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An unCharmed Life

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This story is No. 3 in the series "Oh, The Places He Goes!". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: On the job and looking for allies for the Watchers' Council, Xander meets the Halliwell sister.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Charmed > Xander-CenteredphoukaFR1515,62421116,92819 Feb 0619 Feb 06Yes
An UnCharmed Life.

Not the Author's Note: I am a bad, bad sister. This is the third of five Xander stories my brother has send me. The other four are up, and I completely forgot about this one until a reviewer asked "hey, where's An unCharmed Life"? So, the order of stories is:

- Don't Lose Your Head
- Medium Sized Trouble in Little China
- An unCharmed Life
- Loose Dead Ends
- Car Shopping

Now I feel better.

Disclaimer: Charmed and the characters that appear in it belong to someone else. Who knows. It's not mine or my brothers, and that's all that matters. Xander Harris and Buffy the Vampire Slayer are the property of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. Again, not mine or my brother's. Should either of us try to use these for profit, my our livers curdle, our hair fall out, and our toenails become ingrown. Also, we could be sued.



Xander woke up to the sound of someone knocking at his motel room door.
Blearily, Xander put on a robe and staggered to the door. He opened it
and saw an immaculately dressed man before him.

“Alexander Harris?”

Xander looked at the man, then rubbed his eye.

“Mr. Harris?”

Xander looked at the man, turned, looked at his bed, then looked at the
man again.

“Who are you?” Xander asked.

“Ah, sorry. I’m Reginald Johnston. Mr. Giles should have informed you
of my arrival.”

Xander looked at Reginald, looked to his bed, then back at Reginald.

“…right. Giles sent you. He called late last night. I think I wrote
something down. Look, Reg.”

“Reginald.” Reginald interrupted.

“What?”

“It’s Reginald. Johnston. Reginald for short.”

“…right. Look, Reg…inald. You‘re here for…?” Xander asked.

“Well, Mr. Giles felt that it would be beneficial if I was present for
the meeting -”

“With the Halliwells. Right. I remember. See, we can do the initial
contact today, but that’s later. Right now I need sleep. I was up all
night tracking two vampires. I’m not a Slayer, so I couldn’t just jump
in and fight them. I had to wait until they separated. Then I had
sneak up behind each one and stake him in the back. Now vampires have
great hearing and excellent night vision. So there was a lot of hiding on
my part. And not just in the shadows. There was crouching involved.
Long story short, it took three hours and I got back really late last
night. I need sleep. So what say you come back about elevenish and we
can do this thing? ‘Kay? Great. See you later.”

Xander shut the door and shuffled back to bed. He just pulled the
covers over his head when he heard knocking on his door. Xander sighed,
got back up, shuffled to the door and opened it.

“WHAT? Were we not clear on the plan? It was pretty clear.”

“Yes. The thing is, Mr. Harris…”

“WHAT? Elevenish! You go away. Me sleep. Come back at elevenish.
Got it?”

“Yes.”

“Then why are you here?”

“It’s actually 11:30 right now.”

Xander blinked, looked at Reginald, turned and looked at the digital
clock on his bed stand, then looked back at Reginald.

“…right. ‘Kay, new plan. Come on in. Let me clean up and get
dressed, then we can leave.”



Xander glanced at the map in Reginald’s hand as he drove down the road.

“We’ll turn right at the next light, Mr. Harris.” Reginald said.

“Xander.”

“Excuse me?”

Xander sighed. “Just Xander. No Mr. Harris.”

Reginald nodded. “Ah, yes. I suppose you half expect people to be
talking to your father when they say that.”

“Something like that.”

“The first time someone called me Mr. Johnston, I felt guilty. Like I
hadn’t earned it yet. My father served for years on the old Watcher’s
Council. I always hope to live up to his name. And your father?”

Xander looked at Reginald, distracted.

“What?”

“Is your father someone you’re trying to live up to?” Reginald asked.

