Chapter Seventeen: Through Dangers Untold
...And Hardships Unnumbered, I’ve Fought My Way Here
Once the doctors had released him, the first thing that Don set out to do was find Xander. The last time that he had seen his lover had been as the EMTs had loaded him into the ambulance. His surgery to repair his ruptured left eardrum – something that he hadn’t even felt until David had pointed out the blood that had been seeping out of his ear – had delayed him an entire day and night. Thankfully none of his team had appeared to question him but he kept to the back hallways of the hospital as a precaution; he didn’t want any of them to find him and delay him further by asking questions about what had happened back at the warehouse.
In regards to the warehouse and the events that had taken place there two nights prior… he wasn’t sure if he could put into words what had happened. He had woken to find Willow and Finn on either side of Xander a few feet to his left. What had been left of Finn’s team had been at the exits making sure that none of Don’s people were attempting to make their way into the building.
Spike and Faith had been sitting removed from the rest of them. The two of them were flanking Sandy who had been leaning against the far west wall. Bound in heavy shackles, she had appeared well contained. Her head had occasionally listing to the side as she had drifted in and out of conscious.
When Xander finally stirred, Willow had given Finn a nod and it was only after he had ordered his team to stand down that they relaxed their positions and Don’s people had poured through the doors. Xander had blinked up at Willow and said, “I heard you calling me.”
The man’s empty eye socket had been a cruel reminder of everything that he had been through. Don had only just managed to catch sight of it before the man had drifted off again. A good thing because David and Granger had come up to them then and Don would have been hard pressed to explain not only the man’s missing eye but the scar tissue that made it appear as if its loss hadn’t been as recent as less than an hour before.
Willow had smiled in such a way that it had left Don with little doubt as to how much she cared for Xander. She had run her hand along the side of his face then turned her attention to Don. When she caught him watching her, a strange series of emotions had crossed her face. He hadn’t been able to decipher them at the time but he had heard the genuine thanks in her voice when it echoed in his mind colored only minutely by a tinge of apology.
He hadn’t been able to make sense of it in all the confusion. Too many people had been pressed in around them making too much noise; trying to get his attention or yelling across the room or bringing in equipment needed to analyze the scene. Now, though, he was pretty sure that he understood why she had apologized – grudging as it had been on the tail end of her thought. She had sent him into an unfamiliar environment with no idea as to how to survive it or how to escape. His only instruction being that he had to somehow find and save Xander.
Upon reaching the floor that Xander's room was on – information that he had easily discovered after flashing his badge at the nurses’ station – he ran smack-dab into the subject of his thoughts. “Ms Rosenberg,” he said in surprise.
“Mr Eppes,” she replied quietly. The young woman had dark bags under eyes that were half lidded and worry lines marring her brows. After a somewhat uncomfortable silence, she added, “I hope that your surgery went well. One of the nurses told me what happened.”
“I’m sorry I couldn’t help with that,” she said, though her tone held none of the apology that she had voiced. She was clearly tired but he could tell that wasn’t the only reason; their dislike for each other was mutual. “Taking care of the bad guy and calling Xander back took a lot of energy. After healing myself I didn’t have anything left.”
Don was stunned at her casual references to the things that she could do. He had been expecting to be brushed aside with absolutely no explanation at the least or given a lame cover story at the most. Yet here Willow stood talking about vanquishing evil much like Don talked about putting murderers behind bars. Then again, maybe for her – and possibly Xander, too – it was the same thing; something that they were so used to that the shiny had worn off. And, like Don did with his job, they just saw it as something that had to be done and they were the ones to do it.
To cover up his surprise, he said, “Don’t worry about it. The doctors fixed me up good as new.”
“That’s good to hear,” she replied as she continued down the hall. Her voice was devoid of any sincerity but at least she had pretended to care. It was possible she was trying to be nice because she knew that he and Xander were friends. He was assuming she didn’t know that they were dating yet.
As he fell in step beside her, he took a chance and asked, “So what are you exactly?”
She paused for a moment almost as if she hadn’t been expecting him to pursue the subject then turned to face him. When she spoke, her voice was mostly bland. “I would have thought that you’d figured it out by now.”
Don shrugged, unwilling to give away how much he wanted to know that answer to his question. He returned her tone easily as he said, “I never was one for comic books and the supernatural; I’ll always be a jock at heart.”
“Is that so?”
