“So, what’s up between you and Larry, Xan? If looks could kill, you’d have been scattered across a few counties at least.”
“Larry thinks that just because he is a jock that he has power over people. He tried to exert that power earlier this week when he wanted to know how to get into Buffy’s panties. I… dissuaded him from the idea.”
“Is that why he was limping and had a black eye?”
“The limp? Yes. The black eye was when he ran face-first into the wall. Tragic,” Xander said blandly as the kids mobbed the old lady at the house. “The poor wall never did anything to deserve that.”
Kennedy snorted at this but said nothing else as she noticed Xander looking around in an expectant manner. She wasn’t the only one who noticed, though.
“Is something wrong?”
Xander looked over at Willow for a second before he shrugged, “I don’t know, Wills. Ever get that feeling that something should be happening but it isn’t?”
‘All of the time.’ Both Willow and Kennedy thought, though while Willow was thinking it about her and Xander and a distinct lack of clothing, Kennedy was thinking about the same thing, just with Willow instead of Xander. “Do you know something I don’t, mister?”
“A lot of things.” Willow glared at him through her sheet and Xander chuckled, pulling the brim of his boonie hat down just a little, shaking his head, “Sorry, Red, but if you want the glare to work, you have to take the sheet off.”
“I’ll help with that.” Kennedy offered quickly, maybe a little too quickly, and Willow squeaked just a little.
“Umnothat’salright.” Willow blurted quickly.
Xander arched an eyebrow and looked at Kennedy, “Is there something you want to share with the rest of us, Ken Doll? Did something happen?”
“No.” “Yes.” Both young women said just as the kids started to come back.
“Do you want a second alone so you can get your answers straight?”
“No.” “Yes.” They answered again, though this time there was a little more panic in Willow’s voice.
Xander closed his eyes and counted to five before he opened them and ordered the rugrats, “Two columns, boys and girls. Keep watchin’ right and left in case them sneaky parental folks show up and try and take off with your loot!” The kids laughed at this and his very bad accent but did as ordered as they made their way to the next house. “Hey, Wills? Why don’t you go walk point?”
“Go walk out front and lead the kids across the street. I need to talk to Kennedy for a bit.” He told her with a bit of a smile.
Under her sheet, Willow frowned at this but walked off. There was something… wrong… and she couldn’t explain why. Xander never kept secrets from her…
“What the hell is going on, Kennedy?” Xander asked his friend as Willow made her way forwards.
“Well… I…” Kennedy paused for a second before she sighed, “I might have tried to push things along a little. Willow and I used to play this game where I’d ask her for help with something and she’d run her hands up and down my-“
“I get it,” Xander said quickly, the grease paint hiding his blush on his cheeks but not his ears. “Damn it, you can’t rush things like this. She’s… meek now. She’s not the Willow you fell in love with.”
“I _know_ that!” Kennedy snapped harshly.
“Then why are you pushing it?”
“…Because she’s not my Willow.” There was the tone of heartache in Kennedy’s voice and it made Xander’s own heart ache in sympathy. “Damn it, Xander, do you have any idea how much it hurts to just look at her and know that you can’t touch her?”
“Yeah, I can. It sucks balls.”
“What aren’t you telling me, Xander?”
“A lot of things, Kennedy,” he said quietly as another group of kids across the street caught his attention. Or, rather, one of the teens taking them around.
“…Isn’t that Anya?”
“…No, it isn’t. Not my Ahn,” Xander said, his voice hardening just a little. The Anya Jenkins of this world was just who she said she was; she wasn’t a thousand year old Vengeance/Justice Demon, she was the only daughter of Wallace and Doreen Jenkins of Topeka, Kansas, whom had moved to Sunnydale a few years after their daughter had been born. She most certainly did not possess the sex drive that Xander had come to expect (and greatly enjoy) from her, or the want for orgasms upon orgasms.
Ten minutes later, Xander decided that enough was enough. “You know, as much fun as we have here… I think I’m starting to hate this place.”
