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Five Ways Jesse McNally Never Died

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For the fourth time, Jesse stopped and glanced over his shoulder. Like each time before, no one was behind him, though the eerie shadows cast by the streetlights seemed to suggest otherwise. And though he strained his ears, there was no sound of the footsteps that he could have sworn he had heard. 

Jesse started walking again. It was only a few blocks till he was home, and he was armed with a cross and a stake. So even if there was something out there, he would be fine. 

He heard the footsteps again, heavy and sure behind him. Jesse picked up his pace. 

There wasn't any reason to regret not accepting Willow's invitation to stay over at her place for the night. She was just being overly cautious. Understandable, considering what happened to her fish... but Jesse could handle himself. 

As he turned the corner, Jesse saw the light from his living room window spilling out onto his lawn, and was flooded with relief. He jogged the rest of the way to his front door, glancing over his shoulder one more time as he stood on his porch, just to convince himself that there was nothing following him, and to have a laugh at how nervous he was. 

He turned to open the door, and froze. 

"Angel..."

"Hey there, Jesse."

Jesse didn't even have time to reach for his cross. 

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"Hey, Faith."

The Slayer looked at him suspiciously.

"What d'you want?" 

"To talk, 'sall." Jesse stepped past Faith and into her motel room, his eyes darting around. He had never realized before how dingy it was. "We haven't hung out in a while."

"Since when does 'hangin' out' involve barging into my place?"

"Since..." Since you killed a guy. "Look, Faith, we've always been friends, right?"

"If your definition of 'always' is two months. Why?" Her eyes skimmed his body, making Jesse feel dirty. "You lookin' to make that friendship pay off?"

"What? No!" This wasn't going the way he planned it at all. 

"It's all the same ain't it? 'Salways what you want in the end." She swaggered towards him. 

"No! Faith, I know what happened." 

She froze, the smirk she was wearing fell off her face. "What?"

"I know you killed that man, Faith."

"No, you don't know nothin'. Buffy was the one --"

"I know it was you!"

"So you're threatening me?" 

"I'm trying to help!"

"I'm not the one who needs it!"

"You can't run away from this!"

"Yeah? I'm the Slayer --"

Faith moved so fast, Jesse didn't have time to register what was happening. She reached for something -- the next thing he knew there was a sharp pain in his gut. He looked down to see Faith's hand twisting a knife in his stomach. He turned his eyes back to her, to see her face filled with an animalistic rage. 

"-- I can do anything."

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The world... sparkled. The trees and grass were talking to him, and the sky whispered. People were taking off their masks and showing him their true faces, and things that shouldn't be there -- silly, human inventions -- faded into the background. But the thing that Jesse liked most about this new world was how sparkly everything was. Especially the lady next to him. Her name was Glory, he remembered that. But across the street, there was something else, all green and bright. Jesse tried to reach for it, but he wasn't close enough. He got to his feet and walked to the light. The closer he got, the less everything else seemed to matter. The people, giving him strange looks. The people shouting at him. The cars... 

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Jesse was on his way to Buffy's, to check on how she was doing, and tell her that Xander was being an idiot if he hadn't made up with her yet. When he heard the shots, he started running. He saw Warren racing from the back yard, gun in hand, and veered off course to stop him, but was body checked into a fence. Jesse was on his feet again in a moment, and turned to pursue the would-be villain. He didn't need to go to Buffy's to figure out what had happened. 

Jesse ran faster than he ever had in his life, and as someone who spent his formative years fleeing from schoolyard bullies, that was saying something. He caught up to Warren by the end of the block, tackled him, wrestled him to the ground, punched him once in the jaw to let out his fear and anger.

"What did you do?" he demanded. 

So Warren showed him. 

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Jesse turned to Xander. "So, this is it."

"That it is," his friend replied, holding his sword at the ready.

Jesse mimicked his action with his battle-axe. "The final contest..."

"Two ordinary men..."

He turned to Xander with a smile. "Who became two heroes..."

Xander smiled back, though there was sadness in it. Then, in that familiar way of his, Xander's grin brightened to mask his emotion. "... In one extraordinary battle."

At the sound of the approaching Turok-Han, they both turned to face their enemy. 

"Will they prevail?" Xander managed to keep the quaver of fear from his voice as the vampires came into view. 

Jesse raised his axe to meet them. "Hell yeah."