Disclaimer: I own nothing. All Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters and Monty Python characters are the property of their original owners.
In her chair at the Sunnydale High library, Buffy Summers was absolutely numb, barely paying attention to Dawn’s firm clasping of her hands, with that younger sibling seated next to her sister also in her own state of severe shock. Neither had really expected anything like this
Just an hour ago, they’d been in the middle of their desperate battle with the First Evil and his minions inside the Hellmouth, making a last stand against a horde of Turok-Han vampires, with Willow casting her spell to give all the Potentials worldwide the powers of a Slayer. Well, at least that
had worked, with the remaining girls trained earlier by Buffy and Faith suddenly acquiring the same abilities as those older Slayers. Though, what happened next was totally unforeseen by any human, demon, vampire, or other.
In a blinding flash of light, several thousand humans had appeared out of thin air into the immense cavern, and with identical mystical gestures then made by all of the newcomers, each and every single vampire there had crumbled into fine ash.
Including Spike in the middle of his own combat against the nearest foe, who hadn’t even had time to change his fierce expression into one of disbelief over what had abruptly ended that Englishman’s unlife.
This didn’t apply to the First Evil there in its own current manifestation as Joyce Summers, who just a few moments ago had been mocking Buffy for leading her friends to their deaths. Then, this intangible representation of pure malice now had on its feminine features a look of utter astonishment, which only deepened when one of the recent arrivals, a mature man with a stern face dressed in ornate robes now walked over to stand in front of the First Evil, and the stranger now thrust his right hand in front of her not-mother’s nose, to snap his fingers once while also saying in a firm voice, “Begone!”
The First Evil had promptly disappeared.
After that, nobody had really argued or even protested when they’d all been kindly but firmly escorted out of the cavern back to the surface of the earth into the high school, where those who’d been fighting inside the Hellmouth met their unscathed comrades charged with defending this educational facility from the First Evil’s Bringers and remaining Turok-Han. All of them had been assured by the man in the ornate robes seemingly in charge of his compatriots, and addressing the Scooby Gang in strangely-accented but comprehensible English, that explanations would soon be forthcoming, but in the meantime, it would be best for them to wait in the library.
Well, they’d done so, and now Buffy Summers was still trying to wrap her head around everything that had just happened, while ignoring all else there in the room, who were themselves mostly in their own daze, over somehow having won and still being alive. A few of the seated group, such as Giles and Robin, were speaking to each other in low voices, attempting to comprehend the latest events. In one corner, Xander was huddled with Anya, who had her arms firmly wrapped around the Sunnydale native with his new eyepatch, as if she’d never let go, and that man didn’t seem to mind all that much--
Buffy blinked. There was something in her mind calling for the Slayer’s notice, and now that she actually started to pay attention, Buffy now remembered that for the last five minutes or so, quite a few people from the new arrivals had poked their heads around library main doors, stared inside with total fascination at all those there, and had then pulled back their heads to hold excited discussions in hushed whispers such peculiar comments more than capable of reaching a Slayer’s ears:
“It’s him? Really? But his eye--”
“Different dimension, remember? Possibly a more advanced timeline--”
“Altered events, I suggest--”
“Don’t you have work to do?! Be off with you all!”
After that last stern command delivered in an gruff growl, there had been the sound of hasty footsteps scurrying away, with those people previously hanging around the library door quickly taking their leave, until a pair of individuals now appeared in the doorway. Standing there now was the man seemingly in charge, who was carrying a small white cloth cylinder tucked under one arm. By him was a woman his age in an equally ornate robe and a happy face that sent everyone in the room staring at her a beam of pure delight. Though, when this woman looked at one particular corner of the room, her features widened further in an ear-to-ear grin that made the faint blue tattoos on her cheeks squeeze together.
The Slayers in the library with their heightened vision could at once see the design, but it wasn’t until both the man and the woman took a few steps inside the room, that everyone else recognized the outline engraved upon her features as a pair of miniature harps, down to the strings on these triangular-shaped musical instruments. As they bewilderedly wondered about this, the Scooby Gang watched how the duo walked up to Xander and Anya in their chairs, both still in each other’s arms while warily eyeing the newcomers.
