liz_marcs (liz_marcs) wrote,

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Water Hold Me Down (Part 14)

A first in this one: It's the first time I actually ever specifically wrote something real-life Boston-centric in a fic to illuminate Faith's character (read: my own personal Faith fanon). The image of Faith sitting on Revere Beach in winter eating Kelly's world famous fried clams just wouldn't go away.

In a way, this Faith's "Three Faces..." chapter as she deals with herself, Buffy/Willow, and the ghost of Anya.

Honestly, I'm surprised this part came out as well as it did. I generally struggle like hell with exposition parts and this one was just waiting to be written. It's a serious first for me.

Continued from Part 13.


There was a lot of not-talking for fuck-knows how long. Buffy eventually drifted off to sleep, still sitting up against the wall. It was a light sleep, Faith could tell, one of those on-the-edge things were she was resting her eyes and could fully wake up at a moment’s notice.

Buffy’s face at least was relaxed and peaceful in a way that it never was when she was awake and her mouth was motoring from one subject to the next. Faith wasn’t entirely comfortable watching the other Slayer sleep because she looked—like a corpse—vulnerable and unguarded in a way that B shouldn’t.

Then again, she never much cared for watching people sleep, not even Robin when they were together. She was too afraid she might see some hidden true thing she had no right to see.

Faith was flopped on her back on one of the workout mats so she could stare at the basement ceiling. Her own napping attempts were troubling at best. Every time she closed her eyes, she was overwhelmed with a feeling of inexplicable irritation. The only way she could describe it was as if she were trying to get somewhere and bullshit problems kept getting in her way.

Knowing napping was out, she was half-tempted to go upstairs and sit in on the question-and-answer session, but she wasn’t entirely sure what B would do if she woke up and found herself alone in the workout room. She was simply stuck in wait mode until someone started looking for them.

Fucking Tweedy. Fuck, fuckity, fuck, fuck, fuck. Shouldn’t someone else be doing the babysitting shit, you dick? I’m no good at this. Cyclops deals with the emotional trauma bullshit. I hit things that cause the emotional trauma bullshit. That’s the fucking deal he and I got and you’re messing it the hell up.

There wasn’t a whole lot of anger or irritation behind the run of thoughts. The endless mental loop of invective against Giles was more a case of trying to get her brain to stop thinking. She could sense the real thoughts nibbling around the edges, just waiting for a break through the mental noise so she could drive herself nuts.

How in hell she wound up even close to being the voice of reason around this place, she’ll never know. She was the one who was usually popping her cork off about subjects ranging from bitter coffee to the vampire that got away, sometimes in the same breath.

One thing she didn’t do was wish for the roller coaster ride of responsibility Giles shoved on her to stop, not even mentally. One brief introduction to the wonderful world of vengeance demons was enough to tell her that wishing was dangerous mojo. The very idea made her nervous about all the times back before she was Called when she and a revolving band of stoners and losers would cut school, head for Revere Beach, smoke weed, and raid Kelly’s sidewalk takeout windows for deep fat fried shellfish while they all wished for shit they would never have.

Her wish was always the same: Shake the dust of this town off my feet and go out there and really be someone.

With all that wishing going on while they were so stoned they didn’t know half the shit they were saying, it’s a wonder some vengeance demon didn’t sneak in and start making like an evil fairy godmother.

Wonder where they all are now?

Christ, right about now she almost missed those days hanging out with the losers, sitting on the beach in the dead of winter, and watching the steel-colored Atlantic wash away the sand as they ate the fried clams, fried onions, and French fries with extra helpings of Kelly’s special tartar sauce. Things were hella simple when the days were an endless run of muted blues, greys, and browns viewed through some primo smoke and the haze of a quickie against the cement retaining wall with whoever was up for it. Complication took over when the world exploded into sharp colors of red, black, and flesh and the pot stopped working because Slayer metabolism burned it away.

Ooooo, thoughts bad. Keep getting second thoughts like that, you’ll get yourself dead. What this situation calls for is a little more Slayer-fu.

Faith bit her lip against the unbidden near-laugh. Sounded a little too much like Cyclops whenever Rona and Vi would start over-thinking how to trap a scraggly-toothed ugly to the point they couldn’t figure out which end of the stake to shove through the heart.

The sound of the basement door opening rescued Faith from herself and she sat up. Buffy’s eyes had already popped open and she was watching a pale and obviously exhausted Willow pick her way down the stairs.

