Disclaimer: I don’t own it – none of it. Not even the plot bunny.
Stupid frat boys.
“Move it dollface. Come on and daaaance.” A particularly inebriated young man almost toppled over himself after he sloppily slapped a blonde wig on Xander.
Amend that – stupid, drunken frat boys.
“And here’s a tiara for the pwetty, pwetty princess.” The laughing faces were closing in, bobbing and tilting erratically with the room. Xander’s arm cocked back.
“No!” Suddenly Willow was hanging on his arm, red hair braided in a silky pink bow and lasciviously dressed in a red slinky number that looked positively un-Willow-like.
“Remember why we’re here?” She hissed in his ear. “To save Buffy.”
At the motion, he looked down involuntarily, for the first time noticing the purple dress and pink sash that he, himself, was wearing. And was that a bra?
Xander looked at Willow, horrified. “I think she can take care of herself?”
“Nuh-uh mister, you’ve committed yourself to this and we’re going.” Willow’s resolve face trumped whatever terror Xander was feeling. She hung on to his arm and started to drag him towards a descending set of stairs. “I think this is where the dungeon is…”
“Dungeon?! Sorry Wills, I don’t think we’re dressed appropriately.” Xander almost stumbled and noticed something else. Since when did sequined high heels even come in his size?
“Don’t be such a baby. Girls have to wear this stuff all the time.”
Xander sucked on his teeth. “Well, if you haven’t noticed, I’m not a girl!”
Willow slapped his arm at the furious whisper. “What did I tell you about blowing our cover? This is supposed to be a clandestine operation.”
Willow continued to drag her partner over to an elegant velvet door-shaped curtain, pulling it back to reveal an elaborately decorated room. Cushiony chairs, an expensive sound system and a tacky leopard spotted bed.
“What is this? The honeymoon suite?”
“More like the ultimate bachelor’s pad.” Xander looked at the speakers in awe.
“You wish.” Willow grimaced at the site of the bed. “Wait, I bet that door over there is it.”
She pointed, and the doorknob began turning in affirmation. The tiny man that popped out the other end was far from the terrifying monster the teens expected.
“Well helloooo ladies. To what do I owe this honor?” The pudgy man licked his lips a little too eagerly at the duo.
“Um, we were just looking for a friend.” Willow put on her best adorably confused look. “She’s blonde and about this tall…” She indicated about her height, but the little man wasn’t looking.
“I see a pretty blonde right here.” The tiny man managed to move much faster and less penguin dawdle-like than Xander would have expected.
He grabbed at the young man’s frozen hand. “A chanté miss… My, I’ve never seen such dainty hands!”
The young man stayed mute out of pure shock.
Willow attempted to diffuse the situation. “Mr. Don Corneo, sir, where is Buffy?”
“Excuse me?” The porky man didn’t turn, beady little eyes fixed on Xander and his reddening face. Those blue eyes were simply entrancing.
“Mr. Corneo!” The red head’s irate huff seemed to fade into the background as Xander felt the sausage like fingers tighten their grip on his limp hand. This was like a train-wreck.
The tiny man’s face squinted up, lips puckering. But Xander was frozen, immobilized. He wanted to move, to scream.
Then, the little man was a lot greener, a lot scalier, and a heck of a lot taller.
But that disgusting thing still looked like it wanted to kiss him!
Now, Xander could scream. “Auuuuyagh!” Thunk
The world was suddenly much darker and devoid of strange pudgy dudes and lizard people.
Xander’s skull must have scheduled a meeting with the floor without telling him. His legs were the only thing still on his bed, resting in a slanted position upwards.
“That’s it. I’m never ever cross dressing… again?
“I can’t believe I’m stuck in a basement about to die with you
!” Cordelia shrieked, pacing a hole in Buffy’s basement floor.
“The feeling’s mutual.” Xander mumbled, rummaging through some of Mrs. Summers’ things.
“And bugs, really? How dumber could this situation get?”
Xander sighed. “It’ll be a lot
stupider if we’re dead. Besides, I’m not exactly the one who let him in either…” He let the sentence trail for Cordelia to imply what she may.
“He looked normal!” She groaned.
“I think that’s the point of an assassin, Cordy.” He tossed an old pair of gloves over his shoulder, still looking for something.
“You know what, this whole waiting thing is taking too long.” She stomped up the stairs, but Xander didn’t deign to give her a response.
“What on earth are you even looking for anyway?”
“I was just thinking that maybe Mrs. Summers has some materia stashed away in here that we can use on Bug Guy out there.”
“Excuse me? Don’t you mean material? Not that you’re being very specific.”
“Augh, you know. Materia. Glowing orb that’ll…” Cordelia’s blank stare caused Xander to grimace. “Not again.” He rubbed at his face.
“Yeeeah. I’m just going to run for it.”
“Let’s just do that.”
“Everybody get down!” Buffy’s yell echoed down the high school’s main hallway as the ‘officer’ pulled out her gun, only to have Jonathan unexpectedly bump into her as she backed up around a corner.