After glancing around to be sure that they were alone, she levelled him with an unreadable look. It was almost as though she was testing him so that she could rank his reaction. “I’m a witch.”
That explained a lot of the things that had happened prior to their entering the warehouse. It explained even more the things that she had done once they had gotten inside the warehouse. Although the floating thing was something he couldn’t have explained away – it was too weird. Dumbly, he had to ask – just to be sure, “A witch?”
She actually grinned at the tone of his voice. The smile, though not exactly pleasant, displayed for Don what must have drawn Xander to befriend her when they had been kids. “Yeah,” she said, disdainfully. “I practice magic and cast spells. The women of my coven tell me that I’ve surpassed every known witch they have on record.”
He just blinked at her. While he could tell from the tone of her voice that what she had said was meant to have been impressive, he couldn’t quite grasp the entirety of it. Yes he understood that being better than everybody else made some people feel superior – he had watched his own brother learn to get over that when they had been kids. But, as he had absolutely nothing to compare the woman to, he couldn’t grasp how much more superior she must be. As far as he was concerned, she was talking in tongues.
A gush of exasperated air escaped her at his blank look. Anger coloured her features briefly before she spun around saying, “Here, let me show you.”
Grabbing his arm, she dragged him down the corridor, displaying just how much stronger she was than she looked. She led him around several different turns before bursting through a set of double doors. They emerged into a small courtyard decorated with a postage-stamp sized garden and a small square of grass. In the middle of the garden was a small fountain that sported two stone figurines. As she released her hold on his jacket, she said, “This’ll do.”
Don was absolutely stunned by his surroundings. Over the years that he had lived and worked in LA, he had lost count of the number of times that he had found himself in this particular hospital. Especially considering the amount of time he had spent at it while his mom had been sick, he almost couldn’t believe that he had never stumbled across this place before. It was almost as if it had been conjured specifically to serve Willow. “How did you know that this place was here?” he was finally compelled to ask.
“Every hospital that I’ve been to has had one of these places. Any witch or wizard can find it. Because I’m a Wiccan – an elemental witch – it calls to me stronger than most,” Willow said, her voice thick with superiority as she moved to put some distance between them. She ended up seated on the ledge of the fountain. As she ran her fingers through the water, she went on to say in a tone one would use on a particularly slow child, “This is a place of healing. Not for something as mundane as the physical but for the metaphysical. This place is almost perfectly designed to restore my supernatural powers.”
Willow smile sardonically. “Salt water would make it perfect. This water is filtered – fresh.”
“How do you know that?”
She gestured to the far side of the fountain. “Water sprites. They’re allergic to impure water.”
Looking over the surface of the water, Don couldn’t see anything and said as much. He continued to see nothing until Willow whispered a few words too softly for him to hear. Once she had finished speaking, three shimmering forms appeared above the surface of the water. At first it looked as though they were made up solely of twinkling light but, once he had gotten a closer look, Don could see that their bodies were mostly water with a spark of light at the centre.
“Did you use… magic so that I could see them?” he asked unable to keep his voice steady as he dropped down to sit beside her. Once he was seated, one of the more daring sprites came closer to him and danced along the tips of his fingers – it was no larger than his pinky – leaving a cool trickle of water in its wake.
“What did you do?” he asked when she didn’t explain.
“I told them that you wished to worship their beauty but could not because they had masked themselves from sight,” she finally said. As she spoke, she held out her hand out to one of the sprites still in the water. “They are incredibly vain creatures and they love to be admired.”
Don didn’t bother to make a fuss at her words. He knew that some battles weren’t worth fighting and that this would have been one of those battles. Instead, he continued to watch the twinkling creatures dance across his fingers and the water’s surface. After a time, he turned away from them to find Willow kneeling at the base of the sapling that shaded the fountain. Puzzled, he asked, “What are you doing?”
“I’m going to draw power from the soil so that I can show you what I’m capable of,” she explained.
More confused than he had been before he said, “Again I ask: What are you doing?”
Willow glared at him, her exasperation at his not catching on and lack of comfortable sleep working together to make her short tempered. In a clipped voice she said, “I’m going to grow a flower.”
“Grow a flower?” he parroted dumbly – he seemed to be doing that a lot recently but his mind was still not able to wrap around the concept. In an attempt to fend off her anger, he added, “But I thought you were too drained to do anything?”
