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First Buffy fic in a long time

My entry in the CYA Ficathon.

A Truth More Destructive


There were a few fundamental truths to Xander Harris.

  1. He loved Willow Rosenberg. She was his other half, his non-romantic soul-mate. She was as much a part of him as his right eye.
  2. He hated vampires. He really, really hated vampires. If every vampire in the world spontaneously combusted and died, well, he’d do a happy dance. Even if that included Angel. (He no longer hated Angel, but that didn’t mean Xander particularly liked him, either. The guy came in handy for a fight, but they’d never have sleepovers and braid each other’s hair.) Especially if it included Spike.
  3. He loved Buffy Summers in much the same way he loved Willow. There would always be a part of him that would hope for something romantic with her, and that part might never go away. First and foremost, though, she was one of his best friends, and second after that, she was his hero. If Willow was his right eye, then Buffy was his left.
  4. He would always, always fight by Buffy’s side. Because that’s where he needed to be, even if she wouldn’t admit that’s where she needed him to be.
Xander had dealt with a lot over the years. Much of it was as a result of being friends with Buffy, but he’d accepted that years ago. He’d known coming into the friendship (well, the real friendship and not simply wanting to get into her pants because, hello, teenage guy) that being friends with the diminutive blonde meant danger, a lot of bleeding, probably some broken bones, and it might — probably would— mean an early death.

He’d definitely picked up on his pattern of demon girlfriends. Date one, and that’s a whoopsy-daisy. Date a second, and gee, that’s quite a coinky-dink. Date a third, and you think that there might just be something wrong with you. He’d kind of lost track of how many supernatural-type girls he’d got involved with. There was a reason he and Willow had the pager system worked out. It was kinda necessary.

One of the things he wasn’t expecting to deal with? one of his best friends stepping over his bleeding body to see if a vampire that had tried to kill them in the past was all right.

Really? Really? The night before graduation, Buffy had risked death (and in doing so, risked the lives of everyone else in their graduating class) to save Angel. Xander had thought she’d be past that kind of thing.

(He’d thought he’d be past feeling jealous.)

She wasn’t. Neither was he.

This … wouldn’t be easy to come to terms with. But Buffy was his best Buffy-shaped friend. That meant he couldn’t hold onto this and let it out at the worst possible moment like he was prone to doing.

The hero was supposed to get the girl … but Xander was no hero.

***

He could be mad at Buffy and still love her. She was still his other best friend, and that wasn’t changing. That wasn’t ever changing. He could be mad at her, so mad he wanted to shake her and yell at her, but he’d still have her back.

Which was why, when Rona said she thought Buffy didn’t care about them, and just saw the Potentials as expendable bodies in a fight, Xander was able to give a rousing speech without feeling the least bit hypocritical.

“I’ve been through more battles with Buffy than you all can ever imagine. She’s stopped everything that’s ever come up against her. She’s laid down her life — literally — to protect the people around her. This girl has died two times, and she’s still standing. You’re scared? That’s smart. You got questions? You should. But you doubt her motives, you think Buffy’s all about the kill, then you take the little bus to battle. I’ve seen her heart, and this time — not literally. And I’m telling you, right now, she cares more about your lives than you will ever know. You gotta trust her. She’s earned it.”

Buffy had earned trust several times over. She’d earned his trust over and over and over again, and Xander? really not the most trusting person out there.

She’d earned trust, and friends, and blood willingly shed by them if necessary, because Xander knew that she valued her friends highly. Any time they got hurt, it hurt her more, because she blamed herself for not being stronger, faster, better. She hadn’t even known Theresa Klusmeyer that well, and he’d seen how much guilt Buffy had felt over their classmate’s death.

Hours after giving the Potentials that little pep talk, Xander was in the hospital. They’d had to remove his left eye, because it had just been too damaged. Buffy’s gaze kept skittering over him, before darting elsewhere, until she couldn’t take it anymore and left, giving the excuse of needing to check on the Potentials at the house (which was a legitimate excuse, but not Buffy’s main reason for leaving; Xander didn’t have two eyes, and even he could see that). Willow, in contrast, couldn’t look anywhere but him, and was visibly trying to hold back tears.

