Future's End

Author: Canadian Crow <Blackcrowe117[at]hotmail.com>

Rating: I dunno. PG-13?

Disclaimer: I don't own dick. I don't own Buffy, either, but that's another story.

A/N: I was just watching the old season 1 episode, Prophecy Girl, on TV today, when inspiration struck me like a brick. Suddenly I decided to rewrite the way things went in the Master's lair (like that's never been done before.).As always, I've warped reality into a B/X story. (Insert maniacal laughter here)The sequence of events from the episode might be a little off. Sue me. I like it better this way.

Don't ask me where this idea came from, because I honestly don't know. I think it was the same crackhead muse that brought us such classics as "System Error". ;-)



As Buffy followed the child into the tunnels below the city, she couldn't help but let her thoughts wander back to that afternoon. Xander had been so sweet, and the more she thought about it, the more she began to doubt her own words.

How did she really feel about him? What if she had said yes? Then she would be at the dance, rather than following the Anointed One to her almost certain doom.

<Oh well> she thought, <So much for regrets...>

As the path she followed became darker, she felt the cold hand of fear tighten around her heart. At that moment, she would have given nearly anything to be at home, eating dinner with her mother, or at the dance with her friends.

<Especially Xander> A small part of her mind whispered.

She quickly silenced these thoughts. Now was not the time to have her mind wandering. She needed to be in top form if she was going to have any chance against The Master.

As they approached the entrance to a candlelit cave, the demon child stopped and waved her on. She barely offered him a glance as she continued forward. She knew he was there, waiting for her.

<Alright> She thought, loading her crossbow, <I guess its showtime>


It had hurt.

It had hurt a lot.

She had told him that it was gonna hurt, but she hadn't given him nearly enough warning.

Then again, he didn't suppose that having your body broken down to its separate atoms, and hurled through time and space, and re- assembled on the other side was supposed to feel warm and fuzzy.

Stupid laws of physics.

Crawling to his feet, he quickly checked over his gear.

Weaponry, check.

Watch set to exact timeframe, double check.

Magical amulet thingy, triple check.

"All righty, then." He said aloud, "Time to go show some super- vampire what for."

He glanced at the watch to see how much time he had.

He had about ten minutes.

"Oh crap." He grumbled, before breaking into a sprint.


"How can I say this clearly?"

In a supreme act of either bravery, or stupidity, Xander pulled a cross on Angel, forcing him back into his chair.

"I don't like you. At the end of the day, I pretty much think you're a vampire."

Xander slowly lowered the cross, continuing to glare at the souled vampire.

"But Buffy's got this big old yen for you. She thinks you're a real person. And right now I need you to prove her right."

"You're in love with her." Angel accused him.

Xander's gaze seemed to pierce right through him, before he spoke.

"Aren't you?"

The two of them continued to glare at one another, before Angel begrudgingly led them out.


Her body frozen by The Master's power, Buffy couldn't even shudder in revulsion as he slid her leather jacket off her.

<Oh god> her mind cried, <I really am going to die down here>

He gently caressed her neck, as he whispered in her ear, "You tried. It was very noble of you. You heard the prophecy that I was about to break free and you came to stop me. But prophecies are tricky creatures. They don't tell you everything."

He leaned closer, lowering his voice even further; "You're the one that sets me free. If you hadn't come, I couldn't go. Think about that."

Suddenly, seconds before he could sink his fangs into her throat, a voice called out in the darkness.

"I really think she'd rather not."

"What!" The Master roared, "Who dares to interrupt my feast!"

He was cut off by an almighty blast the likes of which Buffy had never heard. The vampire was torn away from Buffy, and thrown across the cavern in a spray of blood and flesh, landing in a heap on the other side, with a chunk the size of a Christmas ham missing from his torso.

"That'll learn ya, overbite."


As they moved through the tunnels, Angel and Xander were suddenly halted by a blast echoing around them, emanating from The Master's chamber.

"What was that?" Xander asked.

"It's too late. He's gone up." Angel replied.

Sparing each other a glance, they immediately sprinted toward the source of the blast.


Freed of the vampire's power, tears immediately sprang to Buffy's eyes. As she fell to the ground, sobbing, she felt a pair of strong arms encircle her, gently laying her down, placing something soft under her head.

"I'll be right back." A strong voice whispered in her ear.

"Who are you?" She managed to choke out, between sobs.

"In a minute, Buffy. I've got something to take care of first."


Pain, like he had not known in centuries, flowed through him.

This was not possible. He could not be defeated! The slayer was supposed to die. It was written, so it had to be. Tapping the last of his strength, the vampire known as The Master struggled into a sitting position.

He would at least look his killer in the eye.

"Who...what are you?" He managed to whisper.

"Me?" His attacker replied, "I'm nobody important. Just another fighter, in an endless war. But Buffy, she is important, and by God as my witness, no one will ever hurt her like you almost did. Not this time around."

"This...time...around?" the Master gurgled.

"Adios, ugly." The figure lifted a shotgun to the Master's face, "Nice knowin' ya."

Another blast echoed through the tunnels, ending the Master, once and for all.


