: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel the Series
; Seasons Four and One, respectively.Pairing
: Language, m/m pre-slash. FYI, Angel becomes obscenely woobie as this progresses. You've been warned. ;)Distribution
: Please ask first. Please do not screencap this story, save it to hard drives, exchange with others, or translate into other languages without explicit consent.Feedback
: Con-crit is always welcome; flames are not.Disclaimer
: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, lyrics, etc. are the property of their respective owners. Snippets of dialogue may be incorporated from the original canonical episode(s) and belong to their respective authors/creators. The original characters and plot are the property of the author(s). The author(s) is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended, nor should any be inferred. No profit is being made.Summary
: As Angel attempts to decipher the mysteries of his new cell phone, he makes an interesting connection. Xander/Angel pre-slash.* * * * *
"Slayerette Mortuary. Buffy bags 'em, we tag 'em!"
There was a pause before a throat cleared and a voice both hesitant and annoyed grumbled, "Xander?"
The boy paused in his footsteps. "Deadboy? You have a phone? You know how to use
Angel sighed, and a small smirk found its way onto Xander's face.
"It's new," the vampire admitted. "Cordelia made me get a cell phone in case of emergencies."
Xander pursed his lips at the mention of his ex's name being so casually uttered by his nemesis. He guessed Angel was his nemesis. He was pretty sure Angel considered him beneath the label of 'nemesis,' though. Whatever.
He didn't like to think about Angel and Cordelia working together, spending so much time together, possibly having quality time in which fluffy kitten feelings might develop. Still, he supposed there was nothing he could do about it. He therefore resolved to exploit this opportunity and taunt the vampire he had once gleefully lived to annoy.
"Why, Deadboy! You move to L.A., you get a cell phone. You've gone all Hollywood!"
Angel snorted and quickly tried to smother it by covering his mouth, hoping against hope that Xander hadn't heard him.
"Did you just laugh?," the boy shrieked. "At me? At something I
said? Did you just laugh at me
making fun of you
The vampire said nothing.
"Deadboyyyyyyyyyy," Xander sang. "Here's a helpful tip: if you angrily want to hang up on someone, flip down the cover of the phone or press the big honking button marked END."
"I thought I called Buffy," was the baleful response.
"You did. I have her phone. She gave it to me because I'm on my own for patrol tonight."
Angel paused for a moment, sure he hadn't heard the boy correctly.
"Alone? Buffy's letting you patrol alone now?"
"Yeah, so what?," Xander barked. "I'm perfectly capable of walking around a cemetery. I can loom! I can look menacing! I can scream real loud!"
"Okay, okay. I was just surprised."
Angel sat back in his chair and contemplated what to do next. Frankly, he wanted to follow the boy's advice and hang up on him, but he was alone and rather bored, and while he would never admit it, Xander could, on occasion, be entertaining.
Besides, he wanted dirt.
Cordelia had so far refused to contact anyone in Sunnydale, and he wanted to know how Buffy was doing. And maybe he was concerned about the others. Not that they'd believe him, and not that he'd ever tell Xander.
"But if she gave you her phone, how can you get a hold of her if you need help?"
Xander didn't immediately answer, which set off warning bells in Angel's head.
"Xander?," he prompted.
"Um, A-Angel? Look," he exhaled, "I...I'm just not sure how much she would want me to tell you."
"There's someone else."
Xander sighed. "Yeah, there is," he quietly answered. "She met him at school. He's her Psychology T.A."
"She's dating her teacher?"
"Well, he's not exactly her teacher. He's her teacher's assistant. He's a grad student."
"Well. That's...good. I'm happy for her."
Xander snorted. "Yeah, the peals of joy are ringing through loud and clear. You don't have to put on a front with me, Deadboy. I know it hurts."
Angel didn't know what to say to that. He wondered how often Xander had looked at him and had thoughts similar to those he was now having. He opted to change the subject slightly.
"So, what do you think of him?"
"Of Riley? Well, he's nice enough, I guess. A little boring. But what else can you expect of someone from Iowa? I think he's smart, but he doesn't seem to have much of a sense of humor, though I may be judging him too soon. I barely know him. Right now, he and Buff are caught up in the wondrousness of New Person."
The vampire grinned a little. It appeared Xander wanted to give him a thoughtful and balanced picture of Buffy's new boyfriend, but he could hear the tone of resentment and hurt underscoring the words. At last, they finally had something in common.
"Is he good looking?"
"You really wanna go there, Deadboy? You want pictures of the two of them in your head?"
