Full Circle of Life

Author: Knife Hand <d_lutke[at]hotmail.com>

Feedback: Constructive feedback appreciated, flames unappreciated

Spoilers: First Four Series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy. I would buy the show but I am broke.

Summary: Buffy's death results in a paradox. Years later Buffy and Xander are uniquely cursed by a demon; can they survive to fulfil a destiny that had already come to pass? (Not a post Gift Fic.)

AN: No Glory, no Dawn, and no Dracula. Riley died in the big battle *_* means Spell, '_' means thought "_" means speech [_] means the Ranger's language.

Chapter 1
The Calling/True Destiny

Location: Jungles of Cambodia
Date/Time: August 12th 1997, Early Evening

Two people lay dieing on the floor of the jungle, surrounded by almost ninety dead demons. Both looked middle aged, the woman with long, flowing blond hair and deep green eyes, the man with short brown hair and soulful brown eyes. They were covered in wounds from the fight but it was the poison from the stab wounds that were killing them. The man had been stabbed in the thigh while the woman had her stab wound located in her stomach. They reached out and held each other's hand.

"I love you." The man croaked with his last breath.

"I know." The woman replied. "See you in a few months, Xand."

With those final words, Elizabeth 'Buffy' Anne Summers died alone.


Location: Summers' Residence, LA, California
Date/Time: Exact Same Time

Buffy slept peacefully, dreaming of her normal life. Suddenly her dreams faded and were replaced with nightmares of crosses, fire, dust, blood, vampires, demons and death. Unbeknownst to her, Buffy had just been called as the Slayer.


Location: Sunnydale Memorial Park, Sunnydale, California
Date/Time: December 10th, 2000, 12:45pm

Buffy and Xander were walking through Sunnydale Memorial Park, just spending time together, and trying to fix a slightly strained friendship. The sun shone down upon them and they seemed carefree. A bystander would not guess that a few days before they had risked their lives to stop a cybernetic-demoniac hybrid and an army of demons and vampires, assisted by a covert military group of demon hunters and a neutered Master Vampire, who can not harm any humans. Neither would the bystander guess that it was a fairly normal occurrence for them. As they wandered, they did not know that they were being observed. When Xander and Buffy reached a secluded part of the park that they knew well, from patrol, they were confronted with a demon. The demon was small and looked puny compared to some of the other demons that they had faced, Xander thought he could beat this demon in a fight. Unlike most other demons, however, this demon was smart and cunning.

"Hello Slayer." The demon said.

"Um. Hi." Buffy responded almost automatically.

The demon began to chant almost immediately and Buffy and Xander had no idea what was going on.

*Through time and space shall you pass, Past is the Future, the Future is Past, Lost in time, life on the line, Live, Fight, Work, All, Till the Slayer comes full circle.*

The demon repeated the words three times before either of them could do anything and with the last word, Buffy and Xander were consumed by darkness. When the darkness cleared they were no longer in Sunnydale.


Location: Not Sunnydale
Date/Time: Not December 10th, 2000, 12:45pm

Buffy and Xander were lying on the ground in the middle of a meadow when they awoke, with the early morning sun barely cresting the horizon. Looking around they saw evidence, in the form of smoke, of human habitation to the North-East. After checking their weapon situation (three stakes and two knives), Xander grabbing the larger knife and one stake, leaving the rest for Buffy, they headed for the settlement. They moved cautiously through the peaceful countryside and quickly came in sight of the settlement. The settlement was a small village, the huts made of lumber and sun dried mud with thatched roofs and the villagers wearing cured hide clothing. Buffy and Xander reached the village just before noon, having viewed it from a hilltop a few miles away and approaching cautiously. They noticed spears with bronze points scattered about the village and meat roasting over a communal fire. Over the hilltop on the far side of the village, Buffy saw movement and quickly realised that it was a group of five, fairly large demons.

"RUN!" Buffy shouted as she sprinted into the village, closely followed by Xander.

At first the villagers stared at Buffy and Xander, and then they saw where Buffy was pointing, at the charging demons, and ran the opposite way. Buffy and Xander prepared for a fight, each grabbing one spear, and Xander knelt down, grabbed a handful of earth, rubbed it into his palm and smelt it. Buffy stared at him like he was insane.

"What? So I liked Gladiator." Xander said with a grin.

"We are going to have a talk." Buffy said in reply.

The demons continued to charge and the leading two were taken down by thrown spears as soon as they were in range. As they closed, one of the demons went after Xander, who faced it with his knife and stake at the ready, and the other two went after Buffy, who crippled one by throwing her knife into its kneecap. Buffy ducked under the wild swing by the demon, which expected back up from his buddy, caught the follow-up kick and knocked it to the ground by shattering the kneecap of its supporting leg. Meanwhile Xander had blocked several punches and kicks from his demon, managing to disable one of its arms by introducing the bicep to his stake and cutting it a couple of time with the knife. Buffy quickly stabbed her first demon in the heart with a stake and moved onto the second as it pulled the knife out of its knee. Buffy moved forward, cautious of the knife which the demon held, and she noticed Xander capitalise on a mistake made by his demon opponent that allowed him to drive his knife through the demon's heart. Buffy could not get an advantage against the last demon, which appeared to be the strongest of the group, so she kept its attention and allowed Xander to slip up behind it and slit its throat with his knife. Both Buffy and Xander looked around, gathered up their weapons, checked that the demons were dead and then finally relaxed, until they heard the cheer. When they realised it was just the villagers they relaxed again, Buffy clutched her bruised ribs, where the last demon had gotten in a blow, and Xander had a few scratches on his arms from his demon's claws. They were treated very well, shown to a hut which, they gathered from the hand gestures, they were given for at least the night and were brought food.


Location: Small Village (Unknown Location)
Date/Time: Late Afternoon, Same Day

Several hours later two men entered the hut to show them something. One of the men gave them each a small carved figurine, of themselves, to keep, at least he protested when they tried to return them. Both figurines were in fighting positions, the little Buffy wielding a stake, about to deliver an overhand blow, in typical vampire staking position, while the representation of Xander had a stake in his left hand, in a guard position, and a knife in his right, held low and in position to strike. They both recognised the stances as what they had done earlier. The other man showed them a carved stone tablet, which the two men treated with reverence, which depicted a representation of the earlier fight. It showed Buffy and Xander, their faces recognisable, fighting back to back against a horde of demons that surrounded them, and while not technically accurate, it was a touching gesture. Once shown, the two men bowed and carried the tablet out of the tent, leaving Buffy and Xander alone till dinner was delivered a short while later.


