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The One that Protects, Old Version

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Summary: Xander dresses as Ichigo and acquires a zanpakuto. What would a sword made from his soul be like? How would it change the course of Buffy? A quick exploration of a major power shift.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Anime > Bleach
Literature > Fantasy
(Recent Donor)ElSantoFR1816,8497123,15919 Jun 1219 Jun 12Yes
The One that Protects

Disclaimer: I do not own and Buffy: The Vampire Slayer intellectual property nor do I own any Bleach intellectual property. Most of those belong to Joss Whedon and Tito Kubo, respectively. I also do not own any part of the Arthurian mythos, though I think that is actually in the public domain. I also do not own the design for Xander's Bankai sword as I blatantly took that from Anduril's design from the Lord of the Rings series of films.

The One that Protects

Xander panted as he kneeled on the ground. He was so tired. He gripped his sword tighter and pushed himself to his feet. Who knew slaying a dragon could take it out of you? Of course, he hadn't slept right in days. They'd been constantly dogged by crazy zomboids, crazy demon minions, and even crazy knights!

And boy had they really regretted picking a fight with him.

Stand fast! She is readying her attack!

Xander instantly obeyed the voice in his head. He stood up then dodged to the side, bringing his sword down on the charging blonde as he did so.

(]ooo((=============>

The plastic sword he was once again wielding shattered against Spike's head.

"Ow! I bloody well told you to restrain this plonker!" he screamed at his new minions only to discover that they were all children once again. "Oh, hell!" he muttered to himself as he slowly turned around. Buffy straightened from her cowering position and pulled the wig off her head.

"Honey, I'm home!"

Xander woke up from his dream. He'd told the gang that all he retained from that night was that he now knew Japanese. Giles had immediately put him to work translating some of the more exotic scrolls that were part of his collection.

It wasn't really the most important thing he retained from that night.

What do you want to protect?

Those words had reverberated through his mind, not his possessor's. He'd screamed back "My Family!" as images of Willow, Buffy and Giles filtered through his mind. "My Home!" as battles and fights throughout Sunnydale likewise ran through his head. "My Planet!" as conjured images of the possible repercussions if the more awful apocalypses he had read about actually came to pass.

Then protect them! Stand up! Be Strong! Believe in yourself! Always move forward! Never step back! Get up Alexander! Stand and be strong!

He could still feel it, inside of him, some remnant of the power that touched him that night.

"I want to be strong," he whispered to himself. "I want to be strong…" he trailed off as tears began to stream down his face. The desire, the want, the need was so strong in him it felt like something was clenching his heart and trying to burst out of his chest. It was burning him, from the inside out. It ate at him as he tried so hard and failed yet again.

"I want to be strong," he whispered hoarsely as his throat tightened up. His sheets tore from where he was clenching them so tightly.

"I want to be strong," he whispered savagely as he stood up and flipped his bed over, frame and all. It toppled over his nightstand, breaking his lamp, and crushing his school supplies. He could still remember the feeling of strength and confidence that had flowed from the soul of the one who inhabited his body on Halloween. The certainty of purpose that had filled him and driven the spirit to protect Willow and Buffy.

Why?

He could remember clearly that deep strong voice speaking to him.

Why do you want to be strong?

In these dark moments he could almost hear it-

Alexander! Why do you want to be strong?

…he could hear it!

"To protect! To protect my friends, my precious people!"

Then wield me! My name is-

"I know what your name is," he interrupted. "After all, my soul sword could only ever have one name."

Very good, Alexander. When the time comes, you will be ready.

(]ooo((=============>

There was an explosion of light as his sword came into contact with his target. The force sent him flying to the air until he impacted deeply into the wall of a nearby building. He pushed himself out of the crevice and jumped off the face of the building, flying straight at the blonde he was battling.

A winged demon flew into his path. Xander brought down his sword with a scream.

(]ooo((=============>

Buffy stared in shock as Xander pulled a beautiful short sword out of nowhere and cut off the police officer's hands. She screamed as neon orange blood spurted from the stumps.

Waitaminnit, neon orange blood?

Xander glanced at her blood and immediately decapitated the now apparent non-human. Her head plopped down in front of Harmony and her friends, who began shrieking. The body soon dissolved into nothing.

"Alright!" yelled Principal Snyder, "I want to know which of you punks turned on the gas in here and made everyone hallucinate!"

Buffy quickly pulled Xander into the library. She noted that she couldn't even see his sword anymore.

