AN: Warning – later on in this chapter there are sexual references and such that may not be suitable for younger readers; then again, if the younger readers are already this far in and you, the adults, haven’t stopped them already…
“Why couldn’t they have blown this place up,” was a rather common comment from his Slayer over the past few months, but Wesley had done his best to put up with her rather common (and occasionally colorfully-added on to) complaint.
“It’s not like it would have been THAT bad to do,” Faith complained even as she attacked the dummy once again, shoving her fist right through the stuffing of the training device with snarl.
“But it was not necessary, Faith, and please be careful with our training equipment – that would be the fifth one you have destroyed in the past two months.” It was a futile hope, but a hope none the less that his Slayer would actually listen to him.
Faith crushed his hopes when she ripped her hand out of the dummy and pulled the knife she kept tucked in the back of her pants, slashing the dummy and effectively gutting it, “Then tell the Council to star getting stuff that’ll stand up to pissed-off Slayers, Wes.” That said, Faith stalked off to go finish the homework that she had been assigned by her teachers.
Wesley looked at the dummy and then sighed, knowing that the Council appropriations officer in the area would be having yet another fit when he passed along Faith’s suggestion. Still, the fact that his Slayer was still alive, sane and relatively happy had to count for something – she lived in a good home (a fact that he had been remiss about in the beginning, putting her in that ghastly hole of a motel), had friends (a fact that the members of the Council did not like, but had been told, in several languages and by several people, to deal with), she had a loving boyfriend who absolutely adored her and fought by her side when they patrolled together, and her grades had all taken a good turn.
Of course, as of late, things had been taken a turn of some kind and nobody was speaking about it – while it had not begun to affect the ‘Scoobies’ outright, he knew that if things started to get bad, he would have to step in and do something.
Faith looked up at Wesley and knew that he was thinking about how bad of a mood she had been in over the past week and a half – sure, a few days of it had been her and her period, but now it was something different, and she wasn’t exactly sure what it was.
Faith put down her pen and frowned – no, that wasn’t true, exactly; she had a good idea when all of this had started, and it had been two months ago with the ‘girls night in’ that Tara had come up with on the bubble. She, Jen, B and Tare had all kicked back, relaxed and done girly stuff like giving facials and painting toenails, something she’d never really tried but had wanted to, while Xand had been their ‘cabana boy’ (though he had somehow weaseled out of wearing that leather loincloth and opted for a pair of shorts and a tank top). That night, while Xand kept it on the level with her and B, she noticed that, Tare and Jen all just seemed to click somehow, in a way that was friendly but had an edge to it, one that she recognized as the same edge that she and Xand had.
At first, she’d dismissed it, thinking that it’d been something else entirely, but while the edge between Xand and Jen had faded away (and they had assured her that they were only friends, something they’d never cross over until much later, if ever), that edge between him and Tare was still there and it grew, little by little. When they sparred, when they talked, when they worked on school work, they just seemed to … meld, really, to where half of the time they didn’t have to talk to each other. B had told her to not worry about it, but it was Red who had looked worried that had worried her – apparently Red and X had been on that level a while back and while X had been oblivious, Red had been crushing on him, hard.
Faith looked down at her book and shook her head, reassuring herself that she was NOT worried – Xand would never flake on her, never cheat on her like that, he’d swore it to her, and she knew that his word was golden. So why was it that she felt this … pit inside of her? Why was she feeling so … alone?
(Sunnydale University Library)
“I say, I quite like this place.”
Xander rolled his eyes as Giles looked around the stacks and stacks of book, taking in everything, “Yay for the land of books.”
Giles shot him a glare, “Philistine! You have the knowledge of all of those people and you STILL have no appreciation for a good library.”
Xander rolled his eyes at Giles, “Giles, all the heads I’ve taken were of fighters, and they took the heads of fighters – trust me, I have an appreciation of books, but until I take the head of someone who saw the Great Library of Alexandria, I’ll probably never change.”
Giles glared at him for a moment and then sighed, “You’re probably right… how do you know what the Great Library of Alexandria is?”
Xander gave the elder Briton an impish grin, “What’s the matter, Giles, you want me to tell you ALL of my secrets?”
Giles growled at him for a moment before he went on to look at another area of the library, “Prat.” Giles looked around for a few more minutes and then nodded, “This place DOES need some work, but I suppose I could whip it into shape.”
Xander just shook his head, “I thought you wanted to be out of the librarian business, Giles? I mean, you go from a high school library to a university library – isn’t that just more of a headache for you?”
Giles nodded, “Potentially, but now I actually have people to order around and to do some of the more menial tasks, generally students.” He watched Giles take in a breath and then let it out slowly, “While I must admit that I will miss some of the legwork, I’m quite content with this job.”
Xander just shrugged on his end of things, looking around, “So … where are we going to hide the demonology books? Or is that all staying over at the high school?”
Giles shook his head, “No, they will be coming here – with the school taking out the old book cage, Wesley and I feel that it’s best we move the research end of our operations here, and I’ve found an unused area of this building to set it up in.”
Given that the building was four stories tall (three above ground one below) and that only the top three were used by anyone, Xander guessed that was a safe bet, “Coolness. Now, why did you ask me over here?”
Giles turned to him and, after thinking for a second, apparently, delicately asked, “Are you and Tara having an affair?”
Xander blinked at Giles several times before shaking his head slowly and drawling out, “No, what makes you ask that?”
“Wesley and the others have noticed the inordinate amount of time you two seem to be spending together, how close you have become, and only recently has Faith started to show any real effects that she has noticed.” Giles took off his glasses and polished them slightly before putting them back on, “Why is this, Xander? Are you trying to find a way to let Faith down gently?”
Xander glared at Giles before hissing, “Don’t even THINK that, Rupert! I’ll admit that I’ve been spending a LOT of time around Tara for the past few weeks, but … it’s not what you think.” He ran his hand through his hair and then leaned against one of the bookshelves, “What I’m about to tell you does not get to any of the others, in any form, and it sure as HELL doesn’t go back to the Watchers.”
Apparently the seriousness of the situation made itself apparent to Giles as he nodded immediately, “I understand, Xander, and it will not.”
Xander took a breath and let it out slowly, “It started on my little trip with Adam to Seacouver, Giles, and while there I was privy to some rather interesting news.” In the broad strokes Xander laid out what had happened as far as what Cassandra had said and then went into some of the finer points, like the names of the people involved in her Prophecy, “The Protector of Man, the Childe of Power and the Mother of Soil.”
Giles blinked several times and then groaned, “Oh, bloody hell, Xander – when you stick your foot in it, you most certainly do it with a particular flair.” He rubbed the bridge of his nose and then looked up at him again, “I take it you know who the Protector of Man and the Mother of Soil are referring to.” Xander nodded at him and Giles groaned, “Please tell me that the Childe of Power is NOT Buffy – I’m not sure either you or myself would survive a pregnant Slayer.”
Xander shook his head, “No, it wasn’t Buffy, given something that Cassandra sent me last week.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a note, “She had one of her Visions and was able to piece a few things together as far as we’re all concerned – my name and Tara’s are known, but Buffy is called the ‘Dead One’, Willow is called the ‘False One’, you’re referred to as ‘Shaded’ and someone else, it’s not said who, is called ‘The key’.”
Giles looked at him oddly for a moment and then sighed, “I suppose that Cassandra WOULD know what she’s talking about, and given what I know, those names are fairly correct.” He absently reached out and pulled a book from the shelf, “Logically, this leaves Faith, Jenny and possibly Amanda as the ‘Childe of Power’, Xander – have you thought about this?”
Xander nodded, “Yeah, and I’ve eliminated Amanda as she’s busy with a new student, a cop or PI or something, and she killed him to make him Immortal.” Giles arched an eyebrow at him, but Xander shrugged, “Don’t ask me – Duncan’s kinda upset over it, she’s apparently on this Boyscout … well, Girlscout kick as of late, and she thinks she’s doing the right thing.”
Giles chuckled at him, “You realize she will gut you, repeatedly, if that ever gets back to her, right?”
Xander nodded, “But as you promised to not say anything about this conversation, I’m safe.”
Giles nodded, “Touché. So, that leaves Faith and Jenny … and you and I both know how friendly you and Jenny have been as of late – what is that all about?”
Xander shook his head, “That’s for her to tell you about, Giles, if she ever wants to – she … it’s complicated, and that’s all I’ll say about it.”
It was obvious by the look on his face that Giles did not like it, but quite honestly the tension that was between himself and Jenny was just that, between him and Jenny, and no one else, “Alright, I can accept that, but if you break Faith’s heart, either with Jenny or without her, I will kill you, repeatedly, Xander.”
Xander looked right into Giles’ eye and did not flinch, “Giles, you’ll have to stand in line because Faith will get first shot at my head … and I’ll let her take it.”
Giles nodded, “Just so we’re clear with one another. Now, where is Jenny?”
Xander rolled his eyes, “Where else? She and Tara are with Willow right now, running a small exercise in restraint.”
(Campus Coffee House)
“No, Willow, don’t touch it – resist it.”
“No buts about it, Willow – resist the urge.”
Willow turned and glared at Jenny, “Resist a double shot espresso, non-fat, double-sugar latte with whipped cream and chocolate shavings?”
Tara nodded, sipping on her own drink, which was the same that Willow had described, “Indeed, Willow – considering it a … test.”
Willow whimpered about how cruel fate was, especially when she needed to learn self-control.
(University Library – basement/first floor)
“Alright, so what’s wrong, Giles? You didn’t ask me all the way down here just to ask how Faith and I were.”
Giles looked over at the young man, who was lounging in an old leather chair with his feet up on a desk, and nodded, “Indeed, I did not, Xander. There have been rumors that since Adam’s leaving, the Sunnydale City Council and several other parts of the local government had all been receiving death threats – would you know anything about that?”
Xander shook his head, “No, I wouldn’t, but given Methos’ past, I’m not really surprised – when he does a job, it’s not half-way.”
Giles groaned, knowing he wasn’t going to like the answer to his next question, “Xander, does he know about the prophecy?”
Xander nodded, “He was there when Cassandra explained it to me, him and Duncan – why?”
He shook his head, “No reason, really, but I was worried this could be part of some elaborate scheme.”
Xander looked at him and deadpanned, “This is Methos, Death on a Horse, the big schnoz himself, Giles – of COURSE it’s part of a scheme.” Giles nodded his head in concession and Xander went on, “But as to what scheme he’s up to … I don’t know, and quite frankly I have other worries.”
Giles arched an eyebrow at Xander, “And those would be?”
Xander reached into his jacket and tossed him a letter, “Involving Dru – she wants to meet with me, apparently for the last time.”
Giles read the letter over and sighed at the rather oblique way Drusilla had asked for Xander to meet her – honestly, the thought of the vampire, no, Kindred asking him to meet her for ‘tea and cakes’ wasn’t anything he wasn’t expecting, but the fact that it was written in an older form of Latin, one once used in the Roman Empire’s time, was what struck him, “Since when do you speak ancient Latin, Xander?”
“I don’t speak it, Giles,” Xander shot back at him with a cheeky grin, “but that’s how the Terakan Order used to communicate their orders, not to mention with what Amanda and Adam both taught me, I’m deciphered it.”
Giles nodded and handed the letter back, “You are aware that this is most probably a trap, right?”
Xander shrugged as he put away the letter, “Probably, but I can’t run the risk of pissing off that Clan, Giles, so I have to go and meet with her. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to worry about more than our garden variety vamps around here.”
