Xan is a Sha-Man

Author: Joshua <joshua[at]>

Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: Joss Whedon came up with "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and Mutant/Enemy Productions distributes it and has production rites. Shohen Jump owns "Shaman King" and to my knowledge 4KIDS Entertainment is responsible for its distribution in the United States. Please, if any of this information is wrong or in need of correcting, contact me immediately at my e-mail address so I can make the corrections. No disrespect is meant to the writers/owners/originators of these works of fiction, in fact I mean the sincerest form of flattery by writing this fanfiction based upon them. I stand to make no profit from this.


Operating a wrecking ball crane isn't as difficult as most people think. Especially when you happen to be a professional construction worker. Remembering what Spike had called him earlier; Xander just couldn't let the quip go with such a prime opportunity as he knocked Glory through a wall or two.

"And the glorified bricklayer picks up a spare," he said with very much satisfaction. Seeing Buffy get the Troll hammer back and nothing else that he could do for the moment, he picked up his stuff and went to join the others in the fight against Glory's minions.

Unfortunately that front wasn't doing quite as well as Buffy was.

"How we doin'?" he asked, jumping down from the crane to behind the cover the others were hiding behind. The crazy people and ugly minions were all gathered around the stairs to the haphazardly built tower, their numbers only slightly depleted.

"So far it's a tie," Anya said tiredly.

"We haven't been able to get up to Dawn," Giles told him, slightly out of breath, "but then neither has anyone else."

Almost to his nature, Spike contradicted the Watcher in the next moment, but he certainly didn't sound happy about it. "Someone's up there." They all looked up, and indeed saw a shadow, as well as heard the footsteps whoever it was, was making.

"OK, we gotta charge or something," Xander urged.

"We tried that," Anya pointed out.

The next few minutes were very confusing for Xander. Spike started talking to himself, or so it seemed, and then without warning he took off for the stairs and the moment he did, the crowd in front of the stairs parted faster than the Red Sea did for Moses and the Israelites. The crazy people stayed down, probably knocked unconscious, and Spike climbed the tower as fast as anyone Xander had ever seen move.

With nothing more to do, he and Anya stayed in their barricaded position, while Giles said he would try and find out how Buffy was doing.

"Ask me again," Anya told him suddenly.

Startled, he blurted, "Ask what?" As a reply he only got Anya's "I can't believe you!" stare. Then it came to him and he smiled lovingly at her.

"Will you marry me?" he whispered.

They stared into each other's eyes for the longest time and she quietly nodded her head, whispering back, "Yes," and they leaned into kiss each other.

Then Spike was thrown off the tower.

And right after Buffy had climbed the tower, the sound of paper or cloth ripping echoed through the night, followed by a big, billowy, white energy thunder cloud appeared right below the tower, practically on all of their heads.

Clinging to each other, Xander and Anya watched as bolt after bolt sped from the "cloud", which was quite obviously the portal that Glory had wanted to use to get home, struck out at a part of Sunnydale. Unable to see the effects those bolts were having, they only knew that the earth started to shake and the tower, being so close to the open portal, was starting to break apart on its foundations.

Anya apparently saw it first. It was much smaller than the other bolts that were striking Sunnydale itself, but just before the strike of energy could hit him, Anya pushed Xander clear out of the way, only to be caught in the falling debris from where the bolt actually struck.

Picking himself up, he only saw his fiancé lying still among the pieces of pylon and brick. "Anya!" he cried. Scrambling to all fours, he was by her side and trying to revive her.

The energy cloud kept blasting and causing all sorts of chaos, even as the former Zeppo began to notice the lightening of the sky. He knew that it had only been a couple hours till sunrise by the time they had set out, but he hadn't expected to survive this long. Especially with the portal opening.

And then?it all stopped. And some kind of?wave went through everything as the energy cloud dissipated, and somehow he knew that everything that had been changed just went back to normal. Then he looked up?in time to see a blonde figure fall from the point of the portal to the ground and land with a sickening thud, not very far away.

Xander would idly wonder in the future if it was that particular sound that finally roused Anya from her unconsciousness. "Xan-der?" she grunted, blood seeping from a cut on her head.

Tears already welling in his eyes, Xander nodded and smiled half-heartedly at his fiancé. "It's okay Ahn. She did it. She saved the world. Again. And for the last time."


