Disclaimer: I don’t own these characters and never will. BtVS belongs to Joss Whedon and Legacy of the Altendata belongs to John Ringo. I can only claim ideas that come from sleep deprivation and overdosing on caffeine and nicotine.
Sunnydale Memorial Hospital.
Buffy, Willow, Oz, Cordelia and Joyce Summers had gathered in Giles’s hospital room. A detective named Stein had been in earlier blustering threats of arresting Buffy for murder till another detective who seemed too competent to be working for the Sunnydale Police Department said that a squad car had spotted Buffy on the other side of town at the time of Kendra’s death. Stein had left telling them that Xander was now the prime suspect and he was going to put him away for a long time. Giles realised that the entire incident would be labeled as ‘Gangs on PCP’ and forgotten. He made a mental note to contact the Council’s lawyers and make sure that his charge and her friends were protected.
Willow and Cordelia were still in shock at the news of Xander’s death and Angel’s betrayal. Buffy was quietly weeping and Joyce just wanted to take her daughter in her arms and comfort her. But the harsh words exchanged earlier were still too fresh in Buffy’s memory to go to her mother just yet.
Buffy cried not just in grief but also guilt. If she had done the right thing and vanquished Angelus instead of delaying and hoping to return the vampire’s soul Xander would not be dead. Though she had left Angel alive she promised him that if she ever saw him again the best he could hope for was a stake in the heart. The love she once had for ‘The Vampire with a Soul’ was now gone, replaced with loathing. She shuddered at the memory of Angel trying to kiss her after she saw him throw Xander into the vortex with a smile on his face.
Just then there was a polite tap on the door and an orderly came in.
“Excuse me,” he said, “I’m looking for either Rupert Giles or Joyce Summers. I have a letter for them.”
Joyce responded first. “Yes, I’m Joyce Summers.”
The orderly handed her an envelope and quietly left the room. Joyce opened it and read the instructions written on the folded page.
With a quaver in her voice she said. “It’s from Xander. He wants this letter read to all of you.”
Everyone else in the room looked at her expectantly. Swallowing to clear the lump in her throat she started to read.
If you’re reading this it means that Buffy succeeded and saved the world but I didn’t make it. I don’t have much time but there are a few things that I need you all to know.
Buffy, please don’t blame yourself for my death. I knew the risks, I just couldn’t allow someone I know and care for fight on their own. Always remember Buffy that you are my HERO .
Willow, you are my oldest friend and best bud in the world. I’m glad that you met Oz and I hope he makes you happy.
Oz, treat my Will-O-Wisp right and take care of her. You are a good man and I’m glad to have met you.
Cordy, I’ve known you almost as long as I’ve known Willow. Despite you acting like a superficial social queen I know that are far stronger and caring than you show the world. I’m proud to have called you a friend.
Giles, in the time that I have known you I’ve come to think of you as a friend and mentor, someone to look up to. Buffy needs you now more than ever. Take care of her.
Mrs Summers, by now you know that your daughter is a very special young lady. She is stronger than you can imagine but more fragile than you realise. She will always need your strength and love, please let her come home. Buffy needs her mother more than she realises and you are the best of all possible mothers.
I’ll finish now. I hope to see you all again one day. But if any of you turn up one second earlier than you have too I’ll kick your ass, even yours Buffy, Slayer powers or no Slayer powers.
For a moment there was silence in the room. Then Willow collapsed in a chair with a sob of grief. When Oz sat next to her she grabbed him and cried into his shirt. Oz held the young woman he was falling in love with as she wept for the friend she had lost.
As soon as Joyce finished reading the letter Buffy launched herself into the arms of her mother with a wail of despair. “Mom, Xander’s gone and I never told him what he means to me!” she sobbed.
Joyce held her crying child. “Buffy, it’s alright. I think Xander always knew how much you cared for him because he loved you.” With that Joyce started to cry not only for her daughter but for the young man who, without realising it, made the world seem so much better.
Cordelia Chase, queen of the high school social set, from one of the wealthiest families in Sunnydale, whose usual contact with Alexander Harris had been taunts and insults even when they were making out in the Janitor’s closet, realised that Xander had been the closest thing she had to a friend and she had been too blind to see it. She sat down next to Giles’s bed and started to cry. After a moment she felt someone’s hand on her shoulder. Looking up into the face of Rupert Giles she saw the grief and compassion in his eyes.
“It’s alright to cry Miss Chase. Tonight we all lost a friend the likes of which most people will never know. A friend who would have stood by your side against all the armies of Hell if needed, you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t grieve for him.”
