It was a credit to Faith’s self control that she didn’t immediately leap at Gomez Addams once the sword he had thrown had nearly taken out her favorite Boytoy’s remaining eye. It probably didn’t hurt when Xander gave feral grin and pulled the blade fluidly from the wall in a reversed grip before letting it swing around in an expert arc to reach an en guarde position.
“Really Uncle Gomez. Trying the same trick twice?” Xander asked with nasty smile.
“In my defense, old son, the first time I tried it I did nick your ear. And you had two eyes, then,” Gomez defended with a wide smile of his own as he moved in for a lunge.
Xander defended the strike automatically as he responded, “I was only sixteen then. Have you really run out of dirty tricks after only nine years?”
“Ha ha! Never, nephew. But it was worth seeing how your depth perception and reaction time had been affected. Can’t have you getting soft can we?” Gomez asked as the pair moved into a rather complicated match of fencing prowess. Unlike Lucas, who took his sword fighting cues from the more taciturn styles of Morticia and Lurch and let Gomez do most of the work, it was clear for anyone to see that Xander took after his opponent in his approach to the Art of the Blade. The pair fought like a mirrored set, neither truly gaining nor losing the advantage against the other for several moments, until decades more experience allowed Gomez to slip into Xander’s blind spot and disarm him. His smile never wavered as he asked “Do you give up?” as he held the blade to Xander’s throat from the side in a position to lay open his carotid artery.
Xander looked less than concerned as he replied, “I was about to ask you that?” and glanced down between them.
Gomez glanced down for a moment as well and finally noticed the dagger Xander had palmed into a reverse grip at some point and now had poised to plunge it into Gomez’s heart at an angle just under the breastbone should he try to press his attack. “Dirty pool, nephew. I like it,” Gomez commented with a note of approval before tossing his sword into the air where Thing caught it and resheathed the blade in its place on the wall.
Xander likewise returned his back-up dagger to it hidden sheath at the small of his back before he relaxed his stance as Gomez laughed heartily and hugged him with all his might.
“Xander! It’s good to see you, lad. And this enchanting young thing must be Faith. Come. Introduce us. Or are you too embarrassed to show a young lady off to your family?” Gomez said as if the pair had not been locked in what looked like mortal combat a mere moment ago.
Xander rolled his eyes as he protested, “It’s nothing like that, Uncle. Faith and I aren’t dating and I would never be ashamed of my family. Well, not the family here, at least.”
“Fair enough, but still introduce us. Before your young lady decides to skewer me with the dagger she just palmed from the wall,” Gomez responded as he threw his right arm over Xander’s shoulder.
If anything Xander looked upset at Faith as he gave her a stern look at Gomez’s revelation.
“Don’t give me that look, Boytoy. It’s self preservation. The Original Scoobs would fillet me like a Polgara demon’s dinner if I let you get hurt on what was supposed to be a nice family visit,” Faith defended with a shrug as she replaced the knife to where it had been mounted on the study wall.
“You out of anyone should know if it was serious I would have gone for an axe, Faith. Uncle Gomez could take me out in seconds with a sword if he wanted to. I’m okay, but he taught me almost everything I know,” Xander replied with an annoyed huff.
“Looked better’n okay to me, X. You could have given G a run for his money years ago with moves like that,” Faith shot back.
“Faith, you and the other girls treat Giles with kid gloves because of his age. I saw him skewer the mayor in a move that I could barely follow, in the middle of the library, with a training foil. Trust me; he can more than hold his own with a real sword. Besides, my point stands. I’m good. Uncle Gomez is way better."
“Nonsense, my boy. You’ve improved a great deal. Why I never saw that dagger pull coming and I should have with how similar it was to staking a vampire. I’m betting the blade is blessed silver for just that reason, too,” Gomez protested.
“Cold Iron with a blessed silver inlay. You can never be too careful,” Xander explained. “Anyway, Faith, this is my Uncle Gomez Addams. The pale guy with no hair is his brother, Fester,” Xander said as he began the introductions.
“Call me Uncle Fester, Miss. Everyone does,” Fester interjected with a jovial grin.
“The one over by the dartboard in the striped shirt is my cousin Pugsley, and there next to you is Uncle Gomez’s oldest friend, Thing,” Xander finished with a nod to the nearby cabinet where a severed hand flipped up on its stump to wave at her.
“He good people too?” Faith asked with a nod toward the hand.
“Everyone in the house is. No Evil Dead severed hands or anything like that here. And I’ll point you at them if anyone shows up that doesn’t belong at the party or the wedding,” Xander promised.
“Works for me,” Faith replied as Thing jumped over and shook her hand.
“Nice ta’ meet you, too, Thing,” Faith said as she returned the greeting.
“I like her, she’s not snobby like the redhead was,” Pugsley commented from the corner near the actual dartboard.
