Like most of my stories, this title is inspired by a song. In this case that song is Dying Day by Brandi Carlile. I got to see Brandi the other day so I've been on a Brandi kick recently. The title of the song fits the story. So you should listen to the song even if my story is a tad dark. Do not own. Also do not own Buffy.
Warning: Character death and Darkness ahead.
Also, I'm trying present tense in this story. It just seemed to want to use that this time.
"Now that guy you can
shoot!" Willow shouts at Private Harris.
Xander frees himself and raises his gun, only to find that it has turned back into a toy. “What the...?”
“Hi, honey. I'm home.” Buffy smirks. She smacks the blonde vampire around a bit before she smacks him out of reach and he scarpers. “You know what? It's good to be me.” she observes.
“Hey, Buff. Welcome back.” Xander greets her.
“Yeah! You, too.” she smiles back.
Cordelia joins them,“You guys remember what happened?”
“It was way creepy. It's like I was there, but I couldn't get out.” Xander explains.
Cordelia completely misses the point. “Yeah, I know the feeling. This outfit's totally skintight.”
Angel greets Buffy, puts his arm around her shoulders, and leads her away.
“Hello?! It felt like I was talking, my lips were moving and...” Cordelia waves her arms around to make her point.
Xander just shakes his head. “Give it up, Cordy. You're never gonna get between those two. Believe me, I know.”
“Well,” she indicates the kids, “I guess you better get them back to their parents.”
“Yeah, everybody seems to... Where's Willow?” Xander wonders.
Willow's body lies still on the porch. There is no movement. From the street it looks like it could have been a Halloween decoration that fell down.
No one finds the body until the resident of the home Willow died in front of comes out for her morning paper.
She doesn't scream. She calmly checks for signs of life and finding the body is already cold she skips calling the police and calls the direct line for the morgue.
There was a knock on the door. Xander opens it before whoever it is can wake his parents.
“Alexander 'Xander' Harris?” a man in a dark suit asks.
“I'm sorry be the one to tell you this; but your friend, Willow Rosenberg, died last night.” the man tells him professionally. He's probably done this before.
“What? No. How?” Xander stammers and leans against the wall.
“The coroner ruled she died from asphyxiation around 6:30 last night...”
Xander finds himself getting very, very angry. That spell had killed her. Whoever had sold them those costumes had killed Willow. What was his name? Ethan. Ethan is going to die a very painful death,
he promises himself.
“...she took out a very large life insurance policy on herself a little over a year ago and named you as the main beneficiary.” the man had been speaking while Xander plotted revenge.
“Wait. What?” Xander asks.
“You won't be able to take control of the funds until you are 18.” he explains. “One, Rupert Giles, was named as the trustee. He also will receive a good sum, along with a... Buffy Summers, also a minor.”
Xander is stunned. Of course Willow would make sure they were taken care of in the event of her death. That was his Willow. Always planning ahead.
He shakes his head. “Sorry. I'm just a bit... no I'm very stunned. We got separated last night but I figured she just went home, you know? I never thought...”
“I understand.” the man says. “I'm about to inform the other two as well. I'm sure they'll be equally as dazed.”
“Can I come with?” Xander asks. The man gives him a look so Xander explains. “Buffy's going to need support. I'm not sure if her mom is back yet or not.”
The man can't really argue with that so he nods. A second later, the boy is out the door with him. “Don't you need to tell your parents where you're going?”
They pick up Giles who is obviously saddened but also appropriately stoic. Then they travel to Buffy's house. Xander gets to be the recipient of the Slayer hugs. Something he's dreamed of for over a year. Just not this way. Tears never featured in any of his fantasies. Especially not his own.
Epilogue: Xander stood in the surf, looking into the setting sun, naked but for his shoes. He'd left his clothes and a spare pair of shoes on a towel on dry ground. He needed shoes here though. This isn't some beach that people swim at. As far as he knows, no one ever comes here, which is exactly what he wants.
The ground under the water is rocky and it takes all his balance to walk on the rocks he can't see under the surf. And then he goes under. He's found the drop-off he was looking for. He climbs back up on the rocks before a shark can take his legs.
He hefts the bundle in his right hand. A rock is tied to a gun with cordage that is supposed to be salt-water resistant. All tied up in a burlap sack to make it easier to throw. The gun had been cleaned of all fingerprints and a few years in saltwater should take care of anything else.
Giles had initially been reluctant to procure the weapon for him. But the day after Ehygon killed Jenny Calendar, Xander had found a snub-nosed .38 and a box of bullets in his bag.
Xander leans back and throws the burlap sack with all his might. He watches as it hits the water and sinks out of sight.
He turns to walk back to his clothes. “Thus endeth Ethan Rayne.”
A/N: Shorter but darker. So dark that I don't really feel like writing any more of this.