Large Pink Elephants

Author: Boxerman <boxerman083[at]>

[Oneshot] What if Xander lost both eyes to Caleb?

A/N: This is an idea I had a while ago that hasn't left me alone. I needed to get it out or otherwise slowly go insane. And if you read this, then you can tell I wasn't quite right in the mind in the first place. And hey, this is my first...first person perspective story. But anyway. I hope I got 'Xander on morphine' right and well, everything else right as well. And ya know what? It's hard to write things without visual descriptions

A/N 2: God knows you can't write more unless you get reviews.

A\N 3: Sorry for the wait in between stories right now. I'm working 11-hour shifts at the Animal Hospital and more or less sleeping/eating otherwise, so it's been hard for me to work on stuff lately, but I'll try to get more of 'Master of Puppets' out soon. Its done, I just need to go over it with a fine-toothed comb. That or just wait till I get frustrated enough and just post the bloody thing.

Disclaimers: I don't own anything relating to Buffy, Angel.

Timeframe: S7 AU. Starts off AU "Dirty Girls" picks up on "Touched"

I dedicate this fic to the fact that once I get an idea into my head, it never freaking leaves until I do something with it.

Chapter 1

I had to fight the urge to open my eyes. I think I've done it a couple of times already without success. The doctors said that it was a subconscious impulse or whatever. Its like when an amputee has phantom pains from missing limbs or something like that.

To tell the truth I started dozing off about halfway through. The medication and blood loss probably weren't the best things to lead up to the doctor's lecture involving many words of which should not be allowed in regular conversation. I hoped he understood that normally I would've gladly faked being awake, but there were extenuating circumstances.

Maybe I was just being bitter. But I had that right. I used up some of my other ones when the police came by to question me about my 'mugging.' I told them some weird gang members decided that my eyes would make good bouncy balls.

Yeah, they didn't think it was funny either, but the good ol' Sunnydale PD aint going to look anymore into it. And I could have cared less. The Morphine Express is at full speed right now and I don't ever want to get off.

The nurse said that the drugs would help some with the pain. And it did. Yep. No longer do my eyes feel like a grape being de-seeded. Now it's more like Caleb decided to put a balloon into my brain and slowly inflate it. The image of the preacher holding a bike-tire pump attached to my eye sockets do very little to make me feel better.

The mouse with my car keys under my bed is whispering that it's probably the morphine that's making me a little loopy.

I'm currently inclined to agree.

Getting back to important things, Buffy and Willow are here now. The sweet tangy smell of strawberries is currently cutting off circulation to my left arm, while a small eerily calm voice is letting me know all the things the doctors told her.

"And that you should expect to see some bruising when you remove the bandages. Bruising around the... the area. The, uh, bone structure and musculature was hit pretty hard."

I can tell that she's putting some effort into it. She's trying to remember everything the doctor told her while I was out. A for effort, D for presentation. She gestures too much with her hands while explaining. Not so much of the helpful in my case. "Okay."

She's wearing high heels again. They're pretty noisy with the 'click-clack' that they make as she walks. She has a tendency to pace when she's nervous. She never really liked hospitals. But I know she's trying for me. They've been here for somewhere between three hours and several days. Once again morphine, or the proof that God indeed exists, kinda messes with my internal clock. Still, when I try to pay attention, it's kinda funny that she's trying to remember all of the words that the doctors used. But she's cheating. She has to have my chart or something. There's no way she could remember some of those words. 'Epilumi-something?' Don't get me wrong, I love Buffy. But she's making some of those words up.

After a while my attention once again just wanders like a cow grazing on the long tasty grass. But she's still talking even though I think her words might upset the large pink elephant in the middle of the room. I'm not actually sure whether or not the elephant is in the room with me. But I can feel his presence pressing up against every inch of my body forcing me to acknowledge him. I guess no one else can see him either because as I start to listen to her voice, Buffy seems just as calm and collected as usual. "Um, also they said that the—the meds may cause you some stomach discomfort, so we're gonna have to be careful with your diet."

