Life Eternal

Author: Lone Templar <eric_prenovost[at]>

Be warned, for those who like this story, I'm an extremely slow poster. I will continue to work on this, but it's going to take a very long time to complete everything. Life Eternal is outlined to make up four complete stories, the first being the longest. Each story represents one 'run-through' of life for Xander. This is the first:

Disclaimer: Nope, I don't own `em. Don't sue me.

Possible Pairing(s): X/W

Rating: PG-13 for graphic violence, foul language, and sexual situations

Distribution: Ask and you shall receive. Just let me know first, okay?

Summary: A mixture of Buffy and Groundhog Day with a twist.

Author Notes: This is my first real attempt at writing a Buffy fic.
My few previous attempts at fic have been ST: Voyager stuff, so I would really appreciate some serious criticism here

Part 1

A slight breeze swept through the jungle canopy with barely enough energy to cause the large green leaves to sway ever so gently. Each tree stretched skywards proudly, eager to spread their upper branches to catch as much of the bright sunlight as possible. As far as the eye could see, the jungle stretched onwards. A few hills caused the carpet of greenery to hunch upwards in places, but for the most part it was flat. The only mark in the dense jungle was that of a winding river. The brown water swept downstream in a slow and lazy current, every once in a while carrying pieces of debris along in its wake. The sound of insects produced a cacophony of noise that beat upon the human eardrum in a relentless wave of sound. Upstream, the sound of a small motor could be heard breaking through the natural sounds of the jungle briefly before receding once again.

Unknown to any other person, there was a man lying in the rich loam of the jungle floor. He gave every appearance of being dead except for his rich chocolate eyes that swept the river in front of him for signs of movement. On the ground in front of the man was a rifle resting easily on its bipod, poking its barrel through the screen of jungle brush to overlook the brown water flowing past. The man was dressed in jungle fatigues, their tiger-like stripes making him blend in to his surroundings. Dark paint adorned his weary and cold face, only the white of his eyes standing out. No expression covered his tired features. They were as devoid of life as the surface of the sun. Eyes that had seen too much continued their slow but relentless scan of the river, letting no detail escape his notice. His ears didn't miss the sound of the engine from upstream, but his eyes refused to give up their search for his target.

As if fate itself had decreed that today would happen, a small boat eased around the bend upstream from the mans' position. He scanned downriver one more time before easing the powerful rifle into the pocket of his shoulder. His left hand wound itself around the sling hanging from the bottom of the rifle as his right gripped the stock with a motion that belied his long experience with the weapon. At the same time as his pointer finger of his right hand landed on the trigger, his thumb flipped up the scope covers to allow his to sight in on the slow moving boat. Bringing his thumb back down, it almost caressed the safety mechanism, the soft click as the lever rotated to the firing position lost in the background noise of the jungle around him. With only the slightest motion, the rifle was brought to bear on the rear of the boat to be trained on the ancient Mercury engine that was slowly pushing the floating mass downstream.

Taking a shallow breath and then releasing it, the mans' finger depressed the trigger on the slight pause in his breathing at the end of his exhalation. The rifle roared and bucked back into his shoulder as it propelled the metal covered lead projectile out over the water. When the bullet reached the casing of the Mercury a split second later, it bored it's way through the engine block. The shock cracked the heavy block in an instant causing the motor to cough twice before dieing, never to be restarted ever again. Before the cloud of smoke from the dead engine could even begin to form, the bolt from the rifle was forced backwards from the expended gasses of the round. When it reached the rear of its case, a powerful spring forced it back forwards where it caught a waiting round and shoved it home in the chamber of the rifle.

Ignoring the burst of sudden activity on the boat, the man swept the rifle barrel to the right searching for his next target. Centering the crosshairs on the head of the young man who was driving the boat downriver, the man smoothly depressed the trigger once again. The rifle worked as it should once more. The bolt slid back and then moved forward. It caught another round waiting in the magazine and slammed it into the chamber. It was a killing machine, working with the precision designed into it, fulfilling its only purpose in life: to kill. The man working the rifle didn't care. He watched through the scope on the rifle as the bullet entered the young man's face and exploded out the back of his head. A cloud of red mist hung in the air as the now dead body was jerked backwards with the force of the bullet to disappear from his sight in the bottom of the small boat.

A small smile danced across the snipers features for the first time in months as he swept the rifle to the right to search out his next target. Three more humans were on the boat, each armed and firing into the dense jungle in a desperate bid to interfere with the snipers ability to acquire and eliminate targets. The man ignored the bullets whizzing through the trees and brush around him. He centered the crosshairs on another target and depressed the trigger for the third time. The rifle bucked powerfully and sent the round on its lethal course. The current target, one of the many drug cartel employees of the region, never saw the round that smashed past his nose and into his head. To the sniper, the targets' head simply exploded into a gory cloud of blood and human debris that caught the bright sunlight and shimmered in a beautiful display of light and color.

Not even the grizzly composition of the fascinating display interfered with the snipers function. The rifle swept to the right once again and barked for the fourth time in ten seconds. The huge fifty caliber rounds the mighty weapon was spitting in a rain of death and destruction vaporized another target. Without taking his eye from the sight picture, the sniper released the magazine and slapped a full one into the magazine well to replace the spent one. A quick slap on the side of the rifle released the bolt to slam forwards, chambering another round. By this time, the sniper had locked onto the last target left alive on the blood-slick boat that was just sliding down the river in front of him. The man was standing on the boat firing his AK-47 in huge sweeping arcs, sending pieces of lead and steel to tear through the jungle leaves in desperation.

The sniper didn't care about the targets panic. He didn't care that the target was the last of his criminal organization left alive in the region. The current target was the culmination of over three months worth of hunting and sniping. Without a care in the world, his finger depressed the trigger for the fifth and last time. The rifle roared again, sending the ounce of metal forward towards the target. The only difference this time was that the bullet wasn't aimed at the mans' face. Instead, it smashed its way past the sternum and hollowed out the chest area. Each piece of bone and flesh that had been removed was forcibly shoved out the targets back, spraying the boat with even more gore. The sniper didn't take the scope off his last target. He kept it trained on the mans face as he watched the body fall backwards to wind up sitting with his back against the side of the boat, still facing the jungle.

The target was in pain and frightened. The knowledge that he was about to die scared him deeply. He tried to move his limbs, but they refused to respond to his mental urgings. His head lolled listlessly backwards until the boat propped it up. The stories he had listened to as a boy came back to him. He remembered everything his mother and priest had told him. Everything would be all right if he repented his sins before he died. He tried to open his mouth, but the absence of his lungs prevented him from saying anything. Internally, he raged over his helplessness, but he was unable to do anything about it. Instead, all he could do was watch the jungle slowly slide by as his eyes slowly lost the ability to see. He couldn't see the bright sunlight pouring down on him. He couldn't feel the awful heat of the jungle already drying the blood and bits of human flesh that decorated the boat around him. He couldn't hear the flies that were starting to land on the fresh but dying meat that were once his friends and colleagues. His last coherent thought was a rant over the sheer injustice of someone of his power ending his or her life in this manner in the middle of nowhere. Then everything went dark.

The sniper smiled grimly as he watched the light of intelligence dim from the targets eyes. He kept watching as the river moved the boat downstream and around the bend. Only when the boat was finally out of sight, did the sniper move. He set the rifle down and sat up for the first time in hours. He leaned against a tree and took his canteen out of his pack. Closing his eyes, he twirled the lid off the canteen with his thumb and raised it high. "I did it, Buff. I avenged your death once again. Maybe this time I can finally rest." He lowered the canteen and drank deeply, finally quenching the thirst that had been bothering him for the last hour.

When his thirst had been taken care of, the sniper threw the canteen away and pulled a pistol from its holster hanging from his side. He stared at it for a moment as his mind spun over and through his memories. The good times and the bad ran through his mind. With sure movements, he racked the slide backwards and released it to spring forward and chamber a round. He smiled fondly at the pistol as he closed his eyes and placed the barrel of the pistol against his temple. "Please let me rest, Anya. It's been too long and I don't know how to save her anymore. If it's not vamps or demons, she dies from the drug lords." He whispered into the uncaring jungle around him. He opened his eyes one more time to stare into the bright sun that was hanging overhead before shutting them tightly. "Please, just let me die." He begged quietly before pulling the trigger.


The alarm clock went off and Xander smashed the button to shut it down. He groaned as he opened his eyes to take in the yellowed paint of his bedroom. With a sigh, he forced himself from the bed and stumbled to the bathroom where he started the sink and splashed his face with water. When he had regained enough of his awareness to be considered awake, he raised his head and stared into the mirror. His features shut down as he once again gazed into his own eyes. Once, they were full of light and hope, now they were almost dead. No light reflected off his chocolate brown orbs anymore. Instead, they reflected his empty emotions.

"Wonderful." He sighed, closing his eyes and turning off the faucet. "I'm sixteen again. Yay for me."

He dressed in a casual manner, never hurrying, yet not moving slowly. He just moved. Slowly and methodically like a preprogrammed robot. He grabbed his book bag and headed to the front door. As he crossed the living room, his drunken father lurched to his feet and stood in the boys' way. "Boy! I have something to say…" He started screaming, waving a half-empty bottle of Jack Daniels around to emphasize his point. His rant was cut short as Xander's fist smashed into his fathers' face, causing his nose to explode in a misty cloud of blood as it was smashed completely flat.

"Don't ever yell at me again." Xander said in a completely neutral tone of voice. His father was stunned enough that he didn't even feel the pain yet. His boy, the casual chicken-shit that existed only yesterday was gone. In his place was a hard and cruel individual that bore the same features but was different in every possible way. The tone of voice betrayed nothing. It was as if a machine had said the words and not the wimpy little boy that he remembered. The boys face was completely blank, not even the existence of a nervous tick was present to give away the fact that smashing his father in the face was anything but normal. But it was the boys' eyes that sent shivers of fear racing up and down the older mans spine. They were dead, completely devoid of life. Without saying a word, the older man nodded and backed away. He kept backing up until he was flattened against a wall, never taking his eyes off the suddenly dangerous individual that was standing in front of him. Xander spun on his heel and left the room. When the front door closed with a soft click, the older man sank to the floor in shock. Only then did his alcohol infused brain finally register the sheer pain that radiated from his face from the broken and smashed cartilage. Moaning in pain, he closed his eyes and began to whimper, raising the bottle to his lips in an effort to dull the pain.


Xander walked into the school library and slung his book bag off of his shoulder and into the wall by the door. Without slowing his stride, he proceeded to make his way into the small office that was set-aside for the librarian. Knocking on the open door, Xander took a close look at the office's single occupant. A somewhat younger man to be known as a stodgy librarian, Rupert Giles was at his most innocent period in time.

"May I help you?" Rupert asked, looking up from the paperwork on his desk. Seeing a student, he calmly gathered the loose pages up into a pile and slid them as nonchalantly as he could into his desk drawer.

"Yeah, G-Man, you can." Xander said with a slight smirk on his face as he threw himself into the single seat that sat in front of the desk. Without another word, the young man lifted his legs and laid his feet upon the desk in front of him. Then he closed his eyes and mentally counted to five, never once loosing his smile. When the boy reached the number five, the librarian began to speak.

"Would you kindly remove your feet from my desk, young man?" He said coldly, his outrage readily apparent in his cultured British accent.

"That all depends, Ripper." Xander said with another smile before opening his brown eyes and focusing them on the librarian.

Rupert's mouth dropped open in shock. "What? How? How did…?" He sputtered, sitting back in his own chair.

Xander's smile slipped from amused to sad in an instant. "It's a long story, G-Man. One that I'm going to be telling you over the next hour and a half." He said with a sigh. The young man waved a hand dismissively when the older one opened his mouth to speak and continued to talk. "Don't worry about contacting your Slayer. She'll be here in about ten minutes and I'm pretty sure that you're going to want to have her hear this also."

Rupert Giles continued to stare at the young man in a state of shock that was being quickly replaced by one of fear. As calmly and slowly as he could, he reached down to his bottom desk drawer with his left hand, hoping to lay his hand on his pistol. This young man simply knew more than was comfortable. The young man stayed his hand from its course when he began to speak again without opening his eyes. "If you pull out that hand-cannon you got stashed in the drawer, I might have to hurt you when I take it away from you." The brunette boy told the older man calmly.

"How did you know…?" Rupert began to ask before cutting himself off.

Xander sighed dramatically and opened his chocolate brown eyes to stare at the ceiling. "I'll give you the simple explanation first. Details will have to wait until Buffy gets here, okay?" He asked in a quiet voice. Numbly, Giles simply nodded in reply. Xander searched the mans' face for a moment before turning his eyes back to the ceiling. "Do you remember seeing the movie Groundhog Day seven months ago with Lisa?" The youth asked without looking down.

Giles stared hard at the young man for a moment at the mention of his old flame. "Are you trying to tell me that you…" Rupert began to ask before loosing momentum and halting his question.

"Yep." Xander nodded calmly. "I'm repeating myself over and over again. It just never ends." The boy finished sadly, squeezing his eyes closed tightly.

"Is it… just this day, or a longer period of time?" Giles asked in a muted tone, completely stunned by the boy's revelation, yet still displaying the natural curiosity that was the hallmark of a great Watcher.

"It begins on this particular day and starts over when I die. It doesn't matter how long that takes, it always restarts." Xander said in a whisper.

"Ah." The Watcher said calmly, pulling his glasses off his face to clean them. Dozens of thoughts and possibilities ran through his mind, but he was unable to bring himself around to ask any further questions. The two males just sat there quietly, waiting for the Slayer to make her appearance.

True to Xander's prediction, a female voice called out not seven minutes later. "Hello?" She called out.

Xander leaned over in his chair to yell out the open door. "We're in here, Buffy."

Buffy walked to the open office and glanced at the two men in curiosity. "I'm sorry, but do I know you?" She asked in a puzzled tone of voice.

"Not yet." Xander stated calmly, still staring at the ceiling. "But your Watcher over there needs to talk to you." He said, waving a hand in the general direction of Rupert Giles.

"My Watch…" Buffy began, taken aback by the blunt approach the youth had taken. Glancing over at the older man, she caught his wince of discomfort before turning her attention back to the boy in front of her. "I don't know what you're talking about." She informed him.

"Yeah, yeah." The boy said dismissively, returning his hand back to his lap. "Your name is Buffy Summers. You just transferred here from your old school where you killed the vampire master Lothos. Your first Watcher, Merrick, was killed while saving you from said master vampire. After much soul searching, helped by a guy named Pike, you took on your duties and burned down the school's gym, thereby ending the unlive's of who knows how many vampires. Did I leave anything out?" Xander asked her, finally turning his eyes to the blonde standing in slack-jawed amazement.

When she regained possession of her mental processes, Buffy blurted out the first thing that came to mind. "I gave up Slaying."

"There's only one way to quit, Buff, and I'm pretty sure that you don't want to go that route." Xander said quietly, turning his eyes back from her face to stare at his hands. "How long do you think the Council will put up with a rogue Slayer before taking action?"

"What?" Buffy asked, slightly confused by the turn in conversation.

"Young man, I think that that is quite enough." Giles interrupted, starting to feel his anger rise. He was surprised by what happened next.

The boy sat up suddenly, dropping his feet to the floor. His eyes had snapped to the older mans' face, which was exposing his own anger. "I lost her to those bastards too many times in the past and I'm not going to do it again!" He hissed. "She needs to be told the truth, Giles! So fucking tell her already!"

"Ah, yes, quite." The librarian stammered, taken aback, and pulling his glasses off his face once again.

"And if you don't quit cleaning those damned glasses, I'm going to hurt you!" Xander snapped in irritation.

"Oh, um, yes, of course." The older man said, replacing his glasses.

"Tell me what?" Buffy asked quietly, not really sure what was going on.

"If you are considered a rogue Slayer, the Council will make sure that the next Slayer is called." Giles explained in a hoarse whisper, not looking up at his Slayer.

"What's that mean?" The blonde asked hesitantly, not really sure if she wanted the answer or not.

"It means that if you don't obey the Council, they'll kill you." Xander explained tiredly, rubbing his forehead in the first sign of frustration.

"What?" Buffy exclaimed in shock. "They wouldn't!" She cried out, turning to the librarian for confirmation.

"I'm afraid that the young man is correct, Miss Summers." Giles explained quietly as he flinched inwardly from the boys' brutal honesty.

Buffy shook her head slowly, as if by that action she could shake the new facts of life that she had just learned. "I have to fight for the rest of my life?" She whispered brokenly.

"No, Buff." Xander pulled her into his arms. "You can retire at the age of twenty-five. My friend Willow will find a spell to cause your Slayer essence to automatically move to the next candidate."

Rupert Giles looked at the young man sharply at that statement as his mind spun furiously. The obvious question still to be asked. "How long have you been doing this?"

Xander sighed before turning his attention back to the librarian. He knew that this question would pop up fast. "I don't know." He mused, closing his eyes in concentration. "I know that it's been way over five hundred times, but I'm just not sure. I lost count during my depression stage."

"Depression stage?" Giles asked, sitting back in his chair.

"Yeah, that's when I just killed myself rather than face life." The young man whispered.

Buffy drew back out of the boys' arms and shot him a quizzical look. "What are you talking about?" She asked, crossing her arms over her chest.

"Okay, boys and girls, here's the deal." Xander said with a smile even as he returned to his seat. "My name is Xander Harris. Way back when, I dated a girl named Cordelia and had a wonderful time with her. But one day, I noticed that my best friend was a woman instead of the girl that I had grown to love as a sister and I kissed her. Needless to say, we were caught. After breaking up with me, Cordy decided to wish everything away. Lo and behold, there was a vengeance demon by the name of Anyanka that was only too happy to grant her wish. After much fun and games, Giles smashed her power center and Anyanka became Anya, normal human.

