It had to be institutional memory, Xander took a quick moment to muse in private. Through their Slayer dreams, the young girls now possessing Sineya’s spirit could experience first-hand the cost to their previous warrior sisters from what other uncaring men had arrogantly expected and ordered. Furthermore, the openness presently mandated by the New Council over what that bastard Travers and his ilk had done in the past meant the novice Watchers could now read for themselves centuries of their precursors’ journals, diaries and reports covering such horrors as the Cruciamentum. Which wasn’t necessarily the worse thing to have been dishonorably meted out by their superiors against those desperate few trying to personally hold the line against darkness.
Nope, Mr. Whiskers there wasn’t going to win any friends today, for sure.
Xander sighed, to then glower at where Willow was innocently gazing up at the bright blue sky, arms crossed across her chest, and humming a sprightly tune under her breath. Clearing his throat, which ended in a menacing rasp, Xander lifted a commanding index finger as if to start counting down towards where Willow was now regarding him with a truly fine deadpan.
“Okay, let’s go through everything again. Last night when you and Dawnie were dead drunk, somehow your different brands of mojo got together and decided to make my life even more hectic than usual. For whatever reason, the pair of you figured out a way to kidnap up to maybe a dozen people from other dimensions. Said kidnappees can be anyone
even completely fictional characters and places, but they’ll always be what two women tanked to the gills gigglingly dubbed ‘jerk’ and/or ‘creep.’”
At this part of his biting summation, Xander made mocking air quotes with his fingers at where Willow was rolling her eyes. Ignoring his lifelond friend’s sudden irritation, the man derisively continued, “So far, the only good news I’ve heard about the whole fiasco is that our guests won’t be here for long, can’t use any of their own magic or other powers if they’ve got these to get loose or keep from being whacked like a carnival game mole, and
this won’t happen again…until next year to the exact day!”
Stopping to glare at where the most powerful witch in the entire world was giving him a decidedly dangerous look in return, Xander threw all caution to the winds by snarling, “Did I overlook anything?”
“Yes!” Willow angrily snapped. “Why’re you being such a poopy-pants about this?”
This brought a horrified “Shhh!” from Xander, along with him making frantic shushing motions with his hands. He shot a panicky stare at where the mob of Slayers possessing superhuman auditory senses were still far too involved in their torment of today’s unanticipated company to take any notice of what’d just been said by the witch. Xander then breathed a sigh of genuine relief at seeing nobody there heard Willow past her silencing spell.
Switching his attention once more to a smirking redhead, Xander huffily retorted, “You know we settled it back before fourth grade between us three the things we’d never tell anyone, no matter what! Me, the time when Jesse dared me to drink a really big glass of your dad’s prune juice, and your own reaction after he dropped a rubber frog down the front of your dress the same summer! Or am I allowed now to let people know how you completely ripped off your dress and ran screaming around the backyard in just your grandma panties and sneakers?”
“Never,” implacably replied Willow, bestowing upon Xander her most unyielding Resolve Face.
The two close comrades continued to scowl at each other, until a woman’s voice grudgingly broke the sudden tense mood between them, “Okay, okay, I’m sorry. That stays between us, always and forever like we swore. But, Xan, it’s still a good question. What’s making you so cranky now?” During her question, Willow’s tone had changed from annoyance into actual curiosity.
Xander’s own grouchy temper shifted equally all of sudden into ruefulness at Willow’s sincere apology followed by her probing inquiry. Rubbing the back of his head with the palm of one hand, this man with an eyepatch shortly shrugged, to then admit, “Well, one part is because it hits a little too close to home for me. You can’t deny there were lots of instances in good ol’ Sunnydale when I
definitely qualified for your little descriptions, with me even being both a jerk and a creep at the same time!”
At that point, Xander paused as if to give Willow a chance to openly protest against his putting down of himself.
She didn’t say a word.
Sardonically cocking an eyebrow at where Willow had hurriedly cast down her glance into devoting an abrupt, careful study of her boot toes, Xander grumped the rest of his explanation, “So, even if those guys out on the lawn there now -- and whoever comes along later -- really do deserve everything they get, I can’t help but feel a little bit of sympathy for ’em, because it could easily be me
At those last words, Willow quickly lifted her head to beam in delight at Xander. Except this man missed this, since he’d turned to the side while waving a hand towards the preposterous scene at the rear of the hotel, sending his own male version of the sternest possible Resolve Face upon all there, Slayers and Watchers and everyone else. In an indisputably disapproving tone, Xander snorted, “Plus, I’m not gonna let this go on much longer, even if you said it wouldn’t. Blowing off steam is okay, but they need to get back to their real jobs soon--”
Flinching slightly from this unexpected whoop of elation, a startled Xander looked at where Willow was triumphantly pointing at him. Blinking at this odd turn in their conversation, the man then heard in growing unease his bestest bud gleefully declare, “Alexander LaVelle Harris, you just showed yourself to be a real, principled, responsible…grown-up!”
“YOU TAKE THAT BACK!” Xander promptly hollered at a laughing Willow.