"He's gone." Willow said, panic evident in both her tone and in her eyes.
"What?" Buffy asked disbelievingly. "Xander's gone? What should we do?"
"I—I'm gonna go look for him, and I'm going to find him." Willow said definitely. "You stall." She said, her nerves returned as she wandered away to find her friend.
Willow let out a sigh of relief as she spotted her friend wandering away down the street in the heavy rain.
"Xander!" She called out. "Xander wait!"
Hearing his name, Xander turned back to see his best, oldest friend standing there, looking back at him with pleading eyes.
Slowly, he came back to her.
Gently, Willow took his hands in hers and looked into his brown eyes.
"Talk to me Xan." She said. "Tell me. What's going on?"
"I.." Xander said nervously, trying his best to fight back tears. "I can't do this."
"Can't do what Xander?"
"I can't. Can't get married. Can't marry Anya."
"Sure you can." Willow said, lightly squeezing his hands. "This is just pre wedding jitters isn't it?" She laughed.
Sadly, Xander shook his head.
"Come on, talk to me Xan." She begged. "What's going on?"
"There was a man.." he said. "He said he was me, but older. He showed me things. Nasty things. Anya and I in the future. We weren't happy. We were fighting all the time and…"
Willow shivered, shaking her head. "Ugh. I've heard of those things. Not nice."
"They're demons. It was a demon, pretending to be a future you." She said. "Xander, it wasn't real."
"But it could be."
Willow shook her head again. "Only if you let it."
"Now come on Xan, you've got a worried bride in there and she desperately wants to marry you." She smiled, offering her hand.
"I don't know that I can." He said, staying where he was, unmoving.
"You can." Willow said. "They weren't real. A minute ago, you were so excited. All you wanted to do was marry her. Now, this. You love her Xander, I know that, and you know that. A half hour or so cannot change that amount of love."
"That's why I can't, Will." He said. "I don't want to hurt her."
"Xander," Willow said, her eyes demanding him to look at her, which reluctantly, he did. "You would hurt her more by leaving her, by walking away now. I know that's not what you want."
Xander shook his head. "The last thing I want to do is hurt her."
"And I know it would kill both of you if you were to walk away now."
He looked up at her. "Are you sure about this Will?"
She nodded, a small smile forming on her lips. "So come on. You know Anya. She gets impatient real easy. She's not going to wait forever."
Taking a deep breath to calm his nerves, Xander took Willow's hand and she led him back.