"Well, me and Anya eventually hooked up in what I thought was true love. After spending a couple of years with her, I asked her to marry me. Just before the wedding, one of her former victims decided to grace me with a vision that showed what an abusive ass I would become in the future, so I left her." The young man paused for a second and eyed his attentive audience. "Now let me tell you, leaving a former vengeance demon at the alter was an incredibly stupid thing to do. Her former boss granted her with her old powers and I was her first target. Now to make this story even better, right before the great wedding disaster, me and Anya watched a lot of movies. One that always wigged me out was 'Groundhog Day'. It was just so… hell mouthy… that I sort of fell in love with it. So, like the stupid ass that I was, I watched it with Anya and told her how terrible it would be to have that happening to me.

"So her first wish for vengeance was to make me live my life over and over again until I found a way to break the cycle. Every time that I die, I wake up and find myself right back here, ready to start the tenth grade all over again. I've tried everything that I could think of, but nothing seems to work. I had a family several times, but I've lost them. I've spent my life alone, with friends, or just plain trying to get myself killed. I always find myself back here at the beginning.

"Well, that's my story. Not exactly movie of the week material, huh?" He asked with a depressed smirk plastered across his lips.

"How many times did I reach retirement?" Buffy asked quietly, her eyes searching his face for something.

Xander turned his face down to stare at the floor before he replied. "You don't want to ask that question, Buff." He said softly.

"I have to know." She said hoarsely, placing a small, delicate hand on his arm. "Please, tell me."

"You've never made it." The boy whispered. "No matter what I do, something always gets to you. All I can do is avenge your death." He closed his eyes tightly and forced the words past the lump that was suddenly in his throat. "Whether it's supernatural or even some lousy drug dealers, I always get them in the end."

"Good lord." Giles whispered, his eyes darting back and forth between the two youths.

"Yeah, that's a pretty good expression." Xander smirked in reply. Then he turned his attention back to the young blonde girl in front of him. "You need to go back to class now. I'll just chill out here with your Watcher and discuss some things that he needs to be aware of. I'll meet you here after school and walk you home. We'll tell your mother everything and give you as pleasant a life as I can, okay?" He informed her, squeezing her shoulder in a sign of support. Without another word, the girl walked out of the small office.

Giles waited until he heard the outer doors swing shut before speaking. "You love her, don't you?" He asked quietly.

Xander smiled softly in return. "I love her more than you'll ever know. Hell, more than she'll ever know. But we're just not meant to be. It never works out." He said sadly.

"I need a better approximation of how many life times you've relived." Giles told the boy, pulling a notepad out to copy down relevant notes.

Xander stared at him for a moment before nodding. "It never leaves this room and Buffy never finds out, got it?" He demanded harshly.

"Of course." Giles agreed, picking up his pen and preparing to write.

The boy sighed. "I'm not sure exactly, but it's been at least ten thousand years since this all began." He spoke quietly, not taking his eyes off of the librarian.

"Good lord!" Giles breathed, snapping his face up to stare at the deadly serious boy in front of him. "You can't be serious!"

"I'm very serious, Giles. I'll kill you and anyone else who tries to harm that girl and this information will harm her." Xander stated in a frozen voice, his eyes promising a long and painful death to the man if he disobeyed.

"You've loved her for over ten millennia?" Rupert sputtered in shock.

"Not a word to anyone!" The boy warned, refusing to answer the question as he rose to his feet. "The thing you need to do right now is research the Master. He's an old vampire that's sending his minions out to gather blood and sacrifices to free him. I'll take care of the vessel tonight and then we'll go to the Bronze to wipe out some fledglings. Tomorrow I start hunting the more powerful vamps in town on my own."

"Are you sure that this is the right course of action? You're asking me to keep information away from my Slayer." Giles asked him quietly.

"Information like what's going to happen to Buffy on her eighteenth birthday?" The boy snapped in return.

"Ah, yes, quite." The librarian mumbled in return. "I can see your point."

"That reminds me… I'll give you information to send to your bosses to keep them happy, but you keep them out of Sunnydale! If any show up around here, I'll kill them on sight." The boy warned the older man as he turned to the door.

"Very well." Rupert sighed in defeat. "I'll pass on your warning."

"Make sure that they know this is real, Ripper." Xander said in a voice devoid of emotion. He turned his dead and lifeless eyes to the Watcher. "I've lost count of how many humans I've had to kill to keep her safe. A few more won't really matter." The boy then turned and walked out the door, leaving the older man speechless.


Unknown to the two males, Buffy had not left as she had planned. After opening the library's outer doors, she remembered the reason she had entered in the first place: to acquire her test books. Just as she was about to speak, she heard her Watcher ask, "You love her, don't you?" The following conversation had left her stunned. She barely retained enough of her intellect to duck out of sight when the boy… Xander… stalked out of the room.

When her Watcher followed shortly after, the Slayer went deeper into the stacks of books and sat on the floor. Xander had loved her for over ten thousand years. Her mind was incapable of grasping such a concept. How could he love her for such an extended period of time and still claim that they weren't meant to be? She shook her head in frustration before leaning it backwards against the wall. None of this made any sense to her at all.

Oh, God! He was going to tell her mother about her calling tonight! And she'd have to be there! OH, GOD! This was so not good.

Part 2

Xander walked into his home only to be confronted by his drunken parents. His mother looked uncertain, but his father had managed to work himself into a full-blown rage. Dried blood from his smashed nose was caked onto his lower face where it had been ignored. If it weren't for the massive amount of alcohol in his system, Xander guessed that the older man would have passed out from the pain.

"Let me guess, you thought I needed an intervention?" Xander remarked sarcastically, folding his arms across his chest as he kicked the door closed behind him.

"We're going to straighten something out here, boy." His father snarled angrily, drawing himself up to his full height.

"Do I look like I care what you want?" Xander said, leaning back against the door.

