Possessions and Obsessions
Summary: Graham thinks about someone
Date: May 1, 2000

**********

He was at the party.

I couldn't believe it at first, but there he was, with Buffy and two other girls, just standing. . . right there. . . and, I was gone.

I don't know why I feel the way I feel, or even what category these feelings might fall into. I mean, I've never really spoken to him, I've barely even met the guy, not that that matters to my subconscious. I've only seen him four times, yet I can't even begin to count how often he's popped into my head when I was getting ready to fall asleep, or when I was in the middle of a shower. I really wish I could have the same kind of discourse with the real him as I do with the shower version.

When I saw him at the party I almost went to him. I really did. He was just standing right across the room, and I could have walked over to him and said Hi. Yep, I could have done that. . . of course, I didn't.

Not that I didn't think about it, in fact I spent the rest of the party thinking about it, about him. I couldn't get him out of my head, and I'm pretty sure that's why I ended up possessed.

Riley said that the presence in the house only affected people who were consumed with lusty thoughts.

Oh, believe me, Forrest had a field day with that. He wanted to know all about *her*. Who *she* was. What *she* looked like.

So, I sat him down, and told him that the person of my dreams had big brown eyes, silky looking dark hair, a sensuously expressive mouth. . . oh, and that *his* name was Xander.

Okay, so I didn't actually say that. Part of me wanted to. Though, a much larger part just wanted to bare my throat for the next passing demon and hope that my resulting death would be relatively painless.

It's not that I don't want them to know about any of this, it's just. . . I'm kinda afraid of what they might do if they ever found out.

Forrest would most likely think I was abandoning him, and Riley. . . well, knowing Ri, he probably wouldn't rest until he figured out some way to get me and Xander fixed up. . . which, unfortunately, at this point, doesn't sound like such a bad option

Maybe I should just tell Xander. Yeah, that's what I'll do. The next time I see him, I'll walk right up and. . . stand there, staring like an idiot, with a big doofy grin on my face. Hey, it's how I got dates in high school. Of course back then all the girls thought it was cute and endearing. Now, Xander would probably think I was some kind of possessed serial killer.

I could always opt for the novel approach and try actually talking to him, or I could just throw him down on a table and see if he tastes as good as I think he does. . .

Or, maybe I'll just take another shower.

**********

Falls Apart
Summary: Graham has some doubts
Date: May 7, 2000

**********

You can never be fully prepared, you know. I mean, you can train and run simulations, and go over countless possibilities in your mind, but when it comes down to it, the only thing you can do is muddled through. Just ride out the storm until you think it's safe, then poke your head up to take stock of what's left of your life.

That's what I've been doing - taking stock, and I've come to the undeniable conclusion that. . . I don't have the slightest clue about anything. Yep, I'm absolutely certain that I know jack about anything and everything in my life.

Didn't used to be this way. Twelve hours ago I was set. I knew where I stood, where my friends stood, and most importantly, what my mission stood for. Oh sure, I was completely confused over how to engage in even simple conversation with. . . well, that's not important anymore, is it?

Twelve hours ago we weren't hunting one of our own.

Twelve hours ago the guy that I want to spend every waking moment worshiping with my tongue wasn't my enemy.

Compared to the here and now, twelve hours ago was pretty idyllic.

Xander is my enemy. Maybe if I say it enough it'll help. Maybe if I concentrate on what he did.

He was part of the team that infiltrated the compound. He helped Ri. . . he aided in the escape of a traitor and an HST. He is to be detained, and then, most likely executed.

The next time I see him, I could be ordered to put a bullet in his head.

Oh yeah. That helped.

I'm not an idiot. I know how things work. How just when you think you have something figured out, something else comes along to knock you on your ass. I get that, I do. I just never thought. . . never mind. Doesn't matter.

All my life I've played by the rules, I've done what people expected of me, I've. . . followed orders. It's who I am. It's what I do. He's just a guy. What I feel, and what I hoped he *could* feel don't fit into this equation.

Killing him shouldn't be a problem.

It really shouldn't.

**********

Common Ground

Summary: Graham and Riley talk about their future after the Initiative
Date: May 30, 2000

*********

"Hey."

"Hey."

"So."

"So."

I've never been an overly verbose guy, but this conversation with Riley was bordering on painful, and that says a lot considering my tolerance levels got pretty high during that debriefing we just sat through. Speaking of which. . .

