"Christmas In Sunnydale"
by Brian/bkwrm 79
Disclaimer: If I own them Isabel is the central character on Roswell with Alex following closely behind in screen time. There are frequent crossovers with BTVS, whose main character is Willow. Lonnie, Vamp Willow and a character played by Natalie Portman make frequent appearances. Otherwise Katims and Whedon are running things.
Category: This is crossover UC. Normally I wouldn't be writing UC right now but I wrote this fic in December, I just now decided that with a little editing I could make it work. I like Tara. I also like Willow and Tara (my favorite couple on Buffy, by far). But to make this work I decided on an alternate universe Buffy wherein Tara doesn't exist, or at least hasn't met Willow.
Summary: Alex spends Christmas in Sunnydale. He and Willow start out comparing love lifes (or lack thereof), then begin to learn more about each other.
*I don't know what to do* listmaker82 typed. *At least she's still in town, she hasn't taken off. I get to see her everyday in school, in the Crashdown. Maybe I should count my blessings. But I'm not part of her life anymore. It's like I'm not even part of the group at all. I'm one of the outsiders. My friends are dating her friends. You're the only one I can talk to, and we've never even met! :( *
*I know how you feel. I'm the only single one this year too.* realWitch replied. *It seems even harder at Christmastime. Look, why don't you get away? Come to Sunnydale for Christmas break. I'll show you around the university, that will be one campus visit out of the way. Then we can do something fun, and forget about people who freeze us out or who flee town with barely a good bye. I know face-to-faces are usually a bad idea, but we've known each other for years.*
listmaker82 barely hesitated. *I'd love to get away from things.* Isabel was everywhere in Roswell during Christmas, he had to get out of town to have a chance to stop making a pathetic spectacle of himself over her. *My parents are on business in Sweden anyway. I can get a Greyhound, meet you on campus. It will be fantastic to finally meet you in person.*
realWitch smiled to herself. *I look forward to finally seeing you, Alex.*
Alex walked up the dormitory steps, catching up with a red-haired girl just as her pile of books and packages started to slide. He put out his hand to stabilize them in her arms. "I'll get the door," he offered.
"Thanks." The girl smiled.
Alex was surprised to notice how pretty her smile was. He hadn't been noticing girls lately, not human ones anyway. He found himself smiling back. "Can you do me a favor too? I'm looking for someone who lives here, Willow Rosenberg..."
"Alex? You different than in my crystal ball. I mean, my imagination. Haha, joke just like my screen name."
Alex laughed a little as he opened the door, then followed Willow up to her room.
"You made better time than I expected, that bus is usually at least half an hour late. I need to go into town to pick up a package at the Magic Shop and return Giles' car. Why don't you come with me and meet the gang?"
There were only a few people actually browsing in the shop, but quite a few people just sitting around. The blond girl was Buffy, the guy bigger than Kyle was Riley, the way too perky salesclerk was Anya. Alex had no easy tag to put on Xander, but took a liking to him right away.
Something about Buffy bothered him. She reminded him of someone. Seemed different. She didn't remind him of Isabel or Tess. The way she sat, the way she spoke, it all indicated she felt she was in charge. Max. That's who she reminds me of.
The other thing that bothered him was the group itself. They all seemed so different. But while they could get on each other's nerves, even ignore each other, there was something about them that reminded Alex of his own group of eight. As if they'd been in danger together. Alex watched them casually. Buffy and Riley had small, well concealed but not perfectly hidden bulges in their clothing. What have I gotten myself into? There's a lot Willow hasn't told me. Not that I should talk...
Alex and Willow sat together in the university pub, agreeing that there was nothing wrong in being alone. Absolutely nothing. Did couple's really have any more fun than singles? And the way some of them sat around gazing into each other's eyes all the time was disgusting. Really. Who would want that?
Willow recapped her experiences once more. Her crush on Xander, who had given up his crush on Buffy only to choose to date their archenemy, Cordelia, the girl they'd both hated since 6th grade. Oz, who had been this incredibly sensitive guy until he'd found himself unable to cope with certain changes in his life and had left town for good.
Alex retold his story. Doing this face to face somehow worked better than chatting. The girl he'd had a crush on forever, who he'd pursued all year, had finally let him in, only to withdraw from him all summer only to finally tell him she couldn't date right then. A few days later she'd met this scuzzy old geologist, and that had gone out the window.
Finally Willow went up to her dorm room and Alex hailed a cab to his hotel. By then, they both felt much better.
Somehow, knowing they weren't the only ones unlucky in love helped. No longer did they have to suffer alone.
December 24 - evening
"Let's get some fresh air," Alex suggested.
"I don't know..." Willow answered doubtfully.
"The exercise will be good for us," Alex insisted.
Willow could think of no good way to convince him to stay indoors in Sunnydale after dark. Besides, Buffy had been pretty diligent in patrolling recently, and they were inside Initiative territory. "Okay."
They took a long walk, looking at all the Christmas lights, enjoying the pre-Christmas mood. By the time they were heading back towards campus they were talking and laughing. Willow never saw the vampire until it had seized her by the neck.
