"A String of Promises"

Disclaimer: I own none of these characters, nor the song used that inspired this. The characters are owned by Joss, the song is owned by 'NSync and company

Author's Note: My sister got the new N'Sync CD and although I'm not a super fan of theirs, I found one ballad that I thought was prefect for these three friends. This is based off one song called "This I Promise You." This is set after "Lie to Me." Feedback is welcomed and recommended (monet599@mindspring.com)



Three friends sat in English class while Mrs.Trask attempted to teach the non-attentive group of students structures of sentences and syntax. Like the other students, these friends were in their own world, thinking about other things than school. Life in general, the relationships life dealt, the difficulties of these relationships, what was and what it could be. Even the promises they wish they could make...

Yeah, English was definitely the last thing on their minds.

****

"When the visions around you, bring tears to your eyes..."

Xander Harris cupped his chin in his palm as he stared at the blond girl, off in some other reality, sitting diagonal from him. She had been trying so hard to act like her normal self, trying not to show how much hurt she was feeling at the moment. It seemed it was all she ever felt, and he hated that. All he wanted to do was take her hand and tell her things would be cool, that life did this sometimes. But it would be okay because he was there.

"And all that surround you, are secrets and lies..."

An old friend of hers had come into town, Billy Fordham. She had been excited to see him; he was a part of her life before the Hellmouth. But they had all found out that Ford had come only to hand her over to Spike and Drusilla so that he could become like them, a vampire. In the process, she found out Angel had been keeping some things from her about his past life, his past love life. And her discoveries had cut deeply.

Xander knew dating Angel was a mistake, that it would only bring her pain. Angel had lived such a long life that there were things he couldn't help but keep from her. As much as she was honest with Angel, the soulful vampire could never be quite as truthful.

But Xander could and he has been.

"I'll be your strength, I'll give you hope, keeping your faith when it's gone...."


Xander had been there since her arrival in Sunnydale only a year ago, before Angel ever showed his face. Through all their adventures, he has tried his best to stay by her side, no matter how scared he had been. She needed all the help she could get, even though she rarely asked for it. But he was there, not intending on letting her down, not letting her give up.

But Angel was the one whom she looked to for support the most. Xander would only be back up. Now she wasn't sure if Angel was there anymore. If she would just turn toward Xander and see he still was.

"The one you should call was standing here all along..."

If she could just see....

"And I will take you in my arms, and hold you right where you belong, till the day my life is through, this I promise you"


Xander sighed and glanced back at the page in his English book.

****

"I've loved you forever, in lifetimes before...."


Willow Rosenberg's gaze fell to the back of Xander's head, looking at his dark brown hair. It was a habit she had succumbed to since they were old enough to sit in desks. He had always taken a seat near her, most of the time in the desk right in front of hers just so they could sometimes pass notes to each other. They haven't always been close friends, but they had always been friends. They weren't the coolest kids in school, never was, but they kept each other company. And she appreciated it much more than he could ever know.

So why couldn't he know? Why couldn't he see what was in front of him? Or rather, what sat behind him?

No, that was too easy. He had to fawn over every other girl in school, and fawn to near unconsciousness over the gorgeous blond girl in their circle who happens to be near perfect, except for the reputation she had for herself-and the fact Willow loved her like a sister.

But Willow knew her pain reflected Xander's every time Buffy made googley eyes over Angel, ignoring the boy-next-door.

"And I promise you never, will you hurt anymore..."


He wouldn't have to feel that; feel that pain of being ignored if he'd just see he was looking in the wrong direction-if he'd just turn around and see her. Whenever he brooded over Buffy, Willow sat there and listened. Listened and yearned to be the one he babbled about.

"I give you my word, I give you my heart, this is a battle we've won..."


He would see who he really belonged to; she would hand her life to him at his word. This was such a struggle for her...for him...

"And with this vow, forever has now begun..."


She vaguely heard the teacher talk about the mechanics of sentences. She knew most of this, anyhow. What she didn't know was how long she would feel this way before it got unbearable.

"Just close your eyes, to each lovin' day..."


All they times they had shared were always fun to talk about with him. But she knew through her eyes, those days were even more special. She got chances alone with him. Just the two of them.

"Miss Rosenberg?" Mrs. Trask called to her. "Where should the comma go?"

She snapped to attention. "Oh, uh, right before the conjunction."

"Very good."

"Smarty pants," Xander whispered and glanced back at her with a playful smile.

She just stuck her tongue out at him.

"And know that this feeling won't go away, till the day my life is through, this I promise you."


He turned back around, leaving Willow to continue doodling in her notebook.

****

"Over and over, I fall, when I hear you call..."

Buffy Summers kept tracing and retracing Angel's name on her folder, frustrated that he had lied to her, held things back about Drusilla. He thought he was protecting her, but he was only making it harder to work this already difficult relationship out. Why did she do this? She knew how this would be nothing but pain and hurt.

Big owies in the making.

But their relationship-as with any-didn't start because of pain. It started because she felt something toward him. A lot of something. And the thing that nipped her was that he had that something for her in return.

She should just call it off, knowing the bad reasons outnumbered the good. Or did it?

The numbers of good were few, true. But the content of the good was so great. How his eyes were so full of life, how his arms were warm despite his lack of body temperature, how his love and concern were so great despite the lack of a heartbeat.

"Without you in my life, baby, I just wouldn't be living at all."


She couldn't call it off.

****

The bell rang and everyone began to gather their belongings. The weekend had arrived, and it was time to go out and enjoy it.

"You up for some Bronzing?" Xander asked Buffy.

Buffy looked at her two friends. "Yeah, I am actually," she answered with a grin.

"Great!" Willow beamed. "Then we could, uh, watch that weird Indian channel afterwards at my house. I'll bring the beer nuts-since we'd already be there at my house."

"Oh, I heard it was gonna be rocking tonight," Xander remarked as they all stood. "It's about this garbage man who dreams about being a show girl in Las Vegas. Also, something about a chimpanzee, but I really didn't get that part."

"Hmmm," Buffy added, hugging her books to her chest. "Sounds almost as good as that one last week about the circus clown who wanted to marry that bearded lady. Also had a chimp in it, which I still didn't get."

"Sounds almost as good, but that one was Oscar-grade material. You'll see." He pointed a finger to each one of them.

The three friends headed out the door, laughing, each trying to forget their worries. Instead, they wanted to focus on each other-as friends--and the planned night ahead. Sometimes their friendship was the only thing that made sense, the only thing that kept them going despite everything else.

And they each knew it, in some secret way.

"Every word I say is true, this I promise you"