Title: The Slayer's Hunter
Author: Robyn the Snowshoe Hare
Part: 0/?
Disclaimer: Joss owns it all, and we all thank him for giving us this wonderful Buffyverse to play in.
Dedication: Eternal thanks to Stone Cold, for his tireless praise, cheerleading, nagging, and dialogue suggestions.
*****

"Xander, are you sure you want to do this?"

"Buffy, you are my dearest friend in the world. For you, yes, I will do this."

"Xander! Think! Yes, I am your friend, and you are mine. But it can never be anything more. Are you sure? Will you give up your entire future for me?"

"Once I wanted you to be more than just my friend, and I won't lie. I still hope that someday we could be like that. But I'll be patient. Even if we never reach that point, being this close will be enough for me."

Buffy looked carefully into Xander's dark eyes. The hardest part of al of this was, she knew he meant every word he said. And it tore her apart that she couldn't give him her heart in return, when she so obviously had his. But you can't give what you've already given away. Angel had her heart. Wherever he was now. Slowly, she nodded. That was enough for Xander. He gave her a smile of pure joy, which tore at her soul. He knelt, and, taking her hands in his own, he said those fateful words:

"Buffy Summers, will you marry me?"

She managed a nod, unable to speak, as sudden tears choked her voice. She'd dreamed those same words for a long time, but from a very different man. Xander didn't understand, but as always, he did all he could to comfort her, and take her mind off of that subject.

"We need to plan the wedding fast. There are enough rumors already, and there'll be even more, but let's at least head off as many as we can."

She nodded again, and they both looked down at their joined hands. Which rested on her stomach, where for the first time, she had felt her child kick.

*****

The wedding was fast. And small. And short. But the only people who really mattered were there. Buffy's mother had been killed the year after their graduation from Sunnydale High. Xander's father had run off, and his mother had condemned the marriage to the point where she refused to even come to the wedding. And so, Buffy was walked down the aisle by her Watcher. Oz was the best man. His fiance Willow was the maid of honor, and the recently engaged Cordelia was one of the bridesmaids. The pews of the tiny church were modestly filled with several of their old friends from high school, and some other friends made at Sunnydale Community College.

Of all the 'dearly beloved' gathered there on that bright day, only six knew the real reason behind the wedding. Five months later, the whole town knew the reason. They all jumped to the perfectly obvious conclusion. Xander Harris had gone and gotten Buffy Summers pregnant. That was the reason behind a marriage that while friendly, comfortable, and open, was loveless.

But they were wrong.

Yes, the marriage was friendly, comfortable, and open.

The marriage was loveless only in a sense. For Xander and Buffy loved each other only as the best of friends do. But, true. It did not contain those....other areas of love.

But they *were* wrong in one major factor.

Xander Harris was not the father of the baby.

Angelus was.

Part 1