It was like trying to fly. There was anticipation, but beneath all that and the anxiety, was something in the pit of her stomach. Something that made the whole thing sickening. She was about to die, right? So what if death was her gift. At least she got to die stopping an apocalypse. Not because some two-bit vamp got lucky.

It hurt at first. It was worse than getting electrocuted. Definitely worse than drowning. But as the energy held her, taking what it needed from her to close itself and stop what it had been doing, the darkness started to close in on her, hiding her from the harsh light all around her, and the pain slowly went away.

After that, once the darkness had her fully, all she would ever remember would be the falling. Falling, and falling, and falling? until it stopped.


The pain was back, but it wasn't as all consuming. It actually reminded her of the few times she had fallen out of her bed when she was a young child. Groaning, and wondering why she was dead, Buffy tried to push herself up. It was a lot harder than it should have been, and it still hurt too much to open her eyes and see what was going on.

Then she heard the voice.

"Welcome Slayer!"

It was feminine, and now that she realized it, it wasn't the only one.

Buffy's eyes snapped open and her strength came back to her and she rolled herself over into a sitting position. Blinking a few times, Buffy shook her head to clear her vision a little, but what she saw didn't change at all. This was a place that she had seen before. That she knew. And she certainly hadn't expected to see again.

Then again, after she thought about it for a second, it really wasn't that surprising, but she still hadn't expected to find herself here. Although she really should have, since she now is dead, it's only logical that she found herself on the Ghost Roads.

"Welcome Slayer," the same voice said again, causing Buffy to sharply look around until she located the source. "Welcome to the Spirit World."

"Lucy!" Buffy said with relief and recognition as she took the dead Civil War Slayer's, Lucy Hanover, hand and got to her feet.

"That was a close one Summers," the centennial Slayer gave a southern drawl after a brief sisterly hug.

"Close what? What do you mean?" Buffy asked, worried.

Lucy pointed up and Buffy saw something like a red and yellow glowing sun, that for some reason made her think of some kind of yellow with red stripes tiger lady. "What is it?" she asked.

"Who." Lucy corrected. "She tried to get her hands on you when you died, and there's no telling what she would have done with you. But you can be assured that it wouldn't be good."

"Her? You mean god?"

Lucy shook her head no, and guided Buffy along the path they were on, leaving the glowing thing behind. "Well, no, not exactly. She's a goddess, yes, but certainly not GOD. Her name is Xiara, and she's one of the ones that call themselves "The Powers That Be". They fashion themselves as all-powerful deities, but they're just power-hungry pretenders with delusions of omnipotence if you ask me."

"We try to keep Slayers from falling into their hands if we can. It always turns out bad for everybody if they ever manage to control a Slayer's soul. Well, everybody on Earth anyway. They always have some kind of sick, twisted "plan" that I guess you could call a cosmic game of chess. You know the whole 'never ending battle' stuff? That's them, playing with humanity and demons like pawns."

"What about things like Glory?" Buffy asked.

Lucy gave her a confused look, so she elaborated, "Hell god." Lucy nodded in understanding.

"She would have been a Rook on the chessboard then. The only thing that would rank a King or Queen slot would be either one of their own or their messengers to directly mess with the rest of humanity." Lucy explained.

"OK, how do you know all this, and how come the real GOD allows them to get away with stuff like that?" Buffy wanted to know.

Lucy shrugged. "Gossip," she said simply to the first question. "As to why they're allowed to do it? well, remember that line I once heard you say about what your mother doesn't know won't hurt her?"

"You're kidding!" Buffy exclaimed.

Lucy just shook her head, her expression rather grim, as was the newly dead Slayer's.

Lucy suddenly jerked her head forward at some unheard sound, and she looked worried about something for a second before it suddenly became urgent. "Come on, we need to hurry!" Lucy grabbed Buffy's arm and started to drag her along the Road.

"What's going on? What's the hurry?" Buffy asked, running along as fast as she could. "Where are we going?"

"The Check-In station. They're the reason you're not in Xiara's hands right now. I'm sorry Buffy, but your destiny on Earth isn't over yet," Lucy told her fellow Slayer.

"What?! I'm dead! My destiny is over when I die! Someone else is the Slayer now!" Buffy protested, but kept running alongside Slayer Hanover.

