Some time later, Faith wandered over to where Xander was standing in the main lobby of the school while he was carefully studying the room, looking around intently. "Whatcha doin', shovel-guy?"
His lips quirking, Xander shifted the shovel resting on his right shoulder and glanced over Faith's head at the small group standing and talking to each other in the school corridor. This consisted of the core Scooby Gang: Buffy, Giles, Dawn, Liam, and Willow. All of the others who had been with them, the former Potentials who were now Slayers or normal humans, Wood, Andrew, and Anya had left the school to go back to their homes or Buffy's house to eat, clean up, fall asleep, or start packing before their return to their original homes or to their new residences, wherever that might be.
Xander felt a pang over one certain person. Before she had left the school, Anya had sought him out, to place a finger on his lips for silence before kissing him gently on his left cheek. Stepping back, she had then used that same finger to trace around the edge of his eyepatch, while whispering "Mimisbrunnr."
Despite all his best slacker efforts, some knowledge had stayed in Xander's mind from all the Scooby Gang research parties trying to find information about the current Big Bad. It also helped that the shovel had promptly translated Anya's word into "Mimir's well."
In Norse legend, Odin, allfather of the gods, went to a renowed mystical well guarded and protected by a mysterious being known as Mimir, and drank from it, gaining immeasurable wisdom from the magical water. All it cost Odin to accomplish this was the payment of an eye, which was promptly taken from him.
Anya had looked at Xander long enough to know he understood what she meant, before giving a last sad smile to him and then striding off without a single look back, his last glipse of Aud of Sjornjost her blonde hair and the straight back of a princess.
Whatever she had done and wherever she would go, Xander Harris wished her well.
Blinking his remaining eye, Xander looked down to where Faith was patiently watching him. A little astonished she had gone so long without a single smart-ass remark or crude comment, he finally got around to answering her question.
"I'm just looking at what I helped build, 'cause it's gonna be the last time."
"You ain't ever comin' back here?" questioned Faith.
Xander snorted. "Not just here, the school. Sunnydale."
"What? I mean, you was born here, right? Uh, also, what 'bout your folks?"
Xander rolled his eye. "I don't exactly have any warm, fuzzy feelings for this place, even if the Hellmouth is gone. Too much….happened here. Well, yeah, some good things, but….no. I'm not coming back."
He walked over to a totally empty floor-standing display case against a wall, and gestured at it, grimacing at the same time. "Trophy case for school sports. Not that ol' Sunnydale High was ever a champion all that often. Too many students got eaten, and the trophies earned anyway were pretty much destroyed, when, uh, the first school…." He trailed off, determinely studying the empty trophy case while Faith winced.
Clearing his throat, Xander continued, "Regarding my folks….well, a few weeks back, when things really started getting crazy, I went over to their apartment and found out they'd skipped town. Without telling me, leaving any forwarding address, and owing three month's back rent. I paid it, and….no word from them since. I'm sure of one thing, though. Wherever they are, there's also alcoholic beverages."
Faith watched with an aching heart as Xander's shoulders slumped after that too-calm monologue. He remained still staring into the trophy case as she came up beside him and also looked into it. This gave them the excuse of pretending to ignore their reflections in the glass of the case.
Faith casually asked, watching Xander's reflection, "What 'bout the others? Do….you think they're gonna stay or leave?"
"Giles, Willow, Kennedy, most of the Slayers, some of the Potentials, and the Orphan's Group are going to England, setting up the new Watchers' Council. Giles won't ever come back. Too many bad memories, especially since Jenny's clan took her body away. Willow, probably not. Like me, not exactly a fun life here. If she ever visits her parents, which isn't likely, she'll leave as fast as possible.
"Wood, Andrew, and some of the Slayers and also some of the Potentials are going to Cleveland to set up a Slayers House. Andrew's the only Sunnydale native, and he's glad to get away from here. He'll have a better life in Cleveland, as long as he cuts down on the geek references.
"Buffy and Dawn are going with Liam, for a few weeks at least. He has to….deal with what's happened to him, and how that might change what his little group does there, fighting the good fight. A Slayer will certainly help, at least for a while. It'll be up to those two to plan their life together. Dawnstar, she might go to college in L.A., or apply to Oxford or Cambridge and help out the new Council. She's got an entire life away from here. I think, once in a while, they might come back….to visit their mom's grave."
Xander fell silent then, without mentioning another name. Faith watched the man's reflection in the glass, observing how he was staring blankly into the trophy case. Without thinking about it, her right hand moved away from her side, to bump against Xander's left hand….and then clasped it. For a few seconds, her heart was hammering….until her hand was squeezed back.
Both of them just stood there for a while, holding hands while pretending to look in to the case, but in reality watching each other's reflections. Finally, Faith said what had been in her mind in the first place when she had sought out Xander. "So…what're you gonna do? I mean, goin' to find the new Slayers eventually, yeah, I got that, but….what 'bout right now?"
