Title: Can't Tell Why
Author: Semby
Disclaimer: Don't own 'em, not profiting.
Summary: Anya looking back sometime after "Hells Bells" wonders why - about a lot of things. A lot of Xander-related things, that is.

Why him?

Of course, when she'd first started thinking about him, it was obvious. He was one of very few men who knew about her background. She knew, if it was going to be anyone, it had to be someone who would understand that she was different, understand that she was more powerful than a regular girl, that she was someone who should be feared and worshipped - and understand that she might not know what were the right things to say or wear on a date, or who was supposed to be the one who'd lean in first for a kiss. He had to be mindful of these things.

So it had to be him. The werewolf had eyes for no one but the witch, not to mention how annoyingly short he was. The librarian definitely intrigued her but she had been getting the impression that such things were frowned upon in today's society. It didn't make sense - she certainly wasn't too young for him by any standards, and she wouldn't consider him too young for her. Maybe it was the faculty/student relationship that was questionable. She didn't know the logic behind the rules; she just knew the rules made for an unavoidable obstacle.

So that left him. It didn't upset her. She wasn't picky about the kind of man who would be able to satisfy all her new, horrendously fickle, human, teenaged hormones. He was as good as any; she'd seen him have a certain reaction in class once that proved to her that he had all the necessary equipment and responses. He was attractive enough, and he obviously found her attractive too. He wasn't immediately drawn to her in a romantic fashion, and seemed reluctant to take her to the prom, which for some reason was even more of an attraction for her. He was a challenge, but not so difficult that he wouldn't be won over eventually.

They made sense then. And since she thought about him a lot after the prom, it made sense for her to ask him to run from impending death with her before graduation. But he chose to stay and probably die without her, and that should have been it.

Why him after high school?

She'd left him for dead. She'd been fine with moving on. There was a whole world of men with man-parts who could satisfy her in the way he hadn't even shown her yet. But somehow, even after an entire summer of waiting for the men of the world to come and service her, none of them had. And he was still in her head, with his goofy smile, and his bad jokes and taste in clothing. So she came back, and he didn't turn her away. That was quite nice. She got used to it. She'd forgotten what it was like to enjoy spending time with someone, having someone to fight by her side, hoping someone wouldn't die of syphilis or get beaten to death by her former lover's troll-hammer, or what it was like to wish she could lie next to someone every night for the rest of her life. Well, maybe some of that hadn't been forgotten, but was being experienced for the first time. And who better to share those first times with? Only him.

Why him?

He cared about her but he never let her in all the way. His friends never truly warmed to her; they found her too strange, the outsider, and he was the one to defend her - but never as forcefully as she would have liked him to. It just didn't bother him enough to find a solution that would make them get along. He liked having his own friends, the little secrets that were between them, the past they had shared together without her, and it never occurred to him to worry that she didn't have anything similar for herself. He never wondered - if one day he didn't survive one of the gang's more treacherous nights out - whether or not she would have a shoulder she felt comfortable crying on, or if she'd just lock herself away. He never wondered - if the reverse ever happened to her - whether the owners of the shoulders he would cry on would be crying along with him. Why wouldn't that matter to him? Why wouldn't he think of these things? Why didn't he ever worry about their future?

Why did she have to fall so far in love with him?

Why was there not a nice, big, fluffy cushion to soften her fall? Why was the only thing lying at the bottom of the abyss him waiting to offer her false hope and a ring, only to rip her heart out whole on the day he had promised to promise himself forever? She let herself believe in that concept – forever – even though forever was going to be much shorter than the forever she'd been used to looking forward to long before he came along. She let herself forget her roots and think she could be a good human, a good wife, maybe even a mother. She'd wanted to be a mother. She'd wanted to be the mother of his children. Someday.

But now, after all he had put her through, after she'd been rejected and humiliated on what was supposed to be the happiest day of her life, and that was saying something considering how many days she'd lived with which to compare it, she couldn't for the life of her figure out why that was what she'd wanted. Or why she couldn't stop wanting it. Why she couldn't hate him.

She told herself she hated him. She told herself she never wanted to see him again. She told herself she wanted revenge. But none of it felt real to her, which might have been because now every memory of their relationship felt like it hadn't been real either, and who could hold anger for the loss of something that wasn't real?

He didn't love her like she loved him, like that little voice in her head which doubted his love had still optimistically hoped he would one day. So why couldn't she stop thinking about him and happily go back to the life that had kept her satisfied for centuries before he was even born?