Title: Falling to Pieces Author: Bastard Snow Rating: PG-13 for language and adult themes

Summary: A couple of years after "Chosen." Xander never lost his eye because I'm too lazy to remember to write it that way.

Disclaimer: None of the characters portrayed herein are my property, nor do I make any claim on them. So don't sue me.

A/N: This one wouldn't leave me alone, so I wrote it all quick like. Thanks to Drake for beta'ing.

Feedback: Yes, please.


After the last battle in Sunnydale, he had been in mourning, and everybody had been sympathetic, and spared no effort in helping him, or being there for him, or whatever he needed. And then, after a few months, he wasn't in mourning anymore, and things were, in general, good.

It was two years later, now, and he was in a bad mood.

Those who knew him knew that this was not an uncommon occurrence. Most of them didn't know why, though they often tried to pull it out of him. There was just one person he felt he could confide in. And she was damn tired of hearing him whine.

"Jesus, Xander," Dawn said, slamming her book on her desk. "When did you become such a coward?"

"I'm not a coward," he said from his seat on her bean bag chair. "I just... it's futile."

Dawn rolled her eyes, spun around in her chair and hurled her pen at him. He caught it without looking, something he'd grown accustomed to doing in these late-night chat sessions the two shared. Xander capped the pen and lobbed it back to its owner.

"Well if it's futile, move on. For crying out loud, just get over it!"

"I tried!" Xander said. "I've been trying for over a year, you know that."

"I know I know that," Dawn said. "But like you said, it's been over a year!"

"Yeah? And how long did you have a crush on me?"

Dawn spun back towards her work, muttering something about fighting dirty.

"Anyway, you need to leave soon," Dawn said.

"What? Why? I thought tonight was just us hanging."

"Yeah, well, it was going to be, but Ethan's coming over and we're going to have sex, so unless you want to be here for that..."

"DAWN!" Xander yelled.

"I mean, as I've said before, I'm open to you staying, joining in even... Ethan might not be too happy about it..."

Xander rolled himself off the bean bag chair and scrambled to his feet, grabbing his keys from her bookcase.

"This isn't over. I'm going to be able to horrify you one day."

"What, with tales of sex?" Dawn asked.

"Yeah," Xander said. "But they'll all deal with Andrew."

"Yeah, cuz he's going to have sex in this lifetime."

"Keep pushing me and I might have to resort to extreme measures."

"Oh, ew!" Dawn squealed, turning back towards him with a horrified look on her face. "Oh, even with you in the picture, that's nasty."

"Me? What? NO! I meant a hooker!" Xander shuddered as Dawn faked gagging herself. She shook her head and stood up to see him to the door of her dorm room.

"Seriously, Xander," Dawn said "Do something about it. You know she's not going to hate you, or hurt your feelings if she says no. And hey, maybe she'll say yes."

Xander leveled a disbelieving glare.

"I'm just saying, it's a non-zero chance."

Dawn leaned up and gave Xander a hug, which he returned in kind.

"Okay," he said. "Have fun tonight."

"Got it covered."

"Make sure he does, too."

"Have fun?" Dawn asked. "I think I can guarantee that."

"I meant, make sure he's got it covered," Xander said.

"Yes, Dad."

"If your father ever talked to you about sex, I will eat my shoe."

Dawn kissed him on the cheek. "Now leave," she said, shoving him out the door by his butt.

"I still can't believe you're dating a guy named Ethan," Xander said, shaking his head. "Talk about karma."


Xander smiled, then turned and headed off into the night, alone.

* * * * *

"Hey guys," Xander said when he returned to the Slayer Compound. He found most of the girls huddled on the couches in front of the big screen TV.

A chorus of "Hey," and "Hey, Xander," from the assembled junior slayers, and a single "You're blocking the TV!" from Rona greeted him.

"Faith was looking for you," Vi said without looking at him.

"Know where she is?" Xander asked.