“My father….” Xander paused.

He turned at the intersection, sighed, then took a breath. “ My father
is a drunk. I don’t like being reminded of him. So no Mr. Harris.
Just Xander.”

Reginald shifted uncomfortably. “Of course, Xander. I didn’t mean
to…”

“We’re here.” Xander said.

Xander stopped the car in front of an ornate house. Xander cut off the
engine and turned to Reginald.

“Now Reg…inald. We have to take this carefully. These are the most
powerfully witches in recorded history. And we’re on their turf asking
for their help. So we gotta be diplomatic. I’ve seen the old Council
in action, and they managed to alienate two Slayers by trying to order
them around. We’re not making the same mistakes. I’ll take the lead,
you follow. Got it?” Xander said.

Reginald nodded.

//Okay, I can do this. Just because most of my experiences with
witches and wizards have been horrific is no reason to think this will be a
disaster. For every Ethan Rayne or Catherine Madison there’s Amy
Madison or Willow. Except Amy became a tool for the First Evil, and Willow
went through her whole magic crack addict phase. //

//Huh.//

//There’s got to be at least one person involved in magic that hasn’t
royally screwed up and hurt people with it. Let’s see…. Giles? Had
that whole demon possession thing that scared him straight. Jonathon and
Andrew went on their super villain crime spree. Tara messed up with
her making us blind to demons spell…. Ms. Calendar? No she wasn’t a
witch. She was a cyber pagan, whatever the hell that is. C’mon there’s
got to be at least one person -//

“Mis… Xander?” Reginald asked.

“Huh?”

“You’ve just been sitting here for five minutes. Are we going in?”

“Yeah. I’ve just been… strategizing. Done now. Let’s go.”

Xander and Reginald got out of the car and walked to the door of the
house. Xander knocked, then turned to Reginald.

“Remember, this will be a delicate encounter. One wrong word could
spell disaster.”

Reginald nodded, then gulped nervously.

The door opened, revealing a rather pretty young woman.

“Uh, hey. Is this the Halliwell house?” Xander asked.

“Yes. I’m Phoebe. Can I help you?”

“Yeah. I’m Xander Harris with the Reformed Watcher’s Council. This is
Reg…inald. So, you’re the Charmed Ones?”

Phoebe glanced around nervously.

Xander continued. “Awesome. So we‘re hoping to setup some kind of
contact slash alliance slash information swapping cooperation thing with
you guys. Sound cool?”

Phoebe looked at Xander, then Reginald, then Xander again.

She sighed and said, “And I thought today was going to be dull. Leo!
Get down here. And get Piper and Paige.”



Xander and Reginald sat on the living room couch as Phoebe sat in a
chair across from them.

“So your friend Leo has that whole appearing in a burst of light thing
going on. That’s nice. Must come in handy.” Xander said.

Reginald leaned over. “I surmise this Leo is a Whitelighter. They are
like a guardian angel assigned to oversee and guide the development of
witches.”

Phoebe nodded. “That’s right. He showed up just after we discovered
our heritage. He and Piper hit it off and now they’re married.”

Xander thought for a moment. “How come Willow didn’t get one. Sure
would have come in handy during her whole black-eyed phase.”

“I believe that Whitelighters are only assigned to natural born
witches. That is to say, witches who come from a line of witches.” Reginald
explained.

“Pretty much.” Phoebe confirmed.

“So, Leo married your sister? Huh. Surprised the Whitelighters don’t
have a no fraternization policy.” Xander said.

“Well, he did have to get special permission. And that was only after
a lot of heartache on both their parts. Does the Watcher Council have
rules on that?” Phoebe said.

“Informally, yeah.” Xander said.

“So you’ve never had sex with a Slayer.” Phoebe asked with a smirk.

Xander reddened at this. “Well, not twice.” He mumbled.

“I’m betting there’s a story behind that.”