Location: Giles' Apartment, Sunnydale, California
Date/Time: December 10th, 2000, 4:15pm

"Buffy and Xander are missing!" Willow declared as she and Tara entered Giles' apartment.

"What? Are you sure?" Giles said looking up from the recently acquired book he was perusing.

"Yes. We were supposed to meed an hour and a quarter ago, we've look all over the place." Willow said with genuine concern.

Giles glanced down at the page he had turned to as the two witches had entered.

"Good Lord." Giles exclaimed. "It can't be. Oh my."

Tara walked to the almost catatonic Watcher then looked down at the book and gasped. There on the page was an engraving of two figures fighting demons. The caption underneath was strange and Tara read it aloud.

"This sixteenth centaury wood engraving is based on a discovered stone carving of unknown origin. It is believed to be a depiction of an early pairing of a Watcher and a Slayer, however there is the possibility that this is one of the only depictions and evidence of the existence of the demonic myth of two eternal warriors known as 'The Couple' who have been reported to have hunted down demonic forces for several thousand years."

The shocking thing about the engraving was that the two figures were recognisable as Buffy and Xander.

"I think we just figured out where Buffy and Xander went." Tara said, showing Willow the engraving. "They're in the past."


Location: Offices of Angel Investigations, LA, California
Date/Time: December 10th, 2000, 4:30pm

"Angel Investigations. We help the hopeless." Cordelia said into the phone.

"Cordy. This is Giles; I need to speak to Angel. It is of the utmost import." Came Giles' voice over the phone.

"Fine, I'll put him on. And couldn't you just say it was important." Cordelia said, before handing the phone to Angel.

"Angel." The souled vampire said.

"Angel. This is important. What do you know about 'The Couple'?"

"'The Couple' are supposed to be total kick ass demon hunters. Every demon was afraid of them, those that believed anyway. Why?" Angel inquired.

"I have reason to believe that Buffy and Xander may, in some way, be related to the myth of 'The Couple'" Giles said nervously.

"Impossible Giles. 'The Couple' are thousands of years old." Angel said dismissively.

"Yes, quite. Except that Buffy and Xander have disappeared and we have found an engraving based on an ancient carving that clearly depicts them in battle with demons. It appears that they have gone back in time." Giles said.

"Um, Giles. This is Cordy. Angel appears to have fainted. What's going on?" Cordelia demanded down the phone.

"We have reason to believe that Xander and Buffy have gone back in time and are a demon hunting duo know as 'The Couple'"

"Thank you Giles. If you don't mind, I'm going to hang up now and then faint. Call again soon."

True to her word, Cordelia calmly hung up the phone and then fainted dead away.


Location: Small Village (Unknown Location)
Date/Time: Early Morning, Twenty Years Later

Buffy walked slowly through the village, receiving and giving greetings to her friends. Buffy and Xander had quickly picked up the language that the villagers used, a rather simplistic language that they suspected was the root language for several 'Ancient Languages' that they knew about through Giles. The previous night, after a lengthy discussion in English about what they were doing and possible ramifications of the spell that had been cast upon them, they had decided that they had to leave the village to find any answers. Over the twenty years they had lived in the village, they had rarely spoken English, only between themselves and for concepts not expressible in the villager's language. Another reason they had decided to leave was the fact that at first they had aged normally, until they reached the age of thirty-five. They had not visibly aged a day in the last four years, and they had a feeling that they would never age any farther. Buffy ducked through the doorway of the hut that had been her home, with Xander for the last twenty years and saw Xander packing all their belongings. After that first day, all those years ago, Buffy and Xander had not worn their cloths from 2000AD; they wore cured leather like the other villagers, however they had kept their future clothing until they had disintegrated, and they also never let the steel knives out of their possession, for fear that they might inadvertently change the future or create a scandal when an archaeologist finds an 'ancient' knife made in Korea in 1999. Xander had bundled her clothing, share of the weapons, including two bronze tipped spears, and her figurine on her bed and was finishing tying the straps on his bundles. Buffy slipped the figurine into her belt pouch, slung the bundle of clothing, with one of the spears attached, over her shoulder, but with the spear easily accessible, took up the other spear as a walking staff and looked around. Xander was adjusting how his bundle sat on his shoulder and absently twirling his spear/walking staff. After giving a final goodbye to the villagers, Buffy and Xander walked off, coincidently in the same direction that they had initially approached the village from. Taking one last look at their home for the prior two decades, the two travellers started down the far slope of the hill and out of sight of the village.

Chapter 2
The City

Location: Unknown
Date/Time: Four Days Later, Noon

Buffy and Xander came across a well used dirt road and decided to take a break. They had been walking from dawn to dusk for the last four days, mostly living off the dried meat from the village and whatever eatable plants they could find. They were having something to eat when Xander spotted a dust cloud down the road.

"Buff." He said, indicating the direction.

Both their bodies tensed, ready to fight or run. The last twenty years had hardened their bodies, not that they were soft from living almost two decades on the Hellmouth, adding muscle and strength and more than negating any loss of strength or speed as a result of physically ageing to thirty-five. Xander took up a visible position on the road, one of his spears at the ready, while Buffy hid behind one of the large boulders beside the road. When the group causing the dust trail came into view, Xander saw that they were a merchant train, with pack mules. After Xander surreptitiously signalled to Buffy, she rose and joined him on the road.

"Ho, the caravan." Xander called in the language of the village.

This caused the caravan to stop and answering calls came back in several different languages, tried one after another, that Buffy and Xander did not understand. One man came to the front, he appeared to be in charge, and Xander tried the universal sign for travelling, walking two fingers along the back of his arm and pointing to himself and Buffy. The man seemed to understand the gesture and invited them to join the caravan. After looking to Xander for a second, Buffy nodded and they joined with the merchant train, travelling along the road.


