Banishing Loneliness

Author: lucindas43302 <lucindasiverling[at]>

rating: pg13

Pairing: Xander/Starr

disclaimer: I hold no legal rights to Xander or any other 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' characters mentioned, I hold no legal rights to Starr or any other characters fromt he movie Lost Boys.' Lyrics are from Avril Lavigne's song 'I'm With You ' off the album 'Let Go'.

distribution: Quickfics, Twisting the Hellmouth, Cat, Paula - anyone else ask first.

note: a minor adjustment so that the events of Lost Boys happened roughly during BtVS season 5, and I am making a slight change in the BtVS season 7 finale.

Xander was looking into the ocean, staring at the place where the sun had sank into the ocean. The color had reminded him of Willow's hair. He would never see his best friend again. The breeze was cold, and he was shivering slightly, but he didn't want to leave. Without Willow or Anya, he hadn't felt like he belonged with the group of Slayers. Anya had died trying to keep them all safe, and as for Willow...

He could still recall Kennedy's voice, the tears in her eyes. 'She wanted me to be there in case the magic was too much for her. She was afraid she'd go all dark again, but... she... the magic was too much after all. Just... not like that. It burned her, burned her away. She's gone.'

Xander had felt a terrible coldness sweep through him, and he'd wanted to se Anya, wanted his fiance to chase away the cold. But she was gone as well, fallen to the demons that had attacked the school. Both of the women who had made him whole, kept him balanced were gone. He'd separated, but he hadn't been able to make himself go to far from the remains of Sunnydale, all the grave that they would ever have. So, he'd ended up in the beach town of Santa Carla.

Part of his mind wondered if this was some bizarre flirtation with danger, not quite suicide, but he knew what sort of things lurked under the cover of night. And he didn't care anymore. Everything that he'd cared about had been taken by the darkness. Jesse, Anya, Willow... His chance with Buffy, his relationship with Cordy, the doomed but lovely Ampata... Yeah, it was official, he'd definitely gotten the short end of the stick. And let's not forget that some evil nutcase had gouged out his eye. Life had not been kind to Xander Harris.

I'm waitin in the dark
I thought that you'd be here by now
There's nothing but the rain
No footsteps on the ground
I'm listening but there's no sound

He'd never again have Willow teasing him about his clothing, or listening to him talk about comic books, about Anya, about... anything. He'd been able to talk about anything with Willow, his hobbies, his interest, his hopes and dreams and fears. But she was gone now. He'd never be able to listen to her again.

And Anya was gone. The one woman who'd not only been willing to get to know the real Xander, but had like what she'd found. They'd hoped to get married, to buy a house and raise a family somewhere far from Sunnydale. To try to find the ever elusive Happily Ever After. But that hope was gone, severed by the demon that had killed his love.

What was left for him now? He didn't have the right sort of education or background to be a Watcher. He'd lost his eye, so finding a job would be a lot more difficult, especially since all his past references had just collapsed into a crater. Yeah, the whole past life of Xander Harris was gone, the tedious, the terrible, and the few spots of hope.

The odds of him finding someone else to be with were pretty small. Not only had he always had dismal luck with women, he was a bit less desirable now. He wasn't the cheerful, goofy guy any more. Now, he was scarred, brooding, and maybe a bit... well, a lot suspicious. Yeah, the women were just lining up now...

Isn't anyone tryin to find me?
Won't someone please take me home
It's a damn cold night
Trying to figure out this life
Wont you take me by the hand
take me somewhere new

"It's not always safe to stand out on the cliffs." A woman's voice, slightly husky, a faint accent that he couldn't place. It almost reminded him of Miss Calendar.

Turning, he saw a young woman. She looked close to his age, maybe a bit younger, except for her eyes. They were dark, full of secrets, memories and pain. Either she was older than she looked, or she'd had the same sort of interesting' life that he'd had. "Maybe I wasn't worried."

She gave a small smile. "Maybe you should be then. It wasn't that long ago that Santa Carla had this death rate… unbelievable. All sorts of people just vanishing, or turning up dead. Washing up on the beach."

Sighing, Xander turned to face her, revealing the patch over his eye for the first time. "I know all about death. We've been acquainted for a while now. He throws lousy parties."