Xander allowed himself a smile. “Oh yeah. But you will have to get me
much more drunk before you hear a word.”

Phoebe leaned in closer. “I do enjoy a challenge.”



Paige joined Piper in the kitchen, just as Leo orbed in.

“So what’s the word. Are these guys on the level?” Piper asked.

“Yes.” Leo answered. “Apparently the old Watcher Council was wiped
out in early 2003. The new Council was formed shortly after.”

Paige glanced out at the living room. “I’m not sensing any danger
coming from them. So, assuming this isn’t a trap, which is a big
assumption, what do we do?”

Piper shrugged. “We listen to their pitch. How is Phoebe?”

Paige smiled. “She’s flirting with one of them.”

Piper sighed and put her hand to her head. “Of course she is. Which
one? The Bible Camp student or the pirate wannabe?”

“This is Phoebe we’re talking about.”

“So it’s the pirate wannabe. Why do I get the feeling this is not
going to end well?”



Phoebe smiled at Xander. “Can I ask you a personal question?”

“That depends, can I blatantly lie in response?”

Phoebe laughed. “If you want. But I’ve been wanting to ask this since
I saw you. How did you lose your eye?”

“Poker game.” Xander answered. “Had a full house, and the other guy
pulled a royal flush. Just another example on how gambling can be
destructive.”

“So you’re not saying.”

Xander leaned in. “You’re going to have to earn that story.”

Phoebe smiled. “I look forward to earning many stories.”

“As do I. I’d love to hear of your experiences in Sunnydale.”

Phoebe and Xander turned to Reginald, sitting five feet away.

“Well, Xander. I’m sure that Reginald here would love to hear -”

Phoebe began to sway. Xander pulled her into his arms to steady her.
As he did this, Piper, Paige, and Leo came back into the room.

Xander looked up. “Okay, now to the casual observer, this could look
fishy. But it’s very simple. You see…. Actually, I have no idea what
happened.”

Phoebe stirred and looked up at Xander. “Thanks.”

She stood straight and turned to her sisters. “I just had a
premonition. It was stronger than usually, and I felt faint. Xander here caught
me.”

“See, perfectly innocent. And…. You get visions? Do you have
blinding and painful headaches with them?”

“Um… no.”

“Man, Cordy got screwed on that front.”

“What was your vision of?” Piper asked.

“Trouble.”



“So, this warlock guy is going to come gunning for you three cause he
wants to steal your powers? Does this kind of thing happen much?”
Xander asked.

“You’d be surprised.” Paige said.

“You guys got a game plan here?”

“Normally, we look up the latest threat in the Book of Shadows and find
out how to vanquish him.”

“In the meantime you just wait for him to come at you?”

“Yeah, I guess. Why? What would you guys do?” Piper asked.

“… pretty much the same thing. Kinda hoped you would have a better
plan. Although we had several dozen old books to look through, rather
than having it all in one easy access book.” Xander answered. “Would
this warlock be in the Book of Shadows?”

“Maybe. It pretty much covers the worst of our enemies. But sometimes
someone pops up that isn’t in it.” Piper said.

“Hmmm. So we may need to do more work here.” Xander said

“We?”

“Sure. You didn’t think we’d sit this out? Besides we have a first
class research nerd right in this room.”

“We do?” Reginald asked.

“Yeah. You.”

“I’m a nerd?”

“Yeah, but the good kind, not the creepy kind.” Xander explained.
“Reg…inald, can you sit down with Leo and the girls and see if you can dig
anything up on this guy?”

“What are you going to do?” Phoebe asked.

“I figure any magic practitioner could use supplies, especially right
before he plans a big attack. So I’ll check out the local magic supply
shops. See if I can get a lead.”

“I’ll go with you.” Phoebe interrupted. “I mean.. because you’re new
to the city and could use a guide to the local shops.”

“Smooth, Pheebs.” Paige muttered.