"Oh, you better start caring, boy!" The older man snapped out, his hand whipping behind his back only to appear a second later holding a pistol. Brandishing the firearm in the general direction of his son, the man continued his tirade. "We're going to go over a few rules now. You'll obey me…" He stopped when his dark haired son began chuckling and shaking his head. "You think this is funny?" The man asked, an expression of confusion spreading across his face.

"Let me predict the future for you, okay?" Xander said with a wide grin. "If you drop the hammer on me, you're going to jail. There won't be any booze for you to take away the pain, and there will be pain. You see, your new cellmate, Bubba, is going to fall in love with you. He's going to enjoy teaching you to do everything that he likes. You're going to become a blowjob aficionado. You're going to become an expert at flexing your ass cheeks to give him the maximum amount of pleasure." The boy looked up at his father and smiled evilly as his eyes went cold. "You're not even going to complain when he starts whoring your services out to the other inmates. Hell, you're not even going to complain when he changes your name to Sally." The boy pushed himself upright from where he was leaning on the door and walked over to his father as slowly as he could. "And there won't be a damn thing available to take the pain and humiliation away. No drugs, no alcohol, no nothing. Nothing but humiliating pain that will repeat over and over again. Everyday. For the rest of your miserable life. And trust me, Bubba won't let you kill yourself. No, he's going to enjoy you way too much for that to ever happen." He finished his speech with only six inches of distance between his father and himself. His lifeless eyes stared directly into his father's, which was filled with fear. Moving slowly so as to not startle the older man, Xander dropped his right arm to lay a hand gently on the pistol. With a gentle tug, he removed the pistol from his father's hand, slipped the safety on, and tucked it into his belt.

"Who are you?" His father whispered, his wide eyes accented by the layer of sweat on his forehead.

"I'm the fruit of your loins, father. The apple of your eye." Xander said sarcastically. "Now it's time I put a few rules down myself." Xander walked further into the living room to stand in front of his mother. Pointing a finger at the space on the couch next to where his mother was sitting, the boy glanced over at his father. "Sit." He ordered coldly. He watched expressionlessly as his father shakily made his way over to the couch and sat down. "Rule number one is no more booze. Neither one of you can handle it, so I'm cutting you off. If I find one drop of fucking booze in this house, I'm going to beat the crap out of the both of you. There won't be any warnings; I'll just start punishing you immediately. If I find out that you're going out to bars to get your booze, I'll beat you. If I find out you're getting booze from your friends, I'll beat you. Do you understand the rules so far?" He asked, his voice reminiscent of a cold wind on the tundra. He stared both his parents in the eye and waited until they nodded their heads in agreement. He almost smirked when his frightened mother slowly placed her glass of scotch on the coffee table in front of her before dropping her eyes to her lap. His father merely agreed while maintaining his terrified expression.

Xander clasped his hands behind his back and tilted his head slightly to the right as he eyed the broken couple before him. "Rule number two is that both of you are going to start cleaning up this house. It's filthy and I refuse to put up with it any longer. If I find you leaving dishes around without loading them in the dishwasher, I'll punish you. If I find out that carpet isn't being cleaned on a regular basis, I'll punish you. The same thing goes with the bathrooms, kitchen, garage, and whatever. This house will be cleaned and maintained that way. Failure to do so will result in punishment. Do you understand rule two?" He asked, shifting his brown eyes carefully between the two adults. Now both of his parents were looking down at their hands that lay in their respective laps. Without hesitation, both nodded their capitulation.

"Rule number three is going to be a bit harder for the both of you." He started, his eyes boring in on their down turned heads. "You will each find a decent job here in town. I don't really care what it is, but you will both work. And before you get any ideas of avoiding me, you will both work the dayshift. I don't want to see you two getting minimum wage. At your age, it's insulting. Do you understand rule three?" Both of his parents nodded their ascent.

"Rule number four is your curfew. You will both be inside this house at dusk. Neither one of you is capable of handling what goes on in this town after the sun goes down. There won't be any exceptions to this rule for any reason. You will be home on time." He stated coldly causing both parents to flinch in return. "Do you understand rule four?"

His father looked up for a moment and opened his mouth to say something, but Xander cut him off with a sharp glance. Again, both parents nodded their surrender. "Rule number five is that both of you will bath at least once a day. Frankly, you both reek and I won't put up with it. Good personal hygiene is no longer optional. For now, five rules is all that I think you can handle. In the future, I'll give you some more. Failure to comply with these rules will result in punishment. Continued failure to comply will result in a telephone call to children's services." As his parents flinched, he shot them a knowing smile before continuing. "I have the willpower to back this up, people. Your lives will change for the better despite how much the both of you want to fight it. If you live by my rules, life will become quite pleasant for the both of you. Fight me, and you'll loose. Everytime." When both of his parents looked up at him with something akin to hope dancing in their eyes, he smiled more pleasantly at them. "I'll be bringing my own money home in the future. If you follow the rules, I'll buy you everything that your hearts desire. Fancy clothes and etiquette lessons for mom. A sports car and big screen television for dad. Like I said, you both can have a very pleasant life." He paused for a few moments, as his parents appeared to be lost in thought. "Don't screw this up." He warned them, his face loosing any hint of an expression. "You won't like me if I get angry."

Both parents nodded quickly, fear dancing across their features once again. "I have to go out for awhile. I'll be back late tonight after I take care of a few things. I expect to see some progress on the house when I do." He eyed the both of them carefully and watched as they flushed under his implied threat. Without another word, the boy who had suddenly turned into a man spun on his heel and left the house, closing the door softly behind him as he left. The two adults left behind, merely stared at each other in shock and wonder before looking around the filthy house. For two people who had just had their lives turned upside down, they didn't appear to be too badly affected. Silently communicating with each other, they rocked forward to gain their feet and started carrying out the orders that they had been given.


Xander next found himself in front of a nondescript apartment door. Mentally sighing at the task he was about to perform, he knocked calmly. Waiting for a slow count to five, he knocked again, this time more insistently. He wasn't surprised when the door was opened just a crack to reveal a tall, dark haired man approximately twenty-five years old.

