"But it's a dry heat."
Buffy glared at Xander. He laughed as he handed her another bottle of water.
"You're telling me that a born and bred SoCal girl like you can't handle a little warm weather?"
"Warm weather? Xander, if it was any hotter I'd be on the phone to Giles asking if there was an open Hellmouth nearby."
"It'll cool down once the sun goes down."
"I'm holding you to that."
She sipped her water as they gazed out at the land that lay before them. Africa. A continent of contrasts. Deserts and rainforests all gathered in one place. Buffy had no idea which country it was, or even what the day was. All she knew was that Xander had called and she'd answered. Some nasty band of demons whose name had more consonants than Buffy liked to think about.
One private jet and one long, rugged jeep ride later and the demons were handled. It had been exhilarating to fight with Xander again. He knew exactly what to do and when to let her do her thing. The mini-Slayers were all in awe of her, as were the Watchers who lived here. Buffy was used to it. She and Xander had come out onto the porch to escape the questions and stares. It felt weird that they were celebrities.
"How are you, Xand?"
"I'm good, Buff, really good."
They were sitting side by side, close enough to touch, but keeping to themselves. Xander pointed to an antelope, an impala he called it, bounding across the lawn. They were surrounded by savannah plains, animals everywhere. Buffy had never seen so much green in one place. It was relaxing. They'd been talking, repairing their friendship. The last year in Sunnydale had been rough for them both. They'd ironed things out with promises of more phone calls and e-mails.
"Did I ever thank you for saving my life?"
Instantly Xander was back at the Bronze, Cibo Matto playing in the background, and he was hot and hornier than he'd ever been in his life.
"No, Xand. I really mean it. I never did thank you. For everything. But especially that. I was too busy trying to be the perfect Slayer."
"Nobody's perfect, Buff."
"Don't I know it."
There was a short, somewhat awkward moment of silence. Then Buffy leaned forward and placed a quick, soft kiss on his lips.
"Thank you, Xander. For saving me, for being my friend, for waiting."
"What? Huh? Buffy are you....?"
"I love you. You know that right?"
She'd said that before, on the bench in the Summers' backyard, before Warren. But this was different. There was a look in her eyes, an uncertainty in her posture.
"Buffy, I didn't know."
"How? When? Why?"
She smiled, leaning closer again.
"I'll tell you tomorrow."
Another kiss, longer this time. And Xander kissed her back.
He reached for her hand as they turned to watch the sun slowly dip below the horizon.