Choices Made Past, Present And Future

Author: Anime Ronin <diabloslayer21[at]>

Rating: PG-13

Summary: There comes a time in our lives when we must make choices, but for Xander, the choice of whether he lives or dies isn’t in his hands … it’s in Buffy’s.

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

Feedback: Please?

Timeline: Season 3 (post Faith’s arrival, but pre Sisterhood of Jhe)

AN: Written to help cure some writer’s block – if anyone thinks it needs a sequel, feel free.

Chapter 1

Buffy looked between the two figures that were staked out to the ground, each spread eagle with a bed of wooden spikes hanging above them, spikes down; to her left was Alexander Harris, one of her best friends and the normal person in her little group. He was the joker of the group who kept everyone together when things got bad, he was the one who needed to be protected, the one who she knew had lost more to the fight against the darkness than all of the others combined, yet he continued to fight, even when she and the others were trying to push him out for his own safety. He currently lay on the ground, bloody and beaten, looking for all the world like he had just gone ten rounds with Mike Tyson and could give probable cause to having that fight called a draw, but his eyes were blank, unseeing, uncaring even as she looked over to the other captive.

Angel, the Vampire with a Soul, also known as Angelus, the Scourge of Europe, the love of her life, her soul mate, looking none the worse for wear due to his vampiritic healing factor, but he also looked blank, unseeing, uncaring even as a pair of robed figures came to rest between the pair of men in her life.

"Slayer, consider this a test." As one the pair spoke, one a man, one a woman, but both holding an aura of power that was palatable to her as well as the others that had been summoned to the warehouse (Willow, Oz, Giles, Faith, Cordy, Jenny, her mom and, of course, herself), "Here before you we have two males that are crucial in your life; one is your best friend, a young man who has saved your life more times than you can know, who has even brought you back from death itself, and the other is your self-professed soul mate, a vampire with a soul, who has also saved your life, Your test is to choose which shall live, and which shall die."

"What? What are you talking about?"

They ignored her, speaking again, "Angelus has a destiny to become a Champion of The Powers That Be, to fight for humanity in its darkest hour and to possibly win back his humanity. Alexander has no destiny but has altered so many other destinies by following his heart and his intellect that he's garnered many friends and enemies on both sides of the line. Your single task is to now choose which of these two brave warriors shall live, or un-live, and which shall die. There will be no compromise, no concessions to assuage your conscience, merely the fact that your have allowed the balance to be thrown off so much that this test is necessary."

"And if I choose not to choose?"

"Then they will both perish. Choose."

Buffy could feel her guts twisting inside even as she looked back at her friends, looking for support and a decision, "Who should I pick?"

"Duh," Cordelia Chase said bitterly. "Choose Xander."

"But what about Angel?" Willow countered, "I mean, Xander doesn't have a …" The Wicca slowly began to taper off as she listened to her own words, "What I mean is, Angel is a fighter, a Champion by their own admission, but Xander is …"

"Xander is one of us, Willow," Jenny snapped at her student, obviously angry. "He deserves to be saved more than Angelus simply because of the fact that Angelus needs to pay for his past crimes."

"Buffy, Xander may be your friend, Angel may be your supposed soul mate," Oz started, "but ask yourself with who's death you can live with more easily."

"I can't believe that this is happening, B." Faith, The Vampire Slayer, Kendra's replacement, growled, "Sure, Fang is an okay guy, but he's a vamp. Save X and be done with it."

Buffy looked at her mother and Giles, her surrogate father, "Mom, Giles?"

"Save Xander, Buffy," her mother pleaded. "He may not have a destiny, but he nearly DIED saving your sister from that monster Angelus."

"But I love Angel! I want to save ANGEL!"

"Done." The en tandem voices said and there was a snapping sound even as the bed of wooden spikes fell and impaled the body of Alexander Harris, killing him instantly, "Congratulations, Slayer Summers you have FAILED this test." They each raised a hand and shot forth a beam of light, both of which struck her dead center and ripped away something from within her even as the shock of what had happened wore off on the others. Cordy, Jenny, Faith, her mother and Giles all screamed out in horror as Xander's blood began to cover the ground, Willow merely passed out and Oz caught her, his eyes unreadable.