Cordelia nodded weakly and grasped the Watcher’s hand before starting to cry again. Giles looked down at the crying brunette and then around the room at the people that had been touched by having Xander in their lives. A tear rolled down his face as he silently wept for the young man whose ability to care for those around him shone a light against the dark that was blinding.
Somewhere beneath Sunnydale.
Angel dragged himself painfully through the tunnels that lay beneath the streets of Sunnydale. The beating he had received at the hands of the Slayer had been severe. If he hadn’t been a vampire he would have been dead within the first few seconds. If the Watcher hadn’t groaned in pain and distracted her Buffy would have ‘killed’ him. He remembered the last words that she had said to him as he fell into the tunnel entrance.
“If any soul deserves to be cursed it’s yours. If I ever see you again pray that all I’ll do is drive a stake into your black heart.” the look of contempt and loathing that was on her face was scariest thing that he had ever seen.
Pausing to rest he wondered why Buffy hadn’t been able to see why he had thrown Xander into the portal. Harris was the most expendable out of all ‘The Scoobies’. It wasn’t like he had any special skills or powers. It was a miracle that he had even survived after two years of fighting and that miracle was the Slayer. With him gone Buffy’s chances of survival had increased.
In the back of his mind he could hear Angelus’ mocking laughter. “Of course Liam, you did it all to protect your love. It had nothing to do with getting rid of the competitor for the Slayer’s heart.”
“That’s not why I did it. If Harris had stayed Buffy would have been killed trying to save his worthless hide.”
“Sure Liam you did it all for her and she was so grateful that she almost beat you to death to thank you for your ‘gift’.” Angelus said with a sarcastic chuckle. “With Harris gone you don’t have to worry about your soul mate deciding she wanted to be with someone who could walk in the sun and give her a family if she wanted it and who wouldn’t turn evil the next time she spread her legs. Too bad that she actually saw you do it.”
Angel snarled as he approached the ‘Bolt hole’ he had set up on his arrival in Sunnydale. Inside he kept his emergency cache, money, a change of clothes, identification papers and most importantly, if Willy’s cousin was as good as advertised, several units of whole blood. Hopefully he would be able to feed and heal before leaving town when the sun set. Part of him wanted to stay and confront Buffy and try to explain why he did what he did. However most of him was still terrified by the fury on the Slayer’s face.
Entering the sealed basement he went over to the bar fridge and grabbed a blood bag. Empting it into a mug he collapsed into a chair. Staring into his cup of blood he made a decision. He wouldn’t stay in Sunnydale but head to L.A., or maybe north to Seattle. After a year or so he’d quietly return. By then Buffy would have got over the loss of her ‘Xander shaped friend’ and be willing to give him a second chance.
Draining the mug he half filled it with blood before adding a healthy slug of whiskey. In the back of his head Angelus chuckled. “Of course Liam, she’ll run straight into your arms. The problem being is that she’ll have stake in her hand. But everyone needs dreams.”
“Shut up demon.”
The entities known to the Himmit as ‘The Queens’ gathered to discuss the recent anomaly. These beings were old, the youngest of them was raised when humanity was still chipping stone for tools and fire was a novel idea.
“Did the vortex originate with the Hedran?”
“No the enemy has nothing to do with it. Our children are still safe.”
“What of the human?”
“We have seen his memories. Despite his youth he has experienced much. He has faced agents of the ultimate evil without flinch. Committed to helping and protecting those he loves no matter what the cost to himself.”
“He has been touched by other memories. One a fierce predator and pack hunter. The other a soldier and leader. He keeps these memories and they guide him on his chosen path.”
“There is something else. Locked away in his mind is the ability to see falsehoods and that which is hidden.”
“It is obvious that this human is one of the ‘Light’s champions’. The question is what do we do?”
“The answer is simple. He must be returned to his own world to continue on his path. We can do nothing less than help him return to his home.”
“It will be years as the human’s measure time before he can be returned. What will be done with him till then?”
“The armies of humanity will soon battle the Posleen on two worlds. We will ease his entry into these forces. That way he will be with others of his kind and at the same time train for the future battles he will face.”
“Why do we care what happens to one human?”
“If this one survives to return he may be able to strengthen the barriers that hold back the darkness. Thus protecting our own children and all other sentient races.”
“And if his world falls to the dark before his return. What then?”
“We wait ten years so that when he is sent back less than a year will have passed there.”
“We are agreed then. Instruct our children on what is to be done. Ensure the guards on the dimensional barriers are sealed. Even though this was not caused by The Hedran they may have detected it.”
End Chapter 2