~*~Given the Chance~*~

~Disclaimer: First off, all the characters in this story that you have seen on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, ALL ENTIRELY belong to Mr. Joss Whedon. As for the title? It is not mine either. The title was from the band "The Starting Line," but this story has NOTHING to do with the song's lyrics. If you find that there is any coincidence of or relating to the actual song, I have not copied it. I am merely using the title. (I love the title, by the way! *giggles*) And I suggest you all should listen to The Starting Line. They've got good good good songs. *giggles*

~A/N: This idea has been nagging at me for a while and I finally decided to give in to the temptation. *giggles* I was inspired by the book called, Jemima J, written by Jane Green. Good book. I suggest ya'll should read it. *wink*

~Summary: "Buffy Summers looked sadly at the 200 pounds of extra blubber that sagged over the side of her pants and then at her tangled brown hair. " And thus, this tale begins. Tired of not being noticed by anyone, especially "him", she finally decides on changing all that.

Buffy Summers looked sadly at the 200 pounds of extra blubber that sagged over the side of her pants and then at her tangled brown hair. Bringing a hand up, she tried to straighten the unruly strands. Growling in frustration because her fingers were stuck, she stared back at her reflection in disdain.

After succeeding in pulling her limbs from the labyrinth that was her hair, she turned to her side and gazed at the mirror.

A woman at the age of twenty, with brown frizzy hair, layers of fat leaking from the sides of her shirt, and wide green eyes hidden behind glasses, stared back at her.

Buffy sucked in a breath and held it, hoping that her large stomach would be sucked in as well. She pulled some skin up and tried to hold them in place to keep them from sagging, but with no avail. Letting out her breath, she heaved an irritated sigh and plopped onto her bed.

The mattress creaked as she laid down and stared up at the ceiling, wondering what went wrong in her life. Wait, never mind that. She knew *what* went wrong. She had somehow became a walking corpse. Correction: A fat walking corpse. Her hair resembled that of a dead person's and so did her dry skin. Buffy groaned and covered her face with her chubby hands. Now back to her unanswered question, she wondered *when* her life went wrong.

It wasn't long after she remembered the answer. It all started when she was just a child. Her mom had fed her and fed her and fed her. Buying her chips to burgers, to chocolate bars to greasy steaks. Buffy had been spoiled with mountains of food, not knowing that it would ruin the rest of her entire life. She was ridiculed for her size by other children and even those children's parents. Kids would throw rocks at her head and call her names. Whoever thought "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me," was absolutely wrong. They certainly never lived her life.

Shaking her head to forget the painful memories of being alone and friendless, she glanced at her clock sitting on the table by her bed. 8:45.

"Oh shit." Buffy cursed and sat up, running to the bathroom as fast as her legs would allow.

* * * * * * *

After Buffy's five minute shower, she pulled her wet hair back in a tight bun. She pulled on a white shirt and black slacks. Struggling into her black shoes, she slipped out of her bedroom and locked it.

Each morning, she dreaded the moment after. She would have to walk down the hall and pass by her two other roommates. They would be sitting on the couch in the living room, the room that Buffy had to pass every morning to get to the door.

Why was this such a pain? Because her two roommates were beautiful. Just gorgeous. With their slim waists, faces perfectly graced with make up, and their trendy clothes, Buffy Summers hated the fact that she didn't look more like them.

She also hated the fact that they always *tried* to be nice, but she knew they really thought she was the biggest, ugliest woman they had ever met. The only reason why Buffy stayed with them was because they had money.

You see, Buffy had owned the apartment before they came. This pair had come from New York, in search for a new area that they weren't known for their "evil schemes." They slept with men for money. No, they weren't prostitutes, although, that's what they acted like. They would lure men, have sex with them, and keep them as their "boyfriends," until they wouldn't offer them anymore money. Those poor guys, being used like that.

Anyways, at the time, Buffy was in need of some cash and here came Cordelia and Faith. Funny how they never felt like moving out, Buffy guessed it was because they liked how there was no competition in who looked better in the house.

