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I Don't

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This story is No. 3 in the series "What If?". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Turning the tables on Xander

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
BtVS/AtS Non-Crossover > GeneralcmdruhuraFR1812,4510126,83926 Jan 1026 Jan 10No
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the recognizable characters. I receive no profits from this. It is just for fun. Some paraphrased dialogue has been taken from “Prophecy Girl” and “The Pack” so that belongs to who ever wrote it. (If you’ve seen the show you’ll know where their stuff leaves off and mine begins.)
Archiving: Please ask.
Feedback: Constructive Criticism desired.
Beta: None.
Summary: A different answer. Sort of.

AN: There are no heroes or villains in this story. Just people dealing with life.

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Buffy, Xander and Willow come out of the doors onto the balcony and head down the stairs.

Buffy sighs, “Wow. That was boring.”

“I don't feel that boring covers it,” replies Xander.

Buffy responds, “No, boring falls short.”

“Even I was bored. And I'm a science nerd,” says Willow.

“Don't say that,” admonishes Buffy, horrified that Willow is putting herself down.

“I'm not ashamed. It's the computer age. Nerds are in. They're
still in, right?” replies Willow, starting out sure of herself then fading to uncertainty.

Xander chimes up while motioning off to the side with his head behind Buffy’s back, “Willow, don't you have a thing?”

“A thing?” asks Willow momentarily puzzled, then perks up as she remembers. “The thing! That I have! Which is... a thing that I have to go to.”

When they reach the bottom of the stairs, Willow says, “See ya later.”

“What on earth is her deal?” queries Buffy.

“Uh, she's Willow,” says Xander with a little laugh. “So, uh, Buffy, I wanted to, um... There was this thing I wanted to ask you, to talk to you about.”

Intrigued, Buffy asks, “Okay, what's up?”

Still trying to find the words, Xander stalls by saying, “Uh, let's go over here and sit.”

They head over to a bench.

“Okay, now you're making me nervous,” says Buffy worriedly.

Xander quickly responds, “Oh, no, no, there's nothing to be nervous about. Really, it's silly. Ha, ha!”

They reach the bench, but a boy is sitting there.

“Hey. Leave,” says Xander a bit tersely.

As the boy leaves, Xander says “Thanks.”

After they sit Buffy prompts, “Well?”

Not very confidently, Xander says, “Um... You know, Buffy, uh, Spring Fling is a... time for students to gather and... Oh, God! Buffy, I want you to go to the dance with me. You and me, on a date.”

Buffy is speechless for a bit before she says, “I-I don't know what to say.”

“Well, you're not laughing. So that's a good start. Buffy, I
like you. A lot. And I know we're friends, and we've had experiences... We've fought some blood-sucking fiends, and that's all been a good time. But I want more. I wanna dance with you.”

“Xander, you're one of my best friends. You and Willow...”

Xander interrupts her and says, “Well, Willow's not looking to date you. Or if she is, she's playing it pretty close to the chest.”

Buffy replies a bit sedately, “I don't want to spoil the friendship that we have.”

“Well, I don't want to spoil it either. But that's not the point, is it? You either feel a thing or you don't.”

Buffy looks down a moment, then back up before saying, “What about Willow?”

“I thought we just covered that Willow wasn’t looking to date you. I am.”

“You’re right Xander, Willow doesn’t want to date me,” states Buffy putting a bit of steel into her voice to make sure Xander is going to listen to her without interruption.

She continues before he can even try to interrupt, “Willow wants to date YOU! She’s been waiting years for you to wake up and see the hottie that is her. She’s had your wedding to her after graduation all planned out since the first grade and has updated it every three to four months since then.”

Having worked up a head of steam, Buffy continues while Xander sits there shocked, “All this semester I’ve tried to help her work up the courage to let you know how she feels instead of waiting on you to make the first move. Some of them might have worked if she didn’t insist on testing how they might work out with someone other than you first. And, thanks to Slayer hearing, I know you have been going to her asking if something you’re going to do to catch my attention might work or not. And she loves you so much that she has put aside her hurt when you do that to support you. Part of the reason I tried to get into a relationship as quickly as possible this semester was so you would stop putting me in the position of being ‘The Other Woman’ in yours and Willow’s relationship. It was just luck that I actually ended up feeling something for Angel, for WHO he is not WHAT he is. It could have just as well been Scott or Owen.”

When she saw his face scrunch up in disgust, she immediately said, “I know that you have issues because he’s a vampire and vampires are the reason your friend Jesse is dead. But Jesse was Willow’s friend too, but if you remember she has been nothing but supportive of me and Angel getting together even when I first told you guys about Angel being a Vampire. Now, I know she was sincere in her concern for my happiness but I’m not stupid enough to think that was all there was to it. She saw that I was falling for Angel, which meant that I would be ‘off the market’ and maybe, just maybe, you might stop focusing on me and turn to her because of it. So her encouraging me to make the relationship with Angel work had potential benefits for her as well. I do not fault her for this since getting you two together was my goal as well.”

Still a bit in shock from Buffy’s revelations, Xander says, “Huh.”

Buffy’s reply is a bit more subdued, “I’m never going to get the white picket fence and two point three children. I know that. But I hoped that if you and Willow got together that you could live that dream for me. It would make all my sacrifices for being The Slayer worthwhile. That first night at The Bronze, when I found out how Willow felt about you, I realized that you guys could be my legacy. That I wouldn’t be just another footnote in some stuffy old Watcher’s diary if I could help her get together with the person she loved so I made her desires my priority.”

“I know Willow is going to be angry at me for telling you all this but you’ve put me on the spot and just telling you ‘no’ without telling you why didn’t feel right. So now that you know how Willow feels about you I’m going to ask you, as it pertains to Willow, ‘Do you feel a thing for her or don't you’?”

Xander turned his face away from Buffy.

The first thing that came to his mind was the recent ‘Hyena incident’ and his confrontation with Willow.

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(Flashback)

“Xander... What's wrong with you?” asks Willow.

He looks at Kyle and the others briefly then pulls Willow aside.

Xander says in hushed tones, “I guess you've noticed that I've been different around you lately.”

Willow hesitantly replies, “Yes.”

“I think, um... I think it's because my feelings for you have been changing.”

Seeing Buffy come around the corner to her locker and working the combination, he continues, “And, well, we've been friends for such a long time that I feel like I need to tell you something.”

The hopeful, expectant look on Willow’s face tells him he’s set her up perfectly.

“I've, um... I've decided to drop geometry. So I won't be needing your math help anymore. Which means I won't have to look at your pasty face again.”

He and the Pack laugh.

Willow turns and leaves. The crushed look on her face, tearing at Buffy’s heartstrings as she watches.

She slams her locker and approaches Xander with her arms crossed. He stops laughing.

Buffy glares with subdued anger and says, “You gonna say something to me?”

Xander just looks at her and starts laughing again more loudly. He goes back to the Pack, and they leave, while Buffy goes after Willow.

(End Flashback)

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The next thing that came to his mind was his confrontation with Buffy shortly thereafter.

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(Flashback)

Xander is lying on top of Buffy and says, “Do you know how long... I've waited... until you'd stop pretending that we aren't attracted...”

Buffy throws him off of her and quickly gets up to face him.

As he gets up, too, and begins to approach her as she backs away, he continues, “Until Willow... stops kidding herself... that I could settle with anyone but you?”

(End Flashback)

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He ended the memory there because what followed was something he really would like to forget.

He knew both Buffy and Willow thought he couldn’t remember what had happened and therefore had forgiven him. They had been able to put it behind them and never let it show how much he had hurt each of them. He had faked the amnesia because he was so ashamed of what he’d done and really didn’t want to deal with discussing what happened with either one of them.

He now saw that it had been a mistake. It only delayed it to this moment where Buffy was making him face the denial he lived with.

Still facing away from Buffy, he heaves a heavy sigh and says sadly, “I don’t.”

“Then you need to tell her,” says Buffy.

He nods his head and says, “Yeah.”

