Title: "Collide"

A One-Shot

By: Shawn

 

 

Summary: On a cold winters morning in Cleveland, Buffy visits Xander...

Rating: PG-13

Category: Romance/Fluff/Song Fic/First Person P.O.V Buffy

Ship: BX

Spoilers/Timeline: Set two years post "Chosen," in 2005. The Scooby Gang set up shop in Cleveland to deal with a new Hellmouth and simply never left. Xander has both of his eyes.

My personal archive: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ShawnsLibrary/

Email: DayShawn1974@hotmail.com

Song used: "Collide" by Howie Day.

Authors Note: Lexie shared this song with me and I just love it. When I heard it that first night I had one idea for a story, but when I woke up the next day and listened to it again this came to mind. Enjoy.

Dedicated to: Lexie

 

******

 

******

 

~~~~~~

"Collide"

The dawn is breaking

A light shining through

You're barely waking

And I'm tangled up in you

Yeah

~~~~~~

 

 

Xander's Apartment

32 East 100th Place

Saturday, January 29, 2005 7:30 AM

Cleveland, Ohio

 

 

The last time I laid in bed under the covers with my shoes still on my mother grounded me from riding my bike for two weeks. Obviously, she didn't know that Joey Stevens rode his bike everyday after school and I had to be riding with him, so that he could open his twelve year old eyes one day and realize that I was the most special girl in the world. My future was at stake. Stake, that's funny. Anyway, without my bike, Joey might have fallen prey to 'Miss I-Can-Make-A-Free-Throw-On-The-Rim-My-Older-Brother-Put-Up-Over-The-Garage.' Her name was Becky and she had braces and wasn't one tenth as cute as me. Her crush on Mr. Joey was tacky at best. Her bike didn't even have cute ribbons on the handle bars.

Pffft. Amateur.

Alas, my mom saw fit to put a halt to my blossoming pre-teen love life. The night before, I stayed up so late at my friends house discussing my someday marriage to Joey and her marriage to the self-proclaimed 'God of the Skateboard,' Billy Hollis, that when I got home, I just crashed on my bed with my shoes still on.

So many years ago... a lifetime of experiences until this very moment when history repeated itself.

Five minutes ago I nervously stood in the doorway of Xander's bedroom when his sleepy eyes barely opened to see me. Despite our terrible fight two days ago and the fact that we hadn't even spoken at all yesterday, the moment he saw me he scooted aside, pulled the covers back, and reached for me.

He made room for me. And it meant more than he could ever know.

So there I was, having just finished my morning run in track pants and a Cleveland Browns t-shirt, wearing my Nike Cross Trainers. My steps were as timid as they were confident. I slipped into the bed and his warm arms, curling myself around him as I had so many times in the past six months ever since we erased the friendship line.

Today is different. I can tell it is. Today means something more. Something deeper that I'm still grasping to comprehend. To come to grips with, just off my fingertips.

Gossip told me, and by gossip I mean I overheard Dawn and Faith talking, that Xander wasn't spending his nights alone anymore since our breakup a month ago. I tried to pay it no mind, but when I confronted him about it two days ago he neither confirmed nor denied the gossip. Normally, the only gossip I'm interested in is things from the Weekly World News - 'Woman's bra bursts, 11 injured'. That kind of thing. So reports of him sharing a bed with another woman would either close the doors to us forever, or open prison doors for my impending murder sentence the second I got my hands around the bitch's scrawny little neck.

Ahem, let's try something else. It's too early in the morning to mentally discuss murder with yourself. Especially when the man you love buries his face in your hair, inhales, and falls asleep.

In the last year I've come to discover my inner cuddly side. I call her Charlie. And as much as I love Xander, and I do, Charlie loves him even more. Charlie is crazy for that boy. Okay, I'm not going insane. I know that. It's just I'm being held so close, with my head tucked against his shoulder, and my worlds never made more sense or been at such peace.

All because he made room for me.

I can hear the faint sounds of swords clashing, giving way to evidence that yet again Xander played Knights Of the Old Republic 2 on his X-Box until just before he went to bed. He always left the system on. A video game ritual all his own. I have given up questioning his geeky ways. Especially since he recently stopped teasing me about my inability to parallel park ever, no matter how big the space is.

Speaking of space, there's not a bit of it separating Xander and I now. I want to wake him up and demand he tell me what this all means. I want to force him to admit why he never took his house key back, and why my picture's still on his nightstand, and why he's holding me so close that I can't help but to feel like I'm still his heart.

Instead of doing any of those things, I gently kiss the side of his neck, close my eyes, and enjoy his unconditional love.