Location: Several Miles Down The Road
Date/Time: Same Day, Early Evening (Say 8pm)

Buffy and Xander were sitting around a campfire with the leader of the merchant caravan, a slightly plump, balding man called Rupert, which, needless to say, disturbed Buffy and Xander deeply, and his family. Rupert's wife was a willowy woman with raven black hair called Cassandra and his daughter. The daughter was about fifteen years old with long brown hair and light blue eyes, reaching was about Buffy's height (AN: I know I said no Dawn, but think Michelle Trachtenberg) who's name was Catherine. From the moment Catherine laid eyes on Xander she seemed to be infatuated with him. Because of this infatuation Catherine endeavoured to teach Xander, and Buffy because the two were rarely apart, how to speak her language and the language of The City, a common language that was completely unique and that everyone who had contact with The City knew.


Location: The Gates Of The City
Date/Time: Three Months Later, 6:45am (One Hour After Dawn)

The last three months had been… interesting. Buffy and Xander had quickly picked up both The City language and the native language of the merchants, while the caravan had travelled its trade route and was only now reaching The City. Catherine had not been pleased when she had found out that Xander would not stay with the caravan, rather he would stay with Buffy. Catherine and her father, Rupert, had been interested to hear about the village and, once they found out what commodities the villagers needed and what they could trade, they intended to add the village to their next trade route, having learnt the language from Buffy and Xander. Buffy and Xander followed the caravan through the towering gates into The City until they reached a warehouse, where Rupert gave them their share of the profits from the trip and tried to convince them to stay one last time.

(AN: Due to the timing issues of the story, I will dispense with the Location and Date/Time tags for the moment and reintroduce them when they become appropriate.)

The City was spectacularly unique, with towering domes down to humble little apartments. It was as if the entire population of LA, Washington DC and Tokyo had been picked up and dropped down in ancient times, letting their imaginations run wild when it came to architecture. The City was unlike any other human habitation of the time. Unlike everywhere else, which still used the barter system, The City minted and used currency, certain things, such as accommodation, could only be purchased or rented with City coins and there were City merchants whose sole order of business was to convert goods into currency and currency into goods. It was a law of The City that no currency passed outside the gates, to that end all the coins were enchanted so that Mages, one of the two sects of magic users in The City, could detect the presence of coins and there was always at least one Mage with the guards at every gate. The vast majority of magic users worked for the City military. There were the Mages, who worked with offensive and detection spells, fireballs and detecting coins at the gates being minor examples, and they were used as support type units in combat. The other sect of magic users were the Clerics, who specialised in healing and defensive spells, such as shields for buildings and such, and many Clerics also knew how to heal with plants and herbs. While most Clerics worked for the military and helped out in The City when they were available, some Clerics had devoted themselves to the citizens of The City, setting up permanent clinics in the housing suburbs.


Buffy and Xander were walking idly along a street near one of the gates. In had been almost a week since they had parted with the merchant caravan and they had no income, but their share of the profits had been enough to get them accommodation and they were right for the next few weeks for living expenses. As they approached the gate they heard the sounds of fighting and, based on subconscious instinct from Sunnydale, they drew the weapons they always had on them and ran to the sight of the fight. When they arrived at the gate they saw ten guards against ten demons. Four of the guards were down and only one of the demons. Xander instantly ran in to pull out the only downed guard that was not dead while Buffy laid into the closest demon. When the guard was clear, Xander plunged into the fight. Buffy had taken down one of the demons while Xander had been helping the guard, and the other guards, realising they were outmatched were going two on one against three of the demons, while Buffy and Xander, fighting back to back, took on the remaining five demons. By the time the guards had taken out their demons, Buffy and Xander had gotten three of the five, and they kept them distracted while the guards ambushed them from behind. Xander took stock of the losses, two fighters and a Mage dead, another fighter seriously injured and probably going to die. Of the six remaining guards two were injured. Taking charge, Xander sent the two wounded, and the seriously wounded, guards to the closest Cleric, he also sent one of the guards to report to the barracks for replacement and another Mage. The five remaining guards looked at Buffy and Xander in concern, here were two fierce warriors, one obviously capable of command and caring about his men, and, while each was capable when alone, when together they were nearly unstoppable. When the replacements, a full changing of the guard, arrived they also brought an officer. When the officer heard what had happened, he instantly asked if they wanted to join the military and fight the demons. With little hesitation they accepted.


Buffy and Xander were on guard duty, a tedious routine but, as they were in charge, not an unpleasant experience. The watched as a small group approached the gate. It was obliviously a family, the mother was a middle-aged, about forty, woman with long brown hair and blue eyes, and the father, about the same age, had sandy hair and green eyes. The daughter, about fifteen years old, had her father's sandy hair, styled like her mother, and her mother's blue eyes, while the boy, about ten, had his mother's hair and eye colour but his father's slightly darker complexion. Both of the adults seemed familiar to Buffy and Xander but they did not instantly recognise them. The same could not be said for the couple.

"Buffy, Xander!" they cried out in unison and grabbed the surprised duo in bear hugs, embarrassing them in front of their troops.

"Oh my God! It is grate to see you, Xander. You guys look great. In fact you haven't aged a day." The woman said, enthusiastically at first then fading to bewilderment.

"Um. Thanks." Xander said, confused.

"You don't remember. Of course it has been twenty-five years." The woman said before mimicking a teenage girl. "Run away with me Xander. We'll see the world and be rich and then you'll forget about the little bond."

"Catherine!?! You cheeky little sod." Xander said. "Well, it's been a while. You look great. And this is…?"

"Gabriel?" Buffy said, having mentally de-aged the man twenty-five years. "Gabriel who loved to listen to the hunting stories and whittle my stakes? Let me guess. Catherine came to the village to trade. At first you hated each other but over time it grew into love. Am I close?"

"Unnervingly so. Allow me to introduce our children, Elizabeth and Alex." Catherine said, motioning to the children. "Kids, this is Uncle Xander and Aunty Buffy. We told you about them."

"Hello." The children said nervously.

"Nice to meet you. Look, it's great to see you again, but you got to move along. Contact us and we'll talk some time." Xander said, with a grin.

The family smiled and moved through the gate, leaving two happy time- travellers and a group of confused guards.


