Disclaimer: I do not claim ownership of BtVS and associated intellectual properties nor ones connected to the works of CS Lewis.
Sunnydale High School Library: Late Night
"I need a vacation," Buffy said with a groan as she collapsed into a chair.
Xander looked across the table. "I'd invite you to visit Narnia with me, but you'd probably take it the wrong way."
"Is that some kind of weird come on?" Buffy asked confused.
Xander nodded. "As I said." He returned to reading the tome Willow had handed him.
Buffy looked at Willow who shrugged. "He's invited me a couple of times when we were younger, but I'd already grown out of make believe by then."
Giles sighed. "Normally I wouldn't ask, as I'll no doubt regret it, but how is Narnia used in this context?"
"Well," Xander said casually, "you can stay there for years and return to the moment you left, so it's perfect for taking a week off or even just catching a quick ten-hour nap before school."
Buffy and Willow just stared at Xander, wondering if he was as serious as he sounded.
"He never seems to lose any sleep even when we are up all night researching," Willow said thoughtfully. "I just figured he was the rare person who didn't need a lot of sleep."
"Are you saying you actually have a wardrobe that leads to Narnia?" Buffy asked Xander.
Xander stopped reading, looked Buffy dead in the eyes and nodded. "It's how I accepted vampires and all the rest so easily and why I take wood shop."
"What does wood shop have to do with anything?" Willow asked, still unsure if Xander was pulling an elaborate prank or not.
"Well, the wardrobe leads into a snowy forest and I didn't want to sleep on the ground. I used to use a tent, but the talking animals are a pain in the tukas, always trying to get me to go somewhere safer, plus it is really cold," he explained, "so I had to make something warmer and more durable to get any peace and quiet."
"So, what? You made a log cabin?" Buffy asked.
"Made one years ago, upgraded to more of a stone igloo the year before last and finally got a proper cottage done last year," Xander finished proudly.
"So, you have a wardrobe that leads you into a land of eternal winter filled with intelligent, talking animals and you never told anyone?" Giles asked.
"I told Jesse and Willow," Xander replied with a shrug. "No one was ever interested in going."
"And you built a cottage there," Giles said, "which you only use to catch up on missed sleep?"
"I use it for more than that," Xander argued. "I also use it to catch up on schoolwork, heal up bruises or sprains, and for when I just need a break."
"I thought you healed abnormally fast," Giles said thoughtfully, beginning to believe that he might just be serious.
"You have a wardrobe to Narnia," Buffy said in disbelief.
"Yes, as I've said," Xander reminded her, figuring this conversation would go about as well as the ones he'd had with Willow and Jesse when they were younger, the gang would eventually laugh off his claims and everything would continue as normal.
"And you've never mentioned it," Buffy said with a frown.
"I told you just now and you thought I was hitting on you," Xander reminded her. "No one's ever wanted to go, so I stopped bringing it up."
"You actually have a wardrobe that leads to Narnia or something close to it, no one believed you, so you stopped mentioning it," Buffy said to herself.
"It's Narnia," Xander assured her, "the otter mentioned it by name when he was waking me up one morning begging me to go to one guy's house where I would be safe. Naturally I told him to fu-frick off."
"It's still winter, so the evil queen is still alive?" Willow asked wondering if the events of the books had occurred yet or if it was just happened to be winter in Narnia right now.
"Alive and kicking," Xander agreed, "but I'm not the child of Adam they are looking for, nor do I have brothers and sisters to bring with me, so I've left it alone."
"Isn't it dangerous?" Giles asked concerned. He hadn't read the novels, but he had heard a bit about the series over the years and in his experience Children's Stories were often more more dark and dangerous than a film from the slasher genre, when you took a close look at the details at any rate.
"Not really," Xander said, "the most you run into in the forest is one of the wolves who work for her and they don't like dog mace at all."
"So, every day when you go home you duck into Narnia, bed down in your cabin, sleep for eight hours and then come back and go to school," Giles said, just to make sure he understood.
"I also do my homework and relax a bit," Xander added. "Time doesn't pass, so I try and make the most of it."
"All this time I could've just asked to go with you to Narnia and we could have spent a week together in a winter wonderland," Willow said with a groan, as she accepted the fact that he was serious and realizing what she'd passed up.
