Xander gasped with the feel of it, but he pulled himself forward anyway, the sword shoving between his ribs, past his heart, and out his back. He groaned and drove himself towards Jamie Le'Strange, who stood aghast at the actions of Xander.
The immortal tried to wrench his sword free, but Xander held on with his left hand, yanking Jamie closer.
Xander's right hand slid down, shakily pulling free the rapier at his hip. Xander could feel his life force slipping, and struggled to keep his eyes open. Think of Willow. Think of Buffy, of Giles, even of Angel. They were his friends, and they were the protectors of humanity. He grinned a little, and a hysterical bark of laughter escaped his lips as he stared into the eyes of Jamie Le'Strange.
They were humanity's protector, and Xander was their protector. To death.
Xander surged forward again, plunging Jamie's sword down to the hilt. He shuddered in the absolute pain of it, and put his face as close to Jamie's stunned expression as he could. The immortal was frozen in surprise at Xander's act and the intensity of his gaze.
"Wha-what?" Jamie stuttered.
"Watch where you point that thing," Xander gasped, twitching in pain. "You might hurt someone." He swung the sword at Jamie's neck.
Jamie registered the swing only a moment before the blade sliced into his neck, severing his head from his shoulders. His face was frozen in an expression of horror and shock as his head bounced across the floor. He was Jamie Le'Strange, one of the most feared immortals to ever live. He had killed over a hundred immortals in single combat, and now he was killed by this...boy?
It was his last thought.
Xander cried out in pain as he fell to his knees, dropping Butch's sword as used both hands to try and pull free the sword from his chest. Samuel Gender watched, fascinated.
The sword came free slowly, blood and muscle sluicing out of the wound as he pulled. Tears streamed out of Xander's good eye, and he screamed horribly as he finally pulled the sword out. He shuddered again, and collapsed, unmoving.
Samuel Gender walked over to him, staring at the boy.
"A foolish sacrifice, although brave to be sure. It has accomplished you nothing. I will complete the ritual as you die." He began dragging Xander's body into the circle, as Xander Harris slowly died.
Samuel chanted slowly, eyes closed, and an air of power seemed to fill the room. A mist formed above Jamie's body, swirling with power that grew with every moment. Samuel continued chanting.
The mist floated towards the body of Xander Harris. He stared upwards, the last vestiges of life draining away from him.
The lights exploded with the first hit of lightning. It slammed into the amulet on Xander's chest, lying just to the side of his self-inflicted wound. His body arched with the blast of power.
Samuel's eyes snapped open, eyes aghast at the sight of the Quickening. How had he forgotten?
Another blast struck the amulet. Again. Again. Each strike sizzled with power, each strike causing the amulet to glow with a stronger intensity.
Finally it was over, and Xander's body fell lifeless to the floor. The amulet on his chest almost hummed with the intensity of the power now contained within it.
Samuel sighed. Jamie was his most loyal servant, groomed to be his lieutenant by him personally. Still, it was only fitting that his quickening would soon reside in Samuel himself. The ritual was complete, and he could now begin absorbing the souls of his captives. It was a pity, he thought, that he could not have absorbed the soul of Xander Harris as well. That kind of strength of will did not come along very often.
He moved to the Witch, her eyes flicking wildly. The Dampening Bands still held, but Samuel wanted to be sure there was no problem. He retrieved the control from Jamie's corpse, and set it to its highest setting. The bands pulsed, and the Witch's eyes returned to their glassy state.
Samuel reached into his jacket and pulled his sword. An ancient longsword even older than he was, Samuel had taken many a head with the blade. He smiled. Soon such weapons would be meaningless to him, thanks to the power he would soon possess.
He raised the sword over the Witch's head.
And was shot through the stomach. The bullet passed clean through, piercing his spine, causing him to collapse to the floor.
Xander took a shaky breath, and slowly got to his feet. He groaned, clutching his chest as a spasm of pain hit him. He swallowed, and placed a hand over the amulet. The force was still there, keeping him from removing it, but he could feel the warmth of it.
His heart beat, slowly.
"I am never doing that again," Xander gasped. He inspected his chest, finding the wound was slowly sealing up. The amulet pulsed faintly with his repaired heartbeat.
"H-How?" Samuel Gender gasped from the floor. "You are not immortal...I would have felt it."
Xander staggered over to him, keeping his pistol trained on Gender's head.
"I noticed my ankle wasn't hurt anymore after-," he sucked in a breath as another spasm of pain went through his chest. "After I killed this one's brother."
"Y-you risked your life on the chance it would heal you?" Samuel could hardly believe it. For one to whom death was such a minute threat, he could not understand risking permanent death on such a slim chance.
"The hard part wasn't impaling myself through the chest," Xander said. "The hard part was killing Jamie before I died."
The Quickening was what did the healing. If he hadn't killed Jamie...well, it was a chance he had to have taken.
"You're insane," Gender laughed hysterically, coughing up blood. "I'm going-going to kill you."
"Right back at ya, pal." Xander said. He picked up Gender's fallen sword. "When you get to hell, tell 'em the Scoobies sent ya. I think you get a group rate discount at the cafeteria."
Xander raised the sword, and Samuel was certain he could hear the hideous laughter of Angelus. Xander brought the sword down, and killed Samuel Gender. Permanently.
Xander fell back, squeezing his eyes shut in anticipation for the Quickening.
It began a minute later, the power in the room growing as it had before. Wind whipped his hair around as the mist formed, and an arc of electricity jumped from wall to wall before slamming straight into the amulet. He struggled to flip over, and began crawling towards Willow.
The lightning slammed into his back, causing him to spasm as it used him as a conductor to reach the amulet. He gasped, and with his final ounce of strength, grabbed Willow's arm.