The gun went sliding across the floor, but the Terakan assassin quickly found her bearings and pressed a large blade against Jonathan’s throat, effectively taking him hostage.
“Come any closer, Slayer, and I’ll slice his throat.” Buffy froze.
“Don’t I get any say in thi—urk.” The hold on Jonathan only tightened.
“Put him down! It’s me you want.” Buffy assessed her surroundings for a weapon, but instead saw Oz across the room cringing, gripping his arm as something wet and red started to spread across his sleeve. Where in the blazes was Kendra?
The assassin, however, was already backing up with a very still Jonathan.
Buffy was about to make a run for it and meet her around the bend when two clear shots rang out, resulting in a very wet sound. The assassin crumpled into a display, dropping the knife, but taking Jonathan down with her comatose form. He was still scrambling out from under the still body by the time Buffy made it to his side.
There were two holes on the right side of the assassin’s face, but the other was positively bloodied. Is that what an exit wound looked like? Buffy was far from squeamish, but this was the first time she could remember feeling physically ill on the job in a long time.
“Are you alright?” Buffy looked both ways, but she didn’t see anything that looked like a shooter or the gun that the assassin had dropped.
“Y-yeah…” Jonathan absently wiped at the gore splattering his face with a sleeve, smearing it a little more in places.
“C’mon, let’s go.” She single handedly yanked him off the ground and into a standing position. She wanted to get as far away from the body as possible.
“Buffy!” Kendra finally jogged over. “I did‘en know ya used guns.”
“I don’t.” Her shocked expression must have spoke volumes to Kendra.
“Oz, are you okay?” Buffy maneuvered around the other slayer as a pretense to ignore the body.
“I’m shot, but I think I’ll be okay. It,” he laughed, a strained sound, “hurts though.”
“Hey, Jonathan! Call the….” Buffy looked around, but he was already gone. “I’ll go call an ambulance, you guys sit tight.”
Kendra followed Buffy to the library phone.
“She was human.” Buffy felt like her shoes were made of lead
“What did ya expect? Assassins come in all shapes. Dat is the true art of undercover.”
“I just didn’t expect…”
“It was her or us. Her or de innocent.” Kendra simply shrugged. “B’sides. She could have just looked human.”
“I guess you’re right. I just wonder who shot her. Could there be a third assassin?”
Kendra just looked at Buffy. “It’s best for da slayer ta always have her guard up, regardless.”
“Man, you are such a stickler…”
Drusilla used to love to twirl, spin, skip, and kill, but she really wasn’t up to all the physical activity nowadays. Instead, she often leaned across things or sprawled across tables and beds. Here, however, the dusty boards above her weren’t very intriguing.
“Mmm, Spike I’m counting all the stars.”
“It’s daytime, Dru.” The bleached vampire leaned over his soft spoken lover. He cherished everything about Drusilla, even her manic murmurings.
“But I can’t name them all. They’re all in the wrong places and two too many. The clouds are in the way.” She lifted an arm, dragging her fingertip across a pattern in the sky only she could see, or maybe just the route of s support beam.
“Luv, you’re looking at the rafters.” Spike ran a light finger of his own down her profile. “Just wait until tonight. I’m sure you’ll be seeing all sorts of stars by then, not to mention the big ole Poofster himself.”
“That’s right.” The soft delirium of Drusilla’s voice came out in a bare whisper. “Daddy will be home soon, but not tonight.”
“I can’t believe you did that.” Jonathan dabbed his face with a towel in the locker room.
“She could have killed you.” Andrew chided, wiping down the murder weapon for prints.
“I know! But the thought of you and a gun still just…” He shivered instead of finishing the sentence.
“Yeah, I was kind of surprised too, but everything worked out in the end. And was totally awesome.” Andrew practically bounced with enthusiasm. “I’m totally on my way to becoming the next Bruce Willis or Mel Gibson. Hmm… Do I want to make people die hard or be lethal as a weapon?”
Unwilling to even bother and contradict Andrew, he instead cried out, “You were surprised?! Those aren’t really the words of reassurance I wanted to hear.” Jonathan was perturbed.
“Hey, Rufus was great with firearms! The Turks couldn’t be everywhere at once.”
“But you’re not Rufus! Have you ever really held a gun in your life? Just a couple degrees down and I would have been dead!” Jonathan was still somewhat numb.
“I’ve had plenty of water pistol fights before, for your information. I was just waiting for the day that the secret service would discover my hidden potential.”
“Okay, water guns definitely do not count. If you ever, and I mean ever
, get the inclination to do something like that again you should definitely plan on practicing because we both know Rufus’ weapon of choice was a double-barreled sawed-off shotgun, which honestly doesn’t have much to do with accuracy.” Jonathan involuntarily shuddered again. “I mean, how much do you honestly remember? I thought… Well, I know I don’t remember half as much.”
