Visiting Hours

Summary: Buffy and Xander visit Anya in the hospital.

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters portrayed here, they remain the property of their respective owners/creators.

Rating: PG, for themes.

Time Frame: Fifth season, at the end of the time frame of "Real Me." (This is your spoiler warning, folks.)

Archiving: Be my guest, but e-mail me ( to let me know. . .I like to know where stuff I write ends up and I might want to see what else you've got.


Buffy walked quietly down the hallway of the hospital. * For someone who always hated these places, I sure ended up spending a lot of time here * As if to punctuate her thoughts, a couple of medical personnel nodded at her as she walked by. She sighed in annoyance and kept walking. After a few more seconds, she turned a corner and saw Xander sitting in a chair outside of an ICU room: his face was a mask of worry.

Buffy slipped into the chair next to him and squeezed his shoulder, asking, "How is she?"

Xander turned and managed a brief expression of relief at seeing that she was OK, then his face went somber again as he replied, "They're still looking her over. . .she lost a lot of blood." He blinked, then asked, "So is Dawn OK?"

Buffy nodded and responded, "I found her, yelled at her, and she yelled at me. . .and we both decided not to let Mom know what happened." She squeezed Xander's shoulder again and told him, "I got all of them, Xander. . .except Harmony, and I got the impression that her days as a leader of minions are over for a while." She paused, taking a deep breath, and concluded, "I'm sorry Anya got hurt, Xander. . .if Dawn hadn't. . .if I hadn't-"

Xander turned to Buffy, and she could see compassion, mixed with a fair amount of exhaustion, as he replied, "Gee, we screwed up. . .it's not like THAT has ever happened before." Buffy smiled in response, and Xander continued, "None of us took Harmony seriously enough. . .it put us off of our game. She's as dumb as a bag of hammers, but she's got a way of attracting hangers-on. . .and she's been working out, apparently. . .I won't make that mistake again, and neither will you."

Buffy nodded with a determined look on her face as the door across from them opened and a doctor came out. He walked over to Xander and Buffy, and they stood up. Xander swallowed hard and asked, "How is she, Doc?"

The doctor smiled and replied, "She'll be fine, Mr. Harris. We replaced the lost blood, and the only other complication was a concussion, which was why we wanted to do a CAT scan, just in case. We've moved her to a private room, and she should be ready for release after a couple of days of observation." He shook his head and commented, "I've never seen anyone in such good health. . .the only other sign of injury or illness that I was able to find was the scar from that odd hand injury you brought her in for in May. . ."

The two friends sighed in visible relief, and Xander asked, "Can we see her?"

The doctor nodded and replied, "Yes. . .but only for a little while. . .she needs some sleep." He led them down a few corridors, then indicated a door before walking away. Buffy looked at Xander, then quietly said, "Xander. . .if you want to be alone with her, I'll understand."

Xander looked at her, thinking at first that Buffy had come to see him, not Anya, and that she was looking for a graceful way out; however, the look of concern remained in her eyes, and Xander realized that she did want to see for herself how Anya was. He replied, "Maybe after a few minutes. . .but I think she'd like to know you came to see her. . .come on in."

Buffy brightened visibly and followed Xander into the room. Anya was sitting up in bed, managing to look annoyed in spite of the painkillers she had been given for her head injury. She looked up and smiled when she saw Xander, and accepted a kiss before frowning and commenting, "Aren't flowers traditional for visiting your wounded sweetie in the hospital?"

Buffy stifled a laugh as Xander turned red and muttered, "Ah. . .sorry, I was waiting to hear how you were and I forgot. . .I'll be right back." He left the room, and Buffy sat down next to the bed as Anya turned to her and commented, "He could have waited. . .oh well. . .hey, is Dawn all right? Hate to think that I got this bump on the head for no good reason."

"She's fine, Anya," Buffy replied, thinking that by Anya's standards, the question represented rather extreme concern. She frowned and leaned in to Anya, whispering, "That was very brave of you to try to save Dawn, Anya. . .I'd really like to thank you."

Anya shrugged and replied, "Didn't even think about it. . .saw her go out, knew it wasn't safe, tried to pull her back in. . .then that big vampire shoved me. . .I really don't remember much else."

Buffy paled, then responded, "That one was bad news. . .he almost got me before I staked him with part of Harmony's unicorn collection." She reached out and squeezed Anya's hand before repeating, "Thank you."

Anya shrugged and replied, "Glad to do it. . .since I didn't actually wind up dead or anything. . .I guess you need a couple of trips to the hospital to fit in with this group anyway." Buffy chuckled, and Anya managed a faint smile of her own before Xander walked in with an obscenely large bouquet. Buffy got up, smiled at Anya, and left the room.

Xander put the bouquet on Anya's lap, and she smiled and commented, "These are pretty. . .you still have enough money left to buy me other stuff, right?"

Xander sighed; clearly, the head injury had not changed Anya's personality noticeably. "Not a problem, Anya. . .I've set up a little reserve for just such emergencies. . ." He sat down next to her and squeezed her hand, then asked, "So what did you and Buffy talk about?"

Anya shrugged and replied, "She thanked me for trying to get Dawn back inside. . .don't know why she was so grateful. . .I failed, after all."

Xander smiled at her and squeezed her hand again before responding, "Anya. . .you're still learning about things. . .when someone tries their best to help, even if it doesn't work out, people are generally grateful for it."

Anya brightened, and burst out, "Oh! . . .so that's why they're always so grateful to you when you try to help and it doesn't work!"

Xander felt a surge of annoyance, then decided that venting it would undercut the lesson that Anya had learned today. He forced a smile and replied, "Yeah, that's it, Anya." He looked at his watch and commented, "I can only stay for another half hour, Anya. . .visiting hours are over then. . .but I can come back tomorrow morning."

Anya frowned, then responded, "Well then. . .we'd better get busy."

Xander blinked, and asked puzzledly, "What do you mean?"

Anya looked at him impatiently and replied, "We haven't had sex yet today. . .and half an hour isn't very long. . .so we can't waste any time."

Xander broke out into a cold sweat, and he waited several long seconds before hesitantly replying, "Uh, Anya. . .there's something that I need to tell you. . ."

Buffy was sitting out in the corridor reading a newspaper while waiting for Xander to leave when she heard an outraged shriek from Anya, then a stream of expletives. She tensed for a moment, then relaxed as her sensitive hearing allowed her to pick up the gist of her complaint. She smiled: Anya would be fine. . .now Xander, on the other hand. . .

As always, comments are welcomed and desired