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I Am What I Am is Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfiction that can be read here.

At one end of his life, a 90+-year-old Xander lies dying. At the other end of his life, a teenage Xander decides to dress up as himself, only older, for a fateful Halloween. Time twists and the life of the Slayer(s) will never be the same again.

Unmarked spoilers ahead.

This work contains examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: A trait of all magical weapons is that they can cut through anything.
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  • Adaptational Jerkass: Robin Wood. He becomes head of the Watchers Council after all Slayers are activated, and he plays a game of petty politics.
  • Affectionate Nickname: "B" is this time around for Buffy and it's actually just short for her actual name this time.
  • Anti-Magic: Magic goes wonky around Xander because he possesses so little that his presence interferes with it. Also Michelle Glaster, a member of Order of Taraka, could manipulate her aura to be in sinc with mystical shields and scrying spells, neutralizing their effects on her.
  • Apocalypse How: A class 1 occurs in Xanders' future. Hundreds of portals opened all over the world, allowing millions of demons to enter the Earth and resulting in The Unmasked World. The new Watchers Council, leading the empowered Slayers gathers its forces and starts to close the portals and then joins forces with the world militaries to force the demons back. It takes months for all the portals to be closed, but by then the demon population had increased massively. While the Protectors of Humanity would keep most demons at bay, nightlife outside of a Settlement, which were newly built cities some of them the size of US statesnote , is very dangerous as it's compared to life in Sunnydale, with a sixty percent chance of dying from something other than natural causes.
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  • Armchair Military: Michelle Glaster, a member of the Order of Taraka, thinks that Xander was this for the Protectors. She's proven wrong.
  • An Axe to Grind: Faith has a pair of tomahawks called Tammy and Tommy which allow for telepathy with Buffy, as long she's holding Companion, and has Improbable Aiming Skills. Tammy and Tommy can also be fused together to create an even bigger axe.
    • Xander also has an axe called Cleaver which he later reforges and renames Cleaver II. Like all magical weapons it's an Absurdly Sharp Blade but its other powers are currently unknown.
  • Beyond the Impossible: Forging a magical weapon is supposed to only be possible by people with almost none who use ambient energy to enchant their weapons. Future Willow can solidify magic itself into a physical weapon.
  • BFS: Cordelia's magical weapon is a claymore that takes the form of a facial tattoo when not in use.
  • The Blacksmith: People with very little magic are the best blacksmiths because witches and Slayers' magical aura prevents them from channeling the ambient energy needed to forge magical weapons. Xander is one and in the new timeline trains Cordelia to be one as well.
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  • Balance Between Order and Chaos: What the Powers That Be want. They're willing to resurrect the Judge to ensure it happens when Xander's Screw Destiny causes the balance to be thrown off.
  • Broken Masquerade: Xander is the one to do this worldwide by giving an interview, telling mankind about the origins of the Legions of Hell currently invading the Earth.
  • The Chosen Many: Slayers, as they are all activated in the future. Xander spends three years searching for newly activated Slayers, always choosing the most difficult assignments.
  • Cool House: Xander purchases one with the money from selling the Cross of Dulac. It has a gym, an outdoor pool, a humongous television and a forge and smithy in the basement.
  • Cool Sword: Xander and Cordelia forge magical ones for all Scoobies.
    • Buffy gets a longsword, imbued with gold from the Cross of Dulac, named Companion. It's full powers are unknown, but can allow a mind link with Faith;
    • Cordelia gets a longsword that's larger than her called Subtlety which is able to disguise itself as a tattoo and can detect lying;
    • Angel gets a longsword, very similar looking to Companion except for lack of gold, called Solitude. It has some Playing with Fire powers and is designed to kill Angelus if he ever holds it;
    • Kendra gets a Katana named Honor's Grace which has the power to freeze time;
    • Giles gets a Royal Rapier named Wisdom which is capable of enhancing Giles' spellcasting powers;
    • Jenny Calendar gets a pair of daggers called Twilight and Dusk. Along with being a Magic Wand they also can turn her invisible;
    • Oz gets a bastard sword which is named Cool Sword because it has An Ice Person powers but it reacts to him being an werewolf by giving metallic exoskeletons on his arms and Wolverine Claws. It also seems to lose its ice elemental powers.
  • Cyber Punk: Played with. The future has shades of this, at least respective to cybernetic enhancements.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Jessica Harris, Xander's future daughter, is named after Jesse.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Played with. Due to Butterfly of Doom, Xander destroyed the Cross of Dulac, preventing Spike from healing Drussila. And with the help of two Slayers and a vampire, they never stood a chance against the Scooby Gang.
  • Easily Thwarted Alien Invasion: Subverted. It takes four months for the Protectors of Humanity to close all the portals, but by then millions of demons had already entered Earth. Thus most humans had to be moved to settlements, abandoning most historic cities.
  • Empathic Weapon: Magical weapons not only possess unique powers, they are best for specific people and will not be as useful if wielded by other people.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Buffy gets multiple dreams about the future Xander comes from but she and Giles think they're slayer dreams with hidden meanings, such as the older woman named Dawn being representative of the safety of daytime, not knowing she's Buffy's younger sister who doesn't exist yet.
  • Fantastic Science: In the future, due to The Unmasked World, there's an organization called the International Organization of Technological and Mystical Cooperation which is all about magic and science working together.
  • Fashions Never Change: Parodied. Buffy jokes that future!Xander's awkward behavior is because he's grossed out at their old-fashioned clothing.
