* * * * *
Buffy and her retinue were the first to arrive at the Bronze, and claimed the biggest table available. Percy immediately co-opted another close by, as per Willow’s barked command, while Larry went off to procure the first round of drinks. Faith restlessly scanned the room for potential victims, er, dates.
The Dingoes were setting up for their second set, and Oz took a break to come over and greet Willow.
“Hey,” he whispered into her ear.
She squealed and threw her arms around him. “Hey!”
“Everything okay on the ride over?,” he asked.
She nodded. “Has Devon said anything about Xander?"
Oz quirked a brow. “It’s weird how excited he is over this date. I’ve never seen him like this before.”
Her eyes found the stage and she gave the singer a quick once-over. “He looks like regular old Devon to me."
“You don’t know him like I do,” he countered. “He’s actually nervous. He knows what people say about him, and he usually encourages it. I don’t think he ever realized that it might be held against him by someone he really likes.”
Buffy and Faith exchanged a glance.
“He really likes X?,” Faith casually asked.
Oz nodded. “He’s been watching him a while. I thought he was watching Cordelia, but...," he trailed off, shrugging.
“Better tell him not to tell Xan that,” Buffy advised. “The last thing he wants to hear is that another person thought he was gay.”
Larry returned with a tray of Cokes.
“J.D.?,” Faith inquired.
Larry and Buffy soured, but Percy slyly slipped her his flask. That singular action made Faith decide to support Percy in the Quest for Xander.
Willow was watching her boyfriend suspiciously. “Are you okay with Devon going out with Xander?"
He gave a mild shrug. “Sure.”
Faith laughed. “You too? So, I guess everyone but B and Red are rocking the alternative lifestyle.”
Buffy gaped at Oz, while Willow coolly regarded Faith.
Faith laughed and winked. “I’ve been down with the swirl on occasion."
Willow’s mouth fell open.
“You?,” Buffy addressed Oz with a raised brow. “With the boy parts?”
He smirked and leaned over to whisper in her ear. “You and I both know that Xander’s hot. Just because I’m less obvious than some
at looking doesn’t mean I haven’t been paying attention.”
Buffy jerked back, her eyes wide. Faith, who easily overheard, snickered.
“What?,” Willow demanded.
“Hey, Red!,” Faith cheerfully screeched. “What’s hotter? Wolfie and Dev, Wolfie and X, or X and Dev? All three? In your bed? Touching?," she purred. "Waiting for your direction? Playing X Marks the Spot?”
Willow’s eyes glazed and Larry released a strangled cry.
Percy really, really
liked Faith.* * * * *
Angel was the next to arrive, and he headed toward Buffy, led by her scent and not bothering to scope out the rest of the club. He seemed to materialize next to her, and she and Faith were the only ones unsurprised.
“Hey,” he quietly greeted.
She smiled. “Hey. How’s it going?”
Angel shrugged. “Same as ever.” He nodded at the others. “Where’s Oz?”
Willow pointed up at the stage, and Angel nodded again.
“You look beautiful,” he whispered into Buffy’s ear, pleased when she blushed.
“Thanks. Um, Faith dressed me.”
“And I did a damn good job,” the cheerful girl interjected. “Fang, tell her how lucky you are that she wants your undead ass.”
“I’m lucky you want my undead ass,” Angel deadpanned.
Buffy snickered and slapped Faith’s arm.
“What?,” the brunette demanded. “It’s a hot undead ass. Vamps are a little too
alternative for me, but if I went that way, I’d be on that like white on rice,” she declared, pointing at Angel.
“White on rice?,” Angel repeated.
“It’s a simile,” beamed a proud Faith.
“I know what it is! Dance?,” the vampire asked, turning to his girlfriend.
“Later, okay? I want to wait until the others get here and make sure Xander’s okay,” Buffy replied.
“Is something wrong?"
“Cordelia and Harmony dressed him.”
He shuddered. “Had I known, I would have stopped off at Hallmark. They say there’s a card for every occasion.”
Everyone laughed.* * * * *
The door to the Bronze flew open, and Cordelia stormed in and began sizing the place up.
