“Twice?” I stared at Buffy, who looked really uncomfortable.
“I’m not any more, okay?”
“Yeah, but TWICE? Once wasn’t enough for you?”
“Can we change the subject?”
“No!” I leaned forward. “You slept with two vampires. You had vampiric boyfriends. I thought you were supposed to kill them.”
“Yes, okay? And now they’re both working for a law firm in LA, and I really, really just want to move on from that. Got it?”
“Yeah.” I sat back. “Okay, letting it go now.” I took a bite out of my sandwich. It was lunch time at the school, and I was once more firmly on the “not getting fired list”. “But, weren’t they COLD?”
Buffy groaned, stood up, saying something about papers to grade, and left the cafeteria.
Xander and Dawn started laughing freely. I smiled, they’d been trying to hold it in for a good five minutes now.
“Seriously? You people are fucked up.”
“Hey,” Dawn had the decency to look affronted. “We’re not the ones who take people’s souls for a living.”
“Right. Okay, so everyone here is a slayer? Willow’s a witch, Giles is part of some ancient society of people who watch slayers, Dawn can read SUMERIAN, and I’m the weird one.”
“Yep.” Xander grinned around a mouthful of salami.
“What about you?”
“What’s your deal? What makes you all weird and special?”
Xander grimaced. He gestured to Dawn, apparently not up to more than one-syllable words with his mouthful. Dawn’s grin grew wider.
“Xander’s the cowbell.”
“You know the song, the reaper song, by Blue Oyster Cult?”
“Well, they use a cowbell in it. It’s subtle, but the song just wouldn’t be the same without it. In fact, you don’t even notice it’s there until someone points it out, like Christopher Walken in that Saturday Night Live sketch. But it’s really an important part of the song, it keeps the rhythm and just makes it all better.”
“So Xander keeps you guys in rhythm?”
Xander rolled his eyes and swallowed. “Don’t say it, Dawn.”
Dawn blew a raspberry at him. “We need more cowbell!”
Xander dropped his head onto the table, narrowly missing his plate. “That’s terrible, Dawn.”
Keeping secrets? Yeah, we all do it, but what we really want to do is tell someone. We want people to know all our dirty secrets and still love us anyway.
I just got to tell the biggest secret I had ever kept, and found myself welcomed by people I hadn’t even realized I wanted to like me. And they did. They accepted it, and now we got to move on.
When I was alive, I wasn’t exactly a “joiner”. I didn’t do clubs, or gangs, I didn’t have a lot of friends.
But this joining a group thing?
I could get used to this.