Disclaimer: I know I can't keep them, they don't belong to me, it all belongs to Davis/Panzer and Mutant Enemy.
A/N – This is part of my Immortal Giles series and takes place after Part 4 and through Part 5 of
Reunion.Truly Madly Deeply
Xander stood nervously on the platform at Waterloo, holding a large sign saying ‘Rosenberg’. It was the sort of goofy gesture Willow would expect, and Xander didn’t want her to suspect anything was out of the ordinary. He still wasn’t certain he should tell her about his Immortality, although the squirming sensation that was already forming in his gut led him to suspect he probably would tell her as much as possible.
Willow was arriving on the Eurostar from Paris. The slightly more relaxed Customs inspections would allow her to bring a few essential herbs for the spell. Giles had told her as much detail as he could about the demons in question without letting slip any truly important information. It had both impressed and disgusted Xander how easily Giles was able to lie convincingly to Willow, though he figured after four millennia it would be second nature to anyone.
He was fairly certain that he wouldn’t be able to lie to her. Not about this. But he understood that Giles was only trying to protect the people he cared about from the dangers of the Game. Although Xander suspected that any Immortal who tried to get to him through Willow would need protecting from her and not the other way around.
As the people disembarked from the train he scanned the crowd for the familiar red hair, the sensation in his gut tightening more and more, coupled with a growing feeling not unlike the one he felt in the presence of another Immortal. Suddenly he realised that was exactly what it was and switched his attention to seeking the other Immortal.
He was only slightly nervous at the thought of meeting another Immortal. While it would be the first time he’d run into one by himself, he was in a public place, so he was reasonably certain he wouldn’t be challenged. He locked eyes with the source of the Buzz and let out the breath he hadn’t realised he was holding.
“What are you doing here?” he asked.
“Giles told me what you want to do. I came to make sure you don’t make a monumentally stupid error of judgement,” Methos replied.
“I won’t, thank you Adam. So you can leave. Willow doesn’t need protecting, from the truth or from the Game,” Xander said tersely. Methos sighed and shook his head.
“Another bloody Boy Scout,” he muttered before saying, louder, “I’m sure the witch doesn’t need protecting. This is about me. Don’t you think that this news is going to shock her? And I need her to be on her game so she can find these demons and I can get a decent bloody night’s sleep!”
“You selfish…” Xander sputtered, “ You’re unbelievable! Don’t worry, Willow is professional, she wouldn’t let it interfere.”
Methos sighed and briefly wished that Xander knew his true identity. Perhaps then he might respect his opinion. Then he recalled that the young man wasn’t a fan of Methos, and knew a little of his Horsemen days from the stories Giles had told. He decided Xander was more likely to challenge him if he knew the truth.
“Let what interfere with what?” asked Willow, who had arrived while they were too busy arguing to notice.
“Willow! It’s really good to see you,” Xander said, grabbing her a little too enthusiastically into a bear hug. Willow began to go red.
“Okay, choking not breathing!” she said, trying to push Xander away. He let go and smiled guiltily.
“Sorry, I’m just really happy to see you,” Xander said and began leading Willow towards the car park. Methos coughed, “Oh, Willow, this is Adam, he’s the guy that’s in trouble.” Willow gave a little wave to Methos, who nodded in return.
“So, Adam, where are you headed to now?” Xander asked pointedly.
“Oh, I was going to headquarters actually, if you’re going that way…”Methos replied innocently, thrusting his hands into his pockets and playing ‘Adam Pierson naïve and penniless grad student’ for all he was worth. Xander glowered at him, but he couldn’t think of a good enough reason to say no.
The drive to Watcher HQ seemed longer than the twenty minutes it actually took. Xander let Willow babble on, too distracted to do more than nod or grunt occasionally. Adam was slouched across the back seat, and Xander would occasionally glare at him in the mirror.Adam
, he thought, I may well have to shoot you for this
. He couldn’t believe that Adam was interfering this way; it was none of his business. He’d built up the courage to tell her; he was ready to tell her as soon as he saw her, but Adam’s presence had made it impossible. He couldn’t reveal his Immortality without revealing Adam’s and possibly Giles’ too. And he damn well knows it
, Xander thought.
They reached the Watcher headquarters and headed up to Giles’ office. As Willow walked inside, Methos pulled Xander aside.
“Listen, just some friendly advice, it’s never a good idea to reveal the truth about us to mortals. Just think long and hard about this,” he said. Xander pulled his arm out of Methos’ grip.
“Thank you Adam, but I have thought long and hard and I’ve taken advice from someone a lot older and wiser than you,” he snapped back before following Willow into the office. Methos sighed before following suit.