"How was the. . ."

"Fine. Yours?"

"Okay."

"Good."

We stand for a few more minutes in a tense silence. Neither one of us moves. Neither one of us wants to leave it like this.

Riley, ever the commander, asks the first actual question. "You know what you?re gonna do yet?"

I shake my head. "I haven't made any definite plans. . . but, I know I'm out."

He looks surprised, like he really wasn't expecting me to say that. "They'?re not pressuring you into this are they" Cause I'll accept full blame for. . ."

"No, Ri. It's my decision, my choice." I feel a rueful smile form on my face. "It's about time I started making them on my own, ya know."

I see a glimmer of understanding in his eyes, then the admonishment. "There are a few specific people who are to blame for everything that happened at the Initiative, Graham, and you are definitely not one of them."

"I know I'm not responsible for it, but I sure as hell could have handled things better."

"You did what you had to do."

"No, I did what I was told."

"That's what soldiers are supposed to do." Riley insists.

"And, that's why I can't be one anymore." I shrug. "I just can?t go back to being the good little soldier boy, Riley. Not after everything I've seen, not after everything that's happened. The world's not normal, not by a long shot. . . and I can't ignore that."

Riley's brow creases and his lips purse, and for the first time I notice how his 'deep thinking' face looks remarkably like his 'just ate the strange green stuff from the cafeteria' face. Huh.

"So, you gonna go back home?" He finally asks.

"I've thought about it. But, not too keen on answering any questions that might come up about my sudden career change." I pause, wondering how I should approach this next topic. "I do think I?m gonna head to Saint Louis for a few days, though."

I don't think I?ve ever seen Riley's eyes look so haunted before. "You can't tell them the truth. . . they're better off not knowing it anyway."

"I know that, but they're due more then just an official telegram and a weighted casket." I don't want to get angry with him, especially not over this. "They're his folks, Ri. They deserve more."

"You're right. . . they do."

I really don't want to ask, but I need. . . something. "Ri. . . I. . . Forrest, is he. . . was he. . ."

Riley cuts me off. "He's at peace now. . . and that's all that really matters."

That's not the answer I wanted, and he knows it, but I'm not gonna press.

I stick my hands in my pockets, and start the line of questions I've been thinking about since I first saw him earlier today. "So, what about you?"

He raises an eyebrow. "What, about me?"

"What are you gonna do now."

"Haven't given it much thought." He chuckled. "I mean, I've been so busy just surviving lately, I. . . I didn't bother thinking about. . . after." He runs a hand through his hair. "Hell, for a while there, I wasn't even sure there was gonna be an after." He pauses for a moment, then smiles. "I do know that I'm gonna stay in Sunnydale."

"Because of Buffy."

"No. . . yeah. . . partly." He sighs. "It's complicated."

Tell me about it. "You're gonna keep fighting."

He nods. "This is the real stuff, Graham. I mean, this war isn't just about the leaders of two countries getting into a pissing contest. We're talking actual good, and evil here."

I take a deep breath, cause people are supposed to take deep breaths when they start a new part of their life. "Need any help?"

He doesn't look surprised. "I can't speak for everyone, but, I'm pretty sure the fight against darkness could always use another hand."

"You think they'll have me?"

"Probably. I mean, you want to help for all the right reasons, right?"

"Of course." I look at him reproachfully.

He gives me this wide grin. "Ah, so the fact that you're totally smitten with Xander doesn't factor into this decision at all."

Son of a. . .

"H-how did you. . ."

"Oh please," He scoffs. "Like anyone could miss those longing looks you were sending his way at that party." He lays a hand on my shoulder. "I may be an idiot when it comes to figuring out who *I* like, but. . ."

"Yeah, yeah, I get the idea." I shrug him off. If there was one thing I wanted to keep to myself, that was it. Course, I can't stay mad at Riley. I really want to, but I can't. . . not with that great, big, doofy grin on his face.

Okay, so Riley knows. This could be a good thing. "So, do you think. . . I mean, would he. . . uh. . ."

He shrugs. "Not sure. . . But. . ."

Crap. Oh Crap. I know that look. It's got meddleing written all over it.

"Riley, don't even think about it. I mean it!"

He gives me his 'I have no idea what you're talking about because I'm as innocent as a new seedling' face. "I think. . . that summertime is rife with possibilities."

Rife?

Rife?!

Dammit.

