"Conversation With... Xander."
By A.M. Glass
Copyright: June 14th-29th, 2002
Disclaimer: Joss Whedon, Fox Studios, Mutant Enemy, et al, have something to do with “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. No copyright infringement is intended or inferred. The story along with any/all original characters are the sole property of the author and cannot be used without expressed permission first.
Spoilers: “The Body”, “Seeing Red”, “Villains” and “Grave.”
Author’s Note: This is the third in the on going series, “Conversation With...” the first being with Dawn, then Anya.
Thanks: To Stacey, once again for all her insights and comments have made this a better story. Beta readers... gotta love ‘em.
To Tara, it seemed like only moments had passed since she had visited Anya. But weeks had passed since she left her friend and went to visit Xander.
He was tossing and turning in his sleep, muttering things she couldn’t make out.
She winced when she saw the scars on his torso that were beginning to fade.
Reaching out, she place he hand on his forehead, calming him.
“Xander... wake up,” she called out softly.
“I’m sleepin’... go away.”
Smiling, Tara sat down on the side of the bed, “This is a part of your dream... so... wake up... doofus.” She hoped he wouldn’t mind what she had called him, for some reason, it felt right.
He slowly opened his eyes, taking in Tara’s appearance, “Yeah... I’m dreaming,” he muttered to himself before throwing his arm over his eyes. “If I’m dreaming... where’s Will?”
“She’s not in this dream, Xander.”
“Huh,” he snorted. “I never had one with just you in it.”
Tara’s eyebrows rose, she didn’t want to think about the dreams he might have possibly had concerning Willow and herself.
“Anya’s not in this one, is she?” he asked as he looked around.
“No... just us.”
“This... this isn’t a dream is it?”
“I didn’t think so. And right now, I’m wondering why I haven’t started screaming at the top of my lungs yet.”
“Maybe ‘cause you know I won’t hurt you?”
“I might have agreed with you... but,” he touched his scar, “I never thoughtthis would happen either,” he said as he sat up.
“You can’t know how sorry I am that happened... and... I wanted to say, thank you.”
Xander looked at her and felt...
The same numbness that gripped his heart when he saw here lying there...
He had seen and experienced many things in his short life, some of which he hoped never to experience again.
But, this... this was different.
This was one of them.
One of the good guys…
Sure they had lost allies, family members...
He shuddered and subconsciously flexed his hand as he recalled his reaction when Buffy’s mother had died suddenly.
That was different.
It had been...peaceful?
What had happened to Tara...
He shook his head.
What had happened was...
‘Is that the best you can do?’ he asked himself. ‘Wrong?’
He looked at Tara and closed his eyes once again.
He was tired of trying to examine why...
Why he hadn’t heard Willow’s anguished shouts...
Why he really hadn’t given her more than a passing glance when he clearly saw the blood splattered on her shirt.
Why it never sank in...
Why he didn’t take a minute to really see if Willow had been injured in some way, something that would have explained the blood.
“You have to stop that…”
“Huh… who are you Xena? All with the hearing of my thoughts even though your…” he stopped his ill attempt at humor when he saw her expression. “What?" he asked, his voice heavy with emotion.
“You can’t blame yourself for this. You can’t. Buffy needed you...”
“So did Will,” he replied softly.
Tara reached out and grabbed his hand, “If it wasn’t for you... she would be lost to me forever.”
He snorted, “So... what? This is temporary? You two gonna meet up again?”
Tara looked away.
“That’s it isn’t it,” he felt his heart sink to the pit of his stomach. “Something’s going to happen to Will. Is... is that why you’re here?” He pulled his hand away from hers and got out of bed, moving away from her.
“You’re going to have to go through me first,” he said his hands clenched at his sides. He couldn’t believe it.
“I won’t let you do it.”
Tara stood up and walked over towards him, instantly regretting how he felt the need to take a step back.
“This isn’t... I didn’t come back to take Willow. You have to believe me.”
“Why? Why should I?”
Tara didn’t think it would be this difficult. She had simply wanted to thank him for being the only person that could reach Willow.
The only one that could start the healing process...
The one person who may love Willow as much as she did.
“I... I want to show you what you’ve given me,” she said stepping closer, “Please don’t be afraid.”
He gasped out loud when he felt Tara’s hand on his chest, resting above his heart.
He reached out, trying to keep from falling under the onslaught, finding nothing to hold onto, his sank to his knees.
His mind and body were being flooded with memories...
Different images played in his head...
He could almost reach out and grab each emotion that Tara shared with him.
The love she and Willow shared.
The depth frightened him...
How had they survived being apart all those months...
He opened his eyes and felt tears cascading down his face.
“Oh... God,” were the only words he could form.
Tara removed her hand and stepped away. “Do you understand?”
He nodded, unable to keep the tears from falling. “How... how is she gonna survive this?” he whimpered.
He felt as if his world had collapsed.
He thought he could imagine what it must have felt like for Willow.
The utter emptiness he was sure had been left in the wake of Tara’s sudden death.
He couldn’t have been further away from the truth if he’d tried.
He wanted to crawl under the nearest rock and die.
If what Tara had showed him was indeed what she and Willow experienced...
He hated to think it...
But, perhaps Warren got off easy.
“That isn’t why I showed you...”
He nodded, “Wh-what can I do?” he wiped the tears away.
“She’s... she’s going to need you... more than ever. She may not admit it, she may even push you away, but you can’t let her.”
“I won’t let her down,” he said as he stood slowly. “I won’t let you down... I promise.”
“I... I need to ask you for something.”
“You may reconsider after I tell you...”
“Again with the name it.”
“I need to whisper it, okay?”
“Do what you have to.”
Tara walked to him and spoke in his ear, not seeing his eyebrows rise slightly.
“Thank you again, Xander, you’re a good man,” Tara said before placing a tiny kiss on his cheek.
He blinked, “Tara?”
He looked around.
She was gone.
He raised his hand to his cheek rubbing the spot he had felt her kiss.
Looking at his alarm clock, he noticed that it was far too early to go to Buffy’s house. Walking back to his bed, he slipped underneath the covers. He stared at the ceiling, all the while pondering what Tara had requested.
The sensations, memories...
They were slowly starting to fade, but in his mind’s eye, he could hear Tara’s voice as clear as day.
That’s all she wanted him to tell Willow.
A single phrase.
As he closed his eyes, he wondered how he was going to tell Willow...
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