Hello fellow readers. I was watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I just wish this episode had ended differently (actually there are a few changes I'd like to make and maybe I will be able too...Oz/Willow together but those will take more time and possibly actual chapters.
I was inspired to write the one-shot of season 6 episode 16 "Hell's Bells" giving it an AU touch.

I hope you guys enjoy it. Please be all reviewy and feedbacky! (Like the Buffy lingo?)


As Anya looked at him with her panicked expression, the hurt already so visible though she kept trying to convince him it was just a nightmare, Xander couldn't take it.

He just kept seeing himself as the thing he'd feared most, even above becoming a vampire or being wounded by a demon or dying in one of their many apocalypses. As he heard his parents fighting and saw his monstrous relatives batting with her demon friends, his heart sunk lower and felt too heavy to keep beating. He just couldn't do this to her, she deserved a life better than what he could give her.

"It's normal to have thoughts Xander, people do it all the time. We can still get married." Anya pleaded.

"No, if it's a mistake now..." Xander said, feeling his heart break.

"So sorry I'm late, there was a demon-" Mr. Giles paused as he took in the scene of the guests throwing punches and Xander and Anya's upset faces.

"Did I miss something? What happened exactly?" His brow furrowed as he tried to piece it together He saw the dead demon on the floor with Buffy and Willow standing next to it, their mouths opened wide with shock.

"Giles!" was the warning he got before Buffy crushed him in a hug.

He smiled, happy to see his Slayer once more. Leaving her was the hardest thing he had ever done, even harder than telling her that they may have to kill Dawn to save the world.

"How could you leave me? Why did you do it? How can you just come back here with flowers and your stupid glasses and your stupid English suit and and " Buffy ranted.

"Well, I umm-" Giles started before Willow tackled him in another hug.

"Giles, I've missed you." Willow said quietly as some tears rolled down her cheeks.

"I've missed you too." Giles patted her awkwardly on the back.

When she let got, he waved to Tara who smiled gently at him.

"What about me?" Dawn demanded. In times like these, he could definitely tell she was Buffy's sister.

"Come here, please." Dawn and Giles hugged and he whispered "I missed you too, Dawn."

Dawn just sniffed. "Whatever." But she smiled, glad to have her pseudo dad back.

"Eh hem" Giles cleared his throat and started cleaning his glasses. "Did the demon on the ground stop the wedding?"

The Scooby gang looked around awkwardly and then turned to Anya and Xander.

"Well Xander went all disappeary for a bit and then turned up just as the demon attacked Anya." Dawn said.
"Yeah and then I killed him and improved my bridesmaid dress at the same time" Buffy joked before looking down at the glare Anya sent her way.

"Yes, you do look, umm, bright." Giles said.

"Now Xander has thoughts on my special day and a demon is dead. This isn't what's supposed to happen." Anya cried.

"At least it wasn't one of your relatives." Dawn blurted.

"It's not that I don't want to get married, it's just..." Xander trailed off and looked at Giles.

And in that moment, Giles knew.

Xander and Giles had never been as close as the rest of the gang, seeing that he was Buffy's watcher and like a father to Dawn. Willow and Giles could always talk about magic and Giles and Tara were fine with the quiet. Anya and Giles had the shop to bond over.

But Xander with his American jokes and laid back approach and goofy nature had never jived well with Giles' brittish nature and role as the adult in the group.

Now, Giles saw fully what he had only glimpsed in moments in the past.

He had seen Xander come through when his friends were in danger, showing a kind of bravery and courage only seen by true knights.
Xander has his moments of insight too, lending a perspective outside of magic or educated study that often helped reveal the latest mystery like when he helped them get their idea on how to kill Adam****.

Giles had also heard about Jack O'Toole and his failed attempt to blow up with school* and had figured out that Xander had something to do with it.
He hadn't confronted Xander in part because it was unlike Xander not to brag about an accomplishment and in part due to his own shame in making Xander feel he couldn't come to him for help.
He along with everyone else had seen what Xander could do with confidence when he was split in two halves but had repressed the memory with all of the sex references.**

Now, however, Giles saw what Xander had hidden from everyone. He had seen it in Wesley Wyndam-Pryce and in himself on bad days.

"The demon pretended to be Xander from the future and showed him nightmares about our future and gave him mold feet." Anya said, breaking Giles out of his reflections

"It's cold feet, the expression is cold feet." Xander explained, pain forgotten for the moment.