I wonder if it's too late to join the Air Force?

**********

Fumbling Inside
Summary: Graham is having some problems in his ?relationship? with Xander
Date: May, 31, 2000

**********

Riley is going to die.

Soon.

Very soon.

Yep, as soon as I can get him to hold still long enough for me to wrap my hands around his throat.

Oh, what, did you think I meant something else was going to get him. . . Hah! I wouldn?t let anything else have the satisfaction.

Nope, if you happen to hear of the death of Riley Finn, don't make the mistake of thinking some random demon did him in. Cause that would be wrong. Cause it's gonna be me. That's right! Me!

I wonder if Spike could give me some pointers? You know, make Ri's death that much more gruesome.

Okay, okay, fine. . . I?m not *really* gonna kill Riley. If nothing else then for the fact that Buffy would probably kick my ass.

I just. . . I just wish he would stop trying to be all matchmaker-like. I know he has good intentions, but. . .

Like, last night. . . a bunch of us were at Giles' apartment, trying to get some kind of line on this new demon that Wily says has taken up residence in a sea cave just south of town. I had settled down on the couch with a book, that was probably written when my great, great, grandfather was in diapers, and I was happily scanning the pages.

That's not sarcasm, by the way. I really do like doing the research thing.

I never said I was normal.

Anyway, somehow, and I'm still not sure of the exact logistics, but somehow Riley ends up maneuvering everybody so that the only empty seat left when Xander shows up after he gets off work, is right next to me on the couch. Right Next To Me. On The Couch.

And, do you know what Xander does? He just plops down. Right there. Next to me. Have I mentioned that he's right next to me?

He smelled so good.

So, I'm staring at this book, trying desperately to ignore every single nerve ending in my left leg, which are basically screaming to my cerebral cortex that Xander's thigh is touching mine, and I'm wondering how denim can transmit so much body heat, cause I'm sure my hip is about to catch on fire, and Willow found something but I can't hear a word of what she's saying because the sound of my own heart is echoing through my ears and drowning everything else out, and I'm really glad that this big, heavy book is in my lap so I don?t have to explain to everyone why I'm sporting an obvious hard on when I'm supposed to be learning about some amphibious monster!!!

And, to top it all off, there's Riley, grinning like an idiot!!!

He doesn't get it. . .and I?m not sure how to explain it to him.

He doesn't understand that I can?t just go up to Xander and ask him out, and I don't just mean because of the whole 'risk of no' factor.

I don't think Xander's ever dated a guy before. His last girlfriend was an ex-demon, so he's obviously open to. . . different stuff. Still, there's always a chance I could be mistaken, or he could be unwilling to admit it. So many things could go wrong. One bad move, and he could decide that he never wants to see me again. I don't thing I could deal with that.

What I feel for Xander is more than this. . . infatuation. I'm not gonna call it love, cause that would just be silly. People don't fall in love based on whatever it is we've had together. Maybe. . .like. Yeah, an intense, all consuming, hopelessly fallen, kind of like.

And, right now, I have legitimate excuses to sit in the same room as this object of lo-ike. . . but, I have the awful suspicion that if Riley keeps meddling he?s gonna mess things up, which would of course lead to his horribly painful death.

Thing is, I really like just spending time with Xander. Yes, I am aware of the stupid sappiness inherent in that statement. Or, wait. . . you want real sap? Okay, here goes. . .I used to fantasize about the two of us just lounging on a couch somewhere, and reading the paper. See - sap!

Oh, I have the normal fantasies too. The sweet, romantic ones, and the hot, sweaty ones, and the ones where I throw him against the nearest available surface and ravish his body in these incredibly inventive ways while he moans my name, and. . . and. . . uh. . . what was I talking about?

Um. . . killing Riley? No, after that.

Scooby meeting. . . no. . .

Oh yeah.

So anyway, I really do just like spending time with Xander. He's. . . different, but in a completely good way. I've never met anyone quite like him.

I li. . . okay, okay. . . I love him.

Silly, stupid, sappy. . .

Illogical, idiotic, inane. . .

True.

Maybe Riley's ri. . . righ. . . shit!! Right.

Maybe I should take a chance. Go for it. Tell Xander how I feel, and damn the consequences!

Or. . . maybe not.

**********

Night Gone Black
Summary: Some Xander/Graham quality time is rudely interrupted  
Date: June 4, 2000

**********

I never thought I?d die like this. Not that I?ve spent a lot of time contemplating my mortality, but. . . this kind of scenario never even factored into the equation.

