tomorrow is where i'll be waiting - BtVS/X-Men
(Past) canon character death.Prompt:
aforestgrew asked for BtVS/X-Men, Buffy/Scott, After the second movie, Scott is slowly starting to recover from Jean’s death.
.tomorrow is where i’ll be waiting
They agreed to meet at the restaurant and Scott regrets that decision immensely as he fidgets with his dress shirt and his jacket and his belt and his phone and his jacket and his sunglasses and did he mention his jacket? He smoothes down the lapels, digs through empty pockets, brushes away imaginary lint and tells himself that this is a horrible idea, he shouldn’t be here, it’s only been a bit more than half a year and Jean, God, Jean.
She would laugh so hard if she could see him now, insecure like a thirteen-year-old on his first date.
It is, in a way, his first date. Because with Jean they just both sort of grew into it and it was never awkward. When he took her out, he knew what to do, how to act to make her like him.
But now here he is, waiting for Buffy Summers, a woman he met at a seminar on how to teach self defense to teenagers and children. She’s a teacher, too, a bit younger than him, open and fun and she never once asked about his sunglasses or why he didn’t take them off. Talking to her is easy and it should be easy tonight, too, on this date thing.
Except, before he was just talking to a random woman and now he’s going on a date with her and the memory of Jean burns hot in his stomach and he’s getting more nervous by the second.
She arrives only three minutes late, getting out of a rental car in a simple black cocktail dress, not too long, not too short. He appreciates her tan legs in those heels and like how her blonde hair tumbles against the black of the dress. And then he feels guilty because he should be thinking that her hair would look better red, but he’s not and that is so very, very not right.
Jean not being here isn’t right.
Him being in this situation at all isn’t right.
Nothing is right, least of all the fact that he can feel himself moving on, just a bit, just some days, and he hates it.
She smiles and greets him, asks if he wants to sit inside or on the terrace. He picks the terrace on impulse, leads her into the restaurant, holding her chair for her. She thanks him and until the waiter arrives, they make small talk.
Family. Siblings. Work. Annoying teenagers who think they’re better, coworkers who steal your bike and then crash it, the weather, politics, sports, martial arts. All of it, willy-nilly and he catches himself having a good time and immediately tries to stop, wants to stop, Jean’s name on his lips.
He bites it back, torn between wanting to know this woman, this new, different woman, and wanting to lock himself into his and Jean’s room and cry forever.
The menus come and they talk about food. Buffy admits that she has no idea about wines and he orders a bottle for them, explaining a bit about it until he notices he’s completely lost her. He chuckles and she says, “Cheese. Let’s talk about cheese!”
They make it through dinner just fine and then dessert. He pays, gentleman that he is, and she laughs and calls him old-fashioned, but doesn’t protest. They leave the restaurant and because it’s early, decide to go for a little walk.
They walk chastely next to each other, not talking, but a bit too close to be stiff and conversation tapers off, not uncomfortably. Then Buffy suddenly points at the moon and says, “See that aura? It means something bad is going to happen.”
And Scott just freezes. Not because he’s superstitious, but because Jean was, just the tiniest little bit and she knew things like that, too. She pointed it out, one night, look, moon with aura means bad things to come.
And to hear the same thing, thrown in his face, here, now… he can’t breathe.
“Scott? Are you alright?” Buffy is peering up at him, unsure, worrying her lip with her teeth.
Somehow, he manages to nod and say, “Yeah. Sorry. You just… reminded me a lot of my girlfriend right then.”
It occurs to him a second too late that he shouldn’t be calling Jean that because she’s not anymore, but Buffy doesn’t seem to take offense. She just looks glad that he’s not having a stroke or something. “Oh,” she says, backing off half a step, releasing her lip. “Bad break-up?”
He laughs, short and bitter, can’t really help it. “She died,” he says before she can ask and Jesus, that feels good. To say the words. She died. She’s dead. She’s gone. At the school, no-one wants to hear it, wants to talk about it. They want to talk about what Jean was like, what she did, who she was, but never about how she ended and the words have been festering inside of him for months and months.
“Oh,” Buffy says again and he knows he scared her off. But then she asks, “Would you like to tell me about her?” almost like she understands.
And he shouldn’t, but he needs to and he finds himself saying, “She drowned. I was there, watching, but I couldn’t… she drowned. And she was so… smart and bright and… she was a doctor. She loved helping people. Saving them. But in the end…”
She didn’t save herself and God, he hates her for that.
“There was nothing I could do,” he finishes and means to leave it there.
But she puts a hand on his forearm and says, with a slow, sad smile, “I know the feeling.”
He smiles back just as sad, but a bit more forced. “I really don’t think you do.”
She shakes her head. “I do. There was this guy… he…”
She looks away and he steps around her so he can look at her. “You don’t get it. I was there. I was watching. I should have done something, should have been out there with her, should have…”
“He burned,” she snaps, out of the blue. “He was burning and I wanted to burn with him and you know what he did? He sent me away. Told me he didn’t love me, and to get lost. And I was dumb enough to believe him, to leave
him there. Don’t tell me what I do or don’t know!”
She’s breathing hard and so it he, he realizes. The moon still has its aura, there is a gentle breeze and from the far off restaurant, he can still hear fragments of music. And suddenly, this is all very, very ridiculous.
“Are we,” he asks, incredulously, “actually fighting about who lost their partner in a worse way?”
For a second she just looks at him and he looks back and then she giggles. She slaps a hand over her mouth to hold it in, but the damage is done.
They’re both laughing.
“Wow,” she gasps, between peals of slightly hysterical laughter, “That’s very, very depressing.”
He gasps and nods, trying to catch his breath. It occurs to him, as she leans on his arm a bit to get her bearings, that this is the first time he’s laughed, really laughed, since Jean died.
He still misses her, and that’s okay, but he does so less than he did, and that’s okay, too, he thinks.