Xander tried not to laugh as Spike and Angel glared at each other and Faith. The two had almost come to blows before the brunet Slayer suggested castrating the two vampires just to get the testosterone level down, a suggestion that Anya had given instructions on how to properly do.
Xander simply smiled. Even after her time in prison Faith was still Faith, and that was a great thing as far as he was concerned.
“I’m back!” called Buffy in a happy voice as she and Thunderbird walked in the door.
“Preacher dead?” asked Xander.
“Yep, and I got this shiny new weapon too,” said Buffy as she held up the weapon.
“Glad to hear it. Now unless I miss my guess Angel was about to give you something that is supposed to solve all our problems,” said Xander, turning Buffys attention to her ex.
“Angel?” asked Buffy as she turned around noticing the vampire for the first time, much to the amusement of Spike.
“Yeah, I wanted to give you this,” said Angel handing a folder to her. “What’s happened to Xander though, he get possessed again?”
“No possession, he just got some powers,” said Buffy with a shrug. “How is this supposed to help us, there isn’t anything here that we didn’t already know?”
“The file is junk, I was talking about what Angel is keeping in his pocket,” said Xander with a knowing smile.
“Okay time out, this is too much,” said Angel taking a step back. “I know about the dimension hoppers over there, but when did Xander become omniscient?”
“Probably just after you got that file Angel. Besides I’m not really omniscient, I can just see more things than most people,” said Xander.
“So you’re a Seer,” said Angel as he thought of Cordelia.
“Probably not in the way you are thinking of,” said Xander. “My mutant power allows me to see every aspect of almost every dimension, and limited amounts of this one.”
“Huh?” asked Buffy.
“Remember how you guys threw me out of space and time to activate my powers?” asked Xander. When Buffy and the others nodded he continued and said, “I can still that area, and a lot more. I can see the universe where Willow and I became vampires, the universe where Angel never got his soul back, and any other universe you can think of, except the true Heaven and true Hell.”
“Wow,” said Andrew in a soft whisper.
“Right now I see the First attacking every universe that has a Slayer in it. If it can take over enough universes it can use their power to attack Heaven or Hell, and from there everything else,” said Xander in a dream like voice.
“And you think that this will stop the First?” asked Angel as he pulled a necklace form his pocket.
“Maybe, I could tell you for sure if you gave me a closer look,” said Xander.
Angel simply handed the necklace over. There was a look in the carpenters’ eye that forced Angel to believe him, no matter how much he didn’t want to.
“Thanks,” said Xander before he used his powers to look at what was inside the crystal centerpiece.
“What did your people say about this?” asked Xander a few moments later.
“Just that it was a powerful cleansing force best used by a champion,” replied Angel with a shrug.
“That’s a bit of an understatement,” said Xander before tossing the necklace to Faith. “Ladies and Gentlemen, we now have a plan A.”
“And what’s plan B?” asked Spike as he lit up a cigarette.
“We use Buffys new weapon to kill a lot of demons, and probably die,” said Xander in a serious voice.
“Wish we could stay and help, but the Tallus is saying our time is up,” said Blink right before her team flashed out of existence.
“Angel, Spike, I need to talk to the both of you in private,” said Xander before he walked out of the room.
“What’s this about Droopy,” snarled Spike as he and Angel came into the bedroom with Xander.
“It’s about vampires with souls, and the difference between inconvenience and damnation,” said Xander.
“Souls? As in more than one?” asked Angel.
“Had mine back of almost a year now. What’s the matter Gramps, jealous that I’m handling it better than you?” taunted Spike.
“You’re not,” said Xander before Angel had a chance to reply. “What happened to you and what happened to Angel are two completely different things.”
“Really?” asked Angel.
“Yeah, really. That one moment of happiness clause puts the soul in one room, and the demon in another. Your actions can’t redeem the demon, and the demons actions can’t damn you. This is just an inconvenience for you in the grand scheme of things,” said Xander.
“And me?” asked Spike.