I had never imagined that my end would come lying on the floor of some old, forgotten crypt, killed off by something that isn't even supposed to exist. My parents will probably get a weighted casket too, just like Forrest's.

At least. . . at least I?m gonna go to whatever otherside might be out there knowing that I did it.

I swallowed my fears. I damned the consequences.

I kissed Xander Harris.

Course, then my skull got cracked. . .

The night started out so nice, too. . .

*****

Looking back, I probably should have figured out that this was going to end badly when I got a twinge in the middle of the Scooby meeting. You know. . . a twinge. Like someone walked over my grave. With the whole 20/20 thing, I guess I should have done what my gut told me to do - go home and pull the covers over my head.

But, I ignored all of my finely honed instincts. Well, actually, my finely honed instincts were beaten into submission by my relentlessly screaming hormones. See, Buffy had decided that Xander and I should patrol together after the meeting.

I could have kissed her. . . 'cept, I really didn't want to.

Anyway, do you have any idea how hard it was for me to keep from grinning like an dummy? In case you were wondering. . . it was very difficult. Of course, why would *I* have to grin when Riley was doing it for me.

I swear, if I find out that the reason Buffy made that suggestion was because Ri told her how I feel about Xander, then I'll. . . uh. . . haunt him really, really, badly.

So, I ignored the various sirens, bells, whistles, and drum beating mechanical monkeys, of warning, and went on patrol with. . . Xander.

It was nice. I had never truly been alone with him before. Just him and me, and a full moon illuminating the headstones. Romance Sunnydale style.

Course I don't think Xander actually realized he was being romanced, but that's beside the point.

We talked. About anything, and everything, and nothing. Okay, okay, so truthfully, he babbled, and I listened, but. . .

Everything was just so perfect, and my memory was working overtime trying to record every single little detail. In fact, I was so involved in trying to get a good mental picture of the way the moonlight lit up Xander's face, that I didn't even notice the demon. Luckily Xander wasn't quite as distracted.

"Shit!" He grabbed my arm and dragged me behind a nearby tree.

It took a few seconds for me to realize that the incredibly out of place statue he was frantically pointing to wasn't actually a statue. "What the hell is that?"

"Well, taking a stab in the dark here, but, I'd say that's a demon."

Now, I've only been dealing with stuff like this for a year now, and Xander's had much, *much* more experience in the whole fighting evil department, but I was still a bit concerned at how easily he reacted to that. . . thing.

Maybe I was still too green, or maybe it was the sight of all those spines. . .or claws. . . or the drool dripping from those curved fangs. . .

Whatever the reason, any fight I may have had in me went screaming out the back door. All I wanted was to get me and Xander as far away from that thing as possible. . . of course I also wanted to know where the hell a Slayer was when you needed her.

I grabbed Xander's hand, and tried to disregard the tingle that shot up my arm at that contact. I think. . . I think that was the first time I had ever touched his skin.

A night of firsts.

I crouched down, pulling Xander with me, and we began to slowly move away from the demon. We did pretty well for about a minute. . . until the wind changed.

Our scents drifted over to the creature on the nicest of summer breezes. I saw it's nostril's flare, and then we were running.

I kept hold of Xander's hand while we raced through the cemetery, with a beast straight from Hell on our heels. It was definitely not the festivity I had hoped the evening would cumulate in.

The whole running for our lives thing, which had seemed like a really good idea at the time, didn't seem so great after a few minutes of hard sprinting. Unfortunately, no other plans were coming to me, so when Xander tugged me towards an open crypt I didn't even try to resist. I just hoped he had some clue as to what he was doing.

He did.

We bounded into the structure and threw the doors shut. We put our full weight against the iron gates and prayed they would hold against the demon?s onslaught.

The creature banged around for a few minutes, then the attack stopped. I looked to Xander, and he shrugged.

"Maybe it decided to find an easier meal?"

"We should stay in here for a little while, just in case it's lurking." I said, still leaning against the door.

"Good idea." He glanced around. "You know, I think I've already visited this crypt."

I didn't say anything, I just looked at him. He was standing not more then a foot from me. He was panting slightly, out of breath from the run, and his mouth was open, just the tinniest bit. He looked so flushed, and wild, and inviting.

