Depth Perception

Author: Danii <debrabantknight[at]>

Summary: Xander has a question. REALLY stretched sequel to "Only Human"

Note: POST-"Chosen" Spoilers for...well, everything.

Distro: Anywhere, just let me know.

Disclaimer: I own nothing. If I did, SOMETHING would have found its way jammed up...anyway, sweetness and light...don't sue.

Dedication: Jason Thompson, and Wicked Raygun. Thanks.

Rating: PG-13 for language

Latest addition

Xander was driving.

Since he had indeed been cleared by the DMV previous to the entire town's evacuation, Xander was legally allowed to drive despite his problems with depth perception. On top of that, thanks to his various jobs earlier in life, he was the only one technically allowed to be driving a vehicle the size of the bus. It had been decided almost unanimously that it was probably best to avoid the law at their present state, so it was Xander driving as they approached the limits of Los Angeles, where the group planned to stop for medical attention, as well as to send home those Slayers who chose not to accompany the core Scoobies to Cleveland.

He had the window open, but the dusty dry wind brushing past his blind side did nothing to melt the lump of ice still stuck in his throat. Swallowing hurt.

She was dead. She was dead, and he was alive, and Buffy was alive, and Faith was alive, and Giles was alive, and Willow was alive, and Dawn was alive, and Wood was alive, and Andrew was alive, and Kennedy was alive, and Potentials #4, 15, 21, 9, 12, 7, 13, and 27 were alive, but she was dead. Anya was dead, and there was not a curse, spell, alternate-reality-causing-amulet, or mystical-vortex-to-Hell that he could blame for it. No, his Ahn had died plain and simple by the edge of a knife, her body nearly sliced in two by those goddamned Bringers.

He couldn't think straight. He couldn't talk to anyone after questioning Andrew about her death. He couldn't. He couldn't do anything that wasn't automatic. Driving was automatic, and it was more a release then a burden, as much as anything could help him. Driving he could do. He was driver guy, guy with the special license. Man with the keys. He could do this. He could drive.

Where was she? Was she in heaven? That was what he was really worried about. Where was she?

I mean, you have to get into heaven if you die to save someone else. Hell, she'd died saving the world, so she had to have gotten in, right? Right? It was the only logic that worked. She couldn't be... there. She couldn't be down there, no matter how many men she'd tortured, or how many people she'd killed because it hadn't been her, it'd been the demon version of her, and the human version of her had saved the world, had saved lives, and that had to count for more, didn't it? All it once, he felt a little sorry for all the garbage he'd given to Buffy over Angel and...

He vaguely wondered about Spike. Sure, the guy had been an unholy prick the entire time he'd been a part of their side, but even Xander had to admit that the whole dying-to-destroy-the-Hellmouth thing was pretty high on the "goody two shoes" scale. Well, he'd done a lot more then Xander had done.

"Go me. Saved by a teenager from being beaten up by blind guys..." he muttered loudly. It didn't matter. Everyone else was asleep or simply zoning out from relief behind him; he could have screamed it.


Xander stiffened, then looked side to side to see where the voice had come from. Mental inventory took over.

Okay, there's Faith snuggling c a r e f u l l y up to Wood, who's bandages seem to be holding up pretty well, then Vi and Rona, Andrew, boy he looks upset well see if I-damn, I shouldn't hold things against the guy, but then there's Dawn curled up in the seat, ain't she cute, and Willow and Kennedy next seat up who aren't just cute, they're-wrong time, Buffy and Giles, Victoria, Potentials #27 and 4, then-

"I'm right here, Alexander..."

His eye turned to the front seat across from him where a most unexpected passenger sat.

Brown eyes full of warth sat below a halo of dark curls, themselves below an actual halo which glowed with a soft pure light in the near- dark of the setting sun. Her features beautiful but by no means perfect, the Angel held a comforting and understanding smile on her lips. Two large white wings curled around her slightly-glowing robed body. Saphreal the Angel was a sight to see on any day, but today she seemed positively surreal.


She rolled her eyes then nodded. "It's nice to see you remember that night."

"Of course!" Xander replied, his voice intense but quiet, "It's not every night that you nearly lose your fiance and-"

His voice faltered, and he turned his eyes back to the road. The road. Driving is good. Driving is great. Driving-

"I'm sorry about her, son. God works in-"

Instantly, he turned to look at her, his one eye wild and his teeth set into a snarl.

"Don't you DARE!" he growled, mentally cautioning himself to drive normally. Don't jerk the bus around, don't- "Don't you dare spill that garbage at me! I had to hear that shit when that fucking Hell Preacher killed a friend of mine, then took my eye, and I've had to hear it from people consoling me since then, and all day today, and I'm fucking sick of it, so don't you dare throw that at me. It's bull."


"No..." he snarled, pulling his view back to the road. But this time, it did nothing to calm him. "Don't. Just...don't. I don't know why you're here, but nothing you can say, nothing you can do..."

He took in some air.

"Unless you can make Anya come back like you made my hangover disappear, just go away. I don't...I don't want to see you. You lied to me, and I don't want to see you, and I just want to be left alone in my pain, okay? So go."


Again, he turned on her, his pain and anger barely contained by his need to keep the bus going normally.

