Disclaimer: I've committed a terrible tragedy of epic proportions which must be punishable by death, or worse, being sued. I have willingly participated in the posting of a moral evil known as fanfic. Something that I do not own or claim to, and have not profited from in any way. If those who do own it like Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, 20th Century Fox or Dark Horse choose to prosecute me for this injustice they are welcome to, which is their right as the rightful owners of the material I have simply used for my own fun, then they are welcome to do so. However I would take it as a courtesy and personal favor if they did not.
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Rating: This particular fic is quite tame, in the PG-13 rating area for pretty much all audiences.
Distribution: That which I write almost entirely goes to buffynfaithdotnet and so will this one, other places are welcome to make the request for putting it elsewhere and I will be glad to approve.
Oh geez that hurt.
I sit up slowly and painfully, grabbing my forehead as I have a massive headache.
"Did anyone get the license plate on that fireball?"
I finally open my eyes and look around at my surroundings.
I'm talking to myself.
I look around more urgently to find my friends and the two nerds I was protecting.
What the heck happened to them? They're gone.
Xander, that's my name.
My head spins to try and find where the voice came from.
It sounded a little like Buffy.
"Xander, are you up there?"
It was Buffy. I know it was. But where is it…?
My eyes fall on a giant hole in the middle of the cemetery.
Oh my god…
I get up on my hands and knees and start to crawl my way over to it, despite the pain.
Damn, I think I would've preferred it if the fireball had hit me. It can't feel any worse than the way I'm feeling now.
Making it to the edge of the hole, I look down into it cautiously.
It kinda looks like there's a tunnel under there or something. Where are the girls though? Oh, there they are.
"Buffy, are you okay? Where's Dawn?"
She looks up at me, Dawn at her side, from inside the hole.
"Here… are Jonathan and Andrew up there with you?"
I look around the area like I did before.
"No, they must have skedaddled when I was out. Weasels."
I put my hand forward and the ground collapses into the hole under my weight.
Great, I can't even take care of a couple of nerds without screwing that up. What the hell good am I?
"Xander, you gotta find some rope or something and get us out of here."
"Right, okay I'll uh, I'll take a look around."
My best friend in the whole wide world is on a major power trip and looking to kill a couple of people. How the hell did things get so screwed up? How could I have let this happen?
"And hurry up before…"
I move away from the edge of the hole enough to sit on the ground.
Where the heck am I going to get some rope in the middle of a cemetery? There's no way I'm gonna find something to get my friends out of that dank pit. It would take way too long to find something. Willow could do all sorts of horrible things by then and there'd be no one to stop her, including tracking us all down here and killing us all. It's hopeless.
"Anya what are you doing here? Where's Giles?"
I go over to the hole again and look down. My ex-fiancée is standing in the hole with my best friend and her sister.
"Giles? Giles is back? You didn't tell me that."
Giles came back from England? Oh good, he'll know of a way to stop what's happening.
"Did he stop Willow?"
"No, and things just got a whole lot worse."
Things are worse? How can they be worse than what's happening now?
"End of the world worse. Willow's going to destroy it."
Oh dear god no. I can't let that happen. I can't let Willow do something like that. But I can't stop her on my own. I'm just one man. One ordinary, insignificant man. I don't have what it takes to stop Willow with the way she is.
"She can do that?"
"She can and she will when she's gets to where she's going."
Willow's going somewhere to end the world?
"Where is she going?"
"Big old satanic temple. Kingman's Bluff?"
She's gone to Kingman's Bluff to destroy the world?
I look around at where I am.
That isn't too far from here. If I could get them out of that cave then we could go. It might not be too late. But there's no way that I can find any rope at this time of day. Any store that might sell it is closed, and I can't break in, that would only bring the cops and end up slowing us down. What am I going to do?
"There's no temple on Kingman's Bluff."
I feel a little tremor in the ground. It's barely there but I can feel it just a little.