He had to concede that fact, “Point, but did you get anything as to WHY she wants you there, other than this nebulous ‘goodbye’?”
Xander shook his head, obviously ill at ease with the idea, “No, and that’s what’s got me worried, Giles. I have classes this afternoon, then I’m going to San Fran, as requested – if I don’t check in by sun-up tomorrow morning, wait a half-hour and then tell Faith and the others to come get me.”
Giles arched his eyebrow again at Xander, “You realize that the city of San Francisco might not survive that, Xander.”
Xander nodded, “I know, Giles, but if I had a platoon of Marines to send, I’d send them instead.”
“That doesn’t fill me with confidence on just how badly this entire situation could go, Xander.”
“It shouldn’t Giles, it really shouldn’t.” Xander then got up and flipped him a sloppy two-finger salute, “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to face the horror known as University-level Algebra.”
Giles shook his head at the young man as he left, “Over four hundred years of experience in his skull and he still can’t remember the basics of quadratic equations…”
“Don’t worry, Xander, you’ll get it one of these days,” she murmured to him even as they left their last class for the day, each of them holding their test results. While Tara had always been fairly good at Algebra, Xander, apparently, had not if it did not have a practical application.
Xander groused slightly as he started at the grade of ‘D-‘, “You’d think they’d make the instructions clearer, Tare! All it says is ‘find the answer’, but it doesn’t tell you to do it in a specific way.” Xander had, instead of using the quadratic formula, used some kind of math that Tara was unfamiliar with to find the correct answer, which had put the professor on edge for a bit while she explained WHY Xander’s answer, while correct, was incorrect.
Tara settled on just patting him on the forearm lightly, “It’s alright, Xander – we’ll study some more this weekend.”
He shook his head and sighed, “No, not this weekend, Tare – San Fran, remember?”
She sighed and nodded, now remembering what he had told herself and Faith the day before, “You’re right – are you SURE you don’t need anyone to go with you?”
Xander nodded to her even as they made for the parking lot, “I’m sure, Tara, and besides, now you and Faith can work out whatever it is that’s causing the friction between you two.”
Tara held her tongue on the real cause, instead opting for, “Friction? What friction?”
Xander looked over at her, “Don’t play dumb with me, Tara, I perfected the art with Willow years ago. I know something’s up and, honestly, I don’t think there is anything I can do about it right now, so the two of you need to talk it out while I’m away.”
Tara said nothing to that as they reached her car and climbed in, given that Xander’s was in the shop after a ‘driving lesson’ with Faith had gone horribly wrong – nobody was sure exactly HOW the car had managed to end up in a tree, roof-side down, and twenty feet off of the ground, and for nobody to have been hurt, but Xander had soiled himself and Faith, the observer, had been forcibly restrained from killing Buffy, whom was TRYING to learn how to drive properly. Honestly, there had been no physical way of doing things like that, none that she could have found, and from what she, Giles and Jenny had found, not an ounce of magic had been used. Buffy had, of course, professed that there had been some kind of deer in the roadway, but this was while Xander had been doing his best to keep Faith’s hands from going around her sister Slayer’s neck.
Tara shook her head and looked around for that very same ‘deer’ as Xander pulled out of the parking lot and drove them back to their hom… house. While it had the feeling and occasional warmth of a home, it wasn’t hers – it was Xander’s and Faith’s home, she was just a semi-permanent guest there. Xander had, of course, welcomed her in with open arms and Faith, at first, had done so as well, but when she and Xander had begun to get inexplicably closer to one another, Faith’s seeming acceptance of her being there had begun to dry up.
Of course she had checked for magical influences on both herself and Xander, seeing if someone, or something, had been influencing them to get as close as they had become, but finding nothing Tara found herself wondering just WHY it was that she felt so… GOOD around Xander. Sure, he wasn’t hard on the eyes, and he was charmingly funny when he put his mind to it, but ever since killing Jebodiah, Tara had sworn off men for a few decades and had even been on several dates with some rather nice young ladies, but so far she had found girls that wanted to experiment only, which was okay with her, given how long she’d been with a man. She had come home from these dates and, generally while Faith and Buffy were still out patrolling with Xander and Wesley, had stated sulking until Faith and Xander got home – Faith generally went up to take a shower while Xander raided the ‘fridge, so she and Xander started talking about how her date went, or didn’t go at all on one occasion, and soon it evolved into a natural thing for her to tell him any and everything.
Faith, once, had walked in on them as she was breaking down about how this one girl had set her up, calling her all kinds of hurtful names and Xander had pulled her into a hug without thinking twice about it, so when she opened her eyes she was looking at Faith and saw the semi-hurt look on the Slayer’s face until she offered up an explanation on what had happened. Faith had accepted this, saying that the girl needed to be beaten, hard, and even offered to do it but Xander had nipped that one in the bud, saying that the girl would get hers, “Like you said, Faith, Karma’s a bitch and she knows it.”
Of course, since then a good month had passed and Tara was really starting to see how close she and Xander were getting – nine times out of ten, she didn’t even need to speak, arching an eyebrow would do, he just did what was asked or not asked without any kind of provocation; in a way, it was kinda cool, as she’d only had that level of communication between herself and the members of any coven she had ever been a part of, and given that he was male, it added an entirely new dimension to it, as if she wanted to point out, “Indeed, they can be taught!”
Tara shook herself out of her daze as she felt her car turn off and looked to see they were in front of the house, Xander looking over at her, “Tara? Are you okay?”
She nodded slightly, giving him a slight half-smile that she knew told him that everything was okay, “I’m fine, Xander, just… thinking.”
He gave her a quick grin that made her knees, though she was sitting down, a little weak, “Tried that once or twice, didn’t really take.”
Her response was eloquent – she stuck her tongue out at him, but he surprised her by lashing his hand out and catching it between his fingers, “Hey!”
He gave her an innocent look, “Yes?”
“Leth go oft my thung!”
He grinned at her, “Let go of your thong? Why Tara, that’s the incorrect name of the bodypart I have ahold of and I though Faith was the only person in the house who wore those.”
She glared at him some more and bit down on his fingers, eliciting a yelp from him, “Serves you right, trying to make a woman hold her tongue.” Xander, very diplomatically (at least in her opinion), kept his mouth shut as they got out of the car, so she decided to have some fun with him, “Besides, I don’t wear underwear.” With that lie said and circling in Xander’s admittedly-overactive imagination, she walked into the house, very aware of the fact that Xander had stopped and was gaping at her back – yes, revenge was good.
(Later – backyard)
“So why’d B, Red, Wolfie and Wuss take my patrol tonight?” Tara looked up at her with a perfect ‘I have no idea what you’re talking about’ look on her face and Faith growled, “Look, Tare, I know something’s up and it ain’t Xand, so who’s running what scam?”
Tara sighed and closed the book she’d been reading, something written in a language Faith didn’t know, and she then laid back to let the sun work on the parts of her body that weren’t covered by a rather conservative bathing suit, “Faith, we need to talk.”
She snorted and laid back, picking up a bottle of oil as she did, “No shit.” Faith liberally applied the oil to her legs and her arms, going just a little on her stomach, and then around her neck – when she figured out who stole her string bikini, the one she liked teasing Xand with, she was going to hurt somebody, badly, given that her only recourse was a pair of her panties and one of her sports bras.
“I’m not trying to steal Xander from you, Faith.” She looked over at Tara, who was absently watching her, “I know that is what you’re worried about.”
Faith snorted at the Immortal Wicca, “Don’t shit me, Tare – you wanna jump his bones.”
Tara rolled her eyes at her, “Faith, I’ve been dating women for the last two months – what does that tell you?”
“That you play both sides of the field?”
Tara growled a little at her and Faith repressed a smirk – Tare was losing her cool, this could get fun, “Faith, I was MARRIED for almost thirty long years, in which I was whored out, passed around, abused and once even KILLED – trust me, having a sexual relationship with a man right now is the LAST thing I want.”
Faith looked over at her and fully smirked, “Then why is it when you’re around him you’re so wet you’ve gotta stop yourself from humpin’ him? Slayer nose, remember?”
Tara blushed, which was enough for Faith in her books, “Alright, I’ll admit, there’s something there, but… I don’t know what it is.”
Faith rolled her eyes, “Yeah, you do, it’s called being horny and wantin’ some Xander-lovin’.”
Tara, apparently, finally had enough and snapped, “I’m sorry! I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M FEELING!”
Faith gaped at the sudden rush of power she felt from Tare and shook slightly as the skies above rumbled, but then slowly eased into her question, not wanting to make Tare angry enough to throw lightning bolts or anything, “Wha-what do you mean?”
Tara took a deep breath and let it out, Faith feeling the power in the air easing as she did, “I… when I’m around Xander, I can’t explain how I feel, Faith. It’s like I’m… drawn to him, I don’t know why, I can’t explain it, but that’s just how it is.”
Faith nodded slightly, knowing the feeling – once she had gotten over Xander being an Immortal (not to mention the monumental fucking he gave her), she had felt that same thing, “I kinda get that, Tare, I’ve been there, but why didn’t you tell me?”
Tara snorted at her, “Because of the way you were just acting to me, that’s why. I… I don’t want to break you and Xander up – young love isn’t rare, but true love is.”
Faith worked her jaw a few times and blinked – true love? Is that what she and Xand had? “Tare…”
Tara shook her head, “It is, Faith – I can see it in your auras, how they mix whenever you two are in the room, touching, anything. It’s just starting, but it will grow, trust me.”
Faith shook her head, “No, no it isn’t – Xand and I… we’re just…” She looked down at her hands and was surprised to see them trembling – why? She watched her hands for a minute and then felt the seat she was on shift a little, making her look over and she was surprised to see Tara there, smiling sadly, “Tara…”
The Immortal put a finger to her lips, “I know you’re scared, Faith, I can see it, but with love, there’s nothing to be scared of.” Faith didn’t even flinch as Tara pulled her into a tight embrace, which was tough given that they were both covered in oil, so there was some slipping there.
Faith semi-returned the hug, “I don’t wanna lose him, Tare. I don’t know if I could… could…”
She couldn’t bring herself to finish the sentence even as she felt Tara’s lips moving towards her ear, whispering, “You won’t Faith, not as long as the sun still shines and the Goddess still exists. You and he are linked.”
She felt hot tears starting to build and fall even as she increased her grip on Tara, sniffling for a moment and then breaking into tears, “He can’t love me, Tare! I’m a Slayer, w-we don’t live that long.”
Faith felt Tara rocking her slightly, “He’ll always love you, Faith… now and forever…” Tara then started telling her sweet nothings, calming her down as she did until, inexplicably, Faith found herself dropping off to sleep in the arms of another woman.
Naturally, that’s when B, Red, Wuss and Wolfie walked in – man, wasn’t life just a real bitch at times?
For the tenth time in two minutes, Xander wondered if he was in the right spot – the clues that Dru had left in her letter had been vague, even for her, but given that his ancient Latin was rusty, at best, he could have been at the right place or ten miles away.
The place in question was actually a rather nice bookstore that had, if rumors were true, been built on top of an old fallout shelter, which made it a perfect place to have a haven if the shelter was still there, but with the sun having set in San Francisco and the local ‘wildlife’ starting to come out, he was more than a little wary about getting caught outside.
“You can do this, Xand,” he muttered to himself, reaching into his jacket slightly to reassure himself that his sword and other weaponry was there; he trusted Dru to be Dru, the Kindred Dru, that is, but the other members of the Clan he didn’t trust as far as he could throw them, so he’d armed himself as soon as he had gotten off his chartered plane from the Sunnydale airport. Sadly, despite the fact he had (on top of his main sword) two knives, four stakes, a squirt bottle of holy water, a road flare and a short sword, he STILL felt unarmed, so he decided that, if there was a next time, he’d figure out a way to bring guns into the equation.
