TITLE: "To Live is the Greatest Pain"

AUTHOR: Wicked Raygun

EMAIL: wicked_raygun@hotmail.com

SUMMARY: The events of the Gift are altered and Xander will never be the same. What does someone do who feels the have no future?

RATING: PG-13 and possibly an R for disturbing description and imagery of traumatic events.

DISCLAIMER: Honestly I have to ask whether this is necessary. I mean, does anyone here think for a second that I own this stuff. Well, anyway, to everybody who does own a piece of the Buffster and/or her friends and enemies I mean you no harm. I'm just borrowing your toys for a moment to present a little puppet show. I promise to bring them back in near-mint condition. Even Spike.

SPOILERS: Up to "The Gift". Aren't they all?

ARCHIVE: You want it. You can have it. Just let me know where it goes first.

AUTHOR'S NOTES: This story is written in the first person using the wonderful technology I like to call XanderVision. Patent pending. Also… This story is not…. I repeat NOT BX. It is however Xander oriented. Warning! Angst aplenty!

FEEDBACK: Oh please, please, please.

DEDICATION: To everyone who knows that Xander has a dark side.


The day we took on Glory will forever be ingrained into my memory for two reasons. One was watching Anya die.

The other was her saying she would marry me.

Before I delve into the circumstances concerning her dying. And me seeing it. I feel I should talk about her saying "yes."

Glory, insane hell goddess, had Dawn and was going to use her blood to go home. Not caring that it would rip the very fabric of the universe to do it. You know. I gotta agree with Buffy on this one. As far as motives for bringing about an Apocalypse go, Glory's was really stupid. At least Adam had some ambition, what with wanting to repopulate the world with Cyborg Demons.

Glory's lack of brilliant motive didn't make her any less dangerous, though. And Anya was truly freaked. While we were supposed to be looking for the Dagon's Sphere, she grabbed me and said she wanted to "relax." It wasn't exactly the best time for sex and I would have told her so but that panicked look in her eyes quickly killed that.

After the conclusion of our activities, we once again began looking for the Dagon's Sphere. I pried a little to see what she was feeling and she told me how truly scared and miserable she was. Normally when the world was due for an Apocalypse she would get gone quickly. But now that she was in love with me all she could think about was how terrified she was for me and herself and Dawn. How she wished she could spare some feeling to the rest of the world but just couldn't because it was all too much. She told me that she couldn't possibly by any more nervous.

I proved her wrong by pulling out the ring from my pocket. It had been sitting there for a good month. I had been waiting for the perfect moment to ask her. But nothing seemed right. I really wanted to do the whole "on bended knee" thing. And I would have. But that moment of pure emotion coming from Anya was so beautiful I had to pull out the box and dare the Fates to spoil this moment.

Anya slapping me did that pretty well.

Never one to stay serious for long, I had to jokingly ask her if I could take that as a "maybe". She didn't seem to find it funny though. She was upset because the only reason I was proposing was because I thought the world was gonna end. That I thought that it would be incredibly romantic but in the end I wouldn't have to do anything.

She was wrong. And I proved it to her. I wasn't proposing because the world was gonna end. I was proposing because it wasn't. I knew in my heart that we would prevail. After all, up to that point we always did.

I was going to live a long and silly life. And I just wasn't interested in doing that if she wasn't there to share it with me.

When she told me yes I damn near blew up. Here was this amazing woman who was willing to spend the rest of her life with me. Me.

I wanted to put the ring on her finger right then and there. Yelling to all of Sunny Dale that despite all the crap my life consisted of that I had finally beat my curse. For once happiness was within my grasp.

The Fates don't seem to like me happy.

When we took on Glory the plan was to keep Glory distracted long enough so that she missed her window. When I saw the wrecking ball I knew my part.

Watching the fight I waited for the perfect time to nail Glory. My precision in bowling was just as effective with a wrecking ball let me tell you.

I was about to join my friends in trying to get up to where Dawn was, to save her, when I saw someone at the top of the tower with her. I was petrified. Even more so when I saw him take out a knife. Then I saw Spike up there trying to fight this guy off.

He failed.

I watched Spike plummet the ten or so stories to the ground. I panicked. I grabbed Anya's gun. For some reason I thought it would come in handy and at the time I was glad I did. I aimed. I prayed to God. I told him that if I make this shot he could have anything he wanted from me.

Then I fired.

I still remember the noise. Oh god I remember the noise.

Whoever was up there with Dawn fell. I saw his knife glint and fall out of his hands but didn't think much of it. I just saved Dawn's life and possibly the world, I really didn't care about one stupid knife.

Knowing I couldn't do anything else from my position I jumped out of the wrecking ball machine and went to see if the rest of the gang needed help. As my feet touched the ground I heard a shriek. It sounded like Willow. My memory knew her high pitched wail anywhere.

I ran for all I was worth.

What I saw still haunts my dreams to this day.





Oh god there was a lot of blood. Willow just sat there cradling Anya and rocking back and forth. The knife sticking out grotesquely from her throat. She was drowning on her own blood. There is no sound more horrifying then someone choking on their own blood. None.

I pulled her away from Willow. If she was going to die then the last thing she would see was my face.

I probably should have been yelling for help. But something inside me knew it was futile. It may sound like I had given up on her. But I knew there was nothing to do. So I held her. I told her I loved her. And then I said "Goodbye."