I really don't think I made a conscious decision to kiss him, I didn't even realized what I was doing until I was an inch from his face. I don't think I could have backed off, even if I had wanted to. Something I had dreamt about for months was finally happening, and there was nothing on Earth that could have stopped it.

My lips touched his, and I swear, I felt a tremor straight down to my toes. As kisses go, it was chaste, almost innocent, eyes shut, mouths pressed together. It was heaven to me. . . until my common sense started screaming.

As I broke the contact, I fervently tried to infer his response to my action.

Xander looked. . . kinda dazed, actually, and I really hoped that that was a good thing. On the plus side, there was no running away or punching.

He just stood there, and stared at me with this inscrutable look on his face. Maybe I should have said something, but what? I'm sorry? It'll never happen again? Please take your clothes off?

Suddenly Xander got this horrible look on his face and shouted out the word "No!"

At first I thought it was some kind of delayed reaction, until it hit me. . . literally. . .

Seems the demon had found another way into the mausoleum.

*****

Which, brings me back to now, cause I don't really remember what happened after that. I think, maybe, it threw me across the room, and I hit my head on something. Yeah, I'm pretty sure something's wrong with my head.

Everything just keeps getting fuzzy.

I really wish this wet stuff would stop dripping in my eyes.

It's all swimming. . .

I hope. . . I hope Xander got out. . . okay.

Don?t let that thing. . . have gotten him too.

Please let him be sa. . . . . . . . . .

**********

A Better Day
Summary: Graham wakes up, but what about Xander?  
Date: June 6, 2000
 
**********

". . . can't. . . believe. . . happened. . . "

". . . vital. . . good. . ."

". . . doctor. . . up. . .to. . . him. . ."

"Wait. . . think. . . coming around. . . Graham?"

"Graham. . . can you hear. . . "

"Graham! Can you hear me?! Graham?!"

Well, since you're practically yelling in my ear, Giles, I would have to say yeah.

"Come on, buddy. Open your eyes."

Oh, Riley's here too. I wonder where here is? Open my eyes? Okay, I can do that. I think I can do that. Was it always this hard? Oh, here we go, eyes opening. . . eyes opening. . . AUGH Bright Light!!! Eyes closing. Eyes closed. Much better.

"I'm gonna go get a doctor!"

Buffy's going to go get a doctor. Why would Buffy need a doctor? Wait. . . maybe I should try this eye opening thing again.

Ow. "Ow." Okay, taking stock. Riley, and Giles. . . worried faces. . . hospital room. . . massive headache. . . I'm suddenly thinking something really bad happened. "What. . . why. . ."

Riley glances at the door to make sure no one might overhear. "A demon gave you a pretty nasty bump on the head. You've been out of it for almost a day." I can see it in his eyes. Ri was really worried about me. This must have been bad.

"We've all been quite concerned." Giles has this grave look on his face.

Grave. Grave. There's something. . . Graveyard. . . We were in the graveyard. . . there was a demon. . . Xander and I were running. . . Xander!

"Xander!" Where's Xander?!" I try to sit up, which is probably not the best idea in the world, but I really don't give a damn.

Riley pushes me back down. "You want to make yourself worse? Calm down."

"But. . ."

"Xander's fine." Ri says softly. "He was in earlier, but he had to go to work."

I let out this deep breath, as relief washes through me. Xander's okay. But, Giles is looking at us kinda funny. Oh great.

"Uh, Giles, can you go see if you can help Buffy find the doctor?" I guess Riley noticed it too.

Giles blinks at us for a moment. "Oh, right. I'll just. . . go see if I can help Buffy find the doctor." He slowly shakes his head as he walks out into the hallway.

I turn back to Riley. "You sure Xander's okay?"


He snorts. "Xander's more then okay, Graham. He saved your life."

Huh? "Huh""

"Xander ran the demon through with this long, pointy, metal, candle holder thing. I forgot what Giles called it. Anyway, he killed it dead."I smile at the respect in Riley's voice.

"I can't believe he did that." Xander didn't run. He didn't. . . he didn't leave me. No. No, I'm reading way too much into this.

"Well, what I can't believe is that he carried you back to the car." Riley shakes his head.

"He carried me!" How did. . .?

"I don't know." Ri shrugs. "I don't think Xander knows either. He just said that he couldn't leave you, bleeding, in the middle of a cemetery."

He couldn't leave me. He carried me. Okay, I think it's going to take a few minutes to absorb this.