She shook her head. “I’ve had two nights and a day to replenish my powers. While I’m not at my best, this place is helping to supplement what I do have. I won’t be able to grow a flower native to, say, Africa or India. Unless there’s a nursery nearby that happens to grow exotic flowers in a garden connected directly to the earth you’ll only see a flower native to this area. Exotic flowers are more often then not cultivated in pots so don’t get your hopes up.”
“Sure. So… you go ahead and do your plant growing thing,” he stated, unable to keep his voice completely free of the skepticism he was battling with. Despite everything that he had seen so far, he couldn’t quite believe that she could grow him a flower out of nothing. So much for his mother’s hope that he remain open minded – apparently magic was one of those things that he needed to see to believe. And see, and see, and see…
Willow didn’t bother to turn her glare on him again. She just shifted into a different position – one that looked infinitely more uncomfortable then the one previous – beneath the tree and took a deep breath. As she buried her fingertips into the grass and the soil, her power began to build in the air around them. Don could feel the sensation – the one that was starting to become familiar – skimming across the bare skin of his lower arms. Compared to the other times that she had worked her magic in his presence, the power was practically negligent. It felt like a mere brush of butterfly wings as opposed to the scream of hurricane winds that he had grown used to and braced himself for without realizing it.
The air in the courtyard seemed to congeal into a solid thing until the pressure popped around them not unlike a person’s eardrums would after changing altitude too quickly – save for, instead of sounds getting clearer, they became more muffled. The regular early morning sounds that he rarely noticed anymore came to a standstill and everything was silent. Downtown LA’s usual background soundtrack had been put on pause.
At the ground between Willow’s hands, a single green bud broke its way through the earth. It turned to face Willow and fattened like she was the sun, air, and food that it needed to grow. Don decided after a moment’s thought that that was exactly the case. Without Willow’s power, that bud would have never existed in this particular garden. As he watched, the bud spread out its leaves, split its protective casing and blossomed. In a matter of heartbeats it went from bud to fully grown flower, a process that by all laws of nature should have taken… a lot longer than it had. The petals started out a violent pink near its centre and darkened into a velvety purple at their tips and were twice again the length of his hand measured at its longest point. Its deep green leaves were thick and fury and the whole of it gave a sickeningly sweet scent that was cloying as it stuck to the back of the throat.
The flower stood at its full growth for only a minute – not nearly long enough for him to appreciate its beauty – before the process began again in reverse. Petals shrank, colour faded, leaves curled up; all told the flower only remained in existence for about five minutes. It was almost like watching the Discovery Channel is all its fast forwarding splendour.
“What do you know,” Willow said faintly once there was nothing of the plant left, “there’s a gardening enthusiast nearby. I wonder how they managed to grow that one outside of the Amazon. Either they’ve got a really green thumb or they’ve a little power themselves.”
“Okay, so you grew a flower. I’ve seen you float and this is nothing compared to that,” Don said. He wasn’t nearly as impressed as he was pretty sure he was supposed to be.
Willow rolled her eyes at him. In that same patronizing tone, she said, “Floating is something that an excess of power can result in. It’s a lot like how friction leads to heat. But in the entire world, there’s only one other person who can grow something natural out of the earth with nothing. She can create the seed or roots but has to grow it in real time. Before I came along, no one had the power to increase the growth like that.”
Finally grasping just how much power Willow had, Don felt the need to sit down. Upon realizing that he already was sitting he gulped a few mouthfuls of air and lowered himself down to the grass so that he could lean back against the fountain for support. Some water managed to spray the back of his head, the cold water making him shiver, but otherwise his position was a great improvement.
“Why show me this? Why tell me what you have?”
Without moving a muscle, she said, “You watched as the power I wield altered my body and made me float. As the elements went haywire around me. You saw me call down lightning and banish a hell god from our dimension. You went on a walk through Xander's mind using my power to aide you. All this happened in the space of an hour or two.” She took a deep breath that hefted her shoulders up. “There are some things a person can’t repress. What you’ve seen would take a spell to wipe from your memory and I’ve sworn off memory spells. That way leads badness.”
“I’m glad to hear that,” he stated shakily, his attempt at keeping his voice calm failing miserably. Memory spells? While he doubted she would use one now that she had said she wouldn’t, he decided that wariness was the better part of valour. He grit his teeth, pulled himself to his feet and took a couple steps away from her – not that, he was sure, it would do him any good at all should she decide to use her power against him.