Upon entering the store he was greeted with a smile by a young woman with seven piercings in each ear, two in her nose and one on each eyebrow, “Hi.”
“Erm, hello. I’m looking for-“
She cut him off, pointing to the back, “Dru’s waiting for you, back in the Ancient Cultures.” She looked him up and down, smiling as she did, “So, you’re Xander.” Xander didn’t acknowledge that she was right or not, but she went on anyway, “Funny, the way Dru was talking about you, I would have figured you to be the James Bond type.”
He gave her a slightly roguish grin and gave her his best Connery impression, “Why, thank you, young lady, but I’m seeing someone.”
The woman, whose nametag read ‘Laura’, sniffed, “Preferred Moore, myself.”
He hissed slightly, “Philistine!” She stuck her tongue out at him, showing that it, too, was pierced, but waved him back towards the book stacks.
The book stacks were like any others you’d expect in a bookstore, but they were mostly jumbled together in a fashion that made a kind of natural maze, which worried Xander for a moment until he realized that was the point, “Dru?”
“Here, Alexander,” came her whispered voice from one of the stacks. He followed it and saw that a stack was pivoted to the side, revealing a tunnel, “Follow me.”
Not one to take things lightly, he stepped forwards while unsheathing his broadsword from his coat, instantly wishing his daggers weren’t strapped to his ankles; the tunnel was, indeed, that of an old community fallout shelter and dimly lit as he followed Dru down the corridor – his instincts were screaming at him that he was doing something monumentally stupid even as his brain was reassuring him that Dru wouldn’t hurt him, that she’d had too many chances to do so already.
Finally, though, they reached the bottom of the shaft down and Dru turned, letting Xander take in her simple dress and pale features, “You won’t need your sword, Xander.”
“Sorry, Dru, but force of habit,” he muttered as he looked around, resting the tip of his sword against the floor, but making no motion of putting it up. “So, why did you bring me down here?”
She gave him a slight smile, “Two reasons – first, I wanted you to meet my Childe, Laura.” He arched an eyebrow and she nodded, “I can feel that she liked you.”
“I’m dating a Slayer, Dru – no playing matchmaker.”
She pouted for a moment, “Fine. The other reason I asked you here … was to say goodbye, Xander.”
He blinked, “What?”
She looked down, “The Giovanni know that we are here, Alexander, and it is only a matter of time before they come to destroy us as they tried to do centuries ago.” He could hear the sorrow in her voice, the heartache in it and Xander was almost moved to tears before she looked up – in her eyes was pure hate, pure and utter LOATHING, “I shall piss blood on their bodies before we allow that to happen again, Xander.”
He jerked back slightly, “Nice mental image, Dru…”
Dru jerked a little and looked down, as if ashamed that her anger had gotten the better of her as she mumbled, “Sorry, Kitten.” After a moment, she looked back up, her face split into a grin, “So, now what do we do? I do believe a ‘going away party’ is in order, and as you’re currently spoken for… let’s go dancing.”
Xander blinked even as he felt a shiver run up and down his spine– this wasn’t going to be fun, whatever it was.
(Sunnydale – backyard of Harris’)
Tara wasn’t sure who started it, but what she knew right then was that Faith was a good kisser and, given that Faith’s hands were pawing at the front of her bikini top, she was a little too grabby for Tara’s taste.
She knew it was wrong, she knew that if anyone caught them, they’d never be able to explain it… but as she felt the lust starting to take over her thoughts, she ceased to care
Xander had been expecting a club, a night-life kind of area, hell, even an S&M place of business, but the place that Dru had taken him to was unlike any other place he had ever been, “A vineyard?”
Dru, still dressed as she was earlier, nodded happily as they made their way towards the main house, “Yes, a vineyard, Alex – more importantly, there is a party here tonight, bidding our Clan farewell and I… I wished to show you off a bit.”
Xander arched an eyebrow even as his hand went to the sword he had been able to keep on him – sadly, Dru had talked him out of the rest of his weapons and, while he trusted her, he didn’t trust the other Kindred as far as he could throw them, “Oh, so I’m some kind of prize bull now?”
She laughed slightly, taking the opportunity to look up him and down slowly, “Most assuredly you would be, Alex, were I inclined to keep you that way. No, tonight you are a friend of Clan Cappadocian, so you are safe enough to not need that sword of yours.”
Xander shook his head as they reached the stairs leading to the main house, “Sorry, Dru, but where I go, the sword goes – it’s not business, it’s personal.”
She looked at him oddly, “Isn’t that backwards?”
He shook his head, “Nope – it’s not business because I have a PERSONAL interest in keeping my head right where it is.”
Dru laughed gaily at this even as they reached the top of the stairs, his eyes searching the area, “I do believe I’ll miss your humor, Alex – I have so few friends these days who don’t color their jokes with dark humor or double meanings.” She knocked on the door once and it immediately opened, showing an older man there in a butler’s outfit with a smile on his face, “Drusilla and Friend, of Clan Cappadocian.”
“David’s been waiting for you, Drusilla. Come in.” The butler eyed him slightly as Xander followed Drusilla in, “Weapons are not permitted here, young man.”
“I go nowhere without being armed, sir – I mean no disrespect, but it’s become habit.”
“Quite alright, young man,” another voice said, filled with understanding and good humor. Xander turned and saw a man, early thirties, with dark hair drawn back in a widow’s peak and wearing a rather stylish suit hugging Dru. “Drusilla has told me much about your kind, Alexander, and I take it as no sign of disrespect.”
Xander merely arched an eyebrow as the butler closed the door and disappeared, “I’m afraid you have me at a disadvantage, sir – Alexander Harris, Sunnydale, California.”
The man nodded briefly as several other people in the area heard this and hissed slightly, “The Hellmouth, yes, we know – my name is Julian Luna, and I welcome you to my home.”
Xander accepted the offered hand, “Mr. Luna. Pardon my appearance, but I wasn’t expecting to go anywhere but to see Dru.”
Luna laughed a little, the laugh of someone who had seen and done a lot worse than what appeared to be present, “Oh, I understand. Besides, you’ll fit right in with the Gangrels or Brujah.”
As Xander and Julian drew towards the rest of the group, Xander leaned over and hissed at Dru, “What’s going on here, Dru? Who is he?”
She smiled at him slightly, “Julian Luna, of Clan Ventrue, and Prince of San Francisco. Don’t worry, Xander – you’re safe here.”
He gave her a look, “Dru, I’m not some neonate from another country – I KNOW who this guy is, and I know what his position is, but what I don’t know is why you hid this from me.”
She didn’t even flinch at the tone in his voice, which he had to admit was a little harsh, “Would you have come if I had told you I wanted to show you off to my friends?”
“Of course I would have, Dru – I would have come more heavily armed.”
Dru rolled her eyes at him, slightly, “As he said, you have nothing to fear from Prince Luna – he’s quite fair in his dealings with people, especially with Immortals.” Her tone then took a dry note, “Especially Immortals, given how good you and your kind tend to be with swords.”
Any remark he was going to make was cut off as they entered what appeared to be a library, a large table in the middle of it, and that table was filled with people ranging from male to female, young to old, young in appearance to older in appearance (given that Xander KNEW that some of the people, if not most, were Kindred), and it ran the gamut as far as race went. Xander followed Dru as she took her place next to David, who was dressed in a fine black silk suit and not wearing any kind of makeup, and stood behind her – several others in the room had people standing behind them, but none of them were Immortal.
At the head of the table, Julian Luna stood with a smile on his face, “Friends, we have come here tonight to bid farewell to Clan Cappadocian from our fair city; the situation being what it is-“ Julian was cut off by one of the people sitting at the other end, dressed in a business suit and wearing a scowl, “What is it, Clan Brujah?”
The man stood, tall, wide and imposing, and glared at him even as Xander saw Julian tense slightly, “Who is this lowly mortal? Why has he been brought here?”
The woman standing behind the man, dressed in leathers and punk regalia and looking quite retro with her Mohawk, snickered, “Maybe he’s dinner?”
Xander put his hand on Dru’s shoulder as she growled and made to stand, “I’ll handle this, Dru.” She sat back down and he looked at Luna, who nodded, and he spoke, “My name is Alexander Harris, from Sunnydale, just north of Los Angeles, and I was brought here as a friend of Clan Cappadocian.”
The man sat back down, a sneer on his lips, “A freak from the Hellmouth – your kind are trash.”
“I could say the same of Clan Brujah, but that would insult the memory of how great your Clan once was,” Xander replied coolly as several of the people at the table shifted nervously.
The man made to jump at him but Julian rapped his knuckles against the table, “Clan Brujah, you will remember your place and that you insulted him first – he is merely returning the gesture. More to that, he is an Immortal.”
Murmurs quickly spread around the table and Xander sighed, “That’s kinda supposed to be a secret, Luna – not everyone should be told that.”
Julian smiled at Xander and then laughed a little, “Don’t worry, Xander, you and your friends are quite safe from anyone in this room, not to mention those who may be told of this secret. Should you and yours be attacked, it will be taken as a break in the Masquerade and be dealt with as such.”
Xander arched an eyebrow at this, knowing just what that meant due to the absorbed memories of the Terakan, but decided to put in his own two cents, “More to the point, the head of the Clan will be dealt with by my hand, should myself or my friends be attacked.” He looked at the Brujah and narrowed his eyes a little, “Trust me, I’m a vindictive son of a bitch when I need to be.”
“Oh, yes, you are, Alex,” Dru said from in front of him, her tone telling him she was smiling. “Why, I remember those men you sniped with the rifle, and the one you ripped his throat out on your first full day as an Immortal before you killed the man who killed your parents.”
From the other end of the table, a striking woman with dark hair and a thin, aristocratic build smiled as she sipped from a goblet, “Why, Drusilla, you sound as if you’re proud of him.”
Dru wiggled in her seat a little, obviously preening, “I’m proud of my Kitten.” Xander refused to blush as several of the Kindred snickered at his nickname, but Dru went on, “Though now he’s not my Kitten anymore – he’s my Hunting Cat, given how sharp his claws and teeth are.”
Several muttered about Dru and ‘Malks’ or ‘Crazies’, but Xander shot them glares that quieted them down even as Julian spoke up, “Now, as I was saying, we are here tonight to bid farewell to Clan Cappadocian – may they fare well and thrive in their new city to the East.”
Faith moaned as she felt Tara’s lips trail down her body again, both of their naked bodies dripping in sweat – she didn’t now HOW she and Tare and started doing the dirty… and right now she didn’t CARE, “YES!”
(San Francisco – Luna Estate)
Xander, from a darkened corner, calmly leafed through a randomly-picked book while the Clans mingled and schmoozed, frankly not giving one hoot in hell about anything or anyone else in the room – sure, there had been some rather ominous growling from the Brujahs, but when he had channeled Fido, snarled back and stepped forwards, the pair stepped back for a moment, as if to reassess and regroup. Still, aside from that one incident, and a few lingering looks from some of the female Kindred of the various Clans (including one VERY hot Assamite woman), everything was practically room temperature… and he couldn’t BELIEVE he made that pun, even in his own mind.
Of course the guy who had been keeping an eye on him for the past twenty minutes or so wasn’t even Kindred – one of the Kindred women had said something to him and he’d blushed a bright, rosy red color, so Xander had him pegged as not only human, but as a cop, “So, why are you here?”
