Left Side

Willow, of course. He didn't mind if Willow was on his left. It seemed proper for her to be covering his blind side, backing him up the way she'd done all his life.

Buffy on his left made him a little nervous, like he was keeping her from something more important, and maybe she was feeling guilty for letting it happen and now she felt she had to protect poor helpless Xander.

He caught one of the potentials sitting on his left once, just sitting there in shock, keeping him company but staring off as tears slowly slid down her face. He felt weirdly protective of her, poor kid, and would have reached over to take her hand, except it looked like the only chance she'd had to be private with herself and try to deal.

Faith was there once, but she saw his first startled look of uneasiness and came around to his good side. For a change she had no words, just haunted pain in her eyes as she looked from him to Rona and the others. He reached out to take her hand, and they let the quiet speak between them.

Giles just stood at the foot of the bed, trying to speak comforting Giles-words while Ripper raged helplessly in his eyes and his hands strangled the bars on the end of the bed. Just as well, the space between Xander and his last chance at a father figure was too wide for crossing now.

He didn't like it when Anya sat at his left. When he turned his head to look at her, the uncertain smile was always just appearing on her face. He didn't want to know what kind of pity she wore when his good eye was looking elsewhere.

Andrew and his babble were strangely comforting. The world had not yet ended if Andrew was still going on about Nick Fury and Wolverine's secret identity as Patch and the one-eyed man in "Last Action Hero" and all the rest. But Andrew was definitely not going to be designing the eyepatch, sorry.

In the middle of the first night, he'd woken with a start, wondered why everything looked so flat, then remembered. Thinking he was alone with the other out-of-action casualties, he'd let some of the grief out. At his first uneven breath, though, he heard something to his left. Not a breath, but the faint creak of leather. No other sounds, but Xander caught the faint whiff of cigarette smoke.

He didn't turn his head, but, feeling a little bit safer knowing he wasn't alone, he let himself cry for a while. Until he finally fell asleep about an hour later, there was only the occasional sound of the chair creaking faintly and cloth sliding against itself.

Every night, when he woke up from nighmares and pain, he listened for the sound of leather and denim, sometimes the jingle of a boot buckle. Once he thought he heard a breath, as if someone were about to speak, but it went unused. And once, as he was finally drifting back to sleep, he felt a brief, cool touch on his left hand. He didn't mind. He was just glad to have his blind side covered.