AN: Okay, this is it, the big finish for the fluff … or will this be the big flop – who knows?
To be perfectly blunt, Faith wanted to run like all of hell was after her as soon as she and Xander walked through the doors to the Prom – she’d asked him to accompany her ‘as a friend’ and ‘so I don’t look like a total loser coming alone’ while he was getting fitted for his tux and, to be perfectly honest about it, at first she wasn’t sure she was making the right decision. He, of course, had said yes, that he’d love to accompany the most gorgeous brunette he knew from the East Coast to the Prom, which had gotten her to actually blush and gotten a chuckle out of the saleswoman who was fitting him, calling him a charmer, which he smiled at but said nothing, and here they were – Linda, of course, had made a great deal out of it, taking pictures, talking to Xander alone, and even going so far as to renting them all a limo for the night, and frankly had done her job as the maternal parental unit, embarrassing her in front of the others.
Of course, on the flip side, B had been sniffing around X for the past two weeks, ever since she had gotten her ‘dress’, and this hadn’t done anything good for her relationship with the bottle blonde Slayer – more than once they had come to near-blows over several minor things, and she knew all of this went back to when B had gotten back to the ‘Dale and had said those tings about her, which had hurt more than she cared to admit. Of course, though, X had stepped in and had pulled them apart, facing down B several times when she had crossed the line with some comment or another, and Faith found herself smiling more and more each time that he stuck up for her – if things had been different, she’d have probably questioned his motives as trying to get a roll in the hay with her, but he’d turned her down several times already, saying that he would have loved to go with it, but that he wouldn’t risk proving her theory right, that all men were led around by their dicks, that their brains were in there, and on some level she had to admire that.
“Breathe, Faith.” She felt his presence over her shoulder and calmed down a great deal even as he reached down and squeezed her hand, “This isn’t the first time these people have seen us together – just flow with it.”
“Sure, but you aren’t the one that Principal is gunning after.” Snyder had been on her case since day one, calling her all sorts of things, but only after he’d had a ‘talk’ with Miss C, Jeeves, and Linda had he even begun to back off … and then came the talk with Xander – she never knew a human with a pulse could go that pale, let alone run away so quickly, and when she pushed him about it, X merely grinned about the entire thing, saying he’d informed ‘Quark’ what would happen to him if anything happened to her, that Flutie’s fate would be tame in comparison. Of course, she’d asked Linda and Jeeves about it, but it was Red who gave her the 411 on who ‘Flutie’ was and what had happened to him – eaten by Hyena-possessed students and X had been their leader, their Alpha. This had shaken up her image of just who he really was, but then G had told her what the Hyena had been looking for, a true leader, and that X fit the criteria.
“He knows his place, Faith, and he won’t do anything to you tonight.” They had just finished taking their official photos and were at the door to enter the gym, where they would dance, schmooze, mingle and chow until the end of the dance – frankly, she’d rather be facing Kakistos all over again. He turned to her and, with a smirk, asked, “What’s the matter, Faith? Scared?”
He had her dead to right and he fucking knew it – sometimes, she really hated Xander, “Never.” With that, she walked into the gym like she owned the place and quickly found a table that was relatively empty, a table that emptied as she sat down and Xander sat next to her, “You know, with people doing that, you’d think we weren’t liked around here.”
“That’s because we aren’t Faith – we’re the freaks of the school, remember?” She smiled as he sat next to her, spotting Red, Wolfy, Cheerbabe, B, G and Miss C as they all entered the room, motioning them over.
“Yeah, that’s right, of course I’m sure no one will forget Wonder Slut’s rant in the cafeteria about all of us.” ‘Wonder Slut’ was her name for Harmony, a girl she wouldn’t deem worthy of saving, ever, if she ever came across her being attacked by a vamp, sacred duty shit or not.
“No, what they won’t forget is that she fell off the chair she was on and flashed everyone in the cafeteria, proving she isn’t a natural blonde at all.” She and X had to grin at that, with the wolf whistles that the act of natural imbalance had gotten the mortified girl, “Of course, it wasn’t as if she didn’t try to blame it on the pair of us.”