She immediately spied Buffy, whose was dressed like a Solid Gold
dancer, and, tossing her hair, she began stalking toward the table, sure the others were following close behind. She smirked as heads turned, and was just fine that, for once, she wasn’t the focus of attention.
She strutted over to where the others had gathered and sent a pointed look at Larry and Percy, who scrambled to add another table and more chairs to the collective.
“Queen,” Faith drawled, offering a lazy smile.
“Faith,” the girl purred, giving her an obvious once-over. “You look good. Not as good as me, but you look good.”
“Your backhanded compliments make me wet,” the Slayer cooed.
“I told you, it was only that one time. I was just brimming over with school spirit,” Cordelia winked.
“Good one,” Larry laughed.
Cordelia and Faith slowly turned toward him, each raising an eyebrow, and he blanched.
“You’re a goddess,” Percy whispered to Faith, who preened.
“Chill, Red,” Faith advised. “The Queen and I are just funnin’ with ya.”
“Yeah, Willow,” Cordelia grinned. “It’s all a...game.” She came to stand behind Faith and wrapped herself around the Slayer, her hand not-so-accidentally grazing a pert breast.
“Don’t start something you don’t have the guts to finish,” Faith said, forcing a smile.
“Who says I wouldn’t?,” Cordelia whispered.
Cordelia patted her arm and was satisfied. She had sufficiently distracted them all to the point that they were unaware to Xander’s presence.
“Hey Harmony,” Buffy smiled. “Jonathan,” she added. She looked past the boy. “Xan...der?,” she gasped.
As everyone turned to look at him, their mouths fell open.
He turned to Harmony. “Is this good or bad?”* * * * *
“Oh, it’s definitely a good thing,” Harmony grinned.
“Xander?,” Willow whispered.
“Is that you?,” she demanded.
“No, it’s Angelus." He twisted his hands into claws and raked the air. "Grr. Argh."
“That’s not funny,” Buffy chided her boyfriend and her best friend.
“Sure it is,” Xander countered.
Buffy steeled herself for an argument, but was cut off as Faith hauled herself out of her chair and began circling Xander like a shark. The boy eyed her warily, but didn’t offer any protestation.
“You look...delicious,” Faith murmured.
“Really, really good,” she added, cupping an ass cheek in her tiny hand.
He jumped and she laughed. “Hands off,” he groused.
“Yeah, I know,” she grinned. “This is for the singer. Maybe I should challenge him. What do you think, X? Me and Dev in the ring, wrestling over who gets you?”
“Is there mud involved?,” Xander asked.
She considered the question. “No mud. There could be Jello.”
He smiled lasciviously. “There’s always room for Jello.”
Cordelia cleared her throat. At once, Xander snapped to attention, scampered to her side, and pulled out her chair for her. She smiled and took her seat. Buffy and Harmony looked at the cheerleader with approval.
“So,” Xander began, turning to Percy and Larry, “what do you guys think?”
He was poured into a pair of caramel leather trousers that Angel sorely envied. Despite their tightness, they looked buttery smooth and as if they were just waiting for an admiring hand to stroke it. They gripped Xander’s thighs and emphasized his long, lean legs. The fact that the crotch was secured with laces was a bonus. The shirt, what little there was of it, clearly demonstrated that his duties as a Slayerette had done Xander’s body good.
Larry blushed. “You look...wow.”
“Wow is nice,” Xander smiled.
Percy looked at him with feral, hungry eyes. “If I wasn’t scared of Cordelia and Willow, I’d drag you to the floor right here and now and show you what I think,” he growled.
Xander’s eyes widened and his mouth went slack as Percy’s words went straight from his ears to his groin. The cheeks of Harmony, Jonathan, and Buffy all turned pink.
“Uh...,” Xander trailed off. “Angel?,” he squeaked.
“You look good. You don’t look stupid and you don’t look like a sissy. If you did, I would tell you. In fact, I’d be quite happy to do so, and you know it.” He shrugged a shoulder. “You’re very good looking, Xander.”
