Disclaimer: I don't own Anita Blake; she belongs to Laurell K. Hamilton. Xander Harris and Buffy the Vampire Slayer; belongs to Joss Whedon and ME productions. I don't own it. Not for profit.
AN: brace yourself, this is the first chapter after years of not writing fanfiction. It shows how rusty I am.AN
: beta by Drachnyen.
Time-line: BtVS: AU after Sunnydale decided to be a crater. / AtVH: pre-series.
-----Chapter 1 2007 Nigeria, Lagos
Xander Harris was finally looking for some down time, with the latest duo of Slayers on their way to England, it was finally looking that he would catch a few days of rest, before once more starting his lookout for new Slayers on the African continent. The enchanted compass Willow gave him made the job much easier, but he was always on a look out for rumors of uncommonly strong girls popping in some cities or tribes. At least a third of the girls was found thanks to the rumors rather than his magic doohickey.
Right now Xander was patiently sweating in the backseat of a cab, on his way from the International Airport. Feeling the drops of sweat start rolling down his temple let him know that the failing air-condition lost it struggle with the heat outside. Thankfully the traffic was steadily moving forward, so in another ten minutes he should be back in the hotel. A four star marvel of Sheraton class, it was one of few luxuries Xander cheerfully allowed himself from the council accounts that were under his control for the duration of his assignment – which as he reflected - would soon hit a fourth year mark.
He closed his eye for a moment as the cab stopped before a red light and thought about last night phone call from Giles, over four years after Sunnydale, the Council at last stood on its legs, personnel wise, the problem were of course the Watchers. Or rather the lack of them. Slayers they had, Watchers not so much. But at long last three Watchers and six Slayers were coming to Africa, as a permanent presence. The girls coming, were some of the first Slayers he located when he came to Africa. A fleeting smile just made it's way on his face when someone knocked on the left side window.
He saw a young man with a backpack on a scooter giving him the middle finger when the world went wild.
Xander woke up to the sound of well timed and executed sitcom applause. He was laying on a bed, still clothed, shoes and all. He was feeling rather good, better than good, there were none of the aches that greeted him every morning for the past few years, a remainder that he took to many hits to his normal, mortal body. He looked to the right where man of average height was watching the TV. He noted that the model of TV set was rather old, scratch that, really old.
“Ah, the Sleeping Beauty wakes,” a pleased voice said.
Xander took a careful look at the man, then groaned,”What the hell Whistler? Why are you here, and where are we, because, let me tell you, this isn't Sheraton.” Xander said wryly as he sat on the bed.
“I'm happy to see you too Harris, and really no thanks are needed for pulling your ass out of that bombing.” The Balance Demon's words had a rehearsed quality to them.
“Bombing?” Xander asked confused before his eyes widened.”That fellow on that scooter with the backpack.” He whispered.
“Right on that one,” Whistler confirmed ”You remember that Qolosh Demon you took out with girls in Lagos before you sent them to England?” Xander nodded, ”Yeah well he had a daddy, who sent his thrall with a bomb after you as a measured response to your loping of his spawn's head.”
Xander covered his eyes with his forearm and fell back to the bed. Eyes! He sat right back and took a look around the room and bolted for the door he assumed led to bathroom. Yup! Definitely eyes. As in plural, as in a matching set of brown eyes was staring at him right back from the mirror. A moment later the reflection of Whistler standing in the doorway appeared in the mirror. That was the moment when reality decided to give him another shock, and Xander's heart sped up to about a two hundred beats per minute as he took a look at his face, and saw that he looked younger. Quite a few years younger.
“If you're quite finished gawking at yourself, there are a number of things...” That was as far as Whistler got, because he found himself suddenly lifted a good foot in the air and slammed against the bathroom wall. “What have you done to me?” The words were hissed through clenched teeth, the anger plain to see on Xander's face.
”Harris...” The demon began again, but found that the fist holding the lapels of his suit tightening, and once more slamming him against the wall.
”And no cryptic bullshit.” Xander noted before releasing him.
Whistler composed himself, smoothed his suit and indicated with his left hand that they should take seat in the main room. They took a seat at a small coffee table near the door leading out of the room, facing each other.
“Yes, you now have your left eye back. Yes, you are younger. ” Began Whistler, and held his right hand up to stop the inevitable questions that were coming. ”This will go faster if you don't interrupt for few minutes.” The clenching of jaws and a sharp nod, were his only answer.
“Now, I have to give you a bit of a history lesson, that will explain why you're here. Just bear with me.” He hastened to add when he saw the look on Xander's face.”Few years ago your old pal Angel and his crew had a big throw down with Wolfram and Hart, which ended with much death and destruction.”
