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StephenT [userpic]

(Fic) Dead Letter

4th April 2008 (17:56)
Tags: ,

This is my attempt to, um, explain the inexplicable...

Summary: After the destruction of Sunnydale, Xander attempts to come to terms with his feelings.
Rating: PG.
Warnings: Angst.
Wordcount: 1,068

WKA Nominee
 


Dead Letter

She's dead.

He turns the idea around in his head, trying to get the shape of it. Tries to make it real. Tries to get it to fit.

He didn't even like her that much. They fought as often as they f-- And the sarcasm. Always with that.

She'd probably laugh at him for acting this way. He can almost hear her words...

Except he can't. Not ever again.

Damn it.

He can't even talk to anyone. Oh, they're full of sympathy. They say all the right words; but he can see it in their eyes. They've got their own thing. Their own problems to worry about; setting the world to rights, fulfilling all their shiny new responsibilities. They want him to feel better. They want him to be back to normal.

They care about him.

It only makes it worse.

He wonders if it would be easier if he had a memorial. Something of hers, he could look at, remember her by. He's got nothing. Everything they owned, every tangible sign of their life together, is gone forever.

He doesn't even have her picture, and that scares him more than anything. How long will it be before the details start to fade? Before his memory starts to lose track of the way she smiled, the glint of mischief in her eyes? How long before she's forgotten forever?

It's up to him. He's got to remember her, because who else will? She had nobody. Her surname was a fake, her family invented. Her own blood kin died a thousand years ago. There's nobody he can talk to about her. Nobody to share his grief.

Even her demon friends abandoned her at the end. Or died. Halfrek had freaked him the hell out, but she'd seemed to care about her. And now she's dead. D'Hoffryn? Forget it. He murdered her friend, abandoned her and sent demons to kill her. Vengeance is quite a thing of his. But it can work two ways. Xander pictures himself confronting the demon patriarch, throwing the words in his teeth - "She's dead now! Are you happy?" And in his fantasy D'Hoffryn looks shocked, and stutters and stammers, and asks how it happened with tears in his eyes. And then the two men break down in their grief and hug and comfort each other, repeating over and over how much they both miss her...

At this point Xander jerks upright with a horrified shudder and brushes at his arms as if to scrub away all memories of that dream-touch. Something is seriously wrong with his imagination if it thinks turning to demons for sympathy is ever a good idea.

Anya was a demon herself, though, wasn't she?

Maybe there's someone else who misses her, who might feel the same way he does. She lived for a thousand years, after all; surely someone in all that time was touched by her the way he'd been touched by her?

Emotionally, that is. Don't be gross.

There's Spike, of course. He'd even seemed to care about her, in his weird evil-bloodsucker stalkery kind of way. And Xander would have cheerfully staked him for that back in the day; but now he almost wishes the old bastard were here with him so they could sink a pint together and reminisce about the old days. Talk about Anya and how much they miss her.

Okay, that's proof. He's going mad with grief. Spike?

Spike. Apparently the only person apart from himself who's ever given a damn about her. And now he's dead too, of course. Or, technically, deader. Which takes us back to square one.

Wait, though. A memory comes back to him. Something Anya said, years before. Something he tried his hardest to forget at the time. Something that rankled in the back of his mind, festering there. Something he was really proud of himself for never dragging out in any of their arguments.

Dracula. She hung out with Dracula. They dated. They were an item. 

The memory that once filled him with murderous rage now only makes him smile sadly. Maybe there is someone else who would grieve for her death. Perhaps he should find some way to tell him. He owes that to Anya, doesn't he?

Of course, there's one small flaw in this plan. The fact that it's an insanely stupid idea. Remember what happened to him last time he met Count Eurotrash? Sure, he hadn't been killed. The normal everyday demons just killed you. What happened to him had been far, far worse...

Worse than dying? Tell that to Anya.

Damn. He sits there, fidgeting, unable to decide. No, it's a crazy idea. Far too risky.

Wait. He could write to him. That would be safe. And then he'll have done his duty to Anya's memory, and there'll be someone else who is thinking about her, and maybe sharing his own feelings. Even if they are on the other side of the world to him. He isn't really sure where Transylvania is, mind you, but he's pretty sure it's in Europe. Willow will know.

