Part 9 *End*
Disclaimer in part 1
Rick stumbled backward, blood cascading down his face. “You almost broke my nose!”
Xander answered him with a punch to the vampire’s stomach. “That’s the least of your worries.” He grabbed Rick by the shirt and glared at him. “You tried to kill my Buffy. I don’t like people who try and kill MY Buffy.”
O’Connell growled at him, and changed to his vamp visage. “Moron, you have no idea who you’re dealing with!” He drove his knee into Xander’s stomach, causing the young man to release him.
Xander coughed, and slammed his fist into the vampire’s face. “I really don’t like you. First you take my old face, which by the way, I’m going to say doesn’t look that great any more, must be the lack of sun on your part.”
“What are you…” Rick’s stumbled back, and his eyes widened in realization. “You’re me.”
“If I were you,” Xander said, kicking the vampire in the chest, “I’d have staked myself a long time ago.”
“You are an idiot, thinking you can beat me.” O’Connell sneered.
“Blah blah blah.” Xander mocked. “As much as I’d love to continue this conversation, I’m going to duck.”
As Xander ducked, Rick’s face was a palette of confusion, even as an Anubis warrior’s sword met the vampire’s neck. The vampire crumbled to dust and Xander rushed off to find Buffy.
Buffy had managed to follow Imhotep back into the library, only to find him chanting. She frowned. “I knew you’d try something!”
Imhotep finished his chant and Buffy suddenly felt lightheaded. She blinked at him in bewilderment as she tried to keep herself focused. “What did…?”
“A gift.” He said simply. “For a love that lasts longer than the temples of the gods.”
Buffy shrieked as she felt every memory of her past lives swarm her mind, and she had to lean against the remains of a wall to stay upright. “Oh…dear...”
As Buffy collapsed, Niranjana, who had followed her inside, caught Buffy. The Med-Jai set her down gently and turned to Imhotep.
“It ends here.” She said.
Imhotep nodded, his eyes filled with acceptance. “I know.”
By the time Xander made it back inside, both the Med-Jai and the mummy were gone. He ran over to Buffy, who was slowly coming to. “Buffy? Are you okay?”
“Xander?” She murmured, opening her eyes.
He helped her get to her feet. “That would be me.”
Instinctively, Buffy threw her arms around him. She forced herself to let go as she remembered a certain ex-demon. “Oh. Sorry.”
Xander looked at her for a moment. “Buffy?”
“I think we have to have a talk.”
Buffy was nervous. Everyone had returned to The Magic Shop and Xander had immediately led her to Giles’s office and locked the door behind them.
She was still feeling lightheaded at what Imhotep had done, but she was grateful. Apparently he had cast a spell for her past lives memories to ‘mesh’ with hers rather than one life over powering another, as she felt was happening. Plus, she knew who everyone else really was…
Xander took a deep breath and looked at Buffy, who was sitting at Giles’s desk. He watched as she brushed a lock of hair from her face and he could feel himself get light headed. Xander knew as much as he loved Anya, Buffy would always come first, and now he knew why.
His problem was what to do about it.
“Xander,” Buffy said in a soft voice, snapping Xander from his thoughts, “What is it you think we need to talk about?”
He opened his mouth to speak but no words came out. He coughed and tried again. “This…is hard, and weird, and…”
“Just talk to me.” Buffy said.
“Buffy, we’ve been getting along well since Glory…”
Buffy smiled. “I know. Almost like the old days.”
“Yeah…well there’s a reason for it I think.”
“And that would be?”
Xander took a deep breath. “I think I’m falling in love with you all over again.” He watched her, studying her reaction. He winced inwardly as her eyes fell to the floor, as if avoiding him.
“Don’t you love Anya?” She asked him.
“I do. It’s just not the same. When I’m with her, I’m happy, but when I’m with you, I feel…whole. Like there’s nothing else that matters.”
Buffy looked up at him. “Are you sure it’s not just your old Rick memories?”
“Of course not. I—wait, you know?”
She nodded slowly. “Imhotep. He gave me back my memories, and showed me who was who.”
They sat in silence for a moment, digesting the information. Xander walked over to Buffy and sat himself down on his knees.
“Here’s the deal, Buff. It’s got nothing to do with O’Connell, or Evy, or anyone else but us. I need to know if there’s even a tiny chance of us without those ‘strings’ attached.”
“And if there isn’t?”
Xander flashed her an evil grin. “I’ll keep trying anyway.”
Buffy laughed and threw herself at him. In a strong, firm hug. “You…are impossible.”
“I try. So? Any chance for your Xander-shaped friend?”
“I think there’s a big chance.” Buffy said. She smiled at him. “I stopped seeing you as just ‘Xander-shaped’ quite a while back.”
“Is that good or bad?”
Buffy kissed him softly then pulled away with a smile as she looked at the shocked expression on his face. “Very good.”
“This bloody sucks.” Spike moaned into his beer.
Anya nodded as she stole one of his beers. “I know. But we can’t stand in the way.”
“Why not? I’m evil! You’re ex-evil. We can kill them!”
“I could.” Anya pointed out. “You could just sit and watch.”
“Oh shut up.”
“I’ll rip your bloody head off, you bloody wanker!”
“You repeat the word bloody often when you’re drunk.”
“Oh sod off!”
“Want to go have sex?”
“Sure, why not. Afterwards we can watch today’s episode of Passions I had taped.”
Giles sipped his tea slowly. He was sitting in The Magic Box with Vincent and Jackson, discussing what next.
“You’re just going back to selling artifacts?” Giles asked.
Vincent nodded. “I like it. It’s my job. Although…I might go to more demon filled areas.” He smiled. “It was kind of fun to fight evil.”
“It’s not all it’s cracked up to be.” Jackson said. “I remember when we had to save Evy after Anck-su-namun killed her. It—”
“You’re in Jonathan mode.” Giles said dryly.
Jackson shrugged the fact away. “Oh well. You try juggling these things around. It’s not pretty. I’ve got memories of one hell of a party in London that involved at least 20 strippers and I’ve never even BEEN to the place since I was 15.”
“20?” Giles blinked, his interest prodded. “Do tell.”
“Well, Evy and O’Connell were off chasing some new venture, so I got to house sit and me and a few poker buddies invited…”
“I must apologize.”
“The past. It was cowardly.”
“I think it may have been for the best.”
“I see things differently now. It’s better this way.” Imhotep said
Niranjana simply nodded. “I suppose so. Come, we have a plane to catch.”
“Where are we going?”
“Home.” She smiled, a move that seemed somewhat out of place on her. “You are mortal. Perhaps there is hope for you.”
“We shall see.”