This turned out entirely differently than what I had intended to write, but I like it nonetheless...
In the moments after the bus stops, they trade quips and wisecracks to one another, seeing how far they can go to make each other laugh.
It's become something of a ritual to them now.
It helps them loosen the tension of just having been in an apocalyptic battle for the world. It helps them cool down from the fighting and the running. Mostly, it helps them not burst into tears or soil their underwear.
Xander tries his best for something witty, playing off of Dawn, but his lines mostly fall flat, and he knows it. He usually obliterates everyone's apprehension with some self-effacing joke, but something's wrong this time.
Even in her exhaustion, Willow sees, and though she looks towards the bus, scanning its windows and the line of people streaming out, she somehow knows that she won't find one person coming out.
By now, Xander is trying desperately to hold himself back, and he wonders how exactly weeping works when one of your eyes is gone. In the warming blurriness of his periphery, he sees the pale red of her hair approach, and she wraps his hand within hers. Willow notices, for a moment, that she has quieted a taut shaking which has gone unnoticed by everyone else.
He can feel the cool wetness of a tear flow down his cheek, but, his hand clasped in hers, he makes no move to wipe it away.Current Mood: