Lost the Laughter
rated t for teen content similar to the movie & series
main characters: Xander Harris and Micheal Emerson
mentions of Xander/Anya, past tense Buffy/Angel and possible Buffy/Micheal
disclaimer: Xander and the BtVS folks belong to Joss & Co. Micheal belongs to... umm, whoever wrote the movie 'Lost Boys', which isn't me.
distribution: with the previous 2 ficlets.
notes: Set in s4 BtVS, post Lost Boys the movie.
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Xander shook his head, still trying to figure out how he'd ended up with Anya. Well, the part where she'd come to his room, stripped off her dress and announced that she thought they should have sex had been a big part, but... How exactly had they stayed together again?
God, he needed some friends who were guys. He shouldn't be objecting to lots of wild sex with someone who knew all sorts of things to do. Someone with over a thousand years of experience. A hot older woman with an adventurous streak. What was the problem with this again?
Giles was talking with some guy. Some guy that looked a lot closer to their age than to Giles. Someone who didn't look anything like a Watcher.
Blinking, Xander tried for something witty and smart to say. "Uhh, Who's this and what's he doing here?"
So much for witty and smart.
"This is Micheal Emerson. He'll be staying in Sunnydale for a while, studying a few aspects of demonology and fighting," Giles adjusted his glasses, and rubbed at his temple. "He has been aware of the existence of vampires for some time, but some of the other things will be more of an unpleasant surprise to him. Perhaps you can help him adjust?"
"Right," Xander nodded, trying to figure out just what all that meant in plain English. "Some vamps tried to munch him, and he's not repressing?"
“Repressing? Does that actually work for anyone?” Micheal asked, one brow lifting.
Xander shrugged. “Lots of people keep doing it. I think the whole dark and scary truth makes their heads hurt too much.”
“Yes, would you please go into the back room and explain a few of the basic things he’ll need to know about Sunnydale?” Giles asked, looking at Xander.
Xander waved towards the back, and stuck his hands into his pockets. “Right, let’s go sit down and swap horror stories.”
“How bad is it? This looks like a nice enough town,” Micheal asked as he followed Xander back into the room they used for researching.
“The Spanish had a name for this place – La Boca Del Infierno. Translated, it means the mouth of hell, or hellmouth. They had it right. Just about every nasty thing you can think of shows up here,” Xander paused, “Maybe not abominable snowmen. But vampires, werewolves, demons… you name it.”
“Werewolves? Demons?” Micheal sank onto a chair, frowning. “I know vampires are real, but… werewolves and demons? Have you been reading those horror comics?”
“My best friend’s dating a werewolf. He plays guitar in a band, and most of the time he’s pretty quiet,” Xander grabbed one of the books that mentioned werewolves, absently flipping to the right section and dropping the book in front of Micheal. “We used to lock him in the high school library’s book cage when he changed.”
Micheal looked at the book as if it might bite him.
Xander blinked, realizing what he’d just done. He’d pulled out an old, heavy book as if it explained everything. “Oh no, I’m turning into Giles. I’m grabbing books to give the answers to all the strangeness that goes on here.”
“Okay, werewolves are real and not all evil. I’ll take your word about demons for now. How’d you find out about all this?” Micheal waved at the books, and as he looked around, the light glinted on an earring. Just beneath it were a set of scars, two thin lines on the side of his neck.
“It all started with a girl,” Xander smiled. “She was the new girl at school, blonde, beautiful, and completely out of my league. The next few days had a few signs that she was also a bit strange, carrying around a wooden stake in her book bag, turning up in strange places at night, and asking questions about the dead bodies that turned up at school…”
“You say that like it was normal for bodies to turn up at school,” Micheal frowned.
“Our school newspaper had an obituary column. It wasn’t exactly an everyday thing, but it happened all too often.” Xander frowned, thinking back to some of those bodies. “Buffy was just the first person that I’d ever seen trying to find out what had happened and wanting to stop it from happening again.”
“You fell for her, didn’t you?” Micheal had a smirk as he made the statement.