"Faith is the only Slayer alive right now," Lucy told her. "But there is more for your soul, your spirit to do on Earth before you can be reincarnated. Your pretty much the only chance there is for our plan to work."

"Plan? What plan? And weren't you just bad-mouthing all- knowing deities and their plans a few seconds ago?"

"Those plans hurt and toy with humanity. This plan is meant to save it from certain destruction!" Lucy shouted, dragging Buffy to the Check-In station.

Chapter 1

3 Weeks after Buffy's funeral

Xander, Anya, Tara, Willow and Dawn were all in the Magic Box on a Thursday afternoon. School had been out for a week, but the young Summers was not enjoying it as much as she had hoped to have been. Instead, all four of them were pouring over every tome that Giles and Anya had in stock for any and every way to bring a soul back from the dead and/or a hell dimension.

All because Willow had had some nightmares recently that had her convinced that Buffy's soul was trapped in some kind of hell dimension. Considering what they knew about the way their friend and sister had died, nobody was in the mood to argue over it, instead concentrating on what Willow wanted to do. Bring Buffy back to life. Again.

Sighing, as he'd been here with Anya since the shop had opened that morning at 7, Xander rubbed his face and tired eyes. He closed his book on zombies and their doshis and got up to stretch and to get some coffee. He offered to fill the others' cups, but everyone was too involved in their reading to really respond, and Anya was at the cash register, counting the money. Giles was away, on a supply run, and was also one of the few (other than Spike) that did not know about Willow's recent dreams.

Letting out another soft sigh, Xander filled his cup and then lifted it to his lips to sip of the divine nectar.

Just as said nectar touched his lips, the image of his dead friend Buffy Summers suddenly walked through the wall and said his name like she had been looking for him and was glad to have finally found him. "Xander!" Buffy exclaimed with a smile, stepping out of the wall.

Given everything that the young Mr. Harris had been through in his life, his parents neglect, below average grades in school, fighting vampires, demons, and the forces of evil on a nightly and weekly basis, and that he had carved her tombstone and put her very much dead corpse in the ground himself, Xander's reaction was really quite normal.

"AAAAHHHHH!!!!" he screamed at the top of his lungs, dropping the coffee-filled mug to the floor where it smashed into a hundred odd pieces. He backed up and stared frightfully at the image of his best friend. His dead best friend.

"Xander!" everyone in the shop screamed with him, causing him to jump once more and look at them.

"What's wrong?" Willow asked, obviously worried.

The dark haired man looked wildly between all of his friends, and then back at the wall where he had seen Buffy come out of. Only now she wasn't there. Finally he noticed the broken coffee cup.

'Don't want them to think I'm crazy. Think of something Xan!' he thought to himself.

"Uh?t-the coffee was, uh, t-to hot," he lamely excused, shrugging embarrassedly.

Still looking worried, everyone settled back down, but Willow scolded, "Well, just be more careful, all right? You nearly gave us all a heart attack there Xand." With that, she sat back down. Xander was just shamefully nodding his head.

Until he looked back up and saw Buffy practically right in front of him.

"AAAAHHHHH!!!!" Xander screamed again, backing away. Everyone jumped and looked accusingly at the young man, but when he pointed to empty air, they became really worried.

"Wh-who are you! What are you?" Xander screamed, pointing at Buffy.

The blonde dead-Slayer blinked in confusion and then looked down at herself and replied, "Which question would you like answered first?" Then she smiled and gave Xander a look that she used when he was over reacting. "Come on Xander, it's me. Buffy. You know, your superhero best friend, that is not a witch?"

Xander was shaking his head, still pointing, and his eyes wide enough to see all of the whites. Buffy started nodded. "Yes Xander, it's really me. No joke, no trick, and no you are not going insane."

"Are you sure? Cause if I was going insane, seeing dead people would be right up there at the top of popular culture reasons to declare myself insane," he quipped, but still panicked. "Seriously, what are you?"

Buffy took a step closer, just enough that she knew he wouldn't try to back away again, gave her friend a wry grin, and answered, "I'm a ghost Xander."

"Well, actually a spirit to be more precise, but yeah, I'm still dead, and again with the you are not going insane. And neither was that kid in that movie with Bruce what's his face. He could really see ghosts and he helped them out. Remember that part?"