The vampire could see that his words actually mattered to Xander, and he wondered why his opinion should be relevant at all. Then it dawned on Angel that by Buffy rejecting Xander for him, the boy had taken a harsher blow to his self-esteem than any of them had ever realized, and the poor kid must have spent an inordinate amount of time comparing himself to the vampire and always believing he came up short. Not even having Cordelia as a girlfriend had been able to overcome Xander’s lack of self-worth.
“Told you so,” sang a smug Cordelia.
“Yeah,” Faith snickered. “Apparently the lounge lizard up on stage agrees. He took one look you and forgot the words.”
All eyes traveled toward the back of the club, where Devon was staring at Xander with a big, stupid look on his face, a cross between paralyzing fear and that of someone who had just won the lottery.
Xander gave his date a cautious smile, and Devon called a halt to the band’s set.* * * * *
Devon MacLeish fancied himself rather captivating. He was hot and he knew it. He had a naturally good body, and he enjoyed showing it off to anyone who wanted to look. He was terrific in the sack and took every opportunity to indulge. Some encounters were regrettable, others were memorable. There were some lovers whose names he couldn’t remember, others he never knew, and a few whom he knew he’d never forget.
He wasn’t stupid, but had dropped out of school because he had found it boring. He had wanted to do his music since he was four, and there was nothing in Sunnydale High’s curriculum that was going to advance his career. He had a few friends, some of whom he truly loved, and tons of acquaintances who ensured he was welcome at every party in the tri-county area.
He had been scouted by record promoters and was deemed not only talented, but marketable, and in this day and age, being commercial was everything. His songs were good, his voice was awesome, his band was decent. He was still paying his dues, but didn’t doubt he’d hit it big before his twenty-first birthday next year. Until then, he was just killing time. The gigs at the Bronze paid well enough, and word was traveling throughout the campus circuit thanks to a few performances at UC-Sunnydale.
It was all within his grasp, and only a matter of time.
So until then, he had no problem filling his nights with song and his days with booze and pot and any hot guy or girl who wanted a ride.
He had known of Xander Harris long before the kid had begun hanging with Oz. Even though Devon was only two years older than Xander, he still thought of him as a kid. Xander Harris was all big eyes and big smile and big laughter, a guy who had no clue as to how hot he was or how funny or smart. Devon liked that. He loathed pretentiousness and didn’t have time to stroke anyone’s ego. Not that he was above a little stroking, himself. He quite enjoyed it, as a matter of fact. That was probably why he and Cordelia Chase hadn’t worked out. There was no way a relationship between two people as vain as they could ever be healthy.
He still liked Cordy, though, even if she despised him. In fact, that just made it better. She was a real bitch, but Devon didn’t mind, because she had reason to be. She was gorgeous and smart and rich; she was going places and she knew it. She said what she thought, didn’t care if people liked it, and never apologized for her own behavior. A lot of people didn’t like her, and as far as she was concerned, they could go fuck themselves. Everyone, however, respected her.
Cordelia was, in a word, fierce.
So he kept track of her when they split, and he was rather stunned when she took up with Xander. He wasn’t surprised that they had gotten together, only that Cordelia had caved and admitted she wanted him. Anyone with a single firing neuron could tell the two had it bad for each other. People who truly loathed one another went out of their way to avoid the other person, and if Cordelia had really thought Xander worthless, she wouldn’t have wasted any of her precious time by bothering to acknowledge that he drew breath.
Devon used to wonder if they were fucking. Sometimes he liked imagining it.
So, yeah, he had definitely noticed Xander Harris. Had always had a sneaking suspicion about him. The kid all but sweated passion, and Devon wondered what Xander would be like if that passion was ever focused on one single event...or person. He bet Xander, once directed, fucked like an animal.
So when Oz had called that morning and woken him from a sound sleep, the singer had berated his bass player for a good five minutes, until Oz had broken in with, “Xander Harris wants to go out with you. Interested?”
Now, he hadn’t heard any songbirds or seen stars or heard shitty emo music strike up when Oz had posed the question. Instead, this slow-burning warmth began to suffuse his gut, and immediately, a couple of things became apparent:
One, Xander actually liked
him. He wouldn’t have involved Oz if he didn’t. From this, Devon inferred that not only did Xander like him, but wasn’t embarrassed by who knew it, and wasn’t ashamed to be seen with him. That made Devon feel...special. But not in a lame way. He had seen the football player eye Harris; hell, he’d seen Oz do it once or twice.