The lightning hit, again and again, causing the both of them to jerk and twitch with each strike.
When it ended, Xander lay still for a long while. Every so often he'd twitch in pain as some part of him healed faster than should be possible, or he'd cough up some bloody gunk that he didn't want to think about.
Finally he felt strong enough to move again. He sat up slowly, noting the increased brightness in the amulet. He crawled over to Gender's body, and pulled the control out of his hand.
It had three buttons. Red, Blue, and Green.
"Eeny, meeny, miney...moe." he pushed the blue one. The bands around Willow dimmed slightly. Blue meant lower?
He pressed green. Nothing seemed to happen. He pressed blue again, and the bands around Wesley and Giles dimmed down, and snapped off.
"I won't answer any more questions," Giles mumbled.
"Giles?" Xander asked.
"Xander? Oh dear, have they captured you?" He tried to focus his eyes, a hard task without his glasses. Wesley blinked as well, and looked at Xander.
The boy was covered in blood, no telling how much of it was his own. His shirt was torn in the center, with stakes hanging from a strip of duct tape on either side of him. He wore a holster with two large pistols on either side, and a scabbard at his hip.
"I don't think so," Wesley said softly. Giles glanced at his arms, and saw that the bands that had held him were now gone. He rubbed his wrists gently and looked around. The body of their captor lay at his side, the head missing.
"Good lord Xander..." Giles murmured.
"Later Giles, I think I've got this thing figured out." Green meant switch targets. He hit green again, then blue. Gunn's band dimmed, but remained on. He hit blue again, and two more times until the bands snapped off.
"Oh man, my head...," he groaned. Xander ignored him, hitting green again, then blue. Angel and Spike's bands dimmed. He hit blue four more times, and the bands snapped off.
"Bloody hell, what did I drink?" Spike mumbled. Angel groaned next to him, blinking as he looked around.
"Is everyone OK?" he asked Xander.
"So far so good," Xander muttered. He switched targets again, and then hit blue. Buffy's bands dimmed. He hit blue quite a few times until they snapped off. She groaned and looked around, Angel and Spike both looking at her with concern.
"Angel? Spike? You stopped them?" she asked.
"Not me, luv," Spike confessed. Angel just shook his head and nodded his head at Xander. Buffy stared at him, wide-eyed.
"Jeez Xander, you look terrible."
"Aw thanks Buff, I can always count on you for a kind word," he grinned at her. She rolled her eyes.
"Sorry, but you look like someone pulled a 'Carrie' on you."
"I should be so lucky," Xander said. He tapped green again, and then hit blue at least a dozen times before snapping the bands off of the blue-haired chick.
"You will not hold me in these petty magics forever, wormling. When I am freed you will tremble at the very thought of my vengeance. A thousand lifetimes will not prepare your insignificant mind for the horrors I will unleash upon you."
"Gotcha," Xander said. "Bondage is a big no-no with you."
Illyria raised an eyebrow at him.
"You are the scurrying rat that I was forced to relate information about," she said. "The one that hides in the darkness and avoids capture."
"That's me," Xander said, rolling his eyes. He hit green again, and then tapped blue.
And tapped it.
And tapped it some more.
Finally after what seemed like a good minute and a half of tapping, the bands around Willow's neck burst open and she screamed. Her body floated off the ground as crackles of energy surged around her.
"Whoa whoa, Willow! Stand down the alert!" Xander cried, rushing over to her. Willow's hair blazed firey red and she turned eyes of white-hot power on him.
"Willow...calm down," Xander said carefully. Slowly moving towards her.
"Xander? They...I saw...they..."
The magic stopped as if a switch had been thrown, and Willow floated back down to the floor, tears in her eyes.
"Hey, it's ok. Everything's fine now," Xander said soothingly, embracing her in a hug. She sobbed on his shoulder for a long while, babbling that she'd kept fading in and out, sometimes being able to see what was happening. The last thing she'd seen was Xander shoving a sword through his own heart.
"WHAT!?" Buffy cried.
"She must have hallucinated," Giles said. Although, there was that bloody hole in Xander's shirt.
"Something like that. Look, I'll tell you guys the whole story later if you want, OK? We'll have a nice early breakfast, we'll talk about dumb yellow horned demons, immortals, and soul amulets that really need to be kept in a SAFE DEPOSIT BOX!" Xander screamed this last bit in Angel's direction.
"They got it out of the White Room?" Angel asked, astonished.
"Uh...well no. I mean, they were going to, but I beat them to it."
"You got it out of the White Room?" Gunn was shocked, as he'd personally seen the power of the inhabitant of the White Room. "How'd you manage that?"
"I kinda threatened to step on him."
"What?" the room chorused.
"Hey look he was being difficult, and I was working against the clock, ok? I didn't have time for any bunny shenanigans."
Xander sighed. This was going to take a long time to explain. The skin under his eye patch itched slightly, and he rubbed it.
There was also the problem of the Day-Glo Amulet still hanging around his neck. He sighed.
"I need a shower, some new clothes, and some food, in that order. After that, I'll tell you guys the whole story, deal?"
"Indeed," said Giles. "I think it would be best if we all recovered a bit ourselves before we delve into the consequences of the day. Perhaps we should reconvene here tomorrow?"
Everyone seemed to agree, and soon they were all breaking up into smaller groups. Wesley and Giles discussing the possible tomes they could search for information no the Amulet, Willow and Buffy trying to figure out exactly how Xander had managed to accomplish all of this. Gunn went off to the White Room to get some answers, and Illyria simply stared icily at Xander, questions forming in her head.
None of them noticed the almost feral grin on Angel's face as he entered his office, and began making calls.
THE END (For now?)