"It does seem a bit above and beyond for just *acquaintances*." Riley leers at me. "So, what I want to know is, what exactly happened between you two last night?"

I sigh. "Nothing happened." Well, except for that kiss. . . "Oh."

Riley gives me a curious look. Crap.

"What, oh?"

"No, oh."

"You said, Oh." Riley frowns. "You said, Nothing happened, then you got this really strange look on your face, then you said, oh."

Um. I put my hand to my head. "Oh. I feel a little woozy. Too much excitement. I think I need to rest."

Riley doesn't believe a word of it, and I don't really care.

*****

You would think that a place that wants to encourage people to live, would have a bit more stimulation in their rooms. I think I had more fun in my coma. Course, I'm really not looking for fun, I'm looking for something to distract me from obsessing over what happened with Xander.

I could always obsess about what's *going* to happen. Oh yeah, that helps. Well, at least I'm already in the right place if I develop an ulcer. Maybe I can. . .

"Hey."

Xander's here. Xander's standing in the doorway. Okay, I'm calm. I'm very calm. Last thing I need right now is some nurse coming in to check on my heart monitor.

"Hey."Calm. Very calm.

He shuffles from one foot to the other. He looks so nervous. I wish I could just hold him. "I can't stay long." He says, suddenly.

"Okay." If he's gonna bolt, I need to say something first. "Thank you."

He looks surprised. "For what""

"You saved my life."

"You kissed me."

Oh boy. Really wasn't expecting that. Okay, this would be a good time for a witty little comment to ease the tension. "Yeah." Good one, Graham.

"Why?"

Why? Why!? He wants a reason? He wants a reason. A reason. Well, why did I kiss him? "Because. . . because, in that instant, I couldn't not kiss you."

"Oh." He sinks down into a chair. "So, am I correct in assuming that you. . . uh. . . ya know""

"Have feelings for you?" I offer.

"Yeah."

"Yeah."

"Oh."He frowns. "Why?"

"Why. . . do I l. . ." Like!! Not Love!! SAY LIKE!!! ". . .ike you""

He nods, and my heart just about crumbles.

I'm at a loss about this. . . yeah, like I've been so prepared up 'til now. It would be easier if I thought he was just fishing for compliments. I had guessed that Xander hadn't had the most idyllic life, but now, looking at the insecurity written all over his beautiful, sweet face, I just want to punch someone.

"I-I'm not sure I can give you an exact reason." I guess it's cards on the table time. "I've been. . . attracted to you for a while now, basically from the first moment I saw you."

Uh oh. Disbelief has replaced insecurity. He wants proof? Okay. "It was at a party at Lowell House. You came in to get Buffy, I guess there was some big evil that needed fighting."

"Nah, just Spike."He says, absently. Then, his eyes focus on me, and I can see wonder starting to eat away at the doubt. "B-but t-that was. . .that was back in the Fall!"

"Yeah."

"You're telling me that you remember that?" Doubt was creeping back in.

"Xander, I remember every time I've ever seen you. I've spent countless hours thinking about you. I've agonized over whether or not I should try and talk to you. I've. . . "

"Got it really bad." He looks amazed.

I smile and nod. "So, when I kissed you it was. . . you were so close, and I had wanted you for so long. . . I just couldn't help myself."

"You wanted me?"Still amazed. Oh yeah, I'm so punching the next person who's mean to him.

"I still do."Is my voice usually that low? "I donut mean to scare you, or to make you uncomfortable, but I'm not going to deny what I feel, or what I want. Not anymore."

"Oh." He grins. Thank God, he's grinning at me, and it's not a mean grin, it's. . . shy, and he's got his head down slightly, so he's looking up at me through those amazing lashes.

Damn, he's cute.

"Since you still want me, I guess that means you liked the kiss, huh?"

Is he serious?

"Cause, I honestly don't remember it that well."

He doesn't remember it! Okay, that's fine. That's FINE!

"One second you were. . . kissing me, and the next you were being thrown across the room by a scary looking evil thing. . . didn't really have a lot of time to process, ya know?"

Uh. . .why is he moving closer to me? He's close enough to touch me. Now he's tracing patterns on my pillow. My Pillow!