I almost jump at the chance to talk, but if nobody else says anything about the elephant, then why the hell should I? "I can't taste anything right now anyway. I keep waiting for my other senses to go all 'Ben Affleck' on me and jump up 50 percent."

I can't see it, but I know that she's smiling. Not because its funny or she feels sorry or wants to make me feel better. She smiles because she has to. Its what we do. Buffy slays. Willow witches. I joke. We happy. I picture the large pink Dumbo smiling at me and winking. The trunk might have been a bit much though. I think he might be gay.

As we keep on talking I try to make some of my usual 'I'm helping' jokes to try to lift the mood. But I don't know if I pity myself to the point where I hate my guts or the other way around. Luckily I can distract myself every now and then with random sounds and sensations, the latter of which is a near overwhelming urge to vomit.

"Well, we're looking at a possible release as early as tonight. Um, we're just waiting for your labs to get back, and Dr. Kallet said that should be a couple of hours."

In spite of the wonderful, incredible drugs, part of me knows how this will end. Willow will squeeze my hand and try to reassure me without saying anything and do her best to keep from crying, while ultimately giving in and melting into a mushy puddle on my chest. Buffy will probably get too uncomfortable and leave as soon as she feels like she's spent enough time.

And I'm pretty sure no one else came to see me.

Huh. The elephant is nodding. I think he's agreeing with me.

I missed what Buffy just said, but for lack of a better response I'll just agree with her. Maybe that'll keep her here.

"That's great. Buff."

I can tell she's still not looking at me. If she was, I'd know it. She's too much in control right now. Too forced. Part of me wants her to look at me. I want her to see the damage. Even so, I can't really blame her for it. Other things, yeah I might possibly blame a little, but not looking at me is okay right now. I can get that.

"Okay. Um, I think we're all caught up then."

Yeah. I guess we are. Willow's boring holes into my face with her eyes. I can just feel it. She's got jackhammer eyes or something. Like the guy from the scene in that movie with the rabbit. 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit?' Yeah that's the one. Way to go with the obscure movie reference that I'm still not really remembering. I'd share it with someone but I don't think anything even related to eyes or face or balls would help matters at this point.

After rethinking those words, I just realized that things could have been one hell of a lot worse.

There's some ruffling of papers as I feel a small weight placed on the foot of my bed. "Thank you for this. This was, um, really great work."

I guess she handed whatever it was that she was cheating off back to Willow. They probably researched it a bit. The gesture's nice, but still wasted.

"Oh. I thought we were gonna..." I can't really tell 90 percent of what the hell is going on right now. I think they're evidenced by the fact that they are saying each other. Yeah talking. The small torrent of hushed whispers ends as quickly as it began. I think that they're not going to stay with me. I guess Buffy decided that it was time to go or something. I can understand. They got a big evil priest with a fetish for eyeballs running around. First things first.

Heh that one would've been funny if I thought of it earlier.

"Oh, no, I just— I should really get back. I want to get everyone started on this. I think we're really close to something."

Well I'm sure Wills tried her best to get Buffy to stay. But when the going gets tough the tough get going. And going and going and going and going. The mental image of the Buffy the Energizer Bunny is almost too much for me to keep a strait face.

"Xander, are you okay?"

Okay, maybe it is too much. Especially if she was wearing the drum and sunglasses.

I sigh and squeeze Willow's hand to reassure her that I'm fine. "Yeah I'm fine, the Morphine is making with the happy and the jolly, but don't worry about me. If you need to go, it's okay Buffy. It's gotta be done. If I'm nice to the doctors, who knows, I might see you tonight..."

Aww crap. That was not the right thing to say. The clicking sound of running heels lies to me. I can picture the elephant stampeding out of the room with Buffy thrown over his shoulder. She wanted to stay, but the elephant had other plans.