The light faded from her eyes. I knew she was dead; at least, subconsciously. That didn't stop me from holding her and saying sweet nothings in her ear, though. I remember whispering into her ear that she would have made a wonderful wife and an even better mother. She would have, too.

I closed her eyes. Not out of any gesture of respect like you see on TV. But because without that sparkle of life in her eyes she just wasn't my Anya. I couldn't stand it.

Kissing her forehead, I stood up. I wanted revenge. Pure and simple. I felt an emotion That I hadn't felt in a longtime…Hate.

I hated Glory. I hated her minions. I hated anything and everything that ever caused me pain. I haven't actually hated anything since Angelus. Hate is a consuming emotion. Once you let it overcome you it took time, patience and a lot of love to take it away.

I didn't want it to go away. There is something liberating about hate. It's a very "in the moment" emotion. One that can make you do the unthinkable. Damning the consequences until later.

I told Giles to watch over Anya's body. He had never taken an order from me before but I knew he would obey me.

Looking up I could see Buffy putting the finishing touches on Glory with the troll hammer. The hammer had been Anya's idea. Suddenly she turns back into Ben. Buffy halts her attack.. She knows she should but she just can't bring herself to kill him; instead, she tells him to keep Glory far away from her and her family. She leaves. To see her sister I imagine.

I approached Ben and knelt down next to him. I asked him if he could move. He told me "Not yet." He takes in a labored breath. "She could have killed me," he told me.

"No. Buffy isn't a killer. She's a hero. Heroes don't get their hands dirty." I looked him straight in the eye and said, "Glory will be back. For revenge if nothing else. She'll torture her and the people she loves. Simply because she can. Buffy knows all this… and yet she still won't kill you." When he didn't respond I continued, "People like her shouldn't have to make the tough choices. So it comes down to people like me." That's when I saw the horror in his eyes as the realization of what I said finally hit him.

I placed my hands on opposite sides of his head. "If it's any consolation… I hope it doesn't hurt." In a split second I saw his emotions change to one of acceptance.

Then I twisted his neck.

The wet snap was so loud I almost expected my eardrums to burst. The next sound was infinitely worse, however.

The audible gasp from behind me was from Willow. I turned to see the most horrified expression I have ever seen on her face. She was frightened and disgusted. At me.

I didn't care. I truly didn't care.

I went over to Giles. He of course had also heard the snap. I expected some form of judgment like what I got from Willow; but instead, he just looked at me and nodded. I wasn't clear on why he did that. Approval. Some form of understanding, maybe.

I didn't care either way.

I took Anya from his arms and ran my fingers into her hair. That's when I noticed that my hands were covered in blood. It caused her hair to sleek back as if she'd just used mousse or hair-gel. It was in no way a comfortable thing to see. I kissed her gently on her lips, tasting her still warm blood in the process. Then I slowly remove the knife from her neck. More blood comes out but it flows much slower. Not that it matters any more. She's dead. Nothing will change that.

I stand once again. I run over to where I saw the body of the man I shot with Anya's revolver. It was then I remembered I still had it. It was in my jacket pocket.

I took in his features as I came up to the body. It was that creepy Doc guy from earlier that day. Apparently I hadn't killed him well enough when I rammed his sword through his chest.

That's when I realize I could have prevented this. I should have made sure he was dead. Cut his head off or something. Anya is dead because of my carelessness.

My rage was nearing sub-orbital heights now. I never knew I could snarl.

The very knife that had killed my fiancée, plunged down over and over and over and over again. The noise it makes as it enters his body is a sickening squish and crack that motivated me to keep stabbing.

The sounds from my throat were feral. A mix of all my regret and frustration stemming from a lifetime of pain.

This was for Anya never getting a chance to have children.

This was for Glory.

This was for my friends abandoning me during my senior year and their first year of college.

This was for Willow choosing Oz over me.

This was for Cordelia dumping me on Valentine's Day.

This was for Angelus making Buffy cry.

This was for Buffy choosing a vampire over me.

This was for Buffy not killing Angel when I had to kill Jesse.

This was for the times when my Dad beat me.

This was for the times my Mom never did anything to help me when he did.

This was for spending nearly every Christmas from as far back as I could remember outside to avoid my parents fighting.

Everything. All my pain. I held nothing back. Every selfish emotion I had ever repressed because I didn't think I had a right to dump my problems on other people. It all culminated at the tip of this knife.

The black blood was allover me. On my face. In my mouth. On my hands. On my clothes. Everywhere.

Finally the adrenaline started to die down and I had to will my arm to move up and down again. The knife wasn't penetrating with the same fluidity anymore because off the lack of power in my thrusts. The inhuman snarling that escaped my lips earlier was being replaced by whimpering and sobbing.

Finally I stopped.

The knife fell from my hands with a mixture of a clang and a splash. The goo that was this creatures excuse for blood dripped off of me. Not that I cared.

A pair of hands laid on me. My arm swung behind me to swat them away. Death was my only comfort now. I craved it. I craved it like no junkie ever craved his next high. I wanted release. I had no intention of living without her.

The revolver.

I reached into my jacket, grabbed it, placed the barrel under my chin and pulled the trigger.


I threw it away just as many different arms dragged me down to restrain me.

NO! Why would they do this to me? Why wouldn't they let me die? To live was the greatest pain.

A fist collided into my face.

And then it was black.