by Eric Jablow
BtVS was created by Joss Whedon, Daria was created by Glenn Eichler, and the referred-to Bat Boy by the late Weekly World News.
Sequel to Chiropteran, and to Inspired Conversations.-----[Room 342, Lexington [KY] Marriott Hotel]
"And, Roger, go back to your room. Xander and I have Board of Directors' business to discuss." Roger left. Buffy then closed and secured the door.
"I now declare us to be officially off-duty for the night," said Xander.
"You goof." Buffy smiled.
"I am the CEO; I should act like one some of the time. WCI will also authorize the purchase of a moderate amount of alcohol from the mini-bar."
"Don't tell the IRS." Buffy stowed their weapons in the hall closet.
"We've got friends in high places."
"I know about Bush and the W-Mag-Dees. Bush likes our work."
"I wouldn't call him a friend; he's scared of us, but he stays out of our way. I met Blair last May after Dawn and I left Rome; he'd had some dealings with the old Royal Council. He had the same opinion of Quentin as we do. I haven't met any other pollies." Buffy shook her head. "That was a white lie," she thought. "You couldn't call John Paul a politician, right?"
"And I'm sure you've wrote up the meeting for the Council. I hope you didn't promise him anything."
"Just the usual, Xander. 'Yes, of course we'll check the Royal Family for demonism. No, George Galloway is your problem. Do not attempt to gain power from demons, or else.'"
"Damn straight." Each took a moment to wash up, and then Xander walked to the mini-bar and pulled out two tiny bottles of white wine.
Buffy grimaced as she opened the pizza box. "I've had good wine. This won't be."
"It won't turn you into a cavegirl though. Italy? Do you miss it?"
"And France. Not really. I'm still an American at heart. That time of my life is over. Come on—let's eat."
Buffy and Xander made short work of the pie, and Xander fetched some junk food from the floor's vending machines.
"Are you sure about staying here for a week?"
"Four of the vamps got away; if they're smart, they've left town. But, you know vamps."
"I know vamps. And this is a college town. Dawn says that there have been no incidents here in the last few years; the police seem to be honest and the newspapers do pay attention now that the Final Four is over."
"I doubt we'll find the runaways. But I want somebody looking after this place off and on."
"I'll find a patroller. It's late; I'd better go."
"Stay, Xander. Who do you prefer babysitting you—me, or Roger?"
"I don't need a sitter, but when you put it that way—"
"Besides, we hardly ever get to talk."
"I know. We've done a lot of running in the last couple of years."
"We needed to run away for a while. Why did you choose Africa?"
"There were going to be many Slayers who needed our help figuring out what had happened to them. You know, we were pretty cruel to them."
"I know, but we had to do it. It would have been crueler to let the Bringers kill us and them. Don't avoid the issue. Why did you go into exile?"
"I didn't want to be around anyone I knew."
"You felt guilty about Anya, and you didn't think you deserved to be in civilization."
"Africa has civilization, Buffy. Just not enough of it."
"Don't avoid the subject."
"What can I say, Buffy? I screwed it up between us, and she died."
"You didn't kill her, Xander. I ran mine through with a sword."
"He came back, Buff."
"Only to walk away. You can't blame yourself forever, Xan. You deserve better."
"We'll just have to disagree."
Meanwhile…--- Raft CollegeBoston, MA
Jane Lane could not sleep, an unusual situation for any of her family. Her brother Trent could sleep through a hurricane; the rest of her family were like Peter Pan, living daydreams to escape from adulthood. She herself could be found standing at her easel at 3am, given sufficient inspiration. Jane's current situation was much less pleasant. She sat up in bed and hugged her knees.
Jane heard a faint snoring noise from her right. She looked down at the prone and semi-clothed body of her best friend, Daria Morgendorffer. Now Jane was worried; what they had done (again!) earlier in the evening now seemed vaguely incestuous. Jane slipped off the bed and put on a robe; then she sat by the window and looked at the quadrangle. After a minute, she picked up a pad and some pencils and started to draw.
Twenty minutes later, she heard Daria mumble a few words in her sleep. She put down her pad and stepped over to the bed. Daria spoke one more word: "Xander." Jane went back to her chair and wrapped a loose blanket around her. "This ends tonight," she thought.
