An Honest Proposal
"I don't understand why I can't just ask," Anya complained loudly as she pushed open the door to the Magic Box.
"Ahn!" Xander's voice had that sharp edge of desperation Jack had learned to recognize.
"He would be welcome to say no. He'd be foolish because I give good orgasms and giving up good orgasms is just foolish, but he could say no."
The now-blonde Anya Jenkens, ex-alien, crossed her arms and glared at Xander, and Jack blessed his lucky stars. This visit so far had consisted of watching Daniel stare at books and agreeing to watch the front of the store while Giles did inventory. It was almost enough to make him offer to patrol with Spike and Xander, but considering that last time he had spent the night on Xander's couch after trying to drink Spike under the table, he wasn't going there again. He still wasn't sure how Spike got him to start drinking in the first place. However, things were looking up now; Anya could always make a day waiting for Daniel a little more amusing.
"Xander!" Daniel called happily, and not just anyone could distract Danny from the pile of books Giles had suggested when Daniel had shown him the material they'd collected off-world. Yeah, Danny was all kinds of happy with all his books.
Daniel got up and shook Xander's hand before heading back to the table, not even bothered when Anya turned her back on him. They'd all learned to not expect little things like greetings or handshakes from Anya. "I found a reference in a text off-world to beings possessed of animal spirits, and the local headman was quite informative. I was hoping to cross-reference some of their folk tales against Giles' references and your own experiences. The parallels are incredible."
"Hey, no," Xander physically retreated with his hands held up, "No, no animal spirits need apply. I have officially filled my quota for possessions for my lifetime, and I am still getting over a slight phobia of undercooked pork, so you can count the Xan man out for any conversations involving spiritual animals, mystical diseases, or reanimated bodies. If you have an apocalypse, I’m your man, as long as by man what you really need is the guy with a rock to watch your back, but I am not talking to any head anythings about primals. Badness lies that way."
"Oi, with you lot, badness lies any way. Ya get into trouble trying to cross the street," Spike pointed out from his place next to the counter. Jack wasn't positive, but he was a good ninety percent sure that the minute Giles had gone into the back room, the vampire started using the casual lean to shoplift a number of small grey and fuzzy somethings from off the counter.
"Well… no," Daniel said hesitantly. "I didn't mean you would go off-world. I don't think we could even get clearance to take you through the gate, much less for an anthropological objective, but I thought you might be willing to describe your experiences to me."
"Boy's put that whole business in his denial box," Spike snorted.
"Hey, you did not even know me then, so you don't know what I'm denying!" Xander glared at the vampire, but he also wandered closer and stopped just a couple of feet from Spike where they exchanged mutual glares.
"Are you here to discuss primals? Primals are boring," Anya announced before heading behind the counter. Jack smiled and leaned back in his chair to wait for the entertainment that was sure to come with Anya in attendance.
"I came with a number of rubbings and documented folk stories to compare against Giles' books. This is a whole new world of archeological and anthropological study."
"You should study something that is respected by society," Anya announced to Daniel as she hit the button to open the cash register before pulling a ledger out from a shelf under the counter.
"I don't think—" Daniel started.
"Business," Anya cut him off. "Managers and business owners are respected. No one invites archeologists to dinner because they would talk about old boring things. No one wants to talk about that but they are afraid of being impolite and so they don't tell you."
Jack did his best to strangle the snort that escaped, but Daniel still glared at him. Meanwhile, Teal'c's eyebrow raised a good inch, inch and a half.
"Not respected?" Daniel finally choked out when he gave up on glaring at Jack and went back to glaring at Anya. "Not respected? Archeology is the primary way we study where our whole culture has been. Archeology provides insights on technologies that have been lost and belief systems and the whole fundamental understanding of the human race!" Daniel looked up at the woman with horror, the open book in front of him forgotten.
"I was there for much of it. It was unimportant," Anya shrugged. Daniel turned a little red as he clenched his teeth. Oh yeah, Jack didn't get to see Daniel this mad very often.
"It's the way we understand where are species is going. Studying the past is a window to the future, a way to avoid the mistakes of our ancestors," Daniel tried again.
"Humans make the same mistakes over and over. It doesn't matter if they know to not make the mistake, they still make it. One woman called me to curse one man a year for ten years running, and after a while, even I thought that maybe she should look at herself. But humans don't change. Her wishes were boring too. She always wanted their penises to fall off."
Anya started calmly counting money, not aware that the men in the room were suddenly uncomfortable, but Jack could sure see it. Xander had scooted back a few inches toward Spike, and Spike had a look that just might have been disgust. Then again, having heard Spike boast about his own demonic rages, it might have been admiration. Daniel… well, that was clearly disgust. Even Teal'c managed to raise both eyebrows at her little declaration.
"Anya, remember what we talked about, about not saying whatever you're thinking and never, ever mentioning man-parts in public?" Xander asked slowly.
