I don’t own Buffy, the Fast and the Furious franchise, CSI: Miami, or NCIS. That’s Joss Whedon, Universal Studios, Anthony E. Zuiker, Carol Mendelsohn, Ann Donahue, or Donald P. Bellasario.Author’s Note:
This is a response to one of Caliadragon’s challenges. Also, fair warning, Jesse’s alive and the only reason I have for that is because I say so. If you’re not willing to hand waive that little bit of business, don’t read.
Buffy Summers was a bitch in heels. Brian O’Connor had spent the past 2 months subtly fleeing when she entered a room. It didn’t help, at all
, that she absolutely couldn’t drive and every vehicle she attempted to ended up totaled. He’d never seen her smile, let alone laugh, and all the girls tiptoed around her like they were afraid she they would either break her or be broken.
So imagine his surprise when he stepped into the library to find Mr. Giles and saw her curled up, bare feet peeping out, next to a brute of a dude in a Hawaiian shirt and an eyepatch, both laughing freely. Her laughter dimmed but didn’t disappear when she saw him and raised an eyebrow at him.
“Lookin’ for Mr. Giles,” he said gruffly, irrationally upset to see her smile go away.
“In his office,” she said, tone clipped but calm. The guy squeezed her leg and she involuntarily smiled. “But he’s in a meeting. You should come back later.”
Brian took the hint and backed out of the room.
“I just saw Buffy Summers cuddling with some guy in the library,” Brian said, catching up with the others as they headed from the garage to the cafeteria.
“No fucking way,” Jesse said, the squeak of his wheels almost covering his incredulity.
Brian was about to launch a counterargument when he heard a laugh he’d only heard once before. “Wait for it,” he murmured and Dom cast him a questioning glance.
Then- “Holy fucking shit,” Jesse gasped, everybody halted in the doorway behind his wheelchair.
Summers twisted to look over her shoulder, hazel eyes lit with true happiness, and Brian was surprised that it wasn’t any less shocking than last time. The guy with his arm around her reached up to tug a lock of California blond hair and she smiled out of reflex, closing her eyes and nudging her forehead against his shoulder.
“Shit,” Leon muttered, probably thinking with his little head instead of the one on his shoulders.
Dom’s fist shot out, rapping soundly off Leon’s thick skull, a gentle reminder that Buffy Summers was the devil in heels and they shouldn’t trust this new, sweetly smiling side of her. She put up with them because Mia was valuable as a nurse and an uncalled Potential, but she had more pull than the lot of them would ever have.
There was a sharp squeal of excitement and Brian was gently shoved out of the way as Dawn Summers shouldered past him. And it was like experiencing two miracles in one day because Dawn rarely left the Archives.
The man, this new, miracle-causing man turned as Buffy stepped away and he caught Dawn as she squealed, “Xan! You’re really home!”
He spun her around, laughing, and Vince growled, “Jesus fucking Christ,” and stomped back towards the garage. Considering he’d spent their first few months at the Council mooning over her from afar and getting absolutely nowhere, it wasn’t a surprise he was pissed off that he was being cut out on the pretty, smart girl he coveted again
Brian followed, mostly because he figured he wouldn’t get all that much eating done with all the staring he felt compelled to do.
Over the course of a couple of days, it became pretty common place to pass someone in the halls of the Council that looked thoroughly baffled and find that it could in some way be traced back to Xan.
Brian still hadn’t been properly introduced to the guy, still didn’t know who the hell he was or what he did for the Council besides making the crabbiest of Slayers grin.
So, walking up on a dazed Tony DiNozzo, Fed and generally good guy, Brian had one guess at what happened.
“Xan?” he said, still not being privy to the man’s full name.
DiNozzo pointed and Brian looked and sincerely wished he hadn’t. The Red Witch, the coldest, most controlled woman on the planet, was sitting on the damned man’s lap while her girlfriend twirled his curls around her fingers. Kennedy, who had punched Leon in the balls for telling her she smelled nice, was petting the man’s hair. She gently tapped the black eyepatch and he captured her hand, smiling as he said something that made her laugh and the Red Witch’s face turn pink as she swatted him lightly.
Then Kennedy sat on his other knee and DiNozzo said faintly, “I think my brain’s exploding. Is anything leaking out of my ears?”
“It’s a mass hallucination,” Brian said, shrugging. “That’s the only explanation.”
By week’s end, Brian was ready to pull his hair out. While chaos followed in his wake, Brian had managed to find out two things and two things only
about Xander Harris: his name and that he was always pretty easy to find. Find the largest group of Slayers and Xander was almost always at the center. Getting Xander alone, however, took the patience of Job. Not that Brian had ever tried, but the more social, curious new Watchers had tried and nine times out of ten failed. And that one out of ten always came away extremely confused. As far as they could tell, he was just a dude.
Xander Harris was an enigma to every new or prospective Watcher or random family member that walked through the front door. He was male, so obviously not a Slayer. The only time he went to the Witch Wing was to talk down Willow Rosenberg, a job that absolutely no one, not even her girlfriend, volunteered for. And he grumbled as much as the next person about research. Actually, he refused to research anything unless there were donuts on the table; an odd trait but it made Dr. Giles smile every time. He fit in no particular slot but he seemed to be welcome everywhere.
So walking up to find him arguing with the Summers sisters and the Red Witch while Faith LeHane watched from a close but safe distance was even more shocking than watching Buffy Summers smile. Nobody
argued with Buffy Summers or Willow Rosenberg. Nobody
. Except, apparently, Xander Harris.
“Dawn,” Harris sighed, tucking a lock of hair behind her ear. She toppled into him sobbing and he gathered her into him, rocking her and murmuring nonsense. Finally, he said, “I have to go back. That’s my job
Which was when Brian keyed into the fact that this wasn’t a Council
thing but a personal thing and he was way outside his bounds to be watching. He stepped back and turned, pulling up short when he almost smacked straight into Kennedy. She stared at him, arms crossed, for a few seconds before beckoning him into an empty room. Brian was a little afraid he was about to get his ass beat, honestly, but he followed her.
Her lips pinched when she looked at him but she finally said, “Eavesdropping isn’t cool.” He opened his mouth to protest or defend himself or something but she just rolled her eyes as she said, “Xan’s an Original.” Brian’s breath caught. They’d all kind of thought that was the case since he was on such good terms with the upper echelons of the Council, but no one had managed to ask and he seemed like such an odd fit. “He’s also a field Watcher. He’s leaving in a couple of hours and…” She dragged a hand over her face before saying, “No one’s happy about it.”
“If no one’s happy about it, why is Mr. Giles letting him go?” Brian asked. He’d normally keep himself to himself but if she was going be forthcoming, he was going to ask.
She smiled mirthlessly. “Nobody argues
Xander out of anything. They might manage to guilt him out of it, maybe, but I doubt it. And Mr. Giles prefers to let Xander do what he wants. It makes him happy and that’s all he wants. For the Originals to be happy.”
Her smile as she stepped around him wasn’t happy and once again Brian felt himself floundering. He really didn’t understand the social connections of the Council. He scrubbed his hand over his face, then went to warn Dom and the rest to be on their best behavior. If Xander Harris was leaving today, no doubt smiling Buffy Summers, sweet Willow Rosenberg, and social Dawn Summers were, too.