“You wake up one morning and find out you’re a God. Not ‘God’, but a God, what do you do?”
Xander Harris had never seriously considered the question before but he supposed now he had no choice, he was, for all intents and purposes, a higher being…
On the plus side, one of the local big bads had already revealed themselves by the simple process of genuflecting in front him and asking for assistance with an ascension, on the downside, he now had to clean Mayor out of his carpet and he had this real feeling that he had somehow missed out on an opportunity, there was this image of C4 and the school he just couldn’t get out of his head…
Still, he now knew where every demon and vampire in town, he could feel them, their evil, their putridness and their fear. Yes, their fear, for just as he could sense them, they could sense the purity and goodness coming from him all the way across town and he somehow knew that they could sense him.
It wasn’t just the aura and the knowledge, the extra sense he now seemed to have that had these questions spinning in his mind, nor was it the armour and weapons that now seemed to be his. It was… well, himself he supposed.
He knew that he since he had been helping Buffy he had gotten far stronger and fitter, but now, well he didn’t have the muscles or body of the God Emperor of Mankind but he could feel the discipline and training that allowed the GEoM to maintain those in the back of his mind and he knew that if he wanted to, he could quickly become fit enough to beat a pre-possession Buffy.
Post-possession Buffy would take a lot longer, frankly he didn’t know which was scaring the Demons the most, himself in his GEoM guise, or Buffy, who was still the Slayer but now seemed to have the discipline and knowledge of a veteran fighter in the back of her mind, at her beck and call.
And, Xander had to admit, Buffy was now a far deadlier warrior. She had made her peace with the spirit of the Battlesister Stern, and together those two souls had combined, Buffy’s drive and passion to live yet with that touch of darkness and Sterns iron discipline and knowledge of combat.
Dare he say it, but Buffy actually seemed to be a better person now?
Willow was the scary one though, becoming quite the little magus, the possession from the battlesister seemed to have added an iron discipline she needed if she was to control her magics and not be controlled by them. It also put a control on her more unhealthy tendencies to control and dominate, however subtle she might have been with that in the past, so much so Xander didn’t honestly think she realized she was doing it half the time, he could now recognise the signs buried in her past actions and behaviours.
Still, his mind was taking him off topic. Why? Because he truly didn’t want to think about this, he knew intellectually he must but it scared him, the potential ramifications of what he now was.
But he had too, and the voice in the back of his mind, the lingering spirit of the true GEoM wasn’t helping. He just said that he had to figure it out for himself, true maybe but it sucked.
It didn’t help that God, who looked strangely like Alanis Moresette had seen fit to visit him (before he was even dressed!) and start laying down some ground rules… Well, the Snape-alike laid down the rules; she just looked severely at him. Of course, he now also had a severely burnt section of carpet to deal with, courtesy of the mouth pieces dramatic entrance.
Now, who was he truly?
Was he Xander? Was he the GEoM?
Where did he belong?
What was his purpose?
Xander did not sleep well that night.
The next morning brought news that frankly, left Xander pretty conflicted. The demons were staging an evacuation; the vampires in particular were leaving en-masse, all because they were suddenly so afraid of a particular trio of scoobies.
On the obvious plus side, less demons and monsters on the hellmouth, downside one, that meant they were elsewhere, places that might not be protected. Downside two, they were afraid of him, demons, vampires were all afraid of him, and what did that truly mean for him? Downside Three, those that were staying were the powerful ones, master vampires, higher level demons, and the Watchers Council, in a rare move had actually phoned to warn them that there now seemed to be a mass movement of some of the worst monsters in the world… to the hellmouth.
Xander had to admit, the only one of them who was truly ready for that was Buffy. Willow was learning fast and gaining in power and more importantly discipline but she didn’t yet have the stamina, for want of a better term, to last a battle with higher level demons, and him, he didn’t even know or understand his place, how could he help?
Worse, he know felt sorry for the other Scoobies, Giles and Cordelia. Whilst Giles was still very much their chief researcher and scholar, both were extremely vulnerable to the new threats headed their way, far more so then they had been in the past. Hell, it was rumoured that a Hellgod was headed their way, looking for a little distraction from her search for some ‘key’.
And they were disorganised, too many changes had happened in too short a time, Giles was starting to hit the bottle, feeling worthless and pointless in the face of the sheer power now wielded by his children, Buffy should be the leader, should hold the reins but somehow she couldn’t, she kept trying to look elsewhere for guidance, as if she felt deep in her soul that somebody else should be leading, as did Willow.
And he knew they expected him to lead, they had been influenced by their costumes after all, and their costumes expected his holiness, the God Emperor of Mankind to lead, and that, for want of a better candidate was him.