Vi and Kennedy pointed vaguely towards the gym, and Xander waved his thanks as the girls huddled together even closer while giving off small shrieks.

Xander made his way back to the gym area and found Faith wailing on a punching bag like it borrowed her favorite leather pants and brought them back ruined.

"It doesn't make sense to me," Xander said.

"What?" Faith asked, grabbing the bag with both hands to stop it swaying.

"They're slayers, and yet they get scared at horror films. Isn't that a bad thing? Shouldn't monsters hold less fear?" Xander asked as he tossed Faith a towel from the rack.

"It's not the monster, it's the build up," said Faith, nodding her thanks for the towel as she wiped her sweat off. She grabbed a water bottle off a table and took a large drink. "Suspense, and all that. Although most horror movies recently have sucked."

"That's for sure," said Xander. "What's up? Vi said you wanted to see me?"

"Yeah. B called. Her and Red are getting in tomorrow, they were hopin' you could pick 'em up."

"I thought Andrew was picking them up," Xander said.

Faith shrugged. "Said they'd rather have you. Can ya blame 'em?"

Xander conceded the point with a nod. "What time does their flight get in?"

"'Bout three," Faith said. "Info's on the fridge."

"Got it," Xander said. "Thanks. You all right?"

"Fine, why?"

"Just asking."

"Hey, I thought you were hangin' with the brat tonight," Faith said as Xander started to walk off.

"Ethan happened," Xander said without stopping.

Faith turned back to her punching bag. "Ethan," she said. "A.K.A mini- Xander."

"I heard that!" Xander called.

"You were meant to!" Faith retorted, before once more laying into the bag.

Xander headed towards the kitchen, where he grabbed the note Faith had left and a beer, before wandering off in search of his current partner-in-crime- due-to-lack-of-options. He found Andrew playing the newest Star Wars game.

"Hey, Xander," the younger man said without turning around. Xander noticed over Andrew's shoulder that the Millenium Falcon was engaged in a space battle with some nasty looking TIE Interceptors.

"How do you always know it's me?" Xander asked, leaning against the door frame.

Andrew grabbed a sip of his Jolt Cola before answering. "Uh... you're the only one who ever actually comes to my room," he said.

Xander kicked off from the door frame, went in and sat on the edge of the bed. "I think that's because everyone else is afraid to. Have you seen this place lately?"

"What?" Andrew asked. "It's clean."

"Yeah, clean, and littered with posters, flyers, pictures and all sorts of other geek memorabilia. There probably isn't one other person in this house who could even name all the shows and movies this stuff comes from."

On the computer screen, the Millenium Falcon exploded in a ball of flame. "Blast!" Andrew said, before swiveling in his chair. He pointed to a bookshelf Xander had built for him. "Don't forget games," he said. A plethora of roleplaying books, from Dungeons and Dragons to Call of Cthulu to Shadowrun, littered Andrew's shelves and his room. In his closet, bagged and boarded, were a few hundred issues of Dragon Magazine.

"Right, games," Xander said. "Can't forget those."

"Weren't you supposed to be at the dorm with Dawn tonight?" Andrew asked.

"She's with Ethan," Xander answered, as he popped the top on his beer and prepared the same answers he always gave the younger man.

"Yeah, but, isn't she, like, in love with you?"

"No, she's in love with Ethan."

"Yeah, but isn't he, like, you, only smaller?"

"No, I can safely say Ethan is his own person," Xander said.

"But, isn't it kind of eerie how much you two look alike?"

"What can I say?" Xander responded, smiling. "Girl knows quality work."

Andrew shrugged. "So what's up?" he asked, slapping his palms down on his legs.

Xander shrugged. "Hoping you had something to do. The girls are watching some crappy horror film, Faith's in the gym – I assume there was another fight?"

"Oh. Yeah," Andrew said.

"Did you mark the board yet?"

"No, I thought you'd want to be here," Andrew said.