Anya rolled her eyes. "They're called penises. And I don't understand these rules. Since you stopped giving me orgasms, I don't think I should have to follow them anymore. Not unless you're going to start giving me orgasms again because you're really quite skilled and larger than most men, which I find enjoyable." Anya finished counting the money and recorded her sums without even blinking an eye.
"Okay, that was more than I needed to know," Jack said, finally reaching his own limits as he watched Xander blushed dark red. Even worse, Spike was giving the boy a leer that no one in the room could mistake, not even Xander. Xander swallowed, his Adam's apple bobbing nervously as he slowly slid away from Spike. The vampire just used the extra distance to look Xander's body up and down as salaciously as possible.
"You people react strangely to truth," Anya sniffed. "And since we're talking about penises..." Xander coughed and Daniel turned a bright shade of red. "I want to know if it's true that black men have large penises. I read many pieces of literature on the Internet that suggest I would enjoy having a black lover, and I wonder if you would help me test that, Teal'c." Anya turned to Teal'c with a look of such honest, open curiosity, that Jack took a few seconds to even process her words. Teal'c however had clearly followed her because he blushed. He actually blushed. Jack would have put money on that being physically impossible.
"Oh, that is… that is so racist I don't even have the words to describe it," Daniel said slowly, the first to recover.
"The Internet said…"
"Anya, do you remember having the conversation about words to not use?" Xander interrupted. She turned toward him with a small frown for a second before she nodded.
"Some words are unfair because they accuse someone of having flaws because they belong to a group, and I would never do that. Some people are very prejudiced against ex-demons, and I find that very wrong. People shouldn't be accused of being soulless or evil just because they used to be demons, and people shouldn't be judged by their group." Anya nodded firmly, and that was one social rule that had obviously sunk in.
"Okay, you can't judge people's… that… by their race either," Xander said.
Now Anya looked at him like he had grown a new head. "Most men are complimented at the thought that women assume they have a large penis. Teal'c, does it bother you that I assume you have a larger penis than Daniel or Jack?"
Only twenty years in the service, most of them with battle-hardened soldiers with vicious senses of humor, prevented Jack from blushing. Jack had learned to not blush out of pure self-defense back when he lived in the barracks. Daniel, on the other hand, was clearly in danger of bursting a blood vessel.
"No," Teal'c admitted.
"Would you like to have sex? We can use my apartment," Anya offered with a smile. Teal'c blinked at her for a second.
"I regret that among my kind, the taking of a mate has associations which prevent me from doing so," Teal'c offered calmly. At least he managed calm. When Anya had propositioned Daniel last visit, the man had nearly swallowed his tongue. Anya looked at him and sighed. "You aren't gay, are you? The magazines say that many good men are gay."
"Indeed, I am not," Teal'c offered.
"I need to find someone who will offer companionship and frequent orgasms," Anya sighed. With a shrug she slammed the money drawer closed. "Tell Giles that he is three dollars short on the register. He needs to keep better track of the change he gives people," she said before she picked up her purse and headed out the door.
"Okay, that was…"
"Strange?" Jack finished Daniel's sentence.
"I was going to say typical for Anya," Daniel corrected him with a wry smile.
"Oh yeah. One of these days, I'm getting Hammond out here," Jack agreed.
Xander sighed. "Hey, I'm sorry about that whole weirdness thing. She sometimes says things she doesn't mean—okay, she totally means them, but she says them without actually thinking about how other people are going to hear them."
"I am not offended. Being in a new world, I understand her difficulties fitting in."
"Yeah, I suppose you do," Xander said. "You should tell her that, you know, let her know that you understand what she's going through because as much as we try, or as much as Giles and I try because the girls are not that big with trying, we don't really know what to say."
Teal'c stood silent for a second. "I fear any attempt to discuss the issue would lead to complications."
"Bloody hell, just say it. She'd jump your bones, mate. Look, is the slayer getting here soon because I feel a need to pound the hell out of something and this chip is keeping me from doing it to any of you."
"She called. She's running late," Xander answered.
"Perhaps I could offer a challenge in sparring," Teal'c suggested. Spike's sour expression cleared as he looked at Teal'c considering him closely before tilting his head and considering him again.
"That's right, not human, are ya?" he asked with a slow smile that reminded Jack of some of the less-friendly snakeheads he'd met.
Teal'c raised his eyebrow. "No. And I was trained by a man who is the master of the staff weapon.
"That sounds like a challenge," Spike's smile widened as he pushed himself away from the counter and headed for the training room in back. "I'm going to wipe the floor with you."
"We shall see," Teal'c offered his ambiguous answer as he followed Spike toward the back room. Jack looked over toward Daniel hopefully. The archeologist rolled his eyes.
"Go watch the fight, I'll call if any customers come in," he sighed. "Just don't let them kill each other."
"Yeah, you bet. Too much paperwork when someone gets killed," Jack promised as he hurried to follow the others into the training room. Daniel could have his books; Jack had discovered that there were a few things in Sunnydale that amused him far more than dusty books and demon pottery.