"You having fun out here, Buffy?"
The person asking the question startled her more than the question itself. She slid her very stylish sunglasses to the tip of her nose and eyed Xander curiously. She had not realized he even knew where her father lived, but she supposed it should not surprise her he found her.
"Passable. What's up?"
"He needs to know if you're going to come back, Buffy."
"Since when do you care about Angel or how I treat him, Xander?"
"Now that's not fair. When the First was toying with him I jumped right in to help. When he was dying from that poison Faith injected him with I helped yet again."
Buffy sighed softly and shifted to the edge of the chaise lounge she was sunning on. Her dad was at work, so she had run of the house as had been the case for the past three days. At night, she was able to spend some time with him for the first time in years. It was weird to be in a relationship with him adult to adult.
Xander was right, when it counted he had been of the mind to help Angel. It was not until recently that she discovered that he had wanted him dead enough to lie about Willow attempting the restoration spell before the First or Faith came into the game. That one sort of negated the others, she thought so anyway.
"So he sent you here to do some recon?"
Xander shrugged, taking a seat on the edge of the chaise next to hers. "I sort of volunteered."
"Yeah, they've all been about nothing but research for three days now. Some of us have taken bets on whether or not you even made it to your dad's."
"Where else would I have gone?"
Xander shrugged. "You could have been killed."
"Not likely." She was quiet, wondering what there was to say. She knew she had to go back eventually and face him, face her friends but she was enjoying just being for a day or two. "Did he tell you all what he told me?"
"No, Buff, I doubt he would even if he weren't such a private guy. All he told us is that you needed some time to yourself."
"He's got that right," Buffy said softly.
"I know you two have the love hate thing and the whole tragic and doomed love thing going, but I think he really needs you."
"He's done fine without me."
"Has he? Have you? I mean, really, Buffy. Would he have come to Sunnydale if he didn't care whether you lived or died? Can you tell me you weren't happy to see him when he showed up at that temple?"
"Buffy, I love you, you know that. So I hope you'll take this for what it is when I say it. You're an adult now, it's time for you to stop running away from things and face them head on. You do that just great when it's the latest big bad but when it's your personal life you're an ostrich."
"At least I didn't stand anyone up at the altar."
"None of us have made the best choices, Buff, but this isn't about love. This is about the man you claim to love more than anything needing you."
"He said that?"
"He didn't have to. You called him for help, he agreed to help you, he's got an entire staff working on this, and you walk away from him. It's busting him up, all of us can see it."
"I didn't ask him to put an entire staff on it. All I asked him to do was help me train the slayers."
"You expected him to be there when you needed him."
"Well, yeah, he always has been in the past," she said since he had put it like that. Xander did not say anymore, he did not need to. It was so easy to run away, too easy to not hear what she did not want to hear. It was time for her to deal with Angel and all he had told her like a grown up and not the sixteen year old girl she was when they first met. He was not asking her to love him, merely to understand what he had done.
"As soon as Dad gets home from work I'll have him drop me off." Buffy could see the relief in Xander's eye and knew she had made the right decision. No matter what, Angel was her friend and she did not turn her back on friends.
"I'll let him know, Buff."
"Thanks for coming, Xander," she said as she led him into the house.
"Just out of curiosity."
"Would you have come back if I hadn't sought you out today?"
"I would have eventually, Xan. Honestly, I'd been trying not to think about anything since I got here. Of the bad maybe, but I was enjoying it."
"Okay, so we'll see you later?"
"Yup, a few hours," she said as she walked Xander to the door. She waved as he pulled out of the driveway, wondering where he had gotten the car.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com