Explaining Africa

Author: mkcrl120 <mike_curl120[at]hotmail.com>

I don't have an author name yet as this is the first story I've actually written.

Disclaimer: All the characters mentioned in this story belong to Joss Whedon or Mutant Enemy or some other people. I own nothing and wrote this just to get it out of my system.

Summary: Couldn't get this idea out of my head - doesn't end how I'd originally intended when I was thinking about it.

Setting: After season 7 of Buffy - pre season 5 of Angel. The remaining Scoobs are setting up in Cleveland, the Fang Gang have began to take over W&H and informed the Scoobs that Cordy is in a coma. Assume that when the Scoobs and the Fang Gang last spoke Spike hadn't shown up in ghostly form.

Chapter 1

Xander looked around the internet cafe. 'I always knew I'd end up having to contact them sooner or later. Just couldn't leave them without letting them know that I'm alive and well. I owe them that much at least.'

He'd left at the beginning of the week with the intention of getting away for a while. He'd had enough of fighting the good fight, least for the time being. After what happened to Anya, and Angel's report on Cordelia's current state he'd become very aware of his own mortality. 'Seven years Xan, seven long years, you've survived everything the hellmouth chose to throw at you and managed to save the world a few times... not bad going for a lowly zeppo even if I do think so myself'

He bought a cup of coffee then moved to a terminal to begin what he'd been putting off since yesterday.

He opened up his hotmail account and began to compose the email to Giles. THE email that would finally allow him to distance himself from the Scoobs... at least for a while. 'I can't see myself staying away too long - Willow, Dawn, Giles, Buffy, they're my family... all I've got left now really. Yeah we've had our arguments over the years, some pretty major ones with Buffy in particular,' the thought brought a smile to his face 'but now it's my turn to do the time away thing'.


To: Giles <rupert.giles@w_council.co.uk>
From: Xander <x_harris@hotmail.com>
Subject: Road Trip - the sequel.


I'm unsure how to start this, firstly I suppose I should apologise for the haste in which I left. I hope my abrupt disappearance a few days ago didn't cause too much uproar, it is possible no-one even noticed - I don't know I wasn't there which is kinda the point. (Betcha didn't even know I knew how to use words such as uproar and abrupt eh Giles? - don't worry it didn't come naturally this is like the third time I've tried to write this thing down)

I've set up this email account so you can contact me. I'm not sure how often I'll be checking in with it but I'm hoping for a few times a week at least.

I know you may have questions as to my whereabouts and my reasons for leaving. Basically at the moment I am in Washington (I was going to comment on me being quite the world-traveller then I realised who I was emailing and you'd hopped the Atlantic a couple of times in the past year or so).

You may not have been aware but both myself and Anya both had life insurance cover (Doing what we used to, could we have really afforded to skip it?). Both of us being in good health the cover was affordable and gave us a good return in the case of accidental death (Good thing they only ask about type of work you're in, smoker or non-smoker, family history and that sort of thing eh? Don't think we could have afforded it if we'd had to mention we chased the undead around graveyards for a hobby).

Recently I recieved the lump sum for Anya's accidental death (As it was during the 'earthquake' that hit Sunnydale they didn't ask many questions - guess they can be tactful eh?). I wasn't aware that I was still down as the recipient for Anya's will (until I recieved hers I guess I didn't even realise I hadn't changed mine since the 'wedding' either). Between the insurance and Anya's accounts (The girl was always good with money, that fact was never in doubt) it turned out to be quite a sum.

Truthfully, I was contemplating just disappearing for a few months. Get my head together that sort of thing. We've been fighting this war for seven years and it was only after we HAD left Sunnydale and started to set-up in Cleveland that I realised I'd only left once before and that was after graduation. (Though I doubt you could call it leaving as I never got out of the state - some road trip). I'm intending to complete my 'See all 50 states' plan and


Xander stopped typing. He knew they'd be concerned about him and if all he was going to do was take a vacation then he'd be certain someone would want to join him 'Certain or hopeful? Jury's out on that one. Wills probably like to come but likely she'd bring Kennedy, Dawn was quite likely too' though at 17 he wasn't sure that her travelling across the country with him was such a good plan.