Xander rolled his eyes as he responded, “Willow wasn’t being snobby, Pugsley. She felt out of place because she had to come here with me at the last minute. And she was afraid of Homer. Spiders freaked her out. How would have liked to have stayed with… Cousin Pretensia or something at the last minute? Besides she was only fourteen. Fourteen year old girls that aren’t Wednesday get scared of things sometimes.”
“Well Red did have her moments when I first came to the ‘Dale, Xan,” Faith noted from the sidelines.
“Yeah, she did. But trust me, this was her being shy and out of place. Remember, this was all pre-Buffy,” Xander reminded Faith.
“Anyway, everyone, this is obviously Faith. My friend and second most senior Slayer on the face of the Earth.”
With the introductions out of the way, Pugsley wasted no time as he asked, “Did you bring anything fun for after the party, Cousin Xander?”
“Fun?” Faith asked with a sideways glace at Xander. There was a strangely familiar emphasis on the word “fun” there. One Xander had used before going to his preferred “Plan B” of “blow the demon the f*ck up and see what happens.”
“Indeed. I prefer to mix my own, or just use good old fashioned dynamite, but Pugsley is at that age where curiosity can take a boy to heights the previous generation never reached. And Xander here knows more about military high grade explosives than I could teach the boy about,” Uncle Fester explained.
“Wow. You mean it’s genetic and not a guy thing that just skipped Jeeves? I mean, I got Andy not being into the big booms and all given that he’s Andy, but I never woulda’ pegged you for having family that mixed their own explosives before,” Faith said with a smirk.
“Please. Buffy thought my military memories were where I learned to make a proper ANFO rig to take out the mayor. Uncle Fester taught me that trick when I was here the summer before my senior year,” Xander explained with a roll of his eye.
“It was a funny story really, it started with the children explaining what I had taught them about blasting caps when I returned to the family earlier that year and how it compared to what Xander had picked up by the time he was ten,” Fester explained as the conversation fell into one about one of his favorite topics.
As Faith got further acquainted with the Addams Family, Wednesday held in her grimace at the taste of yet another piece of “cake” that might be served to her future in-laws. She had learned to enjoy several “normal” things in the course of her courtship with Lucas. For example, Wednesday learned she had a real weakness for banana splits of all things. She loved to get bunches of chrysanthemums. And Chia pets. She loved the way Chia Pets shattered when she shot them with her crossbow.
But this… excuse for cake was just awful. It was too cloyingly sweet. It needed something to take the edge off. Something with kick. Maybe some kerosene, or her flask of arsenic in her purse…
“No, Di,” Lucas muttered as it reading her mind.
“Just a little to improve the taste,” Wednesday implored in her typical deadpan.
“If we don’t know what it really tastes like we can’t give it to my family because we can’t improve it the same way at home. But I agree that the last one was way too sweet. Maybe something in dark chocolate? With anything less sweet than the butter cream icing? And with almonds. You like how the almonds smell like cyanide,” Lucas suggested.
“I still think the nightshade cake with mercury frosting will be fine,” Wednesday grumbled.
“It will, for us. But sending all of my family to the emergency room on our wedding day would kind of defeat the purpose of going through all of this,” Lucas replied.
“You’re not including yourself in the people going to the hospital?” Wednesday asked with a raised eyebrow.
“I figured with what you’ve told me about Grandmama that you have something brewing for me. I’ve kind of noticed odd flavors in my food any time I eat at your house or you eat with me. I just assumed you were building up my tolerances,” Lucas replied with a smile.
“You’re risking your life again just to make me happy,” Wednesday noted with a nearly imperceptible widening of her eyes. “That is so
hot,” she added with a naughty grin.
“Anything for you, Di. You know that,” Lucas said with a sheepish smile of his own.
“Well if it makes you feel any better, it’s not just slow poisoning Grandmama is helping you with. It’s an old family recipe that should help you with all kinds of things like our wedding cake. But I can’t say any more than that until after the wedding,” Wednesday elaborated for her fiancé.
“Family secret. I got it. So, what do you want to do once we’re out of here and have time to kill before whatever surprise party they’re throwing is ready?” Lucas asked.
“Maybe we can take that walk Mother suggested. I want to see if anyone around here is stupid enough to try to mug us. They usually know instinctively to leave my family alone but with you there they might try it,” Wednesday said with the same gleam in her eye she had that day she was hunting in Central Park.
“Just remember to make it look like something that fits around here. It’s a long way back to dump a body in the bog because it had an arrow wound,” Lucas cautioned her.
“I know, dear,” Wednesday returned in a dismissive tone of voice.
Before the conversation could go any further, the assistant baker came out with the next tray of samples to inflict upon the couple. It would be at least another two hours before they managed to work out exactly what they wanted for the “Beineke” cake for the reception.
On the plus side, though, the romantic stroll afterward ended up being everything that Wednesday had hoped it would be. Right down to the ratty motel room after the preliminary festivities were taken care of.