Thinking With His Heart

A/N: Takes place right after "Petrified Xander."

After being saved from becoming a tree, a humbled Xander realizes that he doesn't appreciate Vida as much as he should.

All PRMF characters are the property of Disney/Jetix.

Vida stepped down from her DJ platform in the corner. A good session of working the turntables always left her exhilarated and thirsty. Digging into her pants pocket, she pulled out a small handful of coins and counted them as she made her way to the soda machine at the back of the Rock-Porium sales floor. Before she could deposit any money into the machine, though, Xander had stepped in front of her and slipped a dollar bill into the bill slot. Vida's first thought was to smack him upside his head, but that was derailed when Xander purchased a can of diet soda, which he held out to her.

"Thank you, Xander." Vida was a bit surprised by Xander's gallantry.

"Not a problem, V." Xander bent to retrieve his change from the soda machine. When he straightened up, he smiled at her. "It's the least I could do." He winked.

Vida smirked as she popped open her soda and took a sip. "About what?"

Xander looked around the nearly empty store; Chip and Madison had worked early shifts, so they had already gone home. Nick was straightening displays, and aside from him, only one other person, a customer, was present. "Come on." He grabbed Vida's hand and led her to the back of the store, towards the stock room. Once they were inside, he turned on the light and shut the door behind him.

"You wanna tell me what this is about?" hissed Vida. She parked her soda can on a shelf behind her and placed her hands on her hips.

"Well," began Xander. He reached back and rubbed the back of his neck. "I wanted to say this right after you gave me the antidote for that messed-up potion, but there wasn't time, what with having to go into battle, then Toby solving the Fire Heart treasure box puzzle. I want to thank you again for being there for me. I really am grateful to you. What I didn't get to say was that I'm sorry if I acted like a complete wanker about any of it, and I would have understood if you just left me there to turn into that bloody tree."

Vida's expression softened. "Xander, you know I couldn't just let that happen to you. Okay, sometimes, you can be an arrogant and insufferable son of a bitch." She swatted Xander's arm as he rolled his eyes playfully. "Seriously, you can be. But I know that you're a great guy underneath it all, and more importantly, you're my friend, and I care about you."

Xander grasped one of Vida's hands in both of his own. "Thank you," he beamed.

Vida looked up into Xander's brown eyes and instead of seeing the mischievous glint that he used on girls he was trying to charm, she saw warmth, gratitude, and what looked at the very least like affection. "You're very welcome. Come here." Grinning, she slipped her free hand behind him and drew him in for a hug.

Xander dropped Vida's hand to wrap his arms tightly around her. He closed his eyes and breathed in deeply, savoring the subtle vanilla scent of her hair. Though he and Vida had shared countless hugs in the past, he almost felt undeserving of having her in his arms this time. He had been a right wanker, concerned only about his "perfect profile," and it nearly cost him his humanity. Sure, Vida had given him a hard time with all the tree jokes, and he had certainly brought it all upon himself, but she stepped up for him when it came down to it. He turned his head and pressed his lips to her temple. His voice was husky as he breathed, "I won't forget this."

Vida drew back slightly to look up at Xander once more, her hands on his shoulders. "Anytime," she remarked. "Just think with your brain a bit more, and less with your face, okay?" She waited for a slightly snarky remark from him. Instead, she was taken by surprise by Xander's hand sliding to cradle her face and could swear that his face had gotten quite close to hers.

Xander bit his lip before he spoke, his voice just above a whisper and his Australian accent especially pronounced, "How about if I think with my heart?" He leaned in closer still and swept his lips gently across hers.

Did he just…? thought Vida. Xander kissed her again. This time, his kiss was long and slow; soft, sweet, yet torrid. He did! Damn it, Xander, what are you… oh… Vida's thoughts melted along with her insides as she gave in to the delicious sensations of Xander's lips caressing hers and his arms pulling her body against his. She closed her eyes and slid her hands up from his shoulders and around to his back.