“And as we weren’t within twenty feet of her, everyone knows that she’s just jealous of us all.” The others sat down and she smiled, “Hey.”
“Hey,” B said, looking a little uncomfortable in the monstrosity of a dress she was wearing, as everyone was looking at her and occasionally someone would snicker, “So, how’d you manage to wrangle Xander to get you to take you out?”
“My natural charm, good looks and I made him a batch of cookies that could actually be eaten.” This got a chortle out of Xand, Wolfy and Cheerbabe, but Red outright laughed as both G and Miss C both politely coughed – B had tried to give him some cookies she had made, but they were so bad that even the vamps that they were thrown at avoided them like they were holy objects.
B looked ready to say something that she would probably regret, but apparently caught herself and just sat back into her seat, sulking slightly as the first song began to play and the DJ called for people out on the floor.
“Xander?” He looked up from his drink at Buffy, who was pushing her food around her plate with a fork, “Can I have a dance?”
He took a drink from his cup even as his mind brought up a memory he had hoped would stay buried for the rest of his unnaturally long life, that of ‘the sexy dance’, “And why should I? You and I both remember what happened the last time you and I ‘danced’.” Faith perked up at this, but Willow and Buffy both winced at the note of ice in his voice.
Buffy held up her hands, her eyes filled with both loathing at the memory and anger that he had even brought it up, “I mean it – just dance, nothing … more.”
He looked over at Faith, who nodded, and he stood, “One dance.” He’d danced with Willow earlier, a slow number, and had been drug out on the floor by Jenny when Giles had refused to dance and then one from Cordy – he was sure that, in an instant, he’d gone from ‘loser’ to ‘god’ in the eyes of many males in the room at those particular dances, and of course he and Faith had danced a few numbers together, both of them having loosened up a little as time went on.
The last strands of ‘Last Kiss’, by Pearl Jam, ended and a new song that he couldn’t place immediately began up, a woman’s voice half-whispering out lyrics, “I do swear, that I’ll always … be there. I’ll give anything, and everything …” but by then he was tuning out the songs and paying attention to his partner – he was, admittedly, not the best dancer around, with Faith being almost as bad, but Buffy, when it came to slow-dancing, was by far worse and proving it as she stepped on his feet four times in ten seconds.
“So, are you having fun?”
He looked at her, “No – I forgot to wear my boots with the steel shanks in them to dance with you.” She gave him a glare even as she mashed his little right toe, but this time on p purpose, “Yes, I’m having fun with Faith.”
She nodded at that as the main part of the song started, “Good – when are you going to dump her and leave?”
He glared down at Buffy, “What?”
She glared up at him, “Well, you’re not sticking around here, and she can’t leave because she’s a Slayer, so you’d have to break up with her.”
He rolled his eyes – he hated ‘Buffy Logic’, “Firstly, Faith and I are not dating – we occasionally go to venues together, on things that could be construed as ‘dates’, and we are good friends, but not boyfriend and girlfriend. Secondly, frankly, you have no right to ask that question – it’s none of your damned business.”
She arched a dark eyebrow at him, “YOU aren’t the one who’s had that Anya girl hounding you for the past month on how to get you to go out with her. I swear she has my room bugged, or something.” Anya had once been Anyanka, patron demon of scorned women, and had caused some trouble while he had been over training with Yosho, apparently granting a wish of Harmony’s that Buffy, himself and Giles had never come to Sunnydale – it had been ugly, according to what Jenny, the only one who remembered anything of the events, but eventually the wish was cancelled and Anyanka became just a regular human.
He arched one of his own dark eyebrows at her, “No, I had to deal with her – I’m not sure how she got there, but one day I found her in the boy’s locker room while we were cleaning up. Incidentally, that’s where she found her date.” As if with one mind, they looked over and saw Anya Jenkins sitting and talking with her ‘date’, Andrew Wells – he looked like he was either going to be sick or gnaw his arm off at the elbow to get away from her, but he also looked as if he were elated to actually be seen in public with a female that wasn’t either inflatable or family.
