Xander and the Dinner Order
A/N: See chapter 1 for disclaimer, spoilers, notes on AU, and why Xander has his eye back.
Xander kept the smile on his face while he wondered what the hell to do. He had been planning on checking whether the demon was a threat, and if necessary, escorting the demon out of the bar and then doing his damnedest to kill it before it killed him. Now he was suddenly looking at a demon who had information he needed. He had no idea what the ‘Stargate program’ was, but it sounded military. Very military. Which could be excruciatingly bad. And the very word ‘stargate’ sounded familiar for some stupid reason. If it was because of that old Wormhole Extreme
program Andrew was still going on and on about, he was going to strangle someone. Andrew, probably.
But the other words had him a lot more worried. He didn’t recognize the word ‘Tauri’, although Miss Leather-clad Demon obviously was applying it to humans. But the word ‘Goo-ah-uld’ rang a bell. He just couldn’t place it. Giles or Willow or Dawn would have known it right off the bat, but not him. Well, that was why they had a call center set up like this.
He said, “May I buy you dinner? Maybe a couple drinks? That way, you can see how this ‘bar’ thing works.”
She nodded regally. “That would be ideal. I can see that currency is being exchanged, and I have no Tau’ri currency with me.”
Okay, now he was getting a major Maggie Walsh vibe off her. Like she was determined to learn about something new, regardless of the cost to anyone else. And frankly, he’d rather get a Drusilla vibe off someone than a Maggie Walsh vibe. Walsh had pretty much made Glorificus seem like a rational, caring person. As Buffy had once said, even the dead, demonically-animated Maggie Walsh had a better personality than the original Maggie Walsh.
Xander caught the eye of Denise, who had seated him earlier. When she came over, he said, “Could we get a table for two, somewhere private?”
Denise gave him that ‘oh you horny guy’ look, but went ahead and did it. Anise seemed totally oblivious to the byplay. She just looked around like she was studying the place for the Demonic Sciences Quarterly. Xander acted like Mister Polite as he led Anise over to the table Denise was standing by, and he let Denise set down menus.
He asked, “Anise, would you like something to eat?”
She nodded. It was too bad he might have to kill her before she ever learned how to nod like a real human. She was good enough to fool someone not in the know, as long as they weren’t too close. Up close, she was even more gorgeous, but she just didn’t do human expressions quite right. She said, “From what I have heard from Daniel Jackson and Samantha Carter, I would first like to try the thing called ‘scotch’ and ‘nachos with jalapenos’. Then I would like to try something from a cow, such as a ‘steak’ or a ‘sirloin’, and also what Selmak has described as ‘a fruity drink with a little wooden umbrella in it’. I do not understand why a small wooden umbrella would be an appropriate addition to a beverage, but I am interested in discovering more about this.”
Anise was so
not human. But it occurred to Xander that if it was possible to get her – or it – drunk, then it would be a lot easier to get information out of her. And if he could get her really stinking drunk, it would be a lot easier to kill her, or even capture her so the experts back in London could find out what she knew about that ‘Stargate’ deal. Because if the U.S. military was opening portals into demon dimensions, then that was going to be a hell of a lot worse than the whole Adam disaster. So…
Denise came back, and Xander said, “A double scotch for the lady, and I’d like another of what I was having before. Plus we’d like to split an order of the nachos supreme, and an order of the crab-stuffed mushrooms. Then we’ll get you our dinner orders in a bit.”
Denise rushed off, and Anise asked, “Mushrooms? Are they not species of fungi? Are not many species of Earth mushroom poisonous?”
Man, she talked more like an alien from a bad sci-fi movie than a demon. Fortunately, Xander had hung around Will and Giles enough, because he actually knew the answer to her question. “The mushrooms they use in restaurant foods are all perfectly safe to eat. There are species of mushroom that are really, really toxic, but they don’t use that. These’ll be nice, tasty mushroom caps with a crab mixture stuffed in ‘em, and some cheese over the tops, and then baked until the cheese melts and everything’s hot and yummy, because you want that melted cheesy goodness.”
