A*N* - I own nothing, just amusing myself between class assignments.Chapter 8
Xander woke up suddenly. The plants out in the warehouse were telling her through the Green that someone had picked the lock on the side door and had entered her room.
She sat up, clutching the comforter to cover her chest and glared at the vampire standing outside of the doorway to her room.
“Seriously Deadboy? What the hell are you doing here?” she hissed at him, her cheeks turning dark green as she blushed.
“Giles was worried, asked me to find you. Cordelia came by the Library last night and yelled at Willow for not making sure you were okay with the whole girl thing. Willow admitted that she hadn’t seen you all week except for classes.
“Made her feelings known that I should be slain? Not surprising.”
“Come in…Don’t I smell human?” Xander cocked her head to the side. Angel sat down in the nearby desk chair.
“Kind of? You smell like grass and trees mostly….like nature.”
Angel looked uncomfortable. Xander sighed.
“Not surprising, I’m an avatar of Mother Nature….could you turn around…please?”
Angel spun around in the chair looking at the jungle of plants.
“How did you manage all this in a week?”
He heard a thump and Xander cursing. He turned to look.
“Don’t even think about it mister!” Xander said sharply.
Angel went rigid and faced the windows.
“Bras should be covered under the Geneva Convention as a form of torture. Gah I hate these things.”
Angel coughed to hide his laugh.
“Shut up Deadboy” Xander muttered, buttoning her blouse.
“I patrolled and took things off vampires and out of their nests when I dusted them. I found money, jewelry, things like that. I pawned stuff, made a good chunk of money out of it, bought this place.”
Xander glanced out the window looking at the light dappling the leaves.
“Were you looking all night? Didn’t Cordelia tell you where I was?”
Angel glanced sideways, and sighed in relief. Xander was dressed in red blouse and jeans.
“She kind of…stormed off in a huff after ranting for fifteen minutes.”
“That’s our Cordy…….well; it looks like you’re stuck here till sunset. You’re welcome to come downstairs, there’s no direct
sunlight in my lab.”
Angel nodded and followed her down the stairs and sat on the stool in the farthest corner. Xander started unpacking beakers, tubes and all sorts of other supplies. She set up the equipment on the table and stored chemicals in cabinets.
“What is all of this?” Angel asked, watching her.
Xander was connecting tubes and plugging in scales, making notes on a pad of paper.
“Pamela Isley was a genius when it came to Botanical Biochemistry, until the accident she was one of the top minds in her field. I’ve got all of that, in here.”
She tapped her temple before busying herself with working.
“The chemical processes of plants, the study of their DNA, making hybrid species, things like that. Or….splicing animal DNA into plants.”
Xander’s tone turned bitter when she remembered what Dr. Woodrue did to Pamela. Angel saw her scowling and being a little rough as she put a microscope down on the counter. There was a loud crack of plastic as the Venus fly trap broke out of its container. The heads were the size of a chicken’s egg and they were opening and closing. They flinched away slightly when Xander tried to touch.
“Shhh, it’s alright sweetie. Mommy’s not mad at you.” Xander cooed at it, caressing the snapping plants.
She looked at the remains of the tiny plastic pot they had been in.
“Poor baby, broke right through the pot. Come on.”
Xander picked up the Venus fly trap and carried it over to a bigger pot. She put some dirt in it and set the plant down, watching its roots bury into the soil.
“There you go sweetie, once you get a little bigger, we’ll find you a good spot.”
She put the bigger pot on a clear space on the counter and Angel watched her cock her head to the side like a bird. She nodded and went over to a pipe by the wall and turned a knob. The overhead sprinkler system cut on, simulating rain on the plants below. She walked back over to the table and surveyed the lab.
“Not the best lab in the world, but it’ll do for now.”
Angel looked around.
“Looks pretty impressive to me.”
Xander smiled slightly.
“I’m missing some major equipment that would be extremely useful…but it’s workable for now.”
Xander slid onto a stool and flipped to the notes she had made in chemistry.
“You’ve been pretty decent with me lately.” Angel observed suddenly.
Xander looked up from her notes, blinking.
“You’ve been helping us a lot more lately, not just brooding off into the darkness showing up out of the blue with info. It also helps that I’m lacking the raging jealousy.”
She looked down at her pad, working an equation to figure out a dose of toxin for one of Ivy’s lipsticks.
“So you lost your attraction to Buffy when you turned into a girl?”
She paused and looked up at him, then sighed and used the pencil pin her hair into a knot. She put her chin on her hand.
“I stopped being attracted to Buffy when she used me as a stripper pole to make you jealous. I don’t like being used and
abused, so it died a violent death. Most of my dislike of you was because you were a vampire and was sired by that bitch
Angel’s forehead crinkled.