Angel and Xander entered the cavern just as the Master was finished off. They stared in shock as the stranger let out a short laugh, lifting the shotgun to rest it on his shoulder, before he moved over to where Buffy was laying on the ground.

"Stay away from her." Angel growled.

"Shut up, Deadboy." The stranger replied, not even looking up from Buffy's face.

Everyone froze.

"What did you say...?" Angel asked slowly.

"You heard me." The stranger answered, slowly helping Buffy to her feet and turning toward them.

He began moving forward, and the shadows around his face cleared, revealing his identity.

"My god..." Angel whispered.

"What the...how?" Buffy stuttered.

"Sweet merciful crap!" Xander exclaimed.

The person standing before them was, without a doubt, Xander Harris. He was much older, and his appearance had changed somewhat, but it was defiantly him.

He was a little less that a foot taller, and a hell of a lot more muscular than the Xander they knew. He looked like he hadn't shaved in a while, and had the beginnings of a beard showing on his face. He was dressed in some kind of black military fatigues, with twin pistols strapped to his thighs. He was still carrying the shotgun in his hands.

"Hi, everyone." He said with a smile.

"What the hell is going on here?" Buffy asked uncertainly.

"It's complicated, Buff."

"But, who...what...where...when...how?"

"Was that one question, or five?"


"Geez, tough crowd. Alright, here's the readers digest version of what's going on. If I hadn't been here to save her, Buffy would have been killed. That's what happened the last time around. You came back, but that still set off the chain of events that I'm here to stop. You with me so far?"

They all nodded dumbly.

"Okay. Now, I am Xander Harris, or at least I will be in a little over six years. I was sent back in time by our local superwitch to save Buffy in this time around, and change the future. Here's the deal. If Buffy here had been killed, and thus brought back, it would have caused the calling of a new slayer. That slayer died, and the next one kind of went nuts and killed some folks. She ended up in prison, stopping the slayer line. That's bad thing number one.

"Next, after recovering from the total mind fuck of dying, Buffy would have ended up sleeping with Angel next year. Don't get too exited there, Grateful Dead, that's not gonna happen this time 'round either. She gives you a happy, and your precious soul goes adios.

"Enter Angelus, for all intents and purposes the worst vampire ever to walk the earth. This causes the death of one Jenny Calendar, among dozens of others, before Buffy is finally forced to take him down. You can bet that messed her up, but good.

"It all eventually came down to the End Of Days, which was brought about by a being known as The First Evil. For various reasons, we were unable to stop this particular end of the world. So, just before everything ended, Willow, the local superwitch I mentioned, used all of her power to kick me back in time like some kind of cosmic field goal. Hurt like hell, too.

"Anyhoo, a bunch of other stuff happened in between that I don't wanna get into right now, cause I don't wanna spoil the surprise, but needless to say, things are probably gonna be different from now on."

He paused, seemingly deep in thought.

"That's it then. I don't think I missed anything."

"There is one thing..." Buffy started.


"If I died, how did I come back?"

"Oh that. I brought you back, or rather he did." Future Xander said, pointing to his younger counterpart, "Just good old, basic CPR." He added, grinning.

"This is so weird. This is so insanely weird." Present Xander muttered.

"You have no idea. This barely scratches the surface, little buddy. As a dearly departed friend once said, 'You think you know who you are, or what's to come? You haven't even begun.' Remember that. Those words will serve you well."

"What now? Where do we go from here?" Buffy asked.

"My suggestion? Go party. Life's too short as it is. Have fun while you can."

"Right. I'll bear that in mind."

"In the immortal words of The Who, 'you'd better'. As for me, I'm outta here. I got places to go and people to see. I hope."

The older Xander then pulled some kind of amulet from his pocket, muttered a few unfamiliar words, and threw it to the ground, where a bright, swirling portal formed.

He was about to jump in when he heard Buffy call out to him.

"Xander, wait!" she yelled over the winds caused by the portal.

"What's up, Buff?"

"I just wanted to thank you for saving my life."

"Not a problem, Buffy. I've been waiting a long time to hear that, but don't thank me. Thank him." He said, pointing to his younger self, "He's the one who's gonna earn it."

Buffy glanced back to her Xander, suddenly seeing him in a new light. Suddenly, she saw him not for the boy he was, but for the hero he would become. She could see a world of possibility in him.

<Maybe I was a little hasty in refusing him...> She thought.

"Consider it done." She said, finally.

"Good." He replied, "Oh, and Buffy?"


"Ditch the walking corpse!"

With that, he leaped into the portal, and was gone. The portal closed behind him, and the winds faded.

Silence reigned for several minutes before anyone spoke.

"Come on, Buffy. I'll walk you home." Angel said, taking her by the arm.

"Actually, I'd rather not. I think there's a dance I should check out."

"But, Buffy..."

"No, Angel. As the man said, life's too short. For me anyway."

She pulled out of his hold, and walked over to Xander, who had been off to the side, watching.

"So, Xander..."

"Yeah, Buff?"

"Is that invitation still open?"

Xander couldn't help the grin that spread across his face. "For you, Buffy? Always."

"Good." She said, smiling.

With those words, she took his by the arm, and led him out of the cavern, into an uncertain future.

One thing was for sure, though. Whatever tomorrow brought, they would face it.

After all, they had each other.