He rummages in the cheap, rickety desk and finds a pen and some hotel stationery. Sits down and begins to write. He intends to keep it short, succinct, to the point. An hour later, he's filled six sheets of the flimsy, off-white paper, and had to stop several times to wipe tears from his eye. All his feelings, all his memories, all his unspoken wishes, are there in front of him.

He almost screws them up into a ball and throws them in the bin, but stops himself. Takes an envelope, stuffs the paper in there, and writes "Count Dracula, Castle Dracula, Transylvania, Europe" as the address. It will never get to him, of course. Probably just give some post office worker a cheap laugh, before he throws the letter away. Just as well, really.

He walks down to Reception, pays the concierge for enough stamps for a letter to Europe. There's a mailbox there in the hotel lobby, and he drops the letter down the tarnished brass chute. There's a thunk as it hit the bottom, and he feels a weight lift from his heart that he hadn't known was there.

Of course, nothing will come of this. But as he walks back up to his room, he feels himself smiling for the first time in weeks.



 


Comments

Page 1 of 2[1][2]
Posted by: leseparatist (novin_ha)
Posted at: 4th April 2008 17:29 (UTC)
[buffy] anya get what you want

Xander could totally write to me about Anya.

:( Anya.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 4th April 2008 17:35 (UTC)

Aw.
Xander wouldn't have thought to write to you, because he's not aware that you were ever her girlfriend.
;-)

Posted by: leseparatist (novin_ha)
Posted at: 4th April 2008 17:41 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 4th April 2008 17:54 (UTC)

Posted by: leseparatist (novin_ha)
Posted at: 4th April 2008 18:01 (UTC)

Posted by: JG (jgracio)
Posted at: 4th April 2008 17:36 (UTC)

Nice attempt. But no dice.

If you had Xander drinking himself into a stupor and actually going to Transilvania to fight Dracula (AKA suicide by vampire) would work better.

But no amusing Ha, ha, Xander and Dracula are friends.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 4th April 2008 17:44 (UTC)

Bu if that scenario had happened, it would be harder for them to have ended up on respectful terms with each other...

Posted by: JG (jgracio)
Posted at: 4th April 2008 17:55 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 4th April 2008 18:06 (UTC)

Posted by: JG (jgracio)
Posted at: 4th April 2008 18:19 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 5th April 2008 12:10 (UTC)

Posted by: woman_of_ (woman_of_)
Posted at: 4th April 2008 17:44 (UTC)

Ok, I can see writing it all down being good for him, but like most of these times when we do that, I suspect he would throw it away. Good look at Xanders feelings about losing Anya though!

Posted by: lusciousxander (lusciousxander)
Posted at: 4th April 2008 17:46 (UTC)

Grief makes you do stupid things. Believe me, I know.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 4th April 2008 17:47 (UTC)

Posted by: lusciousxander (lusciousxander)
Posted at: 4th April 2008 17:44 (UTC)
Xander/Anya by anna

I love it. It's really good and feels canon. I haven't read the issue yet, but didn't Xander and Dracula started sending each other letters after Buffy vs Dracula? Or you treated that as Andrew twisting the events of the real story?

I can embrace yours as canon, it fits nicely with what I heard about the issue and the end of S7.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 4th April 2008 17:52 (UTC)

Thanks!

Andrew just says that after that episode they "stayed in touch-- the occasional letter here and there." He doesn't say when the letters were exchanged - I'm assuming he doesn't even know, he's just heard at second or third hand that there were letters involved.

In my mind, Dracula replies saying that he actually has a picture of Anya (an oil painting of her from the 15th century), and that's what tempts Xander to go to meet him. Maybe a slight element of death wish was involved with that. And he doesn't tell Buffy or Willow where he's going, just leaves a note saying he needs to be alone for a while. They only find out the truth several months later.

Posted by: petzipellepingo (petzipellepingo)
Posted at: 4th April 2008 19:25 (UTC)
i love fan fiction by eyesthatslay

Even going along with the Season Eight Dracula shtick, this is a much nicer view of Xander than Joss's mall blabbing at the end of Chosen. Here there a real sense of his loss. Good job.

Edited at 2008-04-04 19:25 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 5th April 2008 12:03 (UTC)

Thanks!