“What does that have to do with anything?”
“There was a boy, before Buffy came, who I had known since we’d both been in diapers. He was my best friend, and your sire turned him. Giles told me that there wasn’t anything left of Jesse in the vampire, so I staked him. Then you came along and got a free pass because you had your soul. That meant nothing to me, because I was still stinging from having to kill my best friend, so I took my anger out on you. After the whole thing with Buffy, and a couple of eye openers I let it go. Because you DO help us and you seem to be a pretty okay guy but don’t take me for a fool. One wrong move and you are plant food buddy.”
Angel chuckled shaking his head and Xander got up pulling some things out of cabinets, measuring liquids.
“And for the record, my shape, male or female has no impact on my sexuality whatsoever. I thought you were cute long before Halloween.”
Xander grinned predatorily when Angel stiffened nervously.
“Chillax Deadboy, I said you were cute, not that I wanted to jump your bones. I was making a point; I was bi long before Buffy.”
Angel looked mildly surprised.
“I think if he hadn’t been so hung up on Cordy….but that’s then”
Xander quieted and walked over to the garden. She looked around at the different plants before picking one. Three leaves came away in her hand and she picked a few berries. She walked back over to the table and dumped them into the mortar and pestle, then started crushing them.
“What are you doing?”
Xander glanced up at Angel as she added a liquid to the paste and used a pipette to suck the liquid up and put it in a beaker that was over a burner.
Xander smirked and picked up the pestle and held it out to him.
“Stick your finger in that and put it in your mouth.”
Angel gave her a look.
“It won’t kill you, trust me.”
Angel put his finger in the liquid, looked at Xander before sticking it in his mouth. Seconds later he went rigid and fell off the stool. Xander snickered.
“Don’t fight it, its mild paralysis dosed for humans. Vamp physiology, you’ll be up in 20 minutes to half an hour. Sorry Deadboy, I couldn’t help it, you are seriously fun to mess with.”
She went back over to the valve on the wall and shut it off. She slid back onto the stool and dumped chemicals on top of the oil.
“Ivy has multiple formulas that utilize toxins from various plants, enhance with the right chemicals so they can be absorbed orally through the lips, add wax and pigment, and you have poisonous lipstick.”
She stirred the mixture and it turned bloody red. She poured the mixture into molds. Angel sat up and glared at Xander. She grinned, resting her head on her fist, tapping the mold to get rid of air bubbles.
“So, medical question, I know you don’t breathe, but any trouble with that?”
“No, I could still breathe, I just couldn’t move my lips to call you a manipulative bitch.”
Xander grinned, chuckling, and fluttered her eyelashes at him.
“Sorry, I wanted to see if it was effective on vampires as well as humans. It’s easier than trying to get them to breathe in pollen. It’s amusing; they’re already starting to recognize me. They all know Poison Ivy’s on the Hellmouth.”
“Buffy said something about this Ivy being a villain?”
Xander grimaced at him and sighed.
“She was a feared eco-terrorist. She was driven insane by the accident and her morals went a little skewed. But that’s Pamela Isley; I’m still Alexander Harris, even though I’m a rather pretty shade of green most of the time.”
Angel looked curious.
“How did that happen?....To Isley I mean.”
Xander swung her legs back and forth on the stool.
“Pamela was kind of like Willow you know? Brilliant, but very timid socially. When she was in college, on the verge of getting her doctorate, one of her Professors seduced her. Using her for her brilliant mind, and her body, to perfect a bio toxin. A mixture of poisonous plant material and venoms from various animals. It was a ground breaking bio-weapon, both of them would have been rich….but the Professor….Woodrue got greedy. He wanted the discovery to be his alone….so he decided to…experiment with the toxin….on Pamela. It turned her into this.”
Xander indicated to herself. Angel grimaced at her. Xander just shrugged at him and turned back to the lipstick mold, scraping away the excess before opening the mold. She pried the dark red lipstick out of the mold and set it into a shiny black plastic dispenser. She did the same with the other four and set the mold in the sink so she could clean it later. She capped them and labeled them as a paralytic.
She looked up at the skylights.
“Suns starting to set, I’m going to go take a shower and change.”
She grabbed one of the tubes of lipstick before going up the stairs. She took a quick shower and pinned her damp hair up in a messy bun. She walked out to her room and pulled the closet open and pulled the green corset out.
“This is going to be interesting.” She said to herself, pulling the green bikini bottoms that she had gotten to go with the corset. She pulled them on and slipped into the corset, struggling to get it laced and pulled. She finally gave up and two thin vines sprouted from her wrists. She turned in the mirror so she could see, and used the vines to lace up the back of the corset. The vines disappeared and she grabbed the ends and pulled hard on them. She wheezed when she pulled it too tight and couldn’t breathe.
