A very affronted Buffy drew herself up. She bestowed a cold eye at her sniggering sister, to then irately snap at her, “Shut up, Dawn! My plan still calls for the Potentials to be here when they’re needed, so like I said, we have to get them back!”
Now it was Xander’s turn. Gingerly touching at the large bandage covering the left side of his face, this man released only yesterday from the hospital and still under the influence of his painkillers slurred, “About that, Buffster. The Potentials brought up one tiny little detail I’d like to be clear about. See, so far from what you’ve mentioned, your plan consists of us and those girls who’ve left to take on the First Evil, his Bringers, Caleb, the Turok-Han vamps, and whatever other nasty surprises Mr. Intangible might send at us. That right?”
Buffy shortly nodded, and she did nothing else besides stare at Xander as if that was enough.
Xander’s remaining eye widened through his mental haze of drugs. He weakly prompted, “And…?”
“And what?” a very confused Buffy finished.
A vast, weary sigh came from the injured Scooby slumping back against the couch. He muttered sotto voce, “Oh, I don’t know, how about…and reinforcements?
Like, say, just the folks we know in the supernatural world: Riley and his band of demon hunters, the Devon Coven who helped Wils, and…”
Xander trailed off, to stare ahead a bit glassy-eyed before continuing, “And I can’t believe I’m saying this, but they must’ve given me the good stuff before I got discharged, so let’s blame it on that. Even inviting Deadboy, Wussley and the other guys working for their evil law firm to help us out. I mean, they might be a little bit concerned about the whole world endage thing when it’s not them who’s doing it.”
“No!” Buffy declared in her firmest manner. She went on just as urgently, “Angel needs to stay in Los Angeles in case something goes wrong--”
“If it goes wrong, we and everybody else are gonna be dead! In your Angel-Sweetums’ case, deader!” Xander retorted. “Face it, Buffy, this time it’s all hands on deck, run out the guns, man the lifeboats! There’s about seven billion people on this planet, if you don’t count the friendly demons! Why aren’t we yelling for help from any of them? For all you know, there might be some really powerful guy or gal close by with enough humongous mojo to permanently zap the First with a single wave of their wand, so what could it hurt to ask?
Buffy vigorously shook her head, eyeing with some compassion intermixed with real exasperation the injured man on the couch. “Xan, we just can’t trust anyone but us on this! Besides, what can normal, ordinary people do about weirdness like what we’re dealing with now? They’d be totally helpless! I mean, you’re a perfect example, almost being killed by Caleb.”
Xander’s lips thinned at this reminder of his horrific, near-death experience. Adding even more humiliation was Buffy’s tactless admission that even after fighting at her side for years, she still thought of him as the weak and useless donut-boy.
He gritted through his teeth bared in a mirthless grin, “Right, like you, Faith, and Spike did any better last week when you all had your asses handed to you without any trouble by that same bastard! Hell, I really should’ve just ignored your great idea of us going up barehanded against him at the vineyard and instead do what one of the Potentials suggested in the letter!”
Beginning to feel genuine outrage over this recent belittlement, Buffy yet warily ventured, “What was that?”
This resulted in a true Xander-smirk sent in her direction. He snottily replied, “The girls who left might’ve had to obey your total thumbs-down orders on even the mere proposal of using guns, but that didn’t apply to me.
I’ve still got some of my Halloween memories, enough to know how to safely carry and fire a shotgun, pistol, or a rifle. All I had to do was to aim and goddamn blow off Caleb’s head without getting too close!”