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I am the Champion.
I never thought of myself as such, I was always the lackey, the zeppo, the comic relief.
Yet, it is me who is the champion.
Yet to Giles, it seems to make sense.
A spell, a simple thing really, designed for use by a champion to find any active champions in any area they move into, prevent mutual interference and perhaps the worst of all possibilities, a blue-on-blue. We used it on our move in Cleveland, a sensible precaution.
It marked me as the champion, not Buffy, not Willow, not even Giles.
I did not believe at first, Buffy, Willow they both assumed that the spell had failed and yet…
What Giles said had a ring of truth, it was me who had the option to turn away and didn't. It was me that stood beside Buffy whenever she needed my support, as best I could of course, I am only human and I have my failures. It was me who gave Willow the strength to face her humanity again, pulling her off the brink of magical destruction on that bluff, and it was me who for many a year was the glue that kept the group together, its morale centre according to Giles, the only one of the group who had their mistakes but never faltered, always stood in the line.
Is that what a Champion truly is?
Not the one who fights, but the one in the background, the one giving others the strength, the resolve to fight even when all they wish to do is run away, stick their heads in the sand, bury themselves in denial and despair.
Perhaps, I can see no other reason why I of all those who escaped was labelled as champion, yet part of me wishes to believe, hopes that it was all just a mistake and that I can go back to be labelled simply Xander, the heart, the soul.
But most of me knows that the spell spoke truth and that nothing is ever going to be truly the same again.
I had thought that the definition of Champion was 'one who does damage in the defence of the Earth', a rather rough translation from the Sumarian and yet still… it fits.
How much damage did we cause the dark simply because I was there to give Buffy CPR?
How much damage did we cause the dark simply because the group was held together?
Does indirect damage truly count when marking a champion?
I would have thought not, but…
Or does Champion just mark someone who had free will, who could have walked away and yet, never did, refused to turn their back.
I never turned back, I never could. I felt the desire but had could I go?
I was needed even if I was not always wanted.
But perhaps irrelevant, I am known now, marked and the dark will come for me. I need to be ready, for them and for all the pain my loss would cause those who fight, those who truly matter, I must be ready.