Stopping right in front of the son of Tony and Jessica Harris and a former vengeance demon, the strangers now simultaneously performed a deep bow towards Xander and Anya.
As mouths around the room all dropped open in pure shock, the people in the robes straightened up, and the man looked around, to then head in the direction of the nearest unoccupied chair, which he picked up and brought over to place it behind the woman, who now calmly sat down in this, with the man taking his place by the tattooed woman’s right side, both of them facing a startled couple in their own chairs. As various people inside the library begin to speak, with their urgent questions, inquiries, and demands for information, the man at that exact moment performed an action that abruptly interrupted everyone there.
Taking the cloth cylinder from under his arm, the man held the top edge with both hands, and with a flick of his wrists, he unrolled the cylinder, to present to everyone there a detailed sheet of embroidery that was an evident copy of an artwork created in the generations past. Decorative needlework had been used there to produce an archaic design of a elderly man’s smiling face, that even with the white hair, the deep wrinkles in the lined features, and the twinkling eyes, every single member of the Scooby Gang still managed to instantly recognize as that of Xander Harris.
In the stunned silence of the library, the only sound was the quiet whisper of the rolling back up of the cloth cylinder by the smiling man, along with the clap of the seated woman’s palms against the tops of her thighs. As the room’s attention was brought to her by the noise, they all watched this lady straighten up in her chair, look directly at a staggered younger man sitting across from her, to then open her mouth and start chanting in a clear, silvery alto, as the bard began her centuries-old epic ode.
“Protector of Man he was named
As they all listened, gooseflesh began to develop on everyone’s body. Not just over the magnificent words created long ago by some poet on a par with Homer, Milton, and Shakespeare, but due to the incontestable fact that this woman was reciting to the last detail the life of Xander Harris, born in Sunnydale, California, giver of a yellow crayon to Willow Rosenberg, friend of the Slayer, fighter against the creatures of the night, and lover of Twinkies. There was no possible mistake, not with so much information provided, including that previously known only the man shrinking back in his chair and with his face flaming bright red over the incredulous stares sent towards him by those hearing for the first time ever such events as the CPR given to Buffy in the Master’s cave, the confrontation with Angelus in a hospital, and defeating a pack of zombies and their bomb underneath Sunnydale High.
Thankfully for Xander, the Scooby Gang’s attention was soon quickly diverted over something else, something entirely new. Awed, all there heard of Xander’s sacrifice on the tower during the battle against Glory, as he brushed his hand against Buffy’s bleeding face, declaring to all there that if the blood of a Slayer and a life was needed, he now had both and he was utterly willing to die for his friends, who then heartbrokenly watched this brave man hurl himself into that hellgoddess’ portal to end forever this menace.
An overwhelmed library now listened to how in the first millennia after Christ, a man fell out of the very air itself, into a Scotland castle, breaking his fall right on top of the body of an attacking warrior about to massacre defenseless women, and properly ending the life of this evil knight. Afterwards, with no way of returning to his original home, Xander Harris made a new life at the place of his first appearance in his latest world. He soon became a doughty warrior, not only against other wicked men, but against what lurked in the world’s dark, so that his name was soon spoken of as the most ‘parfit, gentil knight’.
This man not only used his strength to aid others, but in addition to this, he showed a keen mind. Thinking of the wonders from his lost world, Xander Harris tried to create machines to make things better for people, and joined in by other smiths and crafters from all types of work, he succeeded in building steam engines and the beginnings of electrical engineering. The light of science was brought far earlier to civilization that it would have normally been, and it would soon illuminate the entire world, particularly as Knight Xander told of the lands beyond the setting sun.