Piper pulled Phoebe into the kitchen.

“Try not to throw yourself at this guy until you know him for more than
an hour.” Piper said.

“Hey, we could wind up working closely with these people.”

“Not as close as you’re thinking.”

“Funny, sis. But we need to find out about these people, try to figure
out if we want to work with them. And what better way than doing a
little recon with him.” Phoebe explained.

“It’s interesting how you can make your eagerness to spend time with a
guy look like you’re doing us all a favor.”

“It’s a gift. Besides in my vision, I saw Xander fighting the warlock
with us. So why not work with him in the mean time? I‘m sure he can
discover some information.”

Piper rolled her eyes. “Yeah, like your bra size.”



Phoebe and Xander left the first shop.

“Well that was a bust.” Phoebe groused.

“Look on the bright side, only” Xander glanced down at the list in her
hands “THIRTY-SEVEN MORE SHOPS?”

“And that doesn’t even cover Chinatown. Welcome to San Francisco.”

“So you wouldn’t happen to know of any local snitches that give up any
pertinent information at the merest threat of violence, would you?”
Xander asked.

“Nope. And believe me, if we did that would be our first stop.”

Phoebe looked down as she heard a grumble.

“Sorry. Had an early dinner last night, and haven’t had a chance to
get anything today.” Xander explained.

“I think now would be a perfect time for a lunch break. I know a great
Thai place a couple of blocks from here.”

“I love Thai food.”

“Great. Then we can… aw crap.”

“Um, that’s more of a solitary activity.”

Phoebe shook her head. “No. That’s the guy. From my vision.”

Xander glanced across the street and saw a man briskly walking away
wearing a heavy cloak and using a walking cane.

“Geez, that guys not even trying to blend in. You call your sisters?”

“On it.” Phoebe pulled out her phone.



Xander watched as his rental car pulled into the alley. Piper, Paige,
and Reginald quickly got out.

“Where’s Leo?” Phoebe asked.

“He was called away for a meeting with the Elders..” Piper answered.
“Where’s the warlock?”

“He went into the warehouse across the street. What is it with bad
guys and warehouses?”

Piper shrugged. “They have some super villain society group discount.”

“Really?” Xander saw her expression. “Sorry. Long day.”

“You find out how to vanquish this guy?” Phoebe asked.

Paige began to pull items out of her bag. “Got it. We need to set up
in three corners and recite this incantation. When we finish, the
warlock will be vanquished, as long as he’s in the center of us.”

“How long will it take to recite the incantation?” Xander asked.

“Three minutes.”

“So we’ll have to occupy this guy so he’ll stay in the target area.”

Reginald glanced around. “We? You and… oh.”

Xander pulled a crossbow out of his trunk and handed it to Reginald,
then pulled out an axe for himself.

“Check your line of sight. You don’t want to hit any of the girls.”
Xander noticed the glares from the three sisters. “I mean the capable
young women who are full individual in their own right. Also don’t
shoot me. Or yourself. We keep the warlock distracted while they work
their mojo. Everyone ready?”

They all nodded.



Xander kicked the door open and rushed in with Reginald close behind.

“Hold the spell, Voldemort. Keep your hands where we can see them, and
no muttering in arcane languages.” Xander yelled.

The warlock looked up. “You dare to interrupt me on the day of what
will be my greatest triumph?”

“Sorry, but your plans are on hold. You’re facing two agents of the
Reformed Watchers Council.”

“Actually, I’m still a probationary trainee.”

“Really not the point here.” Xander glanced and saw the Halliwell
sisters sneaking into position.

“You will rue the day you dared to oppose Magus, the greatest warlock
of the modern age.”

“You call yourself Magus? Couldn’t you think of anything more generic.
Why don’t you just save yourself some time and Bad Guy?”

