Summary: Willow's discovered a spell that will magically heal Xander's eye.
Timeline: Post-Chosen/Season 8-ish.
Word Count: ~ 800
Author's Note: I remember reading discussion about how Willow has so much magical power now, she could heal Xander's eye. Then I began to ponder the specifics and this fic came about.
Willow pushed open the door to the Slayer headquarters library, waving an old book in the air and grinning madly. She found Xander with his head bent over some building schematics and a large pile of squad reports.
“I can fix it. I can!” Her voice jumped to a higher-than-usual pitch—she was excited. Triumphant, even. It was the sort of gleeful tone Xander used to hear when she got perfect marks on all her school assignments plus extra credit for going above and beyond. “I found a spell and it’d be just like before. Maybe even better.”
“And hello to you, too, Wicca Lady. What needs fixing now?”
“Your eye. I can make it as good as new. Or better if you want.”
He cocked his head. “So you can jumpstart me with better than 20/20?”
Willow nodded happily, her grin spread wide.
Xander paced for a moment, considering the possibilities. “Hey, why stop there? Give me hawk eyes. That’s gotta be useful. And the squad can call me Captain Hawk—no, wait—Major Hawk.” Xander’s almost lecherous grin was transformed into innocent teasing when paired with the dancing light in his right eye, a light that was anything but predatory. “And all the Slayers secretly crushing on me will call me Major Hot. I’ll pretend not to notice.” He wriggled his eyebrows. “Gotta play it cool for the ladies.”
“Uh—if that’s what you want, sure,” Willow said a bit uncertainly, biting her lip.
“Or how about not.” Xander sighed, his face falling from animated teasing to something more grim. His grim—no, weary—expression appeared more pronounced underneath the eyepatch covering the scarred tissue of his left eye socket. Almost as if the black fabric had a way of intensifying the emotion on his face. Under the black framing, his dire emoting was amped up to uber-dire while his goofball tendencies lampooned into the realm of cartoonish farce—it was at times like those Willow forgot he even had to wear an eyepatch. His silly façade made it seem like he wore it for fun. Like it was a costume.
A costume he didn’t have to wear anymore and he wasn’t jumping for joy because... “Not? But why not?”
He shook his head. “’Cause I don’t need it.”
Her brow crinkled. “But you do. And you deserve it. You shouldn’t have to suffer and—”
“Is that what you think this is? I’m suffering? ‘Cause I’m not. Really. I’m good. So you definitely don’t need to magically grow back another eyeball for me. And on that note, I’m pretty sure that’s how a horror movie I saw in the second grade started and it didn’t end well for the sheriff or the friendly neighborhood cat, so let’s just not. Knowing us, it’d probably trigger an apocalypse. So I’ll close with a gentle but strongly worded ‘thanks, but no thanks’.”
“If you’re worried I’ll mess it up, I can handle this. It’s a pretty advanced healing spell, but that’s cake for me nowadays. No, it's easybake brownies. From the box. With instructions and a built-in timer so they don’t burn and they come out extra gooey and delicious.”
“Yeah, okay. Except my not-so-great track record with spells taught me you don’t go there unless lives are on the line. And since nobody’s dying, I ain’t buyin’.”
She played her final card: resolve face. “Xander.”
He denied her resolve face with a level stare. “Will, this is me. I’m okay.” He shrugged. “I got hurt and it sucks and now I have to wear this sexy eyepatch and have superpowered heroic women fall at my feet night and day. It’s a heavy burden, I know. But I can handle it. You can trust me to handle it.” He leaned in close and looked her dead in the eye, then said softly, “You don’t have to fix me.”
She heaved a sigh, her shoulders slumping under the weight of his steady gaze. In a little-girl voice, she said, “But I want to.”
He gave her a tender smile and pulled her into his arms, resting his cheek against her hair. “And that’s just one of the many reasons why I love you.”
Leaning back, she gave him that look—the one that didn’t understand why the world would be so cruel as to steal her yellow crayon. “This isn’t fair.”
“It never is,” he agreed, a quiet resolve keeping his voice steady. Then, with a teasing grin, “But look on the bright side. Didn’t anyone ever tell you that battle scars are sexy? C’mon—‘fess up. You can’t resist the eyepatch. Too sexy for ya? You been having naughty dreams about the Xan-man? Admit it. This whole ‘healing spell’ was just a desperate attempt to resist my wiles.”
She rolled her eyes. “Oh, right. Darn. Secret’s out. I renounce my love of women at the sight of your sexy wounds. Take me now, you man you.”
“Ahem!” Kennedy interrupted from the open doorway, arms crossed in a not-pleased fashion. “Do I even wanna know or should I just skip right to the pummeling?”