to receive their next meal. Shouting and waving his shovel with one hand, nobody noticed that Xander’s other hand had slipped loose to grip a pin protruding from his front fatigues pocket that led under his shirt to something taped onto his chest. Just a few more steps, and just before jumping at those vamps, he’d pull the pin and two seconds later, it’d be, “Hello, Mr. Turok-Han, my name is four pounds of C-4! Pleased to meet you!”
With a sudden shimmer of white light, Xander Harris in his suicide run changed into someone else entirely.That
managed to distract everybody even while they were fighting for their lives. In some cases halting in mid-swing against demon or human, from the First Evil down, they all gawked at the sudden stranger among them, who’d also stopped dead in his tracks. Everyone watched how a figure in a close-fitting orange and red costume covering him from head to toe and wearing some kind of helmet then lifted his arms that no longer carried a shovel, examining them in clear bewilderment. Turning around to face the group of Slayers, Spike, and the First Evil, this unknown person showed these other people a blank, metallic visor or faceplate completely obscuring the features beneath this.
Which meant nobody could see how Xander was maniacally grinning at his friends and enemies. Well, the man kinda thought
he was doing this, but since he no longer actually had a flesh and blood body, but was instead entirely composed of sentient anti-energy held safely by his protective containment suit, Xander wasn’t really able to smirk in absolute triumph over changing into the most perfect member of the Legion of Super-Heroes for this specific moment. Hey, he’d already been just about to die for those he loved, and now he could take out a lot
more of those monsters he’d hated with a passion ever since Jesse had been turned years ago.
Spinning around to face the horde of Turok-Han, who were now advancing towards this new foe, the stranger’s faceplate snapped up, and the superhero known as Wildfire burst out from his suit into the Hellmouth cavern. An overpowering jet of pure golden energy shot from the collapsing costume, effortlessly passing through every single vampire in his path and turning them all to dust. Continuing on his journey while destroying these panicked creatures, Wildfire struck the far wall of the cavern, to then billow up and outwards while changing into an immense wall of sheer energy that spread apart to cover the entire area of the enormous underground room.
Instantly sweeping forward faster than even a vampire could move, the golden wall passed over all the fleeing Turok-Han, ignoring their immediate destruction to concentrate upon Xander’s real target. Even in his newest shape, the man still retained his intelligence, but the longer Wildfire was out of his containment suit, the more his personality was beginning to dissipate into non-existence. That didn’t matter the slightest to Xander, as he now imitated a tsunami of pure energy, to come crashing down directly onto the First Evil staring in shock at its doom. For that it indeed was, since this intangible representation of pure wickedness still thought nothing could harm it. Against physical
forces, this was quite true -- but Xander was now composed of equally immaterial anti-energy that met and overwhelmed the First Evil.
Ripping and tearing with every bit of force he could muster against the other dimensional entity, an elated Xander felt it crumbling in its grip, until an increasingly-injured First Evil made a desperate and ultimately successful break towards the nearest weak point in existence, the Hellmouth itself. Enraged by his captive’s escape, Xander in turn tried to pursue this monster, only to be blocked by being unable to match the specific level of reality where the totally drained First Evil was now barely surviving. Whatever else, it’d take at least thousands of years for that formerly arrogant villain to recover its powers.
Still appearing as an immense cloud of golden energy, Xander ‘looked’ at where the awed Slayers had retreated up against the other wall of the cavern under the entry into the Sunnydale High School above. Buffy, Faith, and the rest of the girls were staring in disbelief at what had halted just a few yards away. With his thoughts beginning to fade faster and faster, Xander was comforted by the realization that his friends there had all survived, even that bastard Spike--
Shifting his attention downwards then, Xander noticed that there was just empty space at where his energy was hovering, which just happened to be the exact spot where a certain blond vampire had been in one piece until a few seconds ago.
As his mind flickered out of existence, the very last thing that went through Xander’s consciousness was a gleefully sheepish: *Uh… Ooops?*
Stepping out of their stopped school bus that had barely outrun the ground collapsing after them, Buffy, Dawn, and several others silently stared at the immense dust cloud that marked the end of the city of Sunnydale a few miles behind them. The rest of the pitifully few survivors that remained on the bus either nursed their wounds or tried to bear up under their knowledge that everyone else was dead or missing.
This latter list included Xander Harris. The last they’d seen of what their friend had changed into, the incredible golden cloud, it suddenly dissolved into thin air, leaving behind only a limp and totally empty futuristic costume on the cavern floor. That had been just before the ground started to shake, forcing all the women to get out of the Hellmouth in a frantic dash up into the school and then outside to the waiting bus already filled with the injured survivors. There hadn’t even been time to collect the dead, which consisted of Anya and several Slayers.
Not to mention Spike, of course.
Holding tightly onto her immobile sister, Dawn at last spoke through her tears, “Buffy, what do we do now?”
Weary beyond measure, the blonde older woman eventually opened her mouth, about to say something, only to be interrupted by something utterly unexpected.
Several yards away, in front of them all, a sudden burst of light composed of intermingled white and golden colors illuminated a patch of ground. When the glow faded away, left behind was an out-cold Xander Harris lying on his stomach, but otherwise totally unharmed. Everyone could tell this right away, due to that unconscious man also being completely naked, his bare white butt now exposed to the entire world.
Her mouth still wide open, Buffy Summers eventually managed, “First of all…we get Xan a new pair of pants.”