Find Out What It Means To Me
A/N I still have no claim on either BTVS or Criminal Minds. This was a rather interesting chapter for me to write. I look forward to reading your reactions. As always, constructive criticism is appreciated.
FIND OUT WHAT IT MEANS TO ME
It was a legitimate question, and what’s more; it was one that Buffy had asked herself on more than one occasion. Since she’d never come up with an answer that satisfied her, she doubted Kevin would be satisfied with what she’d have to say, but he’d asked. “I’d love to give you a short simple answer that completely and totally answered that question, but I don’t have one. I figure if I had that, I’d sleep a lot better some nights. What I do have is speculation, guesswork and a lot of little things that just seemed to add up at the time,” Buffy began as she stared into the darkness, not willing to look at Kevin. “When I first met him, I was fresh out of the asylum my parents put me in after I tried to tell them what had really happened at my first high school. I thought I’d left all the vampire craziness behind me and just wanted to fit in and be a normal teenager. Then, before I could even get to school for the first time, this guy flips over a handrail because he was looking at me. I played it cool, but I definitely noticed and that was a heck of an ego boost, let me tell you,” she added with a smile. “Later that day this same very cute guy asks if he could have me. Now I know all about slips of the tongue and what, but what I’ve never told Xander is how close I came to saying yes right then and there. But, like I said, I was so focused on fitting in that I buried whatever feelings I had and didn’t say anything.”
“Later, I meet a girl who’s nice and smart and everything and willing to put up with me. Then, later that day, I find out that the girl is totally smitten with the guy who asked if he could have me. My dad was bad about playing around and I really didn’t want to be ‘the other woman’ and get between my only friend at the time and the guy she liked; so I backed off. And honestly, I guess I’ve been backing off ever since then. It astounds me sometimes that Xander is even willing to still talk to me after all the different ways I’ve managed to stomp on his heart. Xander told you about my little ‘Thank You dance’ didn’t he,” she asked. Kevin just nodded, remembering Xander telling him just how humiliated he’d been; he was curious to see Buffy’s reaction. “Not my finest moment by any means,” she said, the embarrassment was almost palpable; “and that wasn’t the only time he’s been emotional wreckage on the Buffy highway.” It sounded to Kevin like she’d go on for a bit, but then she collected herself and got back to the topic.
"There are times when we seem to be headed for couplehood, but then something always gets in the way. I mean, there was the whole Hyena thing and the love spell that really didn’t help Xander’s cause; especially the whole Hyena thing. He told you about that, right,” she asked Kevin. As he nodded, Buffy continued, “It was tough being around him for a long time. Yeah, part of me knew that he hadn’t been in control, I mean it would be like blaming Angel for what Angelus did; but that didn’t stop me from flashing on to that whole scene in the classroom whenever we started to get close. Then he started dating Cordelia and I was both happy and unhappy because of that. Happy because Xander was happy and despite how it sometimes appears, I do want him to be happy. But another part of me wasn’t happy about the whole Cordelia development. You see, I’d come to think of Xander as kind of a plan B;” here she leaned forward. “Part of me always knew that the thing with Angel was doomed, I mean vampire, vampire slayer; that just has train wreck written all over it. But Xander was always there, kind of waiting in the wings for when things with Angel imploded. I realize how shallow it makes me sound, but hey; I was a sixteen year old girl so I figure I’m allowed to act like one now and again. But when he started dating Cordelia, my plan B went away, and that bothered me. I mean, I didn’t try to break them up or anything, but I certainly wasn’t supporto friend like I could have been. Then came the fluke thing with Willow, which I’ll never understand.”
“Never, or refuse to look at all the possibilities,” Kevin asked gently.
“What do you mean,” Buffy asked warily.
“Well what, in the world you function in, can cause unexplained things to happen?” Here he grinned, “like losing your sight or literally becoming a demon magnet because someone says it to be so.”
“You think magic was involved?”
“It’s at least something to consider. Don’t get me wrong, Alexander maintains it was just hormones and stupidity but looking at it from outside, I’ve got to wonder.” Here Kevin sat back and looked away from Buffy. “From what I’ve heard over the years, Willow’s spell work was erratic at best, and she didn’t always think things through; that is one possible explanation. Alexander also told me about what eventually happened to Cordelia and I’ve got to wonder if someone wasn’t protecting their investment, if you know what I mean. Think about it for a second, after the fluke, she refuses to forgive Alexander, despite the fact that she’s cheated far worse on guys in her own past. Add to that, the fact that someone as good looking as Cordelia stayed a virgin all through High School despite how much she dated. I mean, what are the odds.”
