I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or White Wolf's AEON/Trinity. I make no money from this fic. A/N:
For the comedy. And for the wisdom.
“O my God! O my God! Unite the hearts of Thy servants, and reveal to them Thy great purpose. May they follow Thy commandments and abide in Thy law. Help them, O God, in their endeavor, and grant them strength to serve Thee. O God! Leave them not to themselves, but guide their steps by the light of Thy knowledge, and cheer their hearts by Thy love. Verily, Thou art their Helper and their Lord.”
– Baha'i prayer for unity, “Bahá'u'lláh”
“Hope. Sacrifice. Unity”
--Motto of the AEON Society.
This is how he thinks of himself, after.
A single event colliding with other events, creating further events that snowball even further until finally an avalanche buries all. Or uncovers the truth.
Time is not a river. Time is not solid. Time is...malleable.
He sits on the roof of Sunnydale High. In two years, the school will be rubble, much thanks to his own actions. Three years after that it is rebuilt only in time to see the entire city of Sunnydale sink into the earth.
He can see them all, every path, every way, every single outcome of every single choice he considers making. It's dizzying, confusing. Humbling.
Some paths are darker. Others brighter, over all. Some are horrible for him and great for everyone else. Others are great for him and...well. And then there's the ones he can see where everything turns up daisies. And getting there might be both the hardest thing he'll ever do, while at the same time being so easy.
And it all began with a single choice. Like everything else, one single choice, a binary decision, left or right, black or white. Chocolate or vanilla.
A toy gun or a wig.
“What's that?” Willow peered at the thing in his hands.
“A wig. Was considering going as Cedric the Saxon from Ivanhoe. The TV version?”
“The one with, with Sam Neill and, uh, that girl from Krull?”
He nodded. “Yeah. Or...” He hesitated, not wanting to tell her. “Anyway, it's either this or I go as a soldier. I already have the fatigues back home.”
Her face fell. “Soldier?”
'Again?', was what she meant. She had a point. It was getting a bit tired, by now. Well, maybe he could dress as...oh. Oh, right.
“Everything's changing, Spike.” Drusilla stretched out dreamily on the table. “Outsides become insides, the Slayer weakens, and Kitten has his eyes opened. He knows us, Spike, knows us all.”
Spike glanced over at her. “The Slayer's gonna weaken, you say?”
“Oh, yes. But it won't work. The Kitten will know.”
He frowned. What did that
mean? Oh, well, if the Slayer was gonna be weaker, he'd be there. Take a shot. Get a hat trick.
The sun is rising above the rooftops, and he munches on some sesame seed cookies as he watches it. Such a simple event. The earth turning another revolution, another day has passed. Little joys like these are like a heady elixir to him now. And yeah, a part of him uses words like 'elixir'.
How do you explain to your friends what you see? The way things might be, not one at a time, but all at once. A cacophony of time, a noise that fills the universe. A noetic totality.
He leans over the edge of the roof and drops a single stone, watching it bounce off the cement pavement below. It settles in a specific spot by the bicycle stands, and he nods to himself.
Inside, the school is yet to see life. In a few hours the teachers will start arriving, then the kids will start trickling in. But that's hours away.
He goes into the library, running his hand over the spines of the books with his eyes closed. He can see them just fine. He walks into the curtained off book storage where Giles keeps the occult books, picks one out and lets it fall open on a specific page. He plants the book a little askew on a table.
He goes inside the girls' bathroom, carefully unscrews a single bolt in the sinks, then walks out again. He unscrews a couple of screws on a chair in the teachers' lounge, then pauses by the vending machines and buys a Twinkie.
Finally he goes to the gym, where he carefully cuts halfway through an already frayed rope, then he walks into the showers and gets cleaned up.
He has a big day ahead of him.
“Xander!” The girl ran up towards him, and he smiled.
She stopped. “Huh?”
“I am not Xander. Though I can see why you might be confused. Please, take me to where you last saw Buffy.”
She opened her mouth to tell him that something weird was going on, and realized there was no need. “Uh...right.”
He nods. “You can call me Otha.”