Magus roared in anger and waved a hand. A bolt of energy leaped from
his fingers towards Reginald. Reginald jumped out of the way, causing
his crossbow to shoot. The arrow flew and buried itself in the wall two
inches from Xander’s head. Xander glanced at Reginald, who shrugged in
embarrassment.

Magus, stalked towards Xander.

“I will make you pay for defying me. Once I kill you, I will find what
you cherish most in your life and destroy it.”

Xander shuffled back, determined to stay in range of the Charmed Ones
spell. “You’re going to destroy internet porn? No one’s that -”

Xander was cut off as Magus grabbed him by the throat and threw him
across the floor.

Reginald stood in front of Magus aiming his crossbow. “In the name of
the Watchers Council I order you to stand down.” Reginald began to
sweat as Magus stared directly at him. “…please. If it’s not too much
trouble. You know maybe we got off on the wrong foot. Perhaps we should
just sit down and discuss this like civilized -”

Magus growled and shot another bolt of energy Reginald. Reginald
ducked and fired. The arrow flew straight at Magus this time. Magus
muttered under his breath, and the arrow slowed then stopped and floated in
the air a few inches before him. Magus dropped his hand and the arrow
fell harmlessly to the ground.

Xander had gotten up and edged around until he was behind Magus. He
glanced to Phoebe. “How’s that spell coming?”

“A few more seconds.”

Magus glanced up and for the first time noticed the sisters.

“Fools! You save me the trouble of tracking you down. I will enjoy
your screams.”

Magus drew his hands up and targeted Paige. He spoke in an ancient
tongue as his eyes glowed. Xander saw this and sprinted forward. Green
lighted erupted from Magus’s fingers, towards Paige. Xander jumped in
front of Paige and the light struck him in the chest. Xander fell to
the ground.

“Xander!” Phoebe yelled. She concentrated and completed the last step
of the spell. A pale mist swirled around each sister and raced towards
Magus. The mists joined and thickened, enveloping Magus. Muffled
screams could be heard of the mist shrank and darkened. After a few
seconds, the mist shrunk down to a few square inches and congealed into a
green liquid. The liquid slowly pooled and ran down to the drain a few
inches away.

Reginald picked himself up from the ground. Phoebe rushed over to
check on Xander as her sisters approached behind her. Phoebe pulled Xander
up. Xander stared blankly ahead, paying no attention to Phoebe.

“What’s wrong with him?” Phoebe asked.

“He got hit by the spell meant for us. He doesn’t seem hurt, but he
looks weird.” said Paige. “Hey! Xander! You okay?”

“I have a couple of bruised ribs, and a scratch on my hand. They will
clear up in the next few days.” Xander answered in a low flat tone.

Piper peered closely at him. “He’s under a compulsion spell. Watch
this. Xander, sit down.”

Xander quickly sat on the ground.

“Is he going to be okay?” Phoebe asked.

“Yeah. It should wear off in a few minutes. If Magus had hit one of
us with that, we wouldn’t have been able to vanquish him. Looks like
Phoebe’s vision was right. We did need him here.” Piper explained.

“Leo! Leo!” Phoebe looked around. “He must still be with the Elders.
I’ll head home to get the first aid kit, you guys watch him.” Phoebe
said.

“I’ll go with you.” Reginald said. The two exited the warehouse to
Xander’s rental car.

“I guess we just watch him and make sure he’s all right.” Piper said.

“Wait a minute. I think we could be missing something here.” Paige
said. “While he’s under the spell, he has to answer truthfully, right?”

Piper nodded.

“Well we’ve been trying to figure out if these guys are on the level,
here’s our chance.” Paige explained.

Piper looked wary. “I don’t know. That seems kind of underhanded. If
Phoebe were here, she’d say no.”

“But she’s not. Besides Phoebe and this guy are fairly into each
other. We should check him out. We don’t want another Cole situation on
our hands.”

Piper sighed. “Fine, but don’t pry into anything personal.”

Paige sat down next to Xander. “Xander, can you hear me?”

