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You Can't Let It Go

Title: You Can't Let It Go
Rating: PG
Words: 948
Characters: Xander, Buffy
Setting: Between BTVS s7 and s8

There were definitely advantages to working for the Council, Xander thought. He got to wear the cool black duds and be all Nick Fury-like, it made him feel, for the first time in maybe ever, useful. Like he was in charge of things and could actually help out when people needed help. There were other advantages too. The food wasn’t so great, but there were tons of resources, including jets. Something he didn’t think he’d need until he was sitting around the castle grounds, chatting with Buffy afternoon when his phone rang.

“Hello?” he put the phone to his ear, hearing the voice on the other end of the line, he grimaced. “Angel, President of Apocalypse Incorporated, just how are you old buddy, old pal? Pretend I care.” he asked with no slight amount of bitterness in his voice. Buffy glanced over, eyebrows raised at Angel’s name. She watched, perplexed as the look of utter disdain that marred his features melted away into one of complete numbness. “What happened…? Did…? I see… no… I’ll be there.” He said before hanging up.

He hit a button on his communicator, “Renee? Arrange for a jet to leave for L.A. in ten minutes.” He said.

“Yes, sir.” Came the reply.

“Xand?” Buffy asked, “What’s happening?”

“You remember? Last summer… we stopped in L.A. before we figured out what we were going to do?” He closed his eyes and shook his head. He took a deep breath, trying to figure out just how to continue from there, “I thought she was gonna wake up.” He let out a chuckle laced with a choked back sob and just a hint of bitterness.

Realization hit Buffy like a ton of feathers, which contrary to first thought hurts just as much as a ton of bricks. “Oh god, Cordelia? She… she really…?”

“Never woke up.” He said firmly, as he got up. “If I leave now… I might make it to the funeral.”

As he got up to leave Buffy jolted to her feet and caught him by the hand. “I’m coming too.” She said, resolutely.

Xander started to pull his hand away but felt the Slayer’s grip tightening and soon gave in knowing she’d crush his hand before she let him get loose. “Don’t be ridiculous, Buff. We can’t both go. What’ll the girls do? I mean, we go to L.A. tell them to look after the castle and come back to find that they’ve been making prank calls and having boys over.” 

Buffy frowned, “Are you going to be okay on your own?”

He painted a pained smile onto his lips. “I’ll be fine, better than fine. You know me.”

“What I know is that as much as you try to hide it you’re practically oozing guilt for not finding Anya’s body.  You try to cover it up because you're Mr. Be-There-For-Your-Friends, but you won’t let anyone be there for you. And oozy Xander? Not so much fun.”

“Anya and I…” he tried to think of something to throw Buffy off the scent, “we were long over.”

“But you still loved her,” she said. “And you do right now. And you love Cordelia too. Xander you’ve got the biggest heart I’ve ever known. And you love me and Willow and Dawn and Giles-”

“But not in a creepy way.” He said, trying to get a giggle, hoping to derail her speech, and he did get a smirk.

“Right. A healthy way.” She shook her head, “But what I’m trying to say is, you make a place for everyone, and you keep it there always, you can’t let it go. Even after they’re out of your life.”

“Hey, Buff, you’re actually being insightful.”

“I am. Today I am the insightfulest, so listen to my insightifying because it’s starting to make my brain hurt.” She said. “You’re hurting, and it’s okay. And you’re hurting doubly because you’re taking two big gaping holes in your heart and smashing them into one ginormous one and I don’t want to see you hurting yourself.”

Xander sighed and now that he made no motion like he was going to run, Buffy eased off her grip and finally drew her hand away. He looked directly at her, “I never got to say goodbye. Not to Anya. And I never will, seeing as her body is under a couple tons of Southern California, but I have a chance to say goodbye to Cordelia. And I’m going to take it. And I’m going alone.”

Buffy sighed, “You’re going to say goodbye to Anya too, aren’t you?”

Xander sighed. “I’m gonna try. I get this feeling that she’s mad that I couldn’t find her… then again she was always mad at something wasn’t she?” he smiled fondly. “This is a really private thing Buff.” He said. “Also… you and Angel? We don’t need him getting any more evil than he already is.”

She laughed softly her arms opening slightly in anticipation of a big Xander hug. “Alright. But when you get back… lots of ice cream, okay?”

“Only if it’s chocolate chip cookie dough.” Xander said, closing the gap and letting her hug him, and even though it felt like one of his ribs was about to crack he hugged her back. “Or Phish Phood.” He said as she pulled away.

“I’ll get someone on it.”

Xander’s ear piece came to life, “Sir, your jet is ready.”

“Thanks, Renee.” He replied. “See ya in a couple of days, Buff.” He said as he started to back away. Just as he turned, Buffy called out- “Say goodbye to them for me?”

He looked back at her over his shoulder and nodded. “Will do.”