“I’m sorry, Xander, but if the person we fall in love with always fell in love back then you’d never have even given me a second look because you’d already be with Willow. As it is, even after you’ve worked through this with her and she accepts that you’ll only be friends, my current feelings towards Angel would still mean that is all you and I would be as well. Now, I won’t take sides in this but Willow will probably need me more than you will to get through this. However, if you can truly accept that and work things out with Willow such that she’ll dance with you, then, as your friend, I will dance with you as well.”

Xander silently gets up and leaves Buffy sitting there.

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Xander is sitting in an empty classroom, tossing a rubber ball against the wall opposite him and catching it on the rebound when Willow comes in.

“Hey!” says Willow.

“Hey!” responds Xander as he throws the ball.

“How'd it go?”

Xander throws the ball again and replies, “On a scale of one to ten? It sucked.”

“Oh.”

“Well, I guess it could be worse. I could have gangrene on my face.”

“Well, what'd she say?” asks Willow.

Xander stops throwing the ball and stares at it in his hands.

Closing his eyes he finally replies, “She said that her feelings for me are those of a friend and nothing more.”

“At least now you know,” says Willow solemnly, though there is a happy glint in her eyes.

“Yeah, you're right. The deal's done. The polls are in, and it's time for my concession speech.”

There’s a long pause before he speaks again.

“Willow . . . .”

Willow interrupts “No.”

Xander looks at her shocked and says, “What?”

Willow continues, “There's no way.”

“Willow, what are you talking about?”

Willow firmly says, “You think I wanna go to the dance with you and watch you wish you were at the dance with her? You think that's my idea of hijinks? You should know better.”

“That’s not what I was going to talk about,” says Xander with a bit of exasperation. “While it’s true I wanted to talk about us, it had nothing to do with the dance. At least not completely.”

“Then what did you want to say to me?” asks Willow meekly, feeling a bit embarrassed by her presumption.

“Buffy pointed out to me that just because you want someone to love you as you love them, it doesn’t always work out that way. The person you love could even be in love with someone else. And that someone else might not even love them back either.”

“This creates a chain with a lot of unhappy people in it. I’ve been sitting here thinking about that. And I’ve concluded that, as much as it hurt for me to hear that, it was the only way for her to break away from my side of the chain.”

“And?” prompted Willow when Xander lapsed into silence for a few moments.

“And . . . I apologize for hurting you these last few months,” said Xander.

When he saw Willow was about to protest, he held up his hand to stop her.

“You’re my best friend, Willow. Ever since Kindergarten. However, I’ve been as obsessed with Buffy as Jesse was with Cordelia and that made me ignore you and your feelings. I rationalized them away because dealing with them would mean you would be hurt. Which makes me a very poor friend.”

“A true friend would have seen that by trying to protect you from being hurt and hoping you would move on to someone who wasn’t a demon possessed robot, hurt you more. Especially since I came to you for advice on how to get Buffy to notice me. The fact that you didn’t knock me up side the head for being so insensitive towards you just goes to show that you are a better friend to me than I was to you.”

“The thing is, that it all boils down to the fact that I love you like a sister and I don’t know if that will ever change to what you want it to. I hope you will still want to be my friend once you stop being angry with me for hurting you,” stated Xander as he looked at her face to face.

Willow was silent for a bit then calmly says, “I'm sorry it didn't work out for you with Buffy. I'll see you on Monday.”

Xander watches her go and then says to the now empty room, “That's okay. I'm just gonna go home, lie down and listen to country music. The music of pain.”

He throws the ball again and lets it bounce wildly.

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Later that night Willow is at her desk studying. She looks up at a picture of her and Xander and sighs. She picks up the phone and dials his number.

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Xander is in his room listening to "I Fall to Pieces", by Patsy Cline, on the radio.

The phone rings. Xander lifts it off the hook, lets it drop back on the hook and then takes it off the hook completely.

His mind drifts back to the image of him dancing slowly with both Willow and Buffy.

“I’m a pig,” he declares to the empty room, as his vision has the two girls leaving him and dancing off, their bodies pressed close together.

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The End?

You have reached the end of "I Don't" – so far. This story is incomplete and the last chapter was posted on 26 Jan 10.

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