“Yes.” Xander replied.

“Are you with the new Watcher’s Council?”

“Yes.”

“What do they want with us?”

“To set up contacts with information sharing and possible alliance.”

Piper let her breath out in relief. “See. He’s on the level.”

Paige looked up at her sister. “Maybe. Let’s be sure. Xander? Is
there anything about the Council you don’t want us to know about?”

“The Council is still very disorganized. We probably won’t be able to
offer you much help for a couple of years. Also, there are elements
from the old Council that don’t want to be affiliated with outsiders.
But they’re few and don’t have much influence.” Xander answered.

Paige looked back at her sister. “Nothing too bad.” She turned back
to Xander. “Have you lied to us about anything?”

“Yes.”

Piper cut in. “What did you lie about?”

“I didn’t lose my eye in a poker game. A minion of the First Evil
gouged it out while I was trying to save some girls.”

Piper winced at that remark. “Is there anything else you’ve lied
about?”

“I don’t love Tai food. I hate it. I only said that to get a date
spend more time with Phoebe.”

Paige rolled her eyes. “Another other lies?”

“No.”

Piper looked t Paige. “There. He’s on the level. Can we stop this
now?”

“Just a couple more questions. Xander, what are your intentions
towards Phoebe?”

“I like her. I think she likes me. I want to go out with her and see
if anything develops.” Xander said.

Paige looked at her Piper’s expression. “Fine, he seems all right.
Just one more question. Will you be good to your sister?”

“I don’t know.”

“WHAT?” Piper yelled. “What makes you say that?”

“I was engaged once to a girl named Anya. But on the day of our
wedding, I received false visions. I saw myself in the future trapped in a
loveless marriage. I was angry all the time and abusive towards Anya.
In the last vision I killed her in a fit of rage. The visions were
false, but I believed them. I ran away and left Anya at the altar.”

Paige looked up at Piper. “Yeah, we should stop this -”

“What happened after that?” Piper interrupted.

“Anya was hurt. She was angry at me and seeking solace. She slept
with another man, and we fought bitterly. After a few months, we began to
reconcile, but then she died in a battle against the First Evil.”

“I’m sorry.” Piper said. “I guess if you’d known, you would have done
things differently.”

“If I’d know how little time we had together, I would have spent every
moment letting her know how much I loved her. But I didn’t. I just
wasted the time we had.”

Paige looked uncomfortable. “I thought he was supposed to answer
simply.”

“I think the spell is nearing its end. He should be getting more
chatty as it winds up.” Piper explained. “Xander, it’s okay. We all have
regrets. If that’s the only one you have then -”

“It’s not. After Anya died, I buried myself in work. I spent two
years in Africa, alone from everyone I knew. The two best friends I had
were too busy enjoying their new lives to even notice the pain I was in.
I’ve barely spoken to them in the last year. Since I lost Anya, I’ve
been running around on Council jobs without a break. I just feel tired
and alone…. And my head hurts…. Jesus, it really hurts. Christ, I
hate magic.”

Xander stood up shaking his head. “Got any aspirin?”

The sisters shook their heads.

“I think we have some at the house.” Piper said. “Look, Xander. We
didn’t mean to pry into your personal life, I just wanted to make sure
we could -”

“Yeah, yeah. I come to your home talking about setting up alliances
and flirting with your sister. So you had to check me out. I
understand. I’m not thrilled about it, but I understand.” Xander answered
curtly. “But I’m not going to pitch a fit about it. We still need to set
up a liaison , and I’m not going to jeopardize that. We still have to
work together.”



“WHAT DO MEAN YOU’RE NOT GOING TO WORK WITH US?” Xander yelled.

Leo winced at his shouting.

Reginald grimaced. “The Charmed Ones fall under the jurisdiction of
ones called the Elders. When Leo returned, he reported that they do not
wish these young ladies to work with the Watcher’s Council.”