"Can I help you?" The man asked, the curiosity on his face almost palpable.

Xander smiled slyly in return, his eyes dancing with mischief. "I come bearing a message, oh, dark one." He said, placing his hands behind his back and grinning widely.

"What is it?" The man inquired suspiciously. The reference to being dark hadn't escaped him.

"May I enter?" The boy asked, waving a hand in the direction of the door. The man hesitated for a second before swinging the door open wide and stepping aside. Xander strutted forward, barely glancing around and flung himself down on the couch. "You might as well sit down, Dead boy. We have a lot to talk about." Xander told him, pointing a finger at the recliner across from him. The dark vampire shot him a confused look before taking his seat. Xander pursed his lips in thought for a moment before reaching a decision. "I'm going to tell you everything that you need to know to reach a decision. First of all, think of me as either someone from the future or just someone who's psychic, I don't really care. I'm going to present to you what did happen from my perspective and let you make the decision on what to do about your actions. Do you agree?"

"Let me get this straight… you know what's going to happen with me?" The vampire asked, his face full of suspicion.

"In a way. If you stick around, you'll find out the whole story." Xander nodded his head. "Let's just say that I've lived through it, okay?"

"I think that I require some proof first." The vampire leaned back in his seat, cupping his chin with his left hand.

"Yeah, well, proof doesn't really exist until I can predict something that I couldn't possibly have influenced, right?" The boy asked sarcastically.

"True." The vampire nodded. "But surely you have something?"

"Like what?" Xander snorted. "Yeah, I know all about your past, but that doesn't prove that I know what's going to come."

"You know… my past?" The vampire whispered in shock.

"Yeah, yeah." Xander waved a hand in negation. "The Scourge of Europe, Drusilla, Spike, Darla, and all that. But that's the past."

"I think that I believe you." The vampire said, closing his eyes in pain.

"If you start brooding, I'm going to slap you!" Xander stated darkly, causing the vampires eyes to open wide in disbelief. "Look, this is all beside the point. I need to tell you some things that are vitally important to you."

"Like what?" The vampire asked, settling down to wait. He was nothing if not patient.

"First of all, your curse has a clause in it. One moment of perfect happiness and your soul goes bye-bye." Xander said with a sigh.

"What?" Angel sat up in shock. "What kind of idiot…" He started to rant before the boy cut him off.

"Doesn't matter." Xander said dismissively. "Just remember that you can't fall in love and have sex. You just need to live with it for awhile, all right?"

"I'm facing an eternity of misery alone and you say that I have to live with it?" Angel snapped out angrily.

"It's not eternity, Dead boy. Just about fifteen years or so." Xander told him, carefully eyeing the pissed off vampire in front of him.

"What happens in fifteen years?" The vampire asked, struggling to get himself under control.

"You become human." The boy told him, grinning at the shocked expression on the vampires face.

"Human? Are you sure?" Angel asked desperately, leaning forward to search the boys face.

Xander smiled sadly at him for a moment before giving him the explanation. "After I graduated, you left for Los Angeles where you became a warrior for the Powers That Be. Your reward for stopping Armageddon is the return of your humanity. You fall in love with someone and raise little vampire wannabe's and live happily ever after." The boy paused for a moment, studying the shocked vampire in front of him. "You get your redemption, Angel. It just takes time."

"Thank you." The dark vampire whispered, a blood red tear tracing its' way down his pale cheek.

The boy smiled sadly at him for a second before continuing. "I'm telling you this for a reason, Angel. The first time around, you fell in love with the Slayer. It was your first experience with love and you both were happy for awhile." Xander closed his eyes and leaned his head back on the couch as the memories assailed him. The vampire simply stared at the boy in wide-eyed wonder and waited patiently for him to continue. "You patrolled together, saved the world together, loved together. Everything was perfect for the two of you until her seventeenth birthday." Xander paused for a second to allow the vampire time to absorb his words. "Then the two of you made love. It was everything either one of you had ever imagined. It was perfection for the two of you."

"But you said…" The vampire started to say, only to be cut off by Xander as he opened his eyes and focused them on the vampire's.

"Yeah. It was so perfect that you lost your soul." Xander whispered, his voice filled with sorrow. "Your demon had been repressed for so long that when it was freed, it was a bit insane. You went on a rampage of death and destruction that the world hadn't seen in centuries. You went out of your way to torment the Slayer and her friends, even managing to kill someone close to her. It all ended when you got hold of an artifact and tried to send the world to hell. She had to kill the demon wearing her lover's face to save the world." Xander's face went blank with anger. "She never recovered. She had to send you to hell and she needed time to grieve. The god damned Watcher's Council desperately needed an active Slayer and the current one was emotionally shut down." The boy paused for a second, running a hand through his dark hair in frustration. "Those bastards killed her just to call the next Slayer."

"Damn." The vampire whispered brokenly.

Xander snorted in return. "Yeah, tell me about it. That's why I need you to not encourage Buffy to fall in love with you." The boy stared into the vampire's eyes and watched him flinch under the scrutiny.

The vampire stared back for a moment, the honest sincerity adorning the boys face removing any doubt. He nodded and turned his face down to stare at his clasped hands. "I love her already." He whispered.

"I know." Xander said sadly. "You fell in love with her when Whistler showed you her image." The boy sighed softly and continued to speak. "You just have to remember what's at stake here. What are you willing to sacrifice to make her happy?"

"Anything." Angel whispered.

"I'm going to be honest with you, Angel. You can make her very happy in the short term, but you'll doom her to misery in the long one. That's the choice that I need you to make, Angel." Xander said softly, his eyes glued to the top of the vampires head.

"I'll help her." The vampire said softly after a moment to reflect. "And not get involved."

"Thank you." Xander said quietly.

The vampire looked up in confusion. "For what?"

The boy grinned ruefully at him before replying. "For not making me kill you. She's really going to need your help over the next couple of years."

The vampire smiled back, fully understanding the boys' position. "What about you? Will she love you?" He asked.