Buffy and Xander stood side by side in the front ranks, swords at the ready. On Xander's left stood Janet, Alex's granddaughter while on Buffy's right stood Michael, Elizabeth's great-grandson. For the last seventy-five years, Buffy and Xander had been friends and looking out for Catherine and Gabriel's family, long after the couple themselves had died. Stretching to either side and behind them stood the armies of The City. Ranks of infantry, mostly armed with swords, several deep stretched the length of the field, bordered by a river on one side and a cliff on the other. Behind the Infantry, on a slight raise, was rank after rank of Archers, with the mass of Calvary at the top of the raise as the reserve force. At the opposite end of the field was an army of demons, every type imaginable and in no particular organisation stood waiting, then a call cried out and the demon army charged. Once battle was joined Xander's higher mental functions shut down. Xander recognised only three types of entities, friend, Enemy and Buffy. The first and, especially, the third were to be protected and the second type was to be mercilessly cut down. The battle raged and Xander ran on pure instinct, running on adrenaline. Suddenly there were no more enemies to fight and Xander dropped his arms, exhausted as his higher faculties returned and his first instinct, as always was to search for Buffy. He quickly found her about ten paces to his left, the opposite side to which she started the battle, and his gaze soon found Janet and Michael, both alive and well, however the field was covered with many dead, both human and demon. The victory had not come cheap. Involuntarily a shout of triumph rose in Xander's throat, quickly taken up by the other soldiers. A shout to prove that they were still alive.


Buffy and Xander, along with the rest of the patrol, moved quietly through the trees, bows at the ready. There had been reports of demonic activity in the area, so their unit of rangers, cross between archers and trackers, had been sent on a recognisance mission. They had spotted a demon encampment and were on their way back to base to report. Buffy signalled three of the other rangers to return a separate way, taking the other ranger with herself and Xander. When Xander noticed that they were being followed, he motioned for Buffy and the other ranger to keep going while he silently climbed a tree. When the demons passed under Xander, he dropped from the tree firing his arrows. He took out the main party quickly, but had failed to notice the trailing demon archer, until the arrow went into his side. As he dropped to the ground another arrow flew over his head, from the front this time, taking out the demon. Buffy quickly slung her bow and picked Xander up, running through the forest, speed more important than stealth.

"Don't you dare die on me Xander." Buffy told him, slipping into English in her worry, a language that they had not spoken in over two hundred years. "How do you expect me to face the rest of time without you."

Running at full Slayer speed, Buffy quickly made it back to camp, calling for a Cleric as she entered. When the Clerics took Xander away, Buffy quickly moved to their tent. When she entered she completely broke down crying. She had once told Willow that when Angel broke up with her she felt like she was dieing. Now the thought of losing Xander was a million times worse, however she attributed that to the fact that they had fought side by side for more than two centuries, denying the possibility that she loved him.


Xander swung his horse, its shoed hooves tearing at one demon as his sword took another. They would have to pull back as they were being overwhelmed.

"Fall back." Xander shouted and the Cavalry started to retreat.

Out of the corner of his eye, Xander saw Buffy's horse go down. An arrow through its side. Xander carved his way through to her, cutting down any demon in his path. When he reached her, he pulled her up behind him. Buffy winced in pain as the arm he used to hoist her up had a deep slash in it. Again he wheeled his horse, hooves flashing and he carved his way out of the demonic horde and to escape with his troops. Every soldier deeply respected both Buffy and Xander and knew that if you were in their unit, you were more likely to survive. They also knew that Buffy would never leave a battle without Xander and Xander would never leave any troops behind. The Cavalry rode hard, leading the chasing horde of demons into a trap of arrow fire that Xander and Buffy had planed beforehand, just in case.


Buffy and Xander stood in the Royal War Room. They were military advisers to the King. The War Council was deciding what to do about the increasing numbers of demons that had been sighted when a messenger came in.

"Majesty, latest reports from the scouts. They managed to capture a demon and during interrogation it mentioned that a high level demon was about to be summoned. It is called Mahkesh and is said to be formidable." The messenger said.

Buffy and Xander paled at the mention of Mahkesh. Although it was a long time ago they remembered what Giles had told the on Prom night. That the Hell Hounds had been bread during the Mahkesh Wars.

"Majesty. I suggest we call up all reserves and mobilise the military." Buffy said.

"Why?" the King asked, intrigued by the seemingly rash statement for the very seasoned General.

"Sir. Trust us. Mobilise and do it now. It might just be enough." Xander said.

"Ok. Now you're scaring me. You two are not known to be rash. What's got you so concerned." One of the King's chief advisers said.

"A major war." Buffy and Xander said together.

Everyone was shocked. They all knew some version of Buffy and Xander's story, and had heard many different tails about the pair. They knew that if they were scared, any sane person should be terrified. Buffy and Xander turned and walked out of the War Room and down the corridor. After a while Buffy laughed bitterly.

"What?" Xander inquired.

"Xand, can you ever forgive me?" Buffy asked.

"For what?" Xander replied, confused.

"For taking five hundred years and facing a catastrophic war to realise that I love you." Buffy answered.

Xander just stood there for a minute stunned.

"About bloody time." Xander said with a chuckle and they walked off down the corridor laughing.

Chapter 3
The War/Prelude To The Fall

The King watched Buffy and Xander walked out of the War Room, full of concern.

"Leave me." He ordered and everyone left.

The King was deeply concerned, his family knew Buffy and Xander for over four hundred years, since before his ancestors, Catherine and Gabriel came to live in the city. His family had ruled The City for the last three hundred years, since one of his ancestors, a teenage girl, saved the King, who had no heir, and she was named his heir. For generations, Buffy and Xander had helped to raise the King's family's children, the King himself had been named after on of Buffy and Xander's friends from the stories that the told. King Daniel (as in Daniel Osborne AKA Oz) himself had also served under Buffy and Xander in the military before taking the throne, like most of his family. As it was his daughter and heir, Princess Tara, was currently a squad leader in the Rangers and his younger son, Liam, had just joined the Cavalry. King Daniel always remembered the advice that his mother, Queen Jennifer, had given him as a child. 'Be fair in your decisions, be just in judgement and listen to Uncle Xander and Aunt Buffy when it comes to military matters.' The King stood and walked to the door where his advisers were waiting.

"Call up the reserves. Gather the troops. We need to prepare for war." He commanded as he walked to his chambers.

