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[ s e l f i s h . g u y ]
by kHo

When I walked into that basement I felt like someone had reached inside of my chest and taken all of the air away. I didn´t feel it in my heart then, not right away. That came later. The first thing was the air being gone, that´s all. I saw her on top of him and all that registered was “Woah… that´s not how it goes down. That´s supposed to be me she´s kissing like that.” As soon as my lungs could catch something clicked into place and suddenly I was robot-boy. Devoid of emotions, thinking clearly… first and foremost, get them out of here. Later, much later, Willow and I could discuss what did, and did not, take place while Spike had her and Xander trapped, but first… get them out of here. Then Cordy fell, and I couldn´t think about anything but helping her.

It didn´t really hit me until after I´d dropped them off at their houses when we left Cordy at the hospital. Willow first, Xander second. I think she was afraid for me to drop Xander off second, like maybe her being in the car was what kept me from beating Xander to a bloody pulp. It´s not though. There´s two reasons why I didn´t ever really entertain the thought of beating Xander. For one, it hadn´t clicked yet what that kiss meant for Willow and me. And after the numbness went away, after the pain set in, came reason two: I actually like Xander, I think he´s a good guy. The fact of the matter is, I can´t really blame to guy for loving my Willow. I can blame him for acting on it, though. I don´t really think I´ll be leaning on his shoulders any time soon, but I don´t think I´ll be breaking them any time soon either.

I can pinpoint the exact moment it hit me what I´d witnessed in that basement. It was right after I´d stripped off my clothes and pulled back the covers to my bed. I don´t know if I can describe it accurately but like a tidal wave I was hit with this horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. Someone else´s lips had been on hers tonight. Willow… My Willow… had kissed another man. She´d kissed another man and she had been in control. She´d been on top, after all. Being on top doesn´t really lend credence to the thought that maybe she hadn´t wanted it, that it had been forced upon her.

As I´d covered myself with the bedspread a wave of emotion came crashing down on me and while I never uttered a sound I know that I was sobbing on the inside. Images of Xander and Willow moments that had never bothered me in the slightest suddenly seemed so huge to me. I was suddenly extremely annoyed that she could always read what was on his mind, and it infuriated me to know that he could do the same. What I´d always found cute in an endearing way was now proof of what a fool I´d been. Sharing sodas without asking, stealing fries off of plates, giggling at some shared joke or memory… communicating years of understanding with a passing glance.

My blood boiled, and I got no sleep that night. I alternated between downright pissed and suffocatingly heartbroken. I hated her with no equivocation in one minute and ached to hold her in the next. When I saw her the next morning it was all I could do to not completely breakdown so I did the next best thing: I put on my stoic face and showed no emotion at all. I told her I was sorry it was difficult for her, which I honestly was, but that wasn´t my problem. Which it wasn´t. I was the wronged one here. I was the one being cheated on, not her. I have no doubt she felt badly… horribly even… about what had happened. That was never a question. One look at Willow´s eyes and I knew how she felt. But then I´d remember that Xander could read the same thing in her eyes and I couldn´t accept that just yet.

A few of my friends have ragged on me for going so lightly on her. For accepting her back period, for not at least making her grovel first. The thing is I know she loved me. I know she *loves* me. I know she does. I can see it in the way she giggles when I say something funny. I read it in the way she smiles at me when she thinks I´m not able to see her. I can tell by the way she looks at me just before I kiss her. She loves me, I do not doubt that at all, not one iota, not a bit.

It´s the Xander thing that I can´t get past. They´ve been friends forever. Long before I came into the picture, long before Buffy came into the picture, Xander was there rooted in her life. He was her best, most faithful, most loyal, most loving, most unwaivering confidant. I hate myself for wanting him out of her life, because I know she´d be miserable without him. I´d never ask her to do it, mind you, but I do sometimes wish he´d just disappear. I wish some thing would happen to erase the memory of Xander from Willow´s mind, and from his as well. I probably shouldn´t say that, living on the Hellmouth and all, but… it´s how the jilted lover feels. The thing is, knowing that she´d be willing to do that sort of makes up for the fact that I can´t ask her to.

And at the end of all of this, who do I feel the most sorry for? It should be myself, right? It´s not. It´s him. I feel sorry for Xander. The man who kissed my lady, I feel badly for him. That´s just bass ackwards, ain´t it? I can´t help it though, I just do. He loves her, I can see that now. I don´t know if I was missing it before or if it´s something he´s just realized, but I can see the loss in his eyes now. When he looks at her, I can see his heart break. I know because it looks just like mine did. The tears just below the surface, the feeling of utter sorrow sweeping through your body when you know you just can´t have what you most want. There´s a quote by Keirkegard that says “the most painful state of being is remembering your future, particularly one you can´t ever have.” Pretty fitting, I´d think.

The thing, though, isn´t that he can´t have her in the way I do. It´s that he´s sort of lost her as a friend, and I feel badly about that. Every time I´m around she attaches herself to me, and don´t get me wrong, that brings a big ole smile to my face. Looking at him though, the sadness seeping out of him, completely screws up my good vibes. She won´t laugh with him anymore, not like they used to. She won´t talk to him like they used to. I think the thing that probably hurts the most though is the little stuff… the fact that she never reaches over to steal a chip from his bag or take a sip of his Coke. Sometimes I´ll see him literally push his plate a little closer to hers, and I swear I can hear him begging silently for her to please just steal a fry. To let it go back to the way it was, at the very least. The problem with all that, while it sounds like a good thing for me, is that it´s proof that she has feelings for him. The fact of the matter is, if the kiss meant nothing, if it was all a fluke, she´d have no problems acting like the same buddies they´d always been.

I know that the right thing to do, the good thing to do, the decent thing to do would be for me to leave her. It would hurt her for a while, because as I said I have no doubts that she does love me, as much as she can. She´d get over it though, and she´d move on. Maybe she´d move on with him, but I think with me out of the picture he´d at least have his friend back. So, that would be the good thing to do. That would be the decent “true love” thing to do. I don´t want to be the guy at the end of the movie that says “I don´t want her to be with me if it´s not what she wants… I want her to be happy first and foremost.” I wish I did, though. I wish I wanted to be that guy, cause I don´t wanna be selfish guy.

I will though.

I´ll be selfish guy if it means I can keep my Willow.

I just hope she´ll relax soon and let Xander back in to where he was before.

I´d like to give him at least that much.

If he kisses her again though, all bets are off and my fist is going to be introduced to his mouth before you can say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

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