He couldn’t lead, he wasn’t a leader!
But with a sigh, he had to acknowledge that part, deep within the very foundations of his soul, that told him he could lead, and he could lead strongly. He feared that part of him, that part meant change and he had seen so much of it recently that a little stability would be welcomed, but he knew it was not to be.
Yet… for the moment, the higher level types were arriving in ones and twos and being killed swiftly but Xander knew that wouldn’t last. The higher level the demons they killed, the higher the level they gained the attention off, the more they gained the attention off. Soon, they would attract the head of a demon host and then an army would swarm down onto the mouth of hell and whilst they might cause massive casualties, Xander knew they were no army, they couldn’t hold for long.
The answer, his mind told him, was simple. If they didn’t have an army, then they would have to find one. But how?
Okay, first find those had direct contact with the dark and knew how to fight, they would form the solid core of the army. Soldiers would be good, trained warriors of one sort or another, and then grow out from there. So, how do you find trained solider who had had contact with the dark and were willing to fight it? It wasn’t as if they would advertise…
Xander froze, but they would, if you knew how to look… he grinned, or how to place the advert.
It never occurred to him that he was actually thinking and acting like a leader at that moment and the voice within his mind wasn’t going to point that out to him… yet.
“Oh dear lord” the words slipped, almost unaccustomed out of Giles mouth and he rubbed self-consciously at his beard, the remnants of the three day bender he had slipped into after the events of Halloween. A bender not unlike those he had enjoyed in his youth, but at least in his Ripper days, he could remember what the ingredients for that hangover-killing potion were. Right now, he could really do with it.
“Willow” he asked, calmly, quietly and hoping Willow, who was looking at him at little startled and more then a little bemused, would get the point, and keep quite when she replied, “What does this note mean?
He waved the offending piece of paper with its message in Xanders distinctive almost dyslexic scrawl under Willows nose, and she brightened, “oh, you mean the subtle recruitment pitch Xander came up with?”
Giles looked at Willow aghast, “Glowing Eyes? Pointy Teeth? Fast, strong and Dead? If this description means anything to you, then we need You! For a new special operations unit! Xander calls that subtle?”
“And where exactly is Xander going to place this?”
Willow smiled, and Giles resisted a groan, he knew that smile, he knew he was suddenly going to regret having asked that question.
“Oh, it’s already posted. Hacked into the defence ministries of a few countries, had them email or snail mail it out… Every serviceman or women doing black ops in Nato should be receiving that in the next couple of days”
Giles looked at Willow incredulously, then groaned, reaching swiftly for his glasses, “oh, bloody hell!”
“Madam, we may have a leak”
“We traced this to somewhere inside Sunnydale”
“In Sunnydale? The base hasn’t even been completed yet and we have a leak inside Sunnydale?”
“It appears so madam”
“Fine, take what trained agents we have and head for Sunnydale, I want to know what the hell is going on”
“And Riley? Be discrete”
“Sir, we may have a foothold”
“Sunnydale, California sir. A hacker, who has been traced to Sunnydale, ordered the defence mainframe to send this to every Navy Seal, Delta and more. O’Neill is on his way in; he says he has already received a copy”
“Assemble SG-1 for a briefing at 0600, and arrange transport for Sunnydale California”
“I’m afraid the mission to Paris has been scrapped, this was sent to everyone in the SAS, SBS and a few others by a hacker in Sunnydale California, we want to know why”
“Yes, a copy arrived in my inbox earlier, was about to discuss it with security. Has this only affected us?”
“No, so far Germany, France and Italy have to began to ask questions”
“We believe so, but that’s not confirmed. Mrs Moneypenny has your tickets. And Bond… do be careful, we cannot afford to replace an agent of your calibre after all”
“Of course not” James Bond 007 smiled, knowing in his heart exactly what M really meant.
“Harry? What is it?”
“Just a memory… a memory I would rather had remained buried”
“Hey, Harry, you hear, there’s been a crazy hacker in the personnel files, sending some whacked out email out to everyone”
“You mean this email?”
“Yea, you got one too then. Want to bet the boss sends us after the clown who did this?”
“Yo! Call for a Doris and a Borris…”
“No shit, somebody really sent this out to those black ops types?”
“They even got it out to everyone who was in the field”
“That had to take some serious balls”
“Balls or not, it’s illegal as hell”
“Which is why you’re being sent in to find them. And this time, I want no destroyed trains, no plane crashes… just bring them in please Gerard”
“Oh, I always get my man”
“I know, that’s the only reason I haven’t fired your arse”
“Do you really have an idea what you have done Xander?”
Xander smiled, “just invited one or two people to a party. Do you think they’ll come?”
Giles just looked at him, aghast.