"Xander? Uh?what's wrong now?" Willow asked, very worried.

Both Buffy and Xander turned to see all the other girls in the store staring at them. Or rather, staring at him. "Don't you see it?" he asked, gesturing at Buffy.

She gave him an annoyed look, repeating, "IT?!" He cringed slightly at the tone alone, but his fear remained even as Buffy calmed and told him, "I think that you're the only one that can see or hear me Xan."

"See who?" Dawn fearfully asked at the same moment.

Looking between the two Summers sisters, one of which only he could see at the moment it seemed, Xander was briefly at an indecision on what to do. Buffy beat him to a decision.

"Look, Xander, you're not crazy, this is not a trick, and I am in now way anything evil. My spirit was sent back because?" she hesitated, her face screwing up with the difficulty of what she was about to say. Xander almost prompted her, but she got over her hesitation before he had to, "?because you're?kind of?special. In a Slayer kind of way special."

All higher brain functions ceased for the dark haired man at that point. He got a kick-start when his subconscious relayed an idea that prompted the response, "Special in what kind of way?"

Everyone not seeing Buffy just looked back and forth between the empty space that Xander was talking to and the man himself, their worry becoming more so with each passing moment.

Buffy sighed and rubbed her head, and he could tell she was blushing as well. "You're?special Xander. I can't think of another way to say it. You aren't a Slayer or a Champion?exactly. Look, you're the only one here that can see me, you can see spirits, that's kind of special, right?"

Xander just continued to stare at her.

Buffy's composure completely left after that. "All right, all right already! Xander, you're something called a shaman. It comes from your mothers side of the family, and the reason that you've never noticed it before is because spirits kind of shy away from the Hellmouth. At least that's what I've been told. Other than that poltergeist thing at the Frat house, there aren't any ghosts in Sunnydale."

"Doesn't exactly explain that special bit, or why you're here Buff," Xander accused.

Everyone else jumped at the name, but Buffy herself smiled at him and regained a modicum of her composure. "Well at least you've accepted it's really me. The reason I'm here is because you got more than being a shaman going for you. That special-ness includes a destiny. I wasn't told what that was, but I was told that it was vital for your destiny that I come back and help you start your path on becoming a True Shaman."

"A True Shaman?" Xander repeated.

"Shaman!" Tara hissed to herself.

"Shaman?" Dawn and Willow asked together.

"Look, there's one thing that I need you to do for me before I go into anything else here Xan, and it's really important." Buffy told him.

Xander just quirked an eyebrow at the spirit.

She sighed and rolled her eyes. "Look, I so do not have the time or the patience to do the Patrick Swazi 99 bottles of beer on the wall thing. And I need you to do this for me before I forget anything important about it, OK!" She ended up shouting.

Xander gulped and nodded, "Sure thing, not a problem, what do you need me to do?" he asked all in a rush.

Buffy nodded, and took a breath to calm herself. Although since she was dead, no air was actually moved, but Xander figured it was a subconscious habit thing. "All right, first things first, mental aspect. I need you to think of me Xander."

"Think of you how?" he asked, totally at a loss. Just before he would start providing inane suggestions, she provided them for him.

"Uh? well, you know, me. Think of the first time you saw me. Remember when we bumped into each other in the hallway that first day? And remember Halloween? Well, actually, that wasn't me, so forget that one. Oh! All the times we went on patrol together, and the research sessions in the Library. What I need you to do here Xander is think of everything that you've ever known or remember about me, think about it hard enough that you could feel me right beside you. Like you could reach out and feel me standing next to you, can smell me, feel me, enough that you could almost hear my heartbeat if you concentrate hard enough."

"Okaaaaaaaay? Is that it?"

Buffy rolled her eyes, "No, that's not it. That's only the start."

Taking another no-air breath, she continued. "Now, next, and keeping that mental image of me in mind, you're going to say "Spirit Form", which will turn me into a ball of flames or energy or maybe flaming energy, and anyway, then you'll say "Unity" and put me, the flaming ball of energy, inside you."

Xander stared for several long moments before he finally snapped, "You want me to what?!!"

Buffy grimaced and nodded, "Yeah, they kinda hit me with that one too."