“Right over the handrail on the front steps,” Xander touched his forehead, remembering the bruise that first meeting had left. “It didn’t work, for a whole bunch of reasons. But part of the reason I got into things was to spend more time with her, and part of it was because shortly after she moved into town, one of my two best friends since I could walk got turned.”
“Sorry,” Micheal shook his head, and in a soft voice offered, “My story started with a girl too. We’d just had to move from Phoenix, and I didn’t think there was much to do beside hang out at the park. There she was, dark hair, long skirts swishing, and those eyes… Starr had these eyes that just pull you right in.”
“Let me guess, she wasn’t interested?” Xander leaned on the table, wondering just what sort of town Micheal had moved to after Phoenix.
“Not quite. The problem was her boyfriend, the vampire,” Micheal almost growled, and his hand clenched into a fist. “He figured that he’d just turn me, probably have me kill Sam, and his Master would just turn Mom. It almost worked.”
Xander blinked, part of him wanting to know how a guy could growl like that, and part of him wondering if Micheal’s eyes had really gone pale or if it had been his imagination. “Sounds like a nasty plan. I take it you objected.”
“Yeah, we objected. And we didn’t forget, not all of it. Sam and his pals are off hunting vampires, though the last I heard one of them had joined the Army and was in some sort of secret project. Mom won’t talk about it, but she’s really careful about meeting new people. Starr left, she said she couldn’t stay where there were so many ugly memories of them. None of us could forget that there are vampires out there, that they’re real,” Micheal paused, and looked at his fist, before unfolding it and holding his hand flat against the table. “I think they wanted to forget how close it was, how close we all came to having fangs or being dead. Or having fangs and being dead.”
“So, how’d that bring you here?” Xander asked, knowing that he was poking at old wounds. Maybe not so old, for that matter.
“Did you know that there’s a way to be turned into a vampire that doesn’t involve getting killed first?” Micheal looked at Xander, his eyes somehow old and full of pain.
“No dying? Or weird Halloween costumes and spells?” Xander shook his head, “Giles never mentioned anything like that.”
“There is,” Micheal swallowed, and held his hand up, fingers pinched together so that only a sliver of air separated them. “I had fangs before I ever knew that something was wrong. I was this close to them being permanent. To becoming…. Like David. Like the rest of them.
Xander couldn’t find the words as the air left him, staring at that sliver of air, the words echoing in his head. ‘I had fangs’ and ‘becoming like David’ and the way that he’d growled earlier. Giles had said he was here to learn more about vampires and demonology. The pieces made a very ugly picture. “Something made you think maybe things weren’t over after all.”
“A couple things,” Micheal admitted. “None of them would have done it by themselves, and most of them I could explain away, but all together… It doesn’t make a good picture, and I want… I need more information.”
Xander nodded, and looked at the shelves of books, “We have information. More information about vampires and demons and ways things can try to end the world than you ever wanted to know. And while you’re here, you’ll probably need to know some of it.”
Micheal’s smile didn’t look like he felt comforted.
“Giles will have a solution,” Xander offered. “And if things turn up really and truly bad, we now how to deal with vampires. If they come back, we can kill them like the locals. If they pull some weird mojo, we can look it up and counter it.”
“And if they do it this time? If they make me like them, a killer?” Micheal looked at him again, his eyes demanding… something.
Xander didn’t know what answers or promises Micheal wanted. All he could offer was, “If they turn you into a vicious bloodsucking killer, I’ll kill you myself. Or maybe Buffy will take you down. Does that help any?”
Michel laughed, though there was an edge of hysteria to the sound. “Yeah, that does. How weird is that, it helps that you just said you’d be willing to kill me?”
“You’d do the same, wouldn’t you?” Xander looked at Micheal, wondering just how long he’d been struggling with those fears, just how ugly things had been that he gave special focus to the killing part of being a vampire.
Micheal wasn’t laughing anymore when he nodded.
It was a sad thing that Xander thought this might turn out to be the start of a friendship. At least as much as what he had with Oz. But that was life on the Hellmouth, danger, vampires, and strangeness.
End LostBoy3: Lost the Laughter.