Mind you, though, I've got no problem with Xander at the end of 'Chosen'. They've all just been through a huge battle which none of them really expected to survive; and against all the odds they've not only lived through it but won a complete victory and saved the world. I think a giddy sense of relief and exhilaration would be entirely appropriate. Especially for people who make a habit of coping with stress by turning to black humour.

It's only in the days and weeks after that the shock, grief and loss would hit them.

Posted by: eowyn_315 (eowyn_315)
Posted at: 4th April 2008 21:37 (UTC)
Spike/Dawn pondering

Nice job. I haven't read the issue yet, but it seems to fit with what I've heard so far. The whole "Xander's penpals with Dracula" thing seems incredibly weird, but I really like the idea of writing a letter that he assumes will never arrive, and there's the added bonus of it sort of making things make sense.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 5th April 2008 12:06 (UTC)

Thanks! I did start from the "that really, really doesn't make sense" point of view as well, but then thought that it could somehow work if I did it like this. I also saw someone comment somewhere on Anya saying she once hung out with Dracula in 5.01, and realised I could work that into the story too

Posted by: selinde2 (selinde2)
Posted at: 5th April 2008 10:08 (UTC)
I'm with Eowyn on this

I like the idea of the dead letter too. I can see it being a healing activity, whether Drac gets back to him or not. I am only up to Buffy Season 8 issue 5 or 6 - I take it this Drac stuff happens later? Oh hurry up Dark Horse and print the next omnibus...

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 5th April 2008 12:08 (UTC)
Re: I'm with Eowyn on this

Thanks! And yes, this is referring to issues 12 and 13, and also to the story 'Antique' in the old "Tales of the Vampires" anthology from a few years back. (which, incidentally, I've decided to take as the truth as narrated by Andrew - in other words, it bears a vague passing resemblence to it...)

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 5th April 2008 16:42 (UTC)
Re: I'm with Eowyn on this

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 5th April 2008 19:10 (UTC)
Re: I'm with Eowyn on this

Posted by: JG (jgracio)
Posted at: 5th April 2008 19:35 (UTC)
Re: I'm with Eowyn on this

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 5th April 2008 16:23 (UTC)

Nice try - really nice try - but... sorry, still having a lot of trouble buying even this much, considering where Xander and Dracula left off (and there's still a huge jump from this to him actually going to Transylvania of his own free will).

Besides, you'd think at least Willow (who's been through pretty much the same situation herself) and Buffy (who'd be going through the same thing) would have some genuine understanding of what he's going through. Though sure, I can buy that Xander might think they don't.

But it's not your fault it's a cracky concept, and your version certainly makes more sense. I'm sorry, I know I'm damning with faint praise here; it's very well-written and all, and I liked it.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 5th April 2008 19:20 (UTC)

I can buy that Xander might think they don't.
This.

Plus, I suspect Buffy's method of processing her grief would involve complete denial and throwing herself 120% into setting up the new Slayer organisation, and she'd be impatient with anyone not pulling their weight. As for Willow, she'd obviously be symp[athetic (I imply as much) but (a) She's got her own life to lead now (b) She never liked Anya that much anyway, and Xander knows it.

As for why Xander would go... I'm liking the suggestion some people have made that he had a subconscious deathwish due to survivor's guilt, and also felt he deserved to be punished by leaving Anya with Andrew instead of being with her himself. Add to that Dracula (who's pathetically lonely, as we've seen) swearing all sorts of mystical oaths on his honour as a Szekely that he'd accept Xander as an honoured guest and give him safe conduct, and that he actually had mementos (paintings, whatever) of Anya that he'd be glad to give to Xander ...

...and yeah, he probably still wouldn't go. But there's a 10% chance he would, as opposed to a 0.001% chance he would under normal circumstances...

Posted by: Evilawyer (evilawyer)
Posted at: 5th April 2008 21:47 (UTC)

This is touching. And makes me feel bad for Xander, despite his foibles. He really would have trouble finding some consolation and closure. Great story.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th April 2008 10:21 (UTC)

Thanks! I was trying to reflect his confusion as much as anything... and the fact that there really would be no trace left of Anya: no grave, none of her possessions left, and all her relatives dead 1100 years earlier...