“Willow?” Buffy’s question revealed swirling colors of worry and fear.

Willow lowered herself into a sitting position on the steps. “It’s bad,” she said.

“How bad?” Faith asked.

“They confirmed they used a lock-and-key spell to send Xander to an alternative dimension. They need Anya’s blood to get him back,” Willow explained.

“Oh god,” Buffy said.

“Did you stress how not possible that was?” Faith asked. “We don’t even have a corpse to dig up, let alone…”

“Faith! Ewwww!” Buffy winced. “Good point, but still ewwww.”

“An actual Anya-occupied grave wouldn’t do us any good either since the blood has to be fresh,” Willow shuddered. “She doesn’t have to actually be, you know, alive to trigger the lock and key, but the blood has to be fresh.”

“I think I’m with B on the ewww,” Faith said. “Gotta admit though, it’s smart.”

Buffy shot her a glare. “I’m thinking more evil, less smart.”

Faith shrugged. “Both, then. Either way, if Anya was hot on Cyclops, and maybe even if she wasn’t, if she was still kicking she’d forced to give in. Plus, our good buddies up there could get their revenge before triggering the spell to get Harris back. By the time he got home, his honey’d be already dead and there’d be shit-all he could do about it.”

“Since they’re not exactly fans of Xander, it’s a nice way of getting revenge on him too without breaking their promise to not physically hurt him,” Willow wearily pointed out. “Can you imagine what Xander’d be like if he knew Anya turned herself over to be tortured and murdered to get him home?”

“Don’t think they’d get a chance to kick back and enjoy the show. Their lives wouldn’t be worth shit from here on out, that’s for sure,” Faith glumly agreed.

“The way you both are thinking frightens me,” Buffy said. “Still, how could they not know she was dead? I mean, c’mon, if they were following her for as long as they say, they had to have known.”

Willow tiredly rubbed her eyes. “They only caught up to us two weeks ago. Like just about everyone and everything else in town, when things got bad in Sunnydale they took off. Since they, unh, couldn’t exactly chat with the Red Cross like us, they just got as far away from Sunnydale as they could and waited to see what would happen.”

“How’d they track us?” Faith asked.

“Jack and Joey are invisible-ish since they’re animal-looking,” Willow answered. “Demons, humans, no one really saw them. When they wanted to find out if we got out alive, all they did was figure out where the little bads were hanging out and send in Jack and Joey to see if they could hear anything.”

“Demons know we’re here already?” Buffy sounded discomforted at the thought.

“Jeez, what didjya expect B?” Faith asked with irritation. “We’re a house full of Slayers hanging on top of a Hellmouth. I’d be more surprised if word didn’t get out.”

“I know that,” Buffy bristled. “I was hoping for just a little bit more time before creepy crawlies knew we were here, like as in them never finding out.”

“Dream on,” Faith said with rolled eyes.

“Don’t feel bad, Buffy,” Willow soothed. “All anyone knew for awhile is that we got out, but no one really knew who got out or where we went. From what I get from Alistair they didn’t even know we were in Cleveland until a month ago.”

“Not making me feel better, Will,” Buffy slumped. “Great. Now we’re going to have to watch our backs. I have to think that we make a big, juicy target for anything that wants to earn a bad reputation.”

“There is that,” Willow allowed.

“Still doesn’t answer why they thought Anya was still alive. I mean, c’mon, they had to be watching us after they got here,” Faith pointed out.

Willow winced. “I think it’s a case of they jumped the gun.”

“No shit,” Faith said.

“Basically, while they were trying find out where we went after Sunnydale, they were researching their latest scheme. Right about the time they had their plan set, they find out we’re in Cleveland and head over here,” Willow said. “So, they get here two weeks ago and get a base of operations, which isn’t at that abandoned factory where they met us by the way. It’s some SRO around the city. Anyway, about a week ago, Jack spots Xander on patrol with Rona, Vi, and you, Faith, and he just followed you guys here. They figured that if Xander was here, Anya had to be around too.”

“Just like that. They just assumed Anya was here,” Buffy stated. “It never occurred to them that she might not be here? I mean, c’mon. They broke up the wedding. Why would they even think Xander and Anya were still together?”

“Because they were watching your house back in Sunnydale,” Willow said. “I guess they saw some things that made them think they weren’t on the outs anymore.”

“Which was true, they weren’t,” Faith pointed out.