"So which was it?" Xander asked, standing, grabbing a dry erase marker and taking the protective 'So Faith won't kick our asses' cover off of the white board. "Did we have a 'Faith, I don't feel you're committed to this relationship?' Or a 'Robin, you're smothering me?' Or was it the rarely seen, yet ever popular 'A watcher and a Slayer should not be together?'"

"Tonight we definitely saw a return of the 'Robin, you're smothering me,'" Andrew announced as Xander put up another tally on the board. "And for a special treat, we were given a show-stopping, synchronized rendition of 'I can't take this crap anymore.'"

"Wow," Xander said, drawing the word out. He put two asterisks next to the tally mark. "Sounds like I missed a doozy."

"It was a grade A performance," Andrew said. "Ebert and Roper give it two enthusiastic thumbs up."

Xander considered the board. "What are we up to now?"

"Twenty-one since we started counting," Andrew said.

"Hmm," Xander said, his hand stroking his chin. "We're in... Rona's territory?"

"Still Vi," Andrew said. "Rona picks up at twenty-two through twenty-four."

Xander nodded. "And after that is... Amanda?"

Andrew nodded. "Why do they stay together?" he asked. "I mean, they fight all the time. It just seems they might be... happier."

"Maybe," Xander said, sitting on the bed again and reminiscing. "But, it's a comfort, having someone you can go to. To talk to about your day, or your problems. Somebody who you know is going to be there for you. It's rare. You don't... want to let that go, if you're lucky enough to have it in the first place, and smart and brave enough to grasp it when it's there."

The two men sat there, silent.

"You know, plus all the hot, sweaty sex, which, with a Slayer? Wow."

"I got some new figures," Andrew said, pointing to a couple of bags on his desk. "We could break out the paints."

"Nah," Xander said, finishing off his beer. "I think I'm just going to head to sleep."

"Okay," Andrew said.

"Oh, and I'm gonna pick up the girls tomorrow."

Andrew nodded. "I thought you might be. The Mystery Machine is gassed and ready to go."

Xander smiled at Andrew's name for the Chevy Suburban that Giles had purchased for the Slayer School. "Have fun killing Imperials," Xander said.

"Okay. Goodnight," Andrew replied, turning back to his computer.

Xander walked back to his room and fell asleep within moments of hitting the pillow.

* * * * *

Xander woke as his bed shook violently.

"Earthquake!" he yelled, suddenly awake. He jumped out of his bed and steadied himself in the doorway. Then he noticed his bed was the only thing shaking.

Xander turned around and saw three young slayers on the opposite side of his bed, all wearing evil grins on their faces. Xander glared at them.

"Vi. Amanda. Zoë," he said gravely.

"Hi, Xander," Vi and Zoë said. Amanda waved shyly. The three girls giggled.

"What's up?" he asked, eyeing the girls cautiously.

Amanda and Zoë shared a giggle, as Vi just grinned wider.

"Um... you are," said the young redhead.

Xander's eyes went wide then looked down. To where he was only wearing boxers, and there was a well defined tent in them. Xander grabbed the jacket from his wall and quickly covered himself. The trio giggled more, and stood up, led by Vi, who strode over to Xander with confidence.

"It's your eleven a.m. wake up call, courtesy of Faith," Vi said, patting him on his cheek. "She just never specified how we were to wake you, is all." Vi leaned up and planted a hard, wet kiss right on his very surprised lips, then winked at him. "Thanks for the show."

Amanda and Zoë slipped passed him with embarrassed grins on their faces, and followed as Vi sauntered off.

Xander shook his head, closed his door and went to take a shower. Afterwards, shivering, he dressed and headed down to the kitchen for a late breakfast.

"Afternoon, soldier," Faith said, smiling at Xander as he sat down with a bowl of cereal.

"You fight dirty," he grumbled.

"Dawn put me up to it," Faith said. "Or rather, she told me to get Vi to wake you up."

"That girl has gotten a lot more confident since Sunnydale. Why me?" Xander asked.

"Boytoy, you're a hot commodity around here," Faith said. "There's you, Andrew, Giles, the UPS guy and Wood, who's spoken for at the moment. Oh, and Kennedy for those who swing that way."

"She's back on the circuit?" Xander asked. He knew Willow and Kennedy had split up a while ago, in what was rated by Andrew as the "Lesbian Break-up of the Century." It had yelling, tears and almost some torn clothing, before Xander had stepped in and pulled Willow away, and he and Buffy had comforted her while she cried. The junior Slayers had taken care of Kennedy.

"Yeah, she was just recently declared open season," Faith said.

"Any takers?"

"Not yet, but I'll be sure to let you know. Give you material for your late- night spank sessions."

"Hey!" Xander said.

"Like I can't hear," she said. "Your room's just above mine."

"I uh..."

"Did you know you talk in your sleep?" Faith asked. "And that sound carries through vents?"

"Faith, I swear, if you say –"

"Calm down, X," she said. "Secret's safe, and all that. How come you haven't made a move?"

Xander looked at her like she had just grown a third eye.

"What?" Faith asked in response to his look.

"You know what."

"Oh, that?" she asked. "Screw it man, people change. I say go for it. You guys'd be wicked cute."

"That's what Dawn said."

"Yeah?" Faith asked. "She wasn't drooling over you?"

"Why does everybody think Dawn's in love with me?" Xander asked. "She's in love with Ethan, for cryin' out loud!"

"He's right," Dawn said as she walked into the kitchen. She smiled at Faith and gave Xander a hello-kiss on the cheek. "I am in love with Ethan."

"Thank you," Xander said. "And don't you live somewhere else?"

Dawn raised an eyebrow. "House meeting," she said.

Xander looked to Faith, who shrugged. "I'd've got to it eventually," she said.

"Who called it?" Xander asked.

"Robin," Dawn said.

Xander nodded, slurped up the last of his cereal and grabbed a Pepsi from the fridge. "Damn, it's too bad I've got to pick up the girls at the airport," he said, smiling mischievously.

"Oh, not fair," Dawn said.

"Hey, you're the one who got me woken up by the newly crowned queen of making me horny," Xander said.

"A light breeze makes you horny," Faith said.

"Yeah, but not the way a big ol' kiss on the lips does," Xander said. "And Vi's not exactly an ugly girl."

The two girls waved him off.

"If you're skipping the meeting, you don't get to complain about a hottie waking you up," Dawn said.

"Complaining about who doing what?" Andrew asked as he walked into the kitchen.

"Don't worry about it," Dawn said.

"Keys to the Mystery Machine?" Xander asked.

Andrew pointed to the key rack by the garage door.

"Makes sense..." Xander said.

"One day, I swear I'm gonna get that thing painted green," Faith said. "You know, if I have some money."

A bell rang out through the house, and Andrew immediately went towards the meeting room.

"Rounding up the cattle," Xander said. "That's my cue. Have fun guys. Dawn, make sure he doesn't yell at Andrew too much? Kid's fragile."

"Yeah, yeah," Dawn said.

Xander smiled at her, mussed up her hair, much to her dismay, grabbed the keys and left.

With still a few hours to kill before he *actually* had to pick up the girls, Xander drove to the nearest Home Depot and started looking for some nice wood that he could use to build something. He didn't know what he wanted to build, nor did he have any specific idea of what he wanted to build it out of. But good lumber almost always has its uses.

Xander found a dozen nice looking eight-foot oak planks with a beautiful grain. With a grin on his face Xander grabbed a cart, purchased the wood and loaded it into the Suburban.

Checking his watch, Xander smiled, knowing he was going to see her again. And then he frowned. He was going to see her again, and still knew he couldn't have her. Sighing, Xander slipped the monstrous vehicle into gear and headed off towards the airport.


End Chapter 1