"In for a penny, in for a pound."
Was it his imagination, or did Xander just chuckle a little bit?
"Okay," the boy agreed. "Riley Finn. Nice guy, fairly hot. He's tall, maybe even a little taller than you. He's blond, has a nice smile, blue eyes. His wardrobe could use some spice, but I'm sure Buffy will be dressing him in no time, like Cordy did with me. I probably should have paid a little more attention to her advice. But don't tell her that!
"Anyway, back to Riley. Like I said before, his sense of humor might be lacking, or maybe he's just shy around new people. I think Will and I might have overwhelmed him at first."
"Yeah, yeah," Xander said airily. "Whatever. In the beginning, you weren't around enough for us to overwhelm you, so don't act like you know."
The vampire took the teasing for what it was: harmless and good-natured. It was the first time he and Xander had talked without rancor or distrust.
"He's buff," Xander continued, "but not as buff as you."
They both fell silent for a moment.
"I didn't say that!"
"You did," Angel retorted. "You think I'm buff. Admit it, Xander, I'm buff!"
"Whatever," the kid grumbled. "Yeah, you're buff, okay? You're buff. You're beefy. Angel, the Souled Eye Candy. You're the man. You're a stud muffin. You're the Adonis of all vampires. Happy now?"
Angel cackled. "Yeah, I kinda am."
"Oh, shut up."
"Come on, Xanderrrrr," Angel playfully whined. "I'm not gonna tell. What's my best feature?"
"Your brooding silence. Hey, let's have more of that!"
"Just simmer down...Cordy."
"I take offense to that! No, wait. I don't. Because if Cordy's giving you a hard time, that can only be a good thing. Therefore, thank you. Oh, and this is weird."
"You and me. On the phone. Catching up. We didn't catch up while you were here, so why are we doing it now?"
"I honestly have no idea."
"Okay. As long as there's confusion for both of us at the end of the tunnel."
Angel chuckled. "So how's everyone else?" He could all but hear Xander's involuntary shrug.
"Meh. Will's okay. She's loving college and is taking part in every protest which crosses her path. She's still with Oz." A beat. "I think they're going through something right now, but I'm not sure what, and she's not talking. Then again, I'm probably not the person to whom she should come running to discuss her love life."
"Cordy's doing okay, Xander."
"Thanks," the boy whispered.
"And the others?"
Xander forcefully exhaled. "Giles is Giles. Still doing that British thing he does so well. I think he's at loose ends. With Buffy rooming at the dorms, she doesn't see him as much, and I think he feels kinda left out. In fact, I know he does. When Giles asks me to hang, you know he's lonely."
"Joyce is cool. She's doing her thing. She turned Buffy's bedroom into a guest room or something, I'm not sure. I know Buff was kinda pissed, but, well, what can you do? Joyce has to move on with her life, too."
"And you? How are you doing?"
"What do you mean?"
"No offense, Deadboy, but your only interest in me was...well, you had no interest in me. Why do you care now?"
"Because I'm on the phone with you and am trying to be polite?"
"Oh. Okay. Well, my summer off blew chunks. I got stranded in Oxnard when my car broke down, and had to take odd jobs until I could afford to get it repaired."
"What kind of jobs?"
Another silence. An embarrassed
"Xander?," a gleeful Angel prompted.
"If I tell you, you have to give me your demon word of honor that you'll never repeat it. To anyone. Ever. Especially not to Cordelia."
Angel nestled the receiver in the crook of his shoulder before excitedly rubbing his hands together. This was going to be good.
"I solemnly swear," he chirped.
"You heard me."
"Actually, no, I didn't. I couldn't have. It sounded like you said you were a stripper." Xander didn't respond. "Are you still there?"
The boy grunted.
"You were a stripper? Like, in a thong? With flashing lights and music and people throwing money at you? You took off your clothes for money?"
"Why is that so hard to believe?," Xander demanded. "Yes, I took off my clothes for money. So what? I didn't have a lot of options, Deadboy. And you know what? I was good at it! I was one of the top dancers there. Just because I don't look like you doesn't mean I'm ugly."
"Whoa!," Angel exclaimed. "No one said you were ugly, Xander. And I'm not judging you, okay? I think it took a lot of guts for you to do what you did. You do what you have to in order to survive. There's no shame in that."
"Then what the hell is so amusing?"
"Honestly? I'm picturing you dancing, and it's just not very sexy."
"Well, other people thought it was," the petulant boy mumbled.