The guy looked at him dumbly, “Huh?”
Xander looked up at him, “Why are you here? Obviously not Kindred, and you almost scream ‘COP’.”
Man snorted, “Because I am – Detective Frank Kohanek, SFPD, and I help take care of the Kindred stuff in cases.”
Xander shook his head, “No offense, but what does Luna have on you to have you under his thumb, covering shit up?”
Frank frowned at him, “He kept me from digging too far, too quickly, when I found out about the Kindred, and he saved my life.” Frank then smirked, “Took me about four years to really get what he was trying to do, but it finally took and I’ve… mellowed, sorta.”
Xander smirked right back at him, “Yeah, takes a bit to get used to the whole ‘vampire’ thing.”
Frank moved over next to him and looked at him oddly, “The others are talking about you, saying that you’re something called an ‘Immortal’; you another kind of Kindred?”
Xander stopped reading and looked over the spine of his book with a glare that Amanda would have been proud of, “Do I look like I’m lacking a tan?”
“Kindred can go out in the sun if they feed in the morning,” Frank pointed out with a grin.
Xander nodded, “Point, but no, I’m something completely different, Frank, and the less you know, the better off you’ll be.”
Frank scowled at him, “Are you trying to ‘protect’ me?”
Xander shook his head, closing the book he’d been reading, “No, not at all – I’m limiting the number of fronts you’re fighting on; trust me, there’s nothing about me you need to know other than I carry a three-foot long piece of sharpened steel in my jacket and am not afraid to use it.”
The cop looked at him and blinked, “To the point, aren’t you?”
Xander shrugged and opened the book again, “Saves time.”
Frank looked at him oddly, “What’s time to an Immortal? Don’t you guys, like, live forever?”
Xander shook his head, “Nope – we CAN be killed, but I’m not telling you how.”
Frank nodded, conceding the point, “Okay, so, what’s so big about this town you’re from? Sunnydale sounds like a nice place.”
Xander smirked and then chuckled darkly, “Yeah, it’s a real scream… especially after dark.” Xander then jerked, feeling a chill go up and down his spine – damn it that was starting to get annoying! “I’ll be right back, I need to speak to Dru.” Frank nodded and Xander went over to where Dru, David and Julian were talking with a tall, bald and rather imposing man, “Dru, I need to go, I think something’s wrong.”
Dru gave him a surprised look, “What makes you think that?”
Xander shook his head, “Gut instinct, mostly, but I think there’s something else.” He turned to Julian, who was nodding slightly and shook his hand, “Thank you for your hospitality, Prince Luna.” He then turned to David, growling slightly, “Protect Dru or else we’ll meet and I assure you I won’t be in a good mood.” David nodded as he turned to Dru and hugged her, “Be safe, Dru, and write me.”
She hugged him back, “I will, Alexander, and you be safe as well – I want you to meet my great-great grandchildren some day.”
He gave her a quick grin and made for the door, not surprised at all that Frank was standing there with keys in hand, “Come on, kid, we’re taking my car. It’s surprising what you can get away with as a cop these days…”
(Sunnydale – hours later)
“Faith?” Xander walked through the house, sword drawn in one hand and pistol in the other, his senses straining to find anyone – he knew Tara was there, he had felt her Quickening already, but he had yet to find her, “Faith? Tara? Where are you?” He went down to the basement, where Tara had her minor temple set up and he was surprised to find Tara there, wrapped in a robe, tears streaking down her cheeks, “Tara? Tare? What’s wrong?”
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” was the only response he got for a few minutes, which irritated him so he left Tara in the basement and went to the second floor, and once there it didn’t take him long to get to the bathroom, where the shower was running.
“Faith?” He nudged the door open and walked in, only to be greeted by a wall of steam that clouded and choked everything, “Faith?”
“…Xand?” He looked in the direction of the shower, the water suddenly shutting off, and after a few seconds he heard someone crawling along the tile floor.
Xander knelt down as Faith crawled towards him, her dark hair soaked and naked body red from the hot water and steam, “Faith? What’s wrong? What happened?”
She looked up into his eyes and instantly he could see the pain and emotion there, “I’m sorry, Xand, we… we tried, we really did…”
He enfolded her into a hug, his clothes quickly soaking, “It’s alright, Faith, we’ll work though it… whatever it is.” He gently kissed her on top of the head but felt her shrink a little, which made him pull back, “Faith?”
She shook her head and huddled into a small ball, starting to rock back and forth, “No, don’t kiss me… haven’t earned it.”
Xander just sat there, bewildered, as Faith went on to repeat that and at the way she shrugged off every attempt he made to help her off of the ground or to dry her off. What in the name of hell had happened?
(Two Days Later – Jenny’s house)
Jenny looked at her new house-mate, “Tara, what’s going on? Why did you move out of Xander’s house?”
“It’s complicated,” was the only response she got from the Immortal Wicca, which irritated Jenny to no end as it was the only response she had gotten to ANYTHING from Tara over the past two days. Something had set the older woman off in such a way that she had moved into the Sunnydale Motel for two days and not even Faith was talking about what happened, which irritated Xander and herself more than anything.
Jenny sighed and walked down the hall to the kitchen of her three-bedroom house (while she’d had two bedrooms free, one was actually her library), where she found Xander standing at the sink, looking down at a dagger in his hands, “Xander?”
He looked up at her, “Hey, Jenny. She talking yet?”
Jenny shook her head, “Nothing productive – Faith?”
The younger Immortal shook his head, “No dice there – she’s stopped guilt-tripping over everything, but so far she seems to just clam up over everything else.” He then sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose, “I’m not sure what to be angrier over, Jenny – them not talking or the fact I can’t put my finger on the problem.”
Jenny shrugged and walked over, patting Xander on the shoulder semi-comfortingly, “Xander, if I had an easy answer, I would give it to you, but as I do not… all I can say is that things will work out as they are supposed to.” She then took up a spot at the counter next to him, leaning against both it and him, “How did you meeting with Drusilla go?”
“Well, it went okay, except for the fact I either pissed off or scared the Brujah clan – go me,” he chuckled weakly, which brought a smile to her lips. If Xander was laughing, it couldn’t be that bad.
“That’s good to hear, Xander.” Several minutes lapsed before she pulled away and looked at him again, “Did you really tell Rupert to send the girls if you had not come back or called this morning?”
Xander had the good grace to blush, an action she found rather adorable as he stammered for an answer, but she saved him with a hand to his chest and a chuckle, “It’s alright, Xander, I know you did what you thought was best.”
Xander apparently regained enough of his composure to grin at her, “I should spank you for that.”
Jenny felt her heart beat faster for a few seconds before she grinned and shook her head, “I’m still too much woman for you, Xander, and you never know, I might like it.” Again, Xander blushed and Jenny marked herself up another point on an imaginary score board.
Xander stopped blushing and grinned at her, “Would you prefer me to spank you with a paddle or my hand after I’ve turned you over my knee, Jenny?” Jenny blushed and notched up a point for Xander even as he stopped grinning, “I’m going to go talk with Tara, Immortal to Immortal.”
Jenny fought down her blush and nodded, “Keep blood off of the carpet, Xander.” He grinned at her and walked out of the kitchen, at which point she absently fanned herself – was it warm, or was it just her?
Even as Jenny wondered this, Xander found himself on the wrong end of a short sword, “Hi, Tara.”
The blonde Wicca was glaring at him over the guard of her sword, “What are you doing here?”
“Standing with a blade to my groin?” A sharp dig of the point told him to stop joking around, “I’m here to talk, that’s all.”
Tara glared at him for about two more seconds before she sighed and dropped her sword to the ground, “Go away, Xander.”
He shook his head, “No dice, Tare – we’re going to talk about this, one way or another, and I really don’t want to be a real bastard about this.” He walked over to her and put his hands on her shoulders, feeling her first tense up and then relax as he steered her towards the room’s two chairs. Once she was sitting, he sat in the other one, facing her, “Well? Do you want to start, or do I have to get annoying? I do annoying very well – ask Giles, if you want the real deal.”
Tara snorted and chuckled a little bit as she leaned back into her chair, crossing one leg over the other in a way that instantly reminded him of Sharon Stone, only Tara was wearing a longer skirt, “Are you sure, Xander? I don’t w-want to make you m-mad.”
He sighed, “Tanya,“ he saw her jerk at this and was sure she knew he used that name for a reason, “I’m not mad, I just want answers.”
She nodded, “Faith and I were in the back yard, talking, and we had a small heart-to-heart about how… close you and I had gotten over the past months; she thought I was trying to steal you from her, but I told her that I didn’t KNOW why I felt the way I did about you.” He quirked an eyebrow and she blushed, looking down, “I-I feel safe around you, safer than I’ve felt in a long time, Xander, and I thank you for that.”
He nodded a little, “No problem, Tara. What happened next?”
“We hugged and she started to drop off to sleep- did you know she purrs in her sleep?” He nodded and smiled a little even as Tara blinked a few times, “Anyway, that’s when Buffy and the others came in – they left pretty quickly, Faith woke up and we went back to sunbathing… and then we, well, we started making out.”
Xander arched an eyebrow, “I knew Faith was occasionally into girls, but if she wanted to have a relationship-“
Tara shook her head violently, “NO! No, it wasn’t like that, Xander. Something… it was like something was MAKING us do that, a compulsion…” She looked down and he could tell she was blushing, “We started having sex, right there on the back patio, and eventually ended up in your bed.” When Tara looked back up he was not too surprised to see tears in her eyes, “Xander, I honestly don’t know what happened, I swear to you.”
Xander, for his part, had only heard up to where she had started talking about compulsion, and then he had only really been half-listening – Cassandra’s words came back to him, the Prophecy, all of it, and as Tara finished he groaned and put his face into his hands, “Fuck, this isn’t good.”
He heard Tara suck in a breath, “I… I can leave Sunnydale, if you want.”
His head shot up, “Nonononono, Tara, not that, it’s just that I remembered something Cassandra told me.”
Tara’s eyebrow shot up, “Cassandra? As in the Witch of the Woods?”
Xander nodded, “Yeah, her, we met while I was off with a mutual… acquaintance of hers and mine.” He stood up and walked over, kissing Tara on top of the head, “Trust me, Tara, I think things will work out fine, but I need to do some research first before I can tell you or Faith anything. Just… be patient, okay?”
She looked up at him, blushing lightly, “Alright, Xander, but… tell us something soon, okay?”
He gave her a winning smile as he fished in his pocket for his cell phone, “Don’t worry, Tare, things will go great.” With that, he turned towards the door and started dialing a number he had committed to memory. “Yes, Human Resources? I need to speak with Adam Pierson, and tell him it’s in relation to Cassandra.”
(Several hours later)
“Again, why is it that I’m being sidelined, Wuss?” Faith’s voice was edged with anger even as she stalked back and forth, but from his vantage point he could tell that she was not going to be in the best of moods, even with the news he had to tell her.
“Because Mr. Harris has something to talk to you about, Faith,” Wesley said in his most pompous tone, which Xander KNEW would tick Faith off enough that she’d growl and sit down on the first thing that presented itself.
Like clockwork, Faith growled and plopped down on the edge of the table, “Well, where is he? I’m waiting?”
“Right here, honey,” Xander said as he walked out of the bookstacks, his signal to Wesley to get scarce, quickly, something that Wes did.
Faith stopped growling and smiled at him, “Hey, Xand, what’s up?” She then looked down at the front of his pants and frowned, “Not you, I see.”
