I declare a do over!

Author: Nodakskip <nodakskip[at]aol.com>

Beta by Theo

Rating: PG-13

Ships: My best attempt to come close to the screwed up Jossverse.

Setting: Season 3, from 'Homecoming' to 'Graduation Day, part 2'.

Summary: Some things are changed.

Sunnydale, California. October 12th, 1998

"What the hell is goin' on?" the male voice echoed in the bedroom.

Willow opened her eyes as Xander pulled away, their lips almost having met in a sweet kiss.

The one thing that she'd always wanted, ever since she was six years old, was now within reach - but the redhead suddenly found that she didn't want it anymore. "Oh, wha- oh! OH!!! This is bad. Th-this is real bad..."

Xander took a full step back. "Yeah, don't know what that was just now..." He looked around, before looking down at his rented tuxedo. "No, I get it! It's these clothes! Evil James Bond-like adult tuxedo here!" The high school senior quickly started taking off his bow tie, as fast as he could.

Willow, on her part, quickly grabbed her almost-forgotten fuzzy sweater off the bed and instantly ran behind the changing screen.

"Sweet mamalooshin, but that was just *too* weird," the boy whispered to himself. "Why the heck did I suddenly get this sudden urge to-"

Cutting himself off, Xander didn't give voice to what the urge he had wanted him to do. But as with Willow, the feeling quickly went away, leaving Harris to wonder where on earth it had ever come from in the first place.


Sunnydale, California. October 13th, 1998

Cordelia looked up from her tray. "Xander, did I tell you about the really weird thing that happened yesterday?"

Her boyfriend stopped picking at his fish sticks to shrug at her. "We're livin' on a Hellmouth here, Cordy. About twenty weird things probably happened yesterday, so odds are - no."

She shook her head. "Hey, I didn't mean weird as in Buffy's freaky world! I meant at my dad's accountant's office."

Xander shook his head. "First I've heard of it. What's the dire?"

"Oh, nothing much, it was just kind of strange. I overheard my dad talking to his accountant, and apparently there was this mistake that's happened on his taxes for the last twelve years. I mean, God only knows why - you'd think the guy we employ to do our taxes would have at least *heard* of IRS regulations!"

"But it's nothing serious, right?" Xander asked at once, as he ate his fudge brownie.

"Oh no," Cordelia said waving off his concern. "But get this. Out of nowhere some new tax law was passed, and this audit on my dad that was going to happen was stopped dead in its tracks! My parents were so relieved, they opened up a bottle of 20-year-old Scotch and 1928 Chateau Latour!"

"Interesting," was the former Zeppo's response. "But doesn't sound too mysterious to me - it sounds like just some stupid paperwork mistake."

"I know, but - oh!" Cordelia exclaimed, suddenly sounding shocked.

"What?!" Xander looked up again quickly, startled.

Cordelia showed him a page out of the clothing catalog she was looking through. "Would my butt look big in this dress?" the brunette cheerleader asked, as she pointed to a red strapless evening gown.

Xander quickly shook his head, having gained *some* knowledge of female psychology - despite being a dateless loser for 16 years. "Honey, of course not..."


Sunnydale, California. May 21st, 1999

Cordelia looked at the many fire- and police-men across the street, as she spoke. "Well, that's the most fun you can have without actually having any fun."

"How about the part where I kicked some demon ass?" Willow grinned, as the werewolf known as Oz stroked her hair from behind. "I didn't hate that."

Xander matched her grin with a raised fist in the air. "Hear, hear!"

Buffy then came walking up, "You guys want to take off?" She turned back to the destruction that had been their school mere hours ago. "I think we've done pretty much all we can."

Cordelia nodded, "I'm for it."

"You okay, Buffy?" the junior witch asked her best friend.

Buffy just nodded absently. "Yeah - I'm okay. I could use a little sleep, though."

"Yeah," the redhead agreed, as Buffy sat on the bench next to her.

"If someone could just wake me when it's time for college, that'd be great," the Slayer sighed.

The events were not lost on Oz. "Guys, take a moment to deal with this; we survived."

"It was a hell of a battle," Buffy responded, as she felt a growing lump in her throat.

Oz shook his head. "Not the battle, high school."

They all fell silent, as they watch the firemen hosing down parts of the school.

"We're taking a moment," the werewolf continued. A second later, Buffy and Willow stood back up. "And we're done."

