Title: A New Day (1/1)
Feedback: Please be gentle.
Distribution: Gimme credit and a link. Plus, archived at http://fanfiction.net/profile.php?userid=62966
Rating: I'm gonna go say PG.
Spoilers: Up to Grave.
Disclaimer: The characters depicted herein belong to the almighty Joss. I'm just borrowing them for a while.
Summary: Companion piece to Before the Dawn. On Kingman's Bluff, healing begins, and an old flame is rekindled.
Author's Note: Just thought I'd do Willow's POV here too.
* * *
I don't know why I came here again. There's nothing left. They tore down the temple, and there's no sign that it was ever there. It's just... gone.
I like watching the sunrise, though, and this is a great spot to see it, so... here I am.
"Hey." No mistaking who that is. In the end, there's no one else for me but Xander.
I turn, and a small smile creeps onto my face. Eww to the imagery there. Makes me think of spiders. "Hey."
"How are you?"
How do I answer that? I'm not exactly feeling all chipper happy-go-lucky here. I mean, Tara's dead, but I'm dealing. I nearly destroyed the world, and Buffy and Dawn and the others are kinda royally pissed at me. Xander's the only one who really forgives me.
"Better," I say. And I am better. I'm not about to curl into a fetal position and cry when I think about Tara, and I'm not as suicidal as I used to be.
I can't help myself. I fling myself against his chest, seeking comfort. His arms wrap around me, strong but gentle. When did he get so strong?
I want to let go. I really do, but I can't. He's all I have left. He's... my everything.
I try to fight the tears, but I can't. How _can_ he forgive me like this? I tried to kill him -- I nearly _did_ -- and he forgives me, just like that. It's almost as if... he's...
He's in love with me.
I blink away tears and look up at him, "How long?"
He blinks back at me, "How long what?"
"How long have you felt like that?"
He still looks confused, the sweet dufus.
"When did you fall in love with me?" I clarify.
Okay, he's thinking. It's obviously a harder question than I thought. Finally, he speaks.
"I don't know."
He _doesn't_ _know_? What kind of an answer is _that_?!
"It's... I love you, Willow," he says, his voice cracking. Oh, boy. This is gonna be rough for him. "I've loved you for so long, I don't remember when I first started loving you. I didn't... I never admitted it, not even to myself until... until that time... you were in that coma... when Buffy... Angel... soul... hell..."
That was him? That was _Xander_?
That's it. Next time I see Oz, I'm gonna kill him. He _had_ to have heard him, werewolf senses and all, and he just took the credit.
"Why?" I ask.
He's babbling in his head again, I can tell. We babblers recognize each other.
"Why didn't you say anything, Xander?" I ask again. "You knew how I felt. You're not as stupid as you make yourself out to be. Why didn't you... why didn't you give us a chance?"
He searches for an answer, and I wonder what he's thinking.
"I didn't want to hurt you," he says finally. "I mean... Dad... Mom... I didn't want to hurt you like that."
Oh, God. He loved me so much, he was willing to give me up just so that he wouldn't hurt me. That's just like him.
He's crying into my shoulder. I can feel his tears seeping through my shirt.
"What's wrong, Xander?" I finally ask.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."
Faith. Suddenly, I'm back there again, in the library, when he told me -- told _us_ -- what happened. The anger's back, the rage... the hurt... but I have no right to be angry about it. I never did. I force those feelings away. I have no right to them, and he doesn't owe me any apology for that. I chose Oz, after all.
"You don't have to apologize, Xand."
He looks up at me, guilt in his eyes, "But... I... I hurt you, Wills. I hurt you so much."
"And I hurt you," I reply quietly. I heave a sigh. "Xander, I love Tara. I'm _in_ love with her, and I won't ever stop loving her."
I look in his eyes again, and it comes out.
"But in the end, Xander," I say quietly, tracing the scars on his cheek, "it's always just been you."
Wait, did I just say...?
Yes, I did.
I bite my lip and tell him, "When I look into my future, Xander, all I see is you."
I lick my lips and lean toward him. Mmm... Xander lips are _goooood_ to kiss. I remember that from the Fluke.
Wait, he's going tense. Why would he...? Grr... idiot.
I pull back and glare at him reprovingly, "Don't."
"Huh? Don't what?"
"Don't think that, Xander. I'm _not_ just using you as a substitute for Tara. I know you too well, Xander. You went all tense on me, and you think I'm just using you. I'm not. I love you, Xander. I never stopped loving you."
"Wait..." he's shaking his head, "a-are you saying... you... and me?"
"Maybe," I bite my lip again. I wish I could say we would live happily ever after, but... "I won't lie to you, Xander. I... I don't know if... if this'll work... if _we_ will work..." I smile bravely, "...but I want to find out."
He smiles back, "Let's find out then."
I can feel my heart singing. It may not be "happily ever after," but finally, after all this time, we're getting our chance.
It truly is the start of a new day.
* * *
*sigh* More angst. I just don't seem to run out.
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