Standard Bearer
by Chaoseternus

It was always Buffy, that was the fighter never me. I was always the depot, the helper. The guy in the background that helped to keep the mood light or so I thought. Strange.

I suppose it makes sense of a sort. I mean, Buffy never chose the hand of Fate dealt her at first she resisted it refused to accept it and only in time did she really understand who she was and what she was. Then we had Willow , who had power, but was corrupted by that power and aided often because it gave her an excuse to use that power. Not to mention Giles, who had a rather rebellious youth and had little choice but to make up for that youth or be killed by the Watchers Council who wanted him dead long before Eygon and as much as Giles might hate to admit it they were only stopped by his father.

And then there was me. The only one of the entire group, who chose to fight and to stand against the creatures in the dark, Buffy often tried to take that choice from me, but as much as she would have liked to keep me safe. She couldn't because I had made the choice for myself and I was too hard-headed to be distracted from that. There were a few Oz, Anya and Riley for example, who assisted for a time but their assistance was brief and they left us quickly. Not all continued the fight after they had gone and strange as it might seem. Despite being the most useless of the group, I was the only one who never faltered, and never wavered.

Buffy fled soon after coming to Sunnydale, Giles run away to England when he realised that Buffy longer needed him. And Willow totally lost control and had to be taken away from us, but I was always here, always fighting, always trying to make a difference. Not always succeeding but always doing the best I could even if not everyone agreed with my decisions of my choices, and particularly who I trusted and did not trust

Is this why I was chosen?

It is so strange; I would have thought Buffy as the strongest fighter and tactical thinker, Giles as our brains or Willow as a favourite wicked Witch would have been chosen and not I. Why is it then that I got this blessing, this curse? I never thought of myself as a rallying point, never thought of myself as a standard-bearer, a hero, a Paladin. But that is what I have ended up becoming.

The first indication we had involved a raid on an encampment of daemons in southern Italy 20 slayers taken on 5 daemons and 15 vampires. It should have been a walk in the park, but it was an ambush, and we faced odds of 15 to 1, 8 of the slayers were already down, and it looked as if the rest with I were about to follow. It was at that moment that it happened from the first time.

It started as a burning feeling of power in my chest, a fiery heat at the back of my eyes, and something indefinable snapping within as I saw those I was responsible for the dying around me. The next moment, there was a standard in my hand. Somehow I knew it came from within and a voice crying out over the battlefield to 'Hold the Line'. That voice was mine but it was heard by everyone and my mouth had not moved. My slayers rallied at that moment, it was as if they had the game to the will to fight and the enemy in that moment had lost it, had somehow been reduced, whilst those I was in command of had become something more, Something intangibly far more deadly.

They won too.

15 to one, but it was the slayers who were victorious, the slayers who drove the enemy from the battlefield, not without losses, but from defeated beaten at one moment to strong fierce and determined the next is a massive difference and one hell of a rally.

My band of Slayers looked at me with awe after that and who could blame them? If they did it did not know what had happened or why, but I knew it had been important and that it needed to be reported. It bought the old gang back together, of course, as they try to figure out exactly what I had done or what had happened to me but despite all their cajoling, all their assistance I could not repeat it.

It was three months before the Standard appeared again, another ambush, and once more this indefinable thing I could create rallied the troops around me. We won again this time without losses and word began to pass through the daemonic underworld that troops under my command would always rally would never falter, would never break.

They began to fear me, with the possible exception of Andrew I was still the weakest of the Scooby's, especially with the loss of my eye which left me most vulnerable to, if you will excuse the bad pun, being blindsided and I was certainly no Slayer but those we fought were beginning to fear me . But like Willow , they feared me, not because of who I was but because of what I could do even if in all honesty, I did not know how I did it.

But of course, the world being what it is, I got practice, lots of it. What came next was the inevitable result of hard earned experience, control and then with the experience of control, came knowledge. Knowledge of not just how to rally but to bolster and improve the capabilities of those under my banner, that started simply with being worried about the injuries my people were taking. If only Slayers were involved perhaps, nothing would have been noticed, not with their naturally enhanced healing but Slayers have Watchers, watchers who began to heal far faster than they should but only when my Standard was on the battlefield. Watchers are trained to notice such things, and they noticed very quickly.

I've gained nothing I could use to help myself, only a Standard I can use to help and rally others, a Standard that comes from within, a Standard that, according to Willows careful tracing of the magic's involved comes from choosing, and continuing to choose and remain faithful to that choice despite all that could discourage, to weaken resolve.

From there, they checked what remained of the records of the late, unlamented version of the Council of Watchers and found other such Standard Bearers, all individuals who had chosen the fight and remained true, never someone who had been chosen.

My choice is, as always, my blessing and my curse, my free will has given me a powerful tool with which to fight the enemy simply from making the choice of my own freewill, more then ever, it has made me someone to stand up and be counted.

I have my command team of course, no Standard Bearer should be without one, my fighter, my witch and my Librarian, the Scooby gang together once more and now, I have the full Council of Slayers and Watchers at my command, all rallied around the one who choose.

Strange how things end and stranger perhaps, how they begin.

I do not own nor do I claim ownership of characters and/or concepts from Buffy The Vampire Slayer