Six Weeks In

Author: Beleg_Cuthalion1 <beleg_cuthalion1[at]>

Rating: Very slight language

Disclaimer: The characters do not belong to me; they belong to Joss Whedon and Co. Only the story is mine.

Category: I'm not entirely sure.

Summary: They make the first steps to living.

Much discussion had gone into choosing a location for them. At first both Buffy and Dawn had advocated staying in Los Angeles. Then, when Angel heard of the discussion, he showed up with lots of presents. A job for Buffy with flexible hours that she could schedule around classes at UCLA, which he had used his new-found influence to get her accepted to. For Dawn there was enrollment in an expensive private school, at Angel's expense.

Xander was never mentioned in the package. It was a good deal for the Summers girls and Xander had said nothing of it, not wanting to influence the decision. He had finally overheard a conversation (Honestly he had blatantly eavesdropped when he saw Buffy going to Angel with her hands full of the documents describing her grand new life.) between the two.

Buffy had gone to Angel at the hotel and proffered the papers to him. The vampire had looked at her, and didn't reach for them. After a moment, she put them on the table where they sat. "No," she said. Angel waited for her to say more. "We agreed a long time ago to stay away from each other," Buffy went on.

"This is a big city," Angel said, "we can stay away from each other here."

"Right," Buffy said, "Dawn and I can live in the apartment you got for us and I can work the job you got me and you can pay for Dawn to go to this fancy school and we won't be all that involved with each other."

"I can stay away," Angel replied, "It's always been a short drive to Sunnydale."

Buffy smiled and repeated herself, "No."

Angel had nodded and with a pause that Xander would describe as broody, said, "Where will you go?"

"We haven't decided. Xander wants to throw a dart at a map."

"Xander wants to?" Angel had asked.

"Yes. We've made an arrangement."

Xander had felt incredibly childish at the pure, gleeful joy he experienced on seeing Angel's face. "What kind of arrangement?" Angel had asked. Silently Xander had whispered, "Don't say, don't say, don't say…"

"An arrangement," Buffy had answered. She stood up and looked at Angel for a moment. "Still baking, I guess." She turned and left. Xander had to hustle around a corner to avoid being caught. He immediately began making plans to find out what was meant by "Still baking", if it could be done without his eavesdropping being discovered.

The next idea was to go to Cleveland. Dawn had suggested it. The discussion took just long enough for Buffy and Xander to say "No!" strongly and in unison.

Xander suggested getting out of cities entirely and finding a country place, maybe near an urban area. The discussion lasted just long enough for Buffy and Dawn to say "No!" strongly and in unison.

Then, the decision was made for them. Xander had by happenstance ran into an old work friend on the street. This person had fled Sunnydale like all sensible people and was soon to start working with his brother's contracting company in Seattle. A few phone calls later Xander had an offer.

Xander started the practical planning. The problem was initial funds. They literally had little other then the clothes on their backs. They would have to pay rent and an apartment deposit, buy clothes and housewares and get utilities established. In an act of desperation and with no little trepidation, Xander went to Angel. It was a purposeful decision that Xander went to see him in his rather impressive office at Wolfram & Hart.

Xander could probably have avoided the delays and security checks by having word sent to Angel who he was. For some reason his pride wouldn't allow it. The office he was shown into was spacious and very expensive looking. The window filtered the sun oddly and since Angel didn't seem concerned by the light they must have been special in some way. Angel had stood when he entered, saying simply "Xander. What can I do for you?"

"I wanted to thank you for the accommodations for the last couple of weeks," Xander said.

"You could have done that at the hotel," Angel replied.

"True," Xander said, "but I had a few other things and I kind of wanted a formal setting."

"And the distance formality maintains," Angel said.

"Yeah. I like keeping a distance from you. The next thing is I wanted to say is that what you did for Buffy and Dawn was very good of you."

Angel shrugged. "It was no problem. I was sorry she turned it down. I understand you two have an arrangement."

"We do," Xander had replied, "which brings me to the main reason for this visit. I've gotten a job, and they're coming with me. I just don't have any money to get us set up with…"

"Done," Angel had said.

"You'll get it back with interest."

"You know I don't care about that," Angel waved his hand dismissively.

"Still…" Xander had said, standing. Angel came around the desk and shook his hand. "We're out of it, champion; Dawn and I forever and Buffy at least for a long, long time. Don't call her."

"You're speaking for her now?"

"No, I'm speaking for me. Do we understand each other?"


Xander had turned and walked away, sincerely hoping to never see Angel again and resolving even to make Buffy write the checks he would send in repayment.


It was, apparently typically, drizzling rain from a grey sky when Xander pulled into the parking lot of their new home. It was a mid range building, fairly new and well kept, in an inexpensive student's area. It was a short walk to the campus where Buffy would be starting classes in the fall. Where they hoped she would be, at least. They were yet to hear back concerning her financial aid.

There had been some noise from the state and federal governments about extra help for the survivors of the so-called "Sunnydale sinkhole". They weren't holding their breath waiting. There had been no comment about why the town had been virtually deserted before the disaster, except from some conspiracy theory web pages which Willow sent to them. While entertaining, the speculation was always far wrong of course.