Xander stalled Giles and Buffy's questions until Willow arrived from escorting the now named Oz into an ambulance.

"So, now will you tell us where you got a magic sword?"

"It's not a magic sword Buffy."

"It disappears!"

"The sword only exists here when I make it!" snapped Xander before he took a deep breath.

"So it's a conjuration you perform Xander?"

"No Giles" said Xander patiently, "it's not magic. At least not any magic I've ever heard about. That sword is nothing less than the manifestation of a part of my soul."

"Good lord!"

"Soul magic?" hazarded Willow as Xander frowned at her.

"Uh, n-n-no, i-i-it isn't magic. Not according to the traditional definition which is the manipulation of energy toward an end. You say this is a manifestation?" asked Giles.

"Yeah, that's the only way to really put it."

"My god, one of the divine powers," whispered Giles reverently as he pulled off his glasses.

"Uh, what?" asked Xander blankly.

"Divine?" squeaked Willow.

"What you talkin' 'bout Giles?" snapped Buffy.

Giles wiped at his glasses for a moment before he set them on his face again. "There, there, there are some that posit that all of creation is in fact a manifestation of the essence of God. To be able to manifest something of your own soul and make it a physical construct is said to be something only God can do."

"Uh, maybe, look," rambled Xander nervously at the awed looks he was receiving, "I don't know about God but the power that I have is something that certain souls can do."

"Souls?" asked Giles curiously.

"Uh, all living things, or, er, things with souls in them have spirit energy. If you have a high enough level of spirit energy you can manifest it in the physical world as spiritual pressure."

"Fascinating."

"Sounds like a fake psychic's act to me," said Buffy skeptically. She didn't really understand or believe this manifestation stuff. She just wanted Xander to tell her how he managed to magically hide and bring out his sword! That would be very useful on patrol.

"Okay, but you asked for it," breathed out Xander. He closed his eyes and seemed to draw in on himself. Buffy, Willow and Giles looked at each other curiously as they tried to figure out what was going on.

Then Xander opened his eyes.

Willow and Giles immediately fell to the floor, clutching at their throats as they struggled to breathe.

Buffy leapt back, the slayer spirit in her screamed to run from the huge threat in the room. When she looked, all she saw was Xander. The biggest Xander she had ever seeing looking down at her and- wait, he hadn't changed at all! He was just standing there, frowning.

"This is spiritual pressure, Buffy," he said softly. His voice seemed to echo inside her, like she imagined the voice of God to be like. "I'm not even doing anything with it except exerting it on my surroundings."

Giles struggled to rise to his knees, but he felt like he was drowning at the bottom of the ocean.

Willow saw stars as her body began to shut down.

Xander closed his eyes and let out a long, slow breath. The pressure stopped.

Giles shakily rose to his knees as Willow gasped for air. "I got you, don't worry," said Xander as he pulled Willow to her feet. She collapsed against him and he helped her over to a chair.

"I guess you weren't making stuff up, huh?" asked Buffy with a nervous chuckle.

"No, no I wasn't."

Once Willow and Giles recovered, Giles asked to see his sword.

Xander gripped the air and a sword appeared in his hand. There was no flash of light, no burst of force, not even the displacement of air. It was as if the sword had always been in his hand.

The sword was indeed a short sword, no longer than two and a half feet at the most. It had a half circle pommel in the Norman style. The handle was wrapped diagonally in leather as was traditional for Scottish swords and ended in a long curved cross guard reminiscent of Celtic blades. While the pommel was decorated with a Celtic knot the cross guard had the Latin word Protectorem carved into the metal. The blade itself was slightly curved in a very subtle leaf shape probably taken from Welsh blade shapes while it had a triangular fuller featured in Danish blades. The sword ended in a triangular point in traditional English style.

The sword seemed to scream that it was a typical medieval sword to Willow and Buffy. However, to Giles' trained eye it looked like someone had mashed together Saxon, Roman, Scottish, Irish, Norman, Danish and Welsh sword making techniques and produced this sword. It was, however, a quintessentially British blade.

Despite the mish-mash of different styles, the sword was absolutely flawless. The steel it was forged from seemed to be of the highest caliber and it was polished to a mirror shine. Even the leather wrappings seemed supple as well as strong. Looking at the sword filled Giles with a warm and comforting feeling. It even seemed to glow, although Giles was sure that it wasn't. His mind seemed to want to imagine a glow around the blade, however.