Nothing I have ever felt before compares to this. Not my love for Angel, not my appreciation of Riley, or the strange kinship I thought I had Spike. I compare Xander with no one because no one compares to him. It's so amazing to me how your opinions of people and your relationships with them can change, twist and turn as time passes. Years later and the woman I see in the mirror every morning looks like me, talks like me, but isn't the same me. The old me lived in her own head to much. The new me wants to live out there, preferably with Xander walking beside me, whistling a jaunty tune or something.

I don't want the things I wanted when I was seventeen anymore. I'll be twenty-four in a few months. I've got a whole new list of wants. None of them include vampires for the first time ever. Girls gotta move on sometime.

So here I am, my hands softly stroking his bare underneath the old Lakers shirt he sleeps in. He at least washed it recently. The ghostly floral scent of Bounce still clung to the cotton, soft to the touch. As for my Xander, he's snoring softly in my ear. He never said a word to me. Never tried to apologize or ask for an apology. Never asked what I'm doing here. He hasn't even mentioned the fact that I'm still wearing my sneakers under the covers.

Of course I know why. He loves me. He loves me so much nothing matters because we're together, and so he sleeps while holding me and I talk to myself cause, well, I'm quirky like that. I do my best thinking in bed. It's all comfy and... Aww, he's snuggling me now. Even though I'm still a little mad at him and wouldn't mind cutting up some of his clothes to embrace my evil side, it's so nice to feel him need me this way. Need my by his side.

Makes a girl wanna swoon, if I was the swooning type.

Oh what the heck, I'll swoon a little.

Amidst my swooning Xander surprised me with a sleepy kiss to the side of my neck, then promptly fell back asleep. I would call him typical if I didn't love him so deeply. And to think I risked losing him to another woman. I need my head examined. I'll never take you for granted again, Xander. "I love you."

He didn't wake up when I spoke to him, but he smiled in his sleep. Not bad at all.

 

 

~~~~~~

 

I'm open, you're closed

Where I follow, you'll go

I worry I won't see your face

Light up again

Even the best fall down sometimes

Even the wrong words seem to rhyme

Out of the doubt that fills my mind

I somehow find

You and I collide

 

~~~~~~

 

 

Once upon a time Xander lied to me about Willow's attempt to give Angel his soul back when I went to kill Angeles. He lied so that I would fight my hardest, and keep my head in the game. When it was all said and done, with a broken heart I left my responsibility behind and ran like a spoiled child, leaving him, Giles, and Willow to pick up the pieces of my destiny. For three months while I was gone they did my job, risking their life night after night because it was the right thing to do.

That wasn't my finest hour.

Giles had his Ripper days. Xander had his inner demons. Willow had her brush with the dark side. Angel sought his redemption. A chip and a soul drove Spike mad and on his way. Monks made my sister. Yet another vampire fell in love with me and had the nerve to steal my underwear. I fought a God with bad fashion sense. I died. So did my mom. Then Tara passed away. Anya left us next, along with our entire city. Spike died, but like me, he came back, so whatever. Life kept going on throughout all of our tragedies and triumphs. The world never revolved around us or our problems, and so it just kept spinning.

If I could go back in time I would give a quick note to the self-involved, namely moi, and tell her everything wasn't about you. And since everything wasn't about her she better roll with the punches and keep living. Roll or get rolled over. In hindsight I think that's what we all did. We just kept rolling.

That's how I think Xander and I accepted our mutual attraction so easily. That, and our new and strange fascination with American Idol. By the time Sunnydale sank into the ground and we had a school bus full of the Slayer Partridge Family, so many things had happened to all of us, to our loved ones and everything we knew that as one door of our lives closed, this new one opened.

Cleveland kinda sucks. I say kinda because it's so vastly different than California. It's boring, cold, and lacks an over abundance of sunshine. Then again, it has far less vampires, cemeteries with actual security, and a Hellmouth that actually kept it's damn mouth shut. That's a blessing and a curse. Trust me, I know my curses.

Low and behold, I'm back in college, hitting the books and whatever demon pops up from time to time. Dawn's doing well in college and dating guys who all have pulses, are sunlight friendly and curse free. Even Xander decided to go, fearing that his back would give out long before his mind in the construction business. He's enjoying it more than he says he is. I can tell. Willow graduated two months ago, ever the lesbian witch genius we expected her to be. Giles has a home here in Cleveland and London, traveling back and forth on Council business and to visit us. He's a little bit grayer in the hair department, but we still love him. We're two years removed from Sunny'D, the fallen city, not the drink.

Two years feels like twenty to me.