There was also an eerie lack of news about the new multitudes of slayers. Giles had returned to England to regroup what he could of the Watchers with the help of the Devon coven. They were locating the girls and contacting them as quickly as possible. The rest of the world just wasn't aware of what had suddenly arisen among them yet.

Willow was in New England with Kennedy and was helping locate the new girls. It was a sobering thought that Willow could do her work as well from anywhere; her power touched the whole world.

These sobering thoughts were far from Xander's mind as he stepped out of the car and looked at his new home. He was instead considering how much of a pain tomorrow was going to be. Shopping with Buffy, on the rare occasions he had done so, was excruciatingly boring, although when she modeled outfits for him was nice. Now he had to go with her and Dawn and buy everything to fill a whole apartment. They also had to buy entire wardrobes for each of them. He estimated that this would take approximately 42 minutes for him. He also estimated it would take 3,147 times as long for Buffy and Dawn. At least it would seem so.

He got out and stepped away, giving Dawn room to crawl out of the back seat of their newly purchased, very used car. Both Xander and Buffy's had gone down with the 'dale. Buffy stepped around next to them and they regarded their new home.

"It's okay," Dawn said.

"It'll do," Buffy said. She took Xander by one arm and Dawn by the other. "Let's go."


Xander lay on his back on the floor of the empty living room. Dawn was a few feet away, asleep in her sleeping bag. He was wide awake, not especially nervous or upset but unable to doze off.

On the other side of the room, he heard Buffy sigh and shift restlessly for the fourth time in a half hour. He looked over and saw her irritably punching at her pillow. Dim light was filtering in through the windows and in it he could see her face, clearly tired but wide awake. Silently, so as not to disturb Dawn, he moved nearer.

"I can't stop thinking about Spike," she whispered suddenly.

"I guess I have to take back all the stuff I thought about him," Xander replied, "being as he sacrificed himself for the world and all."

"He didn't do it for the world," Buffy said. "He didn't give a damn about the world."

In the darkness, Xander shook his head with amusement. Buffy was a wonderful person and his friend and all, but she was amazingly egotistical. "Please," Xander said. "He did it just for you?"

"I think so," she said.

Xander snorted, "As much as I hated him, even he wasn't that shallow."

Buffy sat up and looked at him, "I was doing a soul searching self examination here. Do you mind?"

"Sorry," Xander said, "I just… Look, I don't want to burst your bubble, but you're telling me that the person who gave up immortality; not just life but immortality, to save the world was motivated just by love for you?"

"Xander!" Buffy sounded offended.

"It's just the most egotistical thing I've ever heard."

"No, it isn't. It's true."

"It is not," Xander rejoined, feeling silly. "He gave his life for the world, Buffy. I hardly believe it, but he did. Maybe the fact that you're in the world was a big factor but it couldn't have been the only one. For you to say that cheapens what he did."

Buffy was silent for a moment. As usual, Xander thought, she was discarding any idea that didn't fit in her world. It was all right with him. When it comes to family, you get used to certain things and forgive them. "I told him I loved him," she finally said.

"Did you?" Xander asked.

"Did I tell him or did I love him?"


Buffy looked at him and asked cynically, "Do you care?"

"Do I care that you may have loved someone and had to watch them die?" he asked. "Of course I do."

"I didn't," she whispered.

"You didn't what?"

"Love him," Buffy took a deep breath and went on. "I told him I did, but it wasn't true." "When did you tell him?" Xander asked.

"During the fight, just before…" she hesitated, "There was already light coming out of him. He was already burning up. His hand burnt me." She stopped again and took a deep breath in the effort to keep talking. "And I told him. He just looked at me and said that he knew it wasn't true."

"Damn…" Xander muttered.

"He loved me Xander, he really did," she said. "So much that he changed himself and then sacrificed himself." She held up a hand, "I know there were other things that made him make the decision, but it started because he loved me. He had a soul and was capable of self sacrifice because he loved me."

"I don't think that's a bad thing," Xander said.

"Maybe I do," she said. "I couldn't return it and I think maybe I should have been able to. I think maybe he deserved it."

"'Deserve' has nothing to do with it," Xander said. "You feel how you feel. You don't owe it to anyone to feel how they want you too."

"Maybe I didn't deserve it," she said.

"Deserve what?"

"To be loved like that."

"Everyone deserves to be loved," he said.

She moved over to him and reached for him. He cradled her against his chest. "I still miss him," she said.

"If you really cared about him, you always will," he said. "But that's life. You move on. I'll always miss Anya. Hell, sometimes I miss Cordelia. I miss your Mom, I miss Tara, I miss Jenny Calendar and I still miss Jesse sometimes. You just go on."

Buffy buried her face in his shoulder for a moment and squeezed him harder. "I want to call Willow tomorrow," she said.

"So do I," he said. "Let's get some sleep, Buff, big day tomorrow."

"Yes," she said, "the first day of our normal life."