Xander wasn't sure if Vida would slap him after the first kiss, so he was relieved when she did not. As he thrilled in her reciprocation of his kiss and the shivers that her fingers on the back of his neck were sending through him, he couldn't help feeling that this was different from all the other times he had ever locked lips with a girl. Kissing Vida actually felt… right. Concerned that Nick would soon come looking for them, though, Xander reluctantly withdrew from Vida slowly, watching as her eyes opened.

"So…" Vida was at a loss for words, but managed to croak out, "Thinking with your heart, huh?"

Xander felt his face grow warmer than it already felt. He took a deep breath. "Yeah." He frowned. "That's all right, yeah? You're not upset, are you?"

Vida took a step back, furrowed her brow, and folded her arms. "Upset? Of course I'm upset. Upset that you've held out on me all this time!" She smiled warmly and gently patted the tip of Xander's nose with her finger.

Xander chuckled, then looked earnestly at Vida. "V, you have no idea how long I've - "

The moment could not have been better scripted as the door to the stock room opened, causing both Xander and Vida to start slightly. Nick poked his head inside and sighed with relief. "There you guys are! I was wondering if I'd missed a call from Udonna or something."

Xander swallowed and stammered, "Um, er, not at all. V and I were just, um, looking for… for…" He spied a spray bottle on a far shelf and pointed at it. "Glass cleaner!"

"Yeah," Vida piped up. Almost too enthusiastically, she smiled broadly at Xander as he reached for the bottle and handed it to her.

"Okay, well," said Nick, looking at Xander, "I just wanted to know if I could leave right now. My grandparents are at my sister's and I want to go see them. I finished straightening up all the displays, we're pretty dead, and I really don't think we'll see anyone else for the last half hour."

"Oh, right, sure," replied Xander. He stepped past Nick into the hallway, with Vida behind him, clutching both the bottle of glass cleaner and her soda can. "Yeah, V and I can close up the store ourselves. Go on ahead."

"Thanks, man." Nick turned on his heel and strode out of the store and into the night.

Xander walked slowly from the hallway onto the sales floor, listening as Nick's motorcycle rumbled awake and motored away. When he could no longer hear the growl of the motorcycle's engine, he turned to Vida. "All right, then, V," he said, "Make sure the floor is swept and the trash cleared."

"What. The. HELL?!" On the first word, Vida tossed aside the glass cleaner. On the second, she grabbed Xander's shirt collar, and on the third, she yanked him down so that he was eye level with her. "I suppose you'll be 'supervising,' as usual?"

Xander laughed. "Well, of course, but my heart is still doing the thinking."

"Really?" retorted Vida.

"Really. See, my heart is thinking that the sooner we get the store closed up, the sooner we can maybe pick up where we left off before," Xander purred, raising himself to his full height and stepping closer to her.

Vida grinned mischievously as she released Xander's shirt collar. "Well, if you put it that way." Flicking out her magic wand, she pointed it past Xander to the broom and dustpan stowed behind the sales counter. The broom and dustpan floated out from their hiding places and Vida guided the dustpan to the floor next to her feet. She then waved her wand to make the broom join its companion, but not before she guided the broom handle – whack – against the back of Xander's head. As he rubbed the sore spot and looked at her with a mock hurt expression, Vida smiled sweetly, raised her soda can, and chirped, "I'm on it, boss." She strutted past him, lightly bumping him with her hip as she passed.

Xander chuckled as Vida busied herself with guiding the broom and dustpan. He snatched his skateboarding magazine from his red leather chair and flipped it open as he sat down. It was not even ten seconds later, though, that he pushed himself out of his chair and whipped out his magic wand. Stealing a glance at Vida, he waved his wand at the trash container outside Toby's office, and as he floated the trash towards the back door of the Rock-Porium, he decided that thinking with his heart certainly had its upside.