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[ m y . c a l l i n g ]
by kHo

Well, if life isn't just a lemon all dressed up as a peach sometimes.

I've always felt inadequate. Never was the one to save the day. I know it shouldn't bother me. I'm the only ‘normal person in this little Scooby gang, arent I? Im not a witch, Im not a newly re-souled vampire, Im not a potential, Im not a slayer, Im not a vengeance demon… Im just me, good buddy, old pal, Xander LaVelle Harris. Semi-attractive, semi-smart, semi-funny me.

The problem is that its hard to look at all that and not think that it means Im nothing. Funny how my one distinguishing quality was the fact that I saw so much… the fact that I noticed all the things that fell to the wayside. I was the “See-er.” And now, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the World of Irony: Xanders only got one eye now. The man with the cape has been stripped of his title due to lack of depth perception, and now hes in need of a parrot. Thank you, Caleb. Its been a pleasure.

The thing is, the end of the world has come and gone, and everything managed to stay the same. Buffy is out slaying with the slayerettes, and Im stuck at home twiddling my thumbs. Willow, now convinced of her Glenda The Good Witch-ness, is always ready with some feel-good be-good potion magic thing when its necessary, and Im left making asides from the sidelines. The worst, though, probably, aside from the whole self-loathing thing, is now I can feel their pity. I can see, even with only the one eye, how they look at me. Theres something about knowing that other people agree with you about your patheticness that makes you only feel more pathetic. On the plus side, when Im left at home to watch Andrew, I can always guarantee a laugh with a hapless ‘Ill keep an eye on him thrown out there.

The thing is, I wonder when will I get my calling? Ive read, and heard people talk, about everyone having their own calling. So whats mine? Is mine always the ruffled feather smoother? Dont I get some say in this? I get to be the one on the sidelines, cheering on everyone else around me while my life dwindles down to sarcasm and snark. I sit and I wait, and I try to count my blessings, I really do. The problem is that Ive been unlucky in so many things Im left to wonder if theres even anything left for me to even possibly have good luck in.

The constitution grants us with three things: Life, love, and the pursuit of happiness. Well, Ive got the life part down, technically anyway, so 30% down. Pursuit of happiness was always sticky for me, what with me being a tongue-tied buffoon for the vast majority of the time. I do try, though, to go for the things I want. Its just that they never work out. And love… well… loves a whole thing unto itself.

My first love was of course her. She was blond, she was gorgeous, and she wasnt completely devoid of humility. She was smart, though her grades didnt usually reflect that. She was bouncy and full of life… or she was till she died. When she came back, she was different, but I never stopped loving her. Off at night she would go, preying on the vamps, stalking them, slaying them. Being The Chosen One she was assigned to be by her birthright. She did most of it with a smile, but I think what made me fall for her was the fact that I always saw the tears behind that smile. Im not sure when it dawned on me to give up on her, that Id never truly have her. Im not even sure if it actually has… but it hurts less and less each day to look at her.

Then theres Willow. Sweet little Willow, whom Ive known my whole life. Willow who loved me from afar long before I had the sense to notice it. Who I never thought of in ‘that way until I saw her in the black dress. If I close my eyes… well, eye… I can still remember that moment. Seeing her step out in that dress, feeling this ‘oh my god awe wash over me. Suddenly kissing her, like I was possessed,. Knowing it was wrong, knowing Oz would kill me, knowing that I was supposedly in love with Cordy… but not being able to stop this flood of emotions overtaking me at the sight of her in that damn dress. And then after the dress, the feelings never quite dying. The feelings never quite dissipating, yet silently fading into the ‘once more into the breach life I have where I cant have the one I want.

And then Anya. Anya, who never would admit it, but loved me more than I ever thought I deserved. It still hurts to think about her. She always complained about humanity. How stupid, how smelly, how insipid humans were. Yet, there she goes, dying in the fight to save humanity. Dying in front of Andrews eyes, protecting him, protecting us. Hes never gotten over it. Every once in a while Ill catch him looking at me and its all I can do to not shudder at the utter sorrow and guilt I see echoed in his eyes. Sometimes I wonder how different it could have been if Id never walked away from our wedding day. Most of the time though, I cant bear to think about that. It is what it is, and I have to move on, cause honestly, its what shed want.

With the exception of Anya, my life has the same theme, over and over and over. Anything that I want, anything that makes me happy, I cant have. Whatever it is, whether its to be manly, to be thought of as suave and cool… to be loved by someone I love… never seems to happen for me. As much as I hate to say it, Anya was an accident. I wasnt expecting to love her, and she certainly wasnt expecting to love me. She wasnt someone Id pined for, dreamed for on lonely nights. Even when I was happy with her, even when I knew I loved her and was loved back, I still wondered what it would be like to have a choice. To just once be the one thats making the decision. No, Buffy, I do not choose you. No, Willow, Im not interested in you. I suppose thats why I left Anya at the alter. See, I thought I loved her, but I wasnt sure if I loved her, or if I love the idea of someone loving me. It wasnt until after the damage was done that I realized how true my feelings for her were.

And thats why Im so scared now, cause Ive finally got a chance at happiness. Im terrified of screwing it up. Terrified that shell discover what a mess I am, suddenly realize that Ive somehow fooled her. I love her, probably more than even I knew I could. After Anya Id thought Id lost that capacity. When just looking at her makes my insides turn to mush, though, I realize I havent. It wasnt expected, but sitting back and thinking about it, somehow it makes sense. Shes like me, you see. Shes nothing too. Nothing special, nothing spectacular… Just her. No special calling, no special powers, no fangs. Shes just her. Just the women Id never expected to capture my heart.

I can hear her breathing next to me, and I have to fight the urge to reach over to make sure shes still there. I resist the urge to wake her up, ask her if she still loves me now that shes been with me for three months. Ask her if she still feels for me what she felt only two hours ago even. Sometimes I do actually ask, and she always laughs at me. She laughs at me, and sometimes she even hits me upside the head. ‘Of course I love you, dopey, she says, shaking her head. ‘I always have. Stop being such an insecure ninny and just believe it. She says that, and Im still left with doubt. Then she kisses me, and I feel my heart swell, and I see in her eyes that she feels it too, and Im filled with a purpose.

Cause maybe thats my calling. Maybe it isnt to be a great thinker, or a great warrior, or even a great vampire whose soul was restored. Maybe its simply to be the man who loves Dawn. Maybe it doesnt have to be grand. Maybe loving her is grand enough.

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