Flash Card

Author: Danii <debrabantknight[at]yahoo.com>

Summary: Sequel to "Last Card" and "Wild Card" in which Xander allows himself to be completely overcome by the spirit of the hyena in order to save Buffy's life. After, he leaves, and they think he'd gone for good, but in truth he is watching Buffy from afar. Two years later, when the Slayer gets into some trouble and is about to die, Xander leaps to the rescue. This story is of how they try to rehumanize Xander.

Disclaimer: No one is mine. I get no profit from this stuff, just headaches and odd stares.

Distribution: Anyone who'd like you, if you send me the site you're putting it on, and put my name on it.

Rating: G-PG


Not beta read.

Written quickly.


"He's come a long way in the last two weeks, hasn't he?" Giles asked his charge as she put away the notebook Xander had been using. It was covered in little doodles, some of which had been sliced in with the pencil during the beginning stages of the young man's rehumanization when he hadn't quite got the hang of a pen yet.

"Yeah" Buffy agreed, looking at him sleep with a dreamy expression, "It's nice to be able to talk to him now, without him having to think of how to sound out the words..."

"Indeed...those flash cards certainly worked well..." the Watcher concurred, "He almost sounds like the old Xander once again. All he lacks are the rather silly pop culture references..."

"He'll get there, Giles, one step at a time..." she said, still gazing at him. Xander was so gorgeous, she realized once more. All he was doing at the moment was sleeping, his large muscular frame curled into a ball on the couch. But it was painful seeing him like that, so simple and childlike. He'd once been rather brilliant. Lazy, but brilliant, and he'd given all that up for her. He'd given himself over to something that took his body in order to save her life, and she knew that no matter what happened in the future, she would never be able to repay that debt.

But there was hope. He was relearning what it meant to be a person, pulling 'Xander' out from beneath layers of animal instinct and power; speaking, reading, writing, joking, friendship, cooked food, love...no, he'd always known love, she knew. His love for her had saved her life not once, but twice while he was controlled by the hyena, and more times than she could count when he hadn't been. Buffy considered herself lucky to be loved like that, and she wished that she had seen it for what it was earlier. Now, she would have to wait and get him better...

The Slayer pulled herself from her thoughts. "You know, he made his first joke the other day?"

The former librarian's eyes widened in pleasant surprise. Xander may have annoyed him at some times, but the Watcher knew that he loved the young man like a son, and his jokes had pulled all of them out of melancholia many times, allowing them to fight with all they had, "Indeed? What did he say?"

"Someone said, 'I'd like to meet you later...' while we were at the Bronze. It was a vampire, and he obviously smelled it, so he said, "Sure, I'll make meat of you later...' I've never seen a vampire look so surprised."

"Yes, well, it does seem as if Xander is on the road to recovery." Giles agreed, then, smiling, he seemed to think about it for a moment, "He really said that?"

"Yeah, with his fangs out and everything..." Buffy said with a small giggle, "If vampires wet their pants, this one would have. Then again, considering what Xander can do now, I wouldn't want that kind of look directed at me either..."

The tone was somber as she finished, and Giles knew that he had to make her feel better. If he didn't, Xander's sensitive nose might pick up her discomfort, and it would make him hard to deal with. So he pulled her into the kitchen.

"Buffy, you don't ever have to worry about Xander turning on any of us, especially you. They're his friends, and you're the person he loved enough to sacrifice himself for...I doubt he'll throw it all away."

"You're right, Giles..." The tired Slayer agreed, slumping against the wall, "But it's hard seeing him like this, knowing that he did it for me. I mean, even if we do make him remember everything, he will never lose the claws...or the fangs..."

"Yet you love him..." the Watcher said slowly.

"Yeah, Giles, I do..." she said, again watching his face to see how he felt about it, "I always have. I was just too stupid to know it."

The older man put his hand on her shoulder to give her some emotional support. "You shouldn't blame yourself. Your life...well, your life is a hard one to live, and sometimes you just don't have time to think..."