  • Final Speech: Future Buffy gives one to future Xander as she lays dying. Justified, since she's a Slayer.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Xander. This is Played for Drama as the demonic population is small outside of Sunnydale and the few people with the power against the forces of darkness live there, and he takes sometime to adjusting not having a vast army of witches and Slayers at his command.
  • Flaming Sword: Solitude, Angel's magical Cool Sword.
  • Flashforward: Used to show how Xander evolved into the man he became.
  • Fusion Dance: Played with- Buffy and Faith do a telepathic version of this trope.
  • Good Is Old-Fashioned: In the future Xander refused to use nanotechnology to enhance his physique, which was considered odd by most people. This helps him in the past as nanofibers had yet to be invented.
  • God Test: Giles questions whether Xander's future memories are real or a fabrication of Ethan's spell. Xander answers back by naming the demon Eyghon.
  • Hell: Discussed as Xander doesn't known if there a hellish afterlife, only that there are physical, material hell dimensions from which demons come from.
  • Heroic Build: Xander in the future, after spending more than fifty years fighting against the supernatural. It results in Damn You, Muscle Memory! when he inhabits the decidedly less muscular of his sixteen year old self.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Faith sacrifices herself to stop a demonic invasion in the future.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: Buffy and Faith eventually see both sharing Xander with the other and each other this way. They'd kill anyone else who was with him and any other girl isn't interesting but they trust each other completely and find each other quite appealing.
    • Willow's one true love is Tara and future her insists that they're both lesbians. Turns out Oz is the exception, making this more a case of homoflexible AKA generally lesbian but rarely able to be attracted to men.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Xander's magical weapon can turn into a large shield.
  • Magic Staff: Jonathan Levinson gets one named Backbone from Xander and Cordelia. It has healing powers and is able to disguise itself as a fancy cane.
  • Married in the Future: Xander was in a relationship with Faith and later Buffy which makes his interactions with the latter's past self more awkward.
  • Mind Screw: The description of future!Willow's view of the universe has certainly Lovecraftian influences.
  • In Mysterious Ways: Whistler and Skip discuss this trope when wondering about the agent of Chaos mucking about with the Cosmic Chess Game and Skip wonders if God is doing it. Whistler then says that when He acts, its so subtle nobody notices it.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Xander tries to bluff the Judge with the strength of the magical weapons he's created, but Buffy jumps the gun and reveals the bluff due to not being in on it.
  • Noodle Incident: When Buffy was nine years old, she had an encounter with a jug of Apple Cider which was forever named as the "Apple Cider Incident".
  • Older Than They Look: Slayers age slower after a certain point, to the extent that eventually Dawn looks more like Buffy's aunt than her younger sister.
  • Papa Wolf: Xander. When the Order of Taraka gets a contract to assassinate him and the assassin threatens his daughter, he vows and succeeds in destroy it and getting all its members killed.
  • The Paragon: Faith is held up as such after her Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Peggy Sue: Naturally.
  • Perception Filter: The magical weapons Xander forges for the Scoobies have an innate power to make people not notice them, unless they're too bulky then they'll take on another form when not in use.
  • Physical Goddess: Future!Willow after the Revelation as she focuses on exploring the mysteries of the universe and ensure that the Scoobies get the happy ending they deserve.
  • Plunder: Faith often stole cash and other valuables from vampires before dusting them; Xander follows her example in the new timeline.
  • Polyamory: The result of the Xander/Buffy/Faith love triangle.
  • Powers That Be: Jasmine was part of the "previous administration" and Xander's time travel trip has resulted in changes that forces them to work with the current administration.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Future Xanders gives one to a room full of rich people who congratulate themselves for only partially funding Settlements.
  • Really 700 Years Old: In the future, thanks to nanotechnology, people seem to age slower and increase their lifespan. For instance, being ninety years old is not considered old age by the time Xander dies.
  • Screw Destiny: The whole point of the fanfic.
  • Shining City: Most human settlements in the future are always illuminated, as light prevents demons and undead from hiding in the shadows.
  • Shout-Out: To Herman's Head. When the Judge is about to arrive, there's a Imagine Spot where the various branches of Xander's psyche (Warrior, Analytical, Sexual, Selfish, Protective, Realistic, Panic, Discipline and Humor) discuss how to deal with it.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Future Xander's relationship with Faith is a subversion of this, as the slap-slap part is mostly fun without bite.
  • Spanner in the Works: Xander mucks the Cosmic Chess Game enough that the Powers decide to resurrect the Judge to restore balance.
  • Superhuman Trafficking: After all Slayers are activated, some mages engaged in this. A notable case is a mage named Joiah Angler who traffics Slayers, either for manual labor, use their organs for spells or simply for the thrill of owning them.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: According to Future Willow, the future Xander came from is still the past for both him and time itself. He just altered the river to flow back to a different point before moving on to a new course.
  • Ultimate Blacksmith: Because smithing magical weapon requires possessing as little magic as possible and the only magic in him is from having a soul, Xander is the greatest magical blacksmith in the world.
  • The Unmasked World: Due to the Earth being invaded by The Legions of Hell in an alternate future Muggles become aware of the existence of magic, demons, Slayers and other supernatural stuff.
  • Witch Species: Adverted. Magic is a learned technique, not a genetic heredity. Everyone can use magic and most people are capable of at least casting minor enchantments. Even the people with little amount of magic are not muggle as they are actually The Blacksmith.

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