Title: The First Visit
Author: sdavidm
Spoilers: A bit from S7 and some foreshadowing.
Setting: S7 before Xander's eye-gouging incident.
Distribution: Anyway, anyhow (with attribution please.
Author's Notes: Just an idea that occurred to me. There's a good reason Xander never got a visit in the show.
Disclaimer: The characters of BTVS are property of Mutant Enemy. I claim no ownership on anything contained within.

Xander was sitting on the porch whittling some stakes in the waning light of day.

'Another night, another adventure,' Xander thought to himself.

He caught a flash of gold and turned to see Buffy coming out to join him. "Buffster! Come to keep me company?"

"Yup! Can't let my bud face those evil splinters all by his lonesome."

"Ah, how noble of you. The terrors of the splinter are many, and the pain inflicted is most terrible."

She leaned against the railing across from him. "In that case, I'll just watch as my brave knight faces the danger on his own."

The corners of his mouth twitched up in a smile he quickly smothered at her calling him her 'knight'. Buffy caught it though, "What?"

Xander quickly covered, "Fear not young, ahem 'maiden'." She glared at him. "I shall brave the splinters for ye... and save the day."

Xander paused his work and thought on that a moment, "Actually, that should probably go, I shall brave the splinters and whittle these disturbingly phallic objects so you can save the day."

Buffy smiled, then frowned seemingly lost in thought. "Do you really think I can this time?"

"Save the day? Sure Buff. You always pull through for us."

"I'm not so sure this time Xan. This is so different."

He glanced up at Buffy leaning against the railing looking bummed. He instinctively reached for her to offer his reassurance, when she flinched and leaned away from him.

"Buffy, what's..." Xander's heart skipped a beat. "Oh. It's you." Xander's face became unreadable as he resumed whittling. "Nothing better to do? No armies of darkness to raise? Just needed to kill some time?"

Buffy grinned evilly. "You're pretty quick for the dumb one."

"You know me. Well, maybe you don't. But I know Buffy, and sorry, but you don't rate."

"Oh, still hung up on me are you? How sweet. You won't be able to save your love this time," The First said as she pushed off the railing.

Kendra suddenly appeared next to Xander, "Like you couldn't save me."

His hands paused momentarily, then resumed their work.

"Was I not good enough? Why could you not save me like you saved Buffy Xander?"

"Or me bro..." said Jesse from his other side. "You left me to die man. How could you?"

Xander just sighed patiently.

The vision of Jesse bristled then calmed, "You gave up on me for some chick you didn't even know. You did so much for her, and she doesn't even notice you bro. Look at all the people she's sacrificed. How can you stick by her?"

Miss Calendar suddenly sat next to him, "How can you stand by her after what she did to me? Even after you warned her about Angelus, she did nothing. She let people die Xander. She let me die. What kind of leader does that? Are you going to stand by and let her repeat her mistakes?"

"I should really remember to bring out the fly swatter next time," Xander wiggled his finger in his ear. "This buzzing in my ear is really annoying."

"Or Willow." Tara suddenly stepped into his line of sight, "How can you d-defend her after she raped my m-mind. She almost ended the world Xander. These are your friends? These are the people you're t-trusting with the world?"

Jesse jumped in again, "Not that you could really do anything about it anyway. You being so useless and all."

Kendra whispered harshly in his ear, "No strength. No discipline. Your recklessness has nearly gotten you killed many times. And your foolishness has killed others."

"You just can't cut it bro."

Miss Calendar cut in, "You can't measure up Mr. Harris. You'll fail again, like you failed all of us."

Xander smiled, "Are you done now? Cause I feel like a snack. So if our fun little pow-wow is over-"

"Fool," The First snarled. "You're fighting a hopeless battle in a lost war. Do you really think you can cut it? You're just going to fail everyone again. All the people that you've failed, have died because you couldn't protect them. It's happening all over again, and you will have no one to blame but yourself. You're the heart of this pathetic little gang? A broken heart is what you are. You can't even fix your own life. How can you hope to be strong enough for them?"

Xander stopped working and sighed, "Honestly, what do you think you're doing? Do you think you can break me by showing me myself? By pointing out my flaws? The faults in my friends? Are you hoping I'll cringe away in disgust at what I see? Please!"

Xander resumed whittling. "That only works on people who delude themselves into thinking they're greater than they are. I see my own failings and limitations every waking moment of my life. When I look in the mirror I accept what I see, with no excuses. You don't need to remind me of what I am and what I've done. You don't have to show me everyone I've let down. I see their faces every day and every night because I can't ever let them go. I won't let them go. I am my own worst enemy. Next to that, you can't ever hope to measure up. So please, go annoy some deluded sap who'll actually notice you."

Caleb was outwardly admiring the serene view through the window, and inwardly reveling in the visions of fiery chaos that would blanket this land when they win this war. Suddenly, a inhuman howl sounded out behind him and he turned to see The First pacing back and forth. Her face morphed back and forth between The First's true face and Buffy's in her rage.

Caleb was awed. "You're so beautiful when you're angry."

"Who does he think he is?" She growled. "'I see myself and all my flaws. I accept them. You can't break me, because I see.' He discarded me as an irritating insect! He is the insect! If I could but touch him I would gut him with my bare claws and hang his friends with his entrails while the life slowly bled out of him. Then he would truly see."

"Yes! Your will shall be done. Who is it that shall suffer your wrath? Tell me, and I will fall upon him and smite him like the sinner he is."

"The dark-haired boy of that little troupe. Xander," The First said in a mocking, sing-song voice.

Caleb drew himself up to his full height, "Then the one who sees shall face me, and shall see that your justice is not blind, but blinding."

The First stopped pacing and smiled wickedly, "I knew there was a reason I hired you."

Author's Postscript: And the rest, as they say, is history.