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Gifts: Prologue
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Prologue: Africa

The wind was hot and fierce, a constant rustling through the grasses of the savanna, pushing and prodding at the tent walls.  Xander shifted yet again atop his cot, finally settling on his back with a groan.

 

“Gods, it’s friggin’ hot!  I mean, I’m from California, so I know hot, but this is miserable.  Giles could have mentioned that it was over 100 degrees here even at night!”

 

The brunette’s commentary went unremarked upon in the empty tent. Sighing to himself, Xander scrubbed at his face, wiping away sweat and grime and resettling the eye patch. Settling back and closing his eye, he tried yet again to sleep. 

 

With his eye closed, it was only the sudden drop in temperature that alerted Xander to the presence in the tent.  Slipping his hand beneath his pillow, Xander grabbed the knife he kept there and sprang up out of the cot, ready to defend himself, only to drop the knife from limp fingers and fall to his knees in shock.  Shakily, Xander reached out a hand towards the glowing figure. 

 

“A.an..Anya?”

 

The blonde smiled softly at him.  “Hello Xander.”

 

“But…but, what…how?”

 

“The Powers that Be let me come back and see you, they have a message for you.”

 

“An, I don’t understand.  How are you here, are you real?”

 

Anya smiled sadly and reached out a glowing hand, brushing it softly along Xander’s cheek. Xander felt a cool breeze against his face, but no pressure, no solid presence.  A muffled sob escaped from his throat.  Anya shushed him, “It’s okay Xander.  I’m dead, but dying while helping to save the world helped cancel out my time as a demon.  I’m in a heaven dimension now.  I’m happy.  I want you to be too.”

 

Xander shook his head, still dumbfounded by her presence.  “I’m fine Anya, I miss you, but I’m fine.”

 

Anya frowned at him.  “No, you’re not fine Xander Harris, don’t you lie to me.  You’re hiding out in Africa, avoiding your friends and everyone else, beating yourself up about me being gone.  You’ve got to stop this.  You’ve got to move on.  You’re going to be needed somewhere else soon.  You won’t want to go, but you have to.  There’s someone there, someone important.  If you keep yourself closed off like this, you’ll never find the person you’re meant to be with.  I just want you to be happy Xander.”

 

Xander gaped at the woman standing before him, scolding him like he was a child. “An…I don’t want anyone else.  I don’t deserve anyone else.  I fuck up every good relationship that I’ve ever had.  Anyway, I’m good here.  I’m doing important work, rounding up Slayers.  I’ll be fine.”

 

Anya shook her head.  “You deserve to be happy Xander.  Once the call comes, listen to it.  Go where you are needed.  It’s important for the future.  Please listen to me Xander.” 

 

Anya began to fade out and Xander reached for her again. “An, please don’t go.  I love you!”

 

She smiled sadly at him, “I have to Xander, my time is up.  Please remember what I said.  I love you too and I want you to be happy.”  With that, Anya was gone, and Xander was once again alone with the wind and the heat.

Chapter 1

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