“Two more months, Faith, that’s what you wanted, that’s what you’re getting,” he reminded her, which brought an even bigger pout, her overly-cute one that he could almost never resist. Somehow, though he did resist, “That’s not why I’m here, Faith.”
She smirked, “Not even a quickie?” The look he gave her was enough to snap her out of her playful mood – he never gave her looks like that, not unless it was important, “What is it?”
“Hear me out, okay?” She nodded and he went on, “I think I know what caused you and Tara to do what it is that you two did.”
Faith froze in place, shocked, “W-what?”
Xander took the opportunity that his girlfriend presented him, “It wasn’t your fault, Faith – it was Prophecy.” Her eyes narrowed instantly and he held up his hands, “I know, I know, but lemme explain and prove it.”
“Talk fast, Xander.” Oh, shit – his name, not even one of her cutsie names for him. He was in only moderately deep shit, “NOW, Xander, before I break out the middle and real names.”
He winced, “You remember when Methos and I took that trip? Met an old… friend of his, an acquaintance, really, and she’s a Seer – anyway, she’s almost never wrong and she had a prophecy about an Immortal child being born.”
Faith growled at him, “So you and Tara gotta do the nasty?”
Xander began to sweat – this wasn’t good, “Not just myself and Tara – you’re part of it, too.”
Faith arched an eyebrow, “Wait a sec – you said that Immortals can’t have kids.”
He nodded, “Yeah, I did, but this is different – prophecy sys the Protector of Man, Mother of Soil and Childe of Power would all contribute to make this child possible, but after that Cassandra didn’t tell me what was the what. I don’t know what is going to happen, or when, or even if it’s me who is the father, but you two are definitely parts of it.”
Faith looked at him warily now, “But you’ve never let prophecy dictate your life – hell, even B agrees with that, that you tell Prophecy to fuck off on a daily basis.”
He nodded, sighing, “I know, and that’s what’s worrying me, Faith. Free Will and all that, it’s what I love about being me.” He then snorted, “Of course, being Immortal, I only have partial Free Will, so that could be part of it, too.”
“Do you trust this Cassie woman?”
Xander arched an eyebrow, “Honestly? No – I only really trust Amanda, and I’m starting to trust Tara.”
“But… you and Methos, and that Duncan guy, you guys are tight.”
Xander shook his head, “We’re alright as acquaintances, but I don’t trust either one of them.” He sat down next to her and propped his feet up, “With Duncan, yeah, it has to do with how convenient his story is about his last student dying, but both Methos and Amanda say he’s good folk, so I tolerate him. With Methos, though, I don’t trust him because I shouldn’t, and he agreed with me on that.”
Faith nodded at this, “Okay, I can kinda understand that, but… why wouldn’t it be you? Isn’t that what ‘Alexander’ means?” He blinked at her and she held up both of her hands, “Hold it, I was talkin’ to Red and she told me that – sue me.”
He nodded, “Okay, I get that, and, well, stranger things have happened.” He sighed and leaned his head back, slumping in his seat just a little, “This is weird.”
Faith walked up to him and sat down in his lap, “Would it be so bad? Havin’ a kid and all?” She leaned against his chest and sighed, “Sure, I ain’t from great stock, given my mom and not knowin’ my dad, but…”
He nodded, “I know the feeling, only I could only hope to have not known Tony. Still, it’d be… interesting, to say the least.” He felt the siren song of his kind in his head and turned to see Tara walking into the Library, well, not so much walking as he saw her pushed into it and then saw Jenny’s favorite bracelet on the retreating hand, “Tara.”
(Earlier – Jenny’s house)
“I thought the meetings were going to be held at the new library?”
Jenny ignored the question as she made her way to the car, “Rupert said it was not ready yet, so we are going to the high school.”
Tara rolled her eyes, “I’m over two hundred years old, I’ve never stepped FOOT into a high school.”
Jenny gave Tara a smile, “Well, there is a first time for everything, Tara, and this time it’s going to be atop the mouth of hell.”
“Joy,” Tara snarked slightly.
Jenny got into the car and started it, “See? You’ve been spending enough time around Xander for his smart mouth to rub up… I mean off on you.”
Tara gave her a look as she tried to not blush from the Freudian slip, “And you know this for a fact?”
Jenny shook her head even as she almost-silently muttered, “I wish.”
Unfortunately, it wasn’t silent as Tara turned to her, “You too? What is it with him? Does he have some kind of magical spell on him that attracts women?”
Jenny did her best to control her blush, “Some could say that, but I personally think it has to do with the aura of protectiveness that he extrudes.”
To the side, Jenny saw Tara nod, “Yes, he does seem to make me feel safe, as I suspect he makes us all feel, but…”
Jenny shook her head, “He’s too young for me, Tara – as nice as it would be, I do believe I’ll just leave him with Faith.” That issue safely averted, the concentrated on driving to the school for several minutes before she asked, “So, how did you talk with Alexander go?”
She saw Tara stiffen slightly in her seat, “I’d rather not talk about it.”
She looked over at Tara and arched an eyebrow, “What did the boy do now? Honestly, I can’t leave him alone for a second…”
Tara sighed and Jenny knew that her plan had worked, “Xander didn’t do anything, Jenny, he just gave me some information that is… disturbing.”
The urge to make the obvious joke was too much, “Something disturbing from Xander – wow, that’s unheard of.” Jenny thought it would have gotten a smile out of the Immortal woman, but instead it got her a glare that made her aware that she was speaking to an elder, “Alright, no joking – what did he say?”
Tara was quiet for a moment before she uttered, “Prophecy.”
Jenny pulled the car to a stop at a stop sign and looked over, “What?”
Tara didn’t look over at her, “What Faith and I did… it was part of a prophecy amongst Immortals, only the third element wasn’t there to complete it.”
Jenny blinked at this revelation, “Xander… but he loathes prophecy. Why would he not fight this?”
Tara looked over at her and Jenny knew the next words were going to be important, “With all three of us, we shall begat a child, Jenny, something technically impossible for Immortals.” Tara looked down at her hands and Jenny could feel a new aura of sorrow, “I’ve held and raised many children, Jenny, but never one of my own. I’m … scared.”
Even as they came to the school, Jenny’s brain went on auto-pilot – a child; Tara, Xander, Faith and a child… no wonder none of them were really in the right frame of mind, “Tara… no, never mind. We’ll talk about this later – we have a meeting to get to.”
They got out of the car and made their way to the library, Tara obviously feeling Xander’s presence as they got there; when Jenny reached the door, she opened it slightly and motioned Tara in as Xander and Faith were talking, but when Tara made to go forwards, Jenny pushed the older Immortal in and then shut the door quickly behind her, locking it from the outside.
From the other side of the door, she hear an outraged, if slightly offended, huff from Tara and Jenny felt compelled to say, “Sorry, Tara, but youth and vigilance has beaten age and treachery this time.” With that and a smile, Jenny turned and walked off – if what Tara said was true, there was a nursery to design and she was already behind schedule.
(Inside the Library)
Faith watched as Tara stalked in front of the door like a bit, ANGRY tiger, snarling slightly even as she noticed that Xander had placed himself between her and Tara, “Tare? Tiger?”
Tara snapped her head over to the side and snarled, “WHAT?!”
Faith felt like crapping her pants as she stumbled back, “N-nothing.” Jesus, the Wicked Wicca was SERIOUSLY ticked – for the first time, Faith found herself not wanting to be Jenny when Tare got her hands on the older woman.
“Tara? Don’t be mad, okay? Jenny told me she was going to do this and I signed off on it,” Xand said to the angry witch, his tone schooled to calm the angry woman down as his hands were held up in a sign of peace, but Faith knew what he was doing. He’d heal (probably), but if Tare went after Jenny, that’d be another story.
Faith watched as Tara’s face screwed up for a moment in anger and then felt the power in the room slowly start to fade away, “Very well, Xander.” Tara then shivered and Faith was sure she saw the witch’s nipples were hard, “What is this place? The power here is… dark, EVIL.”
Xand walked over and led Tare over to where they were and sat her down, “Right over there, a few feet down, is the Hellmouth, Tara.” Tara instantly tried to get out of the chair and away, but Xander held her in place, “It takes a little while, but you get used to it.” Faith, to emphasize this point, sat down into Tara’s lap, wiggling a little as she did, and letting X go on, “Now, Tara, we’re all going to sit here and talk until we resolve what’s wrong-“
Faith chipped in, “Or we decide to do the nasty right here on the floor.” Both older Immortals looked at her, “What?”
Tara shook her head first, “There is nothing to talk about, Xander – it is prophecy, and from what you have told me, it is actually a very good one for us to follow through on.”
Xand, for his part, sounded very determined, “Something I won’t do if it makes you uncomfortable, Tara, you or Faith.”
Faith felt a smile creep up to her lips at the emotion behind Xander’s words – for not the first time, she felt giddy at the thought that, for once, a guy loved her not just for her body, or her power, but for her and he actually gave a damn about what she thought and felt.
Tare, apparently, felt the same way with the she turned red from the neck up, “Xander…”
“I’m serious, Tara – if you think this is too much, we’ll back off and figure out something else.” Xander was now behind and off to the side of Tare, just barely in her Slayer-enhanced peripheral vision, but Faith could tell that he was being dead serious; it was sweet, really.
Tara smiled at Xand and reached over, kissing him on the forehead, “Xander, you’re a real sweetie, but let Prophecy take its course. If it is going to happen, let it happen.”
For Xander’s part, he was feeling VERY relieved at this point – okay, so the whole situation was still fucked up, even from his prospective, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been, “Okay, I can deal with that. Faith?”
Faith looked at him from Tara’s lap and grinned, “Yeah… Sweetie?”
He gave her a look, “Don’t make me spank you, Faith.”
She grinned at him in a sultry way and licked her lips, “Only if I get to be bare-assed when you do it with your hands, stud.”
Tara looked down at him, a slight smile on her face as she said, “You won’t win with her, Xander.”
He mock-pouted, “Alright, I’ll concede to it.” He then looked up at Faith and grinned, “I’ll just have to put it on your tab.” Faith gave him a slightly worried look as he looked up at Tara again, “So, Jenny brought you here?”
Tara nodded slightly as she pursed her lips, “I need to get even with her. She may have youth and vigilance, but I have age and treachery.”
Xander grinned, “Need any help?”
(One week later – Jenny’s House)
Jenny looked over at Willow, who was concentrating, and then looked over at Tara, who had somehow conned Xander into moving her back into his house, “Am I really that bad of a housemate, Tara?”
Tara smiled at her as she looked up from her Western Civilization book, “No, Jenny, you’re not, but with Faith, Xander and I having semi-worked things out, its better that I’m with them.”
Jenny waited for more, but Tara just looked back down and went back to studying, so Jenny was forced to look over at Willow, whose eyes were open now, “Do you know how this happened, Willow?”
The red-haired magic-adept merely shrugged her shoulders, “Knowing Xander, it could have ranged from his infamous puppy-dog eyes to bribery of the sugary kind.” Willow then smiled, “That’s how he got me to wear that temporary tattoo of a frog back when we were kids.”
Jenny arched her eyebrow at the red-head, knowing her legendary fear of frogs and ‘creepy crawlies’, “Which one did he use?”
“Both,” Willow said promptly, her smile not fading. “It’s a potent combination.” Willow’s smile then faded, “The fact that he snuck it on me and, to this day, will probably say Jesse did it; that’s a lie, of course, given that Jesse knew I knew where his stash of dirty magazines were and what I’d do to them, he’d never prank me.” Jenny watched as Willow schooled her features into a very Oz-like mask before saying, “Jesse was a big poopyhead about that, pranking me like he used to, but nobody beat Xander when it came to pranks.”