Willow and Buffy were simply struck dumb. Willow by how right the blade looked in Xander's hand. Buffy by how utterly beautiful the sword was.

"This," said Xander lovingly as he caressed the blade, "this is my soul." The others stared silently as Xander titled the blade so they could examine it from all angles.

Then Xander swung the sword.

"Oh my god," breathed Buffy in awe, "is it singing?" Willow and Giles turned confused looks on Buffy while Xander stared at her in shock.

I like her.

Xander gulped and spun his sword, offering the handle to Buffy. Buffy's eyes widened and she shook her head.

"No, Xander, this is, this is…" she trailed off, unable to find the words.

"Go ahead," said Xander gently. Buffy hesitated as she reached out before she tried again and grasped the sword.

Buffy gasped at the weight of the blade in her hand. It was heavy, heavier than even the claymore Xander had made her try once. But the balance was perfect! It fit perfectly in her hands. She suspected it fit perfectly in Xander's hands as well, despite her smaller hands. A feeling of reassurance and determination filled her.

This was a piece of Xander's soul.

She swung the sword with the inherited confidence born of a thousand years of combat. The sword was singing! She could hear its chorus in her mind!

Stand up, Be Strong

No right, no wrong,

Forever hence

Believe in yourself

And protect!

Buffy gasped again and shakily handed the sword back to Xander. "Th-th-thank you," she stuttered out. "I, uh, uh, I gotta go, get to class!" she said quickly before dashing out of the library.

"What's up with her?" asked Willow in concern.

Xander shrugged.

(]ooo((=============>

His cut cleaved the winged demon in two. Without slowing down, Xander plunged toward the earth and the mass of demon minions assembled between him and the big bad.

"Have at thee!" he screamed in joy as he felt his sword singing a glorious battle anthem.

Xander roared as he landed in the middle of their ranks like an exploding bomb.

(]ooo((=============>

"Okay, we're here at the mall," babbled Cordelia nervously, "now how do we beat the big blue thing that can't be killed by any weapon?"

"That is a tough one," added in Oz calmly. Cordelia stared at him as if he were insane.

"We have to stop him, there's no other choice," said Buffy firmly. "Where's Xander?"

"He, he, he said he'd meet us here," said Giles as he adjusted his glasses while brandishing his axe.

"He'll be here Buffy," said Willow confidently as the group strode into the mall. Willow squeaked when she saw the entire population linked with arcing orange energy all flowing back to the tall blue demon at the other end of the hall.

Buffy fired off her crossbow. The bolt bounced off the Judge's chest, though the attack broke his concentration. Once freed from the energy, the entire population of the mall screamed and fled in terror.

"No weapon forged can harm me!" intoned the Judge.

"What now?" asked Cordelia shrilly. She screamed as a bolt of energy raced toward them from the judge. Buffy flinched and threw up her hands in desperation. She heard a loud booming sound. She opened her eyes and saw Xander's sword in front of her. There was smoke rising from the still pristine blade.

"You defended against my attack?"

"Sorry Giant Smurf, I can't let you hurt my friends," said Xander seriously as he stepped in front of the group and walked toward the Judge. Buffy turned when she spotted Miss Calendar out of the corner of her eye.

"Sorry we're late," she said as she handed Willow and Giles a piece of paper. Willow eagerly took the paper and read through the diagram written on it. Giles refused to take his.

"What are you doing here?"

"Look, I know I'm not your favorite person right now, but you're still mine."

"The curse…"

"They never told me the curse could be broken! You already knew he was cursed with a soul, what more did I have to say? You think I wanted this? You think I wanted Buffy hurt? I helped you because I wanted to, because I love you, you great big stupid lug!" she slapped the paper into his chest as she started to cry. Giles looked down at the paper and noticed it was the diagram for a protective circle.

"You want us to do this here?" he asked her as she composed herself.

"Yes, right now."

"Everyone, get into the circle. Willow, Giles, follow Miss Calendar's lead."

"Xander, what are you-"

"Get in the circle now, Buffy," commanded Xander. Buffy found herself instinctively obeying him.

"Who are you?" asked the Judge

"He's nobody," sneered Angelus, "just the Slayer's pet."

Unnoticed by the other two, Drusilla stumbled back in horror.

"That sword, its shinning," said the Jude as he stared intently at the sword in Xander's hand.

