Changing Emotions
by bookworm jen

I still love Xander, and I probably always will. I'm just not sure when I stopped being in love with him. I know exactly when my feelings first changed from brother-love to something more. The summer before seventh grade Harmony invited Jesse, Amy, Xander and all of the other unpopular kids to a pool party. Everyone...except me. Xander refused to go someplace that I wasn't welcome. Jesse told us later that it had been a fabulous party; live music, great food, even Harmony's older brother was there along with his frat brothers from Sunnydale U. Xander and I spent the day at the beach and we had a blast, don't get me wrong, but we both knew he was giving up what was probably his last chance at popularity for my sake. How could I not have been in love with him after a sacrifice like that. Only, he still saw me the same way as always: a combination of best friend and kid sister, someone to hang out with and take care of. Someone to get the girl's point of view from, but not a real girl, and definitely not girlfriend material.

I kept hoping he would change; that he would look at me and see a potential girlfriend; but by the time he did I was with Oz and he was with Cordelia. It was messy. The whole time we were "fluking" I was thinking, "this is so wrong. If Xander really wants to be with me he should break up with Cordelia, but if he hasn't before why would he now? What's changed about me?" After Oz and Cordy found us I finally noticed that I wasn't in love with Xander anymore. It was like we were kids again. He was my brother and my best friend and nothing else. I kind of missed that "butterflies in the stomach" feeling every time I looked at him, but it was also kind of a relief. No guilt, no wondering what was wrong with me that he didn't love me as much as I loved him. Just pure friendship and pleasure in being part of each other's lives.

The question is when did it change? I mean, was it the shock of being caught cheating that made me fall out of love suddenly or had it been happening slowly and that was just what made me realize it? Looking back, it had been a long time since I had felt the butterflies when I was alone with Xander. I think the last time was when he relieved me from Oz-sitting, just before that mess with Debbie and Pete. It's not like that was the last time ever, I just can't remember any "I'm alone with Xander" butterflies after that. I still got butterflies around him, especially at research parties, but since Spike kidnapped us I've been living mostly butterfly free. Except, every once in a while, when the whole gang is at the library and he and Giles start bickering one little butterfly will start fluttering around.


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