Seeing with a Father's Love
By Teri

Summary: We know Xander has loved Buffy since he first saw her, but what if it was a different kind of love? Sound a little odd? You might be surprised how well the pieces fit. Come on, you know you are curious. Aren't you? Rated: PG

Warnings: Hank/Joyce - Post-Chosen with some flashbacks

Started while sick and being attacked by real life, continued in my usual demented state of mind. Please remember that before you start to throw things at me for this odd one.

Disclaimer: Not associated with the creators of Buffy and Company. No harm is intended to the copyright holders.

Xander sat at the table staring at the paper in front of him. He had known for a while now that his time was running out. In fact he had known for twenty years, but it didn't matter he still had no idea what, if anything, he should write.

Xander wanted to say good-bye to the girls - his girls, his family, Buffy and Dawn, Willow, even Cordelia if she ever awoke. He wanted to say good- bye to Giles to whom he looked up and wished he could have known in other circumstances as a friend. He wanted to tell them how much they all meant to him - how despite everything he didn't regret one moment - how he'd miss them - how he loved them all.

He couldn't do it; he couldn't find the words. How could he tell them they would never see him again? Maybe it was better not to burden them with his outpouring of sentimentality? Maybe it was better to just fade away?

See he was the only one who knew that by dawn Xander Harris wouldn't exist anymore. Ironically, he knew no one would grieve for the loss more than he would. He had sacrificed a lot to be Xander, but he had gained so much more, even more than he had expected and far more than he deserved. He would never regret his choice.

And with - well now that she was gone - dead, to what did he have to look forward? He had always thought this would be a happy time, when he could go back to her, but she wasn't there anymore.

He was pulled from his own pondering when his phone started to ring.

"Hello?" He answered wondering who on earth would be calling him.

"Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Xander, Happy Birthday to you." What he heard surprised him. It was Buffy, who was horribly off-key, Willow, who wasn't doing much better, Dawn, who had a surprising good voice, and even Giles in the background singing Happy Birthday to him, on his actual Birthday. It was the best song he ever heard.

"What are you all doing?" He asked in surprise.

"We set up a conference call," Buffy chirped in before being cut-off by Willow. "It is April 18th of the year 2004 and your 23rd birthday."

"I am sorry we couldn't meet you in Africa, but we couldn't not call you." Dawn added.

"No, we couldn't," Giles started, "but, I have sent you a ticket. I know it isn't the same thing as seeing you on your birthday . . . I thought we could all spend next weekend together."

Xander was nearly speechless. "Guys, I don't know how to thank you. You know I love you right?"

"Of course we do!"

"We know."

"Well, duh!"

The girls all spoke at the same time. Giles even added a quiet, "quite."

"Good." Xander said, his voice grew faint, "remember it always."

The five friends chatted for almost an hour.

It was a good thing too, because it was the last chat they would have. When Giles went to the airport to meet Xander's airplane, no Xander. When Buffy called Xander's hotel in Africa to see what happened, no Xander. When Dawn hacked herself a free airplane ride against Buffy's wishes to Africa, no Xander. When Willow finally gave in and decided to try a locator spell for Xander, no Xander, no Xander at all. There was no sign that he existed at all.

"Giles!" Buffy was whining and she knew it. "It's been three months since Xander disappeared - THREE MONTHS!"

"I know Buffy. I am going to go visit the seers from the council that we have here in Los Angeles - personally today." He sighed into the telephone. He had talked to a few of them before, but he hoped a direct beseech on his part could help. So since he was in Los Angeles he made sure to take the time to see them.

"Okay." She tried to say with conviction, but obviously not able to muster the emotion.

"We'll find him." 'If he is out there', he left unspoken and they both knew it.

Giles arrived early and walked in to the library that the seers kept. He had hoped to look through some of the ancient texts and prophecies before he was able to talk with some of the seers.

However, when he walked in the first thing he saw was not the books, fine old big and dusty tomes that they were. What he saw was also not the fine antique table that had once been in the library in Alexandria at the turn of the century that the watcher's coffers had furnished or not even the fine art work that had once belonged Joyce's gallery. It was the face of a man he had actually never met, never cared to know, and whom he hated more than almost anyone on the planet, perhaps even more hated than Angelus.

He walked right over to the man who only just managed to look up for the briefest moment right before Giles punched him in the face, knocking him off his chair, and probably breaking his nose and perhaps a few teeth.

The man looked up at Giles, first in surprise then with acceptance. He was not going to fight back. He knew who hit him and more importantly he knew why. He wasn't going to protest. Instead, he looked up with a question on his face and on his lips, "feel better, Giles?" He started to try to stand although with some difficulty, "or do you need another go?"

"You know who I am then?" He asked his eyes still burning with fire, but somewhat tempered by curiosity at why this man just seemed to take the abuse without question.

"Yes, I do."

Neither man spoke for a few minutes before the man Giles assaulted spoke again. "You were my daughter's watcher."

"And you are Hank Summers."

Hope someone enjoyed this so far. Oh, for anyone waiting for another story, please know I am working on "Jack" and this story was written a while ago, just never posted.

Thanks, Teri (GarnetTM [at] yahoo dot com)