I think when Xander and I did our laundry that one rainy night and ended up kissing against the dryer in my apartment buildings basement, we... Jeez, why do I do this? Why must I always rationalize and try to figure out how we hooked up, or when things changed, or why. Simply put, he looked handsome, he seemed to like what I had going on, the chemistry felt right, and we kissed. It was a damn good kiss and it led to many more kisses and eventually earth shattering orgasms.

I didn't count on falling in love with him. Honest, I didn't. I never ever thought that would happen... Okay, I did, after while. He was just so good to me and I'm not used to that. I found myself falling for all his little quirks and charms. It was like we knew each other back in Sunnydale, but not really, and then met again years later in Cleveland. Something clicked that never had before. I've had two official boyfriends and a down-low relationship that was really down and very low. The down-low lover and the first boyfriend both have tried to destroy or help destroy the world. Boy, I can sure pick'em. Oh, did I mention neither of them were alive? Then I played myself by chasing after a damn helicopter trying to keep Riley in town. He actually chose military duty in a jungle over me. It was at that very moment I realized I truly sucked when it came to men.

With Xander, it was like friendship-plus. We had our friendship, plus all the kissing, affection, and great sex we could handle. It felt so good to not feel so lonely all the time. Trust, honesty, respect, admiration, inspiration, all of those things snuck up on us and all of a sudden five months later he asked me to marry him. Me, Buffy Anne Summers, the poster girl for 'Bad Relationships That Go Worse!!'

The night he asked... he went all out to set up the most lavish romantic setting I had ever seen. I cried when we entered that empty Italian restaurant he rented out, which had all the tables and chairs removed. Pillows and roses were all over the floor, with candles lit on the windows. He looked so handsome, and so nervous, and so determined. I knew what he was going to do and I swear I nearly passed out. I could not breathe. I had a Carrie moment from Sex in the City. As much as I loved Xander, he didn't want to understand one basic truth about me.

I'm the Slayer.

I still have to Slay vampires from time to time. I still have to go after demons who decide they want to show their ugly, gnarled, freakish, vile, putrid, slimy faces. That's a life that can get you killed. And even though I know it's a life Xander's been living for almost ten years now, marrying me would put him in even greater danger. What if a demon wanted to gain a reputation in the demon underworld by whacking the Slayer's hubby? Yeah, there are demonic Soprano’s out there. I'm not making this crap up.

If I never saw his face again... if he were ever killed... I loved him to much to lose him.

Then there's the whole deal with him leaving Anya at the alter. Let me state for the record that as much as I dearly with all my heart adore Xander, if he left me at the alter I would... my God, I'd use a... he'd have no where to run if I... and after that I'd grab a... look, he'd be in really bad shape. He would never recover. Pictures would land him in the Guinness Book of World Records for worse butt kicking received by a Caucasian male six feet tall or more. I'd surely be serving a prison sentence.

So, to reiterate, I said no to his beautiful proposal because of the life I feel he would unfairly be attached to and all the danger with it, as well as my knowledge of his previous failed marriage attempt, and added in that we'd only been dating for five months. I was scared outta my mind and I panicked. I broke his heart that night, as well as my own. And as great as I am at dealing with relationships, insert sarcasm, I did a perfectly Buffy-like thing and broke up with him rather than try to work things out or wait a while.

See, I'm also the poster girl for 'Dumb Bitch.'

Thank goodness Xander's love for me is so patient. And by patient, I mean biblical character Job patient. I've given him every reason to move on, and yet he holds me in that oh so precious way only he can. I'm a mess when it comes to my love life. I've been a mess for years and I'm not sure when I won't be a mess. I'm only twenty-three going on fifty.

Xander doesn't care. He sees something in me... a better me, than I've ever seen before. And I love him for it.

After our breakup and subsequent non-speaking for three days, we went back to being friends. Then two weeks ago he met a skank, and yes I will call her that until the day she dies, a skank. The skanks name was Belle. I mean really, what kind of name is Belle? Ring a Belle. Belle hop. I got a million and one jokes for her name alone. Then again, my name is Buffy.

I swear my parents were smoking something when they named me. What in the hell is a Buffy?

Anyway, Belle and Xander went out on a few dates, and while only two weeks past, I couldn't deal. I just could not deal. I'm possessive, and there will be no kissing of 'my' Xander unless it's by me. Of course my pride kept my mouth shut. Xander was polite and never threw Belle in my face. Meanwhile, I felt like I was going crazy thinking about him so much. Missing what we had. Missing what I threw away that one magical night when he asked me for forever and I threw never in his face.

The worst mistake I ever made, and that's saying a lot for me.