That must be Willow. She must be raising the temple out of the ground or something. Oh god, Willow's been my best friend since we were kids. I can't let her destroy the world. I have to do something. But what can I do? I'm not a slayer, I don't have any magical powers or super strength or speed or anything. I have to do something though. I have to find a way to stop this from happening. I could go there myself if I left right now. But I can't leave my friends down there alone. Buffy's the one with the supernatural strength, she's the only one that could stop Willow.
"Proserpexa? Who's she?"
"Way up there in the hierarchy of she-demons. Her followers intended to use her effigy to destroy the world. They all died when the temple got swallowed up in the big earthquake of '32."
"So now, 70 years later, Willow's going to make their dreams come true?"
"She's going to drain the planet's life force and funnel its energy through Proserpexa's effigy and burn the earth to a cinder."
Willow's going burn the world until everyone dies? I have to stop that, even if I have to go there myself.
"Not if I can help it."
"You can't. Something else Giles said, 'No magic or supernatural force can stop her.'"
I'm not a supernatural force. I'm just a regular guy. I can't see how I'm going to stop her, but I have to at least try. I'm the only one around who can do anything about it.
I look around again.
"What does that mean?"
"I don't know. He said 'The Slayer can't stop her.' And then he said a bunch of other stuff. He really wasn't too clear."
No, I have to stop her. I'm the only one who can.
I get up from where I am and figure out which way to Kingman's Bluff. I start walking towards it.
There has to be something I can do. I may not be Superman or Batman or have any special powers, but that's why no one else can get to her. Willow's gone up against Buffy and Giles and all sorts of magical creatures and they've all died or gotten seriously hurt because of it. I have to find a way to make her stop. There has to be something I can do to make her stop. She could kill me if I go up against her, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't try.
I feel a stabbing pain in my leg as I walk, but I keep going.
It's the only thing I can do. If I don't, the world is going to end and then it won't matter whether I tried or not. But Buffy would try. She's probably down in that pit right now trying to figure out a way to get out so she can try and stop Willow. She might not get there in time though. I'm the only one who can get there in time to stop her. And that's what I'm going to do, because it's right.
The ground rumbles under my feet a little as I get closer and closer to Kingman's Bluff. My whole body aches even though the shaking is only a little tremor. There's pain shooting through my leg, in my arm, my head feels like it's going to explode if I keep moving like this. But I keep going.
Willow has to be stopped. There has to be a way. She's my very best friend. I can't believe she really wants to do something like this. Deep down inside, there has to be some part of her that doesn't want to do this. Some part of her that I can reach if I only try. It has to be done by someone, and I'm the one who's going to do it.
I make my way passed the big elaborate sign that announces Kingman's Bluff as you go that way.
I'm not sure they would've made the sign look so nice if they knew that it was a place where the world could be ended. I'm sure they would've made it look a little less inviting.
I make my way up the hill as the ground starts to slope upward a little. I can feel an energy vibrating from the top of the bluff and I'm suddenly wondering if the shaking is really the ground or just me.
I know I'm scared. I know I could die if I get up there and Willow won't listen to me. But I know I can do something if I only try. I can do this. I can save the world. I've seen Buffy do it more times than I can count. She makes it look easy. It shouldn't be too hard to stop a hopped up super-witch from burning the earth to a nice barbeque black. Things like that happen every day to people like me. I've spent the last 6 years of my life facing things that were stronger than me, faster than me, and more powerful in every way than me. I've been there and survived. I've beaten them all. This isn't any different. Just because she's all powerful doesn't mean she won't listen to me if I talk. She always listened to me. Even when I said the stupidest things in the world, she listened to me. I know she'll listen to me now.
I see Willow standing a few feet away, all decked out in black, staring at a huge steeple looking thing with a marble-made naked woman in front of her.
Now if that isn't a phallic symbol, I don't know what is. If the woman weren't all demonic and scary, she might actually be hot. Minus the whole serpents crawling over her thing too.
"Proserpexa, let the cleansing fires from the depths burn away the suffering souls and bring sweet death."
Big blue lightning bolts start to attack Willow and the steeple from the ground. The naked woman statue starts to glow and I know that something big is about to happen.
All right, it's time to do something. It's time to be a hero.
I start walking towards Willow, closing the distance between us. The ground under Willow starts to make this black dust cloud that spins around her and then shoots out from her chest with balls of green energy. Things start to shake really bad but I keep going.
I have to get between them if I'm gonna make Willow listen to me.
I walk right into the path of the energy and it comes to a sudden stop.
Oh thank god, I was worried it'd kill me.
I face Willow.
"Hey black-eyed girl. Whatcha doing?"
She glares at me with all kinds of rage.
I've never seen her look that angry at me, or anyone for that matter. But I have to do this. I have to talk her out of this. It's the right thing to do.
"Get out of here."
Not gonna happen.
"Oh, no. You're not the only one with powers, you know. You may be a hopped-up uber-witch… but this carpenter can drywall you into the next century."
"I'm not joking, Xander. Get out of my way, now."
She shoots a blast of energy at me, sending me flying into the steeple and to the ground hard.
She's listening to me. She's hearing what I have to say. I just have to keep her talking, maybe there's a way to get to her somehow.
Willow starts the ritual again, the blue lightning coming from everywhere around us. She starts feeding the energy into the steeple again as the ground shakes really bad.
I have to get up, I have to keep fighting and talking to her.
I get up and in the way of the energy again.
"You can't stop this."
Gee, like that thought never crossed my mind.
"Yeah, I get that. It's just, where else am I gonna go? You've been my best friend my whole life. World gonna end… where else would I want to be?"
She smiles at me and I think I see a hint of a laugh there.
I'm getting to her, just that little bit. It's not over, but I have to keep trying to reach her, no matter what she does to me.
"Is this the master plan? You're gonna stop me by telling me you love me?"
"Well I was going to walk you off a cliff and hand you an anvil but… it seemed kinda cartoony."
She smiles again at my joke.
It's working… I think.
"Still making jokes."
"I'm not joking. I know you're in pain. I can't imagine the pain you're in."
Her angry look turns to one of pain.
"And I know you're about to do something apocalyptically evil, and stupid, and hey, I still want to hang. You're Willow."
"Don't call me that."
I still remember when we met.
"The first day of kindergarten, you cried because you broke the yellow crayon, and you were too afraid to tell anyone. You've come pretty far. Ending the world not a terrific notion, but the thing is, yeah, I love you."
She gets choked up by my words.
"I love crayon-breaky Willow, and I love scary-veiny Willow. So if I'm going out, it's here. If you want to kill the world, well then start with me. I've earned that."
It takes her a second to respond.
"You think I won't?"
Even if she does, I'll keep trying.
"It doesn't matter, I'll still love you."
Willow throws her hand out to scratch me and I feel nails digging into my skin.
I have to keep going, I have to keep trying.
I look her right in the eyes.
"I love you."
She throws her arm out to slap me and it knocks me off my feet. I feel like I've been punched in the gut.
I have to keep going, I have to keep trying.
I pull myself to my feet, despite the pain. Looking her in the eyes, I say it again.
"I… love you…"
She hits me with a bolt of lightning and it makes me bend over in pain.
I have to keep going, I have to keep trying.
I do my best to stand up straight and face her.
"I love you Willow."
She tries to hit me with another energy blast but I barely feel it. I keep walking towards her. Her tears start coming and I know she can't keep going like this forever.
"I love you."
She tries to blast me again but nothing happens. I get within inches of her and I open my arms to hug her. She makes two fists and starts to hit me as hard as she can with the backs her hands. Even though it hurts, I still move right up to her and put my arms around her. She starts to cry and falls to her knees. I kneel down with her and take her in my arms.
I hate to see her like this. She means the world to me. She's in so much pain. All I can say is…
"I love you."
My best friend in the whole world keeps crying. With every second that passes, her sobs get worse and worse. I can't help but just keep holding her as tight as I can as she cries.
It's the only thing I can think of that will do any good. Thank god she's all right, or will be anyway. That's all that really matters now. That's all that means anything when my best friend is in pain. I knew if I could only get to her that everything would be all right, and it will be.
I feel tears in my eyes as we sit here together on the bluff.
Everything will be all right because the world isn't going to end.