Title: When You Win (29 & 30/30)
Disclaimer: If I owned them Joyce wouldn't be dead, Spike would be getting his ass kicked more often, there would be, like, seven Xanders', people probably wouldn't watch, the show would be canceled…I digress and I don't own anything. Buffy and friends are owned by Joss, Mutant Enemy, 20th Century Fox, The UPN, and whoever else has rights to the show.
Summary: It might have a plot, read and find out. I do know that it's kinda based on "What Dreams May Come", because that's what I was watching when I got the idea.
Spoilers: None that I can think of, it's an AU story so everyone should be safe.
Distribution: My fic is your fic. Just let me know.
Feedback: Definitely!! Tell me if it sucked or if you liked it. Whatever. Just write back!
Author's Notes: For the purpose of the story Dawn is 16, and Buffy is 24 almost 25, and Joyce is still alive. … indicate thoughts, "~~" are for phone convos, "**" indicates FLASHBACK. Happy reading all!
Special Thanks for all the feedback: Melissa, Bob R., Lori Bush, Shawn "Ozmandayus", Billhaden, txclark, Chorlton, greywizard1235, Dale Theil, denaumo, aaalex55, Xandman, Calen, Queen Boadicea, Jane McCartney, Loz, Joshua, Maggie, Micheal Wilson, Nikapi, Rob Clark, Mallory, Malaskor, White Werewolf, hyr, Gee, Wicked Raygun, Deacon, SCMortOn87, and Reed. If I forgot you I'm sorry, but just know that I got and appreciated your feedback on this storyJ
"A duck." Xander answered leisurely. He was lying sprawled out on his back on a blanket in the middle of West Langsford Park. His arms were folded under his head as the warm breeze blew across him, his cuffed sleeves allowing his to feel it. "What do you think?"
"A dog chasing a truck," came the thoughtful reply and he turned to look at her with raised eyebrows.
"Buff, how come I see a duck and you see a Monet?" he questioned, looking at her as she lay next to him, much in the same fashion he was.
She bit her lip as if in thought, "I guess I'm just more perceptive."
"Or insane," he countered quickly in mock seriousness and Buffy made a face at him. "So insane it is folks," he smiled. It widened when he felt Buffy scoot closer to him without sitting up until her head rested in the crook of his neck while resting on his shoulder.
"What about that one?" Buffy asked pointing to the sky and a new batch of clouds.
Xander's brow creased before he answered, "I think it's a baby alligator…sitting next to a lamp."
Buffy considered it for a moment, "I think it's a giant chicken jousting."
Xander looked at her again, which was much easier than before because she was lying so much closer. "I just think that you like disagreeing with me."
"Maybe a little of that too," Buffy admitted with a shrug.
It was a lazy Saturday afternoon and they, literally, had nothing to do. Xander didn't have work, and either did Buffy so they decided to steal some time away for themselves. They drove out of Sunnydale to the neighboring town of Langsford and settled down in a park they had found.
Xander lowered one arm from under his head and wrapped it around Buffy's waist gently rubbing her side through her light sun dress. They just found themselves watching the clouds, basking in the lighthearted comfort that their year long relationship had created.
"I think that one's a guitar," he pointed around her and Buffy followed his line of vision.
"I think that it's you in the morning," she grinned, placing a light kiss on the side of his chest through his shirt.
"How does that," he pointed again, "look like me at any point during the day? That is so obviously a guitar."
Buffy smirked at him and placed another kiss on the side of his neck.
"Please tell me you see it." Xander pleaded.
"I do," she assured, "but I just think that it reminds me of you in the morning… well part of you…" she traced the cloud figure in front of his face with her finger.
Xander held her tighter and almost felt a blush creep up his neck. "You're a bad bad girl," he whispered. "Thank you," he added, "but still very naughty."
Buffy sat up quickly and straddled his thighs efficiently blocking his view of the clouds. "You know what we're doing tonight," she sing-songed while leaning down and bracing herself on her hands next to Xander's head.
"I don't wanna," he shook his head defiantly.
"But I do," she pouted, "And you want me to be happy don't you?"
"Not that much, no." Xander denied, knowing that it was a lie. If she were to ask him to rip off his right foot he'd do it just to make her smile…not that him being horribly disfigured would make her happy, but still. "I don't want to go to a high school reunion," Xander reiterated, their five year one was tonight.
"It's our first one Xan," Buffy whined. It was difficult, but exciting to both of them to be in a relationship where both people slipped into bratty child mode to get what they wanted; although Buffy's victory level was higher in that particular game. It was annoying too.
