Disclaimer: Not mine, never will be. No harm, no foul, no money made.
Every time they met, Giles’ eyes went first to Xander’s neck. Even when he wore clothing that hid the scar, Giles still looked, pinpointing the mark through cotton, silk or leather, like it was a tiny radio beacon tuned to a secret Watchers’ frequency.
Then he would examine Xander’s face, searching for only he knew what. Happiness? Contentment? Fear of the vampire that had staked his claim and damn the consequences? Maybe an excuse to finally dust the undead killer in their midst? Giles never explained, and neither Spike nor Xander ever asked. They were mated now, a matched set.
Buffy’s eyes reflected many things:
Anger at Xander for allowing himself to be claimed by a vampire who had tried to kill them all countless times before and doubtless would again, just as soon as he could neutralise the chip;
Jealousy that these two men, who had each professed to love her, seemed so much happier together;
Regret that she had lost the only one she’d ever loved because their destinies diverged;
Fear of being left alone, unloved, while the rest of them moved on two by two into the future;
And hope that, despite everything, their love would last.
The hurt came first, a thin sheen visible in her eyes. Pain that Xander hadn’t felt the need to confide in her about his new relationship but had let her learn the truth with the rest when Buffy had stumbled over them necking on patrol.
After a round of Willow babble and cross-examination, the looks turned softer, curious and bittersweet. She had Tara now, but Xander would always be her first love. Sometimes she remembered all the plans she’d had: their wedding, a house with picket fence, three kids, a shaggy dog.
But she’d never made him smile like that.
Tara’s eyes were soft, amused, accepting. She’d watched them dance around each other, almost from the first. She’d seen the veiled looks that passed between them when they’d made that first connection. So full of heat and hunger, she was stunned that no one else had seen the truth.
And now she watched them often, watched their auras meld and merge and paint the prettiest of pictures when they touched. Their kisses flared like fireworks, great swirls of blues and greens, and swipes of apricot, and of rose madder, threaded through with veins of brightest scarlet. They were beautiful together.