“Shit, shit, shit.” She gasped, pulling on the corset to loosen it. When it was tight but comfortable, she tied off the laces.
She pulled on the boots next then looked at herself in the mirror.
“Very….very weird….still…hehe…sexy as hell.”
Xander grinned slightly at herself. She could behave like a girl because of Ivy, but she still missed her old body. It was weird, and it sucked, but she would get used to it…eventually. She picked up the lipstick and applied it, turning her pale green lips a dark crimson. She smirked at herself in the mirror; she needed pink eye shadow like Ivy had. She snorted, perhaps later….way later…the lipstick and clothes were weird enough for her, for now.
Angel looked up when he heard footsteps on the stairs. His eyes widened and his eyebrows went up when he saw Xander’s outfit. The auburn haired girl pointed a finger at him.
“Not a word Deadboy or I’ll knock your ass out and leave you here.”
Angel wisely kept his mouth shut, but Xander glared venomously at him when she heard the snort.
“Keep it up chuckles, I’ll create a strain of poison ivy that works on vamps and make sure it ends up in your underwear drawer.”
Xander led the way through the growing shrubs, and noted that she needed to get some species of trees as well.
“I don’t wear any.”
Xander made a face and glanced at Angel.
“Oh gross, I really could’ve gone the rest of my life without knowing that.”
Angel shrugged, smirking behind her back.
“So….exactly why are you wearing that.”
Xander opened the door and turned to lock it behind Angel.
“Because I’m giving the people what they want. They think I’m the real Poison Ivy; I’m going to make sure they keep that notion. It’ll make the vamps and demons wary of coming around the warehouse.”
Angel nodded; it made sense to work the reputation with the demon world.
“What happened to the leafy…thing?”
“A vamp learned me good, gave a handful of leaves on my side a good yank, it hurt like a bitch. So I went for something that didn’t hurt me physically if it got torn.”
Angel looked confused.
Xander rolled her eyes.
“The leafy unitard? Those leaves weren’t just covering my skin; they were growing out of my skin, from these.” She pointed to the raised whorls on her skin. "Naturally, when pulled, that shit hurts.”
Angel nodded and they walked in companionable silence. They got closer to the library and he noticed Xander go from content, to grim looking. She sighed before pushing the door open.
“Wait Will don’t.”
The redhead tried to hug Xander and the darker haired girl was trying to push her off.
The side of Willow’s face broke out in a rash of red bumps, along with her left hand that had touched Xander’s shoulder.
Buffy pulled Willow away, glaring at Xander.
“What did you do?”
“It’s not Xander’s fault, h-she tried to warn me, I forgot Ivy’s skin was toxic too.”
Xander got down the first aid kit and put a pair of gloves on and got the anti-histamine lotion.
“You didn’t get too much Wills; it’ll be gone in a half hour or so. I didn’t think about it till it was too late, I’ll have to come up with an inoculation, I can’t not have Willow hugs, and too much exposure will eventually cause anaphylactic shock.”
She spread the anti-histamine lotion on the rashes and Willow smiled at her before looking at her sternly.
“You should’ve told me you were hurting mister….I mean missy. I could’ve made you some apology brownies till you felt better.”
Xander blinked away some moisture. That lotion sure was strong.
“Cuz it’s not your fault Wills you shouldn’t have to apologize for anything. If anything, costume guy owes me apology brownies.”
Willow put her hands on her hips.
“Well, from now on, you tell me when you’re upset. I mean it, see the resolve face, missy?”
Xander grinned, pulling off the gloves and throwing them away. She noticed Buffy still glaring at her; frankly she’d had enough of her attitude already.
“What is your problem? I didn’t mean to hurt Willow; you know damn well I’d die before hurting her. I can’t be setting off your Slayer sense, Angel confirmed it, and I’m human still. So what is it?”
Buffy’s eyes narrowed.
“Besides you knocking me and Angel out and giving Willow that nasty rash? You were possessed by a bad guy, now you’ve got her powers and all the sudden you’re dressing like her too. And what’s with being best buds with Cordy all of the sudden?”
Xander’s mouth twisted up in a mocking smirk. Buffy was bringing out the Ivy in her.
“What’s the matter Buffy, jealous? I went to Cordy for help because you wouldn’t give me the time of day. This is my body now, so I thought I might as well jump in the deep end to help me get used to it. Also, I’m not Ivy, I’ve got nothing but her powers and her memories, the rest is all Xander. I’m sorry I knocked you out, I’ve apologized already, I didn’t mean to, I was panicking and didn’t know. I’ll be more careful now that I know, I can make an inoculation that will render my skin harmless to you guys, but I can’t do anything about the pollen. The inoculation will lessen the effect, but it will still work on you. Now, stop acting like an uber-bitch to me, this isn’t my fault.”