I guess he saw the mouse under my bed holding my car keys.


I woke up in a cold sweat, clawing at my face, trying to break Caleb's grip. An orderly rushed into the room and began checking on me to see if I was okay. Part of me wanted to explain that I was perfectly fine with the exception of having no freaking eyes. I almost lashed out at the poor guy until he asked if I needed something for the pain.

I said if he could get me morphine I would love him like no other man could and we could move to San Francisco and live the American dream.

"Sorry brah, you're still stuck here in Sunnydale."

That could have possibly been one of the meanest things anyone has ever said to me. I could only sat back quietly and let him change the bandage they wrapped around my head.

I'm not sure about how much time passed between then and ten o'clock. It felt pretty long. The drugs probably don't help with that much. So at some point between falling asleep and waking up again someone came into my room and held my hand. I woke up to feel my right hand being gently squeezed. My visitor apparently is keeping close attention to me because as soon as I shift myself, one of the cool hands ascends to my chest.

"Hi Xander."

The smile that crosses my face is pained but sincere. "Hi Dawn."

She's come by a couple of times to see me in the past two days. Not that I hadn't had any other visitors. Andrew stopped by once and mumbled a respectful, although clumsy 'Sorry for what happened.' He surprised me with that one. He felt like he kinda identified with me. God knows why. He said that he felt like an outsider or something and I made it easier on him. Don't ask me I don't know why. I think Giles came by. Once. I think. I'm not quite sure if someone was actually in the room or not. It felt like he was just outside of my reach, maybe standing a few feet from the bed, watching me. My only clue was that right before he left. I could have sworn I heard a low British voice say the 'Our Father.' I never knew Giles was religious. There were a couple more awkward 'group' visits including Buffy and Willow. The girls went into the usual 'Let's pretend that nothings really changed' pattern, with a few broken moments where we were actually able to talk more and more. I hadn't seen Anya. Every time I asked the Dawn or Willow or Buffy, they'd all kinda avoid it and say that she was working hard trying to find a way to beat Caleb.

"The doctors say that you can go home today."

I tried to smile at Dawn, not quite sure if it worked or not. "Good, I was getting tired of getting breakfast in bed and being waited on. It'll be refreshing to get back to fighting Evil."

After lying down in relatively the same position for a while, with the addition of head trauma, moving is not necessarily the smartest thing to do. I cradled my face and moaned in agony.

"Does it hurt?"

I nod and placed the palms of my hands over the bandages covering my eye sockets. "On a scale of one to ten? About ninety."

"They give you anything for it?"

My arm swings over to the general direction of where I thought the IV was. "Me likey drugs. Let this be a lesson to you Dawn. Don't believe a word anyone says, Drugs are good."

She leaned over and enveloped me into a large friendly hug. I can feel her cheek pressed into my shoulder, scrunch up into a smile. "You see. I've been telling you that all along. Drugs, Running with scissors, jaywalking. It's the way life was meant to be lived."

"And what are you going to sat to the sister that shall ground you until you're thirty for doing those things?"

She sat back while still holding my hand in hers. "That I'm eighteen now and she's no longer my legal guardian."

"That'll go over well."


"Don't worry. You've turned out to be a great person despite the demons and the magic, and the random various bad things. She's just overprotective. She doesn't want to see anyone get hurt that's all."

I am Xander, king of all Cretins. May all lesser Cretins bow before me. I can tell that the speech didn't work entirely as intended due to the fact that something hot and wet just hit the back of my hand. As she's sobbing I can feel her shake with tears and pull herself into my waiting arms, only it doesn't go quite how I intend and I end up getting the reassuring hug.

I felt her cheek smile against my face. Her skin was smooth and warm to the touch. Every time she talked, her jaw would bounce up and down against the crock of my shoulder. She grabbed my hand and softly eased her cheek into my palm, caressing her skin. My fingers mixed in with some of her hair that fell across her face and I could almost see her. A soft contented sigh resonated into the skin of my hand as I innocently grazed her earlobe with my thumb. I instinctively pulled my hand back and saw her face fade away.