"But look what it cost him!" she hissed, knowing that if she didn't calm down, Xander would wake up in a mood, "Look at him!"

The Watcher rubbed his temple slowly, and settled his gaze upon her. "That is not your fault, Buffy. There was nothing that could change the situation, and it was Xander's choice to do what he did, no one else's."


"No 'but'" Giles said firmly, "Placing blame does nothing. Helping him to bring his humanity back is what is important, and the best way to do that is to move on. Xander, the one we all care about, is inside the spirit. His soul is now equal parts human and animal, and unfortunately, for the moment, the animal is the strongest. But we are bringing him back. He will be back to normal, because I know that Xander, in the very fiber of his being, would do anything for you, and that as long as you fight with him, he will succeed."

As soon as he stopped talking, the Watcher got a slightly embarrassed expression on his face.

"Sorry about the lecture..." he said quietly.

The Slayer smiled at her Watcher, then pulled close to him, burying her face in his warm sweater for comfort. They held the embrace for a moment, and then Buffy pulled away slowly.

"Thank you..."

Giles chuckled under his breath. "You are always welcome..."

They shared a look for a moment, and Giles made his way upstairs. Buffy walked around to Xander's sleeping form, sitting next to him on the couch softly. Xander, still asleep, sniffed the air for a moment in alarm, then seemed to calm once more. Gracefully, he moved his head around until he faced Buffy, then opened his eyes slowly.

She watched all of this, her heart swelling as she saw that familiar glimmer in his eyes. He got it every time he saw her, this sudden amazement at her, at her presence. It was so beautiful. Buffy wanted to lose herself in those eyes, fall into the liquid adoration that was held in those amber-brown pools. But for now, she just gazed into them, letting her own love show through her eyes. Xander smiled, that lop-sided, wonderful, loving smile that she absolutely couldn't live without anymore, then elegantly stood up.

Buffy looked at him once more, taking in all that he was. The tanned silk that was his skin, the vicious-looking claws that could caress her features so tenderly yet rip any offending demons into shreds, the powerful muscles that were only hinted at by his loose clothes. The eyes. The smile.

Carefully, gently, he pulled her close, running his talon-like hands up and down her back delightfully. She went to him, and put her face into his tank-top, loving the warmth and enjoying the hard muscle beneath. How had she ignored him? This wonderful man who loved her like no other? Who would sacrifice like no other? How had she-

But it didn't matter now, because he pulled her face up to his and kissed her. He kissed her tenderly, with only a hint of the beast that was part of him, and it felt as if she could die from the sensation of it. Never had she felt like this. Never. She had never let herself feel this. She had never let him do this for her, and it was so good.

She deepened the kiss, and he went right along, pulling her carefully towards the couch again. As they sat, he stiffened suddenly, and he pulled away. She tried to go back, but he avoided her lips even though she could hear the slight whimpers of pleasure that he couldn't hold in.

"What, Xander?"

And those eyes focused on her once more. "Not yet." He said, his voice rough with control.


"Not yet." He repeated, "Look."

And she looked. She looked at his mouth, where his fangs had grown larger than she had seen them for days. She looked at his arms, whose muscles were straining. She looked at his eyes, which were flashing bright yellow.

"I can't...I can't..." he struggled, his expression begging her to understand, "I can't control...not yet."

Hazel eyes looked into amber, and Buffy stroked her hand upon his cheek. He was trying, but he wasn't ready to control himself any further, and it was unfair for her to have allowed it to go that far. He couldn't control himself yet, but she should have.

"I understand..." she said quietly, "And I'm not mad or anything. It's all right. I'll wait for you."

His tenseness seemed to dissipate, and he sat back, sighing.

"I want...I want to be all me..." he told her, "I want to be tender, not animal...I want it to be special..."

"So do I, love,' Buffy told him, putting her hand over his claw, "So do I."

And she knew that it would be,

The End