"It's a magic sword," Angelus said before stating loudly, "it doesn't even do anything except disappear, just like him." Angelus grinned nastily at Xander.

"Light and life and fire that doesn't burn, he's a bad King Miss Edith," rambled Drusilla as she clutched at her head, "The Knight shines white in the darkness…"

"Tria simul unam tutela ducatur circulus! Nullus sine damnum quis intra!" chanted Giles, Willow and Miss Calendar. A golden line circled around the Scooby gang before it flared brightly. When it faded a slight golden glow surrounded them.

"Why are you on the outside Xander!" asked Buffy in a panic. He was going to get himself killed!

"I'm taking down the Judge."

"I know your sword is really great Xander but what's it going to do against that thing!"

"I hate to break this to you Buffy, but you've never seen my sword."

"What! Then what the hell is that?"

"This is the shard of my soul. It's like a scabbard or a container. Stay in the circle and get ready."

"A sword? A sword! I am the Judge! Whole armies have fallen against me!"

"You see this," said Xander as he raised his sword. "This blade has a name!"

"So it has a name, so does Mister Pointy!" yelled Buffy, "what does that matter?"

"Name's have power Buffy," called Xander over his shoulder. "My blade has power."

Buffy's panic was quickly stifled by Xander's calm demeanor. "What's its name?" she asked curiously.

"You already know its name Buffy," said Xander softly. "Everyone knows my sword's name."

"Huh?"

"This is my sword!" called out Xander as he thrust the sword into the air, "the blade of my soul!"

"That is an invocation," said the Judge with a furrowed brow. Angelus turned to him to ask what the whelp was invoking when he spotted Drusilla slumping to the floor.

"Drusilla?" he asked as he went over to her.

"He's covered in diamonds and his light will burn us," she moaned. Angelus frowned and glanced sharply at Xander.

"The weapon of my heart! This is the sword of the King!"

"My God in heaven," gasped Giles as he staggered back in a near faint. Oz and Miss Calendar moved to hold him up.

"The blade that chooses! The weapon that protects!"

"Even if that is a magic blade, no weapon forged can harm me!" roared the Judge as he leapt from the stairs. The pavement cracked under his feet as he landed. He straightened and stalked toward Xander.

"The sword that cuts through iron! That opens the path to the future! That defends those that follow!"

Something about Xander's chant and Giles' reaction finally clicked in her mind. "Is that what I think it is?" gasped Willow.

"What the hell is the dweeb yelling about?" asked Cordelia. Her scathing tone sounded hollow since she was filled with a deep sense of awe.

"Be my strength! Excalibur!" yelled Xander.

The world exploded in white light. Angelus shielded his eyes as best he could as Drusilla wailed piteously. The Judge fell to one knee as the force of the explosion sent him stumbling back. The golden circle surrounding the Scoobies flared a brilliant gold and began to crack.

When the light faded Xander stood his sword held casually at his side. He was no longer dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. Black leather boots and leggings covered his legs. A long sleeved leather tunic covered his chest. Over that lay a glittering chain mail shirt.

His sword had become a six foot weapon with a blade double the width of a regular claymore. The handle was covered in royal blue leather. The coin shaped pommel had twelve crossed swords and shields in a circle round the outside and a crown in the center. The straight cross guard was engraved with Celtic knot work. The ends of the cross guard were slightly larger squares that had griffons engraved on them. The blade itself was almost entirely covered in gold etchings that glinted in the light.

"Impossible!" yelled the Judge, nearly frothing at the mouth in disbelief and fury, "That sword is lost! Buried along with Avalon! This is a trick! A lie! You cannot defeat me with mere illusions!"

"This is not Arthur's Excalibur, this is my Excalibur!" proclaimed Xander as he raised his sword. When he grasped the sword with his left hand it began to thrum and glow

Drusilla screamed in horror.

Angelus' eyes widened in fear.

The Judge stood still in shock.

And the Scoobies' heads were filled with angel song. Despite the military cadence they were filled with a sense of hope and joy. They were filled flush with the sensation of victory.

Xander stepped forward and disappeared. Before anyone could process that he vanished, he reappeared in front of the judge, the tip of his sword touching the ground between the Judge's legs. Xander's entire body was leaning forward as if he just finished a full force vertical slash.

"No. Weapon. Forged," said the Judge slowly as an orange line flowed from the top of his head downward.

"My sword is not forged. It isn't even created. It just exists," said Xander as he stepped back into a casual stance.

