It is one of the great fails of the last season of Buffy that we never got to see the First torturing anyone else. Because, let's be honest. This is the Buffy crew. They've had so many people
die around them. I would've liked to see more of that, which maybe makes me cruel, except for the fact that I like...
It's not just to watch them suffer. Or be angsty or hurt each other. They do enough on their own.
It would've felt more like a final season to look back on everything that came before and reflect on the deaths and friendships and whatnot. I mean, people rarely
remember Jesse's name (this is people who have watched the show multiple times and I've seen a vast majority of the episodes once. Crazy, right?) but he was Xander's friend and Willow's friend and he died
and Xander killed him. Or the demon wearing his face. That's such a pivotal moment and of course Willow and Xander would shrug it off like it was nothing because they're the king and queen of compartmentalization but it was not
nothing. It would continue to haunt them, particularly out of the blue, because that's how guilt works.
Also, it would've made the First that much more dangerous. We don't see the First do that much. It's mostly the ancient vampires that are really, really hard to kill, and controlled Spike, and it's so easy to focus on the physical threats because they were shown more. But this is the First. The embodiment (ha! given that it's not actually corporeal...no?) of the concept of all Evil with a capital E.
It would twist the knife. It would remind them of all the people they failed to save. It would take on the faces of all the people they loved and lost and taunt them. You know when Spike's working for Adam and he knows exactly
what to say to get them all not only doubting each other but doubting themselves? The exact words to punch a hole in someone's gut?
The interesting thing about this is that there's a similarity. Spike might've been "de-fanged" (i.e. not a physical threat) but he knew exactly
what to say to break them. The First should've been like that. Except so much more so.
Finally, I didn't go into complete detail here. I showed the first times that Jesse and Cordy showed up, but they were back. Along with
many others. Partly that's because the imagination tends to be worse than a certainty. I'm betting my reader's minds can conjure up worse than anything I can write. (At least, I've found that's true when I'm on the reader's side.) Also partly because it triggered a panic attack. (Which I've experienced, if not, luckily, too recently, so I'm writing from my own experience there.) (It being the First, its words probably magically burn onto the synapses, though. Or maybe it'll whisper again in his nightmares...)
Wow, did not intend for that to get long.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Iron Man Crossover (Self-Made Hero)
Summary: Xander and the First talk. Dawn tries to save the day.
Word Count: 955
Rating: Teen, Xander's a mess in this one (panic attack, low self esteem, PTSD, The Literal Incarnation of Evil)