I didn't have to see her face to know how she was looking at me. With a small hesitation, I tried to change the subject. "So where is everyone?"

She waited a second before sighing and grabbing hold of my hands, keeping them firmly entwined with hers, letting me know that I'm not alone and she's physically here with me. "Buffy and Willow are back at the house with everyone else trying to plan something. They have the SITs training."

"Are there any problems with..."

She sighed, knowing what I meant. I could tell that things were getting more and more fractured back at the house. Half the potentials wanted Faith in charge, the other half just wanted to scatter and disappear. "There was another 'group meeting' last night. Angel brought back..."

Now that little revelation caused me to raise an eyebrow...I think. "Deadboy?"

"Yep, he came back to give Buffy this 'amulet of great power' that's supposed to..."

"Have great power?"

"Yeah that's the long and short of it."

Another small pause as we both decided to move back to the playful flirting/joking phase of our relationship.

"A lot of them have been asking about you."

"Really then? I imagine without my studlyness they had to resort to ogling Giles and Andrew."

"First of all, eww. Second, we still had Spike."

I believe that I somehow managed to sound a little jealous. "Spike?"

"Don't worry. I prefer my men alive and warm-blooded."

A small smile graces my lips as I imagine her smiling back at me. "Men? As in plural, more than one, not of the singular?"

I felt a more mischievous smirk cross her face and imagined narrowing eyes and a little devil whispering into her ear. "Men as in those that have a heartbeat and aren't terribly bad to look at."

My smile lessens as I began to remember the fact that I'm probably not the most attractive man in the world right now. The playful, flirting banter was good and fun, but now it's starting to depress me a little. I guess she's picking up on it because the next thing I know I'm up dressed and in a wheelchair being pushed down the hallway damn near thirty miles an hour.

"They made a banner for you and everything."

I'm not sure whether or not I actually made a face at her, but a second later a small warm hand rested on my shoulder and gave it a gentle squeeze. Her breath flowed into my ear, sending tingles down my spine as she leaned in and gently helped me into the car. "Its okay Xander. They mean well. They just don't have the brain cells to spare right now."

In my head I mentally brought up a picture of Dawn as the shy little girl I met the first time I went over to the Summer's house. She was cute and sweet and adorable as they come. Not to mention easily corruptible for pranks and other mischief. Then for a while she was just in the background too. I knew she had a tiny little bit of a crush on me during that time up until the last year or so. I'll admit I was flattered or perhaps I just really enjoyed the attention from such a fine young woman. Anya said that she had no problems due to the fact that Dawn was five years younger than me and Buffy would castrate me in rather painful and imaginative ways. But if she had only been a few years older or I had been a few years younger...

I wish I could have been so lucky.

Before I know it, the car comes to a slow and unexpected stop. The engine quiets down and Dawn grasps my hand and I imagine looks at me with the softest blue eyes I have ever seen. "You ready to go inside Xander?"

God, I wish I could have been so lucky.

As we walk into the house I could feel their eyes on me. All of them. With one or two possible exceptions. Notably Buffy and maybe a couple of the potentials. I'm a walking reminder of the other night. The girls that died aren't here anymore. They can be overlooked. They can be forgotten. But not me. I'm here in high definition television. Walking and talking and ugly as hell. They're not going to forget me. They can't if I'm right in front of them making jokes and stumbling into walls.

The latter of which I'm having more luck with. Luckily Dawn guides me in and seats me down on the couch in the living room. I think. It's a couch and there are a lot of people here, so I can only guess. Makes sense though. Before I turned to ask Dawn what was going on I felt a small pair of arms crush me in a tense hug. I could only gently stroke the back of the unknown aggressor and stammer for words as the girl did her best not to cry into my shoulders. I tried to gather up some sort of verbal response to what going on until it hit me.

Kennedy whispered a small "Thank you" before gently breaking the hug and joining the others.


After the meeting in which the 'Great plan' was revealed I decided to go with my first initial reaction to the plan.

I had Dawn lead me to the upstairs bathroom so I could puke my guts out. Sitting still for a while and trying to listen must have given me vertigo or made me dizzy or something because it's hard to orient yourself like this. After I had confidently placed my offering to the Porcelain Gods, I reached into my jeans pocket and grabbed the pills that the doctors prescribed. The little bumps on the label of the container felt a little unnatural and I suddenly realized that I had to read with those little bumps now.

A small feminine voice broke me out of my thoughts. "You need a hand with that?"

I sighed and nodded my head, giving into the impossibility of doing it alone. Any of it. "Yeah, could you tell me how many I'm supposed to take?"

Anya's soft cold hands wrapped around mine as I held out the container for her to take. "There's Braille on this too."

"Yeah, but I don't exactly have too much experience with Braille."

She raised her voice. "I'm sorry Xander, I'm only trying to help."

"Well then could you please read me the goddamn ENGLISH on the bottle?"

She shoved the pills back into my hand and said, "Take one every six hours for the pain."

I grabbed the bottle and nodded. "Good, my head is killing me."

"Well maybe SHOUTING isn't doing it any good. Your hearing has probably increased like that movie starring Ben Affleck."


"What? I heard that when you lose one sense the others compensate."

I managed a small wry grin as I opened the bottle and took a pill out. I popped it into my mouth and let the jagged little pill swish around before letting it slowly glide down my throat.

"I already made my Daredevil joke for the day Ahn. I don't want to stretch my quota."

"But even with his horribly scarred eyes, Ben Affleck was very masculine and sexy."

If Andrew was anywhere around I think he would either cringe or become very interested in the conversation.

"Ben still had his eyes in his head at the end of the day. I think mine are either at the vineyard or in Caleb's back pocket right now, neither of which I want to contemplate."

"I was just trying to-"

"Help I know, but it's just that..." She doesn't let me play around the subject like Dawn, or just dismiss it and ignore it like Buffy and Willow. With her it's different. I'm forced to try and be myself, but right now, I can't deal with it. I can pretend. I can joke. I can play whatever it is that you want me to. But I just don't want to deal with it yet. "Listen, with the pain and the drugs and the fact that I'm one third of the blind mice, I'm not so able to be of the good talking right now."

As she watched me, I tried to remember what she looks like, but only come up blank. It's easy to remember the look on her face when she's being awkwardly human or slightly of the not-human. I can remember the little squeals of joy counting money and the look on her face just around me and my friends. But when we were together and there was nothing else. Last year or so before the not-wedding and the not-honeymoon and the not-happy. Yeah, the not-happy is big lately. But before all that we were happy. The two of us together. And I can't remember her like that.

"I was worried."

"I know."

"I wanted to go to the hospital, but...they needed me here. We found more about the First."

"It's okay, the Big Bad Battle for the Earth in kinda important. I get that."

"I should have been there."

"It's not your place."

"This shouldn't have happened to you."

"I agree."

"I miss you Xander."

I miss her too. I reached out my hand to cup her face only to have it snatched away in her hands tightly. Part of me wants to shake loose and reach up to her face and wipe away the tears that I know she's crying, but her grip is firm. Its better to keep in control now and be hurt less in the long run than to open up again when you're pretty sure you know the outcome.

I nod my head and sigh. "Ahn, you have no idea how much I've wanted to hear you say that..."

The rest of my sentence was cut off as I felt her tongue explode into my mouth. I wish that I could have looked up into her eyes to see if she was doing this because she loved me or because she needed the comfort. As my back fell against the warm cotton sheets and I felt her warm naked body gently lie on top of me to give me one single loving chaste kiss on the lips, I decided that I didn't care anymore.

The End