"Bed would have been a bit crowded," Xander joked, "I only just got a king size mattress put in last summer."
Willow turned red and her eyes lost focus.
"So, if I wanted to take a week off, like right now, you'd take me to Narnia?" Buffy asked, trying to distract everyone from Willow's reaction.
"Sure," Xander agreed perking up at the thought of someone actually believing him and having his friends stay with him. "Just remember to bring a change of clothes and food and drink, because there is no Quick-E-Mart in Narnia."
"How about I order a couple of large pizzas and we grab some Coke?" Buffy suggested. "I can wear some sweats and get some sleep. That should work for a night, we can plan for longer trips later."
"And me!" Willow exclaimed as she broke free of her fevered imagination, not wanting to be left out.
"Grab some decent footwear too," Xander said, "it's not far to my cottage, but you at least need sturdy sneakers for walking through the forest."
"Already got some on," Buffy said. "Giles got me some steel toed boots so I wouldn't ruin my nice shoes." She leaned back and lifted up a foot to show she had on some low-rise hiking boots.
"I'm wearing sneakers," Willow said quickly, not even trying to match Buffy's flexibility, as she was pretty sure she'd hurt something, "and I can grab sweats from my locker."
"Excellent," Xander said with an excited smile. "Sneak up my trellis when you guys are ready, all my stuff is in my room." He hopped to his feet and packed everything into his backpack. "I'll return this later," he told Giles waving the leather-bound book he'd been reading and shoved it into his backpack as well.
Once Xander was gone Buffy turned to Willow. "Sure it's not a prank?" she asked.
Willow shook her head. "He's acting too serious and he really has asked me to go to Narnia before."
"In that case, let's go get our gym clothes and order some pizza and soda," Buffy said, "cause I hear the siren call of twelve straight hours of sleep!"
Xander looked around his room and started straightening things up, stuffing dirty clothes in the hamper and making his bed so it didn't look like he was a total slob. Willow's room was always neat as a pin which he'd never match, but he could at least get his somewhat close to Buffy's with her pile of shoes and magazines lying about.
The thought of magazines had him quickly looking about for any errant Playboys that might be visible. Thankfully there only appeared to be a couple and they were easily dealt with as he stuck them under a stack of comics on his desk.
He glanced down at his floor and decided it may need to be vacuumed, but he didn't have the time for that at the moment. He grabbed a sock out of his hamper and wiped the dust off his bookcase and dresser, before tossing it back.
He looked around. "Okay, looks good. What am I forgetting?"
Willow climbed over the window sill followed by Buffy, who was carrying a small stack of pizza boxes as well as her backpack.
"Hopefully not us," Buffy said.
"Jackets," Xander said as he looked at the two.
"What?" Willow asked.
"Jackets, it's winter over there with a capital W," he said. "I have some old jackets you can wear, but your legs are going to get cold." He eyed the short skirt Buffy had on.
"Yeah, didn't think about that," Buffy admitted, before setting the pizzas down and digging in her backpack for her sweatpants.
Xander opened the wardrobe while Buffy pulled on her sweatpants under her skirt and pulled out a pair of old Navy Pea coats. "Put these on."
The two girls took off their backpacks and put on the heavy wool coats, before loosening the straps on their backpacks to fit over them.
"I am swimming in this," Buffy said, "it's practically a tent." She waves her arms, the sleeves extending at least several inches past her hands.
"Yeah, but they're really warm," Xander said as he put one on himself and pushed the rest of the jackets to the sides of the wardrobe. "They came with the wardrobe and have really come in handy."
Buffy picked up the stack of pizzas. "Lead on."
Xander grabbed his backpack off the bed and lead them into the wardrobe, the girls cautiously following him, still not completely convinced it wasn't a prank but with increasing hope that he was telling the truth.
The darkness of the wardrobe quickly gave way to the light of a setting sun showing through the trees and the two girls looked around in wonder, their breathe coming out like puffs of fog in the frigid winter air.
Willow turned around and saw the wardrobe was gone, but the shadows between two large pines behind them looked deeper than they should and both trees were marked with an X carved into the bark at shoulder height. "We're in Narnia," she said in wonder her cheeks turning red in the cold.