"Who's 'they'?" Xander asked.

She glared at him, making him more sure than ever that this really was his best friend's ghost, or spirit, or whatever. "Xander! Focus here. Please. I really, really, REALLY need you to do this! Think of it like this; it's a shaman destiny thing."

"Yeah, like that helps me," he muttered. He thought it over for all of the time it took him to remember that this was a trusted friend asking him to do this. "All right, is there any other important stuff that you're forgetting or anything like that?"

Buffy's face scrunched up in worried concentration, but she shook her head, "Nope. That's all the important stuff?boiled down to the cold hard basics. Look, the most important thing is that mental image of me. They kept telling me that you have to be able to hear my heartbeat. Otherwise, the Unity might not work."

Xander stared. "Buff, you're heart's stopped." Again with the glare.

"All right, all right!" Xander surrendered and closed his eyes to concentrate on nothing but Buffy. Wasn't that hard, he'd already had years of practice.

"X-x-Xander?" Willow called out to her friend, but he was too into his concentration to hear her.

Buffy walked around to directly in front of Xander, paying close attention to her living friend. Then she heard it. A slow, steady, and powerful, but still soft, heartbeat. 'Xander's heartbeat,' she realized.

Xander, however, was hearing two heartbeats. His own?and he knew in his soul, Buffy's. Slowly, as he kept his concentration and focused more and more on his friend, the heartbeats grew in time with each other, until they were beating as one. Xander felt an enormous wellspring of energy, almost like it was right in front of him, and a part of him wanted to draw on that power, call it to him and pull it into himself.

So he did just that.

His eyes snapped forward, flashing dangerously, and held out his right hand before him, like he was reaching for Buffy's hand. Then he called out with soul and voice, "Spirit Form!"

Buffy's eyes widened as she felt the tug of a living body, Xander's, on her entire being and watched with utter fascination as she was drawn like sand being blown by the wind into Xander's hand where her spirit reformed into a bright yellow glowing, almost flame- like spirit ball.

Xander felt the energy in his hand, and some part of him knowing what to do while the rest of him had no clue about what to do, he cried out "Unity!" and pushed the energy into his chest. Immediately, he felt everything that was or had ever been "Buffy" become apart of him like nothing else ever had before. But she was much more than just a part of him, she was still whole, inside of him, connected to him, but still "her".

'Buff? You all right?' he asked spirit-to-spirit. (His spirit to her possessing spirit, kind of like telepathy, only not exactly 'thoughts')

'Yeah, sure am. Quite a ride, I gotta tell you. But it's cool though. And you wanna know what's cooler? I can feel everything that you can. And I'm not talking emotions here. I can feel Xan! I mean, I've only been dead for a couple weeks, but? That's long enough to notice the difference, I gotta tell you.'

Everyone else had seen quite a different sight, but still they all knew that something had happened.

When Xander had shouted out "Spirit Form!" there was an almost ethereal, otherworldly wind that swept through the Magic Box, but it was when he merged with Buffy's spirit that the shelves and everything around the shop quaked a little and the wind blasted out and away from him. And now, as he stood there, all of the girls would swear that he was standing the same way that Buffy had. Like a Slayer.

'OK Xander,' Buffy spirit-said, 'There's one more thing to do, and it's more a 'let's see what happened' thing than anything else so far.'

"Fine by me," Xander said aloud.

For just a moment, Buffy was in full control of Xander's body as she/he nodded and then strutted over to the research table that still held all the books they had been researching through all day. And everyone noticed how Xander seemed to be walking like Buffy did, with more confidence and strength and poise than they had ever seen him move with before.

Yet before they could say anything to the possessed shaman, he bent down and putting one hand on the underside of the table and steadying the other on the leg before him, he then picked up the entire table, without dropping one single book from its surface. And not just a couple inches, but she/he stood up and held it over her/his head.

"Whoa," everyone, even Xander, muttered at the sight.

'Congratulations Xander,' Buffy told him proudly, 'You are now a True Shaman, with a Slayer Spirit as your official Guardian Spirit.'


"OK, whoa, whoa, and again I say whoa!" Xander backed up from the spot where he had just displayed, if Buffy was to be believed, Slayer strength. "Buffy, what the heck did you just do to me?" he asked aloud, but not really looking at anything since Buffy was inside of him, not anywhere he could see her.