”I know, get on it.”
“Yes, yes,” Whistler continued, ”but there was a certain event that took place that night. Archduke Sebasis, brought a full legion to that battle.” The demon finished and gave Harris a pointed look, like everything was now clear.
”What the hell are you getting on Whistler?” asked Xander, with exasperation in his voice.
“Sebasis mucked up,” The agent of Powers That Be said. ”He bent the rules by fielding an army before they could do it legally for lack of better words,” They being the Senior Partners, of course.
Harris closed his eyes and massaged his forehead. ”And that gave you the opening for the Powers to bend the rules.” He said at last, the look he gave Whistler could peel the paint.
“Essentially, yes,” Whistler continued. ”Sebasis panicked when Angel poisoned him and with his last thought summoned a legion to avenge his death. Which led in return to Wolfram and Hart doing a lot of damage control in the aftermath of the fall of The Circle of the Black Thorn. Sebasis cost the Senior Partners almost as much in favors owed to the Powers as Angel's and crew assassination of the Circle.” The demon finished, and leaned back in his chair.
“What did you do?” Was the most important question, as far as Xander was concerned, because if what Whistler told him was true, then he could be in quite a situation.
“When the bomb went off, the Powers moved you.” He said after a moment.
“Moved where, a different dimension?” He took a look at the old TV set. ”Back in time?” Xander asked through suddenly tightening throat. Maybe he could save Jessie if he was far enough in the past. That train of though was quickly snuffed with Whistler's next words.
“Why, why me and not Buffy or Willow, hell, why not Kennedy?”
“Harris,” The demon begun, ”the Powers choose you because if they moved someone of the Slayer line they would have to bend the rules themselves, Willow was out of question and wasn't even considered.” The look Xander gave for that last sentence was unequivocally hostile.
“The Creation is vast to say the least.” Xander could hear the capital letter in Whistler's words.
”This World is slowly coming to crossroads. Choices are going to be made. You will do in this world what you did in your old one. Protect humanity to the best of your ability.”
“Can I go back?” Xander asked finally, he felt strangely detached.
Whistler gave him a steady look. ”As far as your friends are concerned,” He paused a bit before continuing, ”from their perspective you have been buried, mourned and avenged.” A sense of finality settled over Xander.
“You can't go Back, but you can die.” Whistler continued hastily at the sharp look sent his way.
”It will be as if you really died in that bombing. You will go to your great ever after.” He concluded.
And the day was really going so well, Xander thought for a moment as he kept his eyes above Whistler's right shoulder on a point on the wall. Eyes dammit; the Powers obviously knew their way around the well established tradition of bribery .
If Xander took their offer he would find himself in a new world, probably full of monsters.
“Are there monsters here?” The pointed look the Balance Demon gave him was all the answer he needed.
If on the other hand he decided to blow their offer, he would die. Choices. They shape your life. Really the decision was rather easy, and in the back of his mind Xander felt quite pleased that he was the one chosen, and not someone else.
“Okay,” he said to Whistler “I will do it.”
“Excellent,” Was the cheerful response, ”everything has been prepared of course.”
Xander watched as the demon rose to his feet and went to the closet and opened. He pulled two large yellow manila envelopes and brought them to the table.
“Your documents, id, driver license, birth certificate, details about your bank account and so forth,” Whistler said, ”the rest of your things are in the closet. Ah, I almost forgot, there are some reading materials for you, that we prepared.” The demon stopped and looked Xander in the eyes. ”We won't be seeing each other again. And Harris. Don't die.” On that morbid finish he disappeared.
Xander took a breath and opened the envelops, a wallet, car keys, pager. The really interesting things were in the second one. Bachelor of Arts diploma in folklore and preternatural history, raised an eyebrow, the weapons permit gave him a pause, and there was still more in the envelope. Xander went to the closet and pulled two gym bags, the backpack, and finally the weapons cases, two long ones and one for a handgun. Xander went back to the closet and came back with a green courier bag and opened it. Books, spiral note books. And a pamphlet titled, ”So you have a talent” with a pentacle under the words. Xander opened the pamphlet and a small rectangle paper fell from it onto the bed, he picked it up.”The One Who Sees” was written in golden ink.
Xander took a careful look around the room and noted a newspaper laying on the TV, he took it and came back to the bed looked at the bags, weapons cases and then read the headline. “Oregon Today ” 11 March 1987.
He sat on the floor by the bed, and summed his new life with only, “Xander Harris welcome to the rest of your life.”.
Thanks for reading. Well this is the shortest chapter in the whole story. I will update chapter two on Wednesday, and after that once a week.