“Of course,” Xander suddenly said from behind her, making Jenny screech a little and jump, “the fact that you can’t PROVE that is another issue all together.” Jenny looked at the Immortal, seeing the smug look on his face as he tipped an imaginary hat towards them all even as her heart slowed down from the jolt it had taken.
Once she had her breath back, and her heart had stopped racing, Jenny glared at him properly, “How did you get in here?”
He gave her a grin that, for an instant, made her knees weak before they solidified again, “The front door, actually. You really should remember to lock your doors, Jenny – it’s dangerous after dark here in Sunnydale.” With one last grin, he looked over at Tara, whom Jenny could see was smiling at something, “Ready, gorgeous?”
Tara arched an eyebrow at him, a grin playing on her lips, one that made Jenny think that something was up… and not her temperature, “What would Faith say if she heard you call me that?”
Xander looked up for a moment and Jenny felt a smile tug at her lips as she saw him comically tap his finger to his lips before answering, “Probably something rather lewd, rather tactless and sexually suggestive, but true, none the less.”
Jenny blinked at this and looked at Tara, who was smiling slightly, “Yes, she probably would. Do you think she’ll ever follow up on that… promise she made us? About how she wanted you, me and her to-“ Tara was cut off by a strangled squeak from Willow, who was now blushing a bright, bright red, and Tara looked at the magical adept with a frown, “Are you okay, Willow?”
Jenny, tugging at her own collar, coughed slightly, “Given her penchant for an overactive imagination… I would say ‘no’ is a good answer, Tara.” She then looked at Xander, who was looking a bit full of himself, and decided to deflate his ego a little, “So, you, Tara, and Faith… Xander, I’m hurt that you didn’t ask me to join in to turn your three-way into an orgy.” She sidled up to him and wrapped her arms around his neck, a smile on her face, “You know, you and I alone could be great together, but adding in Tara and Faith… it would be magical.”
In the past, she could have gotten a blush to match Willow, maybe even surpass it, and sputtering, lots of sputtering on the level that Rupert would have been proud of, but this time Jenny was pleasantly surprised when she felt Xander’s arms go around her body and pull her closer, his lips next to her ears, “Are you sure you want that, Jenny? When Faith and I get going, we don’t stop until one or both of us drop from exhaustion.” Jenny felt her heart begin to race as her mind began to supply images to his words, but he wasn’t done, “And Tara… she’s a wild-cat, someone that Faith could never hope to match. And there’s this thing that she does with her tongue…”
Jenny felt herself shaking in his grasp even as the words stoked her lust-addled mind into a fury that she hadn’t felt in a LONG time – she had to admit to herself that right now, if Willow and Tara hadn’t been there, she’d be hard-pressed to not throw Xander to the ground and have her way with him, but if he kept this up, she might be inclined to ask them to join in, “Xander…”
“Yes, Jenny?” She felt him pull away and looked up, seeing the gentle look on his face even as she felt heat on her back from what she assumed was Willow ready to spontaneously combust.
Before she could say anything, Tara spoke, “Let’s go, Xander. It’s Faith’s night to cook and you know what that means.”
“You’re right, Tare – Gino’s pizza, cola and ice cream, lots of it, too,” Xander said suddenly, pulling away from her even more and making her want to scream.
NO! This could NOT be happening! He’d gotten her this worked up, this quickly and now… he was LEAVING? “Xander…”
He looked back at her with that damned boyish grin of his and winked, “I’ll be back later to pick up the rest of Tara’s stuff, Jenny. Later, you too, Wills.” With that, Xander and Tara left the house and Jenny was sure that she was going to go insane!
From behind her, though, she heard Willow mumble, “What are you playing at, Xander?” Sadly, though, she was too turned-on to care and excused herself.
“You realize you’re going to hell for that, right, stud?” Xander looked over at Faith, who had half of a slice of pizza crammed into her mouth, and his girlfriend went on, “From what Tare tells me, you had Jen so turned on she was drippin’ and ya left her hanging.”
Now, under normal circumstances, nobody would have been able to understand what Faith said, as it sounded like, “Vu vealze ur gng ta ‘ell f’r tfat, vight, stufd? Ffrum fat Fare els fe, vu ‘ad Fen fo frned on fe fas frippin’ an fa lef fer hangin’.” Fortunately, he had been practicing his ‘Faith-with-mouth-full-of-food’-ese as of late and understood what Tara, given her blank look, did not.
“I may be going to hell for that, Faith, but at least I’ll go with one in the ‘win’ column against Jenny… and since when have you been watching Jenny, Tara?” He looked at the blonde Wicca, who was drinking her soda, “Is there something you want to tell us?”
Tara gave him a slightly naughty grin, “It’s not like I’m the only one in this room who thinks that Jenny’s sexy, Xander. In fact, I think we’re all in agreement on that.”
Xander looked at Faith, who nodded, and then back at Tara, “Okay, you’ve got us there...”
Faith swallowed the pizza in her mouth and, after a gulp of soda, said, “You know she’s gonna get even, right?” She followed this with a thunderous belch, smirking, “’Scuse me.”
“’Scuse pig,” he and Tara both quoted immediately, getting a chuckle out of Faith before he went on. “Oh, I don’t doubt that she’s going to try and get even, Faith, but somehow I don’t think it’ll be any time soon given the school schedule we have coming up.” He took once last slice of pizza and sighed, “Well, I hate to eat and run, but Buffy and I have patrol tonight with Willow and Oz. Later, ladies.”
After a quick stopover in his minor armory to pick up his sword and some typical vamp slaying stuff, he was off at a trot to meet up with the others, wondering just why it was that he felt a shiver go up and down his spine as he left the front door.
“So, do you think we should let him think that we’re not going to rat him out to Jenny, Faith?”
Faith smirked at her, “Sure we should, Tiger. After all, we girls gotta stick together.” She reached over to the phone and dialed Jenny’s number, “Jen? Faith. Wanna get even with boytoy?”
(University Library – basement)
“So, tell me again WHY I’m being asked here tonight?” Buffy was, once again, lamenting her lot in life verbally and it was starting to wear thin, “I have a date with this guy, Parker Abrams-“
Giles finally had enough of it as he put a book down somewhat forcibly, “Buffy, do be quiet and finish arranging the training weapons while we try and map out the rest of the new patrol routes.” Xander had to admit that, as of late, Giles had been a little more up front with Buffy, not letting her run so roughshod over him, and while occasionally it seemed a bit… rude, Xander knew that unless you told Buffy EXACTLY what you wanted, the results tended to be mixed.
Buffy, for her part, only sulked and finished moving the weapons racks where Giles had told her to put them – it wasn’t fair! She had a life and a date!
After about ten more minutes, Giles called them over, “Xander, as Willow is with Oz during his… indisposed moments, you and Buffy will be patrolling this quadrant of the map.” Giles circled four cemeteries and a small business area, “Do try and be careful.”
Buffy snorted, “He’s Immortal, what does he have to worry about?”
Xander glared at her for a moment, “Stop acting like a little girl, Buffy; there will be other dates with guys who go through Freshman girls like socks.”
She looked up at him oddly, “What? That’s only a rumor!”
Xander rolled his eyes at her, “He’s hit on Tara a dozen times, slept with no less than seven other girls and is now set on you… and that’s this semester, Buffy.”
She blinked at this but then shook her head, “No, it’s only a rumor. I don’t date guys like that.”
Xander just sighed at her in that ‘I’m not sure why I even bothered’ kind of way that he seemed to have picked up from Giles and then turned to the Watcher, “Anything else, G-man?”
“Don’t call me that, Xander, and no, nothing else.” As soon as Giles said that, she was on her feet and heading for the door, but Giles wasn’t done, “But do be sure to check in on Oz and Willow.”
Buffy turned and growled at Giles for a moment, knowing that he knew that she was hoping to at least salvage her date with Parker, but then turned and stormed out of the room –as she left, though, she heard Giles say to Xander, “And if you run across this Parker prat, introduce him to his spleen.”
“So, what’s it like?”
“What’s what like, Buffy?”
“Chopping off someone’s head and getting that big lightning storm?”
He looked at her oddly, “It’s taken you almost a year and a half to get around to asking me this… why?”
Buffy just shrugged as she sat on the gravestone, waiting for the newbie to rise, “Dunno, just never did. So?”
Xander just shrugged at her as he spun his sword, point in the ground, around in a circle, “Just like decapitating a demon, but at the end there’s an electrocution that leaves you either feral, famished or horny.”
Buffy felt the heat race to her cheeks even as she watched the ground grow more and more disturbed, the vamp obviously pushing its way up, “Okay, so what is it like being Immortal, then? I mean, the whole ‘I’ll never get older’ kind of thing?”
The vampire burst out of the ground but was immediately decapitated by Xander, “It’s a rush at first, but after a while it starts to really suck.”
Buffy heard this but was busy pouting, “That was my vamp.”
“Was too!” Buffy growled at him one last time and then stomped off, in the general direction of where Willow had Oz chained up – Xander, for his part, could SEE the steam pouring out of her ears and nose as she did so and sighed.
“Jeeze, must be that time of the month…”
The stake that was flung in his general direction told him that she had, indeed, heard his statement…
“You KNOW better than to steal Buffy’s vamps during this week of the month, Xander,” Willow berated him even as Oz snoozed in wolf-form (snored, actually), he sharpened a stake and Buffy gorged herself on chocolatey goodness. “She’s a real bitch about it.”
Xander nodded even as Buffy looked up from her chocolate bar with a growl before going back to it, “True. So, Wills, how’s the magic going?”
Willow sighed and leaned back against him, “It’s not. Jenny and Tara both say that I need to get in touch with my ‘true self’ in order to harness magic correctly, that I’ve been doing it the wrong way all this time, and to do that I have to give up coffee!”
Xander arched an eyebrow at her, “So, we’re safe from Caffinated!Willow for a while, then?” The growl she sent him told Xander he was on VERY thin ice, so he treaded lightly, “How’re things with Oz? He stop acting all spacey as of late?”
Willow stopped growling at him and nodded, “It was a female werewolf who was trying to seduce him.” Xander growled at this, an act that made Oz’s wolf ears perk up a bit, but Willow reached over and smacked him on the end of the nose, “Bad Xander! It wasn’t his fault.”
Xander rubbed his offended nose, “He’s male, Wills – by your woman rules, OF COURSE it’s his fault. And, damn it, I’m not a dog, so no smacking me on the nose.”
“Just be glad I didn’t have a rolled up newspaper,” Willow said to him, eliciting a slight shiver out of Oz’s slumbering wolf form. “Now, how are things with you, Tara and Faith?”
He shrugged, “Things are okay – we got one up on Jenny today, well, Tara and I did, and it’s not all squicksom for us.” He then grinned, “Though we’ve been planning to have an orgy that you’re welcome to join in on…”
Willow blushed a bright red and smacked him, again, on the end of the nose, “Xander!”
Xander glared at her, “Keep this up and Oz gets pictures and stories of when we were younger, especially the ones that have you in striped socks, a skirt and with pigtails.”
She stopped blushing and paled, “You wouldn’t.”
He grinned at her – Willow Longstocking would see the light of day again…
His line of thought was interrupted by a smack on the back of the head and Buffy sitting down next to them, chocolate around her mouth and, somehow, on the end of her nose, “No teasing Willow, Xander.” Willow smiled brightly at the Slayer and Buffy went on, “That’s my job.” His response was to bring up his secret weapon, something he’d been storing up for a while now, a single-use camera, and he snapped a picture of Buffy’s face at close range before dancing out of the way of her grasping hands and ignoring her outraged squeals.