The only reason he had never made a move was because that Buffy chick was always around the kid, and he could never get a moment alone with him. Not to mention Willow; he knew the redhead always had Xander’s ear, and he was sure she would trash him to Harris at every opportunity. But then Oz started dating Willow, and Devon thought maybe she would mellow out.
And then there was that really tall guy who seemed to stalk Buffy. He and Harris had a real freaky vibe between them, like they hated each other totally, but couldn’t keep out of each other’s faces. Literally. When they argued, which was all the time, they stood so close to each other that they always looked like they were about to kiss. That was some weird shit.
Two, if Xander wanted to go out with him, that meant that Cordelia was probably aware of it, which meant if Devon did anything to hurt him, she would gladly feast on his bones after ripping him apart. Ex or not, Cordelia Chase was definitely someone you didn’t want to piss off.
So he gave Oz his consent to set it up, trying to sound reluctant, but not managing it very well. That Oz knew it and didn’t call him on it reinforced his belief that Oz was a really good friend.
He had spent the rest of the day fantasizing about Xander. About what it would be like to talk to him, to dance with him, to run his fingers through the kid’s hair. To tilt up his chin and devour those ridiculously pouty lips. To grind his crotch up against him. To feel Xander grasp his waist and pull him flush before flipping him over and pounding into him.
Then he began to lose his shit.
Devon was a pretty sexually adventurous guy, but there was one thing he had never done with another dude. The fact that he was even considering
doing it with Xander was more than a little disconcerting, and made him realize just how far gone he was. And then he realized that he was really jumping the gun. It was a date, not a fuck, and he knew he was going to have to treat the kid with respect, otherwise there would be a posse of really scary people after him. He also gleaned that the kid had probably never gone out with another guy; Xander might not even understand what two guys did together.
And then he thought about Xander dressed in a Catholic schoolboy’s uniform and a pair of saddle shoes. They were in a classroom together, and Devon was the teacher and holding a really big yardstick, all set to impart a little instruction. And then Xander would drape himself across Devon’s legs and present his firm ass to be spanked.
It just got hotter from there.
He had lit a blunt and thought about what all of this meant.
What was the big deal with Harris, anyway? Devon had no problems getting laid. So why miss out on a potentially great fuck to squire some kid he didn’t even really know? Why waste time on conversation and getting to know one another when you could get right to the point and have your dick in someone’s mouth? He wasn’t looking for anything serious, he didn’t want to commit to anyone.
Yet he sensed there was something special about this kid, that Xander might...mean something.
As night drew closer and the more he thought about it, the more he became convinced this whole thing was a really bad idea. He didn’t know what to do with a nervous virgin who was probably scared shitless about the whole gay thing. He didn’t want to involve himself with the drama that always seemed to follow Buffy’s gang around like a storm cloud.
He didn’t want to care.
Maybe the best thing to do was make a move right away and scare the kid off. But what if that didn’t work? What if Xander responded? What if the sex was so fucking incredible it made Devon rethink everything? Or what if it so pathetic that he couldn’t hide his disdain? What if he hurt Xander’s feelings? And why the fuck did it matter?
He didn’t need these complications, but it was too late to back out now. Not to mention, he wasn’t a pussy. He could deal with this. If either he or the kid wasn’t feeling it, no problem. They’d just shake hands and walk away, and Devon would be onto his next conquest, and Xander could wade back into life at high school. No big.
And then Xander had walked in and Devon had completely blanked on the song he was singing. The song he had written.
Because there was hot, and then there was, at that moment, Xander Harris.
So he stared and watched as an adorably clueless Xander fidgeted in clothes which were obviously new and most likely not selected by him, but by his erstwhile ex. Clothes that oozed an undeniable sensuality and which basically rendered their wearer liquid sex.
And Xander wasn’t even looking at him, but at his friends, worried about what they were going to say about his appearance.
Man, the kid was really insecure, and that was something he didn’t want to have to deal with.
But damn, Xander Harris was beautiful.
And when the kid turned and smiled at him, Devon came in his pants.