A/N I have no rights to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and am getting nothing from this story other than the satisfaction of writing it. Feel free to coment if you choose, however pointless rants will be studiously ignored. Rational reviews are always welcome, even if they are negative. I was in rather a melencholy mood when I wrote this, so be warned.
Xander sat up quickly, movement having caught his eye. He stared down the rather long front walk and caught it again amongst the trees and shrubs a flash of blond hair. Instantly he knew who it was and sat back, an unpleasant look on his face and idly he wondered what "she" was doing here. He continued to watch as the figure came closer and closer; as he did so his mind ran through and discarded reasons for her to turn up now, then he saw her stumble and it was clear. She was in trouble, and it was serious. You see he'd watched her for years and he knew her walks and runs, the gliding movements of her feet when she was slaying, and she didn't stumble; ever. So that meant something was wrong. He saw her pause again as she finally saw him as he sat on the verandah that overlooked the front of his house and he stood. From this distance she looked like she always had, like she always did in his memory. He knew that there were probably some wrinkles and lines on her face courtesy of the life that she had led but from where he was standing she looked just the same as she always had to him; perfect. Watching her move he remembered the last time that he'd seen her.
It had been ten years ago. There had been some grand Council to-do and Willow, Dawn and Faith had all called and begged him to show up. Still unable to deny his girls he had agreed to come, even though he felt it would be a mistake. At first it hadn't been, he'd caught up with so many people that he'd missed. Finding out what was new in their lives and sharing a bit of his own; he had kept in touch via E-Mail but it wasn't the same. He was listening to Dawn ramble on enthusiastically about her Doctoral Dissertation when he saw her eyes go wide and her whole body stiffen. He turned to see what she was looking at and then saw her; just as perfect as she always was to him. He turned back to Dawn, betrayal clearly etched on his face; but before he could say anything she cut him off.
"She wasn't supposed to be here." The look of misery on the young woman's face instantly dispelled Xander's anger and he turned back.
A tall, well dressed man came up behind her and draped his left arm over her shoulder, then leaned in and kissed her neck. Xander had seen enough.
"Don't," Dawn has muttered as she reached for his arm to restrain him but Xander was already past her reach. Out of the corner of his eye Xander saw both Faith and Willow moving towards him but he realized that they wouldn't reach him in time to stop him.
His movement caught her attention; she looked up and saw him moving towards her. Xander watched as a series of emotions flickered across her lovely features anger, pain, guilt; and one that sickened him, excitement. He stopped in front of her; the thousands of things that he wanted to say seemed to dam up his vocal chords because he suddenly found himself unable to speak. Buffy seemed to be suffering similarly and they just stood there awkwardly, looking at one another and desperately trying to say something.
"Who is this, my love?" The man behind her asked.
It took all of Xander's control not to burst out laughing right there. It wasn't just the cascade of emotions that he was feeling that seemed to have his psyche on a roller coaster, it was the fact that the guy's voice had sounded like a bad James Bond villain. As mentally torn and twisted as he was Xander could still hear the guy's voice in his head; "Before I kill you in an overly complicated way, I will now tell you everything about my nefarious plot for world domination because there is nothing you can do to stop it. Mwahahahahaha." The question served to clear his mind instantly, like a slap to a hysteric and without real thought he glided forward and slammed his left heel into the man's right instep. He noted the sound of bones breaking but ignored it as the man pitched forward in agony; only to catch Xander's right fist with his nose. There was another crunch and a spray of blood across Xander, Buffy and the man's face. The force of the blow knocked him backwards and he hit the ground, hard. Still not really thinking about what he was doing, Xander dropped his right knee into the man's solar plexus and knocked every last particle of wind out of him. As the man lay there gasping, Xander knelt down and whispered in his ear, "I'm her husband, Asshole." Then he stood, straightened out his Tux and without a backward glance, walked from the room.
Yeah, he'd been her husband then; he glanced down at the ring on his finger, he supposed he still was. He didn't think either of them had ever bothered with a divorce. He looked up and she was standing below him, staring up at him, not saying anything, just looking. They stood there for over a minute, unmoving; as though they were a weird parody of Romeo and Juliet and neither speaking because neither really knew what to say.
"Hello Buffy," he said, finally breaking the silence.
"Hello Xander," she replied. "Can I come in?"
Involuntarily he glanced up, noting that the sun was out and she was standing in it, all the while pondering the question she'd asked. Did he want her to come in; did he want to invite the source of his greatest pain and greatest joy back into his life, even for a little bit? He'd made a life away from the Council, the supernatural, from her; did he want to throw all that away?
As he was arguing with himself he heard her whisper, "please."
It wasn't the word, which was surprising enough but the tone in which she'd said it. A tone he remembered from very long ago when Xander the Comfortador had roamed the streets of Sunnydale, doing whatever he could to help out his girls. Unwilling to speak, because he truly didn't know what would come out of his mouth, he just nodded.
A flash of a smile lit Buffy's face, and for a second she looked like the star-bright girl that he had fallen in love with all those years ago. But Xander didn't see it, he was already walking into the house to meet her; all the while wondering if he had just saved or damned his soul.