Chronicles of the New Watchers
Book One: The Chosen Ones
Spike: Giles here is gonna teach me to be a Watcher. Says I got the stuff.
Giles: Spike's like a son to me.
Xander: That's good. I was into that for a while, but... I got other stuff goin' on.
Excerpt from the journals of Wesley Wyndham-Price, member of the Central Council
June 2, 2003
I have given the matter much thought and have decided to accept the offer Giles has made. It was not an easy decision to make, however. After our ordeal with Cordelia’s “possession” and our adventure with Jasmine I feel loathe leaving them, but the growing tension between Gunn and myself over Fred has put a serious strain on Angel Investigations. And a small part of me has always desired to return to the council, although I could not see that happening with our different views on how this war against evil should be waged.
After Giles asked me if I had anyone in mind to be trained as a Watcher, I admit Fred came to mind. Most likely a selfish wish on my part, but I do believe she could make an impressive Watcher. Her intelligence and ingenuity is rivaled by no one. I know this to be true, not just some romantic exaggeration on my part.
But I find myself unsure of making this request.
Wesley stood alone in the lobby of the Hyperion. Fred, Lorne and Cordelia were upstairs, while Angel, Connor and Gunn were out slaying demons. He had made the phone call to Giles with his answer the day before. So he was surprised to look up from the counter and see the older Watcher enter the old hotel. “Giles, I didn’t mean for you to come to LA when I gave you my answer.”
“I felt the need to get away from Sunnydale to give the others time to think.” Wes nodded. “Neither Willow nor Xander have given you a decision?”
Giles sighed. “Willow’s will be the negative, she admitted as much. And Xander seems very confused over the whole notion.”
“Have you informed the others of your plans?”
The younger man rubbed wearily at his face, then looked at Giles. “I’ve told the others of your offer, but only Angel knows my final decision. I told him yesterday before calling you. It wasn’t as easy as I thought.”
“It never is. I hate to beleaguer a point, but do you have someone in mind for training with the Council?”
Fred had been making her way softly down the stairs when she had heard their conversation. They had their backs to her so she remained unnoticed. She had stopped when she heard their talk about the council. Fred mentally reminded herself it was impolite to eavesdrop, but she felt sorrow at the thought of Wesley leaving.
“I was considering asking Fred, but I don’t think that’s wise. She and Gunn only recently separated. They may have a chance to work things out and my offer would only complicate things.”
“So you won’t even think of asking her?”
Wes shook his head. “It’s probably best if I don’t.”
Fred found herself confused with the newfound information. She turned and hurried upstairs before either man could realize she had overheard them. The men continued their conversation none the wiser.
Excerpt from the journals of Rupert Giles, Head of the New Council of Watchers
June 4, 2003
I will be returning to Sunnydale tomorrow. There is much to get done before I leave for England next week. I am hoping to have a definitive answer from both Willow and Xander by then. It would make settling into my new role with the council easier. But I have promised not to pressure them.
I had informed Buffy, Dawn, Anya and even Spike of my plans, leaving Xander and Willow out of the story. That is for them to tell their friends. Although I suppose one could argue that it is mine also, but I think this is something the two of them need to decide for themselves – not me.
Wesley has made arrangements to be on the same flight back to England. I will fly to Los Angeles from Sunnydale, and then we will fly together. I’m not sure if he will be seated near me or not. But that’s neither here nor there.
Xander swallowed nervously and wiped sweaty palms on his jeans before opening the door to Buffy’s house. “Hello,” he called when he didn’t hear or see anyone in the immediate vicinity. Making his way to the kitchen, he thought he heard laughter from the back yard. His nerves increased as he thought about what he had come to tell them. He was unsure as to whether he was glad Giles was in Los Angeles or not. The man’s support might have been good about now.
After all, he wasn’t sure he had Willow’s.
He opened the door and stepped onto the back porch. Buffy, Dawn, Anya, Willow and Kennedy were laughing at some unknown joke or story and Xander toyed with the idea of turning tail and running. Dawn looked up and squealed with delight. “Xander!” She bounced up to him. “I am so curious about this big secret of yours. I mean, it must be big if you wanted everyone here to tell us!”
“Um, yeah.” He sighed. “Why don’t we go down to the basement? I suppose I should let Soul-boy junior in on the secret.” Buffy shrugged and they all paraded into the house and down to Spike’s “room.”
“Chubs,” Spike greeted in a bored voice. “Seems the girls are anxious to hear what you’ve got to say.”
“Nope. No pressure here,” Xander mumbled. He looked at the “scoobies;” his eyes resting on Willow the longest. Kennedy seemed irritated with the whole thing.
Willow felt her heart sink. She believed she knew what was coming.
