Down with Denial
Disclaimer: I don't own the Buffyverse or Early Edition
Xander had dealt with enough death that he didn’t bother with denial, anymore. It was the one stage of grief he just skipped right over.
That was why, when Buffy, Willow and Faith dragged him into McGinty’s tavern for a drink and the bartender started trying to talk to him about how life was precious and should be treasured, he didn’t deny that that was just weird. The fact that it was evening rush and the guy still stopped by their end of the bar a dozen times just drove home the fact that something was going on.
Finally, as the bar was beginning to empty out, the bartender, Gary, leaned over and said quietly, “Look. I know you’re not going to believe me but you’re going to jump off of the Sears tower. I don’t know what sets you off but there’s no reason to commit suicide.”
Xander stared at the guy for a second before turning to his friends. “Why is it that every time
I drink with you guys, something wigsome happens?” He turned to Gary. “I’m not suicidal, okay? I’m not going to jump off of anything higher than a couple of feet, I promise.”
Gary made a distressed sound and finally plopped a newspaper in front of him. Xander stared at it for a second before one of the smaller headlines popped out at him. Sunnydale Survivor Suicides off of Sears Tower
. He checked the date and saw that it was stamped for tomorrow.
“You get tomorrow’s newspaper,” Xander stated, stunned. He didn’t think
he was suicidal. He felt
fine. Why would he jump off a building?
Gary nodded. “I have for a couple of years. I can stop the events from happening. Usually, it’s accidents or murders but then you came into my bar and your drivers’ license says Sunnydale, California. I can’t believe in coincidences anymore.”
Xander nodded. “I get that. But I swear to you, I’m fine. I mean, sure, it’s been hard, loosing Anya, Sunnydale, my eye. But I wouldn’t commit suicide. I couldn’t.”
Willow, who’d read the article, said, “Maybe there’s an outside catalyst.” When everyone looked at her blankly, she explained, “Maybe it’s magically influenced. Or maybe there are more Sunnydalers in Chicago than just us.”
Gary was staring at her. “You said that like you actually believe magic is real.”
Willow opened her mouth but Xander cut her off, pulling her off the barstool and out of the bar. “It’s nothing, man, she just skipped her meds. Thanks for the warning about tonight. But that’s not me. I’m fine.”
Gary shouted after them, “Denial is one of the five stages of grief! Maybe you’re not fine!”
Xander tolerated his friends’ intense studies and careful comments all the way back to the hotel. When they got back to their double room, Xander tossed the newspaper at Giles and said, “So, since everyone has decided that’s me, despite the fact that there are two other guys from Sunnydale standing right there, ward us into our rooms. If it’s one of us, we can’t get out of this room and Gary’s newspaper was wrong. If it’s someone else, Gary’s gonna hafta save them himself.”
Then Xander locked himself in one of the bathrooms with a sleeping bag and a pillow, utterly pissed. He was not
suicidal. Grieving, yes. In denial about his suicidal tendencies, no.
Xander walked into McGinty’s the next morning, holding a newspaper with a headline that said, Sears Tower Suicide Stopped by Stranger