If there was going to be a war, the troops would just have to fight beside their King.


Buffy and Xander walked into their chambers, still chuckling over Xander's last comment. They had separate beds, but Xander had a feeling that was about to change, however he pushed that thought to the back of his mind. They each walked to a series of display cases that held mementos of their past. The two sets of cases were the same, the first case held a chain mail tunic, a light helmet, a longsword and a round shield; the second case held a longbow, a quiver full of arrows, leather armour with bracers, a green cloak with a hood and a pair of daggers; while the last case held a breastplate, plate mail leggings, a Calvary helmet, a lance, a large kite shield and a Calvary sabre. As much as they hated to admit it, after four hundred years plus of fighting, they felt slightly uncomfortable when not in some for of armour, they still carried the knives they brought from Sunnydale everywhere they went. Knowing what could be coming; they stripped out of their court clothing and began donning armour. Firstly they donned the leather armour, except the bracers. Over that they placed the chain mail tunic then strapped the bracers over their wrists. They then donned their breastplates and plate mail leggings. Next came their weaponry. The Calvary sabre was belted to their left hip while the quiver full of arrows was belted to their right. Next they placed a harness over their shoulders, and placed the two daggers into the sheaths between their shoulder blades. They the placed the bow case, with longbow inside and sheathed longsword into spaces provided by the harness. The small infantry round shield was placed over the back, secured by a strap and in effect, protecting the bow and longsword. Next the Sunnydale knives were placed in sheaths in their lower back. The green forest cloak was donned and the Calvary helmet completed the outfit, leaving only the plumed officer's light infantry helmet in the display cases and the Lances and Kite shields by the door. Pulling the cloaks closed and raising the hoods, they looked at each other and smiled. The looked like ordinary Rangers, but they were the deadliest fighters in The City. The Ranger cloaks had slits in the top, allowing access to the bow cases, knives and sword underneath, but also able to shield them from the weather by closing the slits over the weaponry. Lowering the hoods and throwing back the cloaks, Buffy and Xander left their chambers and proceeded to the War Room to look over the maps and plan possible campaigns and defensive measures for The City.


Buffy and Xander walked into their chambers, exhausted. They had spent the last three weeks getting reports and organising tactical details. Scouts had reported where the rasing ceremony was going to occur, and had indicated that it would be impossible to stop the ceremony due to mystical barriers and the large number of demons present. They had ordered a perimeter set up around the area that would report and if overrun would retreat to a nearby stronghold. It was now a waiting game. Xander collapsed on his bed with a sigh.

"If someone could wake me up when it's time to fight, that would be great." He said with a sight grin.

"Hey. That's my line." Buffy said as she collapsed on her own bed.

After a few minutes Xander groaned and stood up again.

"Ouch. My dagger was digging into my back. I'm going to go for a shower. Want to join me?" Xander said with mischief in his voice.

"I don't know." Buffy said playfully.

"Come on. We've known each other for five hundred years and save each other's lives thousands of times." Xander semi-pleaded.

"You're point being?" Buffy replied, trying and failing to keep a strait face.

"Trust me. Der!" Xander replied.

Xander started to strip off his armour as he walked into the bathroom, not noticing Buffy doing the same.

"I bet you that we'll see the first Hell Hound within two years of the rasing and face the face an army of them within five." Xander called to Buffy thinking she was in the main chamber.

"I'll take that bet." Buffy whispered into his ear, making Xander jump.

Xander turned and carefully looked Buffy in the eyes before speaking.

"What are the terms?" he said.

"I win, you have to be my slave for a hundred years." Buffy said with a glint in her eyes.

"Ok. I win and you have to spend a night dancing with me." Xander said and he chuckled at her shocked expression.

"You would wager a night of dancing against a hundred years of slavery?" Buffy said, very surprised.

"Only for a night of dancing with you. We have a bet?" Xander said, dead serious.

"Um, sure." Buffy responded.

Xander turned and walked under the shower with a slight grin. He had read the accounts of the Mahkesh Wars and by all accounts the Hell Hounds appeared very early on, so he was fairly sure he would win the bet, plus he would not mind being Buffy's slave for a hundred years, he had worshiped her silently for five times that long.


"Hell Hounds!" the cry came over the din of battle.

Buffy and Xander looked up and saw a horde of the doglike demons rushing towards the left flank.

"Reserves, with me." Xander called before rushing towards the onrushing demons.

The Archers released a volley of arrows into the pack of Hell Hounds, taking out a large number. Xander's long legs and Buffy's Slayer speed quickly took the in front of the reserve Infantry and the Cavalry, which was getting clogged in the alleys in the defensive anti-Cavalry stakes planted in the ground. Letting off several arrows as they ran, Buffy and Xander took out a few of the forerunners, before casing their longbows, drawing their long swords and putting their Kite shields in defensive positions.

"Hey, Buffy. Eighteen months and two and a half years. You owe me a night of dancing." Xander called as the rushed onwards.

"Ok. You win." Buffy said, just before they crashed into the mass of Hell Hounds, swords swinging and shields either deflecting blows or bashing the dog-demons.

By the time the reserves had arrived, Buffy and Xander had taken out a fair portion of the Hell Hounds, however they were not unscathed. Buffy had several cuts on her arms, most of the blows taken by the armour, and what felt like a cracked rib, she had also lost her Kite Shield and Long sword, not laying into the Hell Hounds with her Cavalry Sabre and her Infantry Round shield. Xander was less lucky. He had lost his helmet, with blood running down his face and a large gash down the back of his right leg. He was lashing out with his Long sword and Cavalry Sabre. Xander and Buffy were fighting back to back in the midst of the Hell Hound horde as the Cavalry slammed into the mass, fighting their way to the well respected leaders while the Infantry began mercilessly cutting down the Hell Hounds, closing ranks as soldiers fell and persistently moving forward. Just as the Cavalry hit the Hell Hounds, Xander lost his Cavalry Sabre, so he instantly drew one of his Ranger daggers and began using it as a parrying dagger. When the Cavalry reached Buffy and Xander they formed a ring around the leaders. As Buffy and Xander were injured and not really fit for hand to hand, the sheathed their weapons and pulled out their longbows, shooting as every opportunity from behind the Cavalry, laying down covering fire when a soldier fell until the gap could be closed. When they ran out of arrows, they would dart in and assist any solider in trouble. With the methodical attack of the Infantry and the desperate defence of the Cavalry, the Hell Hounds broke, running off the way they came.

