Dead for the thirth time
Xander was in pain and it wasn't the physical one. This was much worse. How could he lose his girlfriend when he finally got her? After so many years? So many obstacles and relationships standing in the way?
He could barely walk but started to walk home… (I like the song "Only Time" by Enya to this scene.)
"Xander…" Dawn whispered, "Xander's coming! But… he's alone…" She was standing in front of the castle, watching out for him and Buffy.
Willow tried to feel Buffy, but she couldn't, so she got terrified. Buffy couldn't have died!
Giles and Willow ran out of the castle, but she got to Xander faster and helped him, because he could barely walk.
"Oh my God, Xander, what happened? They tortured you?"
Xander didn't say a word, but one look at his face was enough to know everything. Giles lost his speech, so did Dawn. They brought their poor friend inside and helped him get to the couch.
"Xander… where's Buffy?" Dawn moaned.
"Buffy…" Xander started, but stopped. He hid his face in his hands and tried to fight the tears. He was a man, he had to be strong! But how long could he bear it?
"No…" Dawn whispered. "No! No! NO!" she growled. "Don't tell me… IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT! YOUR AND YOUR STUPID LOVE! YOU KILLED MY SISTER!" She fell down on the floor, sobbing.
"Dawnie…" Willow started, reaching a hand to her.
"DON'T YOU TOUCH ME! WHY DO I HAVE TO GO THROUGH THIS ALL OVER AGAIN?!"
"Dawn! Calm down!" Giles yelled what surprised her. She looked up at him, suddenly getting quiet. "If something happened… it's nobody's fault!"
"But she's right," Xander stammered and raised his head, finally daring to look at them. "She is right… if I hadn't told Buffy that I loved her… if she hadn't told me the same before the battle… no one would've taken us…"
"They would've taken somebody else. Dawn," Willow said.
"I was the one who killed Kendra, remember? I was in her mind. If she hadn't found the man that Buffy loved, she would've taken Dawn. Her sister. It would've all ended the same way."
"What really happened?" Giles asked, losing control over himself. He took off his glasses and started cleaning them up, but everybody could notice the tears in his eyes anyway.
"The witches… Buffy saved me… they were torturing me and Buffy took them down and… when we were just about to go… one of them woke up and sent Buffy somewhere… to the other dimension or something… I'm not sure, but the witch clearly said that… that my girlfriend was dead," he said. "I paid them back. I chopped off their heads."
"She sent her…" Willow stopped.
"Where?" Xander asked.
"No. I can't…"
"To Hell… I think…"
There was silence. Painful silence. Nobody said it aloud, but they were all the same: 'they shouldn't have taken her out of Heaven in the first place, but how could they know?'
"I was always saying that Buffy was too good for killing people, even witches, with no offence Willow… I knew it would finally get her in trouble. You, Xander, you did the right thing," Giles spoke.
"So what? SHE'S FU*****G GONE NOW! AND I WILL NEVER GET HER BACK!" he roared and stood up.
"Xander…" Willow whispered through her tears. "I know that this lost is the worst for you and Dawn, but just wait, let us help you. Your face… I can fix it, your wounds…"
"Willow, no offence again, but I think you had enough magic for today," Giles said warningly. "You've seen what happened!"
"Kennedy?" Xander asked.
Willow shook her head, so he put his hand on her shoulder.
"I know, Giles," Willow turned to him, "but just take a look at him. He suffered so much…"
"I don't want you to heal those wounds," Xander decided. "I must feel pain."
Nobody had to ask why.
"I can't forget the one thing you said to me once, Giles, when…" Willow stopped and inhaled deeply. "When you lose somebody you love, the other people in your life become meaningless. We can't let that happen. Dawn?"
"LEAVE ME ALONE!" she cried and wanted to leave, but Giles didn't let her. He wrapped his arms around her and she started sobbing while clenching to him.
"Shhh… it will be ok… we all feel this pain…"
But no one could describe what was happening in his heart…
Xander walked out of the room, went upstairs, limping. He couldn't not think about the happy times he'd spent with Buffy in this castle. Maybe not that happy… the castle had been hunted… the floors had disappeared… but they'd been together then… they'd had so many wonderful moments together… it'd been just the beginning of what could've been…
He didn't go to his room. He went straight to the room right next to it, to hers, and closed himself in there.
Xander wasn't going out for two days, so Willow was leaving him food by the door. Sometimes he even took it, but according to her and Giles, he wasn't eating enough.
Dawn wasn't feeling better at all, but she didn't isolate herself from everyone. She only refused to go to school for a couple of days and didn't talk to anyone.
Willow had problems at nights. Something bad started happening to her. She was burning up from wanting to use magic. There was still something inside of her, making her want it just like she'd had after Tara's death.
In those moments Giles was wonderful to her. He was sitting by her side, sometimes even the whole night and he was holding her hand, giving her the strength to overcome those bad feelings.
The third night Willow even fell asleep with her head on his shoulder. Then it was only getting better and better with restraining the urge for magic.
Buffy hit the ground hard and looked around. It wad dark, barely twilight, she could sense it.
She didn't know where she was.
She stood up and brushed the dust off, then looked around. Xander wasn't there with her. What that witch had done to her?
She made a few steps forward.
Suddenly, she recognized that area. Oh, no, no, no… it was impossible! Unless it was time travel or different dimension.
It was Sunnydale and it didn't look destroyed at all.
"Where are you going, sweetheart?" She recognized that voice, but it was different, angry, bad.
She turned around.
Angelus was standing right in front of her. Not Angel, Angelus. The soulless vampire.
And right behind him…
Buffy was terrified.
But they weren't her friends. They didn't recognize her. They had fangs… all of them…