Buffy took a deep breath and thought about running across the living room thinking that maybe she wouldn't get noticed. Just as she was about to do so, Cordelia called out to her, "Why, good morning Buffy." Cordelia put on a plastic smile, holding her coffee cup with manicured fingers.

"Morning, B. Heading to work?" Faith asked from the floor. She was doing crutches and had a small beads of sweat trickling down her face. Buffy mentally groaned. Why do others look good when they sweat, but not me?

"Yeah." Buffy replied, "I'm kind of in a hurry, so I'll see you two later." She turned, but was stopped by Cordelia's voice.

"Oh, Buffy! Aren't you gonna ask us about our date from yesterday?" She was talking about their new beaus, "Faith here is in love."

Faith sighed wistfully and put a hand to her forehead, "Oh yes. He's wonderful!"

Buffy resisted the urge to say, "Again?" So instead, rolled her eyes at the dark haired girl laying down. Faith was *always* in love, not that she took the phrase seriously. I mean, any guy with money instantly caught her attention and affection.

Buffy glanced at her watch, "Look. I'd really like to stay and listen, but I'm *really* in a hurry."

Cordelia grinned evilly and held out a plate full of pastries towards her, "Buffy, don't you want a muffin before you go?"

Faith joined in the taunting, "Yeah. You *must* be hungry." Buffy shook her head and stepped out of the room, closing the door on their giggles.

"They have money, they're paying for the apartment. Don't kill them." Buffy repeated under her breath as she headed to the elevators.

The trio lived on the second floor of the building and walking down the stairs was a huge feat for Buffy in her condition. It was embarrassing to be waiting for the elevator to bring her down one level, but what choice did she have?

It was even *more* embarrassing when a cute man with a dog was waiting for the elevators beside her. Buffy bit her lip, feeling nervous at having a male stand so close to her. Ok, so he was, like, five feet away- but hey! That was really close!

Oh God, he's staring at me! Buffy thought worriedly, He must think I'm the hugest person he's ever seen. Kill me now.

The man spoke up, "Um . . . Miss?" Buffy didn't answer. The man stared at Buffy, whose eyes were tightly shut and her eyebrows were scrunched together, as if she was trying to hide.

He thinks I'm fat. He thinks I'm fat. I know it. Buffy kept chanting. I'll just close my eyes like I don't see him. Oh my God, he's talking to me. He probably wants me to move out of his way because I'm blocking the sun or something.

"Miss? Excuse me, miss?" The brunette man touched her shoulder and she jumped in surprise.

Her eyes widened in alarm, "Uh . . . Yeah?"

The man smiled, "Can you please move?"

Oh my God, I *am* blocking the sun. Buffy thought in embarrassment. She took a step to the side and he chuckled. Buffy was beginning to get angry, This isn't funny!

He shook his head and pointed behind her at the elevators, which she was still standing in front of, "I meant, the elevator is here and this dog," He held up the leash to the dog, "has to pee."

In such a relief that he wasn't being mean to her, Buffy blushed and stepped into the elevator and apologized, "I'm Sorry."

He waved a hand in dismissal, "It's ok. It's a part of nature for dogs to pee." He gave a goofy grin and Buffy couldn't help but grin back.

"You know what I mean." Buffy said.

He chuckled, "I know. By the way, my name's Xander." He held out a hand and Buffy took it.


* * * * * * *

As they stepped out of the elevator, Buffy was about to turn away when a miraculous thing happened. He actually followed her and continued talking to her.

"Wait up." He jogged up to her and Buffy stared at him in surprise, "Where you going?"

Buffy glanced at her watch, "Work."



"Ooh . . ." He shook his head in mock disappointment, "You know you're late, right?"

Buffy laughed and nodded, "Yup." Deciding that this was probably the only chance she would ever have at making a friend, she asked, "So, how long have you been living here at this apartment?"

"Sunshine Grove?" Buffy nodded. "I don't."

She nodded again, "Ooh . . . So that's why I haven't seen you around." The dog on Xander's leash trotted over to Buffy and nuzzled her legs. She pat his head and his tail wagged. "Cute dog."

Xander smiled. Goodness, it had been a long time since someone smiled to me, a *real* smile, Buffy happily thought.

"Thanks, but he ain't mine." He said, rubbing his neck.