He needed something better than that. Something he could explain to Giles that would not only ensure that no-one joined him but that Giles might not even give them the full story. With that he deleted the last sentence and began again.


I was intending to complete my 'See all 50 States' plan that I attempted after graduation. I mean this time I had money so I wouldn't be relying my uncle's old car to survive a long journey. This time I could do it - properly even - actually enjoying my vacation instead of having to work in odd jobs at each stop to afford things like gas, food and board.


He stopped again, and thought back to how originally he'd liked the idea of working in each town, actually getting to know the lifestyles of each place instead of just doing the tourist-y thing. 'Though I hadn't done a family holiday since I was 13,' he reasoned 'mind you even back then my parents version of the tourist thing was to leave me in a motel room with drink and sweets while they went out to look for either somewhere to drink or somewhere to gamble whatever savings they'd managed to collect in the two week plan prior to arranging the holiday' he thought bitterly.

Thinking of his parents made him wonder if they were alive, 'They hadn't been listed as those dead when I'd called the Earthquake Helpline number that had been set up. And if they are how the hell could I track them down even if I wanted to... I suppose I could try calling some of my relatives and see if they've turned up there... but then again that'd be warning my relatives that they might turn up unexpectedly on their doorsteps. Not the sort of fate I'd be looking forward to if I'd been given a heads-up.'

He resumed typing.


But I decided against it. I felt that I had to do something important with Anya's money, something that she'd have wanted me to do. Nothing really came to mind, during her demon years (all one thousand plus of them) she'd visited everywhere and done most things. She'd always said that places changes and times and trends differ but people were always the same. Well actually she said 'Some people get on with each other and live fruitful lives, others hate and try to kill one another, friendships grow, families fall out and sometimes reconcile, couples fall in love then the man does something wrong and then I turn up to make them pay.' classic Anya eh Giles?. Hope that brought as much of a smile to your face when reading it as it did to mine as I wrote it.

So the only other thing that came to me as important was making sure the others would be okay while I was gone. I know you have access to all the watcher funds now, and are probably intending to make a trip to the motherland soon to see what you have got in the area of remaining watchers (See I did listen to your lectures when you were discussing future plans and what we had to achieve and all that). And I know that there were enough slayers so that I wouldn't be needed on actual patrols other than as a sort of 'watcher' - I've noticed none of the old gang really participate in patrols anymore, well with the exception of Faith, that they all just make comments about the Potentials... must stop thinking of them like that... the Slayers and give them advice such as watching each others backs, stop dropping their left and general stuff like that. So it had to be something no-one else was thinking of... that's what I'm good at right? Thinking of the things everyone else overlooks... heh... just remembered in high school when Will was trying to explain mathematics to me and I was telling her my version of the little er.. reminder-things that people make up to memorise formulae and stuff, she looked at me in disbelief and she'd asked me if I ever thought like a normal person. I know it doesn't sound like a good memory but this was such a Willow moment... she'd said it without realising I'd hear her mumbling and then when she looked at me she went into full on willow-babble-apology mode.

It was a good memory for me, of more innocent times when the biggest worry was whether or not I was going to have to repeat a year of school and become seperated from my friends. Of times before we did get seperated as they went to college and I went through job after job, before relationships got serious enough to involve and altar in anyway never minding leaving a girl at one, before Buffy died and Willow had yet to start dabbling in Dark Arts, before Spike...


He paused. This was it, the excuse he'd been trying to think of for the last few hours. He tasted his coffee... it'd gone cold so he left it.

It was starting to form in his brain, he could sense it. An innocent comment that filled the gap and made the excuse he'd been looking for.

'Of course its well known that I've never trusted Spike...' he could use this, and this was something Giles would accept as a possible necessity and wouldn't tell the girls about. Typing quickly resumed.


...started his fixation on Buffy.