“But still,” Buffy protested, “you’d think they’d at least get a headcount of who was living here before going all action pack.”

“You have to understand: to them Anyanka is this great big thing like…like…a great big thing,” Willow faltered. “They didn’t know Anyanka as Anya. I mean, sure, we tend to see Anya as someone who was Xander’s weird girlfriend and as far as weird significant others go, Anya wasn’t really all that weird when compared to werewolves, vampires, supersoldiers, and Cordelia.”

“Very funny,” Buffy said.

“What I’m trying to say is that, to them, Anyanka was this immortal demon that ruined their lives and caused all this destruction,” Willow said. “They’re still having a hard time understanding that it’s even possible for her to die. I mean, they believe us and everything, but it’s such a foreign idea to them even now that it’s no wonder they just assumed Anya got out of Sunnydale without a scratch.”

“An assumption Cyclops is paying for in spades,” Faith remarked.

“Tell me that it isn’t as bad as I think,” Buffy said. “Tell me there’s a way around ‘no Anya.’”

Willow waved a hand. “They showed me the spell they used. I’m pretty sure I can override it, but we have to find one with a little more oomph for the pulling in to overpower the shoving away, it’s just a question of finding the right spell. The yank back is probably going to hurt him, you know, physically, that’s if we can find him.”

If?” Buffy asked.

“Are you telling me that the brain trust don’t even know where he is?” Faith asked. “C’mon, I’m not buying that shit.”

“With a lock-and-key, they don’t have to know,” Willow said. “It works on a yo-yo principle, almost. They shoved him away using the first half of the spell and all they needed to do was perform the second half to yank him back. Where he landed was immaterial.”

“So how do they know he’s safe?” Buffy demanded.

“There are certain parameters they set,” Willow said as she began to tick the points off on her fingers. “It had to be a dimension where his alternative was alive. That’s one. Another is that it has to be the rarest dimension in existence where Xander was still Xander, sort of a one step beyond that he might as well be someone else deal, which means by definition it doesn’t exist. That’s two.”

“Hunh?” Faith and Buffy chorused.

“Okay, the way Giles explained it, and I’m pretty sure I think I got the concept, is that just because everything can and could happen doesn’t mean it will. Like, say, Xander becoming a serial killer randomly murdering women. Physically, it would look like Xander, but it wouldn’t be Xander because that isn’t who he essentially is. Therefore, it’s not an alternative dimension possibility because it doesn’t exist. It’s like how you won’t do anything under hypnotism that you wouldn’t do if you were fully awake, follow?”

“Sort of,” Buffy said.

Faith was glad Buffy did, because she was lost.

“But, say, a dimension where Xander died at Sunnydale instead of Anya is possible, although that’s kind of a bad example since he couldn’t get sent to that dimension since the other Xander wouldn’t be alive,” Willow said. “Same thing if there was a vampire Xander. Still possible, but still dead, so no dice there either.”

“Got it,” Buffy nodded.

Faith felt like an idiot because she still couldn’t follow what Willow was saying. But since the braniacs had the sitch, she wasn’t going to worry about it. “Since you said they were pretty sure he was safe, I’m assuming that’s the other condition, right? A nice, quiet little universe where nothing bad happens to anyone?”

“Yes and no,” Willow said. “It’s more of a ‘most likely,’ I think. There’s no direct danger to him and, given there’s another living Xander around to watch his back, chances are he’ll be okay. But if he stumbles across trouble there isn’t a guarantee, which they didn’t even realize until we pointed out the possibility.”

“Faith, your dream,” Buffy quietly said.

Faith shot Buffy a glare. She was kind of hoping no one would bring that up.

“Okay, we have to get started on this right away,” Buffy was slipping into take-charge mode. “How do we start on the finding part?”

“Process of elimination, mostly,” Willow said. “We have to come up with some unlikely, well to us anyway, scenarios that makes this alternative universe a real one-of-a-kind, test it with a little dowsing action, and go from there.”

“That could take awhile,” Buffy said. “I mean, where do we even begin?”

“I’m thinkin’ it’s more like, ‘Are you sure you’d even think of everything,’” Faith said.

“Between me, Buffy, Dawn, and Giles I’m pretty sure we’ll find something,” Willow said.

“I don’t care how well you know somebody, there’s always something about them you don’t know because they don’t show you,” Faith argued.

Buffy let out a sigh. “Which we know is the case with Xander.”

