Departures and Homecomings
A Chance Meeting
Disclaimer: I do not own either set of non-original characters and I do not make any money off of this endeavor.
Time period: After Season seven of Buffy. And Alias, season 3.
Xander stepped away from the counter after thanking the ticketing agent. He stepped out of the roped off area to where Sydney was waiting. He held up the tickets.
“First class? Did you have anything to do with this?”
She grinned impishly at him and said, “Not directly. My dad was simply appreciative of the fact that you saved my life. Though even if he hadn't done it, I would have, and there were three other people in the office that suggested it.”
“You must be well liked.”
She gave an embarrassed half shrug. “Any of us would have done it for anyone else.”
He, gauging her embarrassment, decided not to rib her about it and changed the subject, saying, “So, will I ever get to meet the elusive Jack Bristow?”
They started toward the security checkpoints and she said, “He does want to meet you, and technically I suppose he already has, you were just unconscious at the time. He would have visited again, but the last week has been insanely busy for him.”
Sydney fell into a brief silence as they approached the lines to the x-ray machines. he glanced at her, wondering, before she spoke again. “Xander, I know you don't want to talk about Sunnydale and the stuff relating to that.”
He stopped stiffening, feeling his gut tightening up.
Sydney stopped too and, looking him straight in the eye, said, “I've seen a lot of strange things in recent years. Things that I thought...that I knew were impossible. Yet there they were in front of me.” Her gaze unfocused for a moment as if seeing a memory playing in her minds eye. The she shook her head and continued. “The records I found on Sunnydale suggest things that make what I've encountered look sane and normal.”
“I think I've figured out your warning. I'm not going to push you, but I'd like to ask you one question. Please?”
Taking a deep breath, with a feeling of dread, he said, “Okay.”
“Vampires, monsters, fairytales...are they real?”
It was a bit of jolt to hear the question outright like that. He should have expected it. Considering how intelligent she was even vague warnings would have practically been a road map for her. Now the question was did she believe it or was she humoring him?
He let out the breath, trusting her, saying, “Yes.”
She continued to look into his eyes for another few seconds, then she nodded slowly. “Okay.”
He blinked dumbly, more than a little surprised at her easy acceptance. “Just, okay?”
“I told you I wouldn't push. You told me to go read up on it, so I will.”
“Alright.” He gave a little relieved chuckle. “I just expected a more extreme reaction.”
“Sometime after my first face to face encounter with..” She hesitated. “Whatever. Then I'll have my “Oh Shit” moment. It's all intellectual right now.”
His gut clenched and he reached out to grab her hands. “Promise me you won't go looking.”
“Don't worry.” She squeezed his hands. “After what was implied in those reports, I'm not that stupid.”
He stared at her silently, and after a moment she asked, “What?”
“You keep surprising me.”
“Why?” She cocked her head to the side as she let go of his hands.
“You've only known me for a week, and yet you're believing me on something as major as this.”
She smiled and said, “It's trust, Xander. It can be earned, and it can also be given. You're my friend and I trust you. That means that even if you tell me something that's hard to believe I'm going to believe it. I trust you.”
She gave him another smile and said, “So don't abuse it.”
He seemed to be having a hard time getting his mouth working properly but, after a moment he managed a soft, “Thank you.”
She cocked her head with an inquiring expression.
God, how did he put it into words. The simple uncomplicated warmth of one person demonstrating, without any history or reason, her trust in him. “I'd almost forgotten what that felt like.”
He saw the sadness and concern touch her features and pulled out a joke to lighten the mood; he didn't want to leave on a sad note. But before he could say anything the overhead speakers blared out, “Pre-boarding call for flight 674 to Cleavland. Gate 24.”
Sydney said, “That's your flight.”
He found he had a lump in his throat. “Guess it's time to say goodbye.”
She stepped close and hugged him, gently, in deference to his ribs. “Only for a while. You'll see me again.”
As his arms wrapped around her he asked, “Promise?”
She pulled back a little, smiled at him, and said, “I told you. I travel a lot. I'll make sure to stop by. And you have my number. Use it.” That last part was clearly an order.
As they parted, and he stepped toward the security line, she said, “Safe trip.”
After he made it through the security checkpoint he glanced back. Sydney was still standing where he had left her. She raised her hand and waved once before she passed out of his sight.
* * *
Xander stepped out of the ramp from the plane and glanced around. Wills had said they would be waiting for him when he arrived.
Sure enough. There they were. Willow was practically bouncing in place and her obvious eagerness to see him brought a smile to his lip. Next to Willow were his two favorite Summers women, and behind the three, Giles broke into a smile as he caught sight of Xander.
There was a flurry of bodies rushing toward him.
“We were so worried about you.”
“You stopped a terrorist. Do you know how cool that is!”
“Hey- oh, ah! Buffy! Watch the ribs!”
Giles hand squeezed his shoulder gently and the watcher said, “Good to see you Xander.” And then, to the girls, “Suppose we assist him to the car, instead of returning him to the hospital.”
Xander couldn't stop the grin forming on his face. He probably looked like a maniac, but he didn't care.
He was home.
* * *
“Xander!” Dawn's call came from the hall in the direction of the front door. “You've got a package.”
Huh, okay. The knock hadn't been what he'd thought. Xander had taken to not answering the door, seeing how, over the last couple of weeks it had often been a rather nosy member of the press. Of course, Slayers tended to be very good at getting rid of nosy reporters.
Ah, it was good to have friends.
The young woman entered the room, carrying a small box.
Xander removed the nail he was holding in his mouth and, placing it carefully, he drove it into the wood, tacking the window frame in place. He then said, “Lunch break!” Grinning at Dawn he took the package and said, “Thanks, Dawn.”
She returned his smile and hurried out of the room towards the den, where he could hear the blaring of the TV.
A package? Who would be sending him a package? He checked the return address. It was labeled S. Bristow.
He smiled, happy, and a little baffled. She hadn't mentioned sending him anything anything in her last phone call.
He worked the packaging open and pulled out, first, a letter, and second, a small box. He debated silently for a moment and then opened the box. He froze, staring down at it's contents, before his smile grew even wider.
A Snoopy watch.
There was a small note attached to it that said, “This one has a light.”
He laughed, pulled the watch out, and put it on his wrist. Then he seated himself in the window seat and, warm sunlight soaking into his skin, began to read.
I'm betting you've opened the box first. I hope you like it. It's a little more utilitarian than the last one, just in case....
End. Until the sequel.