Title: A Day Late And A Dollar Short (1/1)
Rating: Nothing worse than the show
Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to the characters depicted in this story. I am not writing this story for profit; this is purely for entertainment value only (god I hope this has some entertainment value). Please don't sue.
Summary: Post Chosen. Some days you're the dog and some days you're the hydrant. Xander gets the 'honour' of being both.
A Day Late And A Dollar Short
"Hey kid, sorry to tell you this, but you're dead."
Xander looked at the Huggy Bear knock off with a mixture of shock, acceptance and anger, a potent mix that managed to keep him pretty much paralysed for the moment. The never ending whiteness of the room he was currently in was more than a little off putting, having been so used to the darker side of life, not to mention triggering his long dormant agoraphobia, and only helped to increase his inability to move.
"I'm guessing that this isn't some elaborate hoax by one of those tacky hidden camera shows, is it?" he asked, knowing the answer.
"'Fraid not kid, this is the real deal."
He managed to nod in acceptance of that, the energy of stringing his previous sentence together already depleted. He shivered involuntarily as a strange sensation travelled down his spine, which given his supposed non-living status was odd, and he tried to think of what to say.
"How?" was all he could come up with.
"If it's any consolation to you, you went out swinging. Saved a few of your girls in the process too. Some of us up here are still trying to work out how you managed to blow up the petrol station without anything to ignite it with, but you've always seemed to pull off the impossible when you needed to."
The memories were coming back to him now. A group of… devil worshipers for want of a better term had been abducting people on the motorway and removing their hearts. Going by the one eyewitness they'd found, a homeless man who had been sleeping on the hard shoulder not far from on of the abductions, Giles had worked out that they were followers of Azazael, one of Lucifer's lieutenant's who didn't have the patience to wait for the end of days to set foot, or hoof in this case, on Earth.
Given that Azazael would make Godzilla look like a guppy, and had the power to turn the planet into a molten wasteland with but a gesture, it meant that they had to pull out all the stops to ensure his followers didn't get a chance to complete their ritual. There was an upside however, if you could call it that, which was to summon such a high, or low depending on your perspective, level demon to this plane required a lot of hearts to empower it; forty-nine if Giles' information was correct and more often than not it was.
Only a dozen or so victims had been discovered so far, which meant that they had a chance of nipping it in the bud before it got too close to the wire. That led to a showdown at a service station, where Xander and his contingent of Slayers battled the followers and their enthralled demon army.
When Xander felt that the tide was not turning in their favour, he decided to sacrifice himself to save the others. Triggering the emergency recall spell he had Willow cast on each of his charges, which teleported them from wherever they currently were to their headquarters in Shropshire, he had ensured that he was the primary target for the bad guys and lured them to the neighbouring petrol station, blowing the pumps and killing them all an a huge ball of fire.
"What now?" Xander eventually asked.
Xander might not be the smartest person on the planet, but he knew that he would not be where he was, not that he actually knew where he was, if he was to simply go to his final resting place. He was kinda hoping that the whole 'suicide being a mortal sin' thing didn't apply to his situation, as the prospect of being sent to the place that was no doubt filled with demons he or his friends had killed was not exactly appealing.
"Don't worry kid," the kaleidoscopically clothed 'man' assured him, no doubt reading his mind, "There's no way you'd travel on the down escalator. At the very least, those already down there are so scared shitless over what you'd do to them they've convinced old Lucy to waive any rights he might have had over you. That's the closest thing you get to respect from them, fearing what you'd do, and given that you ensured old Asbo didn't get to start the party early, Lucy was in a magnanimous mood. Anyway, you sacrificed yourself for the greater good, that pretty much guarantees you your own personal cloud in the everlasting paradise."
"If that's true, why am I here and not there?" he asked, confused as to why he wasn't yet at his final resting place. "Don't get me wrong, I'm not overly thrilled about the whole death thing I've got going now, but if what you say is true and I've got a guaranteed spot in the happy place, why am I not there yet?"
"That's where the apology comes in. There's been a… clerical error."
"As far as St. Peter's records show, you're already up here."
"They thought you were already dead," he went to explain, "which is why every time until now whenever you've sustained an injury that should have been fatal, it wasn't."
"Still not getting you."
"You got hit over the head with a Troll God hammer. Twice. No mortal should survive a single blow, let alone two. A Slayer, who wasn't holding back on the strength, strangled you and you lived to talk about it. A beam of energy meant to trigger the destruction of Earth hit you and you survived. That's not counting all the 'close calls' you had over the years on normal patrols. The only reason you're here now is because people in the know had a vested interest in the outcome of your fight and were watching."
"How did this happen?" Xander asked, trying his best to keep his anger in check.
"It looks like when your friend Jesse was killed, they got confused and put your name down instead. They added his name to the list once they realised, but forgot to take your name off."
His paralysis suddenly gone, Xander moved faster than thought and slammed his fist into the other 'man's' jaw, feeling a sense of satisfaction as he felt it break from the force.
"You're telling me that my life has felt like a frickin' TV show all these years because someone filed the wrong paperwork!?" he yelled, completely incensed.
The man, who Xander realised had yet to introduce himself, waved his hand over his face to heal the fracture in his jaw so he could answer. "You throw a mean punch there kid, you could have been a contender. To answer your question, basically yes. The problem now is that the big cheese feels that you've been slighted by St. Peter and wanting to keep the cosmos intact by staying infallible, has decided that you should be compensated."
"I know I'm going to regret this, but how exactly?"
"You get to live again, as someone else. By and large, reincarnation doesn't take place, except for when it was necessary to prevent the End of Days from taking place, so while this isn't an offer made to everyone, there are precedents for it."
"What's the catch?" Xander asked immediately, knowing that you should always look a gift horse in the mouth.
"One, you won't know who you were before you arrived here. Two, because you weren't supposed to get a second go around, you'll have to be sent to the future."
"How far in the future?"
"Does it matter, it's not as though you'll remember this conversation."
"Around 500 years. Before you ask, it was the first place the big kahuna could place you without doing something… drastic."
Xander could tell that whatever God might have needed to do, he didn't want to know about it.
"These things always come in threes, so what's the third thing?"
"Your… plumbing will be different."
"You'll be a female of the species."
"So, waddaya say?"
"I want to live."
WHAAAH!! WHAAAH!! WHAAAH!!
"Congratulations, it's a girl!"
"Well honey, what shall we call her?" the doting father asked his tired but happy wife.
As the nurse placed the baby into her arms, she knew the perfect name for her little girl. "Welcome to the world, River."