'I?possessed you?' she answered uncertainly.

Xander stopped breathing for a sec, and then started to hyperventilate. "You?POSSESSED ME?!" he screeched.

'Sort of. Kind of. Look, they weren't exactly clear on what would happen, only telling me that it needed to happen. Xander, you're a shaman. That means?' she tried to explain.

"Whoa, I'm not into that voodoo, who do stuff Buffy!" Xander loudly protested. "I can't even help Willow mix potions! I am not some kind of witchdoctor that?"

'I KNOW YOUR NOT!' Buffy screamed from inside of him, stopping his tirade.

'Look, being a shaman is not about voodoo or being a witchdoctor or even having magical powers. This much they at least explained to me in full because I made the same assumptions you did. A shaman is one who can communicate with the dead. With spirits of the spirit world. A True Shaman, when he or she wishes to, can have him or herself be possessed by one of these spirits so that the shaman can take on the attributes and skills of the spirit possessing them. I'm a Slayer Xander. Now a Slayer Spirit. That means, that when we do that Unity thing we just did, which means I'm possessing you, you have all the powers of a Slayer."

'OK, I think I'm starting to understand. But you aren't going to like make my head twist all the way around and make me start puking on everybody, are you?' Xander asked back spirit-to-spirit.

He could almost feel her annoyance as she answered, 'No. First of all, I don't know how to do that head twisty thing, I think only Mantis demons can do that.'

'Gee, thanks for the reminder.'

'Your welcome. Anyway, my whole reason for being here is your destiny as a shaman. I'm your Official Guardian Spirit, which means that whenever you need Slayer powers, we just have to do the Unity thing. And I think there are other things I can do, but it was kind of a rushed course and we didn't get to get into everything.'

'Any clue on how to?you know?separate?' Xander asked.

'Oh, well,' Buffy hesitated. 'They kinda indicated that you would automatically know how to cast me out, if we could do the Unity in the first place. A True Shaman apparently is supposed to instinctively know how to keep himself from being controlled by an unfriendly spirit and can fight against it.'

'Yeah, and that proved so well when I was possessed by a hyena the first year we met,' Xander pointed out.

'Oh, well that was magic, not just a spirit and? Hey! You said you didn't remember being Hyena-boy!' Buffy accused.

'Uh, well? I, uh, don't? I, uh?" Xander was at a loss and instead concentrated on Buffy leaving his body. At first nothing happened, and then the knowledge came to him and he focused his energies on pushing Buffy's out of his body. In the same yellow fireball, she shot out of his chest and then the ball dissolved in the air. Half an instant later, Buffy, in a reverse effect of what had happened to her to put her into the ball, reappeared.

"Whoa, that was freaky," Xander muttered.

"Tell me about it," Buffy muttered herself, feeling strange. Not exactly tired, but?just strange.

"Uhm?Xander?" Dawn timidly asked from behind Anya, Tara, and Willow, the redhead at the front. "Are you insane?"

Xander took one look at the faces of his friends and understood what they were feeling instantly. Half a minute before he had been wondering the same things about himself.

"No, I'm not insane. Apparently I'm a shaman, and Buffy's spirit has come back from the spirit world to help me with some kind of destiny thing, and because I'm a shaman that's why I'm the only one that can see her." Xander summarized.

Tara startled, and then broke out of the line and stepped forward. "Are you really a shaman?" she asked straightforward, very unlike her.

Xander shared a look with Buffy, who just shrugged back, and then nodded at the living blonde.

The expression on the blonde wicca's face was very puzzling as she looked at the dark haired man. Then she tilted her head to one side, her eyes going glassy for a moment, before she snapped back to reality and turned and told the others, "He's telling the truth. He's a shaman."

"OK, what does that mean?" Willow asked, not understanding.

Anya however understood perfectly.

"A shaman is a human with the power to commune with the dead," she announced.

"Hey, I prefer spirits from the spirit world," Buffy said back.

"There's an entire organization of shamans all over the world," Anya continued. "And every 500 years there's this Tournament where shaman fights shaman to become the Shaman King."