“Do you know if Xander is awake?” he asked once he was somewhat confident that she wasn’t going to attack him.
“Then I nee—should go and talk with him; let you get some rest.”
She nodded then shifted enough to remove a hand from the soil and reach into the back pocket of her jeans. When her hand returned to view a black cloth eye patch was dangling from her fingertips. And though she had spent the past several minutes with her hands buried in the dirt, they were utterly spotless. “Here, take this with you. I’m going to stay for a while.”
Getting back to the hall where Xander's room was located wasn’t an easy feat. He wandered for a good five minutes before he got to a corridor that he recognized. From there, he made his way easily only to find his path to the room once again obscured. Standing in the doorway was a mountain of a man that was none other than Finn’s second in command.
Though he wasn’t the least bit surprised that Finn had posted a sentry at the door, he wasn’t happy about it. It meant that there was yet another person between him and his lover. He was beginning to loose his patience, of all the people in the hospital it seemed to him like he was the only one not permitted to see Xander.
He took a deep breath, hesitated for only a moment, then continued towards the door and the man guarding it. Once he was only a few steps from the other man, he said, “Excuse me.”
“No, sir,” the man stated, thwarting Don’s attempt to shoulder past him before he was even within range. “No one goes in without Riley’s okay.”
“You’re kidding,” Don stated. He regarded the man with undisguised loathing as he just barely managed to contain the anger that was boiling up in him. When he could finally speak, he barked in a deadly tone, “Then you’d better get Finn down here.”
His gaze was returned without emotion for a full minute before the man gave him his back. Though the door to the room was open, the man’s frame was so large that Don couldn’t see an inch past him. Whatever was said by the occupants of the room was blocked as well. All that he heard were several soft murmurs before Finn walked out of the room.
“Agent Eppes,” Finn stated as he closed the door behind him. He dismissed his second in command with only a look then turned his full attention over to Don. His face was set in stone but his eyes gave away how he truly felt.
That was okay with Don. He hadn’t met a Special Forces unit yet that actually liked working with anyone besides their own team. While they were trained to be team players, many worked in teams with people that they knew and trusted – it was the new element that they didn’t seem to like more than anything else.
“Agent Finn. Care to explain why you are keeping me from speaking with Mr Harris?” Don asked. His voice was calm and controlled, the exact opposite of how he felt.
Finn turned his gaze away and began pacing. After his fifth turn, he said, “Things got pretty nasty back there. I was hoping that you would feel like sharing what you remember of the bust.”
Don considered this. There was two ways that he could go with this: he could go with the truth – and probably be committed into the psych ward within moments – or he could make something up. Either way he was risking his career. He also had no idea what the man was expecting to hear. He had said he and Xander had been friends and he’d also treated Willow like he’d known her as well. But that didn’t mean much; Don knew both of them and had only found out, purely by accident, the supernatural side of the life they led.
In the end he decided to go with the safer route and lied. “We entered the room to find Rayne standing over Harris. Before we had a chance to establish control, Sandy entered and distracted us long enough for Rayne to threaten Harris’ life. He was taken down in an effort to save Harris – I didn’t see by whom. The last thing I remember is one of the men being thrown in my direction. I woke to find Harris slipping back into unconsciousness and Sandy apprehended.”
His words were received with a raised eyebrow. Finn met his eye for a solid minute before he asked, “And you’ve no recollection of any unauthorized civilians entering the premises?”
“None at all,” Don replied with a shrug. “Why?”
Finn grinned at him and said, “Don’t push your luck.”
Don nodded an acknowledgement. So, from what he could tell, Finn was in the know. That or he had some vested interest in making sure that Faith and Spike weren’t discovered.
“Did Willow fill you in?”
“She gave me a basic rundown,” Don replied. He had no intention of telling the man just how basic the rundown had been. Finn knew what went bump in the night – Don had no doubt about that now – and the more he assumed Don knew the better.
“Good to hear. Sandy has been taken custody by the Council. They have the facilities and resources that you won’t to contain her.”
“Just tell me one thing,” Don stated firmly. At Finn’s inquiring glance, he asked, “Is she a Slayer?”
“Yes,” Finn replied. “And unless she wanted to be held – which she doesn’t, by the way – you still wouldn’t have the manpower. With her enhanced abilities, she could break out of your highest security prison in a matter of hours.”
