Title: A Moment of Guilt (1/1)

Author: Cyclone

Feedback: Please be gentle.

Distribution: Gimme credit and a link. Plus, archived at http://fanfiction.net/profile.php?userid=62966

Rating: I'm gonna go say PG.

Spoilers: Up to Becoming 2.

Disclaimer: The characters depicted herein belong to other people. I'm just borrowing them for a while.

Summary: Where does the Heart turn for emotional support?

Author's Note: This idea just struck me, so I thought I'd jot it down.

* * *

*I lied to her. I lied to her, and she sent Angel to hell, and now she's who-knows-where, facing who-knows-what. I should have told her.*

Those were his thoughts as he walked up to his house. He fished his key from his pocket and fitted it into the lock. To his surprise, the door swung open freely.

*What the...?* he wondered. He went on full alert and stepped in cautiously.

He listened carefully and heard noises coming from the kitchen. Licking his lips -- and ignoring the voice that said, "Get Buffy!" -- he peered through the kitchen doorway... and blinked.

"Leo?"

"Huh?" squawked the man with his head under the sink, sitting up in surprise...

CLANG!

...or trying to, anyway.

"Oh, Jesus," Xander rushed over and crouched beside the man as he pulled himself out and rubbed the bump on his head. "Leo? Are you okay?"

Leo Wyatt was the Harris family handyman. Xander's parents -- being the type who spent all their money on alcohol -- decided it was cheaper to hire Leo rather than a company or specialist for repairs around the house.

"Yeah," he said, still rubbing the growing lump. "Yeah, I'll be fine, Xander."

"I'm sorry," Xander said.

"Don't worry about it," Leo shook his head. "I've been hurt worse."

"All right," Xander smiled. "What are you doing here, Leo? Is the sink acting up again?"

Leo glanced apologetically at the sink, "Yeah, it kind of is. Don't worry; I've got it under control."

Xander nodded absently, "Good to hear."

He frowned, looking at Xander's expression, "Are you all right?"

"Yeah, Leo, I'm fine," Xander said unconvincingly.

"Don't give me that," Leo snorted. "Now what's wrong?"

Xander thought hard for a moment. He liked Leo, and the handyman had always been willing to lend a sympathetic ear... but this? Leo would think he was _nuts_ if he started talking about vampires and demons.

Finally, he sighed and said, "I... lied to a friend of mine, and she ran away a few days ago because of something she did because of what I said. I-I'm worried about her."

"It's okay to be worried," Leo said, placing a comforting hand on his shoulder. "And you shouldn't feel guilty. I know you, Xander, and I know that you could never intentionally hurt someone you care about. Whatever you said, you said it because it was the right thing. It was for the best. For everyone."

"I..." Xander paused, then closed his eyes and considered. *Well, if I had told the truth... she might have held back... and if she did...* he shuddered involuntarily at the thought.

He opened his eyes and nodded. "Thanks, Leo. You always seem to know just what to say."

"It's a gift," Leo shrugged. "Now scoot, so I can get back to work on this stubborn sink."

"I'm scooting, I'm scooting," Xander laughed as he, well... scooted.

As the Whitelighter watched his charge leave the kitchen, he smiled and murmured, "Good luck, Xander. You'll make a fine Whitelighter."

Leo was damn proud of this particular charge.

* * *

Author's Postscript:

Okay, this one just wouldn't leave me alone. I was working on an RPG (one based off the challenge I posted awhile back), and the idea of Xander being one of Leo's charges just popped in my head.

For those who care, I _am_ working on my other 'fics, so don't fret.