"Why cold feet? Mold feet makes more sense, stinky smell spreading from you and stopping the event." Anya argued.

"If I may" Giles inserted before the argument could go further, "I would like to talk to Xander for a moment."

"And I say what?" Xander asked, mouth open and eyes wide with shock.

"Why?" Anya demanded, placing her hand on her hip.

"I think I can help with what the demon did." Giles said.

"Okay, just hurry if you can, I have been waiting very long already." Anya's eyes betrayed the worry that her words didn't say as she crossed her arms.

"Buffy, can you and the others break up the fighting guests?"

"Sure" Buffy cracked her knuckles and rolled her head. "No problem"

As the gang started to break up the fight, Giles put his hand on Xander's shoulder. "Shall we?"

"Okay." Xander sighed as the two men went into the parlor. He didn't think anything would change but he couldn't look at Anya in pain anymore.


After they sat down, Giles asked Xander, "What did the demon show you?"

"My future, my horrible worse than hell and no sex anymore future if I married Anya." Xander said, feeling worse than ever as he remembered it, and running his hands through his hair, causing it to stand up in many different directions.

"I see." Giles cleared his throat. "What was in this horrible future? Did Anya become a demon again or leave you?"

"What? No! No, and I would still love her...probably...if she didn't have the face...no, she wasn't a demon."

"Alright, so then what about the future scared you if not her past?" Giles had a theory but he wanted to see if Xander would confirm his hypothesis first.

Xander sighed. "I was unable to work because I had thrown out my back trying and failing to save Buffy."

"Ah, so you believe your marriage to Anya will endanger Buffy?" Giles asked skeptically.

"Yeah...well no. That was just how it started." Xander confessed, rubbing his hands together.

"How what started?"

"I...it...nothin-" Xander tried to deflect but Giles had turned on his most stern librarian expression, the one used for overdue books and to get Dawn to listen to him.

"My drinking okay? My drinking and being a terrible abusive husband and father and hurting Anya before I killed her!" Xander yelled, jumping up and starting to pace around, eyes wild with panic and fear.

So his thoughts had been correct after all, Giles nodded to himself.

"Ah, I see." Giles said out loud, calm expression on his face.
"See what huh? The deadbeat no college boy loser?" Xander said disgustedly.

"No, I see a boy afraid of becoming like his father." Giles stated.

Xander froze as Giles continued "Much like myself, I'm afraid." He stated cleaning his glasses once more.

"What? G-man, afraid to be a Watcher like your dad? I thought you were all proud of your heritage and stuff." Xander was confused.

"No, I never wanted to be like my repressed, cold hearted father. When I was Ripper, it was an attempt to avoid turning into my father, to be cool and wild and free." Giles confessed.

"Whoa." Xander fell back in the arm chair with wide eyes. "So that's why you were literally raising hell and all?"

"Yes, unfortunately, I didn't see soon enough what I hope I can help you see, to avoid my fate." Gile's eyes turned from a mix of embarrassment and regret to utter seriousness.

"What? What do you mean?" Xander asked. He flapped his hand at Giles. "We aren't alike. You're all smart and musical and mature."

Giles chuckled a bit and shook his head. "No, what I meant is that you aren't your father. There is no chance you could be like your father."

"What?" Xander said yet again. "No, the demon made that all too clear that I will." His eyes filled with hurt and dread.

"What he showed you were your nightmares, your deepest fears." Giles explained. "The fact that you fear becoming your father is already a good start."

"How?" Xander was doubtful, his fears were keeping him prisoner, saving Anya from him.

"I see that Willow is no longer practicing magic. She emailed me, to update me on her progress with her addiction. Tara had confided in me before about her fears, fears that we shared. I'll admit, I should have stayed to keep a better eye on her instead of leaving." Giles shifted and looked ashamed before he collected himself.

"It's okay, she realized how far gone she was before anyone got seriously hurt." Xander said. "She's doing better now." He added with a half smile.

"That's my point though, Willow had to learn to fear what she'd become. You already fear becoming your dad, the worst version of yourself." Giles said.

"But, but that's different." Xander sputtered.

"Is it? Magic and alcohol, both addictive."

"I guess so." Xander admitted. "But what if I can't take care of her? What if I start drinking?"

Giles reassured him. "Xander, you are very skilled at your construction work. In a few years, you could easily become a manager and perhaps own your own business one day."

"Me, run a company? Be in charge? I know I'm a foreman now but my other half got me the job**."