I'm looking for a place
searching for a face
is there anybody here i know
cause nothings going right
and everythings a mess
and no one likes to be alone

She had this look, as if she couldn't quite believe that he'd said that. Her slender fingers touched dark lips, and there was a half smothered giggle. "Oh… that shouldn't be funny. Some people were very afraid. They thought… they thought there were vampires."

"Well, were there?" He wondered why he didn't feel more surprised. Yeah, it was a beach town, with an amusement park, and lots of secluded little beachlets, cliffs riddled with caves, hundred if not thousands of people passing through that would never be seen again anyhow… Actually, it almost seemed like the perfect place for vampires. Maybe he should ask how long they'd had the same Mayor.

"How many people believe in vampires anymore?" There was this unbelievable amount of sorrow in her voice. "It isn't something you'd see on the news, or in the papers. Just another body found, tucked in the back near the obituaries and funeral reports."

"I know they're out there. I just don't care anymore." Xander looked back to the ocean, trying to find the faintest hint of red. But even the faintest flicker was gone, long since faded into night.

For a while, she just stood there, almost but not quite touching him. "Is that what happened to your eye?"

Isn't anyone tryin to find me?
Won't someone please take me home
It's a damn cold night

He looked at her, noticing the way she'd dressed in floaty layers, something that looked soft, bedecked with sparkles, beads, and little jingling bits. Her hair hung like a cloud, alluring yet concealing. Few people would look past the surface, past the look of pseudo gypsy college girl. But her eyes… the way she stood ready to move quickly at a moment's notice, the way she kept watching all around her… "No. I haven't picked up any major gaping physical scars from vampires. That was from… let's just call him a crazy guy. What about you? Who did they take away from you? And… I just realized that I don't know your name."

"I'm Starr. They… once upon a time, I was a girl who believed that there wasn't anything worse in the dark than there was in the day, that the only monsters out there were just as human as everyone else. Then, I came here. I met David… he was a vampire. He almost made me one." She had this look, as if she didn't understand why she was telling him this. "They took the last of my innocence. Even their memory cost me the guy I thought could help me."

His hand reached out, catching hers. "Maybe it's just been too long that you've been hurting. Maybe you have it too… the feeling that if you don't let it out, you have to scream."

Trying to figure out this life
Wont you take me by the hand
take me somewhere new
I don't know who you are
but I'm, I'm with you

"I thought I was the only one who felt that way." She almost sounded relieved. "The only one who stays awake at night, not quite afraid, but unable to sleep because of all the memories, everything that I've seen. Seeing the faces of people that I know are dead on strangers, and not sure if I'd want them back if I could."

"The cost of survival. Bits of your soul, your hopes and confidence that the monster under the bed isn't real… that there's no Boogey-Man out looking for people to 'get'. Growing up can suck some times. But most of the time, I think it's better than the alternative." Xander shrugged, the hand not holding hers brushing over the patch. "I keep telling myself that it's better than being dead."

"Does it work?" She sounded so sad, so lost. "Because I don't have anyone that I can turn to, not after… Michael couldn't deal with everything. My family… I left them for a reason, and now there's just been too much time. Sometimes, I think that it might be less painful if I had… If David had changed me. If I'd been killed."

"It wouldn't be." Xander squeezed her fingers for a moment. "You're alive, don't just throw that away. Even if it's lonely having nobody."

"Did you have somewhere to stay?" She was smiling now, her cheek shimmering with something wet. "I have a pretty soft couch if you need somewhere."

oh why is everything so confusing
maybe I'm just out of my mind
yea yea yea

He looked at her, knowing that she was offering more than a couch. She was offering someone that could listen, someone that knew sometimes, that ominous shadow wasn't a shadow, that there might be something out in the night. And maybe, just maybe… But it was much too soon to consider that, wasn't it?

"I could use a place to stay." With a bit of surprise, it occurred to him that he hadn't introduced himself. "I'm Xander Harris."

Smiling, she started walking away from the cliff's edge, pulling him along by his hand. "Well, Xander. Let's go. I can even show you around town, tomorrow. You can have a fresh start, in a place where nobody knows what happened before."

"Sounds pretty good." He could feel a bit of a smile forming. For the first time since before… since Buffy had come back, he felt hope.