Posted by: tarotx (tarotx)
Posted at: 6th April 2008 05:06 (UTC)
I loved your short fan fic.

It feels canon. I will count it as so unless it's written in the comics or whatever is Joss canon that Xander didn't really write letters to the dark prince. I hate Dew's view of Xander. I feel like I'm watching or reading an episode written by a Xander disliking Angel fan from after season 2 or perhaps a Spuffy who wants to make sure fans know BX will never be because Xander's a forever butt-monkey.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th April 2008 10:29 (UTC)
Re: I loved your short fan fic.

Thanks! I have to ay, I don't get where Xander is being humiliated in this story (we will not speak of 'Antique' here). He's got a job to do and he succeeds in it. Better than Buffy does in her mission so far, to be honest...

Posted by: skipp_of_ark (skipp_of_ark)
Posted at: 6th April 2008 11:02 (UTC)
Re: I loved your short fan fic.

Posted by: skipp_of_ark (skipp_of_ark)
Posted at: 6th April 2008 10:41 (UTC)

The "insanely stupid idea" is that anybody is willing -- eager, even -- to believe a single word of Andrew's "they were pen pals" malarkey.

I don't get it -- why are you so eager to drink from Andrew's kool-aid? It's a complete fabrication, like all of Andrew's stories -- it simply has no truth to it. It's utterly out-of-character for Xander; it's not funny, it's not interesting, and it doesn't add to or expand his characterization. Worse, it's the continuation of a joke at Xander's expense that stopped being funny at the end of The Zeppo. All this does is further damage and destroy Xander's character. Then again, that's par for the course for Mutant Enemy, Throwing Xander's Character Under the Bus for the Sake of Cheap Story-Telling Since 1999.

Posted by: candleanfeather (candleanfeather)
Posted at: 6th April 2008 13:14 (UTC)

Well, count me amongst these who can only see a Xander-Dracula friendship in a comedy.

In your fic though, the idea of the dead letter is an ingenuous one and it works as a healing activity not really intended to end as a real exchange (Xander doesn't even ask Willow where Transylvania is).
Nice reflexions on the characters too, I especially liked how you showed Anya's isolation and by extension Xander's one in his grief and the little reminder at how Xander was for a long time oblivious of the demonic side of Anya.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th April 2008 18:01 (UTC)

well, the show always did have its comedy elements... such as the entire Dracula episode in the first place. (Which was the first one in the series I ever saw, incidentally).

Xander doesn't even ask Willow where Transylvania is

You spotted that? :-) Asking her for the real address would mean admitting to himself he wants the letter to actually reach its destination... not to mention the opportunity for Willow to persuade him not to do it.

Thanks for reading!

Posted by: sl_podcast (sl_podcast)
Posted at: 6th April 2008 16:17 (UTC)
anya/Tabz

Hey Stephen - unrelated to your story (which is full of awesome and I love our Xander's head voice) - but can you send me an email, I need your possible help with something.

Posted by: sl_podcast (sl_podcast)
Posted at: 6th April 2008 16:18 (UTC)

oh - supcomtabz[at]gmail.com

Posted by: nutterbudgie (nutterbudgie)
Posted at: 7th April 2008 00:37 (UTC)

Nicely done, esp. the generic address.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th April 2008 17:12 (UTC)

Thanks!

It kind of reminds me of writing addresses as a kid... "Europe, World, Solar System, Milky Way...") (Or maybe I was the only one to do that?)

Posted by: Two legs good, four legs okay (nothorse)
Posted at: 22nd June 2009 10:45 (UTC)

Posted by: Dr Squidlove (drsquidlove)
Posted at: 10th April 2008 00:50 (UTC)

Found this through su_herald.

I really like it, this idea that Dracula's the only person Xander can share his grief with, that he's got these blinders on about how much the others felt for her. Giles, particularly.

But it's Xander-logic mixed with grief-logic and and the result is lovely.

I didn't even realise it was comic-related, since I don't read them.

Dr S.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 10th April 2008 14:25 (UTC)

Glad you liked it; thanks!

The story was inspired by a line from a Season 8 episode, but it wasn't really written to be a "season 8 story". It's set three weeks or so after 'Chosen' and doesn't need any knowledge that wasn't given on the TV show...

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