the pearl

All Your Regrets

"All your regrets ride rough-shod over me...I'm so glad that we're strangers when we meet..." -David Bowie

Xander stood by the grave, a single white rose clenched in his hand, his face devoid of all emotion. He stopped feeling that night in the park when it all ended, Buffy's blood slowly seeping into the grass as he pounded on her chest, trying to bring her back.

Giles stood next to him, his face just as expressionless. He had been the one to pull the boy away from Buffy's body, been the one to hold Xander back as the coroner took her away from them forever. Over glasses of whisky, Xander told him everything. The nightmares, the night she came to his apartment, the promise he had tried so hard to keep.

The minister finished speaking and the crowd slowly dispersed. Xander looked over the crowd and caught sight of a small redhead in the background. He walked over to her. "Willow," he said, his voice low.

Willow turned and smiled at him. "Xander!" she said. She wrapped her arms around him and hugged him tightly. "Oh Xander, I'm so sorry...."

"'s been so long...." Xander said quietly. He looked at her. "You look great..."

Willow smiled sadly. "It's been too long, Xander..." She paused for a second. "I'm....I'm sorry I never visited..."

"Yeah..." Xander said, his voice a little harsh. "Was meaning to ask you about that..."


Xander looked down. A small child stood next to Willow, tugging on her dress.

"Mommy...who's that?" The little girl looked up at Xander with chocolate brown eyes, eyes just like his own.

Xander looked at Willow, his eyes narrowing, then quickly turned away.


Willow found him near a small pond in the cemetery, throwing pebbles in. "Xander?" she said quietly.

"So that was 'summer school'," he said quietly, throwing another pebble. "I'm glad I found out about that four years after the fact."

Willow sat down next to him, sighing. "I..."

"Don't say a word, Willow," Xander said. He continued to look at the pond. "I barely hear from you for four years, I don't see you at all, and, finally, at the funeral of our best friend, you show up...with my child." The words were harsh, pained. He looked at her, his eyes glittering with tears. "For God's sake, Willow. Why didn't you tell me?"

"How was I supposed to tell you? I was seventeen! You were seventeen! You weren't ready for a kid..."

"And you were?" He looked at Willow with narrowed eyes, studying her slight frame. "I should have realized why you started wearing those baggy sweaters...." He looked back at the pond. "So did you keep it a secret from everyone or am I the odd man out again?"

"My parents knew..."

"And Oz?" Xander threw another pebble into the pond. "Did you tell him you were knocked up with your best friend's baby? Or would that ruin your 'penitent girlfriend' act?"

Willow glared at him. "I told Oz everything before he took me back. He was there with me from day one," she said, her voice low. "Would you have been there?"

"You never gave me a chance, did you?" Xander snapped back. "We had that one night then you disappeared. I wasn't your lover, I wasn't your best could I have the chance to be a father?" He looked at Willow. "Willow...I..." his voice broke. "I just want to know why..."

She looked back at him, her eyebrows knitted in an exasperated frown. "Why what?"

"Why you came back. Why you brought her. Why you had her. Why Oz isn't with you. Why you never told anyone. Why you never told me." His voice grew sharper as he continued. "Why all this happened and why you always were forgiven and everyone expected me to fuck up again."

"Xander, I..." She sighed. "I don't know why I'm here." She stood up. "I just....I wanted you to know. And I wish to God I had told Buffy before —"

"Don't." Xander looked at her, his expression chilling. "Don't even bring her up." He looked back at the pond, silent.

After a few seconds, Willow spoke up. "Xander?" she asked, reaching a hand out to touch his shoulder.

His body tightened at her touch. "So you wanted to talk about the kid," he said, his voice flat. "So tell me about her. What's her name? When's her birthday? What's she like?"

Willow moved away, confused by the change. "She's....her name is Perry. She was born on September 10th, and her fourth birthday is in about a month..." She smiled wryly. "She has your energy level. Sometimes it seems like I'll never keep up with her..."

"You kept up with me just fine..." Xander said quietly, his voice slightly choked.

Willow's smile faded. "Xander?" she said, her eyes wide.

Xander rubbed his face with his hands, wiping away tears, then turned to Willow. "It was....good to see you, Willow. If there's anything you or...Perry sure to call me...I'm sure Giles can give you the number to my apartment." He slowly stood up. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I just buried a woman I cared very deeply for and I'd like to be able to mourn her without any more surprises." He began to walk away.

"Xander!" Willow yelled out. He turned and looked at her. "I....I'm sorry..."

Xander's mouth curved into a faint bitter smile. "Of course you are...." he said softly. He turned and walked away.

This Angel/Buffy the Vampire Slayer story was written by Kate Bolin. If you liked it, there's plenty more at And you can feedback her at