Soon, with Willow and Buffy chasing him out in the night-darkened graveyard, only Oz’s snores filled the small tomb.
Tara looked at the Slayer and Romany woman in trepidation as they both laughed evilly over the items that Jenny had brought, and for a moment, she actually felt sorry for Xander when he got back home.
Faith stopped laughing and threw her an object wrapped in black silk, “This one’s yours, Tiger.”
Tara blinked and pulled the silk off, a smile spreading across her lips as she did – she didn’t feel sorry for Xander anymore, not one bit. Soon, very soon, they would have their revenge on Xander…
Xander pouted at Buffy and Willow both took turns smashing his camera with large pieces of stone even as Oz slept fitfully, his legs twitching slightly as he appeared to be dreaming about chasing something. What a picture that would have made…
Buffy smiled at him sweetly, some of the chocolate still around her mouth, as she picked up the pieces of the camera and handed them back to him, “Here you go, Xander.”
He looked mournfully down at the pile of broken plastic, but then looked up with a smile, “You broke my camera, Buff – I may have to spank you for that.”
Buffy didn’t blush at this, instead she just leaned forwards and smiled, “How do you know that I wouldn’t like that, Xander?”
Remembering Jenny’s exact same words, he grinned back at her, “Oh, I don’t know; would you let me use my bare hand? And, more importantly, are you clothed or unclothed?”
THIS got a blush out of Buffy as she jerked back, “Xander!”
He grinned at her as he leaned back, three for three, “Yes?” He quickly ducked a thrown magazine from Willow and a chocolate bar wrapper (one that had been licked clean of all chocolate residue) by Buffy, not losing his grin – yes, this would be a good night to wrack up a bunch of points against the girls.
Willow growled, “Just you wait, Mister – we’re going to tell Jenny, Faith and Tara about this and we’ll get even.”
Xander lost his grin as the girls both began to chuckle evilly – this was not good.
(Several weeks later – January 7th)
To call Xander ‘paranoid’ was somewhat redundant under normal circumstances – even when he was nipping down to the corner store to get a gallon of milk, he was probably more heavily-armed than most police officers with his sword and a few other odds and ends on top of a handgun, but over the past few weeks, day by day, he had become more and more so to the point that, if a pin dropped, he was diving for cover and looking for any or all of the females in his life.
Now, though, was only one of those times that he actually seemed relaxed; he was in the bathroom, having just finished his morning shower, and he was currently shaving when he realized something (nominally because of the blood on his face) – someone else had used his razor, one which had been freshly-changed the day before, on something other than his face. With a sigh and a shake of his head, he stormed off to the most likely culprit, “Faith!”
Said Slayer stuck her head out of her room, a smile on her face, “Ah, just how I love my name – being shouted by a semi-clothed man.” He gave her a glare and she smirked, “What’s up, Xand?” She then looked down and grinned, “Besides Not-so-little Xand?”
“You used my razor.”
She nodded slowly, “Yeah, and?”
He growled, “You didn’t replace the blade – why?”
She gave him a semi-innocent look, “Because if I showed you where I shaved, you wouldn’t have minded?”
He rolled his eyes and looked down at her lack of shorts, “You’re wearing those sheer, almost transparent, white silk panties that Amanda gave you to tease me with, Faith – it’s not that difficult for me to notice, and don’t dodge the question.”
Faith sighed, “Because Tare needed it after me.”
Xander felt his left eyebrow tic just a little as he pulled his hand down over the shaven, and healed, side of his face, “And WHY did Tare need it?”
Faith shrugged, “Why else? She wanted to shave the cat.” Faith then grinned at him a she walked out and pulled his towel off, leaving him with only about three quarters of his lower face covered in shaving cream, and nothing else, “If you wanna find out, I’m sure she’d let ya.”
Xander grinned a little and pulled her front flush with his body, making SURE to grab that overly-sensitive spot on her lower back…
“Oh, God, Xand…”
…oh yeah, given the way she was groaning, he’d hit it, “Why, Faith, just think – two more days and nights to go until your birthday.”
Her dark eyes were filled and overflowing with lust as she ground against him, “Xand, don’t make me wait.”
He kissed her on the forehead before pulling away, leaving a good bit of shaving cream on her upper face, “Sorry, baby, but you made the date, I’m just sticking by it.” With that, he turned, still clad in only in a bit of shaving cream and a razor, and marched to his bathroom even as he heard Tara’s door open and her whistle slightly.
“And here I thought it was Faith’s birth-“ Tara’s words were cut off as he shut the door to his bathroom and reached for the last of his blades – yes, just two more days and the massive amounts of UST that had built up between him and Faith over the past month would FINALLY be released…
He looked down at where, when Faith was involved, his brain was stored, “Down boy.” With that, he went back to shaving.
Ten minutes later, he was dress, sitting in the kitchen, and drinking a cup of coffee even as Faith and Tara both came down, smiling as they did, which caused Xander’s recent paranoia to start to rush back to ‘heart-attack’ high levels, “Morning, ladies.”
“Morning, Xander,” they both said in unison, coming over to him, and kissing him, first Tara and then Faith, who practically shoved her tongue down his throat.
Once Faith pulled back, Xander felt his rampaging paranoia go up another notch, “Morning you two.”
Tara smiled at him as she got herself a cup of coffee, “So, what’s up?”
Faith was on the question before he could say anything, “You mean besides boytoy when he came out of the bathroom?” She turned and wiggled her eyebrow at him, “You just need to remember how to do that in a few days, Xand – I’m gonna need it.”
He grinned at her a little, “Well, then I guess this would be a bad time to tell you that I’m going to be out of town, then, right?”
If it were possible for someone to kill another by just a look, Xander was sure that most of his body and a good chunk of the back wall would have been gone from the look that Faith gave him, “Don’t you DARE tell me you’re not-“
He held up his hands quickly, “I’ll be here, Faith! I was just yanking your chain a little.”
The reaction was instant as she stopped glaring and smiled bright, making a kissing motion at him before going to get a cup of coffee, “Thanks, stud!”
He looked over at Tara, who looked a little surprised herself, and sighed, “So, you ready to start this wonderful time they call ‘Finals’?”
Tara nodded and then sipped her coffee as Faith dumped a half of the sugar bowl into her cup, “Just think, Xander, you’re Immortal and will have to do this time and time again.”
He growled, “Can you just take my head, then? Wouldn’t that be less painful?”
Tara smiled at him as she reached over and patted his cheek, “But Xander, where would be the fun in that?”
(Later – campus quad)
“OhXanderitsgoodtoseeyouIwashopingtoseeyou.TheyfinallyletmehavemycoffeeagainstaferIfoundawaytoconnectbacktoGaiatherightwayand-“ Willow’s babbling stream of hyper-caffeinated babble was muffled as she buried herself into Xander’s chest and, even though Tara knew that her student was human, she had to admit that she was impressed that the little redhead’s heart hadn’t exploded. Strewn about were four extra large cups, all of them from the Java Pump, and the scent and evidence of chocolate, whipped cream, espresso and syrup that still filled the still air.
She smiled as Xander stroked the back of Willow’s head, his hands gliding over her hair as he kissed her on the crown of her head, smiling, “That’s my Willow as she was meant to be – artificially perky due to over-consumption of caffeine.”
Willow pulled away from him as Oz walked up, “Iamnotperkybecauseofcaffeine!”
Xander shook his head as he kissed the magical adept on her nose, “And as indignant as ever about getting called on it.” Willow blushed as Oz wrapped his arms around her, “So, Oz, how is everything?”
Tara tuned out the conversation as they walked their way towards the library – she had been feeling a bit… off for the past few days, as if her connection to the Earth was starting to mutate a little, and she knew that unless she figured out why that was, her magic would soon begin to suffer.
Of course, there was another reason why she could have been losing her connection to the Earth, one that she did not want to consider in that it would mean that a certain Prophecy would soon come to fulfillment; sure, she liked having sex as much as the next woman, but the fact that she was about to have sex with two people, both of whom she lived with, and was about to break a tenant of Immortality and produce a CHILD… it made her shudder slightly. She wasn’t what one could call ‘mother’ material, and Faith thought the same of herself, though as a Slayer, but if by some impossible act that a child was produced from this joining, Tara knew that she would stick with it to the end.
“Hmm, I wonder if Xander will pass out cigars?”
“For passing my Algebra finals? You betcha, Tare.” She blushed as Xander answered her unconscious question as the world came back to hr and she saw that they were now at the library. He looked at her and, for a moment, Tara felt like she wanted to rip off his clothes and make him hers, “Something wrong, Tara?”
She shook her head to clear the feeling she was having and managed to get out, “No, not at all, just… day dreaming.”
Willow and Oz nodded at her, but Xander grinned, “Really? What’s her name?”
For a moment Tara blushed, as did Willow, though Oz only arched an eyebrow, but she then smiled at Xander and patted him on the cheek, “First of all, who said it was a ‘she’ and secondly… that would be telling.” With that, she walked past him and on into the library, confident that she had, once again, gotten one up on Xander.
(Xander’s Kitchen – 0900, Faith’s Birthday)
Xander stirred his coffee a bit as he thought back over the past few days – he’d been really in and out of it since Finals started, more so than normal, and while it was occasionally good for a laugh, he couldn’t explain why it was he was feeling so… well, out of it.
He scratched his leg through his shorts and took a drink from his coffee – Faith was still asleep upstairs, as was Tara, and in about an hour they’d both wake up and Faith’s all-day birthday part would start.
Xander then smirked and muttered, “Of course, the all-night party will then begin.” Faith had been rather adamant on what she wanted for that night and Xander knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that if she didn’t kill him from their efforts that night, it wouldn’t be for their mutual lack of trying.
The sound of the key hitting the lock jerked him out of his reverie and he looked in time to see Jenny entering the doorway, “Hey, Jenny.”
She grinned back at him, “Xander. What’s up?”
He shrugged, “Only you and me, apparently. Coffee?”
She smiled at him bigger this time, “Bless you, young man – you have saved what is left of my sanity from shopping for Faith by mentioning the presence of the Great Bean.”
He chuckled at that, getting up to fix her a cup of coffee, “You know, if anyone but me ever figures out that you’re a bigger coffee-addict than Willow, they’re going to send you to Coffee Drinkers Anonymous, right?”
She took the offered cup, black, no sugar or cream, and inhaled the aroma, “Then I will have to persuade you to not tell them, then.”
He said nothing in return and, instead, went back to drinking his coffee as Jenny went off to the dining room to do something. Honestly, it was a good day to-
Xander jerked as he felt something sharp hit him in the neck and, as he reached up to grab it, the world began to spin – it was a dark… no, a dart… with feather… oh, nice little… feather… tranquilizers… sleepy time…
From her point in the dining room, Jenny lowered the pistol that she had loaded with darts for a moment before she fired four more into Xander after his head hit the table and he began to snore. She put it down and grabbed the small two-way radio she had in her purse, “He’s down, girls – Vengeance Is Ours.”
Was it cold in the room, or was it just him?
That was the first thought that came to mind as the rather chilly air, a mind that was still a little muddled and fuzzy over just HOW he had gotten wherever he was… and why was it so damned cold?
“Hello, Xander.” He felt something being removed from his eyes and was greeted by the sight of a smiling Jenny, her face made up and a wicked gleam in her eyes.