The orange line split the judge into two before the two halves fell apart, orange energy flying between the halves.

Then the Judge exploded.

Angelus grabbed Drusilla and ran.

"Xander!" cried Buffy, Willow, and Cordelia.

When the dust settled it revealed Xander to be completely unharmed.

(]ooo((=============>

His sword swung through the air killing demons left and right. He could hear it singing to him, comforting his pains and filling him with strength.

"Xander!" screamed out a female voice.

"I'm coming!" he yelled as he turned in her direction and raised his sword vertically.

(]ooo((=============>

"Stop!"

"Xander, I have to! His blood will close the portal!"

"Look, Willow did the re-soul-ing spell, even after I told her not to! You can't send Angel to hell Buffy!"

"It's either him or the world Xander!"

"There's always another way!" he yelled as he pushed Angel aside and stepped in front of the portal.

"I'm not letting you throw yourself in Xander!"

Xander turned and looked at Buffy like she was crazy. "That never even crossed my mind."

"Uh, then, uh, what are you doing?"

"This," he said succinctly as he raised his blade. "Hear me Acathla! This is Excalibur! The blade that chooses in the hand of the one that chose! The circle is completed and it encompasses the world! I will protect!" Excalibur exploded in golden flame. "Brenin Slaes!"

A crescent of golden flame flew from Xander's slash into Acathla. It exploded. When everyone could see again through the dust and rubble they found the statue gone. As well as the part of the mansion that was behind the statue.

(]ooo((=============>

"Brenin Slaes!" he yelled as a wave of golden fire swept through the ranks of demons, clearing a wide path through them. As he ran through the gap, the demons closed in on him. He struck the blade of his sword with his fist. "Displodo!"

(]ooo((=============>

"Displodo!" yelled Xander as he struck his blade. Golden light exploded outward from him, sending the Sisterhood of Jhe gathered around him flying.

"A little help Boy toy!" yelled Faith as she sliced at the tentacle swinging her in the air. Xander vanished then reappeared next to Faith. He cut her free then vanished and reappeared back on the ground. "Ugh, I hate being carried like that," muttered a distinctly green Faith.

"Come on, Faith, we need to keep them busy while the mages finish the ritual," he said as he pointed over to where Giles, Willow, and Jenny were busy chanting. Oz and Cordelia stood guard around them.

"What's the hold-up?" asked Buffy from where she was fighting alongside Angel.

"Puke express," muttered Faith before she blew chunks.

Xander casually turned and decapitated one of the Sisterhood before she could sneak up on them. "I really hope this stuff comes off when I change back."

Buffy laughed at him.

(]ooo((=============>

The explosion cleared out all the demons around him. He vanished and reappeared next to Faith, decapitating the Cyclops she was battling. "It seems I keep having to save you," he said with a grin.

"Shut it," said Faith as she grinned back, "we all know you're just doing it to get into my pants."

"If I was going to do that, it would've been after you kissed me when I moved you out of the no-tell motel. Or maybe right before that."

Faith punched him on the shoulder. He grinned at her before he scanned their surroundings. "What's the what?"

"B went after her sister," Faith said as she pointed to the top of the makeshift tower. "Red and Tree-hugger are back together and running damage control on the portal with G-Man and G-Woman."

"Where's the big bad?" asked Xander with a frown.

(]ooo((=============>

"That's a really big bad," muttered Xander as he looked up at the fifty foot snake the Mayor had transformed into.

"Okay, Xander, we cleared out the school," said Buffy.

"All the vampires are dust," added Faith.

"Now it's just us and the Snake," continued Willow.

"So what was your big plan?" asked Cordelia.

"Everyone get out. I'll take care of it."

"Xander, you're strong but even you can't defeat-"

"Run!" commanded Xander. The four girls found themselves running out of the building as fast as possible.

"You're making me work for my food," said the Mayor. His voice had an odd hissing timber for such a deep rumbling sound. "So, pretender to the crown, wielder of the false blade, what will you do now?"

"This," said Xander as he pointed his sword forward and gripped his right forearm with his left hand. "Bankai!" he yelled.

The auditorium exploded. The Scooby gang narrowly avoided being buried in rubble. When they were finally able to look up the saw the form of the Mayor rising from where he had lain sprawled on the floor. In the middle of the air stood Xander covered in brilliant plate mail. A royal blue cape fluttered from his shoulders. Three golden crowns were emblazoned on the cape.