“We all know the G-man is heading back to fix-up the Council and all, right? Well, you know how the old tradition was to, you know, train your kids to carry on the family business so to speak.” He paused and studied his feet for a second, then looked back up. “But Giles never got married and had kids, so there’s no mini-watchers waiting in the wings. So he has to make due with what he’s got.”
“Xander, what are you getting at?” Buffy asked confusion and the beginning of understanding covered her face.
“Guess I’d better get to the point.”
“That’d be useful,” Kennedy complained. Willow looked at her anger and sadness suffusing her features. “Kennedy,” she warned.
“Giles asked me if I’d join the council.”
Everyone had varying degrees of surprise on their face. “Are … are you going to do it?” Dawn asked softly.
Xander bit his bottom lip and nodded.
“What about your job?” Willow questioned almost hysterical. Xander was leaving her, possibly forever. “Your life is here!”
“Some life!” he snapped. “I lost my job, Will. I know I could still do the work, but my boss thinks I can’t. Thanks to the new pirate look I’m sporting!” He deflated. “Your life is here, not mine. Not anymore.”
Tears filled Willow’s eyes. She turned and took the stairs out of the basement two at a time. Kennedy gave Xander a poisonous look. “It’s a good thing you’re leaving,” she hissed. “For Will’s sake.” And she went after Willow.
“I fuckin’ love you too Ken!” Xander yelled at her retreating back.
He turned to a teary-eyed trio of Buffy, Dawn and Anya. Spike rolled his eyes as they launched themselves at Xander
“You’re really leaving?” Buffy asked in sad disbelief.
“I thought long and hard about this Buff. As much as it hurts to leave you guys, I need to do this.”
“Kinda like after your senior year?” Dawn asked in a whisper.
“Yeah, except without the whole Oxnard experience. I just have to find out what to do now.”
“You can’t leave,” Anya insisted, her voice breaking.
He pulled away from the three of them. “Ahn, you’re leaving too.”
“I know, but this is your home. I can’t believe you’re leaving your home.”
“You can visit me in England.”
Her face brightened. “Oh, good.”
Dawn sniffled and Xander squeezed her again. Buffy and Anya gently wrapped themselves around him again as he started to cry with them. Spike studied them sadly as he lit a cigarette.
Excerpt from the journals of Alexander Harris, Watcher
June 8 2003
Well, now that I’m going to be training to be a watcher, I guess I get to do the journal thing like the G-man.
When I become a Watcher, do I have to wear tweed?
I haven’t seen Will since I told everyone my decision. Whenever I go to Buffy’s she’s either hides in her room with Kennedy or she makes sure she already gone. I don’t know how handle this, it hurts so much. But she doesn’t realize how much I need to do this. I need to find out who I can be outside of the whole Hellmouth Slayerette deal. Fighting by Buffy’s side defined who I am – which isn’t a bad thing necessarily. But now that the Hellmouth’s sealed things will be noticeably calmer and I kind of wonder where it would leave me if I stay. I lost my job, which I admit I loved. That job proved that immature, screw-off Xander can be an adult. I felt good to know that even though I didn’t do the whole college gig, I could do something. And I was good at it. But now I lost my eye, which is redefining me, I guess.
Willow can’t understand that all this has changed me. But I don’t know who I’m changing into and it terrifies me.
Xander was packing his belongings. He would be leaving in five days to start a new life in England. Picking up a picture frame to wrap, he paused to study it. I was an old picture of him and Willow sophomore year in high school. He knew both Willow and Buffy had a copy of the same photo.
Willow couldn’t come to grips with the fact that Xander was leaving. And it hurt that she didn’t know him anymore. The old team of Willow and Xander would have known the others decision and understood why. Then again, the old Willow and Xander would either go together or stay together. The new people they had become over the past year didn’t connect like that.
He was pulled from his thoughts by the doorbell. Opening the door revealed Anya. “Xander, come to the Bronze,” his ex-fiancé insisted.
“I’m packing Ahn. It’s something you want to have finished before you move.”
“I realize that,” she said with a roll of her eyes. “But you can’t take a break for the night.” She grabbed him by the arm and began to tug him out the door.
“Okay, okay.” She released his arm. “I’ll go. Let me get my jacket.”
They walked down the night-darkened streets, Xander lost in silent thought. “Have you seen Will the last couple of days?” he asked suddenly.
Anya shook her head sadly. “Sorry. I think she’s gone into hiding. Dawn’s trying to lure her out to the Bronze tonight.”
Xander halted and the ex-vengeance demon stopped too. “Is this some sort of plot to get us talking?”
Anya scoffed. “Well, of course. What did you think this was all about?”
“I thought it was somebody taking a friend out to cheer him up.”
