This story is now rated FR21 for explicit sexual description.Disclaimer:
Everything belongs to Joss Whedon or Laurell Hamilton. I merely borrow their characters to satisfy my muse. I will give them back only slightly used, like a leased Lexus. Now, onto the story....
Xander lay in bed. He didn't want to get up and go to school. Especially today. Today being the first day of high school. St. Louis public schools were set up with grades four, five, and six as middle school, grades seven, eight, and nine as junior high, and grades ten, eleven, and twelve as high school. So today, Xander went from the top of the food chain to the bottom. But that wasn't really the main reason he dreaded school today. The main reason involved the absence of both Willow and Jesse. Jesse's dad had gotten a new job out in California and had moved his family out there in July. While Xander missed him, at least he would have Willow with him. Then Willow dropped a bomb on him. Her parents, mistrusting the St. Louis public school system, had decided to send her to private school. So when Xander started school tomorrow at Sam Rayburn High School, Willow would be starting at The Easton Academy. When Willow had told him, Xander made a weak joke about school uniforms, but he hadn't the heart to say anything else. Willow had promised to help him with homework on weeknights, and to get together on weekends for fun. Xander briefly went over in his head the conversation that followed.
“Why are they making you go to private school? St. Louis has pretty good schools. I don't do that good, but that's more to do with my whole lack of interest in school than problems with school quality. And you do great. You were like the greatest in class last year.”
“Xander, it doesn't have anything to do with how good the schools are. Ever since Dad had that run in with the patient that turned out to be a were, he has been getting weirder and weirder. Now Mom is joining in. They heard about the teacher at Sam Rayburn that got fired last year because he turned into a wererat on school grounds. So they turn around and enroll me at The Easton Academy.” Willow's face had been woebegone. She looked at least as worried about being without friends as he was. Maybe more.
“Hey, what's the big about going there? There could still be teachers or students who are werewolves or other beasties.”
“Umm, no, there couldn't. They actually screen the teachers there. You have to take a full physical to attend class or work there and mysteriously, no one with lycanthropy or other problems gets admitted or hired. And it gets worse. I saw...”
Xander saw how worried Willow looked, and asked, “What did you see, Wills?”
“Dad got some mail from HAV the other day. I think he's a member.”
“Umm, HAV? Hug Animals Violently?” Seeing the expression on Willow's face, Xander figured he'd gotten it wrong.
“No. Humans Against Vampires. My parents joined that right-wing hate group. They're hating preternatural beings. And we're Jewish! After Hitler, how can they do that? What am I going to do, Xander?” Willow's voice rose even higher.
Xander pulled her into a hug. “It's okay, Wills. No one's going to be able to figure out you're magically inclined. They don't have tests for that. And even if they did, your mom and dad aren't going to disown you. I mean, they're not like my parents. They're not boozers into expressing their feelings with a little WWE Raw. The worst they've done is forget you exist.”
Willow looked back at him with a doubtful expression. “Maybe you're right, Xander. I hope so.”
Xander did too.
* * * *
Well, he'd made it to school. So far, his first class had gone okay, which was amazing, since it was geometry. Maybe he wasn't as dumb as he'd thought. Suddenly, Xander stopped and stared. And stared. She was perfect. Small, blonde, with just the right amount of curves. Short blue skirt showing off her legs, and a white blouse with just the right amount of cleavage. He was so lost in his reverie that he failed to see his archenemy approach.
“What ARE you staring at, loser?” Cordelia Chase's not-so-dulcet tones rang down the hall, making everyone stop and stare. Xander felt his face go hot as his dream girl was among the audience. Oh god, he thought, not now.
Deciding the best defense is a good offense, Xander replied sarcastically, “Gee, Cordelia. It's so NOT good to see you. Still modeling hooker-wear I see.”
“Please, like you'd know Prada if it bit you. Having two drunks as parents doesn't exactly qualify you to comment on the fashion-sense of your betters.”
Xander winced. Comments about his parents had stopped hurting years ago. But the embarassment in front of a mostly unknown group of people, along with the cute blonde, made his guts churn. His next comment came out more serious than he meant to, “Cordelia. Please, leave it alone.”
“Harris, if you want to be left alone you should try not being here. If only your parents could have done the world a favor and remembered birth control that day.” Even Cordelia had a shocked look on her face after that comment, as if she'd gone farther than she'd intended.
Xander was speechless. He was so stunned that he didn't even noticed his dream girl approach until he heard he heard her say, “What the fuck is your problem? I have no idea what your childhood trauma is, but don't take it out on others.”
Xander saw the astonished expression on Cordelia's face. It had been years since anyone had dared say anything back to her. Even most upperclassmen tended to walk on eggs around her flaying tongue. It was obvious Cordelia couldn't believe someone had gotten in her face.
“Excuse me? Who asked you to butt into my conversation? I would think someone of your stature would be putting together shoes or helping wake up Snow White.” Cordelia's eyes gleamed as she said it.
