Chapter Three


Xander stood at the gate of the terminal waiting for the ever so late Slayer and Watcher. Cordelia was fidgeting next to him. For a cool, sophisticated girl, she's really afraid of flying. But, she had insisted on going with her friends to find Willow.

Friends. That was still strange to call Cordelia. It wasn't long ago that she would call him a loser in the halls of Sunnydale High. But that was behind them both now. In the two years that they had gotten to know each other, really know each other, they had grown to like each other.

Where was Buffy and Giles? Their plane leaves in fifteen minutes and they were now calling for the final passengers.

"Xander! Cordelia!"

Both Xander and Cordelia turned as their names were yelled out. Rushing towards them, toting four suitcases were Buffy and Giles.

He looked at them in mock exasperation and said, "It's about time! What took you so long."
Buffy grimaced and replied, "Do not blame me. It's all Giles' fault."

The three teens turned to Giles, who was quite flustered. "I,I forgot to put the water in the radiator." He said sheepishly

Buffy turned to her friends and nodded with a goofy smile. "Yeah, we were going down the interstate with steam pouring out under the hood. And Giles being the mechanic he is, tried to fix it when we were on St. Michael street. He didn't count on the steam burning him though." She said, indicating to Giles' bandaged hand.

"Excuse me for not being more technological. If I wanted to fix cars, I would have become the shop teacher." He muttered as they handed their tickets to the woman at the gate.

Buffy giggled and looked at the other teens. "Giles is a teacher all right. He taught me some interesting words when he burned his hand." She said, trying to hold back her laughter.

"Oh, shut up." Giles replied.

The three teens bursted into laughter as they boarded the plane. They gave their tickets to the flight attendant and were directed forward to their seats.

"Whoa. First class. How'd we get here?" Xander muttered.

The flight attendant smiled at them and left them to their seats.

"Giles? Did you dip into your "buy the new book of doom and prophecy" nest egg to buy these seats?" Buffy asked, grinning.

"Hardly." Giles said dryly.

"Um, it was me." Cordelia said.

Giles, Buffy, and Xander turned to Cordelia and asked in unison, "You?"

Cordelia grinned and replied, "Me. My dad is an executive for this airline. He pulled a few favors."

At that moment a flight attendant walked passed them. She was pushing a cart full of yummy-looking desserts.

Xander turned around quickly and grabbed Cordelia. He picked her up and gave her a big bear hug.

"Ohhhhh. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. THANK YOU!" He said, still holding her off the ground by a foot in a hug. He spun the giggling Cordelia for a few moments longer, and then placed her onto the floor.

"You're welcome." Cordelia said smiling, while brushing hair out of her face.

A flight attendant came up to the four and said, "Excuse me. I must ask you to take your seats. We'll be taking off soon.

The group took their seats and waited for their journey to begin. They have a friend to find.

~ * ~ * ~

Buffy read the book as the plane flew through the air. The book was called Joshua. It was by Joseph Girzone, a priest. Giles had given her the book as a gift. Not for any special reason, just because he wanted to. She was so into the book, that she didn't notice that Xander was staring at them. He was in the aisle seat in front of them, and was peeking over the side of his chair.

"Xander, what is it?" Cordelia asked as she lowered her magazine.

"Wanna switch seats?" He asked with a mischievous smile on his face.

Cordelia looked at him and smiled. Buffy could tell that she was going to make this hard on Xander. But, something about Xander's expression indicated that he had trick or two up his sleeve.

"Why would I do that?" Cordelia asked, grinning.

Xander returned the grin and disappeared for a second. "I have something to make the deal sweeter." He said smiling.

"What?" She asked.

Xander pulled a small pastry the size of his hand. It was flaky and had a strawberry on the top. Xander grinned at Cordelia's expression. It was a look of desire and hunger.

"Well looky here. It's a strawberry and cream cheese flaky pastry. Strawberries are your favorite if I'm not mistaken." Xander said mischievously.

"You are so cruel." Buffy said, smiling.

Xander looked at Buffy and said, "I know." He turned back to Cordelia and said, "You can just hear the calories and fat. 'Eat me Cordelia! I may be bad for your diet, but good for your soul!'"

Cordelia sighed and gave up. She knew that between Xander's pestering and the pastry, she was outnumbered. She got up and resigned her seat to a smug Xander. He handed her the pastry as he sat next to Buffy and watched at Cordelia started on the yummy treat.

Buffy looked at him, shook her head, and grinned.

"That was really mean you know. She couldn't have fought that." Buffy said.

Xander returned her grin and replied, "I know. It took every ounce of willpower to keep myself from eating it myself. But desperate times call for desperate measure."

"Really?" Buffy asked as a flight attendant gave them two pillows and a blankets. "What is so bad that you have to torture Cordelia?"

"Giles." Xander stated as he shoved a pillow behind him. "He dozed off a hour into the flight. He was reading one of his freaky tomes of knowledge and nodded off. He's not really talkative when he's asleep."

Buffy got serious when Xander mentioned talking. She could tell something was bothering him. The same something that has bothered him for the past two years. But now, he was really showing it.

"Okay Xander." She said as she closed her book and placed it on her lap. "Share. You're all jittery."

Xander brought his hand up and rubbed the bridge of his nose. He looked out the window that was by Buffy and saw that it was dark outside.

"Oh, nothing..." He said. "Just that monster on the wing!"

Out of pure force of habit, Buffy swung around in her seat and looked out the window. Of course there was no monster on the wing. Xander was laughing behind her as she gave him a dirty look. She took her pillow and slammed it into his face.

"Okay, first of all, that was not funny." She said as she took her pillow and placed it underneath her head. "That episode of the Twilight Zone was creepy. Second, there are people trying to sleep here."

"Sorry." He responded with a grin.

"I'm not done. I know something is bothering you. Tell me." She said, worried.

Xander sighed unhappily and replied, "Fine, fine. I'll tell you."

He ran his hand through his hair and started, "Ever since Willow disappeared, I've been having a..."

"Go on." Buffy urged.

"In my dreams, I can see her." He whispered. "I see her as a child, I see her throughout my dreams. Growing. I can see everything we've done in my dream. It always ends the same way. I see her walking down a street. I watch helplessly as the vampires attack her. I scream as they hurt her. Then I wake up, still screaming."

"Oh, Xander." Buffy murmured.

"I should have been there for her." He said angrily.

Buffy knew what he was feeling. She had felt the same way for so long. But she learned to let that go. She knew it wasn't her fault. It wasn't Xander's either.

"You couldn't have known-" She started.

"No." He interrupted. "I should have. I knew it wasn't safe in Sunnydale. I knew she would be alone. I should have been there. I am her friend, and because of my need for a family vacation, I left her alone."

"Xander, she understands why you went with your parents." Buffy replied while shaking her head. "She knows that you rarely see them. That you feel alone. She knows that you needed to spend time with your mom and dad."

Buffy brought her hand up and pulled a few stray hairs from Xander's eyes.

"We'll find her. And when we do, she'll tell you the same things I said." She said softly.

She placed her head on Xander's shoulder and said, "We'll find her. You can't give up hope."

"I won't." Xander responded as they both drifted off to sleep.