Spoilers: Buffy/Angel to end, Stargate Atlantis to Letters from Pegasus

Writing Home

Buffy slipped the DVD the Air Force courier had brought over into the player before taking her seat next to Dawn on the sofa. A spinning Air Force insignia appeared on the screen, only to be replaced by Xander's ever-smiling face.

"Hi guys, sorry it's been so long, but I knew going into this that it would probably be a while before I could get back to you. I wish I could tell you all what's been going on, but security and all means that this is going to be vetted before you see it, so I won't even try.

I'm ok, managed to keep myself from getting into too many scrapes, but it doesn't look like that's going to last much longer. Things are going bad, very bad: Sunnydale bad. And as much as I'd like to see you all come riding to my rescue, it isn't going to happen this time. I hope that one day you'll find out what this has all been about, and then you'll understand why I had to leave you all without telling you why.

Riley, this isn't your fall man: maybe I shouldn't have agreed to the blood test, but I still agreed to join this expedition knowing full well what might happen. I don't want you beating yourself up over this. I know we never really got along too well, but no hard feeling, ok?

Giles; you've been more of a father to me than that sorry sack of shit I used to call dad. I'm sorry I gave you such a hard time when I was younger: it's taken me a while to understand just how much stress you were under back then. Keep an eye on the others for me, and make sure someone decent takes over my patch in Africa.

Andrew, man, you'd have loved it here: it's a geek's paradise. I wish I could tell you what I've seen and done, but I just can't. So I'm just going to have to rely on you to take up my post as officially comic relief for the Scooby's. It's a tough job, but I know you're up to it. Make me proud.

Willow; you always have been and always will be my Number One Girl. I know Kennedy is probably rolling her eyes or glaring at the screen, but you're the closet thing I've ever had to a sister, and I wouldn't change that for anything. Keep safe for me.

Dawn, my little Dawn. Hope things are working out for you kid, as I'm not going to be there to watch your back anymore. I wish I could be there to see the woman you're going to become, but I know that you'll make me proud, no matter what you do. Keep your chin up, as Giles would say, and don't let your big sister boss you around. And don't worry: I total forgive you for that time with the taser.

Faith, Robin, you guys take care, and give my best to everyone at the school. I can't think of a better pair to keep them focused and safe. Wish I could have been there to help, but that's just the way it is. Hope everything works out between the two of you; you both deserve a little happiness.

Illyria; going to have to take a rain check on that drink I promised you. Not sure how things would have worked out, given my past history with women, but it wouldn't have been dull.

And Buffy; this isn't your fault. I know you still blame yourself for getting me into everything in the first place, but I think we can all agree that things could have been a hell of a lot worse, literally. You're the best human being I have ever met, and that's saying something. I'd fallow you to the gates of hell if you asked me to, but this time I have to go on without you.

We're not going to be going down without a fight, so don't count us out yet. Who knows: maybe we'll get lucky. If all goes well, I should be able to contact you again in another month or so. The last thing I want is any of you pestering the Air Force for more information: they're going to have enough on their minds right now, so leave them be.

If not, then don't worry: I wouldn't have missed this for the world, and I'll see you all again someday.

This is Alexander LaVelle Harris, signing off."

The screen went blank.

They all sat in silence for what felt like hours afterwards. Buffy had her arm wrapped around Dawn, trying to comfort her little sister. Giles had taken his glasses off and was rubbing his eyes, trying to disguise the tears that were starting to run down his cheeks. Illyria sat looking at the blank screen, trying to process the complex emotions running through her mind.

Willow was crying openly, Kennedy trying her best to comfort her. Andrew sat looking at the floor, unsure how to respond to the others. Riley had gotten up and walked over to the window and stood looking out at the stars. Faith looked almost in a state of shock, and sat holding Robins arm around her shoulders.

"Guys," Riley turned to face the others, "What I'm about to tell you could get me drummed out of the military..."

The End