“No we don’t,” Willow protested.

“Two words: wedding visions,” Buffy said meaningfully.

Willow wasn’t letting go. “But we found out about them eventually.”

“A secret he kept for how long, Will? And we found out by accident, not because Xander actually said anything when we asked him why he took off. In fact, he’s never even admitted it even after he knew we knew. Despite everything, he’s still sticking by his story that he decided they weren’t ready to get married,” Buffy pointed out. “How many other secrets do you think he might have? I mean, you used to know his blood pressure. Do you even know what it is anymore?”

“Right now it’s through the roof?” Willow asked hopefully. She deflated. “Okay, I admit that I’m not the Xander Harris encyclopedia I used to be and…”

“Duh,” Buffy said with rolled eyes.

“Hey! Stop taking it out on me!” Willow said. “I’m doing the best I can and all you’re doing is…”

“Whoa!” Faith shot to her feet. “Things are getting a little nasty here. Now what I heard is, ‘We got a plan.’ As plans go it sucks, but it’s the best plan we got. So until we come up with something better, we go with it. The longer we talk, the longer it takes, capech?”

Buffy and Willow glared at each other a beat before they both looked a way and muttered half-assed apologies, which did nothing to diffuse the tension.

Cyclops would have them laughing about stupid shit right about now. About all I can manage is to keep them from killing each other, Faith thought dispiritedly as Willow announced she was going back upstairs to do her research thing.

“Be up in a sec,” Faith called after her retreating back. Willow half-lifted a shoulder to signal she heard before shutting the basement door after her.

“I won’t,” Buffy said as she flopped onto a bench. “I better calm down first, otherwise I’ll start beating those guys if I see them.”

“Jesus, B. What’s the deal?” Faith asked. “I ain’t never seen you like this, and that includes all those times you were pissed at me. You seriously that upset they were part of the wedding torpedo?”

“Yes. No. Yes…ummm…sort of,” Buffy admitted. “It’s just they made everyone’s lives so much harder than it had to be and that’s…forget it.”

“Can’t,” Faith leaned against the wall with her arms crossed. “No one’ll be able to do their freakin’ job if they’re afraid you’re going to go off. You were ripping into Willow of all people, for Christ’s sake.”

“Okay, fine,” Buffy said. “For example, that last year in Sunnydale. I had so much crap I had to worry about. No letting the Potentials get killed. Getting the Potentials trained. Giles going weird on me. Robin and his grudge against Spike. Turok-Han attacks. Bringers. Caleb. Andrew and his being Andrew. The First. Spike and his soul. Xander getting hurt. Huuuuuuge list. Know what else was on that list? Make sure Anya didn’t get killed.”

“Hunh? How was keeping Anya alive just your job?”

“You remember they mentioned hit demons, right?” Buffy asked.

“Well, yeah, but I don’t remember anything actually targeting Anya while I was there.”

“Anya got attacked a couple of times before you showed up. We all thought it was because D’Hoffryn, her old demon boss, was angry with her. We believed them when they said D’Hoffryn sent them and it turns out that he had nothing to do with it.” Buffy waved an angry arm at the stairs. “Why do you think Anya was living with us?”

“Because just about everyone else was?” Faith tentatively asked.

“No, she moved in early on so we could watch her back,” Buffy huffed. “Making sure that Anya didn’t get killed was one more thing on my checklist for the day. One more little bit of stress on top of a whole pile. And I didn’t have a choice but do it because…”

“Xander would be upset if she was killed,” Faith said quietly.

“Yeah,” Buffy agreed equally as quietly. “Their relationship was so messed up after the wedding and, I’ll be honest, I was zero help. I even went after…” Buffy slammed her mouth shut.

“Just how bad are we talking?” Faith asked.

“Story for another day, I guess,” Buffy shrugged. “Let’s just say it doesn’t make anyone look good. Trust me, you really don’t want to hear it. Besides, you said yourself we’ve got a job to do and the more we talk….”

“Fine. Whatever. I’m heading up. When you finally think you’re ready to be Ms. Personality, I’ll see ya.” Faith felt unaccountably hurt at the shutout. It wasn’t like she really cared. It was more curiosity than anything else. Let B and her buddies keep their freakin’ secrets. So what if eventually shit like this seemed to eventually bite all the little Scoobies in the ass. Only reason why it was her business was because she got stuck living with these lunatics.

