Title: Warrior's Heart (1/1)

Author: Cyclone

Feedback: Please be gentle.

Distribution: Gimme credit and a link. Plus, archived at http://fanfiction.net/profile.php?userid=62966 or http://fanfiction.net/~cyclone

Rating: I'm gonna go say PG.

Spoilers: Up to Amends in Buffy and anything in the Herc/Xenaverse.

Disclaimer: The characters depicted herein belong to the other people. I'm just borrowing them for a while.

Summary: When something tries to manipulate Angel, Xander has a talk with him. Sequel to Demons & Demigods, which is the planned sequel to Divine Interruption.

Author's Note: Skipping ahead for the moment, this is part five of the Legendary series.

* * *

"Here, Buffy," Giles said. "Take a look." He gestured to the pile of papers. "These letters contain references to a-a-an ancient power known as the First."

"The First what?"

"Evil," Giles said. "Absolute evil, older than man, than demons. It could have had the power to bring Angel back."

When Buffy identified the Bringers, Xander suddenly felt revulsion as he began to understand. The Bringers. The First. The First was reminding Angel of all the things he'd done, all the things he regrets.

It could only mean one thing.

"Um, guys," Xander said. "Sorry to bail, but I just remembered something I gotta do."

That said, he turned and left, much to Buffy, Willow, and Giles's puzzlement.

* * *


The vampire's head jerked up, tearing his gaze from the stake he held to his chest. "Harris," he growled.

"Don't do it," Xander said.

Angel barked out a bitter laugh, "Don't tell me _you're_ here to save my life."

"Let me guess," Xander said, ignoring the comment, "you're getting visits, dreams, visions. About things you've done, regrets in your life. And the thing showing all these things to you... it always wears a familiar face. Am I right so far?"

Angel frowned warily, "How did you...?"

Xander walked up and said, right into Angel's face, "Because I know what you're dealing with, Deadboy. It's pure evil, pure destruction. It needs the sacrifice of a warrior's heart to get into this world."

"I'm no warrior," Angel shook his head.

"Bull shit!" Xander snapped. "Don't do this, Angel, because if you do, this thing will come back, wearing your face, trapping your soul. You'll feel everything, see everything, but you won't be able to stop it. And if you thought Angelus was evil, you haven't seen anything yet."

Angel looked at Xander, his eyes hard with dawning realization, and said, "You've faced this before."

Xander shrugged and said distantly, "It took me once. Long ago, in another life."

"What _is_ it?"

Xander gazed into his eyes, and Angel suddenly got the uncomfortable feeling that he was looking into his soul.

Finally, the young man answered.


Angel closed his eyes and nodded, then handed Xander the stake.

A moment passed in understanding...


...only to be interrupted by a female cry.

"Huh?" both men turned as a small blur tackled Xander.

Finding himself on his back, Xander blinked in surprise. "Buffy? Uh, not that I mind having you straddle me like this, but Will's gonna kill us if she finds out. Care to explain?"

"I won't let you kill him," Buffy said.

Xander stared for a moment, then chuckled, then laughed.

Buffy frowned and felt a hand on her shoulder. Turning, she saw Angel, doing a lousy job of concealing his own mirth.

"He wasn't going to kill me, Buffy," Angel said. "He stopped me from killing myself."

"What? But..." she looked back at Xander, confused. "The stake..."

"I'd just handed it to him," the vampire explained.

"Oh," Buffy said, suddenly feeling foolish.

"Uh, can I get up now?" Xander asked.

* * *

Disclaimer: "Unfortunately, no incorporeal-entities-of-pure-evil-that-manipulate-heroes-by-taking-other-forms were harmed or killed during the production of this story. Better luck next time."

* * *

Author's Postscript:


Okay, so who picked up on this before Dahak's name was mentioned?