Anise tilted her head slightly to the side, as if she were listening to an inner voice, or silently debating the safety of eating some weird human food. Xander didn’t think any human food could hurt a normal demon, although there had been those demons in China that Faith told Dawn she’d killed with tomato paste. Although Dawnie still thought Faith was yanking her chain about that one. After all, where was Faith going to find tomato paste in the middle of the Gobi desert?
Finally, Anise said, “That sounds like a food we should taste.”
“Good!” Xander said. He figured he needed to play ‘Mister Nice Guy’ and get as much intel out of her as he could. He knew the phone in his pocket was still live, so the call center was hearing everything she said. That was good. Even if she killed him, the researchers would have enough info to find out what she really was, and what this stupid ‘Stargate’ deal was. Because he had a really bad feeling someone big was going to have to stop it. And Xander Harris was probably not that someone. This sounded way out of Xander’s league. Xander was guessing that this was going to end up being a ‘Buffy plus Willow plus Faith’ operation, with Sunnydale-esque collateral damage.
Stupid demons. Stupid military guys.
Xander went on, “I think after that, I’ll order a sirloin steak, and I’ll get you a filet mignon, and then you can have some of each.”
Anise thought for a second and then said, “That sounds acceptable. I look forward to the opportunity to contrast and compare two similar dishes prepared from different parts of the ‘cow’. What else do you recommend?”
He ruthlessly suggested, “I think you ought to try the pina colada and the tequila sunrise, so you can try the drinks with umbrellas. And then maybe some ice cream for dessert.”
Anise said, “Ah! Ice cream. Would they have that here?” Xander nodded. “I have heard of this ice cream. I thought it was made in an ice cream shop.”
Xander smiled for a moment, remembering how Anya was so surprised by so many human things. Then he felt sudden horrible sadness, which he instantly tamped down. He couldn’t afford to let his feelings show right now. He explained, “There are ice cream shops around here. They make a much wider variety of ice creams, and a wider variety of ice cream treats, but you can find ice cream in grocery stores and in regular restaurants.”
Just then, the drinks came. A double scotch for Anise, and a large coke for him. He said, “Just sip it at first.” He wanted her to drink a lot more, and if she decided she hated the first drink, then he probably wouldn’t get the ‘fruity drinks’ down her. Still, if he couldn’t get her drunk, this was going to be a huge waste of money. He could just imagine the grief he’d get from the other Scoobies. Xander the Demon Magnet, trying to get another demon in the sack, and trying to get this one drunk too. He’d rather eat the cost than have to try to get this through the Council accounting office, where Andrew’s buddy Mark worked and so Andrew would hear all the details within minutes of the receipts turning up. Xander still remembered watching Willow turn red as a beet while Andrew blabbed the details of her expense report from when she and Kennedy went to New Orleans to deal with that voodoo priest and those zombies. The four gallons of dipping chocolate and the extra charge from the hotel for cleaning all the chocolate out of the bathtub? Pretty funny. But he still didn’t know what the two poodles, the latex nun’s habit, and the inflatable toy giraffe were for. Even Kennedy blushed when Andrew mentioned that.
Anise took a sip, and swallowed thoughtfully. “This is quite good. It reminds me of the ril’yeh
brewed on Parlosa.”
Xander risked a major eww moment and asked, “Ril-yeh? What’s that made from?” If she said it was from yak blood or baby intestines, he was gonna gag.
Anise explained, “It is made of a malted grain not unlike your Earth barley, if I understand what Daniel Jackson has said about Tau’ri agriculture.” She knocked back the rest of the scotch like she was used to large amounts of hard liquor and said, “I look forward to tasting your pina colada and tequila sunrise.”
Xander took a big drink of coke and smiled, “I look forward to it too.”