Buffy looked up at him even as the song started to wind down, “Either way, is there any way you can stay here and do you job with Tsunami?”
“No, not effectively – that’d be like you living in Miami and having to commute to work here every night. I mean, it’s not like I’ve got much keeping me here anyway – Willow’s finally emotionally detached herself from me, Faith knows she has other friends, and you have people who can help you.”
“And what about your mother?” He gave her a hard look that told her she was on _very_ thin ice, “I mean, what if she wants to visit you?”
“She won’t – she’s too into Family business now to visit me.” Corleone Septic was doing magnificently, actually, and while the waste management owned by the Soprano family was still going strong, both families knew where to draw the line between business and personal.
“And what if we wanted you to stay?”
He arched an eyebrow at her rather pathetic tone of voice, “We?”
She looked him in the eyes, “I – I want you to stay; say to hell with Tsunami and her ideas, I want you here, with us … with me.”
“Why all of this sudden interest, Buff? I mean, now that Deadboy’s gone to get his dead Irish ass in gear on his redemption kick, do you need me around here?”
She nodded even as the song came to an end, “Yes.”
He smiled sadly at her, “No, you don’t – you don’t need me around here anymore, Buffy.” With that and look off into a dark corner, he let her go, for the perhaps the last time, and walked away, leaving her on the dance floor as another, more fast-paced, song started up.
“Ten bucks says she’s trying to get him to stay.”
She looked at Willow, who was smirking, having made the best, and then over at Faith, who was frowning at the prospect at it, “You’re on. Another ten says he turns her down.”
“Deal,” Willow said with a triumphant smirk. “He can’t turn Buffy down when she gets ‘the eyes’ going.” Jenny narrowed her gaze at Willow even as the scene played out in front of them, the song petering out, and Xander shaking his head slightly before walking away – Willow’s jaw dropped, Faith’s frown turned into a smirk and Rupert snorted as Willow sputtered out, “He turned her down!”
“Of course he did, Willow – Xander is many things, and while he is occasionally easily manipulated, he will not be manipulated into neglecting something he had given his word to do, it’s not in him.” She smiled at Rupert as he finished his minor explanation as Xander walked over, but he then held out his hand to Cordelia, who handed over twenty dollar, “And in the future, Miss Chase, it would behoove you greatly not to bet against an Englishman – we do have our ways.”
Cordelia sniffed, “I still think you’re cheating.”
Jenny ignored them and looked at Xander even as Buffy was distracted by something, waiting until he was close enough to ask, “What did you do?”
“I turned her down, but I also figured he’d have enough class to at least show up tonight.” She watched Xander turn and followed his line of sight, seeing Angelus … Angel walk out of the shadows and towards Buffy, “I’ll never like him, ever – there’s too much bad blood there between us, but I’ll admit that now he has his head on his shoulders instead of in his pants and he is doing the right thing.”
Faith looked impressed, “Did you threaten him to come here, Xand?”
Xander just smirked, “Nah – didn’t need to.”
Jenny arched an eyebrow at him, “When were you going to tell us about this?”
Xander just shrugged and picked up his drink, “Didn’t see a reason to, actually – this is between them, as a way to clear the air.”
Willow then spoke up, “So, you’re finally growing up?”
“Reluctantly, yes.” Nobody spoke as the pair on the floor began to dance, the song switching to something slower, and they all watched the last dance before the awards were given out.
(Next Day - Xander’s Lab)
Prom night had gone fairly well, actually – nobody had been killed, Buffy had gotten an award for ‘Class Protector’ and Cordelia and some other girl had tied for Prom Queen, but the best part was laying next to him; he and Faith had gone walking around after the dance, not really looking for or finding trouble, until they came to his lab … where things went from one thing to another until they eventually came to a head with a kiss and … well, they’d ended up having sex. Marcus’ memories of himself and Samus that one time had helped a great deal on what he was supposed to do outside of the obvious and primal instincts, and from the ringing that was still in his ears, Faith had enjoyed herself immensely as well.