"Hold!" Buffy yelled as some of the Cavalry started to give chase.

Buffy and Xander looked around at the butcher's yard that was the battlefield. The imitate area was littered with the corpses of Hell Hounds and humans, too many humans for comfort.

'Even one is too many.' Xander thought bitterly, not for the first time.

The rest of the battle was finishing up, the majority of the demons dead, the rest dieing or fleeing. Today was a victory, but a rare one. For the first six months The City's soldiers had managed to hold Mahkesh's minions at bay, but for the last two years they had been slowly falling back. That did not mean they were going to give up, not by a long shot, but Xander had a feeling that The City would soon fall.


"… That is our recommendation, Your Majesty." Xander finished.

"You wish us to abandon The City?" Queen Tara asked.

"Yes, Your Majesty." Buffy responded.

"Ok. Enough with the Majesty stuff. For the moment, we are just a woman and her two, very old family friends." Tara said.

"Alright Tara. It is the only way. Despite all we can do, we are loosing." Xander said.

Tara dropped from a confident and capable Queen who had seen all forty years of the war, starting as a soldier in the Ranger's and then as a Queen to a scared and concerned woman who needed friends.

"Tara." Buffy said, trying to comfort the concerned woman. "She will not fall undefended. We would never let that happen."

"Tara, I want you to leave with the evacuation." Xander said. "Help keep the memory of The City alive. Don't let them forget."

"No. I'm staying." Tara responded.

"You're going and that's final. We made a promise to Catherine and Gabriel to keep their family safe. You are more important to us than anything short of the survival of the human race." Buffy commanded, speaking as an authoritative Aunt.

The orders were given and preparations were made for The City, the safe haven and bastion of humanity, to be evacuated.


Buffy and Xander stood in front of forty teenage girls. Behind the two leaders stood a collection of warriors, scholars, Mages and Clerics.

"Are you sure about this. I keep thinking Faith." Buffy whispered to Xander.

"I know. But this time we can choose her." Xander whispered back.

Xander stepped forward and announced why they wanted the girls assembled. Then Buffy and Xander asked them a series of questions, the girls stepping forward if the answer was yes or the condition had occurred and moving off to the side if not. Finally there were two girls standing before Buffy and Xander.

"Deborah." The first girl answered in response to being asked her name.

"Why do you want this?" Xander asked.

"Because they killed my family." Deborah responded.

"What would you do if you were given this?" Buffy asked.

"Get revenge." Deborah said with rage in her eyes.

Buffy and Xander moved to the other girl and asked her the same questions.

"Samantha. My family was also killed. To prevent others from suffering like I have." Samantha responded in turn.

"Samantha will be the Slayer." Buffy announced.

"No. You can't do this to me. I must kill them all!" Deborah screamed.

"That attitude will, if you're lucky, get you killed. If you're not, get others killed as well. This is not a personal revenge trip. This is to save the future of Humanity. If that is not you ultimate aim, it will drive you insane. I've seen it before." Buffy growled at Deborah before escorting Samantha away. A few hours later Samantha and the group who had accompanied Buffy and Xander to the selection rode out of one of the gates and off into the distance. They had just called the original Slayer and formed the group that would one day be known as The Watcher's Council. Knowing what they had doomed the future Slayers to, Buffy and Xander turned from the riding collum and back to the problem at hand, saving humanity, again.

Chapter 4
The Fall

Buffy and Xander stood in front of the throne, heads bowed in reverence. Queen Tara sat upon the throne looking down at the pair.

"The preparations are ready?" Queen Tara asked.

"Almost, Your Majesty. Some of our forces are slowing the demon army and the mass evacuation will begin in three days. The evacuation is estimated to be completed in a week and the invaders will be here a week after that." Xander said.

"Good. You have both served The City well for many years. Is there any gift that I can give you in return for you're loyal service?" The Queen inquired.

Buffy and Xander looked at each other for a second before Buffy responded.

"Just one, Majesty."

"Name it." Tara said, pleased to be able to help her life long friends.

"We ask that you consent to marry us, Majesty." Xander responded.

"Well. You've known each other for five hundred and forty years, been courting for the last forty. I'd just like to say. About bloody time!" Tara said, causing Buffy and Xander to crack up laughing. "Ok, I'll bite. What's so funny?"

"That is what Xander said when I told him I loved him." Buffy said, still laughing.

After a second of shocked silence, Tara also began to laugh.


"I now pronounce you man and Wife. You may kiss the Bride." Tara announced.

The crowd cheered. Every member of the armed forces not on duty or out of The City and most residents of The City were present at the marriage of the two greatest and most famous General's in The City's extensive history and presided over by the Queen. Buffy and Xander dressed in their full combat armour turned and began to walk down the very long line of service men and woman. The first service lining the walk were the Cavalry, sitting on their horses and making a tunnel with their Sabres and when the couple reached the end of the Cavalry the turned, rasing their now drawn Sabres the shouted the Cavalry motto.

"The Charge!" The couple shouted.

"The Charge!" Came the response.

The next service in line was the Infantry, who stood with their Longswords in front of their faces. Again, when Buffy and Xander reached the end of the line of Infantry they turned and, mimicking their fellow soldiers, raised their Longswords in front of their faces and shouted.

"Stand tall, honour the fallen!" They called.

"Hurrah." Came the response.

As they turned to continue down the line, the Rangers, the next service, all dropped to one knee, bowed their hood covered heads and, drawing their daggers as they dropped, planted the daggers in the ground in front of them shoulder width apart. Buffy and Xander walked down the rank of Rangers, turned, raising their hoods, knelt and planted their dagger like the others, then all the Rangers, Buffy and Xander included, began to chant in a language that no one in the crowd, except former Ranger could understand. It sounded like the natural sounds of the forest. A few of the more astute crowd members noticed that the Queen had taken the same position as the Rangers and was saying the same as the Rangers.

