Little Things

Author: Cyclone <cyclone[at]>

Feedback: Please be gentle.

Distribution: Not here, not yet.

Rating: I'm gonna go say PG.

Spoilers: Up to Tabula Rasa.

Disclaimer: The characters depicted herein belong to the almighty Joss.  I'm just borrowing them for a while.

Summary: Something happens slightly differently in Tabula Rasa.

Author's Note: Borrowed a challenge idea from the B/X Fanfic list and modified it for T/X.

It's the little things that count.

Such a little thing, really. It was just a jacket. A jacket I borrowed from my girlfriend's best friend.

A jacket that led me to believe he was my boyfriend when we lost our memories.

I had pulled him aside on the way to the Magic Box. I wanted to talk to him about Willow, about her growing carelessness with magic. If there's anyone who loves her as much as I do, it's him, and I know he'd do anything for her.

For any of us.

But it got cold, and he loaned me his jacket -- proving himself not just a macho man as he mentioned, but also a gentlemen. Also proving my point about him doing anything for any of us, come to think of it.

Then Willow... she messed with our memories again. All of us, this time.

And I kissed a man.

I kissed Xander.

And I enjoyed it.

I left Willow. She betrayed me, and I can't trust her. I can't forgive her. Not yet. But that's not the only reason.

They've postponed the wedding, and a part of me is relieved at that. Happy.

I feel so guilty.


There's no doubt, at least in my mind, what we would have done if he hadn't stepped on Willow's focus and broken it that night. He'd just saved my life, and all I could think of was that this man was... my hero. The sort of knight in shining armor all little girls dream of when they're growing up.

When I was a little girl, I'd dreamed someone would ride to my rescue, Prince Charming to my Cinderella, with a wicked father and brother instead of stepmother and stepsisters.

And now, he's here. He's a little late... but he's here. My white knight.

I'm not in love with him, not yet, but...

I steel my nerve and look up at the construction site in front of me as Xander walks out to greet me. I take one last deep breath before I say it.

"We need to talk."


It's amazing how a couple of little things can add up to some really big things.

Take what Tara just said, for example. Four words, absolutely harmless by themselves, but put 'em together in the right order, and you get one of the most dreaded sentences in the English language:

"We need to talk."

"About what?" I ask as nonchalantly as I can. I can guess what she wants to talk about. Willow. After all, it's not like she'd be talking about...


What? Excuse me, but... WHAT?!


Great, now I sound like a girl. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing, given Tara's preferences... What am I thinking?! Anya. Think about Anya. And Willow.


No! Don't think about Willow like that! Stupid mind. Stupid gutter.

Wait, she's nodding. What's she saying?

"Us. Xander, I..."

Please don't say it. Please don't say you're in love with me. I don't think I'd be able to control myself, and I don't want to hurt Willow again.

I don't want to hurt you like I hurt Willow.

"...I don't know why, but..." she trails off uncertainly. She takes a deep breath and speaks again, and I'm hanging on to every word. Pathetic, huh? "Look, Xander, the other night... I enjoyed it. Th- the kiss, I mean."

I crack a goofy grin, my usual shield against life's worries. "Well, to be honest, so did I." I waggle my eyebrows suggestively and joke, "I'd be happy to kiss you again anytime."

Ya know, maybe I shouldn't have said that. On the other hand, Tara lips are nice. Really nice. Mmm...


Wait. There's something wrong here. Oh, that's right. She's a lesbian. She's Willow's lesbian girlfriend.


I'm. Kissing. Willow's. Lesbian. Girlfriend.

Right. Time to panic.


Oh, no. Not the Puppy Dog Eyes. Please not the Puppy Dog Eyes.

"I-I'm s-s-sorry, Xander..."

Great. Puppy Dog Eyes and Nervous Stutter. God, I am such a sucker.

"No, Tara, don't be sorry. I was just... surprised, that's all." I reach out and pull her into a comforting hug. What can I say? I'm a comfortador.

"But why?" I ask gently. I'm really not sure I'll like the answer, but I have to know.

She whispered quietly in my ear. "I love you, Xander."


"I'm not in love with you," she continues. Why am I not reassured? "Not yet... but I'm getting there."

God help me, I think I feel the same.

Can you blame me? She's kind, sweet, and beautiful. Plus, she gives off this massive "protect me" vibe that truly inspires my chivalric side. She seems so vulnerable all the time that I just want to scoop her up in a great big hug -- not unlike the one I'm giving her now -- and shield her from all the Big Badness out there.

Nononono. Don't think like that. That way leads to madness and sweaty palms.

But I can't stay with Anya. I know, at least, that I can't marry her. Not yet... maybe not ever.

Because I think I'm starting to fall in love with Tara.


As the Slayer, I tend to notice the little things. Like the guy with no reflection or the pungent odor of a Triskal demon -- don't ask; you really don't want to know -- or Xander sitting in the park at night holding the engagement ring he gave to Anya.

God, I hope they didn't break up. They're my happy ending, my proof that all this is worth fighting for. I know they're having problems - - what with the whole Giles-and-Tara smoochies back when we lost our memories -- but I thought they were dealing.


I mean smoochies between Anya and Giles and between Xander and Tara, not Giles-with-Tara smoochies! Eww!

"Hey, Xand."

He jerks up in surprise. Heh. Slayer stealth strikes again. "Hi, Buffmeister."

He's not looking too happy. Not a good sign.

"What's wrong?"

He shrugs and sighs, "Me and An broke up."

"No wedding?"

He shakes his head, "No wedding."

I don't think the dolt really appreciates what this means to me.


There he goes again, sighing once more. "Because it's not gonna work between us. We can barely stand each other, sometimes, and then..."

He's hiding something. "And then what?"

"There's Tara."

Tara? What about...?


No. No way. Can't be. He can't seriously mean...

He's nodding. Oh, God. He really does mean it.

Xander. With Tara. That... whoa.

"So, what now?"

He shrugs, "I don't know. An's left town, going to find herself, so I understand. And Wills..." He winces.

"Haven't told her yet, huh?"

He shakes his head. "I didn't even tell An, but she seems to have figured it out somehow."

"Oh. I'm sorry."

He smiles faintly, "Don't be. I love Tara."

Oh, boy.

"And I'm gonna marry her."



Little things are what tear couples apart, not big things. Oh, sure, it's the big things I always got summoned for -- cheating, fights, that sort of thing -- but I've learned lately that they're not the cause.

They're just the symptoms.

Xander snores. He can't stand my exotic tastes in dairy products. He's still bothered by the whole ex-demon thing. He thinks I'm greedy.

Which I am, and I don't really see what's wrong with that, but that's beside the point.

Don't get me wrong, the sex is great, and we do love each other, but I can see it happening already. Somehow, he's falling out of love with me. And I can't stop thinking about Rupert.

He is not a cradle-robber! I'm over 1120 years old!

So I'm leaving. I think he's falling in love with someone else.

No, wait, I know he's falling in love with someone else. I'm just not sure who.

Oh, who am I kidding? He'll probably be married to Willow by the time I cross the state border.

I just wish...

Whoops! Almost slipped there. I've gotta be more careful than that. After all, what mortal person would know better than me how wishes can be twisted?

In any case, that leaves me here, in a car, about to drive away from Sunnydale and the man I love for a second time.

Goodbye, Xander.

I love you.

I wonder if I can drive to London? Maybe pay Rupert a visit. Hmm...


I've imagined this day at least twice, and except for a few little things, it's just like I pictured it.

Of course, those little things are kind of pretty important to me.

For example, I used to think I'd be the one in white on Xander's wedding day, then there's that horrible green dress Anya had picked out for us. Instead, I'm in a tux.

Me, Willow Rosenberg, Captain of the Nerd Squad, wearing a tux. And looking mighty stylish in it too, if I do say so myself.

Now, the tux is a definite improvement over the brussel sprout dress, but I guess a part of me will always wish I was the one in white today.

I sure as hell -- or Hellmouth -- didn't expect Tara to be wearing what should be my dress.


What? Can't a girl be in love with two people at once?

Yeah, you heard me. I'm in love with both of them, and to be honest, I hope they'll be happy together. I just... I just wish they knew how much they meant to me. How much I love them.


Did you hear that? Huh. That was weird. I didn't say that out loud did I?

Uh, oh. They're looking at me now, both of them. What's going on? I gave the ring, they just said their vows, now what?


Xander's kissing me. Why is Xander kissing me?


Oh, now Tara's kissing me. Huh. Nice. Very nice.

What's going on?


Well, that wasn't exactly what I was expecting. I mean, seriously, when you get into the vengeance business, this is not the sort of wish you expect to grant.

Still, it's nice to a see a happy ending for once. They're rare enough as it is.