“The demon and your soul merged. If I dusted you right now and brought you back in a séance, your spirit would get the vampire ridges every time it got mad. If you don’t want your afterlife to be spent in flames, you need to find a way to redeem a demon,” said Xander.
“Why are you telling me this,” asked Spike as he clenched his hands. He wanted to rip the kids lungs out, something that only gave what Xander was saying more credit with his rational side.
“Because Buffy thinks you disserve the chance, and I’m willing to give it to you despite what you tried to do to her last year,” said Xander in a grim tone. “But remember that I now have the knowledge of every torture invented from almost an infinite number of dimensions. If you even think of trying that again I will do things to you that you and Angelus only dreamed about when you were at your worst.”
Spike simply nodded, more than a bit in fear at the tone of Xanders voice, and how he knew of the incident. Maybe the kid could see more than he had been letting on.
“What did he do last year?” asked Angel in a low growl.
“Something between him and Buffy. If Buffy tells you feel free to act on your feelings, but until then it’s none of your business,” said Xander. “Now if you will excuse me I need to talk to Faith.”
“Hey Faith,” said Xander as he sat down on the lawn.
“Hey,” said Faith. “This the part where you give the pep talk?”
“Only if you want one. Personally I was going to talk to you about things you may encounter when the crystal activates, and answer any questions you have, so you don’t freak out too much,” said Xander.
“Okay first question; this thing going to kill me?” asked Faith as she held up the necklace.
“I hope not,” said Xander. “Listen, the thing in the crystal is alive. I’ve seen it in action in other dimensions, and whenever it gets in contact with someone restrained, or controlled by their wild side bad things happen. I figure that out of all of us you are the most in touch, but not controlled by your wild side.”
Faith just stared at him wide eyed for a while and said, “Xander, your eyes are bleeding.”
“Yeah I know,” said Xander as he tried to blink the red fluid from his eye. “No one is equipped to see as much as I’m being forced fed, not even with a new mutant brain. I figure I got maybe a minute before my brain completely melts, so do me a favor and listen to your instincts. Just don’t let them rule you.”
“Xander!” cried Faith even as the sun came up and she burst into flame.
And the world of Xander Harris was consumed by darkness.
Awareness was slow to come, but after an eternity it reached him.
*Glad to see you are awake* said a familiar voice that seemed to reverberate down to his soul.
“Is it over?” asked Xander as he opened his eyes and saw the Phoenix in front of him.
*Yes, the cancer has been removed* said the only creature in existence that was made completely out of the flames of creation.
“And you gave me my eye back,” said Xander as he touched his newly restored eye.
*You were owed at least that much* said the being with Faiths voice. *If any other had been used I would have forgotten myself until it was too late. Faith is close enough to the true flame that I was able to remember almost instantly.*
“Yeah, she’s definitely one in a million,” said Xander. He could still feel his powers, but they were muted. He could only catch glimpses of other dimensions, and only when he concentrated. In his opinion that was infinitely better than having all the information of a universe crammed into his mind until it blew up.
*I must leave now. I can feel there is much that needs to be done now that I am no longer imprisoned.*
Xander watched as the blazing bird rose into the sky, soon vanishing from sight. Soon the only evidence it had ever been here at all was a young woman who was picking herself up off the ground.
“Hi Faith,” said Xander as he offered his hand to help her up.
“Oh God,” said Faith as she quickly pulled him into a hug that soon had Xander gasping for air. “I burned you to ash, I burned the entire city to ash!”
“But you brought us back, just like I knew you would,” said Xander. “That’s what a true phoenix does, burn things down and have something better rise from the ashes.”
“Well I also got to destroy the Hellmouth,” said Faith as she quickly tried to compose herself.
“That’s great. Lets go inside, I’m sure Giles wants to hear all about it,” said Xander as he began to lead Faith inside.
“Yeah, you just want me to tell you about the babe I met,” said Faith with a wicked smile as she followed Xander inside.
“Met a new friend huh? What’s her name?” asked Xander.
“Jean,” said Faith as the door closed and the sun finished rising.