Xander smiled despite himself as he stepped into Sunnydale, the portal Destruction made closing behind him.
Walking down the familiar streets Xander began to feel apprehensive. What if Death didn’t count the vote and bring back Buffy? What if it had all been for nothing?
Steeling himself for the worst Xander knocked on the door. After a few seconds that felt like a few thousand years Xander was rewarded with the most beautiful site he had seen.
“Welcome back,” said Buffy.
“Same to you,” said Xander with a large grin. At that moment Buffy’s smile and life was worth all the effort, pain, and sacrifice he had gone through.
“Xander!” said two voices right before he was tackled by a red and a brunet blur.
“Need air!” gasped Xander as Dawn and Willow attempted to squeeze him to death. Willow loosened her grip, but Dawn just held on tighter, thanking him over and over again.
“Welcome back Xander. I take it you will be taking back your letters now,” said Giles.
“Not right now Giles, I kind of got my hands full at the moment,” said Xander with a smile. “Just bring them by my place tomorrow.”
“Come on Dawn let Xander go or we won’t be able to start the party,” said Willow.
“Party?” asked Xander.
“It’s a welcome back party for Buffy, but it didn’t seem right to start it before you returned,” explained Giles.
“Cool lead me to the cake. My Twinkie supply ran out on the trip and I need some sugary goodness,” said Xander as Dawn let go.
Later that night when the party was in full swing Buffy made her way towards Xander.
“Hey Buffy what’s up?” asked Xander as Buffy sat next to him.
“Me, and it sounds like I have you to thank for it,” said Buffy.
“Not of the big. After all you would have done the same for me,” said Xander with a shrug.
“Yeah, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a big deal.”
“So how was it like spending time with Death,” said Xander in a blatant attempt to change the conversation.
Deciding that she would have more time later to properly thank Xander Buffy said, “It was fun. She was really nice and let me win at Monopoly, though she kicked my butt at Life.”
Xander chuckled at the irony of Death playing the game of Life and wining.
“Seriously though, it was a good experience all around. After the first time I’ve always been afraid of dieing, but after meeting her I’m not. It doesn’t mean that I’m going to throw my self off a tower just to see her again, but I don’t think I’ll be afraid when the time comes again. Does that mean any sense to you?” asked Buffy.
“Yeah, Death has that effect on people,” said Xander in a serious voice. “Once you get to know her you just can’t be afraid any more.”
“So what’s up with those letters Giles mentioned earlier,” said Buffy in an attempt to lighten the conversation.
“They are just letters Buffy. You know words badly written on pieces of paper, nothing more.”
Nothing more than words written on paper. If Xander was here Buffy would punch him for telling her that. At the moment she was holding a letter addressed to her, and there was no way that it was just words written on paper. It had to be more.
She could still remember the pillar of fire that could be seen from her house, and the smoke that had turned the sun and angry red. One hundred and eighteen people had lived in that building, and only one had been killed.
She remembered his body as they had dragged if from the smoldering ruins. Everyone else had made it out unmarked, he had been burned black, but was still unmistakably Xander-shaped.
Now she was sitting in a room with Dawn, Willow, Tara, Spike, and Giles with a letter in her hand, a letter he had written.
“I know this is difficult, but this is how he wanted it,” said Giles in his dark suit. “He wrote each of us a letter before he went to find Destruction detailing what he left us. To make it legally binding we all need to read that part out loud to confirm that it matched what he wrote in his will. If he wrote anything you would like to keep to yourself you may.”
The long silence that followed was broken when Spike said, “Enough of this, I’ll go first. ‘To Deadboy part two. I don’t like you, and you don’t like me, we both know it so don’t deny it now that I’m dead too. Still you have been nice to Dawn so I wouldn’t feel right leaving you out of this. I leave you all my old Hawaiian shirts (minus the one you ruined by spilling blood on) so you can improve your fashion sense. Don’t think you can just burn them though, I’ve instructed Dawn to use her puppy dog eyes to make you were them at least once.’ Bloody hell, even dead he finds a way to annoy me!”
As everyone chuckled Willow opened her letter and began to read. “Okay mine says, ‘Dear Willow. I know this is probably hurting you more than the others, and I’m sorry. I know sorry isn’t enough, so let me say that I believe that if there are any forces of good in the world we will see each other again, but not for a while. To you I leave a box completely filled with yellow crayons so you never have to worry about them breaking again.’”
And that was how most of the letters went. Tara was left all his Twinkies for Willow to show her how to eat, and Dawn was left all his money in an account for college.
Finally it came time for Buffy to read hers. “I don’t know what he could leave me he seemed to leave everything to Dawn but here it goes. ‘Dear Buffy. If you are reading this that means that I won. I knew this would probably happen as soon as Desire didn’t vote to bring you back. To you I leave friends. Take a look around, everyone in the room with you right now cares for you. With them helping you should live to be the worlds first eighty year old Slayer, and that is the greatest gift I could think of giving you.’”
Looking around Buffy realized that Xander had planed this all along. Not only did he bring her back to life, but he had reminded the people here to keep her alive. As the tears ran down her face, she wondered what she had done to deserve him.