"No." It took her a moment to realize what the twin lights had ripped away from her … her Slayer essence, "What have you done?"

One of the figures pushed it's hood back to reveal a face of a woman, her skin speckled with gold and her hair a fine blonde color, "We have administered a test set forth by the Powers That Be, you failed it, and there were dire consequences for that failure – Alexander Harris, a man who has saved the world twice, who would save it twice more, died because of your choice, so we removed your Slayer Essence and have given it to it's rightful possessor, Faith Williams."

"So if Buffy had chosen Xander," Giles managed to get out, "she could have passed?"

"No," the male said, his voice oddly familiar. "Unfortunately, she would have lost her Slayer Essence either way. No, there was no way for this test to come out for her betterment," he said, his hands coming up to his hood to pull it back, "but then again, as with many tests, there is never a correct answer that everyone can live with." The hood was pulled back to reveal the face of Alexander Harris … yet it was not Xander Harris. His eyes were no longer brown, but rather they were a pure silver color that contrasted the woman's blue eyes nicely, there was a power that flowed out of him that was undeniable even as he looked at the staked out body of Angel and then raised his hand, "Rest now, Liam." That said, the body of Angel, Angelus, the Scourge of Europe, whatever you wanted to call him, erupted into flame and was reduced to ash even as Buffy screamed in loss.

Oz was the first to regain his power of speech, "Who are you?"

The woman smiled, "I am Tara, Angel of Mercy, and this is my companion and friend Alexander, Angel of Justice. We exist because of choices made in the past and in the future, choices that our loved ones regret now and then."

"So either way Xander would have died." Jenny looked at Alexander, who smiled at her, "For you to exist, he had to have died in this test."

"Not necessarily, Janna," Alexander tutted her slightly, smiling even as the sun began to poke through the windows of the warehouse they were in. "Alexander Harris would have died eventually, saving the world from an emotionally distraught witch that he stopped with mere words of love and comfort, which allows me to exist. I was not comfortable with this test, knowing that either way I would exist, but now there is a possibility that the witch that I stopped as a mortal will not be stopped this time."

"Who is she?" Willow looked at the Angel of Justice, "Maybe we can stop her now?"

"Do you really wish to stop yourself, Willow Rosenberg?" Tara smiled sadly even as all of the Scoobies paled and Buffy stopped crying, "Alexander gave his life to stop you in the future, but now that he has been allowed to die, you may not be able to be stopped in the future."

"There is a balance, Willow," Alexander said not unkindly. "As a mortal, I began the destruction of the balance when I brought Buffy back to life in the Master's Cave, and she perpetuated it when she allowed Angelus to live and be re-souled, along with numerous other tests by The Powers That Be, which have led to this situation right here."

"But, I save the world." Buffy's words were weak with sorrow and tears.

"But at what price victory, Elizabeth?" Alexander drew himself up and looked at Faith, "You have a decision to make, Slayer William, a yes or no answer will suffice. Would you like for there to be a way to make this 'test' appear as if it never happened, aside from Angel being dust?"


Tara looked at her, "Why, Faith?"

Faith shrugged, "I never really liked Fang all that much, but at least X seemed like he was willing to give me a chance to get into the group. I … I'd miss that."

Alexander looked at Tara, "Her reasons are unselfish in nature, my friend."

Tara smiled and pulled her hood back up, "Until we meet again, my friend." That said, there was a bright light that filled the warehouse and then the light dissipated to reveal that Tara, the Angel of Mercy, had vanished and in the place of Alexander, Angel of Justice, stood the form of Alexander Harris, normal of the Scooby Gang, with an oddly serene smile on his face as he went about to comfort Buffy, who accepted his words and gestures as they came.

"Who would do this to Angel, Xand?" Buffy looked into his eyes and for a split second thought she saw a hint of pure silver in his chocolate brown eyes, "Who'd do something like this?"

He merely shrugged and stood her up, "Someone who made a choice, Buffy. Choices are funny like that."

The End