After a few attempts, he managed to get out, “Hi.”
She smiled a bit as he felt something move across his chest, “Comfy?”
He blinked a few times and tried to reach for whatever was moving, but found his hands were tied… with what appeared to be silk scarves, to the bedposts. Two experimental moves of his legs told him that they were similarly bound, “A little tied up at the moment.”
Jenny giggled a bit before he felt the thing moving on his stomach stop and pull away, poking something onto the end of his nose, “You know, Xander, a woman can be spoiled by your sense of humor.”
He crossed his eyes to get a good look at the thing tapping the tip of his nose and felt his heart drop to his… well, spine in this case when he recognized it – a riding crop, “Um… not to be rude, but why do you have a riding crop in your hands, Jenny?”
She pulled away with a smile, “Because it goes with the rest of my outfit.”
Xander looked at her outfit and felt his mouth go dry – Jenny had on what, at best, could be described as a softer version of a dominatrix outfit; she wore a tight black leather corset that lifted, yet separated, her breasts, which were semi-exposed by the leather being substituted for lace in that point.
Jenny took his chin between her fingers and made him look up at her face, “Now, now, Xander, you know better than to stare.” She straddled him, making sure to drag her nylon-encased legs over as much of his exposed skin as possible before seating herself on his lower abdomen, “Now, are we comfortable?”
Xander shook his head, “No, not really.”
Jenny smiled, “Good. After all,” she went on, seeing his pained look, “You’ve been a naughty boy.”
Xander shook his head again in a futile hope to clear it, “You know, I think I’ve had this dream before…” He winced as she smacked him on the chest with her crop, looking down at him with an imperious look, “I’m not really into B and D, Jenny, let alone being teased like this, and this is Faith’s night – let me go.”
“Who said that this was my idea, Xander?” Jenny leaned down and, with infinite care, turned his head towards the door as she tapped something that let out a crystalline chime, “Meet my co-conspirators.”
The door opened slowly and the two goddesses who walked in made Xander hope and pray that this wasn’t another one of his dreams – Faith was first, dressed much the same as Jenny was, only her ensemble was in white, her dark hair teased out slightly and very little in the way of makeup on her face, and a wicked grin was on her face as she popped her riding crop against her thigh lightly, “Hiya, stud – hope you’re ready, ‘cause it’s going to be a LONG night.”
“Don’t tease him too much, Faith,” said the second goddess, Tara, her lips drawn back into a smirk, “that’s my job.” Tara, thankfully (though a part of his mind protested that idea) was not dressed in leather, but instead her body was swathed in silk, nice, blue silk that reminded him of a clear summer’s day, only it clung to her body in ways that made him ache. A simple bra, panties and stockings number, she did not carry a crop with her, but instead it was a large, fluffy feather, which she traced through the air with a serene smile on her lips as she stopped, pausing only to toss back her hair, which was braided into a single tail, “Now, Xander, I know you liked teasing Jenny like you did a few weeks ago, but you were a BAD boy doing that…” Xander whimpered slightly as both Tara and Faith crawled onto the bed, Faith on the left, Tara on the right, but Tara wasn’t done, “And I know I enjoyed it.”
“Problem is, Xand, that Jen here has a wicked nasty streak in her.” Faith leaned down and kissed him on his left pectoral muscle before pulling back and tracing her crop around his nipple, “I asked her if she wanted to get even and she came up with this… with our blessings, of course.”
Xander shook his head slightly as he felt that fog begin to claim it again, but saw for a second that Tara, too, appeared to be a little off as Jenny smiled, “Now, Xander, you DO know the old rules, right? ‘Do unto others…’?”
He nodded slowly as he felt her grind herself back onto his straining member, “Some… something’s wrong.”
Faith shook her head as Tara traced a feather over his legs, leaning down to whisper into his ear, “No, stud… everything’s JUST right.” The clocks took that point to chime at six, which signaled that, indeed, Faith was officially eighteen, which caused her to smile, “Now, Xand… let… let’s party…” She looked down at him with an odd look even as he felt the feather stop moving and saw Tara look at him the same way… why was it getting so hard to think?
Soon, though, there was no thinking needed as instinct took over…
The first thing that came to Jenny’s mind as she swam towards consciousness was that she wasn’t alone in bed – in fact, if she wasn’t mistaken, Xander was behind her, his nose buried in her hair, and Tara was spooned against her front… and they were all naked. This brought a smile to her lips – her plan had worked, sort of, in that while she had wanted to TEASE Xander before he and Faith got to it, she and Tara, apparently, had also gotten in on the festivities. Oh well, she thought as she carefully extracted herself from between the two Immortals, who quickly closed the gap between them, no harm in that – it’d been a long while since she’d been in a single-man orgy…
Once out of the bed, Jenny slowly pulled on a robe as her muscles protested her movement – Faith and Xander, while young, more than made up for that in vigor while Tara… by the Goddess, that woman was insatiable. Who would have guessed that the blonde-haired Immortal would have been so domineering in bed…?
Walking around the flung pieces of leather and silk, Jenny made her way to the bathroom and, after a few minutes, felt only slightly less sore with an empty bladder and mint-fresh breath, enough so that she was able to make her way down the stairs and to the kitchen in order to get the coffee pot going. In all of this, she had been hard-pressed to keep a rather large smile off of her lips, but that smile instantly vanished when she heard an unfamiliar sound fill the air.
A baby. More to the point, if the cries were interoperated correctly, an upset baby.
The baby was wrapped in one of the large, fluffy green towels that Xander loved, pink and tiny, rather upset at the fact that she (confirmed with a quick check under the towel) was alone, hungry and messy. Jenny took one look at it and felt her heart begin to melt at the mere sight as she reached over and pulled the baby out of the messy towel, cooing slightly in order to quiet it, and then made her way up the stairs – yes, this was going to be QUITE the eye-opener to the others…
(Ten minutes later)
Xander looked over at Tara, who was staring at the baby girl in some kind of awed trance before looking over at Faith, who was staring at the same baby with a rather large level of trepidation before he sighed and sat down onto the couch – he wasn’t ready to be a dad, on ANY level… not after the way he had been reared… but the baby girl was his, she had to be with those ears and feet…
He accepted the mug of coffee that Jenny handed to him as she sat down next to him, “How does it feel? You have a daughter.”
“And me without the cigars,” he managed to quip weakly. He carefully put the shaking cup of coffee down before he buried his face into his hands, “I’m scared, Jenny.”
He gave her a look, “You’ve heard about Tony Harris, you’ve read his police files… and he raised me. What the hell do I know about raising kids? What kind of a dad am I going to be?”
Jenny just shrugged and sipped her coffee, “The best one you can be, Xander. Look at Faith – she has a past much like yours, and she’s dealing with this a bit better than you.”
“Because she knew she COULD have kids, Jen,” he pointed out. “That baby is the fulfillment of a prophecy and as much as I hate it…” he sighed and stood up, running his hands through his hair before walking over to where Tara was touching the now-quiet baby, “I’m not sure if I can handle this.”
Tara looked up at him and she smiled a little, “Xander, I think we can handle this.” She looked back down and tickled the baby’s tummy, which got the little girl’s eyes to open, “But we need to name her. What do you think, Xander?” She waited for a few seconds and then looked up, “Xander?” She could see his eyes boring into the green eyes of the little baby and, for a second, she could swear his eyes were glowing a little, “Xander? Are you okay?”
“Cub.” She watched with some level of trepidation as Xander slowly knelt down and looked into the baby’s eyes – HER baby’s eyes… and then sniffed her a few times, “Cub.”
“Ain’t namin’ her that, stud,” Faith chipped in weakly as she joined them. Tara could see a few tears gathering in the eyes of the dark-haired Slayer as she began to smile, “I think she looks like a ‘Hope’.”
“We’re NOT using your middle name, Faith,” Jenny said as she also walked over, her eyes a mystery. “We could use my mother’s middle name, though – she looks like a ‘Dawn’.”
Tara smiled a little, liking the name a lot, “Dawn… I like that.” She looked down at the baby, who was staring intently at Xander, “What do you think, honey? Do you like ‘Dawn’?” The baby gave a slight noise at it, and Tara nodded, “It’s settled, then – Dawn.” She then frowned and took another sniff of the air, wrinkling her nose, “And, as you seem so enamored with her, Xander, you get to go get your pants and wallet and go get her some diapers, not to mention some formula.”
Faith nodded quickly, “And he gets to change the squirt first, too.” She waved her hand in front of her nose quickly, “Man, that’s rank.”
Jenny watched Xander, though, as he peered at the baby some more and smiled – only a father’s love could possibly hold up against a gassy infant.
Dawn Hope Harris slept soundly in a converted sock drawer as Faith, Jenny and Tara were joined by Joyce in looking for proper baby things, Willow and Buffy were both making doe eyes at the little tyke while Giles had Xander off to the side, speaking to him quietly about some of the things he could expect about having a child in the house (lack of sleep, odd hours, smelly nappies… quite like many teenagers, in Giles’ opinion, an opinion that got him glared at by both Slayers, Willow and Xander), but inside he was sure that, regardless of the years and bumps ahead, that this group of children and Immortals would indeed raise the little girl as well as they could.
“Eww!” He looked over at Buffy, whom had jerked back and was holding her nose, “Xander, she just pooted!”
Xander sighed at the Slayer, “Babies do that, Buffy, it’s a balance to the whole cute factor they have.”
Buffy glared at Xander, “Well, change her!”
Xander rolled his eyes, “Oh, is the big, bad Slayer scared of what she might find in the diapers?”
“She may not be,” Willow chipped in as the ladies all looked up from the table to watch the proceedings, “but I am. Please Xander?” Willow turned on Xander, in Giles’ educated opinion, one of the most deadly weapons in a woman’s arsenal – ‘the eyes’, “Change her?”
Xander, though, stood resolute, “Nope – you find it, you change it. Besides, if you two are going to ever want to watch her, you’ll have to know how to change my little Dawn-Patrol.”
Buffy glared at Xander and Giles knew that Xander had her in a trap… and Buffy knew it, “Fine. Just show me what to do.”
As Xander, Willow and Buffy all went off to change Dawn, Giles found himself drawn to the other ladies, all of them pouring over an ever-growing list of things that Xander was going to be buying for the baby, a list that stopped growing as Buffy and Willow were both heard shrieking, “Ewwww!”
Faith snorted, “I swear that kid’s gonna be taken by the military as a weapon or something.”
Tara just sat there with a motherly glow for a moment, leafing through a catalogue that Joyce had brought over, “You’re only saying that because she peed on you, Faith.”
Joyce chuckled, “No worse than Buffy when she was a baby, though she always did it to me and not Hank.” Joyce then frowned, “Exactly who is going to buy all of this stuff, though?”
Faith and Tara were joined by Jenny as they chimed in, “Xander, he’s the millionaire.” Jenny then put in, “Though my family WILL be putting wards around the crib – it’s traditional in the Clans.”
Giles looked at Jenny, “You… you were in on this?”
Jenny shrugged at him, “Not at first, I was just going to tease him, but… well, I joined in. She has my nose, though.”
Giles sighed, “Oh good Lord, that boy has the most infernal knack…” Giles went quiet as he noticed that Joyce was looking at him primly, “Yes?”
“Rupert, would NOW be a good time to tell you I’m pregnant?”
Giles blinked once, twice, and then a third time before he managed to say, “Oh my,” and passed out.
AN: Alright, peoples, that's it - FINALLY! (does the happy dance) So, what do you think? Reviews, please...