"No?" She asked in confusion.

He shrugged, "Nah . . . Actually . . . It's my job."

She gave him a blank stare, "huh?"

They continued walking on the sidewalk as he explained, "Well, I'm a dog walker, I guess you could say."

Buffy smiled, "That's cool."

He sighed, "Yeah. Nothing big like working for Microsoft or anything. It's not even as big as being an employee at Target or whatever." He stopped and looked at her, "I'm a loser, aren't I?"

She gave him a shocked expression, "No! No, you're not." He gave her a doubtful look, "You're not." She said sincerely with a hand on his shoulder.

He sent her a sad smile and jokingly replied, "But I walk dogs for a living."

Buffy smiled and nudged him in the ribs, "Lucky you." And for once in her life, she didn't once think about being overweight. Xander had made her feel like a real person. She had made a friend.

* * * * * * *

The pair parted ways after a while and she was surprised . . . no, shocked that Xander had hoped to meet her the next morning for an early walk. Of course, Buffy happy complied.

On her way to her job, her nose was suddenly assaulted with the smell of bacon.

"Ooh . . . Yum." Buffy's eyes closed as she sucked in a deep breath. Buffy continued to sniff and follow the smell, a vivid picture of the awaiting burger, steaming in her mind.

Buffy opened her eyes to find that she was standing at the door of McDonald's. She went inside and ordered, "Yes, I would like two number nines and instead of coffee, could you give me a coke, and for the other, a chocolate milkshake?" The cashier stared at Buffy, but pressed the buttons anyway, "Oh, and if it wouldn't be any trouble, could you maybe add that two for one dollar hash browns? Thank you."

The skinny, cashier girl nodded and turned around to another girl who whispered, loud enough for Buffy to overhear, "Are you sure she didn't say 'nine numbers two's' instead of 'two number nines'?" They giggled at their lame joke and Buffy suddenly felt awful for letting herself get carried away with food again. Buffy shook her head in shame, but accepted the food anyway.

The best way of getting rid of pain, Buffy thought, Is to eat. And to say that this happened quite often, well, it would be an understatement.

As Buffy used her butt to push open the door, she ate on her way to work.

* * * * * * *

Munching on her last hash brown, she noticed a ten dollar bill, laying on the ground.

"Maybe my life is going to get better now." Buffy concluded happily as she walked in the back way to the diner.

"Or maybe it's not." A voice boomed from behind her.

Buffy winced and slowly turned around to meet her strict coworker. "Hey, Anya. How's the customers?" She said in a meek little voice.

The unnatural blonde put her hands on her hips and wagged a finger at her late fellow employee, "Don't you 'How's the customers,' me, Miss Late- Lady."

Buffy apologized for being late and grabbed a white apron hanging on the wall. It had a name tag pinned onto it, the name "B. Summers" adorned the plastic surface of the card.

"Again, I am *so* sorry for being late." Buffy apologized once more, tying the apron around her oversized waist, "You're not gonna tell Boss, are you?"

Anya crossed her arms over her chest and stared long and hard at Buffy. Buffy began to worry her lip. She couldn't lose her job, if she did, Buffy was afraid that she would have nothing else to live for. Except for food, that is, Buffy thought sadly.

After a long silence, Anya finally assured, "Fine. I won't tell Boss." She patted Buffy's shoulder and before turning around to the burning patties, she added, "But next time . . ." She trailed off and flipped a burger. Buffy thanked her and rummaged around her backpack.

Buffy took out a bar of chocolate and peeled of the foil wrapper, "Mmm . . ." She licked her lips, "Hershey's." God, she was already hungry.

"Buffy! You're taking over the register!" Anya hissed, and pushed her towards the swinging doors.

"Okay. Okay . . ." Buffy said irritated and looked up to meet the bluest eyes she had ever seen on the other side of the counter.

"Hi." Buffy said, although it was a bit muffled with the chocolate bar, dangling from her mouth.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A/N: Well . . .? What do you think? PLEASE tell me what you all think. And, I hope no one gets offended with this story. I'm not trying to hurt anyone's feelings with this story. I'm sorry if I am/have.

Please be kind and review. =)