The boys' smile vanished in the blink of an eye to be replaced by a look of frozen despair. "We aren't meant to be. She'll never think of me as anything but a friend, and I can live with that. Her happiness is the only thing that matters to me." He said with an empty voice.

"Yeah, me too." The vampire told him

"I need you to do me one little favor tonight." Xander said. At the vampire's questioning look, the boy shot a smirk at him. "We're meeting the Slayer's mother tonight at the high school library. Her Watcher and I are going to introduce her mom to the wonderful nightlife in the world and I need you there, as proof that you guys actually exist. You up for it?"

"Is that really necessary?" Angel asked cautiously. "I thought the Slayer was supposed to work alone."

"If Buffy worked alone, she'd last exactly six months here." Xander said darkly. "I'm not going to let that happen."

"Why is this so important to you?" Angel asked, leaning back in the recliner and studying the youth before him.

Xander hesitated for a moment before speaking. "Part of the story is that I swore a blood-oath to make sure that this Slayer is the first one ever to enjoy a normal life. She'll be as happy as I can possibly make her, no matter what sacrifices need to be made." He finished coldly, his dark, empty eyes stabbing into the other man. "Like I said before, if you stick around, you'll get the whole story. But for now, that's all I'm going to tell you."

"All right, I'll be there. What time?" Angel sighed in resignation.

"Eight o'clock on the dot." Xander informed him. "I'm also going to introduce you to your very own watcher." The boy finished with an amused look.

"My own watcher? What are you talking about?" The dark vampire asked in confusion.

"Remember that group of Gypsies that did a number on your soul?" Xander asked with a grin. "Well, they've had someone following you to make sure that you kept up the misery and whatnot for eternity. Tonight, you're going to meet the current one assigned to you."

"Wonderful." The vampire huffed in exasperation and resentment. "As if I wasn't miserable enough already."

"Don't worry about it, Dead boy." Xander laughed. "After the introductions are made, I'm going to get her looking for an anchoring spell for that soul of yours." The boy then held up a hand to forestall any comments on the vampires' part. "Now don't be getting any ideas. The spell will simply keep that soul of yours from doing any wandering until you get your reward. It won't stand up to any serious happiness on your part, but it'll let you quit brooding."

The vampire simply stared at the boy for several moments before nodding his acquiescence. He knew the youth was telling the truth because all the subtle signs were telling him so. The boy's heart rate remained steady. His respiration remained steady. There weren't any of the telltale little signals that the human body gave off to indicate a falsehood. "Thank you." He said quietly.

"Not a problem." Xander waved a hand in dismissal. "I'm just trying to keep you whole for two years until you go down to Los Angeles and meet your Seer."

"I actually get a Seer?" Angel asked, allowing the corners of his mouth to twitch upwards in amusement. He was actually startled when the boy let loose with a deep laugh and clutched his sides to hold off the pain that too much laughter can bring.

"Oh, God! You're not going to believe this guy!" Xander managed to force out around his loud display of humor. "Half Bracken demon and half Irish! He's going to be a huge pain in the ass to you!"

The dark vampire stared at the young man in consternation. "What's so bad about him being Irish?" He asked, more than slightly affronted.

"Angel, Angel, Angel." Xander chuckled, finally gaining control over his laughter and standing up to walk to the door. "You of all people should know how much of a pain in the rear a drunken Irishman is." The boy said while walking out the door.

Angel simply stared at the closed door, his mind overwhelmed by all the recent information he had received to fire off an insult of his own. "Oh, I'm going to get that little prick for that one!" He muttered darkly, still staring daggers at the door.


Xander rang the doorbell to a fairly nondescript house and waited patiently. After waiting for half a minute, he repeatedly pressed the button until an irate looking brunette woman flung the door open. She was slender, yet held all the curves to her body that he would have drooled over his first time around in life. Now, he took such things in stride.

"May I help you, young man?" The woman asked, not doing a thing to hide her anger. Xander smiled cruelly at the woman for a moment before stiff-arming her body inside and rapidly following her in. She was shocked and dismayed to find herself lying on the floor staring up at the boy even as he shut the door behind him. His face was now expressionless and his eyes were flashing dangerously. "What do you want?" She gasped in fear, placing a hand over her chest protectively.

"We're going to play a little game." He stated flatly as he stared down at her. "I'm going to ask some questions and you're going to answer them. If you answer all the questions correctly, you'll win a prize. If you answer just one question wrong, we get to play a totally different game." The corners of his mouth twitched upwards into a warm but hesitant smile. Unfortunately for the woman lying prostrate on the floor in front of him, that smile failed to affect the rest of his cold demeanor. "I can promise you that you don't want to play the second game at all." He told the woman in a tone that almost froze the very air of the room. A shiver ran down the woman's spine as she froze in fear like prey before a rather vicious predator. "Are you ready to play?" He asked, his face turning into a sneering glance of death. His eyes remained locked on her own, pining her in place.

The woman gulped audibly and nodded her head minutely even as her eyes widened even further. Sweat had broken out on her brow and her heart was now beating rapidly. The young man smiled dangerously and slowly withdrew a pistol from where it had been tucked into his belt in the small of his back. When his thumb released the safety, the click was loud enough to cause the young looking woman to flinch and let out a squeak of panic. Her frightened eyes locked onto the barrel of the pistol as it swung around only to stop suddenly, coming to a rest pointing directly at her left knee. "I asked you a question." The youth snarled at her. "You have five seconds left to answer before you get a penalty."

Her mind desperately raced over the things that he had just stated as she shivered in panic when he started counting down. What had he asked? Her mind questioned frantically. Something about her being ready to… "Yes!" She cried out hurriedly just as he reached the number one. "I'm ready! I'm ready!"

"Very good." He smiled warmly at her, ignoring the stench of sweat and fear that was starting to build in the room. "Now that you understand the how this game is played, let's get to the harder questions." He paused for a moment and to the scared woman before him, he appeared to be deep in thought as he tapped the barrel of the pistol gently against his chin. "I know, how about you tell me what you name is?" He asked gently.