In his hand was a beautiful long sword. The pommel and the ends of the cross guard flared out into flat half circle shapes with golden inwardly-curved triangular insets. The Handle was covered in black molded leather. Around the inset on the pommel was inscribed 'I was forged in the heart of the White Knight'. The long straight blade slowly tapered to a sharp point. Within the fuller was inscribed the words 'I am Excalibur the sword of the King who protects his people'.

"What madness is this?" hissed the Mayor.

"This is Excalibur! The sword that protects!" yelled Xander before he disappeared. He reappeared in front of the Scooby gang as a yellow light crisscrossing over the Mayor's form with a single strand connected to Xander briefly flared into life. Xander powered down just as the Mayor burst into pieces. "Is everyone alright?"

(]ooo((=============>

Xander grabbed Faith and dodged to the side as Glorificus slammed down on where they were standing. Cradling Faith against his body he disappeared from sight and reappeared in front of the mages. "Is everyone alright?" he asked as he let Faith go. Faith immediately stumbled to Jenny who cast a mild healing spell on her, easing her nausea.

"We're okay," said Giles quickly as he walked over to Xander, "what about you?"

"A little tired to be honest. What's happening with-" A loud boom drew everyone's attention to the formerly growing portal in the sky as it collapsed.

"No!" came Glorificus' long and loud scream of frustration.

"Thank god," muttered Willow as she nearly collapsed against her restored girlfriend.

"The portal's closed," said Tara softly.

"That means Glorificus is coming here. It's time to take her out."

"Are you certain you can do this Xander?"

(]ooo((=============>

"Are you certain you can do this Xander?"

"Take apart Frankenstein? Of course I can. Just keep his zomboids away from the fight." Xander leapt up into the air. "Bankai!"

The release of energy scattered the unprepared forces of Adam and allowed the Scoobies to regain the initiative.

Xander dove through the air, visible only as a brief flash of golden light, before he brought his sword down on Adam. There was an explosion of golden light. When it cleared Xander stood before Adam holding Excalibur in a high guard.

"You are the Anomaly. The one without power, yet you are the strongest of all my enemies."

"Yeah, well bully for you, cause I'm here to kick your ass!" Xander swung his sword down again. A shield flared to life around Adam, dispersing the power of Xander's attack.

"Your attack is futile and yet you persist. Your intelligence must be quite low."

Xander thrust his sword forward, holding it against Adam's shield as it spat and sizzled energy. "Ordú Dún!" he commanded. The shield around Adam began to bend and warp before it flowed into his sword.

"What is this? You have never demonstrated this ability before!"

"Always hold something back for special occasions," said Xander with a grin as he finished absorbing Adam's shield.

"You can still not defeat me without causing a nuclear explosion."

"Actually, if I manifest a force field around your core it'll simply fall out and you'll be deactivated. Then I can atomize you safely."

"You cannot manifest a force field. If you could you would have done so before."

"I couldn't then. You just gave me one," said Xander as he pointed his sword at Adam's heart.

"Orduithe!" Adam's force field flared to life, dissecting his power core from his chest. Xander quickly punched the core out of the cyborg's body. Grabbing Adam by the shoulder he tossed the abomination into the air.

"Brenin Slaes!" The wave of golden energy engulfed and disintegrated Adam even as it split the storm system above Sunnydale in two.

(]ooo((=============>

"I have to- Displodo!" yelled Xander as he spun and punched his sword. The energy exploded outward from around the Scooby gang, halting Glorificus' attack.

"Damn you! Now I can't get home for another thousand years!" screamed Glorificus.

"I hate to break it to you, but you're never going home," said Xander threateningly.

"You can't take me insect!" she sneered.

"Sure I can. Bankai!"

"Xander, when did you get a crown?" asked Jenny Giles as she stared at him.

"Your plate armor is now golden as well," said Giles curiously.

"You think a change of clothes is enough to beat me?"

"Guys, tell Buffy I love her, alright. And keep them safe for me."

"What?"

"You can tell them when you come back!"

"What's going on X?"

"Xander!"

"I love you all too," he said before he disappeared. A brief image appeared of Xander grabbing Glorificus by the face before that vanished too. Far off, into the high desert, a glowing light briefly appeared before a cloud of dust appeared on the ground.

"Faith, go get Buffy here, now," ordered Giles. Faith ran off without a word. "Willow, are you strong enough to manage a teleportation?"