“WHAT THE HELL IS THEIR PROBLEM? You guys aren’t going to follow this
crap, are you?” Xander demanded.

Paige, Piper, and Phoebe glanced at each other.

Piper spoke up. “Xander, I know this is unexpected. But while we’ve
had our disagreements with the Elders, overall, they’ve looked out for
us. And despite everything that’s happened, we don’t know your group.”

“But, Leo vouched for us! Contact the Devon Coven. They’ll verify
we’re on the same side.”

Leo shook his head. “It’s not a matter of being on the same side. The
Slayers fall under the purview of the Powers That Be. They Elders have
certain… disagreements overall with them. They will not cooperate with
any of their minions.”

“MINIONS?” Xander shouted. “If I ever meet any of these powers I’d
like to beat them with a sack of doorknobs. They can kiss my ass for all
I care.”

“Nonetheless, you perform their bidding and work to further their
agenda.” Leo stated.

Xander shook his head. “You gotta be… So you’re just going to rollover
for them because of some pissing contest between some guys that are
more worried about who they can control than helping people.”

Paige stepped up to Xander. “Look, You seem like a good guy, but at
the end of the day, we don’t know you or your group. We’ve had a lot of
experience with people claiming they want to help us, but in the end we
couldn’t trust them. We do know the Elders. I can’t say we’ve always
seen eye to eye with them, but when it comes down to it, we’re not
going to cut ourselves off from them on your say so. I’m sorry.”



Phoebe walked into the main room just as Xander finished packing his
bag.

“Hey. You okay?” She asked.

“All things considered… I’m okay. It’s just… Christ it’s been a rough
day.” Xander answered.

Phoebe walked up and hugged Xander.

“This isn’t how I wanted things to turn out. I’m sorry about it. You
deserve better.”

Xander looked up, his eye lost in thought. “When Giles told me about
setting this thing up, he mentioned that there would need to be a
Council agent assigned to the city on a permanent basis to act as a liaison.
I thought maybe I could do it. This is a nice city. Get to set up
some roots. Have a solid group to work with…. But that’s not going to
happen.”

“Maybe you could still stay.” Phoebe said.

Phoebe leaned up toward Xander. Their faces inched closer. At the
last moment before their lips met, Xander turned away.

“What are we doing here?”

“I uh… I’m sorry. But I thought I sensed some connection between us.”
Phoebe answered.

Xander shook his head. “So did I, but…. Look, we both know this won’t
work.”

“Wait a minute, you’re not even going to try?”

“Phoebe, I think we both know that if we try, it won’t end well. What
happens if you have to choose between me and your family. And it would
come to that.”

“I know there are difficulties, but if your heart feels something, you
have to see if it’s meant to be.”

Phoebe shook her head, but Xander continued. “Look, I’ve had front
seat tickets to the whole star crossed romance before. Everyone, and I
mean everyone knew it couldn’t work, but they tried anyway. At the end,
I saw someone I cared for very much in constant pain. My friend was a
teenager, and didn’t know any better. But we do. We’re not kids
anymore, and at some point saying your heart feels something stops being an
acceptable excuse to make bad decisions.”

Phoebe took a step back. “I guess this is it then. It would have been
nice to get to know you, Xander Harris.”

“And I would have liked to get to know you. Before I leave, can I talk
to Leo alone?”



Xander waited until Phoebe left the room before turning to Leo.

“Look, Xander. It’s out of my hands. The Elders have forbidden me
from-”

“It’s not about that.” Xander interrupted. “There’s a girl that needs
a Whitelighter.”

Leo shook his head. “Your friend Willow isn’t a natural born witch.
She doesn’t fall under our purview.”

“It’s not Willow.”

Xander handed Leo a piece of paper. Leo read it.

“Amy Madison?”

“Her mother was a witch. She took it up in high school using her
mother’s books and equipment. That means she’s a natural born witch,
right?”