"We've been out of high school for like three weeks…"
"Five years Xan."
"That's like three weeks in the grand scheme of things…"
"So then one year is like what, 2.5 seconds?" Buffy questioned, looking down into his eyes.
"Well, yeah," he agreed hesitantly, but grabbed her hips and held her in place when he felt her getting ready to move off of him. "But the most meaningful, invigorating, important 2.5 seconds of my life; and I've only been alive for, like, twelve weeks, so…"
Buffy giggled and relaxed back against him. "But I want to show you off to everybody," she whispered in his ear, now resting on her elbows.
"Nobody cared about us when we had to see them everyday, so I doubt that they care now. Plus everybody important hangs out at the Magic Box and they all already know how great I am," he finished with a cocky smile.
"I want more people to know. I want to tell everybody that I've ever met that I AM IN LOVE WITH ALEXANDER HARRIS!!!" Buffy finished shouting for the whole park to hear her and then looking back down to him wearing an impish grin.
He smiled back and then leaned up and captured her lips in an intense kiss; his hand coming up behind her head and pulling her down to his while he dominated her mouth, taking of her what was unquestionably his.
"I want to dance with you," Buffy whispered around his lips before giving one last short lick into his mouth before pulling away and waiting for his reaction.
"We went to the Bronze last night," he whined, "We danced already."
"I want to dance with you tonight," Buffy repeated, rocking her hips against his.
Xander bit his lip to stifle his groan, "If you don't cut that out we're gonna 'dance' right now."
"Pleeeaaassseeee Xander," Buffy begged giving him the doe eyes that always got her what she wanted from him.
"Can't we do something else? Anything else, you name it."
"We're 22 and everybody we know is going to be at the reunion. If we want to do anything tonight, it's going to be happening in the Sunnydale High gym."
Xander looked skeptical as he pondered her statement. "We could have sex in the gym…" Buffy swatted his arm and he smiled at her again. "Fine," he gave in with his eyes closed and he could hear Buffy's bright grin. "We'll go and I'll dance with you…but…" he trialed off and opened his eyes to look at her again, prompting her next question.
"But?" she asked accordingly, leaning into his hand when he brushed her loose hair behind her ear.
Xander smiled, "But if we walk by a broom closet and I get an inkling for some quality Buffy time I don't want any complaints."
Buffy broke out in a laugh and rested her head in his shoulder…
Xander's eyes snapped open and he sat up bolt straight on the bed gasping for air. His whole body was tingling with warmth and light was pouring into the room from the large open doors of the balcony and the gauzy curtains of the three open windows.
He was back in Heaven.
Confusion washed over him as he looked around the master bedroom, where he had just been laying on top of the still made bed, and sighed.
He was back in his Heaven and he was alone.
Xander got out of the bed slowly and walked out on the balcony. He surveyed the beach below, finding that it was exactly how he left it. He didn't know if he had dreamt that he had found Buffy or if he really had found her and just failed to get her back. Either way it left him with an empty hole because both situations saw him getting back everything he wanted and loosing it. Either way he wanted to just crawl back into bed and cry.
"Hey," a familiar voice sounded behind him as he felt two arms wrap around his waist from behind. "Remember me?"
He felt a light kiss placed on his shoulder and he shut his eyes, not wanting his mind to be playing tricks on him. Xander turned around slowly, still held in the embrace and opened his eyes. "Buffy," he whispered in awe, bringing his hand up to her face, touching her all over and running his fingers through her hair. She was so bright now; not at all haunted in dark shadows…she was glowing, like he loved her to be. "You're really here."
He was almost blinded by the brightness and genuineness of her smile as she nodded. Xander's hand slid around her head and his lips descended on hers. His kiss was born of the anguish of loosing her, longing, and the desperation, and the pure elation of finally being able to touch her again. His Buffy. Finally his Buffy. The Buffy that was bright and full of life, the one who he longed to make smile and laugh. The strong women who he had vowed to protect with everything that he was; and spend the rest of his life with. The one who made him believe in love at first sight.
"I missed you so much," he whispered when he pulled away, still keeping their foreheads pressed together.
Buffy smiled and raised her hand, softly caressing his cheek and he leant into her touch, "You found me. You brought me back." He couldn't help the tears that fell at the sound of her voice and Buffy wiped them away with the pads of her fingers. "Sometimes when you lose, you win," she smiled and tilted her head up to kiss him again. "I love you," she spoke when they pulled away again.
Xander smiled and shook his head as he felt himself physically quivering with happiness, "This is impossible."