“Yeah, seems like only yesterday everything was all so clear.” Andrew ran his fingers in a backwards motion through his hair, a nervous tick Jonathan honestly didn’t remember him having before, but he wasn’t about to comment on the present contradiction. “Now, there’s not much of Rufus left, but I did manage to write some stuff down like you asked.”
“That’s good, I guess.” Jonathan only wished he had been able to write down more, that it had been clearer.
“Look on the bright side, your vision is all the way back to 20/20 again. No more glasses for you.”
It was mocking him. There on the edge of his bed, half draped in an old Superman beach towel it still managed to mock him.
Lately, Xander liked to consider his mind a steel trap, nothing gets in our out. At least, nothing important to him left and nothing dangerous came in. Test answers were of course negotiable. Those always seemed to have a way of leaking out. Yet, he was pretty sure the whole analogy wasn’t much more than wishful thinking at this point. He would be the first to admit that apparently his mind had sucky security. His mental shielding failed spectacularly at least twice in the face of the wackiness the hellmouth provided. At the moment, he didn’t even know what to call his new predicament.
On Halloween something strange hit him moments after Ethan’s spell blipped out of existence. He scratched at his chest idly. It was there, inside of him. He remembered lots of things, from riding giant bipedal birds and seeing the world (one with continental shapes he wouldn’t find on any map) to countless, horrible battles. But what really scared him was the startling clarity with which he recalled the ideas. For instance, he knew
the distinct hum of a mako reactor, the heavy oppressive heat of the metal plant as it churned through the planet’s life blood. He hated them.
Sighing, the young man slumped backwards on his rickety mattress, staring blankly at the ceiling. The buster sword rested at the end of his bed, glinting in the artificial yellow light of a standing lamp. He wasn’t going to look at it. Looking at it gave the strange thoughts in his mind credence, made reality out of what he wished were mere whispers in his mind. Whatever he was experiencing, it sure wasn’t the same degradation of foreign memories that Buffy went through after Halloween.
It shouldn’t have been a big deal, vanquish the baddy of the week and move on. But he didn’t move on. Something stagnated within him. Willow saw it, Ethan didn’t do it, and Cordelia thought he was loopier than ever. Every day, it terrified him. Something tickled the edge of his senses though. It was the vaguest sense of ‘Don’t worry. We’ve been through this before. We’ll beat this.’ And he believed it.
If his mind wasn’t as steel and trappy as he wanted it to be, he could always resort to another option. Just ignore all foreign materials. He could Sunnydale syndrome this, get over it, and go back to worrying about how to trudge through the latest Latin tome about some ancient evil. He just had yet to determine which memories were the foreign ones.
Xander groaned. It had been a really long day full of assassins and evil rituals involving Angel and Drusilla and transferring powers. Thankfully everyone made it out alive. Well, everyone that mattered. When he and Cordelia arrived at the library they heard Buffy detailing the gruesome death by firearm of the not-cop. That’s why when he finally arrived home he pulled the buster sword out of its dusty residence in the corner of his closet.
Sunnydale was dangerous, despite how lame some of its eviler denizens seemed. Assassin bug guy, really? He scoffed silently, but continued avoiding looking at the giant sword. It was ridiculous. He brought it out under the assumption that he needed to start carrying it around again because it would simply be too dangerous otherwise, but now that he’d seen it he was reminded of how preposterous his thinking was.
And again? Since when did he ever lug around an over sized piece of metal? There it was, the paradoxically stupid reason he refused to lift it so much as to even shove it back in his closet. If he used it, he gave credit to the not-so-fuzzy and strange thoughts in his mind. That would be going against his backwards plan of adopting his own isolated bout of Sunnydale syndrome.
Xander crossed his arms petulantly and kicked the offensive object off the bed. He could never have visited a mako reactor; they didn’t exist. He ignored the traitorous thought that whatever the case may be, sometimes, when the wind blew just right, he could feel the slight hum of the planet.
Gosh, he really wanted to kill something.
“You’re not looking for bug guts or something are you?” Buffy looked at her best guy friend.
“Uh, no. And besides, we squished all those with our feet yesterday, thank you very much.”
“Because you’re looking at your hand like it’s really trippy and colorful.”
Xander’s dark eyebrows crinkled at the appendage, seriously debating something.
“Promise you won’t laugh?”
“Uh huh.” Willow also enthusiastically nodded in affirmation.
“…Do I have dainty hands?” Worried big blue eyes looked up at Willow in all seriousness, but she couldn’t stop the ensuing snicker.
“Well, you do wear nail polish better than some of the girls I’ve met…”
“That’s it. I’m never going to movie night with you guys again.”
A/N: I put the dream sequence in here because I couldn’t help but notice that the frat boys in the Reptile Boy episode made Xander dress like a chick and this is something that Cloud unfortunately has also had experience with. Hehe.
My multi-chapter writing is awful rickety, but I promise we're getting somewhere. Also changed the story's tagline, hope it's slightly more informative. More soon!