Kennedy, who was rooting through her bag for a chocolate bar, paused and looked up at him. “Hmm? Well, I can understand that. I haven’t gotten anything but Smarties, those really bad peanut butter candy in those orange and black wrappers and some candy corn.”
“I’m not talking about the haul, Ken. I mean Sunnydale. This Sunnydale. I hate it.” Xander looked around them, the hairs on the back of his neck raising just a little as his ‘Sunnydale senses’ started to go wiggy.
Kennedy looked up from her spelunking with a frown, “Huh? Why? I mean, it blows being back in high school but…”
“I could do high school standing on my head, half asleep and with one hand tied behind my back, Ken Doll. It’s just…” Xander growled, looking around more actively now.
“Just what? What is it?”
“I don’t know. Keep an eye on the kids, will you?” Without waiting for an answer, Xander slipped off across the street and was soon goon in the encroaching darkness.
“…Oh, no, this will end just spectacularly.” Kennedy grumbled to herself. If she didn’t like him so much, she’d have wrung his neck _months_ before…
“What is it, Jesse?”
“Do you get the feeling that we’re being watched?” Jesse asked her as he pantomimed eating a snack-sized candy bar, palming said bar.
“Mmm-hmmm.” she nodded absently as her group of terrors slowly made their way down the street and back towards the school. Their particular streets had been, well, dead, and none of the kids were happy about it.
“Anything pinging off of your Slay-Dar?”
She gave him a hard look that promised him pain if he ever called it that again. Jesse grinned at her in return and Buffy felt her stomach flutter just a little. Jesse was cute… annoying, yes, but cute… ‘Keep your mind on business, Buffy, not boys.’ “Nothing I can say for sure about. Why? Did you suddenly sprout one?”
“No, I just… it’s a weird feeling, that’s all.” Jesse said after a few seconds of looking around before the pair went off after their kids.
From behind a particularly large oak, Darla stepped out of the shadows with a slight smile on her lips. She’d had a choice to make earlier that night and, indeed, she had made the right one.
She had shadowed Alexander and Kennedy earlier that night, yes, but both seemed to be on alert for something and Darla had decided to choose a different target. ‘There is such thing as having too perfect of a childe,’ she thought with a grimace, thinking of Angelus. ‘Live and learn, Darla. Live and learn.’
‘Damn it,’ Xander thought as he made his third pass back along the trail he’d been following. It was… gone. Not faded, not hidden, just _GONE_, like it had never been there.
Five blocks; he’d tracked it for five blocks, using every trick that he could think of, and now it was gone. This did not sit well in his mind as it told him whomever or whatever it was that had been watching them that night was _good_ at what they did.
‘And you just followed them away from your only partner, dumbass.’ Xander thought, suddenly realizing he was very alone. Not good. Very not of the good and with a side of ‘dummy’, even. Ducking back into the shadows of the large hedges planted along the cemetery he was in, he quickly made his way back towards where he and Kennedy and Willow had been. With any luck they would be close enough for him to not have to trek back to the school alone and face the wrath of Snyder. Not that he particularly cared about Snyder, of course, but the principle was the same. He’d have to tell Kennedy about this later, just so he could make sure he wasn’t going crazy… er.
“Hail, great white hunter.” Kennedy said with a smile as Xander slipped up on them, huffing a little bit as it looked he had humped it back towards them at a good clip. “Were you successful?”
Xander’s answer was cut off when Willow stalked up towards them and growled, “Where did you go, buster? Do you have any idea how much trouble we would have been in if Principle Snyder found out about this?”
“Um… sorry, Wills,” Xander said quickly, his mind working up a plausible story. “Had a few too many candies on the way here and, well, nature called. Collect.”
“Ewww,” Willow whined a little and Kennedy joined her. “That’s gross, Xander.”
“Not as gross as it could have been. I’m wearing tighty whities, not boxers, and I don’t see a river around here.” Both females swatted Xander while the kids giggled at this, prompting Xander to go on the offensive, “Wow. Being double-teamed by girls. The dream of every guy.”