Buffy shook her head and tapped his chin with her index finger, "Impossible is just the stuff you haven't seen before." When she finished her eyes were focused over his shoulder to the beautiful beach scene just over the balcony.
Xander turned his head to follow her gaze without letting her go, "I almost thought nothing would work."
Buffy glanced up at him, "Until you tried joining me."
Xander smiled at her and bent down, pressing a lingering kiss to her forehead, "I want to show you everything here," he spoke of their paradise.
"I already know," Buffy whispered, "We got here by believing in the same place."
"Isn't this sweet," A new teasing voice sounded from inside the bedroom and the couple turned around, both smiling.
"Jesse," Xander greeted and slapped his friend's awaiting hand.
"X-man," he said back warmly, "Back from Hell so soon?"
"It was a little drab for my tastes; too much gray," he joked.
"I hear ya man," Jesse agreed, "But you still were gonna ditch me here." Xander shrugged his shoulder and glanced down at Buffy out of the corner of his eye. "I'm never leaving this place again," Jesse spoke again, gesturing to the world Xander had created.
"But you will remember never to just appear in our bedroom," Xander added with a leer towards Buffy, who elbowed him lightly in the ribs.
"Oh," Xander remembered suddenly, "Jesse, this is Buffy," he smiled.
Jesse bowed and grabbed Buffy's hand, making a show of kissing it gallantly, "I do believe we've met, but it was a pleasure bringing you back from Hell. You're still very much the hottie." He finished with a grin.
Xander smirked at him, "And my wife; which is also a name she likes to go by."
Jesse dropped her hand and backed away with his arms up.
"Thank you Jesse," Buffy laughed in Xander's arms, being held securely with her back to his chest.
"I won't be doing it again," he added still grinning, but then allowed his face to become more serious. "I'm sorry…about your baby, I'm sorry…"
Xander swallowed deeply and his smile died when he felt Buffy tense in his arm, drawing a deep breath. "Thank you." She said quietly, trying to fight off the wave of memories that threatened to flood her, "But I'll…we'll get through it." She assured glancing up at her husband who responded by kissing her cheek lightly.
Jesse nodded accepting her answer and Buffy continued, "I just want to stay here with Xander." She turned in his arms to face him. "I want us to grow old together," she kissed against his lips unable to do it enough to reacquaint herself with it.
"Not gonna happen here," Jesse pointed out as he moved to lean next to them on the railing, "The whole growing old deal isn't what this place does." He gestured to himself and his preserved fifteen year old form. "But if you want to do the whole 'old' thing, I do have an offer for you."
He earned their joint stares of intrigue. "You can go back," he said still looking out at the horizon.
"Like reincarnation?" Xander questioned, tightening his hold on Buffy. "Would you want to go back?" he asked her.
"As someone else?" Buffy sounded unsure, "I don't know if I want to be someone else. I like us."
"I like us too," Xander assured, "But we were meant for each other, we'll find each other again. We could fall in love again."
"It took me so long to find you," Buffy whispered. It had really taken years for her to get in a place in her life where she was ready to see Xander in that light, to be able to be ready to be in a relationship with him. "I don't want to lose you."
"You won't," Xander replied, "Never. We're soulmates, Buff." She rested her head on his shoulder. "We'll be able to start over," he added.
"What if you can't find me?" she asked quietly into his shirt.
"Buff," Xander bent to catch her eyes, "I found you in Hell, don't you think I could find you in LA?"
Buffy laughed against, "You want this?"
Xander shrugged, "Do you?"
"I want anything as long as it's with you," she replied sincerely.
"Then we'll go back," he settled and then glanced briefly towards Jesse who was watching the water crash onto the rocks below.
"I'll watch this place for ya," Jesse commented over his shoulder, "Make sure no hot chicks take it over."
Buffy rolled her eyes at the young man before speaking to Xander. "Yeah," she nodded, "We go back. We fall in love. We get our happily ever after; then…back here."
Xander beamed and nodded, "Back here."
"And you better find me," Buffy threatened poking him in the chest, her seriousness being masked by her light tone and smile.
"Scouts honor," Xander pledged, "How could I not find my Buffy?"
August 28, 2038
Rachel Colgan raced down Fisher Street cursing herself for being late. She turned the corner of Revello Drive and sprinted down it until she came to a complete halt in front of 1580. She tried to regain her breath as she walked calmly up the three stairs and knocked on the oak door before taking a seat on the porch swing.
She squinted her eyes against the bright California morning sun and surveyed the street, her eyes finally finding and resting on a house across the street from that of her best friend's. 1630. She had always been fascinated by that house. It had this familiar safe feeling that seemed to surround it…it always seemed to draw her to it.