Meanwhile…---The Summers' HouseCleveland, OH
Dawn slammed the door from the garage behind her and launched her copy of Cryptids of North America
onto the living room couch. She wanted to search for the "Bat Boy" who had rescued her sister, but she knew she wouldn't get to it until the morning. "Buffy and Xander. That's just—" She couldn't really decide.
Fifteen minutes later, Dawn was curled up in on the couch. A mug of cocoa sat on the coffee table, and her laptop was propped on her lap. A few clicks, and the "Frisky Watcher's Chat Room" site opened up. Praying that someone she could talk to was on-line, Dawn logged in."Welcome to the SHS Library Room."
Dawn scanned the list of chatters, and opened a private line to one.
"Kit? Glad you're up."
"Dawn? It's been a while."
"How's life in Marin?"
"It's okay. There are a couple of ex-Dalers in school with me; we stick together. How's Cleveland, and are you back in school yet?"
"Giles is trying to get me into Oxford. We'll finesse the HS diploma. Can I phone you up?"
"Sure. Off now."
Dawn signed off and closed her laptop, grabbed her cocoa, and went up to her bedroom. She then dialed Kit, who picked up after one ring.
"Dawn? What's the sitch? Is there an apocalypse coming up?"
"Just a family apocalypse."
"What did Buffy do now? Or is it who?"
"Ewww. Both. Please don't say it that way again."
"Buffy and Xander went to Kentucky to take care a mass-siring. On grave watch, they got ambushed by an old enemy. They were losing, but something named 'Bat Boy' helped them out."
Kit shouted into the phone. "'Bat Boy?' From the Weekly World News
? They actually got something right?"
"The Weekly World News. Don't you ever look at the tabloids at the supermarket?"
"I'm not interested in cheesy stories about B-list celebs."
"No—they just do fake supernatural stories, like the Hubble taking pictures of heaven, or a space alien having an affair with Hillary Clinton. I never thought they'd do anything real. But what happened next?"
"Buff and Xander somehow got into trouble with the FBI. I had to get some contacts to spring them."
"Not Willow, I hope."
"Right, CNN would be reporting a 4-alarm fire there if Willow were involved."
"So, what's the problem?"
"After they got to their hotel, Buff dismissed Xander's bodyguard, and the two of them are in Buffy's hotel room. I hope they're just talking."
"They have a lot to talk about. And what's the problem if they're doing anything more?"
"It's just weird. Growing up, Willow wanted Xander who wanted Buffy, who wanted Angel. Their dancing around each other made my head spin. And now this. If it doesn't work, they might hate each other, and where will we be then?"
"If they could get through the Angel thing, how likely is that?"
"Are you jealous?"
"I'm not 12 any more. I'm over Xander."
"But you don't have anybody, do you?"
"Okay. I'm jealous. I've hardly-ever been kissed, and the first one was no one to write home about, okay?"
"'I kissed a vamp.'"
"That was a very bad Jill Sobule imitation, Kit."
"Dawn, you want to visit me and the folks in June? I think I can swing that. And we'll do the beach thing; you'll meet some of my friends, and we'll find someone for you."
"That'll be nice. The Sunnydale Memorial Service and Slayers' Picnic will be done with, and I can stand to get away. The apocalypse season will be over. It's a date."
Meanwhile…[Room 342, Lexington [KY] Marriott Hotel]
"So, what's next on your plate, Xander?"
Xander grimaced. "The New York Slayers again. We've got nine of them. Plus the two in North Jersey, the four on Long Island, and the one in Westchester. They don't like each other much, and they need to work together."
"I can always beat their heads together."
"You'll break them. No, I'll take care of it myself. I think I can make them see reason. Then I'll put Rifka Kohn in charge. It'll be good for her. She's the most sane one of the bunch; she's just a little inhibited. It's the Hasidic upbringing. Though I would pay to see Brenda taken down by the Senior Slayer."
"I aim to please."
"No, that's not fair. You're the best Watcher the Slayers could have. They were right about you last June."
Buffy looked at Xander. "You know, I really feel a bit grimy and sweaty."
"Stands to reason. A nasty fight, three hours at our wonderful federal lockup, and pizza with garlic and onions. I'd better head off." Xander stood up.
"And go back to Roger?"
"Not very appealing."
"Look. You go take a shower. Then I'll take one. Then we'll figure something out."