Leo nodded. “Why are you asking us to help her?”

“She was a friend a long time ago. And she’s had a rough time. She
could really use some guidance.” Xander explained.

Leo studied the card. “So I get your friend help and then what?”

“Then I’ll owe you.” Xander said.

“And what? The Elders need you to go against the Watchers and you will
because you owe me? I don’t buy it.”

“Amy needs help. And I can’t give it to her. But you can. Now I’m
sure that you’re going to run into someone who you want to help, but they
‘don’t fall under your purview.’ When that happens, you give me a
call. Just because our bosses don’t get along, doesn’t mean we can’t help
each other when we can.”

Leo nodded. “I’ll do what I can.”

“That’s all I ask.



Xander got into the car with Reginald. He started it and drove away
from the house. Reginald fidgeted beside him.

“So, mist… Xander. I understand you traveled quite a bit when you left
Sunnydale.” Reginald said.

“Yeah. I guess so. Saw quite a few countries. What about you?”

“Oh yes. During my gap year, I traveled all over Europe. My friends
and I must have hit every bar on the continent. Good times. You were
the same?”

“Not really. I was searching for Slayers and helping rebuild the
Africa branch.” Xander said.

“Oh…. So what did you do in your time off?”

“I helped out with local aid organizations.” Xander said.

“Ah.”

The two rode in silence for the next few minutes. Finally Reginald
turned to Xander.

“Xander… I’m afraid that you may have gotten the wrong impression about
me. I don’t think I truly expressed how-”

“Reginald, it’s been a really crappy day. Can we skip the whole
bonding thing for today?” Xander asked.

“Ah, yes. Well, I just don’t want any misconceptions you may have
color the evaluation.” Reginald said.

Reginald watched the blank expression on Xander’s face.

“The evaluation Mr. Giles told you to give me? He said that my request
to be assigned to do field work depended on your approval?”

Xander looked ahead, then pulled a wadded piece of paper from his
pocket. He uncrumpled it and read.

“Evaluate! That’s what it said. Sorry, I was kinda distracted when I
wrote this. And it was late, so I didn’t really remember everything.
Okay, then. Evaluation. I suppose I should ask you some questions.”

“Excellent. Ask away. I’ve studied all the standard texts. And I’ve
read quite extensively on the ancillary volumes in the old Council
archives.” Reginald said.

“Great. So why do you want to be a Watcher?” Xander asked.

“…uh. I…. Did you want to start off with a technical question?”

“Nope. So Watcher. Life of danger, death, and loss. Why do you want
in?”

“…I…. You know, no one’s ever asked me that before.”

“I’m your first. I feel so honored. Answer.”

“…I… I just want to help.” Reginald mumbled.

Xander looked at Reginald for a moment, then pulled out his cell phone.
He opened it and punched in a number. He waited as the call went
through.

“Hey, Giles. It’s Xander. I’m just leaving the Halliwell residence.
You hear about the whole thing about the Elders? …. Yeah, sucks. But
I think we can do a live and let live thing with them. Maybe even give
each other a tip off when things come up. At least we avoid all out
conflict…. Oh, by the way, that Watcher candidate Reginald Johnston.
Yeah, he worked out pretty good. I think he could do some good helping
one of the active Slayers…. Great. I’ll let you sort out the details.
Talk to you later. Bye.”

Xander hung up. He turned at the corner and pulled into the parking
lot of their hotel. As he stopped the car, he turned to Reginald.

“You said your father was part of the old Council?”

Reginald nodded.

“What happened to him?” Xander asked.

“He was expected to become a Senior Advisor next year. But he was in
the main building when it blew up. He died.”

“I’m sorry.” Xander said. “Was he a good man?”

Reginald looked down. “I think so. But he was my dad. I looked up to
him.”

Xander nodded. “What say we get a bite to eat. Sound good to you
Reg…inald?”

“Yeah. And Reg is fine.”

End

The End

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