Author: AlanP <alan.p[at]orcon.net.nz>

Summary: Some good things never come to an end.

Disclaimer: I own nothing. Except a very nice Guinness glass I just got given.

Feedback: Please! I love hearing what people thought!

Pre-fic Comments:

I know dick about military stuff. If you use me and this fic as a reference, you'll most likely be laughed at.

Chapter 1

Perception Shapes Reality.

Hi, I'm Xander Harris. You've probably read about me in books like 'The New Old Things', 'The Demonslayers', and 'Heroes of Humanity'. Thanks. You mind if I light up? Thanks.

Yeah, I suppose it is an old habit. But then, I'm an old, old man. What's it going to do? Kill me? Hahahaha... if I haven't died yet, then I probably won't die from lung cancer tomorrow. Oh, don't you worry. I'll live to see the celebrations of New Year in a few months time.

Don't you believe it -- nothing big happened at the dawn of the twenty first century, and nothing big is gonna happen at the dawn of the twenty eighth century, just like nothing happened at the dawn of all the ones in between. All it is is just some numbers ticking over, it ain't like God walks down and hands out Divine Twinkies.

Oh, you're going into the Corps? You want some advice? Try the first commandment -- don't die. Hey, don't knock it -- worked for me.

You want a story about that? You sure? White hair don't mean that much, especially on an old clown like me. Oh, okay then.


Welll, the big thing happened back when I was about twenty five, I'd been in the Marines a few years by then, joined right after the whole thing with the closing of the Sunnydale Hellmouth. We were going into a mission, a big one, and the press were pushing us for a statement, you know, a 'go us!' kinda thing. It eventuated, up there in the misty ranks of the generals, that they had a gen noo wine veteran of Sunnydale, and they figured that hey, why not ask this joker to give a speech?

Yeah, it was the mission to close the Cleveland 'mouth. Am I telling this, or are you? Right.

They stuck me in front of a microphone, and told me to give out the press release, then answer some questions. They had some strict limits on what they could and couldn't allow me to tell the journo's. You have to remember that by then, the supernatural was fairly well known to the general populace. It wasn't like it was in real old times, where the supernatural was something that only freaks and hippies believed.

Hippies? They were the potheads who were into weird alternate religions. Kinda like the Tappers we get these days.

I remember real well the specific question.

"Private Harris," one of the women journalists called out. She had a camera man with her, so I figure she was from a TV network.

"Private Harris, do you expect to die on this mission?," she asked, bold as daylight.

"We're going up against the Devil himself, and I'm just a man," I replied, "but I ain't gonna die until I feel good and ready. I wasn't planning on dying back when I roamed Sunnydale, stake in hand, twinkie in the other, and I'm not really planning on dying during this op, either."

Yeah, it was about then that tens of millions of little boys around the globe believed what I said wholeheartedly, and also a heap of fullgrown adults. You have to remember that the spiritual was a new idea, to the world back then, and they had no idea what to believe. For all they knew, I coulda been a Seraphim that got conscripted by Uncle Sam. I got asked in all seriousness where my flaming sword of justice was, once. Little boy, kneehigh to a grasshopper.

Perception Shapes Reality.

You heard of Marcy Ross? I ain't surprised. She was practically invisible back in my highschool, no one noticed her none. Well, 'cause everyone ignored her, she really did become invisible, hundred percent unnoticeable to the human eye.

Perception Shapes Reality. You remember that.

Well, we went into the op to close the Hellmouth. Something went wrong, but the mages we had managed to pull it off. They just had to bomb the site back to the stone age, afterwards. You've probably seen the news broadcast they took afterwards.


"This is Gia Tesla for Channel Five News, at the site of the now closed Cleveland Hellmouth. We have been informed by the new Ministry of Supernatural Affairs that the joint operation with the Ministry of Defence was executed successfully, but at the cost of many innocent lives.

"Robert Smith, Remus Johnston..."

*As she continues listing names, the clip of Xander's declaration of Not Dying is played in the corner of the screen*

"... Timothy John, Alexander Harris--"

*Concrete shifts behind her, in the camera's view, as a very, very dirty and tired Xander crawls out of a sewer access tunnel that had been sealed by falling rocks*

"This is breaking news! We have a survivor -- Alexander Harris, Marine. Sir, how did you live?"

*Xander pushes the microphone away, slightly.*

"Don'... don' call me sir... I just ain't dying, that's all. Not gonna be dead. Where's a bed or somethin'?"


Well. Perception Shapes Reality. If a highschool of kids could make one girl invisible, what could half a planet of believers make me? 'Specially after I had so much juice in me after Wi--no. You don't need to hear that.

Goddammit! It would have been fucking nice if I'd stayed young as well as never died! Kid, take care of your knees because they'll fucking kill you later in life if you don't.

You reckon you ain't gonna have trouble like I did? Listen, and listen good kid. You keep your head down and work hard in boot, or you'll get a real fast attitude adjustment, the hard way. I don't care if your daddy is a vet, he'd probably kick your ass right after I did.

Want a fag?


Xander leant on a handy wall, watching people stream past him, all on their way to the next shuttle to Space Station C-7. He probably looked unremarkable, just a one-eyed old man with straggly white hair. His clothes were probably unusual, but then again there were a lot of strange people in the Hundred Planet League. A slight waveriness clouded his eyes, as he thought of those who had died back in those beginning days. Buffy had been killed by a vampire, right when she was screwing it. He'd dusted the leech, of course. Giles, thankfully, died of old age in bed. Willow...

Well, she was still around. Kinda.

As for Faith... well, he was on his way to meet her current Heir. Slayer too, 'smatter of fact.

"You Harris?," a rough voice asked.

He turned his head to see a pale figure that set off his finely tuned vamp detectors.

"Sure am," he smiled. "You wanna take this to a private room, or do it in public?"

The vamp gestured towards a door. "By all means."

"You know, I am curious as to how you got past security," Xander continued.

"A good mage I know," the vamp said, closing the door behind it.

Xander pulled out his energy pistol. It was a nice one that he'd just charged his morning. His heart settled into his boots as he pulled the trigger and nothing happened.

"Please, try your backup," the vamp said, grinning widely. Xander hated stupid things that played with their marks.

He pulled out his backup Five seveN. True, it was a replica, but it was one of the best he'd come across. Pulling on the trigger of the weapon did nothing with it, as well.

"What gives?," Xander asked, genuinely curious.

"Energy drain field, and a Murphy's Jinx," the vamp replied, still grinning like an idiot.

"You want to know something?," Xander asked, pulling out his final backup. It was idiot and Murphy-proof, due to it's relative simplicity.

"What the hell is that?," the leech asked, paling even further as it stared down the barrel of a .454 Freedom Arms Casull. The large muzzle looked forbidding, in a scary way. "Why in fuck are you carrying something like that?!"

Xander shrugged. "You'd be surprised at how many demons have skins like rhinoceroses. Want me to try this?"

"Last free shot," the vampire warned. It honestly didn't know what the thing Xander had was -- didn't look like a shocklance rifle, a railgun, or any kind of weapon commonly issued.

"Thousand year old antique, this is," Xander felt compelled to explain. "Had a good friend of mine put an Everlasting charm on it."

"Piece of junk," the vamp muttered.

He pulled the trigger. The specially made, magically enhanced bullet exploded in the middle of the vampire's cranium.

"Stupid dustbunny," Xander spat. "Didn't you hear? Xander the Undying cheats."

The End