A/N I have no claim on any aspect of BTVS. Reviews and criticisms are always welcome.
He is old. Older than he ever expected to be. So old that he is the last. He is the final repository of the true history of the world, of the darkness and those who fought it. The last tattered remnant of a history that mankind is already working hard to forget. And only now, now that he can no longer do anything or tell anyone, is the truth revealed to him. Now that it no longer brings any gain or benefit is the purpose of his life made clear. “Typical,” Xander Harris mutters to himself. He is dying and he knows this. In a way death is welcome or at least it was. He had expected the pain to end and to finally be re-united with his friends but now he has knowledge that he didn’t have before and there are more possibilities than he first realized and his prayed for outcome seems less likely. Xander could feel his arms and legs starting to get cold and knew that the moment would soon be at hand. He closed his eye and thought of how he had ended up here.
After the battle with the first, there had been a lot of scrambling and playing catch up. You cannot replace an organization like the Watchers overnight, especially if there are now hundreds of slayers running around where there only used to be one. Somehow they had gotten it done. It had been an insane amount of work and there had been both triumphs and tragedies, but the former outweighed the latter by a good portion. Once everyone had caught their breath, there had been a kind of golden age where evil was being pushed back and losses were few and far between. With Buffy in Italy, Willow in Brazil, Faith in Cleveland, Giles and Dawn in England and himself in Africa; the gang hadn’t gotten together in person, but they had kept in good touch by other means. And for a change they were actually talking to each other, not holding back and hiding their feelings, which made a welcome change and gave Giles a chance to observe that they were indeed growing up.
But like all good things, it didn’t last. The serpent in their garden had been Andrew, and the whining little bastard had sold them out to Wolfram and Hart. While the LA branch may have been a smoking crater, the rest of the organization had been fine. Andrew told them everything he knew, and then they struck. Eighty Five percent of the Council and Slayers were killed in one day, it was something Xander would never forget. And once again, his life was a constant conflict. There were two reasons that the remaining fifteen percent had not died. One was dumb luck, like Willow’s cab breaking down so that she had not been in the Slayer house when it blew up; the other was that while Andrew told them everything that he knew, he hadn’t known everything.
Slowly and carefully, the remains of the Council gathered in Africa and made a reluctant Xander Harris their leader. He had wanted to mourn Buffy, Dawn, Giles and the hundreds of others that had died, but he was needed so he put aside his grief and took up the reins of leadership. It had taken years of training and insanely detailed planning and gathering reluctant allies, but the Council finally struck back with lethal efficiency. Rather than hit the different branches all at once, Xander decided to take them out one by one. The first was the office in Cairo, and the horror stories that spread from the one survivor of that operation put Wolfram and Hart on alert, but it also made them scared. Despite the fact that they were being hunted by Wolfram and Hart, despite the fact that they were being hunted by governments that the evil lawyers controlled, the branches fell as regular as a metronome and each time two things happened. There was always one survivor to tell the tale and Andrew was looked for.
Xander remembered with a fierce joy when the little bastard had been discovered in an upper level office at the Rome branch. He remembered how the weasel had literally wet himself when Xander had burst into the office. He had reached for something and Xander just tased him, he had wanted Andrew alive. Xander also remembered the three days it had taken Andrew to die and the many pains that Xander had inflicted on the traitor. Andrew had repeatedly begged for death but that was one wish that Xander refused to grant. Eventually the little man’s heart had just quit. Xander thought back on what he had done to Andrew and could not find it in his heart to regret one second of it.
He knew that the others had been scared of him for a while afterwards, but soon Andrew’s name and Xander’s vengeance were consumed by other difficulties. Finally there was just the London branch left, something that Xander found deliciously ironic. They had taken out twelve branches of Evil Incorporated but it had not been a bloodless victory. Many of the Council members and the Slayers had died. Honestly Xander had not been sure that there were enough to carry out this last operation, but he was sure that the Council could not stop. Then the final complication had raised it’s head, the evil lawyers were going to try and physically bring the senior partners into this dimension. Once again great magic was called for and once again Willow delivered, but at a fearful cost. All of the wiccans, mages, channelers, or whatever burned themselves out and died sealing the dimensional breach. Xander was in the same room as the magic users and should have died, but he didn’t. The breach was sealed but the ramifications were larger than that. Every dimensional breach had been sealed at once. No more hellmouths, no more portals and no more magic. No gods could breach the seals to empower their followers, no demons could reach across and strengthen their minions; it was all gone. And while everyone was shaken by the backlash from this, Xander and the Council had struck.
It had been a horrific battle with atrocities committed by both sides, as each side knew that this was the last one and held nothing back. But in the end there were three people standing; a spitfire of an Australian Slayer named Miranda, an English Watcher named Weatherbee and Xander Harris. Xander really hadn’t been that surprised at the circular nature of things and if the dimension hadn’t been sealed he would have wondered if the PTB’s hadn’t had a hand in the outcome. He gave Weatherbee the account numbers for the Councils funds, bid the two of them good luck and just walked away. He had lost too much.
Alone and thirty five, Xander found himself without a purpose. The focus of his life for the last twenty years had been eliminated and now he was adrift. He went back to the United States and kicked around for a while until he found himself in Memphis Tennessee and fell back into carpentry. He had been there two years, mourning all that he had lost when she walked into his life. It may be fair to say, back into his life, but the truth is that he really hadn’t had much interaction with Samantha Finn during her first trip through Sunnydale. Ironically, she had been the only survivor of Riley’s unit. Together they shared knowledge and memories that few others could and so it was not surprising when the two of them started dating and then married. They had kept each other happy and held each other when the memories were too much and made a life together. There had been no children, which had been a disappointment, Xander remembered the words of whatever had spoken to him after the enjoining spell, but they had been happy just growing old together. She had died suddenly a year ago, so after forty years Xander was alone again. He faded quickly.
Now here he was with death creeping up his limbs and only now did the truth make itself known. It explained so much. It explained the turmoil of his life, how he had survived things that no one should, his role as a demon magnet; all made clear by this one little piece of knowledge. He closed his eye one last time, he was both hopeful and afraid.
Everyone knows the legend of how Odin traded his eye for wisdom. But have you thought about how true wisdom is acquired?