"My name is Jenny Calendar." The woman quickly answered only to be cut off by the tremendous noise of the gun going off. A shower of tile splinters exploded next to her face as the bullet burrowed into the floor beside her. She screamed and flinched away from the impact site, although she could already feel her blood starting to trickle down the side of her head from where the pieces of porcelain had penetrated her skin.

"That was your one freebie." The boy growled warningly. "Let's try that again, shall we?"

The woman was now convinced that the boy meant what he said. She was now afraid of loosing her life. Tears flowed freely from her warm, brown eyes as her body shook from the sobs that racked her trembling body. She gently cupped the right side of her face with her hands, trying to ease the pain that radiated out from the minute wounds that she had just taken. "That is my name!" She insisted through her tears. "I have proof in my purse!"

The boy merely smirked at her in his arrogance and moved the pistol until it was pointing back at her knee. "Last chance." He warned her. "One more wrong answer and you won't ever walk without the assistance of a cane."

Her mind spun in circles, trying to think of anything that would stall the dangerous youth before her. She didn't know how much the boy already knew, but it was clear to her that he knew enough to know she was lying. She closed her eyes and forced her answer past her tears. "My name is Janna Calderash." She whispered, surrendering her will to the predator standing over her.

Xander smiled at her and clapped his hands together several times in applause. "Very good. Now for the next question, Miss Calderash… why are you here in Sunnydale?" He asked, bringing the pistol away from her body to hang loosely at his side.

"I'm watching a dangerous man for my family." She said, tears still streaming down her pale cheeks from her clenched eyes. She really didn't want to see the boy anymore. His cold eyes seemed to penetrate her to her very soul whenever she managed enough bravery to meet them with her own.

"Well, that's close to the truth, but not quite there." He snickered. "Why don't you elaborate on that a bit, hmm?"

"Elaborate?" She asked hesitantly, not sure of what he wanted.

"Come, come, Miss Calderash." The boy chuckled dryly. "Angelus is hardly a man, even burdened with a soul."

At the mention of that hated name, her eyes flew open in shock even as her face paled even further. "How… how…" She sputtered, bringing a shaking hand to cover her mouth. The pain that was present in her face combined with the adrenaline surge caused the room to spin dangerously about her. Her eyes closed again as she tried to get her breathing under control even as the ringing in her ears threatened to take what little remained of her senses away from her.

"I know more than you could possibly imagine, my fair gypsy." The boy chuckled at her in amusement. He allowed her panic to build for a few moments before speaking again. "But we're not playing the game! Enough stalling, my fragile, little flower. Tell me all about your mission for your clan." His voice was lighter, as if he were addressing a close group of friends rather than interrogating an enemy.

"Whatever he's paying you, my clan will pay more." The gypsy offered, taking a wild guess and praying that she had guessed correctly.

"Me work for Dead Boy?" Xander pretended to be shocked. "You have got to be kidding me!" He started to laugh softly as her face fell in disappointment. "You really didn't think it was going to be that easy, did you?" He asked snidely, reaching down with one hand only to grab her blouse and jerk her to her feet with one quick jerk of his arm. Even though he had to look up at her slightly, she was still intimidated by the boy. "Turn around." He ordered, his brown eyes seeming to pierce her down to the soul.

Wordlessly, she obeyed. She didn't want to turn her back on this predator that walked on two legs, but she was too frightened to do anything else. She flinched and shivered as she felt a cool bracelet ratchet onto her left wrist. Her tears came down quicker and her chest heaved with the effort it took to suppress the sobs that threatened to break free at any moment. She still didn't resist when she felt her arms being jerked roughly behind her back and a second ratcheting sound came to her ears as another metallic band snapped around her other wrist. She turned her head to the side and shut her eyes tightly when she was spun around suddenly. Deep down, like a child, she held the faint hope that if she didn't see her tormentor that he would go away. Needless to say, it didn't work.

"I know that you're here to monitor the vampire, Miss Calderash." Xander whispered into her ear, sending another shudder of revulsion racing down her spine. "It's your job to inform your uncle if it looks like Angelus is going to break free, isn't it?" His quiet, silky voice eased it's way into her left ear and she felt one of his hands gently stroke her scalp with its' fingertips. Another tear escaped her clenched eyelids and raced down her cheek. Her body began to tremble uncontrollably, finally giving into the fear and the still stinging pain from the side of her bleeding face.

She cried out when the gentle hand that was tangled in her hair suddenly clenched tightly, jerking her head backwards so that it was facing the ceiling. Her eyes snapped open to see his face only inches from her own. His mouth was smiling yet again, but his lifeless eyes held no sense of mercy for her. "I asked you a question, my dear. I would strongly suggest that you answer it." He whispered seductively, the youth of his face giving way to the lie about his innocence. His smile grew wider as he felt her head nod vigorously, although it wasn't able to move far from the iron grip on her hair. "We're going on a little trip now, Miss Calderash." He brought his face closer to hers and turned her head slightly until his lips were brushing her bloodied cheek. "If you attempt to escape, you're going to regret it, I promise you." She shivered as his breath caressed her cheek, the liquid of her blood capturing his warmth quickly. "When I introduce you to the others, you will answer all their questions eagerly, won't you?" He whispered as he moved his mouth to her ear in a gross parody of a loving embrace. She cried out again and flinched when she felt his tongue extend down to gently lap up her blood, leaving a cooling trail on her cheek that seemed to chill her entire body. She closed her eyes again only to have her fragile mind picture the boy as he continued to torment her. His tongue lapped her cheek once more before brushing his warm lips across her ear. "I asked you a question, Miss Calderash." He blew softly into her ear. "You don't want to be punished, do you?"

"I'll answer their questions." She whispered in reply, praying for a reprieve from any source.

"Good girl." He whispered, moving his mouth to hers and placing a chaste kiss on her trembling lips. His hand loosened its' hold on her hair and she watched as he stepped aside and guided her out of her house. She doubted that she would ever view her sanctuary the same way ever again, if she ever managed to return in the first place.