Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (tv)
Characters: Xander
Summary/Teaser: "Then it occurred to me that maybe all the people we saw behaving oddly or madly were not a distinct type at all, they were just us on a very bad day." -Hood by Emma Donoghue
Warnings: --
Spoilers: "Chosen" (BtVS 7.22)
Notes: --
Word Count: 510

Standard Disclaimer: Joss Whedon and co. own the characters, I'm just playing with them. I do, however, own this story, so don't steal it. Archive it anywhere; just ask first.

Feedback is always appreciated. Make me blush with praise or rip apart the story with criticism, or both.

Title stolen from Tegan and Sara's song "More For Me"

(Stars) Kept Marching
by Elizabeth Scripturient

Then it occurred to me that maybe all the people we saw behaving oddly or madly were not a distinct type at all, they were just us on a very bad day. -Hood by Emma Donoghue
"Coffee, black."

Xander looked at the woman's harrowed face and wondered if they would ever stop looking that way -- the Sunnydale expatriates. Everyone had known to get out; they were all survivors -- all of those who had left, anyway. He hurriedly wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. Buffy had told him that when she came back, Spike told her that every night he saved her. She told him that she had never been allowed to think like that, that she still wasn't, that she had to focus on the survivors, on the new Slayers. He wondered if she ever thought like that anyway. He knew he certainly did. He tried not to; it hurt too much. Imagining himself fighting with Anya. Imagining himself dying to protect her. Imagining her running away like she'd planned to that first time she'd been human for a Sunnydale apocalypse. Remembering the first time they had had sex. Remembering the last time. Remembering when he proposed to her and she slapped him. Remembering running away on their wedding day.

He chugged the rest of his coffee now, realizing tears were running down his cheeks. He was still a carpenter. And every time he worked, in his mind he was rebuilding Sunnydale. He wondered if they knew -- the escapees. Their generation had told them so many years ago at their prom that they knew, and that they were thankful. There was no official word on the destruction of Sunnydale. Everyone said localized earthquake. With no town left, there was no one to write up an official word, and no one pressed for an explanation. He suspected everyone was just glad to be alive and wanted to leave Sunnydale behind them.

He wondered how often they remembered the cemeteries they had left behind, the memories and the bodies. He remembered when he had gone with Willow. He remembered Joyce's funeral. He remembered Buffy's funeral -- and when they brought her back. He had gone out to his truck now and was crying openly, counting the minutes left in his lunch break.

Willow had told him she could help him grow a new eyeball. He had thought about taking her up on it as his carpentry suffered because of it, but he just couldn't. It had nothing to do with the pain involved or the fact that Willow's time and energy could be better used in a multitude of ways. No, he felt the need to carry a physical scar symbolic of all their battles. Now, 3 months later, he wondered how he could have ever worried he would forget. He remembered every battle they fought those 7 years.

He was mostly a foreman now, which was good given his eye, but it did nothing for him emotionally. Sawing wood, hammering nails, replacing a window... these things meant rebuilding Sunnydale. Ordering people around... that was never his thing. He winced as he remembered Buffy's "I am a general" speeches and the night she left the house.

He looked at the digital clock display. Time to go.

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