One hundred slayers.
Xander noted the significance of the number somewhere in the back of his mind
as he replaced his gun in the holster near his armpit. The inevitable
surge of nausea hit and he leant to the left to vomit, careful not to leave any
trace on the body.
Hundreds, maybe thousands of girls all called to power, most without knowing why. They had done their best to reach them, but they were so few and the new slayers, many. The metaphor of fingers and dikes had been often repeated. Not in a sexy teasing way either. Girls who barely understood their newfound power were sent to contact and counsel girls with power equal to their own. Girls, some of whom were strong for the first time is their lives, drunk on their power, speed, dominion over life and death, ignored them. Some did listen and were brought into the fold . To be taught and cautioned, given the lecture about power and responsibility. Others? Well, lets just say that the saying about absolute power, corrupting absolutely, not just idle party chat. They were the tithe to the First, the price paid for the victory at the Hellmouth.
He remembered the first one he killed, the poor crazy girl Andrew brought back from LA. The slayer dreams consumed her, tortured her beyond what the drugs could block. Even the council drugs, gotten from a remote source to sap her powers, couldn't stop her from tearing the throat from one of her caretakers, barehanded. He couldn't bear the pain of indecision on Buffy's face, the resignation on Faith's. Giles' worn down with the pain of knowing that this one would have to be ....removed.
He marveled at the irony. He, who had witnessed the death or near death of a Slayer four times, five if you count Faith in her coma. He, who had brought a Slayer back from death more than once, should now become their self-appointed executioner. No one had asked him, he had taken on the burden regardless, drawn the line in the sand. They were the light, the good, the purpose. They shouldn't have to taint themselves with darkness. They needed to focus, to organize and grow, to save the ones that could be saved. He batted a voluntary clean-up, taking care on the ones that were lost. Culling the herd of the diseased.
Dressed in black, the color of mourning, he no longer waited for direction. He watched the papers, kept his ear to the ground, listened on the fringe of their world for the hint of darkness. When it came he would disappear into the night, sometimes gone for days. In the beginning he would return, a little older, a lot quieter, with a name to add to the roll of Slayers deceased. At first he would try to return to the fold, surround himself with their girlish laughter like a perfume, try to forget. After number ten, Tracey her name had been, he had gotten his own place, by number twenty, Sarah, he kept in touch by phone, by thirty, Kitara, email. It was too painful to look into eyes that trusted him, loved him. He did what was necessary to spare them. The taint clung to him like demon's blood. He needed to keep that from them in order to preserve them. This was the thing he could give them. It was a sacrifice he made gladly. Death became his gift.
He spoke to them all before he killed them, to be certain. He remembered all their names. The ones who had never asked to be chosen. Chanted them like a mantra to keep his focus on a hunt. He felt each death like a blow. He welcomed the pain like an old friend. He endured. One hundred slayers had met their end at his hand. Each one he had hoped would be the last.