Xander sensed a conspiracy. Giles and Adam seemed determined not to allow him any alone time with Willow. He didn’t get an opportunity to speak with Willow for the rest of the day because either Giles or Adam always seemed to be around.
Fine, he could take a hint.
He understood the concern of the other Immortals but Willow was his friend. Once the danger had passed he and Willow were going to have a conversation, whether Adam and Giles liked it or not.
The events of that day moved much quicker than anyone had expected, and before long they were surprised to realise that they had solved Adam’s demon problem.
Xander and Willow finally managed to be alone together, once they reached Xander’s apartment, but they were both too exhausted to do more than fall into bed. Xander decided that he would tell her about his Immortality first thing in the morning.
He woke early the next morning and left a sleeping Willow to go to a nearby café and fetch breakfast. By the time he returned, she was already up and dressed.
“I come bearing waffles,” he explained, holding the bag aloft, “Grab the couch and I’ll grab some plates.”
He’d made up his mind to tell her, despite reservations after his little chats with Adam, he knew it was the right thing to do. Just how much he would have to explain depended on how much she already knew.
“Yummy!” Willow exclaimed when Xander brought over the food.
“I figured we deserve a treat after yesterday’s demon-fest,” Xander said. He passed Willow a plate and the two began eating with gusto.
“S’good,” Willow declared through a mouthful of waffle.
“Yeah, they’re from this great diner I discovered that’s run by a guy from Nebraska. Just don’t ever ask him why he’s in London.” Xander replied. Willow looked enquiringly at him, but he just nodded sagely.
For a few minutes they ate in happy silence, and then Xander turned to Willow.
“Will, how much do you know about the other Watchers?” he asked. Willow swallowed before replying,
“Other Watchers? Oh you mean those guys with tattoos? A little, I’ve read some of the Chronicles in the library. I know that they watch Immortals, not Slayers,” she answered. Xander nodded and thoughtfully chewed another piece of waffle. “What’s wrong Xand? You’ve gone all serious-faced.”
“I’ve got something to tell you, but I’m worried you’re gonna freak out.”
“What could be so bad I’d freak?” Willow said with a smile, but when Xander didn’t return the smile she added, “Xander you’re already kinda freaking me out, what’s going on?”
Xander absent-mindedly rubbed the back of his neck. Just then, the telephone rang.
“You’ve got to be kidding me! Hang on Will, I’ll be right back.” He went into the hallway and spoke on the telephone for a few minutes before returning. “Telemarketers! Look, let’s get out of here. There’s a little park around the corner, it will be quiet there, and we can talk without any interruptions.”
They walked out of Xander’s building and crossed into a smaller back street in silence. Willow grew even more anxious about the impending conversation when Xander didn’t try to ease the tension with a joke. It was early Sunday morning, and they were walking through an industrial estate, so there was nobody around. After a few minutes they were opposite the park. They started to cross the road to reach it, when a speeding car came from nowhere. Without thinking, Xander pushed Willow out of the way.
Willow fell to the ground with a grunt, all the wind knocked out of her. She lay on her side for a moment and watched the retreating car as it rounded a corner, tyres squealing.
“That car was going way too fast Xand….Xand?” she cautiously rolled over. Xander was lying next to her, his remaining eye open and glassy, blood pouring from his head where it had cracked open when it hit the kerb. “Xander? No, please, not you too…” she cried. She felt for a pulse but couldn’t find any. “Help, please, somebody help!” She began CPR, but no help was coming, they were too far away from the main road and there were no houses nearby. She realised it was useless and stopped.
She lifted him onto her lap and cradled him as she had cradled Tara years before, with tears of anguish rolling down her cheeks.
She sat with him in her arms as minutes ticked by, not wanting to leave him alone. She didn’t have a cell phone and Xander had deliberately left his behind. Just as she was thinking that she would have to go for help, life entered Xander’s body and he sat up. Willow gasped and pulled away from him.
“Man, that car was in a hurry!” Xander said with a grin, “Are you okay? What’s wrong, are you hurt?”
“No. But…but Xander, you were dead. I know you were dead, I tried CPR and everything,” Willow stammered.
“Aw hell. I was dead?” Xander asked. Willow nodded and looked at him suspiciously.
“You’re not a vampire are you?” Willow asked.
“Daylight Wills,” Xander replied, pointing at the sky.
“Oh yeah,” she replied with an apologetic grin. “So why the lack of deadness?” she asked, gesturing to the blood on his clothes. Xander took a deep breath and said,
“This was what I’ve been trying to tell you. I’m Immortal.”
“Immortal? You mean like the other Watchers watch?” Willow asked. Xander nodded.
