Level Up

Author: Jujumaster <ironskul[at]netmcr.com>

Rating: Pg-13

Disclaimer: BTVS characters not mine. They belong to Joss and Fox and some other folks

Feedback: You have been charged with reading this. Your sentence is feedback. Failure to give feedback will result in a stiffer penalty like; having to write a story of your own.

Notes: Character death ahead. Funny scenes and a Doyle that I have no idea of his dialect.

Chapter 1

Cleveland: 2005

The small war group of Slayers was engaged in a fierce battle with a Mackllack demon. The beast was roughly the size of a deuce and a half, but very slow. This was a good thing for the Slayers, which were attacking the demon like a group of angry bees. One or two Slayers would move in and attack the beast while the others were dodging the clumsily swinging arms of the creature. This approach had kept the wounds received thus far to a couple of broken ribs and a few bruises.

Fray adjacent, Xander and Andrew were grappling with the conjuror of the beast, whilst Willow prepared to seal the dimensional rift before anything else stepped through.

Even though Willow was working as fast as she could, too much time had elapsed. Finishing the incantations needed to seal the rift she became woozy just as a short lumpy thing came through the gateway brandishing some rather sharp claws.

Sensing that the Mage, that Xander and Andrew were scuffling with, had created the portal it came to the Mage's aid by attacked the other two.

Andrew saw the attack coming and dodged out of the way taking a glancing chest slash in the process. Xander wasn't as lucky. Attacking from Xander's left side, the carpenter was unaware of the threat until it was to late.

As the spell took effect and the portal between dimensions started to close, the world went into slow motion for Willow Rosenberg. She saw Faith on top of the Mackllack demon hacking away. She saw the portal suffer an energy loss then close, she saw Andrew successfully dodge the demon. What will stay with her the rest of her life is the site of her oldest friend getting his neck ripped open and for the second time in her life she found herself covered in the blood of someone that she loved. "Xandeeerr!! NOOOOOO!!!!" Summoning the power of the earth, she unleash a wave of force that crushed the monster and the Mage that was standing behind it as they were trapped between an unyielding wall and Willow's rage.

Rushing to Xander's side the young redhead knelt down and tried to stop the bleeding. It was no use; no matter how she held her hand the red blood oozed through her fingers and pooled on the ground.

As the other Slayers completed the task of killing the Mackllack, the few injured Slayers gathered around the young woman noticing the sickening sound of the blood that oozed into his throat making a gurgling noise until he was no longer breathing.

Willow looked around frantically at the blank faces of the few that had gathered around her. Locking onto Kennedy's face, who was grimacing as she held her side, the young witch wailed to her brunette lover, "It wasn't a natural death. We can bring him back!"

"Willow; no honey," Kennedy tried to soothe her lover.

"But Kennedy, it's Xander. I can bring him back!" She lamented.

"No Willow," Kennedy said with force, "remember Buffy."

Willow was shocked but most secrets and mistakes had a way of making themselves known. Willow also knew they Kennedy was right and so she cried: she cried for 14 days.

Giles and Dawn were in Canada looking for an Inuit Slayer, so Xander had been gone for a week before they knew of his death. Giles was upset but Dawn was crushed. She and Xander had been getting closer. She was in love with him. Everyone knew of course, everyone that is except Xander. She was the only one that Willow would talk to about Xander.

"Willow," Dawn sniffled, "tell me about the service."

So Willow did.

Nine days ago, the night after the funeral

"So B, how was the funeral?" Faith asked the approaching woman.

"Most of the Slayers were there. Those that knew him cried, those that didn't stood around looking like lost sheep," Buffy answered.

"Damn B, that's cold even by my standards," Faith replied from her reclining position overlooking the cemetery.

"Oh, come on Faith, we all knew it was going to happen sooner or later. He was always in over his head. Besides as I recall you didn't even come to the service."

"I'm paying my respects from right here. You know, overlooking the cemetery for vampy kinds of activity," the younger girls stated.

So, officially, Faith and Buffy overlooked the cemetery for evil activity, but they were both lost in their own thoughts about the loss of Xander.

The only movement in the graveyard that night was a lone blond man making his way to the grave of the fallen Scooby. Stepping up to the grave, with a misspelled name, he spoke, "here lies Zander Harris. Damn idiot gravediggers. The Heart of the group. I don't know about being the heart of the group but you were my mentor. I would have done this before the sun went down but I couldn't to many things stood in the way, namely Willow."

Buffy and Faith watched as the blond headed man kissed something in his hand before placing it on the ground. They couldn't hear what he said any better than they could tell what he had placed on the grave.

After placing the item on the grave he spoke again, "if you strike me down I will become more powerful than you can imagine." Then Andrew left the graveyard.

The two Slayers, a geek and an Obi-Wan action figure were the only ones to bear witness.

Andrew didn't know how close to the truth he was with that statement for in a place in which time has no meaning, something stirred.

Softly he heard the voice calling to him, "Xander, Xander."

Xander stirred from where he lay, "I know that voice," he mumbled.

"Of course you do, you big doofus," the female voice said.

Xander's eyes popped open and he looked at the amply endowed brunette that was leaning over him.

"Cordy!" Xander screamed while jumping to his feet almost knocking her down, "you're dead!"

"Well duh, you retard," Cordelia said looking at him in annoyance.

"That means." Xander said looking kind of sick.

"That's right or did you miss the fact that you have both eyes again."

Xander's hands flew to his face, feeling the place that used to be empty only to poke himself in the eye. Holding his eye, that he just poked, he stared at Cordelia with a dumbfounded look on his face.

"OK, here's the deal. People who know about demons and fight on the side of the light are asked to join the army of light when they die. So do you want to join or what?"

Xander had a stupefied look on his face and said, "huh?"

Cordelia shook her head. "I'll try to explain it in geek boy terms," she said slowly. "When you die you go to the next level, like a video game. Understand?"

"So I leveled up?" Xander asked his ex-girlfriend.

"Yes. Now do you want to fight on the side of the light?" The former cheerleader asked.

"Well I guess so," Xander replied with a less than enthusiastic response.

Cordelia ignored his lack of verve and said, "good. I'm your guide. Take this," she said as she held out her hand that was holding a sword that wasn't there and moment ago.

As Xander reached to grab the weapon he asked, "What's this?"

Cordelia answered him just as his hand grasp the pommel, "flaming sword," which burst into flames. This startled Xander and he dropped it.

Turning to looking into the white nothingness, which was starting to look like a field in the distance, Cordelia spoke, "please tell me I wasn't this much of a spaz when I first re-awoke?"

"No ye wasn't lass," spoke Doyle as he appeared out of the white.

"Lad, what you saw on earth was nothing. When I saw a demon on earth I thought it was the most important thing in the world. And it was at that moment. But imagine that earth is a piece of sand on the beach and that all the other pieces of sand represent another world or dimension. Then you begin to see how big this war is. But even that isn't the sum total. As you get closer to the top you get better view of the battlefield as it were," Doyle tried to explain.

"How do you get to the top?" Xander queried the former seer.

"By fighting the best fight that you can fight. If you're worthy, you go up a level."

"How do you know that you go up?"

"Well, the fact that your here should tell you something, lame brain," Cordelia smirked at him.

"So no one ever dies?" Xander questioned the other two.

"That's a difficult question to answer. I hope this makes sense. Think of your own soul as a raindrop falling from the sky. Other drops joined you, Buffy, Willow, Dawn, Joyce and so on. You, right now, have hit the hood of a car, the goodness in your being caused you to bead on the car keeping you intact. Others, which are to weak to fight, evaporate to be placed in supporting positions, while some others are remade all together to be a new soul. Now you're with us, but you're no longer a drop, we form a puddle. We are on our way to be part of an ocean of infinite size," as Cordelia stopped speaking she watched him as he digested the information that was just given to him.

"So there's no heaven, just more fighting?" He asked them looking depressed.

