Chapter Eighteen - Acceptance

Calmly, Xander closed the bedroom door behind him, dropping his bag on a nearby, cluttered chair. He fell down on his bed and in his mind, he heard the pounding of his heart…going faster and faster every second. Thump…thump…thump…thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump-thump-thump-thump-thump…until finally, the echoing sounds of his mind grew too intense and he couldn't take it anymore.

In his frustration, he stood up and slammed his fist against a wall, but the pain that reverted from that angry blow caused him to start jumping around like mad while clutching his hand, "Owwwww!"

The physical pain receded, but his wounded heart and pride had to heal as he recalled the earlier events…

"…I want to bring him back," Buffy said walking towards him as she looked at the back of his head, "It was because of me that he became Angelus. This spell…it'll let me stop him from doing all of these horrible things *without* killing him."

"But he - I mean, Angelus, killed Ms. Calendar! He practically killed all of us, and I would be dead right now, if we hadn't beaten him at his own game and if you turn him back, it'll be like all is forgiven. I can't accept him after all that he's done to us, even though it wasn't exactly in his control. A-and how I can I accept you wanting to do this when he - " he said as his voice drew to a soft tone as he met her eyes, " -he'll still loves you?"

"I can't accept the things that happened through Angelus, but I can forgive Angel for being the person that demon carried all of those things through," she said. Then with a deep breath, she continued gently, "And when he returns he might love me as he did before, but more likely he'll be hating himself for all the things that occurred. Even if he did love me, the way that we loved before the - y'know - it wouldn't matter to me. Angel and I - that was before, but you and I are now, and right now, I love you, Xander Harris."

"And I love you, too, but Buffy, there's always going to be a chance that Angel will turn back into Angelus and start killing and hurting all that we care about. Still, if you think that this is the best way…if you think that this will bring less harm," he said, "Then, do what you have to do…I won't stop you…what am I saying? How can I stop you?"

"You're the best, you know that, don't you?" she said kissing him lightly on the lips as her arms encircled his neck, "Are you sure you're okay with all of this?"

"I'm fine…"

… He had lied terribly; he wasn't the least bit fine about any of this. A more accurate response would have been to shout out "NO!" Not only was he not comfortable with this decision, he was also mad and frustrated to an immeasurable extent.

Xander could feel the green-eyed monster of jealousy rear its ugly head, as he thought about all of his years against Angel. He had to admit, though, that Angel was a good guy when he had a soul, except for the part of being Buffy's boyfriend. He had even come to trust him somewhat, but that friction that had been there from day one continued to be there and never went away.

"…let your feelings flow through your fingertips…" the familiar voice of Mrs. Roslyn echoed in his mind as his eyes fell to his Creative Writing composition book.

With a deep and thoughtful breath, Xander picked up the badly weathered notebook and turned to a clean page. He rummaged in his bag for a pencil and then leaned against the headboard of his bed. He then scribbled a few words, which turned to sentences, which turned to this:

I hate him. I've always have and perhaps always will. He took her away before I even had the chance to speak my heart. He took her away before I even had a chance to give him a piece of my mind. She loved him, but I can't even like him. Trust…distrust… a hazy barrier between him and me, that and loving her. Resentment? Jealously? It's all there, with it's permanent place among angered encounters and forced alliances for the sake of the girl we both loved…

Finally after about a few pages of writing, he tapped the eraser of the pencil on the last page, and sighed thoughtfully. He re-read his work slowly, as if analyzing each sentence, and he realized that they all seeped with the anger and the hate that he had always felt about Angel. Yet, no matter how much he disliked him, he would not stop Buffy from executing the curse to alter Angelus into Angel. This was a way for her to heal past wounds still open, bleeding, and he would do anything to make her sorrows go away…make the hurt go away, simply because he loved her.

Besides, thought Xander with a light chuckle as he placed his composition book back in his bag, knowing Buffy, she'd do it anyway.