Chapter Twelve

Xander woke up with a throbbing pain in his skull. He staggered up and leaned against a wall. He rubbed his eyes and saw that he was in a small room. The room was around six squared feet and was around eight feet tall. The walls were made of wood and sheetrock, while a iron door took up a good amount of space in one wall. The door was solid and big, something even Buffy would not be able to break through.

He pounded on the door, but abruptly stopped when the pounding seemed to make his headache worse. He tentatively touched his head, pulling back his fingers to reveal some blood. At that moment a figure appeared at the door.

"You're awake," the man said.

"Yeah, considering it feels like I had a large steel pole shoved through my head." Xander retorted.

The man was Xander's height. He had short brown hair and piercing black eyes. His skin was the color of pale paper. Obviously from the lack of sunlight.

"Look, Fang Boy. You so seriously do not want to mess with me," Xander growled.

The man ignored his comment and continued, "My name is Nicholas. Accept your predicament. You are Falen's prisoner. You can't escape. That door is made of solid iron."

Xander sighed and asked, "Where am I?"

Nicholas turned to him and replied, "You are in the caves. They were formed many years ago by a river that dried out. When your friends took our home, we had to live here."

Xander's eyes narrowed. This guy was no ordinary vampire. During the past two years, Xander had gotten a sense, an instinct that he had learned to trust.

"What are you?" Xander asked.

"More than you can possibly comprehend," Nicholas replied with his back turned.

"Try me," Xander responded angrily.

Nicholas turned and opened his mouth to speak, then quickly shut it. "Maybe some other time." With that, Nicholas turned around left, leaving Xander alone in the cell.

~ * ~ * ~

Buffy slammed her fist through the wall. She screamed in frustration. She slammed her fist through the wall again, creating another hole in the wall.

She turned towards Angel and screamed, "This is your fault!"

She jumped at him and slammed him against a wall. She punched him across the jaw, drawing blood. She pivoted her feet up, slamming them into his face. She was ready to deliver another punch, when a hand grasped her fist tightly. She turned around and saw Willow gripping her fist. Buffy spun around and kicked Willow in the stomach. She spun around again, slapping Willow across the face. She followed with a roundhouse kick that sent Willow flying into the door. She turned back to Angel, only to find him slumped against the wall. She pulled a stake from the back pocket of her jeans and stood over Angel.


Buff turned at the mention of her name. She saw Giles and Cordelia walk in.

"Buffy this won't help," Cordelia said.

"It's his fault!" Buffy screamed. "If he hadn't attacked Xander, if hadn't made Xander lose his cross, he might have had a chance. But now Xander's in danger. He could be dead!"

Giles rushed up to her and grabbed her arms, causing her to drop her stake.

"Don't say that!" he yelled. "Don't even think it! He is alive. And with Falen and his horde, we need all the help we can get. That includes Angel."

Buffy ripped herself from Giles' grasp and looked back at Angel. The 243 year old immortal was on his feet and staring back.

"If he dies, God help you, because no one else will," Buffy stated and she walked out of the room.

As she walked down the halls, someone grabbed her arm. She spun around and faced Cordelia.

"Buffy..." Cordelia began.

"No. I blame him. It's his fault. If he hadn't been so damn jealous..." Buffy interrupted.

"Of what?" Cordelia asked.

Buffy opened her mouth to answer, but quickly closed it.

"Xander, right?" Cordelia guessed.

"Yes," Buffy murmured. "Angel thought I have feelings for him and attacked Xander."

"Do you?" Cordelia asked.

"What?" Buffy asked incredulously. "Of course not. He my friend. Only my friend. Totally platonic."

Cordelia sighed. She looked back at the room that they had left and turned back to Buffy.

"Buffy, you do," Cordelia said.

"What?" Buffy asked.

"Buffy, it is so obvious that you are in love with him. It is so obvious that you want to be with him," Cordelia said. "I saw it over a year ago. You love him."

Cordelia took Xander's cross and put it in Buffy's hand. Buffy looked silently at the cross and smiled weakly.

"Do you remember when I gave him this?" Buffy asked as she cradled the small cross.

"How can I forget? It was the Christmas after Willow and Angel left," Cordelia replied.

"I remember..." Buffy began. "I remember how we all exchanged gifts in the library. Giles gave us a bunch of musty old books."

"Do you remember the faces we made after we unwrapped them?" Cordelia asked with a smile.

"Yeah. But I did read it. It was a great book," Buffy replied in a hushed tone.

"Mine too. I must have read it a dozen or so times over the past year alone," Cordelia replied. "Do you remember what Giles gave Xander?"

"Moby Dick," they both said in unison and laughed softly.

"You remember how after he read the book, he would walk around yelling, 'Where's dat whale?!'" Buffy asked with a grin.

Cordelia smiled and nodded.

"I remember Xander's gift to me," Cordelia said. "It was that ring he got from his trip to New York. I was so afraid around him. I felt that he thought I was trying to replace Willow. But when he gave me that ring, all those fears were washed away."

"How?" Buffy asked.

"I didn't tell you this, but the inside of the ring was engraved. It said 'To my friend, Love Xander'. As soon as I saw that, I knew that he considered me his friend." Cordelia responded.

The two stood silently for a while, when suddenly Buffy spoke.

"He gave me that jewelry box."

"Yeah, it was beautiful," Cordelia replied.

"I remember that when I unwrapped the box and saw it, I almost cried," Buffy said. "It was gorgeous. The crystal stone on it caused the light to split like a prism would. And when I opened it..."

"and it played 'Crash'..." Cordelia continued with a smile.

"I almost died!" Buffy said as she giggled. "It took him a week to change the balled in the box to it. He knew I loved that song, and he changed it."

Buffy turned around and stared out a nearby window. She heard Cordelia turn around and walk away towards Giles and the rest. Somewhere out there, Xander was being held captive by a dozen or so vampires. And they had to get ready for a battle. To save their friend. Her best friend. Her...

"I love him," she whispered softly to herself. "I love him with my whole heart."

With that final realization, Buffy turned around and headed towards the dinning room. She had to fight the battle of her life.

And Xander's.