Speaking of whom, she was now yawning awake as he sat on the edge of the small bed he had put into the lab some time back, yet had only used about two or three times – while it wasn’t impossible to fall asleep over his armor, welding this or repairing that, he’d done that or fallen asleep in his desk chair more often than not, “Xander.”
“Faith – you feeling okay?”
She smiled at him vivaciously and stretched her arms high into the air, the sheet that had been covering her breasts falling to her waist, leaving her nude, but he didn’t care all that much, “Yeah – I’ve been needing that for a while. You?”
He chuckled, “First time, actually.” He stood and stretched, his back snapping several times, eliciting a groan from his gut and an ‘ouch’ from Faith, as if in sympathy.
“Well, with that much natural talent, you and that goddess are gonna be knocking boots for a _long_ time.” She reached over and grabbed his dress shirt, pulling it on and buttoning it up before pulling on her panties even as his mind processed her comment and he blushed, “Can’t say I blame you, though – she’s hot.”
“Thank you.” He groaned and pulled on his shorts quickly, turning to see Tsunami standing next to his armor, blushing lightly as she walked over, but a slightly playful smirk crossing her face, “Did you two have fun last night?” He nodded, but Faith smiled, and then Tsunami’s smirk dropped, “Well, I have two bits of bad news – I’ve been looking into your problem with your Mayor, and there is nothing I can do, Xander. He will ascend and you must fight him.”
Xander groaned and Faith sighed, beating him to the punch, “Well, shit.”
He looked up at Tsunami, who was staring at him more heavily and blushing a bit more, but ignored it, “And the other problem?”
She winced, “Well, you’re about to meet the third sister.”
He arched his eyebrow, “’Third’ sister? What do you mean, third sister?”
As if in answer to his question, his dimensional door burst open and three figured came barreling through it in a tangled, writhing, snarling mess of purple, water blue and light brown until it came to a halt not ten feet in front of him – the pile untangled to reveal Ayeka and Sasami in their robes and apron, respectively, neither of them looking very happy, and a third young woman, about fifteen years old or so, only she wasn’t in any kind of a robe, more of a pair of overalls, a t-shirt, boots and looking more tomboyish than anything. She was thin, but not skinny, and had elfin features, with straight light brown hair that was cropped just at her shoulders, her eyes were a light gray or maybe a hazel, with creamy skin that was dusted with a few freckles … and she was gaping right at him, her jaw touching the ground and tongue not far from it, “Whoa.”
He looked first Tsunami, who shrugged, then at Ayeka, who growled, but then finally at Sasami, who was positively livid – the last time he had seen her like that was when Ayeka and Ryoko had destroyed her kitchen, again, so he knew to tread lightly, “Sam? Uh, what’s going on?”
She stopped growling at the new girl and walked over, taking his left arm rather possessively, “That’s my sister, Xander – she wants nothing to do with politics, so she doesn’t take the family name, but she’s my sister none the less.”
The girl in question snapped out of her lusting trance and glared at Sasami, which made him growl ever so slightly, until she looked at him, “Hey, it wasn’t my fault that I accidentally made her burn her cookies.”
“I told you my oven was working fine, that you didn’t need to try and ‘fix’ it!” Sasami stomped her foot and mashed his left little toe, but he gritted his teeth and bared it as she clutched his arm even more, “Sister, this is Xander, my champion, guardian and friend. Xander, this is my sister, Dawn – I hope you survive the experience.”
Xander felt his brain finally kick into high gear as she smiled at him, “Hi, Xander! Nice lab – I’ll have it spruced up and working perfectly in no time at all. Don’t worry – what could possibly go wrong?”
Even as he felt Faith’s arms wrap around his back, he felt his gut turn into ice and drop to his feet – she just taunted the Hellmouth. No good would come from that.
AN: For all of those who were curious as to what would happen to The Key … here she is. No, I’m not very inventive, so I’m taking Dawn at 15 and giving her something of a lateral transfer to the Tenchi-verse. God help them all. R&R, AR.