AN: And now the fallout of the date and something else, too.
“We’re going on a date.”
As Xander was in the middle of swallowing, it was entirely understandable that the Twinkie gave one last great act of defiance and tried to choke Xander. Gagging, Xander swallowed as well as he could as Kennedy pounded on his back and, once the traitorous snack cake was firmly in his stomach, Xander was able to gasp, “What?”
“We are going on a date. Together. Me and you.”
Xander looked at her for a long second and felt obliged to ask a question that would probably get him smacked. “…Does this have anything to do with how successfully Buffy and Jesse’s date went?” Kennedy thumped him on the back and with a little extra mustard on it. “Ow. What was that for?”
“I’m being serious, Xander. Remember when dad came into the room and told us there was a family thing we had to go to?”
“Vaguely,” Xander allowed as he took a swallow of water to settle the last remnants of his choking attack.
“Well, I’m required to bring a date.”
“And you chose me? I’m touched.”
“In the head. Look, my family isn’t very accepting about some things and they’re ass backwards about some other things. If I show up alone, that’d be like a red flag to my family to try and fix me up and… well, it wasn’t going well last time.” Kennedy said with a grimace.
“How bad was it?”
“Their first choice was a guy that was twenty years older than me, on this third marriage and I was only fifteen. It was so gross.” Kennedy shivered at the memories and then looked at Xander with those big, soft eyes and sniffled just a bit, “Please?”
“I’ll give you points for the sad story and the attempt at the Moist Kitten Eyes of DOOM but you didn’t have to break them out, Ken Doll. Sure, I’ll go.”
Kennedy growled at him but then snorted. Okay, so she had tried the ‘tortured past’ approach and he’d called her on it, so now she had to try another approach… “Mom would really appreciate it.”
Xander winced and Kennedy knew that he was on the hook. “Now that’s just not playing fair, Kennedy.”
“Since when do I play fair?”
“I said I’d go already. Besides, aren’t you’re supposed to be talking me into this?”
“I thought I already had.”
“Well, I was on the hook but now I’m obliged to fight back. What’s the real story behind all of this? Or is it just an excuse to try and marry you off?”
“Well, that’s part of it. You see, most of my family is a bunch of snobs who only mingle with ‘their kind’ and it irritates me. If I go with someone I can at least tolerate or have a good time with, it will make the night suck a lot less.”
“Since when did you start using logic in your battles?”
“I’ve always used logic.”
“Of the ‘insane female troll’ kind,” Xander pointed out and paid the price for it as Kennedy tackled him to the ground. Xander rolled with the tackle and soon they were in an impromptu grappling session that would only end one way – Kennedy squealing for mercy as he tickled her.
Downstairs Michael looked up at the ceiling when he heard the thump and rolling around and chuckled a bit. It reminded him of his courtship with Louise at times. Across from him, Sergeant Thoms snorted and shook his head. “Is there a problem, Mister Thoms?”
“No, sir, but if they put as much effort into their training as they did into their playing, Kennedy would be able to take on anything the world had to throw at her short of precise artillery strikes and snipers.”
“You think that they are holding back in their training?”
“I think that something happened down in that cave that neither one of them talk about, sir,” the former Operative said with a frown. “They changed.”
“From what I understand, my daughter nearly died. That changes people.”
“I know, sir, but when she started training again, she was overreaching. Case in point, when she went to the weights, I saw her stack on two hundred pounds on the bar and try and lift it. She was _confident_ she could but it never budged.”
“I see. And Alexander?”
“He was a piece of work before, sir. Lazy and unmotivated, yes, but he had a nasty streak at times. After that night… the streak is still there, yes, but he’s more motivated now.” The man was quiet for a second before he looked at Michael and asked, “Sir, to be blunt, are you sure they’re not sleeping together?”
If Michael was surprised, he didn’t show it as he steepled his fingers in front of his face and leaned back in his chair, a frown on his lips, “If they are, they are very discrete about it. Somehow, though, I doubt this is the case. I will ask Alexander, though, and I will have Louise ask Kennedy.”
“Good, sir, because if they are, we need to put an end to it.”
“Yes, sir, we do. It will eventually cloud their minds to the fact that their partnership could be terminated with a bad decision. One wrong move and one or the other is killed and… and I’ve seen how that tears another person apart.”
“I will take it under advisement,” Michael said after a few minutes of thought and a nod. “So, how are they doing in their training?”
(Summers Home, Buffy’s Room)
Willow Rosenberg, in an avocado mask and with cotton between her toes, her hair pulled back in a pair of silly pigtails to keep said hair out of said mask and with cucumber slices over her eyes, looked decidedly content. Buffy Summers was in much the same position and condition. Both sighed happily.
“This is fun.”
“Yup, lots of fun.”
“Almost as much fun as you and Jesse had?”
Buffy delicately removed one cucumber slice and looked over at her ginger friend, arching an eyebrow at her, “Still digging for information?”
“Of course! He’s being a big poopyhead about it, saying that it was ‘need to know’ and how I didn’t and you weren’t saying anything and I want to know, so can you tell me pleasepleasepleaseplease?”
“I thought you’d stop being this curious about what passes for my dating life when you and Oz started going out.”
Willow removed her slices and propped herself up on her elbows, “’Passes for’? Did he do something? Oh, I bet he did. Jesse can be such a jerk sometimes-“
“Huh? Hold up, Willow, just hold up for a second, alright?” Buffy said as she pushed herself up and the cucumber slice fell, letting her see her friend properly now. “He didn’t do anything, alright? It was a date. A first date. Between friends. It was… alright, I guess. A little awkward sometimes but he was a perfect gentleman the entire time.”
Willow gave her a look.
“Okay, maybe not _perfect_ and not the entire time,” Buffy allowed, “but he was trying.”
Willow sat up and removed her other slice, a smile on her lips as she turned to Buffy. Her plan had been successful; she’d gotten more information out of Buffy in thirty seconds than she had in the past week! “So, it was okay? Okay enough for a second date?”
“Maybe,” Buffy allowed, her eyes narrowing just a bit as an inkling of Willow’s nefarious plan began to worm its way into her brain. “Did you call him a jerk just to get me to talk?”
The parts of Willow’s face no covered by the mask turned a bright pink color. Busted.
Buffy sighed, dropping her head a little, “Willow…”
“What? I was curious and neither of you were telling me anything so I had to resort to drastic measures.”
“You call that drastic?”
“Well, somewhat drastic. I didn’t turn the Resolve Face on you.”
“That only works with Xander,” Buffy pointed out. Willow’s face dropped a little at that and Buffy cursed herself. Xander was something of a sore subject at times these days, but Willow wouldn’t say why. Buffy had her thoughts on the matter, of course, but had decided to leave it alone… for now. “I saw him the other day.” Well, sort of.
“You did? Was… _she_ with him?”
“If by ‘she’ you mean Kennedy, yes, she was. They were running.”
Willow’s nose scrunched up a little. “Running? As in for their lives?”
“Unless you do that while you’re in shorts and t-shirts, I don’t think so. It was at the track at school.” Buffy said with a little smile. “He looked… good.”
“When does he not look good?”
“When he’s wearing one of those shirts that we thought we burned?”
Willow giggled a little, nodding, “Does he still think he’s just lost them?”
“I think so but I’m not sure. The male mind is a little strange.”
The girls looked at one another and then nearly fell over laughing.
AN: Alright, that was fun. Reviews, please