Don nodded and refrained from asking the question that was burning at the back of his mind. He was pretty sure that Faith was a Slayer also and was wondering why she had consented to being held in prison for nearly three years. He had a feeling that Finn wouldn’t answer a single question regarding her or her incarceration.
“Can I go in and speak with Harris now?”
“Why do you need to talk to him so badly?”
Part of him had been expecting the question for days. Why had he freaked out when he had found out it was Xander that was missing? Why had he been so invested in getting him back – alive? Why, why, why. He’d had nearly a week to prepare for answering this question, yet he still couldn’t think of a thing to say.
Finally he said, “I had Harris brought in on this case. I drove him home the night he was abducted. The only thing that has been running through my mind for the past week is that I need tell him how sorry I am that I got him involved in all of this. It doesn’t matter that he would have been caught up in it anyways, what matters is that I was responsible for him when it happened.”
Once again his words were met with silence. Finn simply nodded and stepped away from the door. He had his hand on the handle when the other man spoke. “You did good. Not a lot of people would do for Xander what you did.”
Don just walked through the door. He only stopped long enough to close the door before he turned to face his lover. Xander was lying on the hospital bed paler than a sheet and missing an eye but, otherwise, whole and unhurt. Don felt all of the anger that had been building up in him just rush out at the sight. He approached the bed and asked with concern colouring his words, “How are you feeling?”
“I’m good,” Xander replied, his voice soft. A smile was tugging at the corners of his lips despite the pinch between his eyebrows. He looked happy to see Don. “Bit of a headache, but that’s to be expected.”
“Yeah,” Don replied. As much as he just wanted to hold his lover and tell him how he felt about him, he had to confront Xander with what he knew before he could do that. He didn’t want for there to be any more secrets between them. “Having your eye boiled out of your skull while an ancient god possesses you will do that to yah.”
The grin on Xander's face slowly dissolved. Cautiously, he asked, “So, you uh… noticed that, huh?”
“Yeah, I kinda did.”
Xander swore softly and looked away from the other man. The rush of emotion that had bubbled up at the sight of him had yet to disperse and was conflicting with the terror that his words had induced. Don had seen what had happened and seemed to understand what it meant. What did that mean for them?
“Do you feel like telling me about it?” Don asked him when he had been quiet for too long. His face was still emotionless, almost as if he didn’t want to show anything in case Xander might take it the wrong way.
“Not so much.”
Xander blinked at him. He had been expecting an all out war over the subject if he was being honest with himself. “What was that?”
“You don’t have to explain to me, Xander. I just needed for you to know that I know,” Don replied. He handed Xander a brand new eye patch and looked down at his own fingers while Xander put it on.
It felt strange to be wearing the patch again. By the time he had gotten the replacement eye he had finally grown used to the thing but now it felt alien all over again. He played with the edge of the strap that sat behind his ear self-consciously as he asked, “How?”
Don looked up at him then quickly glanced away. “I found one of your files under my couch.”
“And you read it?”
“Yeah. It was the night that we had – that you were abducted.” Don stood up and began pacing the length of the small room. “I get why you couldn’t tell me. I just… I hate that there had to be secrets between us.”
Xander swallowed hard around the lump in his throat. Once again he was at a crossroads in his life where he wished that he was still as close to Willow as before they had met Buffy. When they had been kids she had always known what to say to make him feel better. She had always been great at telling him how he should talk to other people when it was important. That, or he wished Giles was here so that he could at least ask him how he should go about explaining everything to Don.
At a loss, he just said, “I can’t tell you everything.”
Don froze and his shoulders slumped. “Why not?”
Apparently that had been the wrong thing to say. Trying to fight back panic, Xander quickly said, “Not because I don’t want to! I just really can’t.”
“What do you mean?”
“Because a spell was cast. Until Willow and one other Watcher gets here to lift it, my tongue is tied. Almost literally,” Xander said earnestly. “But Dawn will come to visit me pretty quick so you won’t have to wait too long.”
Don sighed and came back over to the bed. He leaned against the side of it and looked deeply into Xander's remaining eye. Xander was almost positive that they were about to have a moment – the kind that he had read about in those romance novels Willow had favoured back in junior high. Instead, Don glanced away and asked, “So, what can you tell me?”
“Depends on what you want to know,” Xander replied. He picked at a loose thread in the hospital issue gown that he was wearing – he would have to remember not to get up and walk around until someone brought him some real clothes.