"Yeah," Buffy depressingly sighed. "I was gonna get to that. But don't worry Xan, you aren't supposed to be the Shaman King. If you were, you might have been trained from childhood in being a shaman. I managed to get this out of them before they sent me back; you're supposed to help the true Shaman King save the world from destruction."

"OK, so who's the Shaman King?" Xander asked Buffy.

"How the hell should I know? I was a vengeance demon for a thousand years, not a Shamaness," Anya replied, annoyed. Xander gave her a look, but then turned his attention back to Buffy.

She shrugged. "Won't know until the end of the Shaman King Tournament, which starts in about six months to a year. But don't worry, you're going to need that time to build up your own shaman powers. At least?that's what I was told. I'm kinda new at this Xander, having only died a couple weeks ago," she added at his look of 'You're no help'.

"So?you can see Buffy?" Dawn asked in the silence after Anya's annoyed remark.

Xander turned his attention to the young Summers and nodded sadly. "Yeah Dawn patrol. If it helps, she's standing right there," he pointed at Buffy. "Can even hear and talk with her too. And apparently when she possesses me that gives me Slayer powers."

That made everyone do a double take.

"Yeah, kinda surprised me too, but that's what the whole table thing was about," he added.

"Buffy?" Dawn immediately called out, looking wildly around the shop. "Are you here?"

Buffy looked sadly at her still living sister, but not really answering.

Xander caught the look and asked her, "Look, can't you like, I don't know?make something float or something like that. Write a message on the wall in blood even?"

Buffy rolled her eyes at her friend.

"I'm a spirit, not a haunted mansion ghost!" she protested.

"Well, actually, you did call yourself a ghost," he pointed out.

She glared at him and almost growled. "I'm a spirit Xan. Look, I'm even more useless than Willow was when she was a ghost on Halloween!" She had walked so she was standing in the middle of the table and even tried to pick up several of the volumes there. With everything, she just passed through it. "It's even worse because you're the only one that can see and hear me. At least with Willow we could all see her."

Xander idly smiled, recalling the image, "Yeah?" he drawled with a goofy smile on his face.

Buffy's squinted her eyes and made to hit him on the arm, but she just passed through him. So instead she snapped out, "Remember Anya? Your girlfriend!!"

"Fiancé," he automatically corrected.

Buffy stopped, and then her entire face broke out with 'happy'! "Omigawd! Congratulations!" she screamed.

Xander stopped and then looked around nervously, and caught a similar expression on Anya's face as was on Buffy's. Sighing, he ran his fingers through his hair as he came to his decision, "Oh what the hell, yes, I asked Anya to marry me and she said yes. The night you died by the way," he added to Buffy.

She snorted and waved it off. "Look, it's better that more good than just the world's survival came from that night. I'm totally serious, congratulations. You both have my blessings, whatever that's supposed to mean."

Anya's face had fallen when Xander had added that last bit, but when he started to genuinely smile again, she felt her own smile return as well. "You really mean that?" he asked. Buffy nodded and his smile grew brighter. "Thanks Buff, that means a lot to me."

"What? What'd she say?" Dawn asked, eager to know.

Xander smiled as he held out his arms for Anya, who ran into them, and answered Dawn, "Your sister gives Anya and me her blessings. She said that it was a good thing that more came out of that night than just the world's survival." Dawn smiled, trying to hold back the tears.

"So?uh, how long can she stay?" was the young Summers' next question.

Xander looked at Buffy, who was giving him a 'Slayer' look. "I'm not going anywhere. I'm your guardian spirit Xander, and you're my shaman. The simple stuff like being best friends and my only contact with my still living family left, put aside, we got a destiny thing together."

Xander smirked and the look he gave Dawn said it all to the blonde/brunette.

"OK, now hold on a sec here!" Willow demanded.

Everyone turned their attention to the redhead. "You mean Buffy's soul is not in a hell dimension?"

Buffy snorted and rolled her eyes, almost cracking up laughing, but managed to restrain herself.

"No, I was never in one!" Buffy told Xander. "Well, I almost got caught by this sick goddess that's one of the Powers That Be, and who knows what she would have done to me if not for Lucy."

"Lucy?" Xander repeated.

"Lucy Hanover. You remember her, the Civil War Slayer that helped us out with that whole Ghost Road adventure?" Buffy answered.