Giles sighed and rubbed his forehead. This level of self doubt and loathing would need him to break his English repressive tendencies.

"Xander, do you realize how rare it is that when you were split into two, that one of your halves wasn't evil?"

At Xander's surprised look, Giles explained further. "When most people are split into two halves, they have a good half and evil half. The demon wanted to split Buffy into slayer and human...he probably would have gotten an animal like Slayer, prone to violence and only able to act on instinct and a human with a large heart."

"When you were split, you didn't become an angel and a demon, you become a confident you and a, ah, well, you."
"There was no evil in your heart, no violence in your nature. Your other half just had confidence in himself, and was a bit more mature perhaps." Giles eyed Xander.

"Oh," was all Xander could get out...he had never thought about that before.

"The only people I have seen you show violence too had threatened or hurt your friends." Giles pointed out.

"Moreover, Xander you worked at a bar*** and weren't tempted to drink then. I have never seen you drink more than one beer at a party."

"Well, yeah but, alright so maybe I won't become my alcoholic father." Xander agreed.
Giles heart warmed, he had helped someone, stopped another Ripper in the making.

"But I am still not good enough for her G-man. I could still get fired and be a deadbeat husband without the drinking."

Giles sighed heavily and pulled off his glasses . "Alright Xander, I am only going to say this once and then I will resume my English nature of tea drinking and repressed emotions as Buffy says."

Xander nodded and leaned forward. curious as to what Giles would say.

Giles started cleaning his glasses.

"Xander Harris, you are a true white knight. You are fearless when your friends are in trouble, brave because you fight without super strength or years of training or magic. The first day you meet Buffy, you joined her fight to try to save your friend and you stuck by her side to save others despited seeing that demons were real. You have courage that overcomes your fear and has saved your friends, even when they didn't know it...if you recall Jack O'Toole*?"

Xander felt his heart start to lighten.

Giles continued, but put his glasses back on and looked Xander right in the eyes. "Xander, you are not the zeppo* of the group." He paused to let that sink in.
"You are the very heart of the group."
"You bolster our spirits with your jokes and lighthearted humor. You take care of your friends, you got the closest to Fatih of any of us and you tried to reach out to her. I know you helped Buffy, Willow, and Dawn by being their friend, even if it meant telling them what they needed to hear, not what they wanted to hear. You stood up to Angleus to protect Buffy, you gave Willow confidence to be herself, you made Dawn feel like part of the gang."

"Most importantly, you taught Anya, a capitalist, blunt, former vengeance demon who hated all men, what it means to truly love someone."

Xander's eyes had filled with tears and his throat was tight. He couldn't believe that Giles, Giles of all people, believed in him that much. From Buffy or Willow or even Anya, he would've have thought love had blinded them.

But he and Giles, while on the team had not really bonded. In fact, when Angelus had tortured Giles by making him see Jenny, Xander had gotten him to accept reality by pointing out that Giles wouldn't want to see him.

But now, after hearing everything that Giles believed, Xander sniffed, stood up, and tacked Giles with a hug.

Giles awkwardly hugged Xander back and patted him on the back. But he couldn't keep a smile off his face.

"Right, enough of that." Giles said as they both stood up and adjusted their suit jackets.

"I have to go get married! Oh, man do you think Anya will forgive me?" Xander asked, now an excited, hyper groom once more trying to fix his wet hair with a giant grin on his face.

"Yes, I do believe so." Giles said with a slight smile.

"Great, thanks G-man!" Xander ran out of the room.

Giles smiled and cleared his throat to get rid of some roughness, glad he had gotten through to Xander.


When Giles returned to the room, he saw that Buffy had gotten things back under control. She and Willow were distracting the guests by playing 20 questions while Tara and Dawn were comforting Anya.

Xander walked up to Anya and whispered something in her ear and her whole face light up.

Giles approached Anya as Xander ran up the isle, dodging his relatives.

"Anya," He started before Anya slammed her arms around him, cutting off his air supply.

"Thank you for whatever you said to him, be it a spell or guy code or threat of physical harm, thanks for saving my special day."

Giles smiled and gasped out , "You're quite welcome."
He cleared his throat. "Think your old boss can walk you down the isle? He held out his arm.

Anya's eyes filled with tears, she had wanted this but her own father was long since dead and her other boss wasn't the biggest fan of her wedding.