"So, since our first kiss was kinda. . . interrupted. . ." He leans forward a bit. Oh God. "I was hoping. . ." Oh God. Oh God. "That maybe. . ." He leans in more. He's so close. Oh God. "We could. . ." Those honey brown eyes stare into mine. Oh God. Oh God. Oh God. "Try it again""

He wants to kiss me again. He Wants To Kiss Me Again!!! HE WANTS TO. . . Gotta say something! Like what"! Uh. . . uh. . . "Okay." That'll work.

He crosses the inches between us and presses his lips to mine, and. . .

Wow.

Wow.

Wow.

"Wow."

"Yeah," Xander says breathlessly. "That definitely deserves a Wow."

"More." My fingers tangle in his hair, and pull him back to me. He grins and nibbles at my lips, then suddenly he stops, and. . . laughs?!

"What?" You're not supposed to laugh, you're supposed to kiss me senseless, now get to it!!

Still chuckling, he gently nuzzles my cheek. "Sorry, but is your heart monitor supposed to be beeping that fast?"

**********

Reactions
Summary: Graham has some angsty thoughts after *the kiss*
Date: June 15, 2000

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Ben Stiller was wrong. Reality doesn't bite, it sucks.

Like a great big master vamp. . . it just drains the happiness right out of you.

And, I was happy. Not a bouncing off the walls happy, but a good steady ecstatic kinda happy.

Xander and I didn't just kiss, he kissed me. He initiated it. He wanted it. And if the look on his face was any indication, he wants more.

So, I should be wearing the dopiest kind of grin on my face, and trying to decide which ice cream topping I want to lick off of him first. After all, placed in the equivalent circumstances, that would be the appropriate reaction from every red blooded American male.

Maybe I'm Canadian, and nobody told me.

Oh, don't get me wrong, there is nothing I want more in this world then to be with Xander Harris. It's just. . .now that there's actually a chance I *could* end up being with Xander, reality has chosen to rear it's ugly metaphorical head. . . and it?s brought along some wonderful, mind infesting doubts.

Don?t you just *love* those?

My head's full of such fun stuff now, like all these complications that I know are just waiting to develop. Things I had never even bothered to contemplate back when this was all just happy fantasy shower time. And if *I*, the guy who's been dreaming of this relationship since October, haven't thought of these problems then I?m positive that Xander hasn't either.

There are so many things to think about. So many people to think about. At least. . . at least I know that Riley accepts me. And, everybody seems to be okay with Willow and Tara, so we shouldn't have a problem with the rest of the Scoobies. When it comes down to it, Xan and I both have pretty good friends, but our families. . . Well, at least mine are back on the east coast, so if they get all pissy there?s three thousand miles of buffer zone.

I gotta wonder if Xander has any idea of what he may be setting himself up for? If he's even thought about the consequences involved in. . . well, getting involved. I can't lose him. Not after what happened today. Xander left the hospital over an hour ago, but I can still feel him here. I can still smell him, his aftershave, or soap, or shampoo. . . whatever. I can still taste him.

He's mine.

Great. Just great. Just freakin peachy. We've only had one kiss. . . okay, technically we've had two, but since the first was called on account of massive head trauma I'm not officially counting it. . . and it was enough to make me go this loopy. I can't even imagine what it would be like if we ever get more physical. . . I mean, what it would be like psychologically, cause I've already spent a good chunk of my time thinking about the other. . . uh. . . parts.

You know what? This is ridiculous.

I can?t believe that I?m actually worrying so much about all of this.

I was a soldier in the United State's Marine Corp. I've faced down things that would have most people screaming in utter terror. I?ve lived through Maggie Walsh's version of hell, and I'm still here. And Xander, he's lived almost twenty years on the Hellmouth, battling things. . . seeing things, that would seriously freak the average person.

We're survivors. . . fighters. . . and if we want something bad enough, nothing, *nothing* is going to stand in our way.

Wow.

I think it's time for me to appreciate my stalwartly reserved nature, cause I do believe that was even cornier then most of Riley's speeches.

That's okay, Xander can be the designated talker in our relationship. Besides, he's cute when he babbles.

Why the hell have I been agonizing over this? Dealing with real life might get tough, but Xander?s a good enough incentive to at least try. That's all anyone can do. But, I figure that if we can avoid becoming monster chow, we should be able to get through anything on the relationship front.

And now that personal crisis is over with, it's time for me to move on to the really important questions. . . hmmm, caramel sauce, or whipped cream?

Hah! I knew I wasn't Canadian.

**********


Part 2
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