Other kinds of knowledge were also revealed to this man. The castle where he had found himself was filled with women, some of who cautiously told him of their skills in witchcraft that were normally kept a deep secret from those who hated and feared these magical powers. To these women’s delight, Knight Xander was perfectly fine with witches, as long as they used their supernatural abilities to help people. In return, he would defend his ladies from any that sought to harm them, whether of men or monsters.
Determined not to lose in any way possible such a first-rate protector, the witches used their powers to mystically call the others of their craft, bidding them to come to a longed-for sanctuary, and to join in with Knight Xander in creating a brave new world of magic and machinery. All over the British Isles, and eventually from lands much further away, wary magic-users and benign supernatural creatures came, to joyously learn of a place where they could live in peace, learning from and teaching others, all in an accepting land, that centuries later would encompass the entire globe.
During the time of Knight Xander and his early struggles, several of the witches around him took the words ‘joining him’ a bit too literally, as some rather naughty spells cast by them led to a castle soon filled with children, all having a very close resemblance to a certain dark-haired man. Which, several years later, after frantically teaching all he knew about medicine, sanitation, soap-making, and plumbing, caused Knight Xander to bounce his latest daughter upon his knee while announcing to an entire room filled with smirking, pregnant women, “Ladies, it would have been nice to have been asked
. I shall soon deliver to you all my rather firm reproof concerning this. Say, forty to fifty years from now, maybe.”
In her poem, the smiling bard conveyed to a laughing room that it was not known if Knight Xander ever delivered upon his threat, but that man did live long, long years afterwards, surrounded by his ever-increasing family. Many of these descendants, both sons and daughters, had immense magical powers, perhaps due to their fathers’ or grandfathers’ or great-grandfathers’ birth and residence upon a Hellmouth. Determined to follow upon their sire’s footsteps, they went out in the world, to battle against those beings, mortal or otherwise, who would harm innocents, and brought both pride and sorrow to the man who in the fullness of time went at last to his rest, with the quiet hope that he would again be reunited with all those he had loved, in this dimension or in the other reality where he had once lived.
Mourned by all in the world that Knight Xander had made anew, those people went on with their lives, working, learning, laughing, putting down menaces when necessary, and being with their families, until one day, humanity realized that all were at peace, with every nation filled with industrious citizens, many of them possessing truly incredible magics. So, what were they to do now?
In a dozing, out-of-the-way village, a poem was crafted by someone who never created another, to promptly rush around the entire planet, as a man’s amazing life was described, along with his dreams, that in the lines blazing through the minds of the world’s population, created the ultimate cause, sending innumerable individuals flocking to the banners.
They would take all they had learned and developed, all their magic and science, and go through the weak points in the levels of realities, to aid those who needed their help, and bring down low the masters of wickedness. All so that in the end, they would find the dimension that had produced Alexander LaVelle Harris, and meet with Buffy Summers, Dawn Summers, Willow Rosenberg, Rupert Giles, Faith Lehane, and all the others spoken of by a knight during the long winter nights, as he sat in front of the castle fireplace, telling stories to a fascinated crowd.
In the library of Sunnydale High, the bard at last finished her poem, faintly smiling at the dumbfounded man before her, with him finally saying in a dazed voice, “Uh, where exactly did I-- he-- whatever-- wind up, anyway?”
Chuckling, the woman with the tattoos of her profession upon her features then answered, “Oh, it’s a place of pilgrimage now, with Knight Xander’s tomb there, but everyone of us knows about Castle Anthrax.”
Author’s Note: Yes, that specific Scottish castle is from ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’, with Xander having appeared there just in time to terminally prevent Sir Lancelot from slaughtering everyone in sight.
This tale was partially inspired by DaveTurner’s recent story ‘The Barbarian, The Dancer and The Sleeping Prince’, but I was already mulling my own take on that movie due to a review at fanfiction.net of another story of mine, ‘Too Many To Count’, which resulted in Xander going through a portal to meet the characters from the MGM musical ‘Seven Brides For Seven Brothers.’ The reviewer suggested I send Mr. Harris to --where else-- Castle Anthrax, and I couldn’t resist. So, here it is, and I hope you enjoy it!