The kids, thankfully, did not get the joke. The girls did, though; Willow’s blush was clearly visible through her sheet and Kennedy sputtered for a second before she regained her composure. “Dream on, soldier boy. You’re not that lucky.”
“Hey, aren’t you the one that says that I need to get a girlfriend? And aren’t two always better than one?”
Willow seemed to start to go into meltdown over this and Kennedy actually growled at Xander, not holding back as she thumped him in the shoulder and then reached for her sword, “That’s enough of that, buster. I’m all for having fun but not of the multiple varieties.”
“Ah, I see. You have your eyes set on the… paler… option.” Xander said, throwing a sly look in Willow’s direction. Willow eeped at this and Kennedy drew her sword. Xander decided that discretion was the better part of valor and kept his mouth shut on the subject, instead turning to the kids and barking, “Form up, troops. Return to base and we can go on R&R and put a dent in this candy.
The kids, of course, cheered. Xander, given the moods of both Willow and Kennedy, took point.
(Sunnydale High, November 1)
“So, what was your haul?”
“You mean before dad tried to snake half of it for ‘inspection purposes’?” Buffy grumbled as she picked through her rather meager haul of snacks. Yes, the holiday was for kids and stuff, but still…
Jesse surprised her a bit by tossing a half-dozen chocolate bars her way, “Here, for morale purposes.”
“…Thanks, Jesse,” Buffy said with a slight smile and shouldering him just a little. “That’s sweet.”
“Just don’t tell Willow or Xander, okay? I have a reputation to uphold.”
Buffy laughed a little, nodding, “Okay, your secret is safe with me. So, a little bird tells me that you have your eye on someone.”
Jesse began to choke on a peanut butter cup and Buffy slapped him on the back a few times before the assassin’s chocolate was dislodged. “What?” he croaked.
“It’s a what? I was hoping that you’d be dishing on a ‘who’, specifically a ‘her’. But, I mean, hey, it’s cool if it’s a ‘him’…”
“No! Not a him. Always a her. I’m strictly into the girls,” Jesse blurted out, his eyes wide a little bit. “I mean, there’s nothing wrong with it, but… I’m a traditional kind of boy.”
“Mmmm,” Buffy nodded as she unwrapped a bar. “Good to know. I’m a traditional kind of girl, too.”
“So you’re not plotting to whisk Kennedy away in the dead of night? She’ll be crushed.”
Buffy and Jesse both jumped with shouts of shock, Buffy’s chocolate bar falling to the ground, and they turned to see Willow, Xander and Kennedy standing behind them, the former trying to hide a laugh while the latter two were not bothering. Once their pulses got back down to ‘merely fast’, Jesse was able to blurt out, “Willow!”
“Yes?” Willow’s tone and expression were all innocence and cuteness and kittens and roses. Buffy didn’t believe her for a second.
“What the hell was that for?”
“It was too good of an opportunity to pass up?” Willow’s stance changed just a little, becoming slightly insecure.
“Do not turn your back on us, Willow. The Dark Side is your friend,” Xander purred over one shoulder, his hand slipping around into Willow’s bag and coming out with a hard candy.
“Indeed,” Kennedy purred, doing the same but coming up empty. “We have cookies at our weekly meetings.”
“Are you two done corrupting nice, pure, INNOCENT Willow?” Buffy asked as she looked down at her now-dirty chocolate bar mournfully. Jesse poked her in the side and she smiled a little as he handed her another one. ‘You know, he might be a pervert and all, but he’s actually sweet when he wants to be.’
“Never,” both Xander and Kennedy said with firm smiles, pausing to look at one another as Buffy smiled at Jesse. Both also shared the same thought; ‘At least he’s not a vampire.’
AN: Hmm, well, that was fun. A little mystery, no mayhem to write with a 'traditional' Halloween fic and I detect the slight waft of romance in the air. ...Or is that just chaos of another kind? Eh, who knows. What do you think? Reviews, please.