“Please. That's your comeback? As soon as I saw you wearing last year's Prada, I should have known you were an idiot. Who wears a cocktail dress to school? Impress much? Try to match the right designer wear to the right event. And those shoes, so last year. The wedge look is so out. It's all about slingbacks now. Maybe not in Hicksville, but in L.A. it is.” Grabbing Xander by the arm, the girl said, “Come on, we don't want Little Miss Fashion Victim to rub off on us.” The girl pulled Xander away, leaving a stunned and horrified Cordelia behind. She looked almost in tears as she fingered the neckline of her expensive silk designer dress while simultaneously trying to surreptitiously look at her shoes.
As they walked arm and arm down the hall, Xander tried not to stare at his savior. “You are my hero. I just want you to know that.”
Laughing, the girl looked up at him, “It's okay. I just hate bullies. I'm Buffy.”
“Xander... is my name. It's nice to meet you.” Oh my god, Buffy was even cuter up close. Big, greenish eyes, a cute nose, and a cupid bow mouth all combined to one knockout package. Xander also couldn't help but stare for a moment at the lightly tanned cleavage displayed by the neckline of her top. Thank god she was too close for him to see her legs. He would probably be staring at those too if she weren't.
“It's nice to meet you too. You're the first person I've talked to. I'm new. Which you probably know. I admit I had an ulterior motive in rescuing you.” Xander couldn't help the silly smile he knew was growing on his face. He was lost and didn't care. “I didn't want to have to eat lunch alone with no one to talk to on my first day. But since I'm your hero, I figure you owe me big time. So, my first command is that you eat lunch with me.”
Xander dropped to his knees in front of Buffy. Taking her hand in his, he said in a very serious tone, “Milady, I am yours to command. I will be there at lunch. With you. Eating.” Xander realized his grand gesture was coming out a bit awkward, but saw that she was laughing. And not at him in a 'oh look at the sad, little moron' way, but rather in a 'you're pretty funny' way. Grinning, he kissed her hand, then rose to his feet. He missed the blush that rose on Buffy's face. Just then the bell rang. “Okay, class now. Food later. I'll see you in a bit.”
* * * *
As Buffy sat in English, she mused on the events of the last few minutes. Buffy had noticed the boy, Xander, staring at her in the hall. Slayer senses, after all. He was cute, if a bit of a fashion disaster. Okay, more than a bit. She still might have gone over and talked to him, but then the wicked witch of the west had swooped by her and made a beeline towards him. Buffy had watched, mildly astonished, as the girl had literally laid into Xander. She treated him like Buffy treated vamps. Buffy ignored it at first, not wanting to get involved, especially on the first day of class in a new school. But the birth control comment had been definitely over the top, so she'd conducted an intervention. Cordelia had been so easy to put in her place. She was waaayyy over-dressed for school. And to wear both the wrong shoes with last year's cocktail dress, just made it that much easier. Even Prada couldn't save her.
Buffy had been amused when Xander had dropped to his knees next to her, making his sweeping declaration. He was really sweet and funny. She didn't want to examine the feelings he'd engendered in the pit of her stomach when he had kissed her hand before releasing it. Buffy had blushed, almost unknown behavior for her. Shaking it off, she watched the teacher drone on. At least this was the only boring class she had so far. Her other two classes had great teachers who made them really interesting. She'd especially liked Richard Zeeman. He was a serious babe, even for a werewolf. Buffy had figured that he was 'in the closet' about it, so made sure to be discreet. Mr. Zeeman had given her a couple of odd looks, so he was obviously pretty sensitive to the whole preternatural vibe.
Saved by the bell. Buffy gathered up her books and headed for the cafeteria. Arriving, she saw Xander leaning against the wall, just outside. Waving, she walked over to him. He was staring at her again, which made her a little self-conscious. Buffy was getting the impression Xander liked her. Really liked her. At least he beat the last guy who hit on her....
* * * *
Two Months Ago...
Buffy kicked the vampire in the stomach, lifting him ten feet off the ground and sending him crashing into the wall. Moving toward him with perfect grace, she caught him by the hair, and drove the blade she held in her right hand through his eye and deep into his skull. He went limp and Buffy figured he was dead. The slayer within felt... satiated. She started to take his head, just to make sure, when she heard the clapping. As Buffy watched, a figure moved into her sight. She'd wondered where that last pesky vamp had gotten to. The clapping kind of wigged her out, but she doubted he was any crazier than the first vampire Lothos had sent after her.
“So Lothos was right. He is facing the Slayer. And with no Council to hide behind. How distressing for him.” The amused voice had a faint accent. English, maybe. Or Irish. The vampire stood a shade over six feet tall. He was a master, and probably less than three hundred years old. Dark eyes stared back at Buffy from under thick brooding brows. His hair was gelled to perfection, which was odd for a vampire, but then most vampires seemed a bit 'off' to Buffy.
“Okay tall, dark, and brooding, let's do it. Make a move, let me get a quip or two off, and then I'll kill you.” The vampire seemed less than intimidated by her. Buffy could feel him trying to capture her with his eyes and his frustration when it proved futile. Within her, the Slayer yearned to kill. The use of vamp powers was fanning the embers within her back to life.