[With knife and bow, we come and go. Amen]

[Through forest thick and water slick. Amen]

[We seek and find, protect mankind. Amen]

[The Ranger way, the only way. Amen]

All of the Ranger's, the newly wed couple and the Queen all rose at the same time, sheathing their dagger. Buffy and Xander through back their hoods and proceeded through the rest of the procession of services, the Archer's with their motto 'Aim straight, shoot straight', the Mages and the Clerics.

"You still owe me a night of dancing." Xander whispered as the left the final part of the length procession.

Buffy just grinned and they kept on walking.


"That's the plan. Anyone how does not wish to participate, you will not be thought a coward. Plus we need people to escort the evacuating citizens. For those who chose to stay, assignments will be issued at a later date." Buffy finished her speech to the assembled troops.

"I won't do it. I'll escort for the evacuation. I can't think of a crazier plan." One of the soldiers called out.

"Attack the Mayor with Humus." Xander said casually, with a deadpan expression that caused Buffy to crack up laughing.

The assemble troops look at their commander oddly. The pair were considered strange at time by those who served under them, but they were also the greatest military commander in The City's history and genuinely care for the soldiers under their command.

"Sorry. Inside joke." Xander said with a chuckle. "You need not decide now. You all have three days to decide. Dismissed."

The troops broke up; discussing the plan and wether they wanted to be part of it.


Xander held his wife close as they danced slowly to the music. The Great Hall in The City's Royal Palace was deserted except for the small blond Slayer and her White Knight. The City had been completely evacuated two days ago, so the couple were relaxing and settling an old bet. The music was being provided by an enchantment, so they could select any song that they remembered or had ever heard to be played. Xander revelled in the simple act of holding Buffy while they danced, knowing that soon she would be angry with him. They danced in silence for one more song before Xander broached the topic that she would not like.

"Buffy. I want to talk to you about the battle." Xander said.

"What about it?" Buffy asked concerned.

"I want you to lead the forces that come in from the field, while I lead the fresh troops." Xander said.

"WHAT?!?!" Buffy screamed.

For a woman of small stature, Buffy had an amazing lung capacity. Xander thought for a second that he had gone deaf.

"Yes, love. They need one of us to lead them or their moral will be broken. They will have been fighting, almost non stop for weeks. You will make a better impression on them than I will." Xander said, trying to do his best impression of Willow's famous Resolve Face.

"No, no, no, no and no! And just in case you missed it the first five times. NO!" Buffy said. "We fight together. I need to be with you. I need to know you are alright, you keep me going. Please?"

Buffy was begging by the end. As Xander saw the look of pain in her eyes, the pleading and it broke his heart to see her like this.

"It is the way it has to be." Xander said softly.

"Fine. I'll see you after the battle, if you make it." Buffy said, leaving the Great Hall with tears in her eyes.


The final elements of The City troops that had been delaying the demonic army retreated through the gates of The City. Lead by Buffy, they filled into a series of tunnels that were located near the gates, and were sealed shut after the last soldier was inside. The demonic army was only ten minutes behind the delay troops. While the tired troops were making their way through the tunnels, the fresh volunteers were engaging the demonic army inside The City. They fought fiercely, giving ground reluctantly but still falling slowly back. Sometimes the defenders would seem to break and run, but they always lead the demonic invaders into well laid traps. Meanwhile, overhead, the second stage of the defence was under way. A mystical barrier slowly began to from and descended upon The City. When the barrier reached the ground, it changed in colour from sky blue to deep purple, trapping all but a few of the demons inside, including Mahkesh, inside The City. When this occurred the defenders quickly disengaged the demons and rand for a series of tunnels to the outside of The City that were situated near the central citadel, knowing that they had only a few minutes to escape. Outside The City, the troops lead by Buffy attacked the few remaining demons as soon as the barrier touched the ground, the Buffy silently prayed for those still inside.


Xander jumped down into the tunnel and, grudgingly, sealed the entrance from below. Giving a quick prayer for a quick death for those above, he began to run down the tunnel, passing between light and darkness of the widely spaced torches. As he neared the end of the tunnel he saw a light blue curtain appear from the floor just ahead of him and he managed to pass it by jumping through the gap near the ceiling before it closed. When he reached the outside, Xander and the survivors meet up with the force lead by Buffy, who was greatly relieved that he was alive, and they watched the final destruction of The City. In sealed towers around The City, a full Score of Mages began to cast one final spell. From the towers, lines of light crossed The City to all the other towers, then each of the lines began branching towards the protective shield surrounding The City and towards the other lines. Within a few minutes, the entire shield was glowing with a brilliant light then The City disappeared. It was transported into a demon dimension, and Xander silently hoped that the Mages had time to use their daggers before they were trapped in that place. A group of Mages bordering the giant crater that used to be The City and incanted another spell that quickly filled the space from the surrounding area, leaving no visible sign that The City had ever existed. There was, however, an after-effect of the final struggle of the Mahkesh Wars. The spell that had transported The City into the hell dimension had weakened the dimensional barriers and the resultant effect would last for millennia. Occasionally the effect would, through accident or interference, either human or divine, move geological locations until it eventually ended up under the library of a small high school in a flyspeck town in what would become Southern California that had been called by the original discoverers 'Boca Dell Inferno'. Hence was born the Hellmouth.

Chapter 5
Lonesome Dove

As the surviving soldiers who had made a final stand for humanity and prevailed began to disperse, to lead lives far away from this place, Buffy and Xander stood in each other's arms.

"Is it over?" Buffy asked quietly, sounding much like a lost little girl.

"What do you want me to say?" Xander asked back, knowing that she needed to be comforted.

"Lie to me." She whispered.

"Yes, it's all over. No one will ever have to face anything like this again and all who died will be remembered forever." Xander said with mock confidence in his voice.

"Thank you." Buffy whispered back.

The couple were the last to leave the fortress of humanity that had fallen so the race could endure. From this encounter civilisation took a downturn that it would not recover from for a long time and The City would fade into myth as humanity struggled to regain what was lost. The myth would take on many incarnations based on where the evacuees went, the most famous would become known as Atlantis and Mu. It would be thousands of years before any humans again settled on the site that was abandoned while the sun was high.


