Hadn't Let Go

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Hadn't Let Go

By Faith Harris

Buffy laid by my side. Her shirt was quickly becoming soaked with blood. I held her hand tightly. She grimaced in pain.

"Xander, I can't, I can't…" She tried to speak, "I can't move." I turned away from her for a minute, to dry the tears from my eyes. I couldn't save her this time. The wound was too deep. Any moment now I was going to lose her.

Why did it have to be Buffy there? It shouldn't have been her. It shouldn't have been. It should have been some other Slayer, some other person should have had to come here and fight that demon.

I never remembered a demon's name so clearly before. Jerisip. The beast was strong, as strong as ADAM had been at least But Buffy hadn't been prepared. She had thought it was a normal demon to search and destroy.

"Why can't I move Xand?" she whispered. I brush a piece of hair from her eyes as she continued.

"I killed it right? I won?" she asked, "We won?" I shook my head, hoping she couldn't see through my lie. I didn't want her to die with that on her conscience. It wasn't fair.

No need for me to tell her that I had came just in time to see it leave.

"Everyone's coming. I called Willow, and Giles, and Anya, Riley…" I told her. She nodded, closing her eyes for a minute.

"Help me up." She ordered. I obliged, leaning her against the grave beside us. She winced.

"That was definitely not fun. Kinda hurt." She said, trying to ignore the fact that she knew. I knew she knew it was the end. I could see it in her eyes. In her beautiful green eyes.

"This calls for a party, don't ya think?" she said. I nodded. It was time to put on the show. The smile, the acting like it was okay.

"We can trash G-man's house." I laughed, trying to keep tears from falling again.

"He hates that name, you know that?" Buffy grimaced. I nodded.

"Exactly why I call him that." I explained. Buffy laid her head back, and I knew it hurt. Her blood had found it's way onto my hand, I tried to hide the blood. Buffy looked at me, smiling slightly through the pain.

"Your one of my best friends, you know that?" Buffy mused. I nodded. I looked at her, ignoring for a moment the blood, and the pain behind her eyes. I saw her as I first met her. Her beautiful blond hair fell around her face, and her eyes glittered, even when she was dying. She was a goddess.

My Buffy Summers.

"And out of all of them, you make me laugh the most, did you know that?" Buffy continued.

"Really, I feel honored." I said, "I am the great Xander, able to make the greatest Slayer ever laugh!" She shook her head no.

"You, Alexander LaVelle Harris, "she corrected, "Make me, Buffy Anne Summers, average girl, Laugh." I smiled sadly. That's what she had always wanted to be. An average girl. One who didn't have to think about whether she would make it to the next day.

"It hurts Alexander." Buffy said. I didn't have time to wonder why she chose to call me by my full name. I had something to say, and I needed to say it.

"Buffy, I have to tell you something," I started to babble, "I've loved you, and I always have, and I know you've always been with someone else, and I want to tell you, that I never cared whether you were with them, as long as I good convince myself that somewhere, deep in your heart, you felt just a shred of the love you felt towards any of them towards me. I need to know, Buffy, do you?" I held onto her hand, holding it to my heart.

"Xander, why now? I don't want to spend my dying minutes figuring out what I felt for you." She said, squeezing my hand tighter. Tears poured down both of our cheeks.

"Do you?" I choked, "Please, tell me."

"Xander-" she begged.

"Please!" I cried. She tore her hand away from mine, turning away from me.

"I'm sorry Xander. So sorry, I…I can't. I don't feel…" She took a breath and turned back, "I don't feel anything." I nodded, closing my eyes. I knew it.

"God, Xander." She cried, grabbing my hand with her right one, "It hurts." I opened my eyes.

"I'm here Buffy…" I whispered. She started to cry.

"I don't want to die." She choked out, in gasping, pain-shaken breaths.

"I don't want you to either." I heard running. I turned. Willow and everyone was running over.

"Oh my god…" Willow cried. Giles rushed over to Buffy's side, and Riley Practically pushed me put of the way.

"Buffy," He said, "Buffy I'm here." Buffy lifted her left hand, which was shaking. She placed it on Willow's cheek, then on Giles, then in Riley's hand.

"Hey, guys. Funny seeing you here." She rasped. Riley kept moving into my space, where I had sat.

"Willow, you and Tara better stay together." She whispered, and then turned to Giles, "Giles, get a grownup car." Giles smiled, a sad smile that matched my own, "Riley, I, I love you." I winced as the words cut through me. She loved him. She never felt any feelings for me.

I had to let go.

"I love you to Buffy." Riley said.

"You can't die, Buffy." Willow cried.

"You were like a daughter." Giles struggled to say. I stayed silent. I had my moment with her, they deserved theirs.

Buffy coughed, and the blood continued to soak her.

"It's cold." She whimpered. And she closed her eyes.

"Buffy?" Willow said softly, and then louder, "Buffy! Buffy!" Willow tired to shake her awake. Riley kept calling to her, and Giles had tears pouring down his face.

"You have to get up Buffy!" Riley said. I shook my head, and amazingly, I began to laugh. Everyone turned to me.

"She's gone you guys." I said.

"No she isn't." Riley said, "We can bring her back." I shook my head again.

"You don't have proof she's gone." Willow said, "She died before." They didn't know. I had proof.

I gripped her hand tighter. It was so very cold and stiff now.

I hadn't let go.