The aftermath of the shenanigans! Now with 100% more fanart, courtesy of TTH member MistressAshley: http://a.imageshack.us/img814/1953/strangelyliteral.png
Seems this story's starting to pick up interest, which is nice to see. I know SCC didn't have the time to build a fanbase, so I'm glad folks are enjoying. Review, recommend and let me know!
And, apologies if this chapter came off a little odd. I started writing and one thing led to another here. Hope it marches with everything else I've written so far!-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-
"I swear, Xander. We could have aliens land on earth and you'd end up having their queen trying to make you her consort or chief probe bunny or something." Buffy shook her head.
After the confrontation with Jenny, the Scoobies decided to take a few moments to decompress. Buffy, Willow and Xander were pretending to eat lunch while Xander confessed all about the bomb that Cameron had dropped on him the previous day. Xander's tentative plan to deal with the Judge had been laid out and Giles and Cameron were discussing the finer points of the idea. In the evening, Buffy, Jenny and Giles were going to go have a chat with Jenny's uncle.
"C'mon, Buffy, let's be fair," Willow protested. "A cyborg is a huge step up from bug people and mummies." She paused and laughed abruptly. "Totally off subject, but for a little while there, I thought you and Cordelia
were starting to get all snuggly."
Xander ignored the parenthetical comment from Willow - he totally didn't want to deal with the backlash from that particular skeleton.
"So, what's the deal?" Buffy persisted. "Are you going to do it?"
Xander waved his arms around in frustration. "I'm not sure! I mean, she wants to learn and maybe I can play a cuddly Gepetto to her Pinocchio, or maybe Dorothy to her Tin Man. Except those both have creepy fairy tale connotations." When he received a disbelieving look from the girls, he protested, "Hey, I did read The Little Mermaid
Willow nodded knowingly. "He did. I made him read it."
"But what if she just can't learn that stuff? Human emotions, I mean." Xander fidgeted with a strap on his messenger bag.
"What if she can?" Buffy supplied. "Could you live with not taking the chance?"
"Dammit, cut that out. I've already done that particular mental merry-go-round."
"No, seriously. Do you think you could be patient enough to try? I mean, think about it, Xan." Buffy wrapped her fingers around his wrist. "If you could teach her something like that, maybe that Judgment Day thing won't happen."
"Plus, she's really
pretty," Willow added.
Buffy cut Xander off. "I know, we haven't had the best luck with robots around here. Look, you were her first friend here. She talks to you specifically when she doesn't understand something. She's helping us with our little extra-curricular activities. We're going to help her with hers if she asks. She asked you in particular if she could learn about feelings with you. It sounds to me like she's already starting to develop 'em."
Xander paused. "Are you sure you want to be talking about this? With everything going on."
Buffy waved away his concerns. "It's a good distraction. Takes me away from my own misery. Oh, heads up."
Xander turned his head in the direction that Buffy was looking. Cameron had apparently emerged from her strategy discussion with Giles. She came over and looked each of them over in their seats. There were no other chairs nearby. After coming to a decision, Cameron eased herself into Xander's lap.
Xander promptly made a sound of surprise mixed with pain.
Cameron looked at Xander. "Is something wrong? Am I doing this too soon?"
Xander flicked glances at Buffy and Willow. Buffy caught on first. "Maybe too soon, but I think the more pressing concern is that I think your endo-whatever is heavier than it looks."
"My endoskeleton is of greater density than the human skeleton." Cameron looked at Xander. "I'm sorry for not asking first. I watched some educational videos last night."
Xander glossed over what kind of education she was trying to get. "Apology accepted," he wheezed.
"Oh. Your legs." Cameron shifted the way she was sitting and the pressure eased.
Xander exhaled in relief. Willow was looking at her closely with her brow furrowed. "What did you do?"
"I adjusted my posture and positioning to take my weight on my own legs rather than the full weight on Xander," Cameron explained. When the rest of them looked closely, they could see that Cameron was actually holding herself in such a way as to barely be touching Xander's lap, supporting her weight with the mechanical aspects of her own legs.
Cameron looked at Xander and repeated her earlier question. "Is this too soon for this?"
Xander looked at Buffy and Willow and then back at Cameron. "Honestly, it could be. But I understand. It's okay. Just remember, I'm much more squishy than you."
"Then, are you agreeing to my proposal?" Cameron asked.
"I..." He glanced around at his friends again before he cleared his throat. "I think maybe I am." After a moment's pause, he deliberately reached out to grasp Cameron's hand and laced his fingers through hers.
Buffy and Willow looked at one another, then at Cameron and Xander before chorusing, "Aww."
"You two shut up a lot," Xander groused.
Once the moment had passed, Buffy reverted to Slayer mode. "Did you and Giles think of anything new?"
"We did," Cameron agreed. "And we determined that a shoulder-launched assault weapon would be potentially detrimental to bystanders. But we came up with an extrapolation on Xander's idea."
"Oh, nice. I've never been extrapolated before."
Buffy and Willow rolled their eyes. "What is it?"
"The plan is based on two facts. Fact one: A homemade incendiary chemical will not have as great a chance to harm bystanders," Cameron began.
"What's the second thing?" Willow asked.
"The second is based on one fact: I was not forged."
"Huh?" Buffy summed up their collective thinking processes rather neatly.
"The writings say, 'no weapon forged can kill him'. I was not forged. My endoskeleton was cast in a series of molds, then assembled," Cameron explained.
Once light began to collectively dawn on them, they headed out for the library to make final plans.