"Yes, I would like that." In an attempt to sound more like herself, she continued. "Besides, a shop-girl has got make sure her old boss knows his turing over of the store is a non-redoable thing and what better way to make sure I keep the store and money than to let you do this special thing as payment."

Giles rolled his eyes but accepted the defense. "Yes that and the flowers I sent should make us equal."


When Anya walked down the isle, Xander thought his face would split from his grin.
He knew their life wouldn't be easy and that they would fight a lot but they would also make up a lot too. (oh yeah, he knew their make up sex would be worth a lot of fights).

He knew he would have regretted if he left Anya at the altar...she may have even become a vengeance demon again!

But right now, all he could think of was how lucky he was that this gorgeous, sexy, wonderful girl was his.

The ceremony was a beautiful one despite the monsters and the demons and the radioactive bridesmaids dresses.

Anya and Xander were so in love that nothing else mattered. All of the guests respected their love in that moment.


Later at the reception, the Scooby gang snuck into the parlor to avoid the fights and drinking.

Buffy confronted Giles then.
"Okay so I know you left because you said I needed to stand on my own two feet. And I've tried."

"Yes, and it killed me to leave you." Giles started to explain again, guilt overcoming his face.

"Zip it." Buffy crossed her arms and with a stubborn tilt to her chin, stated "Let me finish."
"Alright" Giles sighed.

"I also realized that I want to live again. I've rejoined the world. I know I can't have you take care of everything money wise and Dawn wise. But I need you."

Giles heart soared, his eyes filled with joy, she wanted to live again!

"Yes well, I-"

Buffy held out her hand. "Wait, little bit more to go." Buffy continued. "I need your help, to feel again. Willow's in recovery and Dawn's been stealing and I got fired from by job at the Doublemeat Palace of all places and I was seeing Spike." She blurted out, looking apprehensive.

"Seeing Spike?" Giles choked.

"Yes...it was stupid and wrong of me..so wrong...like demons and Dracula wrong. But I needed to feel something and he...made me feel. I realized I was using him and that was wrong. I forgot who he was, the chip had let me forget"

"Buffy" Giles started.

"No, no, please just stay. Dawn needs a father and Willow needs someone to keep an eye on her and help her and I need some guidance on where to look for my next job. But above all that, we need you here, just as you. Heart, spirit, hand and mind, remember?****"

Buffy got a determined look on her face, the one she always got before she gave on her speeches to motivate them to save the world from another apocalypse.

"You restored the heart, helping Xander so he could marry Anya. You knew Willow's spirit was being poisoned before any of us. You left so I would have to become the hand again, not a puppety hand but an alive handy hand. I was relying on you, and knew if I died, you could take care of Dawn. But now, I realized I want to live and I want to live in a world with you in it. The family just needs the mind, your brilliant, loving, English, Watcher of mine mind again with us all."

"Buffy-" Giles cleared his throat. "I..that is England isn't the same and I...I would love to stay."

Buffy and Giles just stared at each other, big, genuine smiles on their faces and Dawn who was eavesdropping, squealed and hugged them both. "Yes, I am so glad you're back for good."

Giles glared at Spike until Spike tilted his head toward Buffy, gesturing "she's yours now mate".
Giles nodded and Spike left.

Willow and Tara came up and then Xander and Anya joined as well.

"The gang's all here." Xander said. "Let's celebrate before we race off to our honeymoon."

"Yes, where we will be naked all of the time and have many organisms." Anya added.

Xander just kissed her. "Actually, we will just take off now. Bye!" They raced out the door, hand in hand.

Willow and Tara smiled at each other. "How about some ice cream and we get out of these radioactive dresses?"

"Ice ccream sounds n-nice." Tara said.

Tara and Willow hugged Buffy and Dawn and smiled at Giles before they left.

As Xander's drunk Uncle Rory looked her way, Buffy said, "Do you guys want to steal some cake and head home, and make with the comfy?"

"Sure." Dawn said. "My shoes are killing me"
"Yes, please, I desperately need a cup of tea after today."

"You got it Giles. One cup of tea for you, sugary goodness for Dawn and I."

Buffy came back one minute later with half of the cake.

At Giles and Dawn's looks, she said, "What? I killed a demon and wore this dress, I earned this cake."

Dawn just rolled her eyes while Giles smiled a small smile and the three of them headed home, a family once more.


* "The Zeppo" Season 3 Episode 13

** "The Replacement" Season 5 Episode 3

*** "Beer Bad" Season 4 Episode 5

**** "Primeval" Season 4 Episode 21