Better To Have LostAuthor:
Xander, KutnerWord Count:
The characters and stories of House and Buffy the Vampire Slayer belong to their respective creators and ownersSummary:
Xander can’t believe what happenedWarnings:
Spoilers for the last season of House, all seasons of Buffy; Character death, suicideAuthor's notes:
I know that Kutner never lived in California, so… pretend.
Xander stood silently behind the other mourners. He hadn’t known Kutner well, not really. They’d been neighbors when they’d been young, and had talked occasionally after he had moved away. They talked on the big holidays: Christmas, birthdays. He could remember how excited his friend had been when he’d gotten a job with this amazing doctor, one of three chosen out of dozens.
He hadn’t known that he’d been so unhappy. There’d never been the slightest hint in any of their telephone calls, any of their e-mails. He had sounded just like Xander remembered.
Xander ducked his head and rubbed irritably at his eye-patch. The socket always itched fiercely when he cried. He’d had reason enough the last few years.
This death had hit him especially hard. Jesse had been killed by a vampire. Half of their graduating class had been eaten by the mayor when he’d turned into a giant snake-demon. Buffy had died saving the world from a hell god. Anya had given her life fighting the First Evil. Spike, of all people, let himself be burned to ashes to save them. Those losses hurt, but they had meaning
What meaning did this have? God, he was just so angry
, and he wished he could stop, just long enough to mourn properly. He was devastated that Kutner had felt so alone that he had turned to this, but deep down there was a little spark inside him that hated his friend for the choice he had made.
Why should he escape, when Xander couldn’t?
He looked up, realizing that most of the mourners had left. Kutner’s parents were still there, but he had already spoken to them. The only people left he recognized from his friend’s descriptions as his coworkers. A young woman, tears streaming down her cheeks, turned into the shoulder of a serious-looking black man. A short, balding man coming up on middle age with an attractive woman he assumed was his wife. A dozen yards away, almost too far to recognize, a man with scruffy facial hair dressed in jeans and a t-shirt leaned against a cane.
Had any of these people noticed? Was their grief actually guilt? Was it anger? Had it been the job? Were any of these people actually his friends, or had they drawn the line at coworkers? Was one of them his boss? Did he care?
He hung his head. It would take time for this death to make sense to him, if it ever did. There was no point in staying here any longer.
When Xander left a half hour later, the man with the cane was the only one still there.