"Oh no! There is a heaven; Buffy got to go there. Normally it takes a long time for the warrior class to get there since there are so many battles to be fought, but Buffy had to know what she was fighting for. Her time as the Slayer was one do it or else campaign. She needed to know what her reward was for doing it."

"So I'm going to be sent back?"

"No. That's the oppositions methods," Cordelia stated.

"Well, not so much a method as it is a problem. Since you've arrived here, have you felt unpleasant?" Doyle asked the young man.


"The other side of this conflict has a different SOP. When you die on their side you go to hell. Where stronger demons beat you, burn you, and enslave you, etc."

"Why do demons get sent back but not us?"

"When we go back it's to help. When a demon goes back it's the equivalent to a desertion. Why do you think Spike and Angeles keep coming back? On earth there are a few slayers and demons to fight not thousands. In hell they're just strong enough to escape other wise they would be enslaved."

"And just how do you know all this?" Xander eyed the other two suspiciously.

"The handbook of course," Cordelia deadpanned.

"We get a handbook?" Xander asked looking confused again.

Cordelia slapped Xander lightly across the side of his forehead and said, "no you idiot. Look, there's a lot of stuff to cover. Don't wear yourself out on the first day."

Looking around Cordelia continued. "Which brings us to today's exercise. When you were on earth you didn't receive any training. This oversight has been identified and is going to be corrected at this level. You will be taught lessons in warfare so that you make an effective warrior."

"Are you going to teach me?" Xander smirked at Cordelia.

"As a matter of fact I am better at weapons play than you are buy my role at this level is guidance, same with Doyle here. While Tara's role is creation," with that said Cordelia waved her arm outward at the expanse of open green fields and hills that the white area had become.

"Tara's here!!" Xander said excitedly.

The wind whispered back to him, "Yes Xander; I am here. My connection to the Earth made me a perfect candidate for environment creation. This field or a cave or whatever environment that needs to be created, I help to create."

Xander's eyes got misty as he looked around.

"I missed you too Xander," The wind whispered again as a lite rain came down for a few seconds.

"I hate to interrupt but were on a schedule," Cordelia spoke. "Besides we have plenty of time to see one another later in Tara's more conventional form.

At that moment a short, heavily armed, red bearded man came up to the trio and said, "HAR GLU MAH GALU LE BU> GALEC!!!" before running off over a hill.

"What did he say?" Xander asked his companions.

Cordelia turned and started towards the hill that the man had went up before speaking, "Pick up your sword and follow us." Upon Xander doing so she continued, "no one knows for sure. He doesn't speak a specific language; it's more of a slang language from the Norse lands. He's the best fighter on this level. He's also been here longer than anyone else."

Xander became nervous. "Why has he been here so long?'

"He has one little bitsy flaw," Cordelia tried to alleviate Xander's fears.

Doyle just spat out the problem, "He's a berserker and he's a bad tactician."

As they crested the hill Xander's breath caught. On the opposite hill stood more than 4000 warriors ready for battle. They all shouted as one, "ALL HAIL XANDER. NEWIST WARRIOR OF THIS LEVEL. WELCOME TO YOUR FIRST DAY OF TRAINING." Then the warriors thumped their weapons to their shields.

Xander gave a weak wave with his free hand. Turning quickly to Cordelia he asked' "where's our troops."

Cordelia looked away and spoke, "remember the part about being a bad tactician."

Xander turned green. "No. He doesn't have any troops."

"Well he did. Half of them were on your side. Up until he said that he and the new guy could take them all on,, " Cordelia mumbled.

"WHAT?!" Xander screamed.

At the sound of his scream, his trainer took it as a sign of excitement of the battle and with a strange gleam in his eye shouted out something that no one understood and took off down the hill as the opposing force started moveing as well.

Cordelia gave him a little kiss on the cheek and said, "Remember he's a berserker. Don't get to close and you may win this thing." Then she and Doyle vanished.

Xander said to himself, "If I can borrow a line from Spike. O' Bloody Hell." Then he raised his sword and followed his trainer down the hill screaming like a madman himself joining the fray.

The End