Chapter Twenty-Two - In Heart and Mind

The room was engulfed in silence after Buffy and Angel had left. All eyes fell towards Xander who was still sitting where he had been before. Shaking his head, he stood up from the table and looked at them plaintively.

"I guess all's right in the world, now, huh?" he said in a trying attempt at his sarcasm, "At least in Buffy's world…"

Willow approached him with a sigh, "Xander…you have to - "

"What, Will?" he asked as he met her eyes with his own, dark and cold, "I have to just wait and let this thing blow over? I have to just sit back and let it all play out? What well-meaning advice can you possibly give me that can make me feel less of a fool than I already am?"

She closed her eyes and gave him a steady glance, "You're not a fool, Xander…she's just…it doesn't…it's going to be okay - "

"Doesn't, what?!" he demanded again in his frustration, "Doesn't mean anything?! Doesn't matter?! You say it's going to be okay, but I'm seriously doubting the okainess of this situation…my girlfriend just walked out with her ex-boyfriend as if she and I never existed…indicate the okay!"

"I - I…" she faltered realizing that her optimism had failed her…she couldn't find even the slightest okay.

His hard expression softened at her face and he sighed, "I'm sorry, Willow, I know you only trying to help, but I don't think it's anything you can help me with…I don't think it's anything that even I can even help myself with. I think I better go…and…uh…if any of you see Buffy, tell her to call me…tell her we need to talk." And with that, Xander left without another word, leaving the three remaining of the Scooby Gang to sit once again in silence.


Restless, he turned off the television set and went into his room to do his sulking. Closing the door behind him, he sighed and walked slowly to sit down on his bed. As he sat there, he couldn't believe that no more than 6 hours ago, he had been able to say with confidence, "Buffy, loves me," and believe it as truth…know it as fact, but now he couldn't.

The moment he heard her tell Angel those three little words that he had once been directed to him in that very same, beautiful tone, it was as if someone had taken his still-beating heart from his chest and thrown it against a wall. His brain had gone numb and he sat there dumbfounded as she and Angel walked out of the room without very little care…she hadn't even remembered…hadn't cared enough about him to even look back.

His eyes fell to a picture that stood on the table beside his bed and he saw his goofy grin and her equally silly smile the day when they doubled with Oz and Willow on one of their rare breaks to head over to Disneyland. So, they had encountered a monster during their "vacation," but that didn't detract from the rest - the good - of the day. Although he remembered the happiness and it felt good to remember it, he was equally left with a feeling of distaste and of anger that in an instant, she had forgotten the happiness…that she hadn't even made a point to remember…anything…except Angel.

Placing the picture face down in an effort to lose a pain that could not be so easily lost, he lifted the composition book that it had stood upon. He grinned as he read Mrs. Roslyn's commentary: *Tendency to run on and repeat ideas, but overall, a heart-wrenching piece, Xander, well done. To touch the human heart is indeed the effort of an author. For the first time and perhaps more days to come and increase, B+*

He sighed…something about what he had written…he didn't feel quite satisfied with it as he had been before. It lost the lackluster of the first time he had put his thoughts on paper. Grabbing a pen from the backpack that he had carelessly thrown on the bed, he opened the composition book to a new page.

The moment the ink flowed from the tip of the pen on paper, was the exact moment, his mind became the pen. His thoughts were the pen itself, and flowed from his mind like the ink and with every written word stained on fading blue lines against white, was Xander.

*I once said, "People don't fall in love with what's right in front of them. People want the dream - what they can't have. The more unattainable, the more attractive," and at the time I thought it was true, and I still think it to be true, but I've come to learn that there are exceptions to every rule.

I was one of those exceptions…at least for a time. My unattainable…my most attractive want and dream…I had it…and now I've lost it. It's funny…I thought that not achieving the want was the worst feeling anyone can have, but it isn't. There's something worse than that…something more extreme than that so-called impossible wish that you think can't be obtained. It's when you have what you never thought would be yours and you cherish that treasure until no end…and then it goes and walks away…without a second glance or a single word. It leaves you feeling so angry and frustrated, but at the same time so hurt. In a split second, it was gone as if I never existed, as if *we* never existed. No matter how many times I told her I loved her, no matter how many times I told her I cared…I don't think it was enough…I don't think my loving her was enough. If it had been, I'd still have her heart, like she still has mine…*

"Bring! Bring!" the phone beside him shrilled bringing him out of his thoughts and back into the darkness of reality.

Closing his notebook, he reached the for phone with a sigh, "Hello?"

And he heard the familiar breathing and recognized the familiar hesitance, as he leaned back against the pillow, waiting to hear the similar words that had taken him into the dark before and would sustain him there still, "Xander…we have to talk…."