Alex saw the man grab Willow from behind. Acting instantly, he threw himself at her assailant, knocking him to the ground, then rolling away and to his feet. The vampire closed with him, absorbing Alex's punches and slamming him into a tree trunk, baring it's fangs as Alex stared in horror. Alex struggled in vain as the fangs neared his throat. Then suddenly he was free.
Willow stumbled forward, still holding the stake she'd taken from her purse. She met Alex's gaze with a shrug. "When you live in a town with this many vampires, if you're smart you carry a stake with you. Just like if there are muggers you carry Mace."
Alex grinned. Maybe he should carry a stake with him so he could dust Skins. Not that he was important enough for the Skins to come after him, but it was worth a try. "Thanks."
"It was good teamwork," Willow answered modestly. "If you hadn't tackled him I'd never have had a chance to get my stake out." She looked around. "We'd better get inside. They don't always hunt alone, and that one was just a fledgling. Some are stronger, and we don't have Buffy with us, or even Riley."
"Oh... they need invitations, right? That's handy. So Buffy and Riley are good at this?"
"Yep." Despite Willow's casual tone, she grabbed Alex's hand, holding her stake in her free hand, and towed him along at a much increased pace.
Buffy moved, too smoothly, too quickly. She opened the bottle of hot peppers too easily. Alex had been stumped, had started looking for an opener. The wheels finished turning in Alex's head. He waited until he and Willow were alone walking back to campus - in the late afternoon sun, this time. "There's something about you and your friends. A camaraderie, like you've faced danger. Like you share a secret. Buffy acts like she's always in control, like she always has to be. I've got a friend like that. Buffy is an Alien isn't she?"
Willow had been awaiting his conclusion with dread on her face, until he said the word Alien. She burst out laughing.
Alex was disconcerted. He had been so certain.
"Buffy isn't an Alien. I didn't know you believed in that stuff, Roswell-boy."
"Well, we ran into a vampire last night. You wished Buffy was there. Not huge, military-attitude Riley, you wanted Buffy. I figured with their powers Aliens would be able to fight vampires pretty well. Buffy's fast, strong - a lot stronger than me."
"She isn't an extra-terrestrial. As far as I know there's no such thing. I mean, magic and demons and vampires I'm familiar with."
"You call yourself realWitch. You cast spells?" Alex shook his head. This was a lot to take in, even for someone with a pretty broad world-view.
They had reached her dorm. "I'll show you something." Willow left the lights off, waved her hand while murmuring a rapid incantation. Candles around the room flared alight. "It worked! I mean, it worked."
"I didn't doubt your word," Alex clarified. "You don't have to tell me about Buffy. I know how secrets can be important, and not all secrets one knows are one's to tell."
Willow sat down. "I don't like secrets coming between us now, not when you've guessed so much already. Buffy is the chosen one. The Vampire Slayer. The only reason I can see for you to think she's an Alien is if you've been comparing her to another blonde you know. Isabel is an Alien, right?"
"Actually, Buffy reminds me more of her brother," Alex said. "I guess I owe you honesty too. You know anyway. Yes, Isabel is an Alien. Is it wrong that I found that attractive?"
Willow shook her head. She'd seen Xander swoon over the Slayer, seen the Slayer swoon over a vampire. The unusual was always appealing.
"Isabel has a destiny, with another Alien of course. They were married in a past life. But he's not who she's dating - Michael - I mean the other Alien - is dating a human friend of mine. At least they were together when I left Roswell, but they're on-again off-again so much I wouldn't want to hazard a guess as to right now. But Isabel doesn't want me in danger from her enemies, and she doesn't want to let anyone in. She dates someone now who doesn't know what species she is. I was sad I lost her, but the truth is she was never mine."
"I understand. Oz is a werewolf." Alex met her eyes, and Willow realized that he really did understand what she was getting at. "He left after he nearly killed me while he was a wolf. I'm just lucky I didn't get bitten. Buffy I think might be more like Isabel than you realize. She often tries to push everyone away to protect them. She doesn't always realize she needs us, that no one can save the world alone."
Alex reached out and put his arm around Willow. "I'm sorry."
Willow hugged him back. "So am I."
They held each other for a long time before their first kiss. Afterward, they were never able to remember who started leaning forward first.
Isabel nearly ran into Maria on her way up his front steps. "Maria, I heard Alex is back, so I thought I should say hi. I felt so guilty when he left Roswell at Christmas... why am I telling you this?"
"Alex had a goodtime. He's becoming a warlock now, something like that. He brought back a girl with him from California, the one he was visiting with. She wanted to see Roswell."
"A girl." The words sounded flat in her ears. Isabel shrugged. "Good. Now that he's found someone else, I won't feel so suffocated." Isabel continued inside, headed up towards Alex's room. She could hear laughing, arguing about computers and electronics and witchcraft. Apparently Alex and this girl had a lot in common. Isabel peeked in. Alex had his back to her, but he looked happy. Content. They're right for each other. The girl looked up, saw Isabel. Isabel put a finger to her lips and slipped away.