Xander fell into step next to his girlfriend, as they walked away. "School's done. It's just ssssso cool!"

Cordelia leaned into him, as he put his arm around her. "Yeah, but we still have to finish packing, remember?"

Buffy glanced over at the couple. "You know, you guys don't have to move all the way to New York for higher education right this second," she said jokingly. "And Cordy, Xand, have you considered UC Sunnydale? College with your daily dose of vampires and death?"

Xander laughed, before he shook his head. "Tempting, Buff. But no way, we gotta look for accommodation and everything before the start of fall semester! Don't worry though; if you guys ever need us, you know all you have to do is call, anytime..."

Cordelia whacked him upside the head. "Hello? I thought we agreed, not between the hours of 11 and 8. I need my beauty sleep!"

"Sleep - right," Buffy said cheerfully, as she watched the dark-haired couple move closer as they all kept walking away from the ruins. "That's what you guys are calling it these days?"

Willow frowned, as she watched two more cop cars race down the street. "Why do demons even come here anymore? I mean, don't they know-"

Two sets of demon eyes watched the Scooby gang walk away, as the voices faded into incoherence. "Not that easy for you to watch, huh?" one of the human-shaped creatures asked the other.

Angel kept his eyes on Cordelia's back, a deep frown on his face. "You mean, letting the woman I love leave town with Xander Harris?!" He shook his head. "I just now realized, Cordelia grew so much over the years. And I have to let her disappear off into the sunset, with that fool? This sucks..."

Whistler shrugged. "Hey, don't sweat it. She'll be fine."

"Until Xander cheats on her with Willow or whoever, you mean."

"Nah," the balance demon said with that nonchalant tone. "Not going to happen, this time around."

But Angel persisted, "It may not have happened yet, but it *will* happen. Or else I'm taking up sunbathing, without the Gem of Amara! I know Xander - he won't be able to help screwing it up somehow..."

"Boy! You just love to hate that guy, don't you?" Whistler was full of amusement and derision.

The vampire looked back at the man who had first sent him to Sunnydale, over eight years ago. "He doesn't deserve her. And I never understood what it was she ever saw in him..."

"Love? Acceptance?" the demon guessed. "But don't worry, ya big hunk of hero sandwich. Nothing bad's gonna happen to the little woman."

Angel looked at him, annoyed. "And why not?"

"Because," the demon told him with another shrug. "When we stopped that merc Skip from finishing that little lust spell of his, well - it freaked our boy out a *lot* at how close they came to cheating on their respective significant others. He learned how much he cares for the girl, and this time it was without all the pain and near-death crap..."

Whistler could tell that Angel was still not convinced. "Look, Angel-cakes,like I told you before! It was either that-" he pointed to the couple now almost out of view, "or she vegetates in that coma for nearly a year, and then hates you and leaves you forever over that thing with Wolfram & Hart!"

The demon pulled something out from inside his jacket. "See, look - they turn out all right..."

Angel looked at the item. It was a photo Christmas card, and read: 'Happy Holidays from the Harris clan!' The picture was of Xander and Cordy looking around forty, with two teenage girls and a young boy all decked out in Father Christmas outfits as they smiled for the camera; Cordelia was laughing too, at Xander's attempts to embrace her.

Angel looked stone-faced at her happy features for a long time, before Whistler spoke again. "Come on, man, it's all over here; time to go back to the future. Connor and everyone are waiting for you, ya know..."

Angel looked at his old sponsor for redemption sharply. "Connor?! But he was part of Jasmine's plan..." the vampire said, confused. "And if Cordy was never there to get the visions and become what she turned into, then how-"

"Calm down, will ya?" the balance demon said, annoyed. "True, the other Powers have made sure Jasmine and Skip are now taken care of, but that doesn't mean *everything* is different. We had to juggle a lot of stuff, like that Harris kid still being there to stop that bomb of those zombies a few months ago, but some things haven't changed. Trust me on this, the Powers have enough egg on their faces over that particular mess! So they used you and me to make sure it's all alright in the end, this time..."

"Somehow, the pessimist within me tends to doubt in "happily ever after's"," Angel looked sceptical.

Whistler shrugged. "Then maybe your old buddy Doyle can convince you otherwise..."

The one and only vampire with a soul sent a shocked look towards his companion. And without another word, Angel and Whistler vanished into thin air.

The End