(]ooo((=============>

The brown haired man in the golden armor and crown charged at Xander again, swinging an exact duplicate of Excalibur at his head.

Xander barely managed to block the blade before the kick blew him off the ramparts of the castle they were fighting on. Xander halted his fall and flipped so he could face the way he came when the king charged into him. Their swords locked together as Xander was pushed back.

"You will have to try harder than that, Alexander!"

"I am trying harder, Excalibur!" Excalibur spun and kicked Xander away again.

"Brenin Slaes!" the wave of golden energy rushed toward Xander.

"Ordú Dún!" he yelled as he absorbed the attack, only to find another Brenin Slaes behind it. "Orduithe!" he yelled. The two attacks exploded against each other, canceling both attacks. Excalibur dove through the dust cloud and foot stomped Xander into the ground.

"I don't think you really want to learn the last technique Xander, you aren't trying!"

"Of course I am! It's the only way to stop Glory permanently!"

"You will die if you use that technique Xander! You are not ready to give your life!" yelled Excalibur as he charged again. Xander moved to block Excalibur's thrust. At the last moment he let his sword fall to the ground. Excalibur's eyes widened as he impaled Xander.

"I was always ready to give my life for my friends," whispered Xander before he frowned. "It doesn't hurt."

Excalibur nodded. "It is your own sword, your own soul, Xander. How could that ever hurt you?" he asked rhetorically.

"Now will you tell me why you're sad?" asked Xander softly.

Excalibur wiped a tear from his cheek. "Alexander. The sword will give you everything you need to know. I have nothing more to teach you. You are truly the one that protects, Alexander. And I am proud to have had you as my wielder." Excalibur stepped back before he gazed at Xander sadly. "But know this, Alexander," he said softly. "If you use this technique you will die."

"So you're sad because I might die?"

"No, I am sad because while you have always wanted to protect your friends, I have only ever wanted to protect you, Xander," he replied as he slowly faded away.

(]ooo((=============>

Xander panted. He was pretty sure some of his ribs were broken. His armor was cracked and tarnished from where Glorificus had landed some good hits.

Why had he been caught off guard two weeks ago! If only she hadn't drained energy from him even Buffy could have taken her with some help! Unfortunately the energy she took from him allowed her to begin breaching the limits of her mortal body and begin to regain her godly powers. Even now, after all this fighting, she was still growing stronger while he tired.

It was time to end this.

"Did you really think you could beat me?" she yelled as she wiped some blood from her face. Xander grimaced as he noticed the wound already stopped bleeding. "I, am, Glorificus!" she yelled. "I am a God!"

"Even gods can die, Glorificus."

"You're bluffing, gnat. Your sword is out of tricks. And once I've beaten you I can take your power and use it to make myself whole again."

"I have one more trick left," said Xander. "The Command of the King," he intoned. A pillar of the purest white light erupted from Xander's position. Glorificus shielded her eyes against the brilliance. When the light faded, Xander stood in front of her dressed in flowing robes made of golden fire. His short hair was now waist length and his eyes were a bright blue instead of their normal brown. A golden crown of white light floated above his head.

"Xander!"

Xander turned to find the entire Scooby gang standing behind him, thirty feet away.

"Buffy," he breathed.

"Xander, what are you doing!" she yelled at him.

"I'm doing what I have to!" he called before he turned back to Glorificus, "what I must!"

"What the hell are you?" asked Glorificus as she stared at him.

"I am the King that protects his people!" he yelled as he thrust his right hand out to the side. A mass of golden light coalesced in his hand before it stretched out to form an ever-shifting outline of a sword. "Everything I am! Everything I was! Everything I will be! All of it turns now with one purpose! I am the one that protects!" He said as he thrust his sword into the air.

"And I will destroy those who threaten the ones I protect!" he yelled.

"Destroy! You cannot destroy me! I am Glorificus! I AM A GOD! I CANNOT DIE!"

"This is the Command of the King!" The sword in his hand began to grow in intensity until only a flare of light could be seen. "I will protect!"

"YOU CANNOT DEFEAT ME! YOU ARE JUST A MERE HUMAN! AN INSECT! I AM A GOD!"

"Obliterate!" commanded Xander as he slashed downwards. For a moment all the energy surrounding Xander dimmed until only a dull light shone from him. Even the light from Sunnydale, the Moon and the stars seemed to dim slightly. Suddenly a crack began to form in front of Xander and expand rapidly as it rushed toward Glorificus before stretching off toward the horizon. Glory had a moment to stare at the crevice under her feet before golden light blasted out of the crevice with a rushing sound that buffeted at the Scoobies' ears.

