Disclaimer: Characters and Premise are borrowed from the show "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel".

"I'm still key guy?" Xander asks anxiously and I want to laugh bitterly at the boy's desperate need to be important, to be special.

I don't like him, and not just because of the Deadboy cracks and all the other garbage I put up with from him. I don't like him because I understand him.

He thinks of himself as a failure, the Zeppo to use his terminology. Xander's been told that so often he believes it. Told by his family as well as his classmates unless I miss my guess. In response he acts the part, the class clown, a few centuries ago it would have been the rake. He could still follow the rake's path, if he ever learned to dress the part. One only has to look at the mess Xander made with Willow and Cordelia to know that he could manage it.

He's insecure, and he'll attack anyone he sees as a threat to what's his, which is why we'll never get alone. Forget about us being friends, I won't let us be friends even if Xander would.

He doesn't really see anyone else's insecurities. It would never occur to him that I'm as jealous of his ability to be a part of Buffy's daylight life as he's jealous of her love for me. Xander didn't see that he had the ability to hurt Cordelia until it was done; he took her insults at face value and never saw that she loved him. Not until it was too late, but I'd bet that seeing her hurting took some of the sting out of loosing her, at least he had been important to her.

Given time and a several more screwed up relationships he'll learn to break it off when they're the one who's going to be hurting. Given time he'll learn to make playing with other people's emotions a game. His feelings never meant more than that to those hurt him for so many years, why should theirs mean anything to him?

He's already learning to fight; it won't be long before the next bully to try to pick on him will get a nasty surprise. He's getting tried of being the victim, and he's not weak anymore. The only reason they can hurt him now is he lacks the confidence to win. He's been fighting demons for years now, things with superhuman strength who'd enjoy killing him, what's he really got to fear from some kid with a chip on his shoulder.

If Xander ever gets turned I'll stake him before he even rises, because he'll make one hell of a vicious vampire.

How can I be so sure? Because once upon a time I was him.

Showing the world an idiot child, proud of the worthlessness of his life, uncaring of the criticisms my father heaped on me, secretly wanting more than anything to be special to someone, anyone. I would have died before sacrificing my baby-sister's good opinion of me. No one ever saw that I hurt or that I despised myself, but when I was turned my past misery let me see the hidden pain in others and I knew exactly how to exploit it.

When I was human I was completely unforgiving of anyone's fault. Like Xander, loudly judging everyone around me to hide the lack I saw in myself.

I can see so much of what I was in Xander, except he hasn't fallen yet, not even to the level I had when Darla first found me. With Buffy, Willow and Giles as his friends he probably won't end up like that either.

Is it any wonder I don't like him? He's so much like me, but he's going to make it; I didn't. He had friends to prevent him from destroying his life; I had to make all the mistakes and learn every lesson the hardest way possible. There are choices one can never un-make, I made the wrong ones, and I have to live with that for all eternity. Xander doesn't have to face that.



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