She didn't ever admit it to anyone, but after the first time she had been inside it, when she had carried in the woman's who owned it's, groceries for her, she had started having these…dreams. Whole entire daydreams revolving around that house. They were so vivid she could smell the scents, feel the plush carpet runner as she walked slowly down the hall to the first room on the right. She could distinctly see how the room was decorated, in much the same fashion that she had decorated her room. She could imagine touching , actually feeling the weight and texture of, the various items that were laid out on the dresser: pictures; some framed some not, jewelry, clothes, and for some odd reason, if she let her mental processes lead her through the guided tour long enough, a trunk hidden in the closet full of medieval weapons and wooden pikes. There were those pikes everywhere in that room. Rachel saw the low roof outside the window of that room and she figured that, if necessary that would provide a quick and seamless escape outside…an escape that her 'dream tours' always ended in.
She watched as the woman who owned the house walked out of the front door and waved at her. She had known her since she was a little girl, Dawn Summers-Marks.
Rachel's parents would, in the past, call on Mrs. Marks to baby-sit for them, and she always had. As Rachel had grown up Mrs. Marks insisted that there was something about her that she just couldn't put her finger on…but it was something…familiar. Rachel remembered one time when she had been out in the yard doing various gymnastic stunts with her friends the older woman had almost broken down in tears, but was able to get inside before anybody actually saw. She thought it was weird at the time, but still wandered inside her always open front door to make sure that she was alright; only when she found Mrs. Marks, crying with her head buried in her hands, and she had looked up into her eyes and gasped. That was the first time she said something was different about Rachel…something good. Ever since then, Rachel could consider the fifty-something year old woman her best friend; she had never expected that she would click so well with someone so old, but conversation with the woman just always flowed.
Mrs. Marks lived in that house with her husband and her mother, and she had a grown daughter that Rachel hardly knew who lived in Oregon, and she worked in downtown Sunnydale at a small art gallery she owned. She had told Rachel that she could never bring herself to leave Sunnydale, it was just her home. She loved everything about that small family in that warm house almost to the point that it was a home away from home; even though she had never ventured into the room she always thought of. It had been staple since she was small that the door to it was always shut, even though the light exiting from underneath it revealed that the curtain was always open. That was just something Rachel knew not to ask about, mostly because, despite all that they talked about, the secrets of that room were always tactfully avoided. That and the absence of the one, older than Mrs. Marks looking woman in some of the old family pictures in the living room. The most she knew about her was that she was Dawn Marks' sister, and she didn't ever want to talk about her.
Mrs. Marks smiled brightly and waved back before getting into her car. Rachel smiled and watched her drive away, Her name always had matched her personality she mused.
"You're late," a male voice said, interrupting her thoughts. She looked up into the familiar blue eyes of her best friend Christopher, or Topher, as he preferred to be called.
"No I'm not. I've been here forever, you're late."
"I checked at 7:45 when you said that you'd be here. And guess what; there was no you." He tossed her a grin, "And now it's 8 and here you are, looking disheveled, might I add," he said running his hand through her long light brown hair.
"Good morning to you too, Topher," she quipped snidely and ducked away from his reach before fixing her own hair as she walked back down the steps.
Topher jumped down after her, "Its okay Rach, I'm sure there will still be plenty of guys who'll be willing to jump you at school."
"In that case, we had better run," she said sarcastically while adjusting the skirt she was wearing; feeling slight discomfort at his comment.
"To school or to the sex crazed guys?"
"There's no lesser of two evils there," Rachel said after a moment of contemplation.
"I don't know," Topher said as the school came into view. "I mean, we're sophomores. No more bottom of the barrel for us. Never again will we be herded out of the locker room after gym and forced to run through the halls in our under…" he trailed off when he noticed his friend's confused look.
"I think we had different freshman experiences," she said as she refocused ahead.
"Maybe so, but that won't happen this year, we've been promoted to the hitters, not the hittees," he said excitedly.
"So for the first time ever you, Topher Moore, have a 'yay school' attitude?" Rachel asked skeptically.
"I have a 'yay I'm not going to get the crap beat out of me' attitude." Topher said as he bound up the stairs, "I'll see you there."
Rachel smiled at him as he entered the building shouting something about owing the school.
"How long do you think before one of the upper classmen locks him in the janitor's closet?" Rachel heard her other best friends, Jocelyn's, voice. "I'm going to say by 9:10. How 'bout you?"