"And it's freezing," Buffy said, passing the pizzas to Xander so she'd have her arms free in case any wolves showed up.
"It's winter," Xander said once more, "with a capital W. Now, follow me." He set off with sure steps and a bright smile, his two female friends hurrying after him.
"Why not build the cottage around the entrance?" Willow asked as she looked around and noticed someone had carved slashes on the trees at eye level along the path they were following.
"Because I wanted running water," Xander replied. "I am not dealing with an outhouse if I can help it and you would not believe how heavy a toilet actually is, but I managed to install one."
"So, you built it next to a river?" Buffy guessed, eyes scanning the forest around them for danger.
"Yep," Xander said proudly. "It took nearly a full year of carrying in bricks and cinder blocks, to say nothing of bags of cement, but I managed to make myself a place with a modern bathroom and a shower. The shower is cold as heck, because even if I could carry in a water heater there aren't any gas lines to connect it to, but I have one."
"I thought all your interest in home repair was because you wanted to fix things, not build them," Willow said, hurrying to match Xander's brisk pace.
"Actually, I did discover I liked being able to fix things," Xander said, "but the original reason was so I could build this."
The ground sloped downwards as they turned to the right, following the markings on the trees, to where the sounds of falling water could be heard.
"Did you build it in a cave under a waterfall?!" Buffy asked excitedly.
"I'd have died of pneumonia if I did that," Xander said, "besides the waterfall isn't that big."
The trees gave way to open ground and they reached the banks of a river. Turning upstream they could see a small waterfall, maybe a dozen feet high, and a door set into a hillside between a pair of mismatched circular windows set at head height.
"Port holes?" Willow asked as they approached, praying it was warmer inside.
"I needed sturdy glass, so I scrounged them off a couple of boats that were being scrapped," Xander replied. "It's hard to relax if you're worried about wolves breaking in, in the middle of the night." He passed the pizzas to Willow when they reached the door.
"How did you deal with them before you got everything built?" Buffy asked as Xander took out a ring of keys and unlocked three deadbolts, one on the top of the door and two more along the side near the top and bottom.
"Made a nest in the trees until I built something strong enough to keep them out while I woke up and grabbed the mace," Xander replied as he braced his shoulder against the door and shoved, causing it to slowly open.
The two girls quickly pushed past him, eager to get inside, while Xander pushed the door shut, re-locked it, then barred it with a pair of four by fours.
"Lights?" Buffy requested as the place was nearly pitch black with the door closed, the sun in the wrong position to shine through the two small windows on the front of the place.
Xander walked over to a table and turned on an electric lamp, illuminating the room.
The room was about the size of Buffy's living room with a king size bed on one side and a beat-up wooden table in the center, surrounded by folding chairs. There was a fireplace opposite the bed and two doorways leading off the back wall, the walls were made of cinderblocks and there were bookshelves everywhere!
"I never took you for a reader," Buffy said as Willow set the pizzas on the table and they started poking around.
Xander stacked wood in the fireplace and stuffed a handful of wadded up paper under it. "There are really only two things to do here when you're all alone."
Buffy grinned and Willow blushed.
Xander grabbed a box of matches off one of the shelves and lit the fireplace. "Sleeping and reading," he finished as he poked the paper and made sure it caught.
Willow scolded herself for having a dirty mind while Buffy just smirked as she discovered a stack of old Playboy magazines on a shelf.
"The doorway to the left leads to the storage room, and the one to the right the bathroom, though I'll warn you now the toilet seat is cold as hell," he said, warming himself in front of the slowly growing fire.
"I can't believe you made all this," Willow said, joining Xander in front of the fire as the cottage, while warmer than outside, was still pretty cold even with the Pea coat on.
"There was a good sized cave, which helped a lot," Xander said. "Plus, the floor isn't as smooth as I'd like it."
Buffy examined the cement floor, seeing the uneven sections and ripples in the concrete. "Looks better than what I can do," she offered, before opening up a pizza box and wolfing down a slice. "What's the sleeping situation? Because after I check the bathroom, I'm going to be sleeping for days!"
"It's a big bed and there are plenty of pillows and blankets, you just have to share the space," Xander replied. "As I told you, I only have the one bed, though it is king size."
