All BtVS characters belong to Whedon. I make no claim of ownership.
Written to give another motive for Xander not telling Buffy about the soul spell at the end of S2. It is neither altruistic nor complete jealousy. Hope you enjoy. Feedback is appreciated.
Xander sits at a table in the Sunnydale High School library, perusing the classified ads of the local newspaper looking for sales on fertilizer. He knew he had a limited budget with which to acquire the needed ingredients to ‘make the cake,’ to borrow a phrase from the very late and unlamented Jack O'Toole, for graduation. He also knew he would have to get it in small increments from various sources so as not to tip off any "patriotic" citizens that might report him to the FBI as a suspected terrorist in these days, post-Oklahoma City.
Then again, this is the hellmouth. Something like that might be looked over. Still, he could not take that big a risk with the safety of the others. He had seen some promising leads, circling them with a pen to come back to later when the library doors swung open.
"There you are, you bastard. I can't believe that you would lie to me." A very angry recognizable voice called out.
Unfazed by the tone directed at him, Xander replied, "I pray you're right on the first part, Buffster, and you're going to have to be a little more specific on that last part."
Xander folds the paper down to look at what might be his ex-second best female friend to see his first best female friend standing behind her. Willow had a perturbed look on her face. Xander's reaction was not what she was expecting but she quickly pushed that aside to bring her anger at what he had done to the fore.
"Ah, that lie." Xander calmly states, folding the newspaper away. He knew he would not be able to get back to it any time soon.
Buffy hesitates slightly at Xander's calm response but like Willow; she pushes it aside to let her anger take center stage. She slams her hands down on the table, opposite Xander causing to creek with the impact. Xander looks at Buffy's light green eyes and sees the anger behind them. Under any other circumstance, he would cower before her and try to defuse the situation with a joke or a somewhat witty quip but not this time. He faced her with the same calmness that he faced Angelus with. He would not back down, not on this.
"You told me Willow said to kick Angel's ass," Buffy states angrily.
"Yes, I did."
"What Willow really said was to tell me that she was going to reattempt the soul spell."
"Yes, she did."
"Why?" Willow asks, bewildered that Xander would be so callous toward them.
Without breaking eye contact with Buffy, Xander says, "Buffy, do you remember what I told you at the beginning of that year?"
Buffy frowns at the question, caught unprepared for Xander to do anything but plead for mercy.
Xander sees Buffy has no idea what he's talking about. "Right after your little dance at the bronze where you used me like a stripper pole to make Angel jealous and Willow and the others had been captured by the Master's followers."
Buffy's eyes lit up in remembrance, "You told me that if anything happened to Willow that you would..."
"Kill you, correct?" Xander finishes for her.
Buffy nods in surprise that he would bring that up right now of all times. Willow gasps at the revelation. She had never known that Xander had threatened Buffy like that before.
"Willow was in the hospital in a light coma from the library assault. She got hurt because you couldn't bring yourself to kill the thing that had killed Ms. Calendar. The way I figured it, if I told you about Willow's attempt, you would be stalling to give her the time she needed. If Willow failed, you would be in an indefinite stall and Angelus is not exactly patient when he has a plan coming together like he did. If Willow had succeeded before Acathla awoke, then no harm no foul and it would have been a nice surprise for you. But, if Willow's success came after Acathla was awakened, I knew it would kill you to..."
"To sacrifice Angel to save the world." Buffy finished for him.
"And my promise is kept." Xander stated never once having broken eye contact with Buffy. He saw some of the anger drain from her eyes.
Buffy could not believe what she had just heard. Xander, goofy, lovable, normal, weak Xander had delivered a blow so devastating that it had crippled her mentally for months.
Xander leans in close to Buffy, “A wise man once told me, never go for the kill when you can go for the pain.”
The anger in Buffy rose but she stayed her hand. It would not do her much good to strike him now. Well, it would make her feel good but they still needed Xander’s familiarity with bomb making to survive graduation.
“Get away from me.” Buffy tells Xander through gritted teeth.
Xander nods once, backs away from Buffy, and picks up his newspaper.
“Tell Giles I’ll be back later with a price list for graduation.” he says as heads out of the library.
Willow stands there awestruck that Xander had gone as far as he had on her behalf. She knew he would do anything to keep her safe or at least he would have at that time. Now, maybe not so much but there was still something that was nagging at her.
“Xander?” She calls out just as he reaches the exit.
Xander stops, turns his head but does not look back at Willow.
“Earlier you said that Buffy had to be more specific about which lie she was talking about. When else did you lie?” Willow asks tentatively.
Buffy perks up at the question. Her curiosity overriding her anger for a moment. She too wants to know.
Xander is silent for a moment, “Ask Giles.”
With that, he walks out, leaving the girls to wonder.