Buffy’s scowl just got worse and she turned her nose up at Xander and sat down in a chair. Xander just rolled her eyes before noticing Giles standing there, cleaning his glasses.
“Xander, can I see you in my office please?”
Xander sighed and followed him, glaring at Buffy when she smirked. Giles shut the door behind her.
“Giles, I’m sorry I got snotty with her, but I’m tired of being accused of being evil. I didn’t ask for this.”
Giles sat down in his chair.
“I completely understand Xander. That’s not what I brought you in here to talk about. Frankly, I agree with everything you said to Buffy, aside from the foul language. This transformation is neither yours nor Willow’s faults. I’m actually very impressed with how you’re handling this. What I wanted to talk to you about was why you felt that you couldn’t come to me when you found yourself without a place to live.”
Xander blushed dark green.
“That was me having a dumb moment. I was going to ask, but by the time I actually thought about it, I was already registered as Alexandria Isley. I figured it would look strange for you to have a sixteen year old living with you who wasn’t related, and it’d be our luck that Sunnydale Social Services would actually look into something. Get me?”
Giles pulled his glasses off to clean them again.
“Yes, I see how our luck would run like that. But you do have some place to stay, correct?”
Xander nodded quickly.
“Yes, I..Err…took money off of the vampires I’ve been staking and was able to put a down payment on a warehouse. It’s got an office space that I live out of, and the rest, I’ve turned into a giant greenhouse.”
Giles nodded, smiling slightly.
“W-well, Xander, you know if you need anything….”
Xander grinned and gave Giles a mock salute.
“You got it G-man.”
The man rolled his eyes, but didn’t admonish Xander for the nickname.
“Oh, I meant to ask. Is there an encyclopedia of herbs or something that could be used against slaying demons? I’ve really gotten in to the botany thing; I’d love to see about using Ivy’s powers for some good.”
Giles looks thoughtful for a moment.
“I may have something along that lines which I can lend to you. Let me go take a look, why don’t you go join the others. Buffy should be heading out for patrol soon.”
Xander nodded and went back out into the Library. It was just Willow, flipping through a book on the desk. The rash on her face and hands were looking much better, and were almost gone. Xander sat in a chair nearby while Giles disappeared into the stacks.
“So what have I missed?”
“Well….an old friend of Buffy’s came to town. Tried to give her to Spike so he could live forever, it…didn’t end well.”
Xander winced sympathetically.
They sat there awkwardly for a moment.
“So..I see you’ve embraced your inner Ivy. What’s with the corset thing and the lipstick, you are embracing you’re girl side pretty quickly mister, it’s strange.”
“Well, what they don’t show us in the comic books is where those leaves come from on Ivy’s outfit. Turns out, it’s like pulling pair. I was patrolling the other night and a vamp grabbed a handful of leaves and pulled. Gah, it hurt….so I chose this as an alternative cuz I’ve kinda built up a reputation as Poison Ivy in the demon community.”
“Neat, well not about the hurting part, but I never knew that about Ivy’s costume and you’ve been doing your own Slaying thing…that’s…..you’re being careful right?”
“Yep, taking all the precautions, vamps are just no match for my vines of fury….and they are apparently very good fertilizer.”
Giles came from between the stacks.
“Here you are Xander. Erasmus’ Compendium of Demon Banes. I have a few more around somewhere, as soon as I find them, you can borrow them as well as you need to, but this will get you off to an excellent start.”
Xander took the heavy leather-bound tome and grinned at Giles.
“Thanks Giles, I can’t wait to get to try this out on those pesky demons. I’ll take good care of it.”
“I’m sure you will, now if you’ll excuse me I have a um….prior engagement.”
Xander and Willow shared a grin.
“Prior engagement, well I say Willow, do you think that could be code for ‘Date with Ms. Calendar’?”
“I bet it just might.”
Giles sputtered at the two.
“Very funny you two get going so I can lock up. Children these days.” Giles walked off muttering, making Xander and
Xander looked at Willow.
“Shall I walk you home, milady.”
“Why thank you, I shall be delighted.”
They left, and Xander caught up with Willow on their way to her house. Once the red-head was safely inside, Xander left, doing a short patrol of her own. She captured four vampires and a SeParvo that was tearing up one of the cemeteries. She knew the vampire dust was good for her babies, but she would have to experiment before she used the demon as fertilizer. The wriggling cocoons of vines sunk into the ground and Xander headed back to her warehouse to begin testing.