Summary: Buffy observes a pivotal moment, and comes to a realization.
Time Frame: About four years after the events of Chosen --AU after that.
Rating: T, for language and themes.
Disclaimer: As long as I've been playing with these characters, I still don't own any of them.
Archiving: Sure, just as long as you let me know.
Author's Note: I finished this story at the end of August, and set it aside for some further tinkering. However, after the most recent issue of Buffy: Season Eight , I decided that I'd better post this before it becomes thoroughly outstripped by recent events. . .*
*--that's an implied spoiler warning for issue #28 of Buffy: Season Eight. Read on at your own risk.
Buffy sighed in satisfaction. Her workout had been a particularly good one Giles had retrieved some video footage of several Slayers in the field using exotic martial arts techniques that she had not previously considered, and after two hours of hard work she believed she had mastered them thoroughly and the praise that Giles had quietly provided at the end of the session confirmed her beliefs.
After saying good-night to her old Watcher, Buffy showered and dressed. Most of the signs of the workout were dealt with by the cleanup, but her eyes still shone with excitement. There was only one person she wanted to see right now to talk about the workout, and she headed directly for the central office of the Slayer complex, expecting to find him there.
Her path took her through the main lounge, and she paused at the entrance when she saw Xander there, and that he was not alone. The room was dimly lit, with only the flickering gas fireplace illuminating Xander and his girlfriend of two years as they stood and talked quietly. Buffy smiled: she had worried about how he would adjust to life after Sunnydale was destroyed, and after a few moments of understandable surprise she had been genuinely pleased at who he had chosen to move on with. She started to turn-- I don't want to bug them: I can talk to Xander later about the workout-- when she saw something that stopped her in her tracks.
Xander smoothly dropped to one knee and pulled a velvet-covered box from a pocket. The young woman standing in front of him seemed to freeze for a moment before her hand flew to her mouth in sheer surprise. Xander began to open his mouth, but was cut off by a pre-emptive reply: "Yes, yes, yes!"
Xander favored his now-fiancee with a mildly annoyed look as he commented quietly, "You know I did have a big long romantic speech ready."
"Don't need one." The reply was quick and punctuated by a pounce and a long, lingering kiss.
Buffy watched the couple quietly, and was surprised when she came to a sudden conclusion. She was reacting to that realization a few moments later when a familiar voice came from next to her: "Well, I've seen this coming for a while."
Buffy smiled, then turned to Willow as she replied, "Yeah, me too."
"So what's with that wistful look, then?" Willow frowned slightly as she tried to discern her best friend's emotional state.
Buffy sighed and shook her head slightly before looking back at the couple and whispering, "I just realized that I made a big mistake. Huge."
Willow saw where Buffy was looking, and it didn't take her long to interpret Buffy's somewhat cryptic comment. She put a hand on Buffy's shoulder and asked, "That was a long time in coming. . .how do you feel about it?"
Buffy blinked, and a tear fell free as she whispered, "Wonderful. Usually when I make a mistake this big, there's a body count associated with it." Her next sentence was interrupted as Xander walked up to them, with his fiancee quietly trailing behind him. Buffy smiled, and addressed the younger woman directly:
"I'm so happy for you two, Dawn."
The sisters embraced, as Willow stepped forward and hugged her oldest friend. Joy reigned in the room, and if Willow saw the look of regret flicker over Buffy's face as she looked at Xander over Dawn's shoulder, she never told her about it.
As always, comments are welcomed and desired.