Spike's what I want to tell you about.

Basically, and no shock here I assure you, I don't trust Spike. Told you it was no big shocker. Though maybe it should be considering he's dead.... or as I'm looking at it... currently dead.

You see my reasoning is that we thought pretty much the same thing with Angel. He got sacrificed to save the world, yet ta daaa, there he was back in reality a few months later. I've just got a horrible feeling that we won't have seen the last of Spike; I for one, couldn't be that lucky, if it turns out we have seen the back of him then the week that gets proved once and for all I'm buying lottery tickets for everyone.

You see Spike, allegedly, had a soul. Didn't see much difference myself, doubtful you did as you were willing to help Wood attempt to stake him (and sorry but what a dumbass plan to go about it that turned out to be - maybe Wood should have been distracting Buffy so you coulda staked him).

Now, and I know this isn't going to be a good thought for you, do you think Buffy and Spike did it? Personally I'm not sure, I know she spent a lot of time with him and I was watching for the signs that their relationship had picked up where it left off.


Xander felt ill at the thought of exactly where it left off. But he wasn't sure if Giles knew about that incident and he definitely wasn't going to tell him via email if he hadn't done.

But he was amazed at how easily this lie was coming to him.


Sorry about that and in a way it wasn't necessary for me to bring it up as it may not be really important if they did or not as it wasn't a gypsy soul curse that Spike got.

But what I'm getting at is that we don't know what, if anything, it could be that might cause Spike to lose his soul. But unlike with Angel we're no longer kids (no offence meant) and we're not dealing in the dark with the first ever souled vampire. This time we should be aware of possible implications and be researching to ensure that he is safe. I admit this is something I'd thought about during the last year but at worst I figured he loses his soul and we're back to having the same annoying-chipped-vampire that we'd learned to live with (Sorry to keep going on about this but can you honestly say you saw ANY difference in behaviour other than he stopped threatening to kill everyone when he gets the 'bloody chip' out). Once the chip got removed however it became more serious, and if we hadn't have had major problems with the First I'd have thought about doing something then.

Luckily the sheer number of active slayers allows me to act on it now.

So it comes down to this, I managed to get some info from Buffy and Dawn about how Spike got his soul back, they mentioned a demon in Africa and some tests but didn't chose to elaborate - whether they knew more or not wasn't apparent - I was able to ask at the time as it seemed appropriate considering everything, but to check again now might arouse their suspicions. I confronted Anya about this and she had some contacts in the area that might be able to help us, apparently there are a lot of these demons that put people through tests in order to 'win' something that seems completely unattainable using normal methods. Some humans have done it for wealth, success, etc. The odd thing is that it differed from demon to demon, some were completely honest about what they promised, others cheated on the requests (she explained it as kinda like a King Midas thing - careful what you wish for and all that); as for how long it lasted - some required continuing belieffaithsacrifices to be made in their honour, others granted the powers/requests for a set time, others the spells failed when the demon died; there were literally hundreds of options most of which I had forgotten (I think she was trying to give me the A to Z of demon granted wishes - I'm pretty sure my mind blocked most of it out).

As you can probably tell, Anya loved to talk about her fellow demons and all the things they could do. But talking to her about this scared me more than when I was comparing Spike's soul to Angel's. The thing that could cause Spike to lose his soul might not be connected to anything Spike did.

We need to track down what sort of demon Spike got his soul from and we need to know about any and all possible escape clauses that exist.

That's why I've chosen to GO to Africa. I'm going to find out what I can.

I'm not certain if you should tell Buffy about this (and not telling Buffy really involves not telling anyone she could force to tell her if she suspected they were keeping any secrets from her). It's really your decision now. My choice would be to not tell her. I'm only telling you so that you understand why I've gone and why I need to do this alone. I'm not stupid Giles, I think I can do this, and if I run into trouble... well an email or call to you and you'll send a slayer or two my way to help out eh?

I'll email again once I arrive in Africa, I'll be in the country arranging a few things before I go.