Faith tromped up out of the basement. When she emerged into the entrance hall, she wasn’t entirely surprised to see Willow leaning against the wall as if she were waiting for someone to emerge. “B’s staying put until she feels more social,” Faith said shortly as she moved to brush by the witch.

“Actually, I’m waiting for you.”

That brought Faith to a quick halt.

“I need you to do me a favor,” Willow dropped her voice down low as she shoved a tiny black velvet box into Faith’s hand. “I have to run back into the library and at least start working on the Xander problem, but I need you to get this upstairs to Xander’s room for me.”

“Why don’t you do it?”

“Because if someone sees me going in there, they’ll know something’s up.”

“Unh-hunh,” Faith skeptically said. “You’re being way too paranoid.”

Willow shuffled uncomfortably. “Maybe,” she finally admitted.

“So, what is it?” Faith shook the tiny box at her.

“It’s what they used to key the crystal ball to Xander.”

“No shit.” Faith took a closer look at the box. It fit perfectly in the palm of her hand. The velvet fuzz was worn away in some spots, as if it had been obsessively rubbed for a long time. “Forgot all about that part.”

“You and everyone else, thank god. Joey, that’s the rat, he’s the one that snuck in and stole it right out from under our noses the day before Xander went missing. They gave it back to me after the meeting broke up and I asked how they keyed the crystal to Xander since everyone was kind of worried how they got their hands on something of his.”

“So Rizzo Rat did the raid? Wow, we are soooo observant. Nothing gets by us, does it?” Faith asked sarcastically.

“C’mon, Faith,” Willow pleaded. “Joey’s a rat with a human brain.”

“Whatever,” Faith snorted as she tried to hand the box back to Willow. “Have B do it. I ain’t your errand girl.”

“Y-y-you can’t show B, I mean Buffy,” Willow whispered. “It would be a nasty surprise if she knew he had this. It was, ummm, a bit of a surprise to me because I didn’t know he had it either.”

Riiiiiiight. Looks like you really do know your bud sooooo well that you’ll find where he is in just no time at all, came the sarcastic thought as Faith took another look at the box. It suddenly it struck her that it was just big enough to hold a ring. Her own voice dropped to a whisper. “That rare reality. What about one where Xander went through with the wedding?”

“First thing I tried to, you know, test the theory. I didn’t want to go down there without an actual plan because…well…you see Buffy, right? So I figured check first, see if it has a chance, then tell Buffy.”

“So, watchya get?” Faith asked.

Willow let out a sigh. “I got an answer that resembles ‘not even close, shake the eight ball and try again.’ Crazy as this sounds to me, there are actually as many realities where Xander and Anya got married as there are those where they didn’t.”

“Guess we ain’t the center of the universe, hunh?”

“Yeah, it is a universe-rocking answer, isn’t it?” Willow agreed. “So, you’ll do this for me?”

“Fine. I’ll do it. I’m heading up to bed anyway since I haven’t slept at all,” Faith grumped.

Willow rested a hand on her forearm and whispered, “Thanks,” before heading back to the library.

“You should get some rest too,” Faith called at her retreating back. “Driving yourself into the ground ain’t gonna be helping anyone in the long run.”

Willow waved a bye-bye hand at her over her shoulder at the Slayer before disappearing into her research session.

Faith climbed up the stairs with the box clutched in her hand. Boy just doesn’t know when to let the fuck go, does he? What did he think? If he and Anya survived he was going to get down on bended knee and try again? Girlfriend would have to be fucking insane if she said yes after he dumped her ass the once.

Then again, they were screwing and Anya was all ‘Xander this…’ and ‘Xander that…’ after he got hurt, so god knows it just might’ve worked out.

Still, something about the story still didn’t seem right to her. She couldn’t put her finger on it, but it hung there at there at the edge of her mind and refused to come into focus.

When she reached Xander’s room, she gave a quick look up and down the hallway to make sure the coast was clear before scooting inside. Luck was with her and Andrew was nowhere about. She scanned for a spot to put the box where Cyclops would find it when he got back, but not in an open spot where prying little Andrew fingers would find it.

Top drawer, night table next to the bed, she decided.

She was about to do just that when curiosity got the better of her about what exactly was in the velvet box. Her fingers danced over the threadbare surface a bit as she looked around out of habit. With a quick move the box was open, revealing two wedding bands—one chick-sized, one man-sized—jammed inside.