Thirty days later, this morning, it finally hit me. Well, a car almost did when I wasn't looking where I was going, but still. It hit me that of all my reasons for saying no to Xander's proposal, I never once said I didn't want to be his wife. Or that I thought we weren't right for each other. Or that I didn't love him enough. My own doubts and insecurities ruled me as they had in the past. I came to understand that I didn't answer with my heart.

Again, I was dealt a major surprise in my life that I couldn't deal with, and so I ran. The running stopped this morning when I found myself looking around a empty public park at dawn thinking to myself that I should be home in bed with Xander, and I'm a fool for not being there.

And so, I ran to him.

 

 

~~~~~~

I'm quiet you know

You make a first impression

I've found I'm scared to know I'm always on your mind

Even the best fall down sometimes

Even the stars refuse to shine

Out of the back you fall in time

I somehow find

You and I collide

Don't stop here

I lost my place

I'm close behind

~~~~~~

 

Bliss.

We're lying on our sides, snuggling warm under the covers, and all is right with my world. As sappy as it sounds I could lay here in his arms, cradled to his chest all day long. Yes, it feels that good and I've missed this. Missed him and us and just everything I could have had and let go.

That ends today. Enough is enough.

My fingertips caress the light stubble on his cheek, tracing his beloved features as he pretends to sleep under my gentle exploration. It's okay that he's faking. He's scared and unsure of what this all means. I've thrown him for a loop so many times. I just showed up here today out of nowhere and it's like it was a month ago, before our breakup, when we would wake up so early on a Saturday morning just before dawn. When we'd make love first thing, sweet and satisfying, then share a shower and go out for breakfast. It's funny how simplistic and normal our relationship was, and how it pleased and fulfilled my heart greater than any other had. Here I am the girl who chases or is being chased by the guy, and now I'm just loving the guy. I'm being loved by the guy in the way I want to be loved.

And you better believe from now on I'm going to stick to this boy like Krazy Glue. Like white on rice. Xander without me will be like Corn Flakes without the milk. Okay, I'm gonna chill on the analogies.

Under the covers his hand slips around my free one, twining our fingers. As strong as he knows I am, he treats me so tender. He seems to instinctively know how to touch me depending upon the mood I'm in.

I finish my thorough appraisal of his face, resting my hand on his neck as I allowed my eyes to shut, to relax in his warm embrace. I've learned over the years that sometimes you just have to stop doing whatever you're doing and enjoy life. I'm enjoying life right now.

"Can you kick off your shoes?"

His first words to me since I arrived. Foot on heel, I manage to get them off under the covers and push them down the bed a little. My sock covered feet rubbed along his legs. "Better?"

"Yes."

I want to say so much and I don't know what to say. I only know that what I feel when I'm with him, that's the way I always want to feel. "I'm so sorry, Xander." Drowsy brown eyes opened softly on me, staring as my heart came awake. He sees threw me so clearly, but what does he see? "You terrify me?" I whispered.

"Exactly how do I do that?"

"By making me happier than I've ever been. By wanting a life with me and not wanting to change me or tell me where I belong. You terrify me by never taking my choices away from me."

Blinking himself awake a few times, he's lying on the same pillow I am, his hand drawing soothing circles on my lower back. I love him so much it aches. "You broke up with me."

Obviously, he felt the need remind me of that. His voice sounded so even and calm as he waited for my response. "I made a mistake."

"You think?"

And there it was. The anger, albeit subtle. He's a man with pride like any other, and when I stomped all over his marriage proposal, it hurt. Moisture stings my eyes as I press on. Please let me make this right. "I'm so sorry for hurting you. I handled everything wrong. I want to make it right." No reply, though he hasn't let me go, not even my hand. I know he loves me. I guess the thing is I have to convince him I feel the same way. "When you proposed to me, I panicked."

"I knew it would surprise you. I walked into that restaurant figuring the worse thing that could happen would be that you weren't ready yet, or maybe wanted to think it over. I never expected you to break up with me. Not in a million years."

I have always hated it when I heard girls say they didn't deserve the men they loved because to me no one is better than anyone else at the end of the day. But here and now, I do question if I deserve him. "I'm not good with surprises, Xander. And when I let my fears and insecurities make my decisions, they're usually the wrong ones."

"It's been a month."

Shamefully, I ducked my head. "I know..."

"So why are you here?"

"Why did you reach for me?"

"Because..." Sadness swelled in my chest when I realized he withheld his feelings from me. I never wanted that for us.