“Let’s get out of the street,” he said, getting to his feet. Willow mutely did the same, and followed him into the park where they found a bench and sat down. “About two months ago, Giles and I were taking out a nest of vamps when I was killed. I wasn’t bitten,” Xander added hastily, “One of them threw me out a fourth storey window.”
“Ouch,” Willow commented, with genuine concern. “Hold on, two months ago? This happened two months ago, and now you decide to tell me?”
“I couldn’t tell you before, I’ve been so caught up in everything, and Giles thought it might be a bad idea for too many people to know straight away. Besides, I wanted to tell you face to face.”
“Giles knew?!” Willow was starting to get really angry by now.
“Giles was there that night, figured out what must have happened. He contacted a friend called Dawson, from the other Watcher group. Dawson set me up with an Immortal mentor who agreed to teach me.” He hated telling her these half-truths, but he had promised Giles that he wouldn’t reveal his secret. And seeing as Willow just blew a fuse about me keeping a secret for two months, I think she and Buffy would go nuclear on our asses if they knew Giles had lied for years
, he mused.
“Teach you?” Willow asked. Xander sighed; he knew this would be the hard part for Willow to accept.
“Teach me to defend myself, to use a sword.”
Willow looked at him blankly for a moment, then placed her hands over her mouth and inhaled sharply as she realised what he meant.
“Oh! The Game,” she exclaimed. Xander nodded. “But you don’t have to fight. Can’t you stay out of it? Refuse to fight, run away?”
“Will, you said you’ve read the Chronicles, you know that isn’t possible. The only safe place is Holy Ground.”
“Then find some and stay there!”
“Forever? Be serious Will, what kind of a life would I have? Do I seem the monk type to you? Hard beds and no TV, I don’t think so!”
“But Xander, the Game, it’s awful. Immortals aren’t demons, they’re human. You’ll be killing humans,” Willow said, tears in her eyes. Xander took her hands in his and was relieved when she didn’t pull away from him.
“I know that Will. I’m not exactly thrilled about all this, but I have no choice. You can see that, can’t you? I will walk away whenever I can, but some Immortals don’t take no for an answer. There will be times when I have to fight, but I’m still me, I’m still Xander,” he said this to reassure himself as much as Willow. After everything that had happened in the last few months, even he wasn’t sure who he was anymore.
They sat in silence for a while, what felt like a lifetime to Xander. He looked into Willow’s eyes, searching for any sign of acceptance or rejection. Eventually, she sighed and broke eye contact, looking down at the ground. Xander turned away, preparing for the worst, but instead she said,
“I can’t say I’m happy about the head-chopping deal, but if you can love Scary Veiny Willow, I can love Immortal Xander.” Willow said with a smile and pulled Xander into a hug. He hugged back for a moment before pulling back.
“Hey, are you comparing me to Scary Veiny Willow? Cos I have to say: not evil!” he said. Willow laughed and pulled him close again.
“’kay Will, still need to breath!” Xander gasped.
“Sorry,” Willow said, easing back a little. She looked thoughtful for a moment, then added, “Maybe I could help you…”
“No! No, don’t even think it Will. Helping me would be cheating. It’s bad enough I have to play this stupid Game, I’m not gonna break the Rules.”
“Not even a little protective charm?” she asked.
“No. I absolutely forbid it. Swear to me,” Xander looked her straight in the eyes, “Willow Rosenberg, swear to me that you will never do anything to interfere in the Game, even if I ask you to,” he said sternly. Willow raised her right hand solemnly.
“I swear I’ll do nothing to help you in the Game, even if you ask me to,” she said.
“So we’re okay?”
“Of course we’re okay, how could we not be okay? You’re Xander and I’m Willow. We’ll always be okay.”
“Always.” Xander agreed. “But Will, please, don’t tell Buffy about this.”
“Why not? How can you keep something this big from her?”
“I…I don’t know how she’ll take the Game. I know you’re not happy with it, and she…well you know how she feels about killing, and I don’t know if she…I’m afraid she won’t accept it, won’t accept me in her life anymore.”
“I don’t know, ever since Sunnydale, she’s changed. She’s all about the Big Picture now, she might be okay…”
“Maybe, but I don’t want to take the chance. If the time feels right, then I might tell her, but for now please, let’s keep it between us, okay?”
“C’mon, let’s head back and I’ll phone for some pizza, there’s a great place I know.” Xander said with a grin. He stood up and offered Willow his arm, who stood and accepted it. As they walked back toward Xander’s apartment, Willow suddenly said,
“I read that all Immortals are foundlings. Does that mean…?”
“Yup, I’m not really a Harris. Talk about your silver lining,” he said with a grin. Willow looked at him and burst out laughing. Xander joined in and the two walked arm in arm, their friendship as strong as ever.