Xander gently squeezed her hand again, and said thoughtfully, "Well, I'll be going to L.A. also with the Buffster, Dawnikins and Liveboy for a few days. From what I've heard, it's not like they don't have any spare bedrooms in that hotel of theirs. Anyway, when I'm there, I have to clean up another mess of the Powers That Be, involving Cordelia." He shifted the shovel on his right shoulder, and continued. "This will cure those monster headaches she's been having during her prophecies. Assholes." The last word was muttered by Xander.
Faith smiled at the man's outrage on what had happended to his former girlfriend, and rubbed her right thumb over the back of Xander's left hand. A gentle reminder, perhaps, to keep in his mind the word 'former' when he again met Queen C. She listened with interest as Xander went on, "After that's done, I'm gonna do what I've wanted to do for years. I'm gonna get a classic car."
The dark Slayer now glanced over with total incredulity at Xander. The last time she had been this close to a male and had seen and heard that exact look and sound of total lust from that person, Faith had been lying down on her back on a bed, stark naked except for wearing a scoop each of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream, a whole banana, thirty seconds' application of spray-on whipped cream, a tablespoon of chopped walnut sprinkles, and a single maraschino cherry.
In the school, Faith momentarily brooded that the walnut sprinkles had been a minor error. She'd spent the next day digging diverse nut pieces out of various crevices. Her attention was brought back by a worshipping chant of, "Late-sixties Ford Mustang….bucket seats….V8 engine….woodgrain trim.…"
Faith gave serious thought to giving Xander a good whack upside his head before he drowned in his drool. Instead, she cleared her throat and boldly said, "I'm callin' control of the radio, boytoy."
There was a dead silence.
Faith actually had a moment of sheer terror as she'd thought she'd once again gone too far. Then, a distant voice from the man on her right spoke, "You get it half the day, mornings or afternoons, to be agreed to later. What isn't negotiable is the following: no Celine Dion, Michael Bolton, or Barry Manilow."
"Fair 'nuff. But we settle one thing right now: any country has to include Patsy, Johnny, and Willie 'fore the eighties."
The two members of the Scooby Gang now turned to face each other and performed a solemn handshake to seal the contract.
A throat was cleared, in the way only an upper-class Englishman can manage to deliver the sound of a polite announcement of their presence while grinding into the faces of colonial peasantry the existence of over a millennia of history that produced Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, the Magna Charta, Parliament, the Industrial Revolution, railroads, steamships, Charles Dickens, going over the top, Winston Churchill, the Beatles, and the Benny Hill show. Rupert Giles managed to do all this while polishing his glasses.
A roll of the man's eyes was made before he put his glasses back on, and looked expectantly at the pair. Giles blandly ignored the fact that Xander Harris and Faith Lehane were holding hands, only calmly asking, "Are we ready to leave now?"
Xander looked full into the face of Faith, seeing the last hint of uncertainty deep in her eyes, and forever dispersed it with the firm answer of, "Yeah, we are."
For the last time, the Scooby Gang walked down the corridors of Sunnydale High, in a line that included Faith, Xander, Willow, Giles, Dawn, Buffy and Liam. No one even paused as they passed through the main doors, with only a final cut-off conversation being heard.
"Hey, Liam, a word of advice. Regarding Wolfram and Hart: don't."
"What? I know about them, Xander, but why---"
The door closed after them.
For several minutes, there was silence throughout the building, as the last traces of the Hellmouth dissipated, to finally leave the place of education existing as only a slightly less terrifying American high school.
Out of nowhere, an elderly male human's cracked voice sang in the corridors of Sunnydale High:
Make me a match,
Find me a find,
Catch me a catch,
Look through your book,
And make me a perfect match."
The song ended, and silence once again embraced the school, until the voice delivered one last line in an extremely happy tone.
"Am I good, or what?"
Disclaimers and Author's Notes:
All things "Oh, God!" and Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters, plus "Hard Hearted Hannah" and "Matchmaker, Matchmaker", belong to their original owners.
'Dogma' first came out November 12, 1999. 'Bruce Almighty' was released in general circulation on May 23, 2003. 'Chosen' appeared on May 20, 2003. By the power vested in my fingers writing this, I ordain the latter movie opened a couple of weeks earlier in the Buffyverse. So there.
Re: "Junior Woodchucks' Oath, Exalted Hightail, Chevalier of the Honor Guard, Rear Admiral of the Arctic Snows, fellow Commandant of the Hightails' Hall of Heroes" --- See Carl Barks. The Master.
As far as I know, there's nothing given in the canon for the last names of Spike and Angel. It's been established for the younger, blonde vampire that his first name is William. According to my searching, there's the possibility his last name is Pratt, which is good enough for me, especially since Spike would have taken a bath in holy water before letting anyone know about it. As for the latter vampire, nothing is given for his family name, so I picked a good Irish name of 'Ryan', which means 'kingly'. No way he would turn that down. (Liam means 'helmeted'.)
For the Gaelic curses, here's the translations, given in the order they were said:
May the devil eat your head!
May the hounds of hell gnaw at your manly part!
May the malevolent hedgehogs soil your yellow snack!
(There's no specific name in Gaelic for Twinkies.)