He felt like he’d lost more than his left eye.

When he heard that Buffy had said Spike was the only one who had her back, he knew he’d lost more than his left eye.

He had a literal blind spot that was a result of having Buffy’s back from day one. Turned out? she had an even bigger one.

***

Xander had been battling his own demons all day. He’d taken himself off the painkillers he’d been prescribed as soon as he could handle the pain (and one of the benefits from being a card-carrying member of the Scooby Gang was a high pain threshold) because he didn’t like the fuzzy feelings — or rather, did like them all too much — the pills induced.

And it had taken some determination, but he’d also given all his alcohol to Faith and Spike. He needed to be in complete control of himself if he was going to help Buffy win this thing. And of course, he would help her win this thing. There wasn’t anything more important than being beside her, helping her gain a victory.

But those weren’t the only things that Xander had had to fight that day. He’d had to deal with the First, wearing Tara’s face, telling him everything he didn’t want to hear. That he was useless, that all he did in the end was hurt people and drive them away, that Buffy would be sending him away because he couldn’t help her. He’d accused it of lying, and it had simply laughed and said, “Why would I need lies, when the truth is so much more destructive?”

He really wanted a drink after the First left.

When Buffy pulled him aside and explained what she needed, he thought maybe the First had been telling the truth, and Buffy was sending him away for his own safety. Then he realized that there was something more important to her than winning this fight, something more important to both of them.

Dawn.

Buffy needed someone to keep Dawn safe. There was nothing more important to her, not even herself. And because Dawn was that important to Buffy, she was that important to Xander.

And Xander was the one that Buffy trusted with the most important thing to her. Giles had disqualified himself on that score two years before, when he’d suggested killing Dawn to save the world. Willow’s judgment couldn’t be counted on and, while Xander’s wasn’t the best judgment in the world, he wouldn’t go into every situation convinced that he could handle it.

Then Buffy surprised him by cutting herself off — the Buffybabble was cute, but she really wasn’t getting her point across — and kissed him.

Oh. Oh! That was the point she’d been trying to make!

Of course he kissed her back. He wasn’t a brain-dead moron.

Then she smiled the shy-Buffy smile, and told him to stay safe.

Xander wasn’t being sent away because he was useless. He was being sent because he was necessary.

The First could suck it.

He maintained that opinion even after Dawn tasered him in his own car.

***

There were a few fundamental truths to Xander Harris.
  1. He loved Willow Rosenberg. She was his other half, his non-romantic soul-mate. She was more a part of him as his right eye.
  2. He hated vampires. He really, really hated vampires. If every vampire in the world spontaneously combusted and died, he’d do a happy dance.
  3. He loved Buffy Summers. First and foremost, she was one of his best friends. Second after that, she was his hero. Third, and still important, he was in love with her. She was more a part of him than his left eye. He could function without his left eye. Wasn’t fun, but he could do it. But Buffy was a vital part of him, and she always would be.
  4. He would always, always fight by Buffy’s side. Because that’s where she needed him, and that’s where he needed to be. Unless she sent him somewhere else, because she needed him more there.
Xander still wasn’t the hero. That title was reserved for Buffy.

But, son of a gun! he did get the girl in the end.

the End

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Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
eilandesq
Apr. 15th, 2012 06:26 am (UTC)
I Remember. . .
. . .arguing this with a friend who was emphatically *not* a Buffy/Xander shipper. She argued that the fact that Buffy had sent Xander away with Dawn--and paired Xander and Dawn during the final fight in Sunnydale--was because Xander was the weak link and because the other potential partners for Dawn weren't suitable for some reason: I argued that it was because Buffy *knew* that Xander wouldn't hesitate for an instant to lay down his life to protect Dawn, more than any of the others. I believe that I had the better of that argument. :-)
secondalto
Apr. 21st, 2012 01:30 am (UTC)
This was my prompt! I am very much in love with this story. Because yes, Xander will always, always, always be necessary. And yay for getting the girl at the end!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )