Missed Chances

Author: lucindas43302 <lucindasiverling[at]hotmail.com>

main character: Xander thinking about Willow

pairing: Willow/Oz, Cordelia/Xander

rating: pg/pg 13

disclaimer: I do not own any characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

distribution: WLS, NHA, QPC, Bite Me please? Quickie Challenge, anyone else please ask

note: set in season 2

Xander looked around, shifting a bit as he waited. Cordelia was running late, at least, he hoped it was nothing more than that. They were all supposed to meet up at the Bronze, in an effort to relax from the stress of Angelus being out there. Willow and Oz were out there dancing, but Buffy and Cordelia weren't here yet, leaving Xander feeling a bit awkward.

He watched Willow dance, wondering when things had changed. She didn't look at him quite the same as she used to. But he couldn't figure out how to describe the difference. She still smiled at him, but they didn't seem quite as bright now.

Willow was the sweetest person he knew, giving everyone more chances than they deserved, from that miserable Dead Boy that Buffy had caused disaster with, to Cordelia, to himself, and even Oz. Actually... the change had started about the time that Willow had started seeing Oz.

Oz had asked her out, and now his Wills had a boyfriend. She had someone else that she would rather spend her time with. Someone else to hang out with besides him. And now Oz got the bright smiles that lit up the room, and it was Oz that she looked at with shining eyes. Not him anymore.

He tried to think about why that seemed to bother him. Was he jealous? There really wasn't any reason to be jealous, after all, Willow wasn't his girlfriend, and she never had been. He'd never considered her like that before.

Xander moved onto the dance floor, hoping to let the music or the movements drown out his thoughts. He couldn't even explain the difference, why was he spending so much time thinking about it? Why did something he couldn't explain bother him so much? After all, he had Cordelia, life should be... well, not good because of Angelus, but not quite so bad.

He looked up, and for a moment all he could see were willow's eyes, bright and shining the way they used to be. His heart lurched, and then he realized that she was looking at Oz. Oz her boyfriend, the guy that she said that she loved. The one that she was here to dance with.

Everything was suddenly clear to him. That something that wasn't there anymore when she looked at him was love. She'd been in love with him... and he hadn't noticed. Xander tried to remember when that had appeared in her eyes, but couldn't remember a time before oz that that light hadn't been there. Dear god, she'd been in love with him for years... And he'd been asking her how to try to ask out other people, practicing his pick up lines on her. Seeing her as little more than 'one of the guys'. How much had that hurt her?

But why did it hurt so much that she didn't look at him like that now? Why did he feel as if he'd been deprived of something because that light, that warmth of her desires and hopes had been taken away? Why did he feel like he'd missed a chance at something wonderful?

"Xander! There you are." Cordelia's voice brought him out of his thoughts as her arm curled around him, her smile bright, filled with happiness.

Facing her, he gave her a careful kiss on the cheek, trying not to smudge her make up. "Cordy... I was starting to worry that something had happened to you."

A careless looking shrug, but her eyes showed that she understood why he might have worried. "My car didn't want to start. It made me late."

Xander sighed as he pulled her close. Maybe he had missed his chance for something with Willow, but he had a chance for something with Cordelia now. He hoped that he wouldn't ruin it.

She didn't look at him with love in her eyes, but love didn't bloom overnight. It would take time. Xander leaned his head against his girlfriend, and tried to think hopeful thoughts about tomorrow and all the days afterwards.