"Five bucks says 8:30."
"You're on," Rachel said as they sat down on the lawn next to the stairs.
"You're not happy about being back?" Jocelyn asked after a few moments of watching the hoards of students file in and out of the school with the excitement of the first day buzzing.
"The first day of school is always depressing in Rach-World. If you were a normal American teen it would be the same for you." Rachel said as she watched a black Ford Explorer pull up.
"I don't know. Summer days filled with absolutely nothing to do go boring. I'm kinda glad to be back…"
Rachel had stopped paying attention to her friends pro-first day ramble as the person in the car stepped out and onto the sidewalk in front of the school. She watched him as he scanned the area, glancing briefly at the passing students.
He was tall, about six feet, she guessed, and had blondish-brown hair. He was dressed like most of the other boys that went to the school, in baggy khaki cargo pants and a black button down shirt…but there was something else. Something more…
"Rach is digging the new kid," was the next thing she heard Jocelyn say. "I gotta say he's pretty much a scorcher. You should…"
"I'll see you inside Joce," Rachel interrupted while standing up. She wiped the grass off the back of her skirt before she bound up the stairs and inside after the boy.
"Cool. I'll see you in homeroom," Jocelyn call after her as she disappeared into school; doubting that she had even heard her.
Rachel scanned the hall for the new student while she caught her breath.
"My God, Rach. Did you just run into school? It must be an apocalypse." Topher joked as he came up behind her.
Apocalypse Rachel's mind clenched; a phenomenon that had been happening a lot when certain words were mentioned, like bronze, or for some reason, Scooby. "What?!" she asked spinning to face him in surprise, causing him to take a step back slightly from her tone.
"Whoa there, Rach," Topher held up his hands in surrender, "That was your pal Toph making a funny. You know…Hahaha," he accentuated by poking her in the ribs.
The sound of the bell ringing caused a new rush of students flow through the doors past them and Rachel looked at each one of them, hoping to see the boy from outside. Her brow furrowed slightly when she didn't see him.
"I got Henderson for homeroom, who do you have?" Topher's question shook her out of her thoughts.
"Um…I think Lewis." Rachel told him distractedly.
"Awww. Too bad. I'm gonna miss you," he said, his voice holding a hint sincerity that he continued talking to hide it, "Who do you have Joce?" he asked, thankful for the distraction even thought Rachel seemed to be ignoring him now, as she joined them in the now empting hallway.
"I'm with you," she said with a bright smile. "See you in class Rach," she told her friend as she and Topher headed towards their homeroom.
"Is she okay?" Rachel heard Topher ask, assuming correctly that he was just as confused as she was as to why she was still standing in the hall.
"She's fine," Jocelyn answered dismissively, "There's just this new kid she's after. He's completely a hottie, you have to see him." She informed the boy.
"Oh, I'm sure I'm okay to miss out on that." Was the last thing Rachel heard Topher say before she started walking down the hall again, not quiet ready to give up her search.
There was something about the newcomer that she couldn't put her finger on, but there was something telling her that she had to find him.
Rachel walked purposefully around the corner, heading towards the office and ran directly into a solid body, dropping her bag in the collision.
"Oh my God," the voice said as she bent to gather her things, "I'm so sorry. You came out of nowhere."
"It's okay," Rachel mumbled as she concentrated on the task of repacking her purse; but soon found herself being assisted as the person handed her over cell phone.
She didn't even bother to look up as she snatched it out of his hand and crammed it back into her bag before reaching to catch the lipstick that was rolling away. When she returned to her things, she saw the person was still there, head bowed, trying to scoop up her pencils.
Rachel stopped in her downward stood when she saw the top of his head; full of sandy blonde hair and he suddenly looked up to face her. She heard his breath catch in his throat, but assumed it could have very well been her own, as she gazed fully into the clear brown eyes of the person in front of her.
"Spencer," the boy said nervously with wide eyes as the continued to stare at each other.
"Rachel actually," she tried to laugh but, oblivious to both of them, it came out strangled.
"Spencer is me," he stumbled. "You, of course, are not Spencer, because I am…"
She simply nodded and smiled at him; a grin out of nervousness born of the unparalleled warmth she felt when she looked at this new boy.
"Here," he spoke again, shaking his head slightly as he thrust the pencils towards her. Rachel took them with a shaky hand and then gasped again when the skin of her thumb brushed against the palm of his hand. She withdrew quickly and jammed the writing utensils into her bag as Spencer started collecting her spilled papers. "I'm such an ass…I wasn't even looking," he spoke towards the floor. "Let me have you…"