Title: Two Choices
Author: A. Price
E-mail: jared@hsnp
Part: 1/1

Disclaimer: I don't own them or things would be very different.

Summary: this is a few months after Angel has left, maybe they don't need to find a new boyfriend for Buffy, maybe he's already there.

Author's Note: Just because I sometimes write Buffy/Xander fic - does not mean by any means that I have given up on Buffy/Angel.

Andra - the author who lives in the land of denial (grin)

Archivest's Note: Andra, I'd just like to let you know that I take this fic as a sign that you have seen the truth in the One True Path, that is, the B/X 'ship. *grin*

~Robyn - the bunny who doesn't live in denial, but instead commutes


Xander looked at Buffy lying listlessly on her bed. Her hair was a mess and she was dressed sloppily. She didn't resemble the Buffy of a few months ago. He had thought this Angel depression would have ended before now. But she seemed to be clinging to it, she didn't want anything to do with anybody or anything.

"That's it, we are getting out of here." He said abruptly as he pulled Buffy by her hand up from her bed.

"I don't want to go anywhere, Xander, or do anything." She pouted as she tried to sit back down on the bed.

"Trust me, I know you don't. I know you would rather sit here by yourself and mope, but I'm not going to let you do that today. Buffy, look at yourself, I mean I don't have Cordelia's fashion sense but even I can tell that your fashion sense is slipping." He was trying to ge a rise out of her, anything was better then this moping.

"What do you mean?" She asked as she walked towards the mirror. Hesitantly looking at her reflection, she had to admit that this wasn't her best hair day. And maybe oversized tee's and sweatpants weren't her best look - but she didn't feel like primping, she didn't feel anything anymore.

"Come on, Buffy. Brush your hair, we are going to take a walk." Xander said as he came up behind her and handed her the hairbrush.

She frowned, but she brushed her hair and pulled it into a ponytail. She turned to face him, "Where are we going?"

"Have you ever walked a railroad trestle?" He asked smiling at her.

"No. Why would I want to?" She asked him rolliing her eyes.

"Because it's fun." He answered as they headed downstairs and out the door.

As they approached the trestle, Xander took Buffy's hand in his. She removed it abruptly. "Why do you need my hand?"

"Because, walking on the trestle is scary the first time." He explained gently.

"I am the Slayer. I eat scary for breakfast. I can surely walk a railroad trestle." She told him with that look. The look he knew too well, the "back off Xander" look.

They made the first few steps onto the trestle okay, several yards out on the trestle, Buffy noticed how high they were, and the water churning below them, the spaces between the ties added to her apprehension, it was an eerie feeling. She took a deep breath and marched on, she didn't want Xander to see her fear.

They walked on silently until they reached the middle of the trestle. Buffy looked down between the ties at the water. Xander had walked ahead of her, she was frozen on the tracks she didn't want to go any farther.

Xander turned around and saw her standing there frozen, he could see her fear. "You okay?"

She shook her head no. "No, I don't want to go any farther Xander."

Xander turned and started walking towards the other side of the trestle. Buffy called out to him "Where are you going?" in a small voice.

"I'm going across, Buffy. The way I see it you have two choices here."

"What choices?"

Xander turned to her, "Choice A, you turn around. Choice B you come on across."

"Great choices, Xander." She complained loudly.

Xander smiled at her "What are you going to do?" "I'm turning around, I only have to go half as far that way. If I go all the way across, I have to come back all the way across." She said shakily.

"Your right, but if you turn around, you have to go alone. If you come forward across, then we can go back across together. You won't have to be alone." He told her in a gentle voice. < Please, Buffy come on across. Let me help you >

Buffy looked at Xander, then she turned and looked the way they had come. She turned and looked at Xander again, he was standing on the other side, hands outstretched, waiting patiently. She hesitated for a moment, looking down at the water she said "I don't know if I can do it, Xander."

"Buffy, you can do it. You just need to look ahead, not behind you or beneath you. Look straight ahead, look at what's waiting for you, not what's behind you." Xander said with a deep breath.

She stared straight across the trestle at him, she kept her eyes on him, he was smiling at her, his arms still reaching out to her. She moved her feet slowly, then she picked up her pace and was soon across the trestle. Xander's gaze never left her.

She crossed the trestle, tears in her eyes a small smile on her face. Xander pulled her into a tight hug. "You did it, Buffy. You just have to look ahead, Buffy. Stop looking back, I'm here, we are all here for you. You don't have to be alone."

The dam broke then, all of her anger, fear and loss all came to the surface, she soaked Xanders shirtfront with her tears. He gently stroked her hair and just let her cry.

"He's not coming back." She said in a muffled voice.

"No, he's not. But you'll be okay, Buffy. I promise that." He told he gently, then he added "Are you ready to go back across?"

She nodded and they walked towards the trestle. This time she silently took his hand in hers. He smiled as they walked across together.

The End