Her shoulders slumped, partly in disappointment because she figured she’d see bling instead of two simple gold bands; partly in some sadness over the fact that Xander was holding on to this piece of failure because it just might be the only thing he had left of Anya.

“You really did love her, didn’t ya Cyclops?” Faith asked as she plucked the chick-sized band out and studied the inside inscription in the light.

“ALH to ACEJ. March 3, 2002. My heart is yours always.”

Hunh. Anya had initials. Probably made up. She wondered if Xander helped pick the other names.

“You really shouldn’t do that,” said a voice behind her.

“Christ!” Faith found herself juggling ring and box. Slayer reflexes were the only reason why she managed to hold on to either.

“Xander wouldn’t like it if he saw you looking at the rings.” Andrew said ‘the rings’ as if they were a pair of religious relics, which, given the man-crush he had going on Cyclops and the hero-worship he had going with the ghost of Anya, he probably thought they were.

“Just curious is all,” Faith said as she jammed the ring back into the box and shut it. “Wanted to see the thing they stole to make that crystal ball a one-man trap.”

Andrew blinked his suddenly watery eyes furiously. “Xander didn’t mention they’d gone missing. Not that he would. But I didn’t see him looking around for them so…He didn’t know? How did he not know?”

“Calm down, Andy. Got ripped off the day before things went haywire.” Faith stopped and refocused on Andrew. “Hey! Wait a second. Willow and B didn’t know about this, so how come you do?”

Andrew puffed himself up. “I room with him and I help take care of him when everyone’s too busy. So of course I know.”

“You’ve been spyin’.” Faith was vaguely amused by the idea that Andrew was probably studying Xander’s every move so he could be more like the big lug.

“He doesn’t know I know, no.” Andrew shrank as he admitted the point. “Thing is, I know no one knows because, ummm, well, I don’t know why no one knows but they don’t and I do.”

“Yeah, well, keep it a secret. You and me and Willow seem to be in an exclusive club, because they didn’t exactly hand this to her in front of a crowd,” Faith said. She sauntered over to the nightstand to put the box on flat surface since there was no point in hiding it.

“Don’t leave it there,” Andrew said quickly as he raced from the door to Faith’s side. “He’s got a hiding spot in the top drawer.”

Faith raised her eyebrows at that.

“He doesn’t know I know about that either, but sometimes I have to, you know, tuck it in the drawer because sometimes he forgets when he gets up in the morning or...or…because someone’s in the room and he doesn’t want them to see. He kind of always forgets that he didn’t put it back when he, you know, forgets to put it back.”

“Wait. He sleeps with it?” Faith asked.

”Shhhhhh,” Andrew looked at the open bedroom door over his shoulder. “Yeah. Sometimes when he’s really low. He did it more in the beginning. But I think he still checks on it every day.”

Faith looked down at the worn velvet. Made sense. If he carried it around, he’d probably lose it. If he put either ring on a chain, people would see and he still might lose it in a fight. She could almost imagine him holding on to this thing in the dark, thumb rubbing back and forth over the top like it was some ragged blanket as he drifted off to sleep or his hand squeezing around it because it was something solid Anya left behind. She wondered if he ever opened the box to look inside or if he ever tried that man-ring on for size while no one was looking.

Andrew opened the top drawer and pushed aside some papers and other assorted junk. “Back right corner,” he said.

Faith deposited the box and Andrew replaced everything, fussing until the box was perfectly hidden and the junk was arranged to his satisfaction.

“There. Now he’ll never know it was taken,” Andrew said happily as he closed the drawer.

“Kinda sad him holding on to it,” Faith remarked.

“That’s Xander, though,” Andrew nodded. “His love and his heart is always steady and true.”

Faith rolled her eyes. “He’ll never even use them, Andrew. It ain’t like he can just melt ’em down or use them if he actually gets hitched at some point.”

“Xander would never do that,” Andrew said angrily. “Anya was his one true love. He’s never going to fall in love again. How can you even say that?”

“You remember Catherine the Future Girl, right? Direct descendant of Xander-he’ll-never-love-again-Harris?” Faith said with her arms crossed. Why the hell am I getting so defensive about this? Ain’t like I wanna be mommy to his daddy like Catherine told me I would.

“He’s still human,” Andrew waved a hand. “But he’ll never love that woman like he loved Anya.”

Faith stared at the drawer with its hidden treasure for a bit before agreeing, “You’re probably right there.”



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