“Mostly, I’d like to know about you,” Don stated. He shuffled his feet uneasily before settling himself more firmly on the edge of the bed. “Are you… human?”
“As far as any person can be when they were born in a city that sat on top of a mystical whozzits,” Xander replied. He didn’t resent Don for asking the question. If his first glimpse into the crazy world of vampires and demons and Slayers had been through one of Anna’s reports it would probably have been his first question too.
“I’m probably the most human out of all of my friends and family,” he went on to say. “Except for the time that I joined the swim team and got dosed with demon shark DNA. And there was this one time I got possessed by a hyena and that one Halloween when I got all the memories of the solider that I dressed up as. Oh, and Dracula did put me under his thrall one time and we haven’t been able to figure out if that’s affected me in any way. Willow shot bolts of dark magic at me, too. And we can’t forget what Caleb said about me thanks to it being mentioned in my very own prophecy.”
Don stared at him wide eyed for a long time before he finally blinked. He opened and shut his mouth a few times before he asked, “Willow shot dark magic at you?”
“That was when she went evil.”
“She was evil?”
Thinking about how bad that sounded, Xander explained, “Well, her girlfriend had just been murdered. She was grieving. We all know that it wasn’t exactly the best way for her to deal with things but people do the wacky when the one that they love has been hurt.”
Don had that look on his face again – the one that Giles had used to get every five minutes that first year in Sunnydale. Xander had decided to call Don’s version of it “I’m so very lost, Number Two.” It was even more fun putting it on his face than it had been for Giles. When Don wore that look, Xander could just lean over and kiss it off. So he did just that.
“Hmm…” he said as he pulled back from the other man. As he looked up into Don’s half lidded gaze he said, “God, I missed you.”
Don had curled an arm around him while their lips had been pressed together and used it to pull Xander close again. Using lips and tongue, he laid claim to Xander's mouth with a possessiveness that was unlike him. He pulled away from Xander's lips only to trail his mouth along the curve of his neck. As he made his way back up towards Xander’s mouth, he whispered something against the surface of the younger man’s skin.
Xander was too distracted to decipher what the words might have been. He was busy trying to drag Don onto the bed so that they could make out properly. As much as he enjoyed having Don lean over him, he wanted their bodies to be touching. He gave a soft groan when one of Don’s hands found its way under his gown and growled in protest when it simply hovered along the surface of the skin on his back.
Don pulled away from him then. Not far but enough that they were no longer kissing. He rested his forehead against Xander's and just breathed heavily for a moment. Once he had caught his breath, he opened his eyes and said, “I wish…”
“Wishing’s bad,” Xander reminded him. He leaned back against the uncomfortable pillows and brought a knee up to conceal just how much he had enjoyed Don’s kisses. As much as he wanted to drag the man into bed with him, he didn’t want to have his welcome home take place in his hospital bed where just about anybody could walk in on them.
“It’s just that…” Don said, running his hand up and down the side of Xander's arm, “when I found out that it was you who had been abducted, it was like the floor just dropped out from underneath me. I couldn’t get past the fact that you were gone. I don’t know what I would have done if Rayne had managed to accomplish what he had been planning.”
“Keep in mind that he didn’t,” Xander reminded him. He shivered in response to Don’s continued petting. “One of the things to remember about my line of work is that bad things happen. But the good guys get in and stop the bad guys before worse things happen. I’m here and I’m me. That’s what you need to remember.”
“Yeah… okay,” Don replied. He got that soft look in his eyes again as he reached up and ran a hand along the left side of Xander's face. For a long time he just looked into Xander's remaining eye before his look turned hard. “But I should have been there to stop this from happening. If I hadn’t been so dead-set in following procedure I could have prevented it.”
Xander took Don’s hand away from his face and pressed a kiss into the palm of it. “You were there for the important bits, and that’s all that matters.”
Don grimaced but, instead of saying anything, leaned in for another kiss. Their lips had just met when the door opened. In the hallway stood none other than Alan and Charlie followed closely by Willow and Dawn.
Author’s Note: Please don’t flame me for Willow’s attitude. She’s mean to all the people that Xander gets cuddly with (that aren’t her). It’s true, I can even prove it by making you all go watch the episodes where she finds out about Cordelia and Faith and all her interactions with Anya before Olaff the Troll.