The sprawling estate was quiet in the pre-dawn light. The houses were in a style that would become popular in several thousand years time. The main house was large, build of limestone blocks with slate roof tiles, with Mediterranean style architecture. The outbuildings were designed to fit with the house and were built with the same materials. To the north were orchids, everything from apples to mandarins to olives, all irrigated from a stream that flowed down from the hills beyond. To the south were fields of wheat, maize, corn, barley and hops, also irrigate from the stream. To the west were the livestock. Cows, chicken, sheep, pigs. Pastured or in pens, along with other animals, such as the sheep and cattle dogs and the horses. To the east, between the orchids and the fields, ran a dirt road, lined on either side by poplars, that ran the half a day ride to the nearest village. After the destruction of The City, three hundred and sixty years ago, Buffy and Xander had wandered. They had, after a few years, meet up with Tara, the former Queen of The City, her new husband and their infant child. Two years after that they had settled down and built the estate. The estate had slowly grown to accommodate the growth of the family and others who had come to live at the estate, as tenders of the orchids, farmers or cooks. Anyone who wanted to stay at the estate was welcome; however things were not as peaceful as the seemed.

"What the hell has been bugging you, Buffy?" Xander demanded of his wife. "You're moody, irritable. I would say you were pregnant but hell, you've had a headache every time I've touched you for the last two decades, so that option's out. You would think that after nine hundred years you could tell me what the hell the matter is?"

"You want to know? You really want to know?" Buffy replied.

"Yes! I want to know."

"You treat me like I'm some porcelain vase and you act as if your life does not matter. That's what's, bugging me."

"Is this about that raid last week? I sent you to protect the farmers in the southern fields. Is it my fault they attacked from the north?" Xander asked.

"That's not the only time. Like the time I was not good enough to be fighting by your side." Buffy shot back with venom.

"What are you… you mean the City?!? Hell Buffy, that was three hundred and sixty years ago. Get over it. I love you, and yes, it hurts me when you get injured but I don't stop you from fighting, you are more than able to take care of yourself, but I would gladly give my life to save yours. I would do that because I love you." Xander replied.

"But I can't live without you Xander." Buffy replied.

"So you treat me like crap. Thanks a lot, Buffy." Xander said.

*Fare thee well, My own true love, Farewell for a while, I'm going away, But I'll be back, Though I go 10,000 miles.*

Xander quickly moved around the bedroom collecting his things. He packed most of his armour and weapons in bundles and threw clothes into his saddlebags, absently adding the small figurine of Buffy. Donning his leather armour, his bow case, quiver, sabre, knives and Ranger's cloak, Xander headed down to the kitchens to grab some travel food before heading out to the stables. Loading up a pack horse and a mount, Xander lead them out of the stables.

*10,000 miles, My own true love, 10,000 miles or more, The rocks may melt, And the seas may burn, If I should not return.*

Xander mounted his horse in the courtyard, watched by the family and the household. Buffy was not in the courtyard, she was watching from the house, her anger battling with her fear of losing Xander. Xander rode away down the road line with Poplars, leaving the safe place they had built to meet an uncertain world.

"I'll be back." Xander softly promised as the estate slipped out of sight behind him.


Buffy watched as Xander road away, without looking back, and her heart shattered. Buffy sat alone in what was now her bedroom filled with pain and indescribable loneliness. Tears would not come, she knew that they would, given time, but not now.

'I drove him away. I was so self absorbed that I drove Xander away.' Buffy thought, her eyes going glassy and unfocused.

*Oh don't you see, That lonesome dove, Sitting on an ivy tree, She's weeping for, Her own true love, As I shall weep for mine.*

A hundred years passed and a whole generation of the family grew up without Xander. They heard stories of the great Buffy and Xander, their devotion to each other, quick whits, and legendary battles. But they saw no Xander, no great and loyal warrior. No courageous Buffy, beautiful and wise, just the creepy lady, who wept for someone they never knew and never left her room. While she did not look physically old, Buffy seemed to be old, never getting out of her chair, which faced the window that gave a view of the road and never talking to anyone except to call out that he was gone and she wanted him back, never saying who 'he' was. She only ate when she was fed, but luckily she was cared for, by the daughter of a woman who had seen the day he had left and who had remember what Buffy was like before. Although the woman was now dead, her daughter had grown up with the stories and whished for the old Buffy to return, so she prayed for Xander, the lost love, to return.

"Please come back to me, Xander. My love, my friend." Buffy whispered

*Oh come ye back, My own true love, And stay a while with me, If I had a friend, All on this earth, You've been a friend to me.*

In the morning light a single figure on a horse rode up the road towards the estate. The figure was slightly ragged, and the saddlebags bulged. Dressed in a tattered cloak that may have once been green, its hood obscuring the figures face, the horse moved into the courtyard and the rider dismounted, to be faced with men holding swords and spears.

"State your business." One of the men said.

"I have come to see the lady of the estate." The figure said.

"I am she." A woman stepped forward, the female head of the family.

"No you are not." The figure declared. "Not unless you have lived a thousand years and changed your face. I am here to see the lady."

"Who are you and on what business." The man from before asked.

"I am her lord and tend to the business is between me and my wife." The figure said sweeping back the hood to reveal Xander.

"I'll take you to see her immediately, my lord." Said Buffy's maid.

She had seen her mother's drawings of Xander and Buffy so knew his face well.

"Your lady is unwell." The maid said.

"Then take me quickly." Xander replied.

He quickly established that they were headed to his, Buffy's, bedroom. Xander burst through the door and saw Buffy sitting in a chair by the window.

"He had returned, my lady." The maid said.

"Xander?" Buffy asked weakly.

"Buffy! What happened?" Xander asked hurriedly.

"I drove you away. I wanted you back, needed you back. I've seen you return so many times in my dreams. Am I going to wake up now?" Buffy said.

"No, Buffy. This is not a dream. I'm really back." Xander said.

"Oh Xander." Buffy said as she tried to get up.

Buffy raised halfway and then fell, only to be caught by Xander. Even if you are practically immortal and a Slayer, a hundred years sitting in a chair is bound to make your muscles atrophy. Xander told Buffy about his travels and the world as they slowly rebuilt Buffy's muscles. Humanity was starting to pull itself together and rebuild civilisation, but the demonic powers were also on the rise. Xander estimated that in a few hundred years they would be needed again to fight for the light. For now, they were just together. Xander was back and all was right with the world, at least it was for Buffy.