PS: If I do require help, or if you do decide to send a search party it might be better (and the fact that I actually believe this scares me a little) if its headed by Faith.


Xander hit send and logged off, then walked into the bathroom and poured his coffee away.

As he left the cafe he took a look around and then started to walk down the street. He'd hated lying to Giles like that but felt it was necessary to buy himself the time to decide what to do with his life. He was walking and thinking about what he'd written. 'I didn't lie so much as expanded on the truth. Buffy hadn't told me anything but she did tell Dawn, and Dawn did tell me when she wanted to know more about Angel.' He thought back to when he tried to explain about Spike and Angel to Dawn. How although they could tell the difference between Angel and Angelus, according to Giles, Angel hadn't been very useful immediately after regaining his soul. There were no stories of a vampire helping out. The watchers had believed it may have been possible that Angelus had died, as the Scourge of Europe had split, Dru and Spike going one way, Darla returning to the Master. Of Angelus there had been simply no sign.

'Not the most encouraging words I could have told her, but she did ask for the truth and she was the same age I was when I got sucked into Buffy's little world' he reasoned. 'At least she won't be out risking life and limb like we did, there are plenty of slayers to do that'. But even as the thought entered his head he knew it wasn't true, 'No, she'll only be risking life and limb if Spike comes back and they all trust him completely.'

Spike's predicament with a soul had come up in one solitary conversation with Anya. It hadn't gone into as much depth as he'd led Giles to believe but Anya's comment had been what sparked the thoughts he emailed Giles. He remembered her comments vividly "You'd better hope that Spike's soul doesn't depend on his getting a happy, as I doubt that him and the Slayer would show much will power." Dammit, she'd been right. And what he'd done... oh yeah, he remembered now, it'd been before he lost his eye, it'd been before the stupid un-thought-out plans of attack, it'd been before he'd lost some of his faith in Buffy. He'd done what he always did at the time, he'd defended her. And in the stupidest way possible.

*** Flashback ***

"An, Buffy's not going to go back to Spike again, not after what he attempted to do."

"You don't know that. They could be at it right now."

"They wouldn't. SHE wouldn't! She's just using him as extra muscle and to see what info she can get off him."

"You can't be sure."

"Spike and Buffy are not going at it like Rabbits!!!"

**End Flashback**

Yeah, they'd been arguing, and it was probably both of their faults. But she knew that mentioning Buffy and Spike and sex in the same sentence would remind him that Buffy and Spike had done it before, and she and Spike had done it before. So he'd retaliated and mentioned rabbits so she'd leave as fast as she could.

'Dammit, if I'd just taken it, if I'd just accepted the argument, then I could have found out more about restoring souls. Then I might have been able to have all the answers already. But I couldn't have known that the next time I needed this info she wouldn't be around to provide it.'

Xander stopped suddenly in the street, almost forcing the man walking behind to collide into him. Xander turned to face him and smiled "Sorry about that. Just realised something... you know how it is." The man just scowled at him. 'Charming' Xander thought and walked over to the nearest wall to lean on it while he dealt with his thoughts.

'Why the hell am I thinking about this like its something I'm intending to do? It was just an excuse to get everyone off my back for a while... Yeah it's something they should probably be looking into... I should probably email Giles and tell him to assign someone he trusts to...'

"Crap." He said shocking an old woman who was walking by. "Sorry."

'Crap crap crap crap and treble crap!!! Giles won't assign someone cos even if he agrees this is something worth doing he already thinks I'm going to do it... at best he'd assign someone to go with me and then they'd realise I had no intentions of going. CRAP!!!!'

'Well Xan, you've managed to do it again. Driven yourself into a corner. Genius'

He picked himself of the wall, sighed as he accepted the inevitable and began to walk towards the hotel he'd been staying at.

'Guess a few months in Africa could be considered getting away from it all.' Now he just needed to get some things sorted and arrange a flight. Xander smiled as he made his way into the lobby of his hotel, 'Knew I'd never be able to leave for long...'

The End