"Works for me," Buffy said, pulling a two liter of soda from her backpack and setting it on the table.
"You'll have to take the lantern to the bathroom, but there's more than enough light from the fireplace that you won't be leaving us in the dark," he pointed out.
Buffy took a swig from the bottle. "Excellent, then I'm going to go change."
"I can't believe you had a door to Narnia and I never listened," Willow said. "It would have been so great to just hang out and read for a couple days in the middle of the week!"
Xander grinned. "Yeah. I considered simply picking you up and carrying you through the wardrobe a time or two, but it just seemed wrong somehow."
Willow giggled. "I wouldn't have minded."
"Cold!" Buffy squealed, from the bathroom.
"There's no door to the bathroom, but I build it farther in, so there's a small hallway, barely half a dozen steps. I didn't have to run so many pipes to connect it to the water that way," he explained. "It's got plenty of privacy, but is a bit harder to heat. Plus, as I mentioned, the water is always cold."
"The fact that you have water at all is amazing," Willow said. "I mean, this entire place is amazing. I really regret not listening to you, I could have helped build it." Willow stepped closer to Xander and slipped an arm around his waist. She could just picture the two of them alone together for days at a time…
Xander put his arm around Willow and she leaned into him as they watched the fire in comfortable silence.
"You really understated how cold the toilet was," Buffy said as she returned dressed in sweats and set the lantern on the table along with a pile of clothes and her shoes, stepping quickly as she was only wearing a couple of pairs of socks and the cement floor was cold.
"It wakes you up quick," Xander said with a grin as Buffy checked the front door and smiled. "Solid."
"Solid all the way through with a metal core," Xander said proudly. "Got it from a house they never finished building before the owner met with an 'accident'. I used it as a sledge to bring in the bed."
"We really are safe here," Buffy said, wonder in her tone.
"Completely," Xander agreed, sensing she needed something more. "The cinder blocks that make up the walls are filled with concrete and rebar. This isn't the Hellmouth, it's as far as you can get from a Hellmouth, but I still built this place like it was. You'd have to bed down in a bank vault to be safer."
Buffy beamed and bounced over to the bed, where she started straightening it up and fluffing the pillows before climbing in and snuggling down. "I'm going to sleep forever!"
"We'll probably be joining you in a couple of hours," Xander warned her.
"Hands above the waist and I get the center," Buffy said, causing the two to stare at her wide eyed. "Night!" she called out, eyes already closed.
Willow and Xander looked at each other.
"I thought she'd insist I sleep in the middle," Willow said.
"She must really be tired," Xander offered.
"And the bed's kinda chilly," Buffy called out.
The two laughed and Xander retrieved a couple of chairs from the table along with a pizza and a two liter. "Bon appetit," he said.
Typing by: fyrewolf5
AN: In Wood it Work, the gang are preteens pre-Buffy trying to reach Narnia, which I'm not sure they will ever do, but people keep asking when they will reach it. It made me think of what would have happened if Xander had found his way to Narnia. Just because he found it doesn't mean anyone would believe him and with its nature you couldn't force anyone to come through the gate or provide proof, they had to be willing to believe. Xander knows how the story goes and doesn't have a big enough ego to believe he could take the place of the four children destined to end winter, so he would make his own little niche in the world and take full advantage of it, while avoiding any attempts to make him part of the plot.
As for Buffy… Buffy has been under a lot of stress since she became the slayer and it started in her dreams, so not even being at home snuggled in bed was safe, but here she is far from Sunnydale and the constant fight to keep humanity safe and since time doesn't pass she doesn't even have to worry about what's going on at home or feel guilty about taking time off. This is the first good night's sleep she's had since she was fourteen.
TN: Nice story so far, and yeah, can totally see Willow disregarding Xander's claims since she would think she's too mature, and he was just playing pretend, plus the fact he's never been gone long. And not sure what the future ratings will be, but I'm honestly half expecting if there's another chapter, whoever wakes up first is going to find that it was Buffy's hands that wandered below the waist and Willow being half asleep holding Buffy somewhere and realizing she likes that sensation, with a 50/50 chance of Buffy holding the hand in place herself in her sleep.