"Okay," the vampire said agreeably. "I believe you. And I can understand why you don't want anyone else to know, especially Buffy and Cordelia. I promise you I will never say anything to anyone."
"Sure. So...did you have a song?"
"A song. Like a signature tune. Something which announced you were coming to the stage."
"Why do you wanna know?," Xander asked, suspicion lacing his voice.
"Hey, you've seen me at my worst. Just asking for a little quid pro quo."
"I don't know what that means, but whatever. Yeah, I had a song. No, I'm not telling you what it was."
"Why not? I've probably never even heard of it before. You know I don't follow popular music," he lied. Since he began working with Cordelia, Top 40 haunted his days.
Xander sighed. "Fine. It's called Baby Got Back
Angel roared with laughter.
"You bastard!," the boy shrieked. "You're Angelus, aren't you? Admit it. You've gone all evil again, haven't you?"
"Nope, not evil," the vampire replied, trying to rein himself in. "Maybe a little sadistic, but not evil."
He was surprised when Xander giggled. Just a small giggle, really, but a giggle nonetheless. He errantly wondered why it was he was able to speak with Xander over a telephone. Perhaps because he wasn't being confronted with rolling eyes, pursed lips, and rude gestures.
"If it makes you feel any better," he continued, deciding to capitulate, "I sang Mandy
in a karaoke bar the other night."
His admission was met with stunned silence.
"Xander? Xander! Are you still there? Xander?"
"Well, you came and you gave without taking.
"But I sent you away, oh Mandy.
"Well, you kissed me and stopped me from shaking.
"Oh man, Deadboy!," replied Xander's wheezing voice. "You so lose at unlife. I would have paid to see that. Any chance Cordy taped it? Is there going to be an encore? You could have your own Broadway show! Or maybe the Ice Capades! Can you skate? Angel on Ice! I can see it now! Hey, know anymore Beaky songs? You should totally wear a flamenco outfit when you sing Copacobana
"You can stop anytime now."
"His name was Angel, he wore a diamond.
"What did Cordy say? I bet she was rolling on the floor!"
"It's all I've heard about for three days," Angel groused.
"Gee, I wonder why?," Xander snickered.
"Don't 'bah' me, Scrooge. You can't tell me something like that and then expect me not to laugh! I'm only human, Deadboy."
"Whatever. So, what else are you up to? New job? New girl?"
"Well, I suppose I'm kind of dating someone. I'm not really sure. She says we're dating, so I guess we are."
"How can you not know if you're dating someone?"
"I dunno. I'm just going with the flow. She's a little scary. Not as scary as Cordy, but she's still scary. Buff and Will don't like her of course, but that's nothing new."
"What's her name?"
Anya! You mean that vengeance demon?"
"Hey, she's so not a demon anymore! Totally mortal, okay? Therefore, an acceptable potential life partner. And pickings are pretty slim around the Dale, Deadboy. At least for me."
"Christ, kid! What is it with you and demons?"
"I know, right?," Xander said ruefully. "The sad thing is, I'm used to it by now. I guess I should just accept the whole demon magnet thing. You know what's even sadder? Angelus is the only one who ever gave me flowers, even though they weren't really for me."
The vampire said nothing.
"Angel?," the boy asked. "Did I say something wrong?"
Angel sighed. "No. No, you didn't say anything wrong. It's just...it hurts to think about that. What he almost did...the things he did
do. What he would have done had you not been there..."
"Yeah," Xander whispered.
"It's cool, Deadboy, okay? Let's drop it."
"Okay. Did you ever tell her?"
"No. And I don't want you to, either."
"Why not?," asked a flummoxed Angel.
"Because it doesn't matter anymore. It's in the past, and I want to leave it there."
"You were very brave that night."
"I almost shit my pants. I knew there was really nothing I could have done had he called my bluff. Not to mention, for a moment there, I wasn't sure if Angelus was gonna kill me or kiss me."
"What if he had kissed you?," Angel quietly asked after a moment.
"Would you have wanted him to?"
"And what if it had been me? Would you have wanted me to kiss you, Xander?"
"I have to go now, Deadboy. Patrol's over. I'll tell Buffy you called."
The reply wasn't rushed, wasn't nervous; it was curt and rang with a finality which Angel found mysteriously depressing.
But all he heard was a buzzing silence.
He looked down at the phone's LCD and saw it flashing. He'd been on the phone with Xander for forty-two minutes and had learned more about the boy in that time than he had after three years in his company. And he wanted to know more. He looked down at his hand.