I lifted our joined hands between us, covering it with my other one, holding his to my heart. Now's the time to lay it all on the line. "I have issues with abandonment, letting anyone get to close to me, pushing people away, and driving." I managed to get a little smile out of him. I'll take anything I can get. "I turned down your proposal because I was scared of so many things that ultimately don't matter. Life will throw at us what it will, and nothing we do or don't do will change that. I might be the tough Slayer Chosen One, but you have the courage I've always admired. You once told me that I was your hero, but I've never told you that you're mine."

He didn't fight the smile that curled his lips. A deeper appreciation for what I said shone within his eyes. "No one has an easy life in this world, Buffy. Nothings promised to anyone. I think you have to take all the happiness you can get your hands on and never look back," he explained to me what I should know by now, and still seem to be learning. "Look, I know I'm not the greatest catch in the world..."

I absolutely will not let that stand. No freaking way. "Xander, let me set you straight on something. There is nothing any other man alive or dead has that I would trade for you. There is no one else I want to spend my life with more than you." My next revelation is my deepest, most personal, most unbelievable. "I could never imagine having children that weren't yours." I'm crying now, as open as I've ever been, just saying whatever comes to mind even if it's not what I would normally say. To truly have him, I have to give him all of me, and so I do. "Neither of us are perfect, and never will be. That's okay. That's fine by me. I don't need perfection, I just need you. I love you with my whole heart. I don't care that you tease me about my height or my driving. I don't care that you have a very slight receding hair line. I don't care that you will probably want to see Revenge of the Sith twenty times before it leaves the theaters. Heck, I don't even care that you snore loud sometimes, can't hold a tune when you sing, or watch Smallville just because the girl that plays Lana looks kinda hot to you. I don't care about any of that because you make me feel like I am the most special woman in the world. You do it effortlessly. I feel so blessed to have your love. I only want you, forever."

Perhaps Mom's looking down on her little girl right now, hopefully pleased with my effort cause that's the very best that I can do. All my cards are on the table. So far, so good. It seems to be working. His arms tightened around me, his face next to mine. My tears seeped into his skin as he whispered that he loves me over and over. Here we are in bed, me with all my running clothes on, him in his sleeping attire, and we're holding onto each other so close. "Can you forgive me? Can you please give the short chick with the crazy destiny, who can't drive well, cook all that good, or reach anything over the kitchen sink without a foot stool a chance at happiness with you?"

Pulling back, his strong hands lifted to cradle my face, fingers stroking the tears from my cheeks. His gaze has my heart doing back flips. "You're forgiven," he offered with kindness, and I am so thankful. "I didn't do anything with Belle."

Good. You just saved that skanks life. "Okay." He knows I believe him.

"So now what? Business as usual?"

The word 'Yep' stalled on the tip of my tongue, then died as courage surged out of me like a bat out of hell. "Will you marry me?" I asked him. Oh my God, I asked him. He's got that shocked expression on his face. Join the club, honey. Oh well, I'm, not taking it back. Not now and not ever. I'm moving forward with my life, and that life includes one I intend to share with him.

"Why now?" he asked as he tenderly brushed another tear off my cheek.

"Because you reached for me, and I never want to let you go." A million and one conflicting emotions cascade over his face until he sighs, shakes his head with a lazy smile.

"Are you sure?"

I poured my heart and soul into the kiss I pressed to his lips, sharing with him all that he's awakened in me. All the love that I had to give, I gave to him. Freely gave to him until we were breathless. "I've never been more sure of anything in my whole life."

"You hurt me."

"I'll make it up to you. I'll prove myself. Just give me the chance. I swear you will never regret it."

Mistakes are a part of life. You're going to make them because you're human. To recognize your mistakes and make honest changes to fix them, that bridges the gap between making them again and learning from your mistake. Knowing his faults as well as my own, Xander's caring shines in the way he looks at me, holds me so close, and forgives me. "Yes," he answers the most important question I have ever asked, and suddenly I'm jubilant with glee. I want to jump out of this bed and run around the room pumping my fist and yelling hey, I'm the new poster girl for 'Super Heroes Who Get Married.'

Take that Wonder Woman.

The next few minutes are filled with talking, caressing, kissing, sweet endearments whispered underneath the covers, undressing, and the sweetest love making my body had ever experienced. Xander and I collide. It's more than I song I like on the radio. It two lives meeting to share one, and someday create another. It's that intangible connection you search your whole life to make, and then finally, it's right in front of you.

All because he reached for me.

 

~~~~~

Even the best fall down sometimes

Even the wrong words seem to rhyme

Out of the doubt that fills your mind

You finally find

You and I collide

You finally find

You and I collide

You finally find

You and I collide

~~~~~~

 

The End