“So you think that Jasmine thing was controlling her life way back then and Xander just kind of got caught in the crossfire.”
“I don’t know,” Kevin said with a sigh, “but it seems possible.”
“Too possible when you consider the lives we lead,” Buffy murmured. Then she picked up her narrative again. “So after High School, I went to college and Xander didn’t, then we both started dating and drifting apart. I’d love to tell you how much I missed him, but I kinda didn’t. For a while it was like he was part of my past and I was trying to get away from my past. But every time I was down, there he was with a joke or the right word to keep my spirits up. And I’d be lying if I said that the idea of me and Xander didn’t cross my mind, but he and Anya seemed serious and I really didn’t want to try and poach him off of a one thousand year old demon that specialized in vengeance for scorned women. I’m a little crazy, but not that crazy.” Then Buffy’s mood darkened, “but after my resurrection, well all thoughts of couplehood kind of went away. For a long time I couldn’t look at him without feeling this huge sense of rage because of what he and the others had done. There were still times, like the summer before the first came into our lives, when I thought about it; but those thoughts died a pretty quick death.”
“I’ve got to say Buffy, I’m amazed by your ability to forgive,” Kevin cut in. “I mean if someone did to me what was done to you, I couldn’t see myself ever forgiving them.”
“Well,” Buffy said after a moment of silence. “One of them saving your life and the other preventing the end of the world kind of buys a lot of consideration on the whole forgiveness front.”
“I can see that,” Kevin said with a small grin, but then his expression turned uncomfortable. “I’ve wanted to ask you something for a while, but the conversation just never seemed to go there, so I’m just going to blurt it out. You don’t have to answer, but I would really appreciate it if you did.”
“If I can,” Buffy replied, a bit confused.
“I know that we’ve skirted around the whole issue of Spike and his relationship with you all and that’s cool; I mean I’m not asking for a play by play account, but there is one specific instance I’m curious about.”
“Ask away,” Buffy said; trying to sound as light and carefree as possible. She was truly not looking forward to this because the Scooby’s reactions and interactions with the chipped vampire had come close to destroying their friendship on more than one occasion.
“I was wondering about when Alexander saw Spike and Anya in the Magic Box.” Kevin looked at Buffy so intently that Buffy could almost feel the weight of his gaze on her, and yet, at the same time; it felt as if Kevin’s gaze was piercing every defense she had and laying her entire life bare for all to see. “Why did you stop him, Alexander I mean? Why did you stop him from taking any sort of revenge?”
It was certainly not one of the possible questions that Buffy had been anticipating. She closed her eyes and tried to remember that night; the pain and the anger that were flowing so freely. Buffy closed her eyes and used her memories and her pain to put herself back there. “He was going to stake Spike,” she answered finally.
“Didn’t he deserve it,” Kevin asked, there was no judgment or censure in his voice, only curiosity.
“More than likely,” Buffy replied, “but for some reason I just couldn’t let Xander do it. I don’t know if it was concern for what it would do to Xander or if I just didn’t want to lose Spike.”
“Do you honestly think Alexander would have destroyed him,” Kevin asked.
“Absolutely,” Buffy replied, finally opening her eyes. “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Xander would have dusted him in a heartbeat.” Buffy seemed to think for a moment and then continued. “I don’t know what would have happened if Xander saw Spike later, I don’t know if I would have intervened again or just stood back and watched, especially after Spike attacked me. But the next time Xander saw him, Spike had a soul and was pretty much nuts.” She saw the look on Kevin’s face and continued, a bit defensively. “I know that a soul doesn’t mean that you are a good or decent person; but to me it does mean that the possibility is there, and that’s important.” She closed her eyes again, “I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Xander ever liked Spike, he tolerated him at best; but I do believe that in the end, he came to respect Spike.”
“Now that is an interesting word,” Kevin murmured.
“Respect,” Kevin replied, Buffy didn’t have to open her eyes to know that there was almost a look of pain on Kevin’s face. “I’ve just got one more question before we get to the serious stuff like your favorite movie and all that.” Before Buffy could answer, he raised his hand to interrupt; “not just yet.” He grinned at Buffy’s mild glare. “I don’t want an answer to this, but I think that it’s a question you need to answer for yourself.” He fixed her with his intense gaze again. “Buffy, I know that you care for Alexander, I’ve never questioned that; but do you respect him, I mean really respect him?”
The silence in the room drew out like a blade. Just before it became intolerable, Buffy sighed and stood; and without a backwards glance, she left the room and quietly closed the door behind her.