“Well, that too. Come on!” She started walking again and he had no choice but follow.
When they got to the Bronze, it was unusually quiet – even for a Sunday night. The club was dark when they entered and Xander became instantly alert. He imagined vampires lurking in the inky blackness.
So he was understandably surprised when the lights came on and he was greeted with everyone in the club jumping out and shouting “surprise.” Surprised so much in fact, that he nearly fell backwards.
“Yes, I thought it was a bit much too,” Giles said dryly as he stepped toward the shocked man. “But Buffy and the others felt you needed a ‘going away’ party and I felt inclined to agree in this case.” He reached up and squeezed Xander’s shoulders. “I am always proud of you, but I am pleased to know you’ll be joining me,” the Watcher said with heart-felt emotion. Xander offered him a faintly embarrassed smile.
Xander studied the room and felt his heart sink when he didn’t see Willow. “Niblet’s not here with Red yet,” Spike said from behind him. He turned to look at the vampire. “You’re looking for Will,” Spike explained. “If anyone can get her to come, it’s Dawnie. When have you ever known anyone who could say no to her?”
Smiling sadly Xander nodded his head in agreement.
“So,” Spike began. “Off to jolly old England to wear tweed and write in a diary.”
“Something like that, yeah.” The bleach-blond vampire studied Xander. “Never figured it to be your thing a few years ago. But now, I suppose I can see it.”
Xander bristled. “What’s that supposed to mean? You mean now that I’m missing my eye this is all I can do?”
Spike sighed in frustration and resisted the impulse to roll his eyes. “No. What I mean,” he said slowly as though speaking to a child, “is that you’ve been doing the slaying gig for what? Seven years now. You know everything there is about dealing with demons. Hell, you’ve even lived with two demons at separate times. Where you might not have been interested in the whole Watcher’s gig in the past, now you’ve grown up and realize that wankin’ council needs someone who bloody well knows how to do the job and fight the big bad.”
Xander looked sheepish. “Oh.”
“You really need to get over this whole ‘don’t pity me ‘cause I lost my eye’ thing,” the vampire insisted with mild disgust and aggravation. “I haven’t seen it limit you as much as you believe it does.”
A few minutes later, Xander sat with Buffy when Dawn entered the Bronze with a nervous Willow and an aggravated Kennedy in tow. Xander felt like a fist was squeezing his heart. Willow looked like a lost child, scared and alone. He politely excused himself and got up to meet his oldest friend in the middle of the club. Dawn grabbed Kennedy and drug her over to where Xander had left Buffy. Kennedy was clearly not pleased.
“Will,” Xander said softly. “I … I’m glad Dawnie convinced you to come.”
“I – I guess I really didn’t need that much convincing,” she explained uncertainly. Then she propelled herself into Xander’s arms. “You’re leaving me,” she said in disbelief. “You’re really going to leave me.”
Xander squeezed her tightly. “I’m not leaving you Will. But this is something I need to do.” He pulled away and studied her face. “Just like you feel like you need to stay here, I feel like I need to leave. And believe me, it wasn’t an easy decision to make. I agonized for days. But …” He drew in a shuddering breath. “I thought about what the Watchers were like before. What Travers did to Buffy and how they’ve been for hundreds of years. They’ve always treated the Slayer like she was their tool. A means to an end. Buffy, Faith or any other Slayer never mattered to them. I can help Giles and Wes change that. And this whole war against the First, it changed me.” He held up a hand to stop whatever she opened her mouth to say. “I don’t just mean losing an eye. Although, yeah, life altering. It’s the whole thing. I don’t have powers. I don’t have Slayer strength or magical, wicca powers. But I told Dawnie because of all that I can watch everyone. She told me maybe my power is seeing and knowing.”
Willow gasped. “Yeah,” he continued. “Caleb thought the same thing. That’s why he took my eye.”
“I – I understand why you want to do this,” Willow agreed in a whisper. “But how can it be so easy for you to leave me? And – and Buffy and Dawn.”
He sighed unhappily. “It’s not easy. The most important things never are. But you could have come. You could have accepted Giles’ offer. I know you’d make a great Watcher. So I guess I can’t see how you could give up an opportunity like this,” he said, a tint of bitterness creeping into his voice.
She looked at him, hurt. “Kennedy is staying here to be with me. I want to give this relationship a chance. And I can help Buffy if I stay. How do you not know this?”
“Like I said, Will. All this has changed me. And I really don’t know much of anything anymore.”
Willow looked at the floor. Then she stepped toward him and hugged him again. “Let’s not fight about it,” she insisted her voice breaking. “Let’s just accept it and enjoy your last days here.” Xander dropped a kiss on the top of her head. “Sounds like a plan.”