If their eyes could have pierced through the glare of light, they would have seen Glorificus be consumed atom by atom until no trace of her physical form remained. If they could have engaged their magical sight without going blind they would have seen her astral form be dissolved into nothingness. If they could have seen into the realm of the divine without going absolutely mad they would have seen a tear form in one of the realms before it crumbled away into oblivion.

The energy around Xander floated away into nothingness, leaving him in his mundane jeans and t-shirt.

"Xander!" yelled Buffy as she rushed forward as Xander slowly toppled forward. "Xander!" she screamed as she held his deathly still form.

(]ooo((=============>

Xander woke up with a start. A blonde blur tackled him to the bed and began babbling at him. He looked around wildly at the unfamiliar hospital room. "What the hell happened?" he tried to croak with a parched voice that dissolved into a coughing fit. The blonde blur was revealed to be Buffy, who rose off of him. Dawn fetched him a cup of ice chips for which he was eternally grateful.

"What happened?" he asked once his voice had recovered.

"You collapsed," answered Giles. "We brought you here when it was apparent that you would now awaken. You've been in a coma for a month, Xander."

"A month?"

"You had us really worried," said Willow as she glanced at where a tearful Buffy was crushing his hand. "Whatever you did completely drained your spirit energy."

"Huh," said Xander as he felt the emptiness within himself. "I thought I was going to die."

"You almost did die, Xander, and don't do that again!" admonished Buffy through her tears.

"Uh, no, I meant that the technique I used was supposed to kill me in the process."

"What?"

"What do you mean kill you?"

"Why would you do that?"

"Then don't do it again!"

Xander smiled at Buffy's order. "Sorry, it was just, Ichigo used something similar in his world. There it just took away all his powers. Here it was supposed to use up my life force, since that's where I drew my spiritual energy from. Ichigo had a separate well of spirit energy than his soul."

"But why, Xander?" asked Dawn tearfully.

"It was the only way to defeat Glorificus."

"There wasn't another way?" asked Buffy.

"Buffy, I had to kill a God. How many ways do you think there is to do that? And of those, how many do you think it's possible to do? And of those, which do you think I could learn in time?" When Buffy didn't answer he continued. "Only one was left Buffy. I had to use the Command of the King in order to finish her for good."

"So, did Ichigo ever regain his powers?"

"I don't know. I think his Dad did, though. His Dad knew about the final Zanpakuto technique. The only reason anyone would ever have learned about that is if they needed to use it."

"So you may regain your powers."

"Probably not," said Xander. "Ichigo and the others live in a world where spiritual pressure is a common thing. Or at least common enough that different groups have been able to study and refine techniques using spiritual energy for thousands of years. That's not the same here."

"That doesn't matter," said Buffy. "You're alive. That's all that matters," she said as she leaned forward and kissed him tenderly.

"So are you still getting married?" asked Jenny once they finished.

"You did propose-" began Giles before Buffy interrupted him.

"Hey, you thought you were going to die!" Buffy glared at Xander.

"I proposed because I knew that the thought of marrying you would help keep me fighting. After all, how could I die and not survive the fight and marry my high school sweetheart?"

"We only dated senior year."

"And what a great year it was!"

That earned him another Buffy kiss. Slowly, the emptiness in his soul where he could once find Excalibur filled up. Then he pulled back and looked down at his chest. It was slowly filling up! He smiled happily. Buffy noticed his downward gaze and smile and grinned wickedly.

"Xander, do you want everyone to leave so you can stare at my tits?" asked Buffy teasingly.

Xander looked up, a happy goofy grin on his face. "Sure!"

(]ooo((=============>

"You're the one who sees everything, aren't you? Well, let's see what we can't do about that."

"I'm not the one who sees, I'm the one that protects."

"Oh really, and how are you going to do that?"

"Like this! Be me strength, Excalibur!"

Author's note: I cleaned this up a little and made some very minor changes. This one shot will stay pretty much as it is, however, since I am expanding this in a story with the same title, just without the Original Version addendum. The expanded version will not progress in the same manner as this one as far as the confrontations with the villains are concerned. Also, Xander will not be nearly as powerful, in order to add to the dramatic tension of the story.

The End

You have reached the end of "The One that Protects, Old Version". This story is complete.

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