Thirty minutes later she wasn't sure if she wanted to strangle this guy Xander had turned into, or hug him. He'd helped, all right. Buffy was sitting in the locked-down basement, embroidering with a bemused Cordelia watching her, Angel was standing guard in the kitchen, and Willow had managed to find Giles, just like he said. Why had Xander specified she should mention the name of the store where they bought their costumes? And where did he go? Angel hadn't even seen him leave.
In an alley near Revello Drive, Spike cursed as another swing missed, and another, and another.
“Isn't it interesting, William? You were a poet, and now the only way you can express yourself is through violence. Haven't you ever thought of picking up a pen again?”
He snarled. “Stand still
, you barmy git!”
“Why would I do that? I have no desire to be hurt. But back to you. They were jealous
, William. Yes, your poetry was unpolished and sometimes a little overwrought. But it wasn't that
bad, really. There were far worse getting published in your day. Though I suppose without a soul you might have problems expressing it in words again. The demon just wants to kill.”
The boy in the odd hairdo leaned in and smiled. “If you go to Africa, will it bring you peace?”
He stared at the boy in stunned disbelief. “You...oh, bugger this
With a final snarled curse he turned and walked away.
The boy who could see everything stood there, watching, smiling. That
...was easier than he'd expected. Now every
path he could see ended in greatness. The boy turned and began to walk back towards the house. He paused after a few steps, then sat down just in time. The wave that passed through him weakened him, briefly.
Xander Harris took a deep breath, and saw everything.
He walks through the halls of the school, listening, watching. He doesn't really need to be present for most of it, after all, he can be everywhere at once now. But that still gives him a headache, so instead he walks by when conversations about little seemingly incongruous incidents are being held, little events that all seem unconnected.
Everything is connected.
“...Mr Snyder, we're not going to order new office chairs just because yours broke during a meeting, it's just not done. We have a budget to think about, remember?”
“I bet it's one of these damn kids, pranking me! Find out who has access to the skeleton keys, and start with that abominable Summers girl, I wouldn't be surprised if she's at the center of it.”
“That doesn't...sir, you-know-who has warned
us not to draw undue attention to his offices at this point, we can't-”
“I...you're right. But...oh, fine
! You have any
idea how long it took to get it just perfect
?! This school sucks
, I mean, how does a sink just explode
“Harm, it's gonna be all right, I'm sure Cordelia can give you a ride to the hairdresser-”
“Didn't you hear? She has to take her car to be fixed, she got a stone shot through the windshield in the parking lot. Real freaky.”
“...the weirdest thing, O'Toole was climbing the ropes and bam
, falls down, breaks his leg clean off. And then he just stands back up! How the hell?”
“That guy is weird. I hear his grandpa is into freaky shit, too.”
“No shit? Y'know, maybe we shouldn't...”
“...terribly sorry, Buffy, but the fact remains, if the book is correct, the spell used to curse Angel will
release his soul if ever he feels a moment of happiness. I can't believe I never found this before
Xander walks into the library and smiles. A hundred greetings and answers flit through his head in a perfect moment of clarity, and he picks the one that has the most people feel better in the end. “Hey, guys. What's up?”
Buffy looks miserable. Willow is sympathizing, and occasionally poking herself in the arm or leg to see if she's real.
“Hey Xander. We, uh, we just found out something bad about Angel.”
He remembers to look surprised. “Oh yeah? What?”
A pebble. A pebble in the right place can cause an avalanche. But an avalanche can be a force of great destruction, or a force of healing. It can wipe out a village, or dam up a raging river. It can bring death and horror, or it can uncover secrets long buried.
Xander Harris is a pebble. That's how he thinks of himself now. He may not be a fighter on the front lines, but he can help in his own way. Having memories of how to build high-powered lasers from scratch at a holographic repair shop gives him plenty of skillsets to build a new future for himself on, not to mention studying physics and technology in an age where viable fusion is reality, space is being truly conquered and gravity is being mastered.
The avalanche has begun. A few
adjustments may have to be made, but in the end everyone will end up happy. Well, not most of the bad
guys, but they don't count. And the world will get more peaceful, less violent.
After all, he likes the quiet.
- Disclaimer 2:
Otha Herzog, the world citizen, is copyright and trademark of White Wolf Game Studios. Go find a copy of AEON (or Trinity, it's a whole long mess involving Viacom and their mob lawyers), read, play.