"Fine, you want to help?"

This time, the Angel didn't hazard a word. She simply nodded.

"Then tell me where she is."


"You shouldn't use such language, Xander...especially in front of me."

He waited for a moment. He waited for her to stop with the games, stop with the meaningless words, and just do what he wanted. When the silence continued, he couldn't help himself from slamming his hand into the steering wheel.

"Mom, stop, okay?" The words came out from between clenched teeth. He'd been calm, he'd been fine. He'd been able to bottle up everything and just drive like nothing was wrong, like his home and everything that was a part of it hadn't just turned itself into a massive crater, like he wasn't slowly dying inside. Then she had to show up and- "Just tell me! Just tell me where she is, and then you can go off to whatever cloud you watch my life periodically disintegrate from..."

"I-I can't."

He tried to look at her with one eye, but then realized that it was the only one he had and thus was limited to gesturing at her.

"You can't leave, or you can't tell me?"

There was a pause.


The breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding hissed out of him. Of course not. Of course not. The world was still turning, so of course Xander couldn't get what he wanted. That's the way it worked, and he should have been used to it. Silly him and his "hopes".

"Can you tell me why at least?" He finally said, a calm settling over him. That was it. Just realize that you'll never be happy, that you'll never truly find a place in this wide world, and things will go that much smoother. Calm. Fine. Driving is good. He'd been told by his guidance councilor to stick to your strengths, and he could drive, so he did.

"Because you're supposed to figure it out for yourself. Anya-"

"Don't say her name."

The angel looked slightly angry for the first time.

"Why, Xander? So that you can mope about what you couldn't prevent!? So that you can continue to blame yourself your entire life for doing all you could? So that you can keep all the pain and the anger and the longing inside where nobody can see it, where it can slowly but surely destroy everything she gave her life to save?"

"And how would you know..."

"What she died for?" Saphreal sighed, then put her hand on his shoulder, "She died because of what you taught her. She died for it too."

"This is inspiring how?"

The angel growled.

"Stop being angry and listen!" she said, shaking him gently, "She died because she could die. Because she was mortal, because she was human. She died because you gave her the greatest gift anyone can give...humanity.

"Anyanka the demon would have survived that little skirmish with barely a huff of effort, but Anya the human was the only one that would have fought in it. You brought out the soul, the bright beautiful human soul, behind a thousand of years of demonic slaughter, which is so much more then even I did, 'cause you did it the hard way. She died because she loved humans, loved you, and thought that you were worth fighting for, no matter what. She understood what she was doing and got the one thing she wanted..."

"Redemption." Xander finished, his one eye close to tearing. Oh God, his Ahn was safe. His Anya was safe and in heaven and where she belonged for being the wonderful, amazing, supportive, loyal, and beautiful human being she was. She was safe. She was someplace wonderful where nothing could ever cause her pain ever again.

"And that you lived. That was the other thing she wanted." Saphreal told him, "She told me that as much as you hurt her at times, there was no one that she loved more then you. She said that even the bad times were good because it made her realize how special the good times were.

"You know, as much as I was worried about her before, I've found she's pretty sweet. We get along well up there."

Xander had to work to keep the bus on the road. Anya died loving him and wanting him to live. Despite all the pain, despite all the problems, she still loved him in the end, and got along with his Mom and-

"Hey...thought you couldn't tell me where she was!" Xander exclaimed. When he heard shifting from the back, he lowered his voice to a hiss, "I mean, didn't you just basically tell me where she is?"

The angel smiled. "You figured it out on your own."


"Not to say that I didn't give you enough hints to knock over a Slayer, but the Almighty is pretty forgiving about things like that... especially after stuff like this."

Oh God. God, it still hurt inside to know that he wouldn't open his eye to see her face anymore. To know that she would never make him breakfast, that he would never see her face glowing after they'd made love, that he would never get a chance to propose to her a second time, really marry her, complete with specially made Groom- holding-equipment that would ease her fears as much as could possibly happen.

But at least now he could think. He could feel something besides his insides falling apart and his memories crushing him to death. He could look out of that bus window and see nothing but tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that. All stretching away from him in a glorious line of things he would do, people he would meet, and ways he would make her death and her life worth it.

"Just be who you are, Alexander..." Saphreal whispered softly, her voice soothing, "Just continue to be the Heart of this little group, the human that keeps everyone anchored to their humanity, and you'll make her proud.

"You do the hardest job, you know. That speech you gave Dawnie?" She smiled. "I'm glad you finally realized how much work you do... and how much work you're going to have for the rest of your life keeping this assembled group of butt-kickers human.

"But just remember...the gift you were given? It only grows the more you give from it. Don't be afraid to give. Heck, don't be afraid to force it down their throats when they need it."

Xander chuckled, the first sound of genuine mirth that had passed his lips for days, and then nodded.

"I'll make you proud, ma!" he said with a smile, his voice exaggeratedly near tears, "I promise."

Saphreal whapped him on the shouler playfully, then smiled.

"You already do..."

And then she was gone, and Xander was alone with the road, the bus, and the sleeping saviors of the world.

Oh, and a smile. It was small, but it was there.

The End