Xander's eyes lit up with understanding and nodded. "So I take it you ended up on the Ghost Roads with Miss Hanover?" he asked so everyone would hear. He noticed out of the corner of his eye that Willow sort of jumped with surprise at the mention of the Ghost Roads.

"Yep," Buffy nodded.

"I am such an idiot!" Willow cursed herself. "I never even thought of looking on the Ghost Roads!"

"Funny, given how many times each of us have gone there, I figured it woulda been the first place you all checked. Checked for what exactly? And what's this about a hell dimension?"

"Uh?" Xander was at a loss as to what to say.

"Well?Willow kind of has been having these dreams lately, of you being in a hell dimension, and we've kind of been researching ways to bring you back to life," he finally told the dead Slayer.

Buffy just kind of stared. Xander could only shrug under that kind of scrutiny.

"We need to tell Giles about all of this," Willow firmly decided.

"I thought you wanted to keep him out of the loop until we brought Buffy back to life?" Anya asked.

Buffy's eyebrows went up, incredulousness written into every etching of her face.

Willow blushed, understanding that Buffy was in the room, but answered the former vengeance demon anyway, "That was when I thought he would get all Watcher-y and say that when a Slayer dies she's supposed to stay dead. But now?we need Giles input on this. If only to find out if there's a way to confirm Xander's a shaman. No offense baby, but?he's never done anything like this before."

"Yeah, that's a good point!" Xander turned to Buffy. "How come I've never been able to do this stuff before?"

Buffy shook her head in disbelief. "Were you not listening earlier? Ghosts and spirits do not stick around the Hellmouth. And those that do are whiney little kids that either killed themselves or were gotten by demons. That and?and? darn it! There was something else. What was it again?"

"Oh! Yeah! You're potential had to be unlocked. Don't ask me how or when cause I don't know. All I do know is that that's what- " "What they told you," Xander finished for her, already not liking "them".

"Where is Giles anyway?" Buffy asked.

"He's on a supply run. Said he'd be back either later tonight or tomorrow," Xander answered.

"Great," she muttered. "So now what does Willow want to do, since bringing me back to life would kind of deprive you of a guardian spirit and in order to help in saving the world, YOU KIND OF NEED ONE!"

Xander jumped at the volume, but still got the point.

"OK, Buffy is officially not wanting to be brought back to life. Something about this destiny thing," Xander told everyone else.

"Say it!" she was suddenly on about him. "I am your Official Guardian Spirit. Tell them Xander!"

Screwing his face up, almost like it embarrassed him, it took Buffy doing the Resolve Face that finally made him sigh and tell everyone, "And she's my Official Guardian Spirit."

Again with the double takes.

"What's that mean?" Dawn asked.

"Don't ask," Xander shot back.

"Why not?" both Summers sisters asked back.

"Because I'm not sure I get it, and having your sister trying to explain it doesn't help," Xander told her.

Buffy glared at Xander, squinting her eyes in anger and actually did growl this time.

Xander gave her a platitude look in return and answered back, "Well, you haven't really done a bang-up job on explaining this, and I'm still not getting this destiny thing. I'm supposed to help save the world?"

Buffy nodded.

"And I'm supposed to do that by being a shaman?"

She nodded.

"And in order to be a shaman I have to have an official guardian spirit, which is you?"

She nodded again.

Xander thought this over, or at least looked like he was before he let out a long sigh. "You don't have any clue more about this than I do, do you?"

"None whatsoever," she admitted in the same tone.

"Great," he muttered.

"Well, then all we can do is wait for Giles to get back," Xander decided. Buffy agreed.

"So what do we do in the meantime?" Dawn asked.

"Well, since we aren't going to concentrate anymore on bringing Buffy back?" Willow announced, "Let's just go back to Bu-uh, Dawn's place. I need to work some more on the Buffybot anyway."

"What! You mean you guys haven't scrapped that-that-that?" Buffy stuttered.

"We'll explain later, at the house Buff," Xander interrupted her. At the looks he received he just said, "She's still kinda ticked over the whole Buffybot thing." They all nodded in understanding.

"I have to stay and mend the store, but I'll be there later this evening for the Engagement party!" Anya said as they all walked out the door.

"Maybe we should stop and get some party supplies on the way," Buffy suggested to Xander as they walked.

"Good idea," he agreed.