“Oh, we're not going to fight. My name is Angelus.” Angelus seemed to wait expectantly, like she should have heard of him. Buffy kept a blank expression on her face, fighting a smile at his obvious chagrin. He continued, “Lothos brought me in to deal with you. You've killed too many of his people. But I will not be doing that. In you, I see his destruction. When he dies, this city will be wide open for another master to take charge, especially with the deaths of so many of his stronger allies. I actually owe you a service, lovely one.” He walked towards Buffy, with a smile that looked more arrogant than sexy, acting as if he expected her to faun over him. Leaning into her face, his eyes boring into hers, he insinuated, “Anything I can do for you, please ask. There is no service too small or too large you can ask of me. I'm sure you get... lonely at night.”
Buffy stared at Angelus in complete astonishment. He had just propositioned her. The slayer. Ewww. Make that double ewww. Buffy quickly decided that he needed to be taken down a notch. And she knew exactly how to do that. Smiling sweeting up into his face, Buffy said, “If you start humping my leg, I'm going to cut out your heart, attack or no attack. I mean, your breath stinks like old blood. Definitely major ewww factor going on here.” His face grew thunderous, rage filling his eyes. Obviously, someone not used to being turned down. Deciding to twist the knife a little, Buffy continued, “You didn't seriously think I would even consider getting involved with a corpse? I have standards. You don't even come close. Now why don't you just go ooze back into your hole before I shove this knife somewhere the sun don't shine.”
Angelus hissed, “You will pay for this insult. One day soon, you'll scream for me.”
“Blah blah blah. If I had a quarter for every time a bad guy said that, I would have enough for to buy a pair of Jimmy Choo pumps. You know, the slingbacks with three-inch heel? They would be so darling with my leather pants.” Buffy wore an almost dreamy expression on her face as she contemplated what a great outfit she could make. After a moment, she realized that brood-boy was still present. “Move along, Captain Gel. Have fun taking over.”
With a final disgruntled look at her, Angelus left the way he'd come. Buffy wondered if the shoes she was thinking about came in cherry red. They would be so darling with her red, leather mini...
* * * *
“So, why does Cordelia hate you so much?” Buffy asked Xander, before taking a bite of her hot dog surprise. Ugh. Maybe the potato salad would be better. Nope. And she was so hungry. Oh well, there were plenty of vending machines with candy bar goodness.
“Not really sure. It's been the three of us against her and her 'cordettes' since I can remember.”
Buffy raised her eyebrows at Xander's comment. She made a show of looking around for someone else. Xander caught on and explained further, “It used to be me, Jesse, and Willow. We were like the Three Musketeers. Except less with the swords and capes and more with the 'We Hate Cordelia' Club. We've been friends since first grade.”
“What happened to them?” Buffy asked curiously.
“Jesse's dad got a new job this summer and moved them away to California. Willow's parents have gotten all paranoid about their daughter attending public school and sent her off to the land of jackets and kilts. So, now the Xandman is running solo. If you want, I have some open slots in the “We Hate Cordelia' Club. I'm president, but I could use a good VP or treasurer.”
Laughing, Buffy replied, “I'll pass.” She thought a moment, then continued, “I hate to change the subject, but I was hoping you could help me. I need to get reasonably good grades. Or I'm grounded for life. Mom's kinda gotten strict about it. Do you think you could help me study?”
Xander was in heaven. The cutest girl he'd ever seen had just asked him if he wanted to spend time with her. At that moment he vowed to start studying and making better grades. In the past, he'd never exactly been motivated to study. His parents could care less about him, let alone his grades. But the possibility of spending time with Buffy was a great motivator. “I could definitely help you study. We could study tonight. How's that sound?”
“Sure, that would be great. I have this thing to do until six, but we could meet afterward at my house. Or yours, if you prefer?” Buffy had to train with Giles after school. She was not looking forward to it. Ever since Buffy'd learned the origins of the Slayer and how the Watchers were involved, she'd been angry. Just thinking about it now, made her angry. Inwardly sighing, she tamped it down. Cute boy now, be pissy later. One thing was for sure though, Giles some questions to answer. Serious questions. And he might now like how she asked them.
Xander squashed that one instantly. “Your house it is. So it's a date then. Umm... I mean, not a date date, but a study buddy date. Not that you're my buddy. I mean I like you, but not as a friend. I mean I do like you as a friend, but I don't like you like you.” Xander closed his eyes at the mirthful look and raised eyebrows that Buffy sent his way. Slowly he counted to ten, opened his eyes, and to Buffy's expectant look said, “Sorry about that. It's usually Willow that's all about the babble. I'm usually the sane one. Today, not so much.”
“It's okay, I've gone through my own babblefests.” Buffy nodded her head to the affirmative at Xander's skeptical look. “So I'll meet you at six at my house. Let me write the directions for you.” Quickly, Buffy wrote the directions down to her house. Handing them to Xander, she brought up another subject that she'd been wondering about. “Exactly why do we have the exact same classes and none of them together? And is there a way to fix that?”