On a Grunt and a Prayer
Author: Anime Ronin
Rating: PG-13, I’d think
Summary: YAHF – take one teenager, one chaos mage, and one handyman with an insurance premium higher than the Kinevil family and you get this fic.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
AN: One-shot fic – I’m not sure anyone has the strength (or Sunnydale would survive) another chapter from this story.
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It had been a night of horror and terror for those who remembered it, but for those who experienced it, it had been nothing more than a bad candy-induced dream of some kind … for all but one, that is – ever since that night, he hadn’t stopped thinking, stopped drawing … stopped grunting like a primitive man, and it was slowly consuming what was left of his sanity.
The official death count was no humans, though a few were still in the hospital from wounds received from the dozen or so explosions around town over the four hours of chaos, no less than fifty vampires (according to Willy), two of whom were part of the group led by Angelus himself, and about twenty or so other demons that were in various stages of decomposition. Some of these had been taken out by the old fashioned method of staking and decapitation, but others had been destroyed when his costume had decided to … tweak … the old methods. Willow still would not talk to him after, in a few minutes, Tim had broken into a hardware store, stole a few things, duct taped them together and made a flame thrower that could cook a vamp at fifteen feet – she wouldn’t get near him if his hands were near anything construed as a tool or as a potential weapon of mass demon destruction.
He shook his head, grunting slightly, “Oh, no, ooh, ooh, ooh.” His Willow was scared of him.
“What is that you say, Xander?” He looked over the big block to Giles, who was dutifully cleaning the spark plugs on this vintage ‘Cuda, a car that he drove expressly on the weekends and Xander had spent nearly ten minutes paying homage to on his knees, genuflecting, before he got to work with the elder Briton.
“Nothing, Giles, just … just thinking about how to get Willow to stop being scared of me, mostly; I mean, she was a ghost last week, it’s not like I could have hurt her.”
He looked over at Xander and then over at the bench full of … things that Xander had brought over that morning, “Xander, it’s been a week since Halloween has passed, and in that time you have designed, built, modified and rebuilt a gas-powered projectile thrower that has a range of nearly fifty feet on it’s LOWEST setting, a flame thrower powered by an aerosol can, you’ve fixed just about everything in Joyce’s house and you suddenly have the most vast repository of car information that I’ve ever seen.”
Xander gave him the most innocent look and, after pointing at himself, uttered, “Arugh?”
“Yes, you,” he went on, putting down the spark plug with a sigh, “and if Principal Snyder ever finds out that it was you who glued him to his seat, glued his door shut and welded the doors of his car shut, I fear to think what would happen to you.”
Xander gave him a scandalized look, “That … that THING was not a car, Giles! It was a Hot Wheels with a lawnmower engine in it!” Xander then looked over at the ‘stake slinger’, as he called it, “Though if you just gave me ten minutes, I could get another ten feet out of that lowest setting, Giles – I’d just have to tweak the pressure valve and –“
“NO!” Xander looked over at Giles and could see the look of pure terror on his face as he composed himself, slightly, “That is to say, that’s quite alright, Xander.”
The door to the garage opened at this point and both men looked over to see Buffy, with Willow hiding behind her, “Giles? You … you … you have a car.” Buffy walked over and gently touched the fender of the ‘Cuda, “You have a REAL car … and you didn’t tell us?”
“Yes, Buffy, I do,” he said even as he and Xander got out from under the hood, wiping their hands from the tune up they had been performing, “and NO, you can not drive it.”
Buffy gave him a wounded look, “Why not? It’s just a car, after all.”
Silence reigned in the garage for several minutes, not a word being said or a sound being heard – finally, though, that silence was broken by an angry grunt, “ARUGH! ARUGH! Out, get out!” Xander proceeded to start to ‘ook’ in anger even as his fellow gear-head erupted.
Ripper sputtered, “A Car? JUST A BLOODY CAR?!?” Buffy blinked at him several times before he pointed to the door, “OUT! Be gone, defiler! Just a bloody, soddin’ car, she says.”
Xander growled low in his throat, “No, no respect for the car, arugh, arugh, arugh, no respect at all.” He then stopped, looking down at the tube of grease in front of him, then up at Ripper, who started to grin, “Hey, Buff, you want to work on the car?”
She gave Xander a worried look as Giles grinned a really frightening grin, “Yeah … why?”
He dipped his fingers into the grease, “Well, Buff, if you want to work on it, and possibly drive it, you’d have to tell the car you’re sorry.”
Buffy sighed even as Willow began to back up and close the door, “Xander, yes, it’s a nice car, but it’s just a car.” Both of her closest male friend and her Watcher stiffened at this slightly even as Willow got out of the door and shut it, locking it as well, “I’m not going to say I’m sorry for it, Xander.”
“I am not Xander anymore,” Xander said in a deeper, more ‘heroic’ voice even as he came towards her, his fingers covered in grease, “I am Devorian, the car avenger, and as punishment and homage to the car you must be anointed with the sacred grease!”
She backed up as he came at her with his fingers outstretched, going towards the back of the car, but stopped as Giles came up behind her and held her in place with a hold he’d never taught her before, “Xander, don’t you dare.”
Even as Buffy began to struggle, Xander smiled and came forwards, “The car gods demand this, Buffy.”
“Don’t you DARE, Xander!”
In Giles’ front room, where she had turned on the record player, Willow promptly ignored the indignant howls from the garage as Eric Clapton and the Cream began to play – she knew that Xander was a car guy to begin with, and calling a 1970 ‘Cuda ‘just a car’ was an almost unforgivable sin in his mind. Add on top of that Tim Taylor’s love of cars and that one episode she saw with him as ‘Zorphious the tool avenger’, she had a good idea what he was planning to do.
Several minutes later the door to the garage was unlocked and Buffy walked in … well, at least she thought it was Buffy – grease marred her face from the middle of her brow, down the bridge of her nose to the tip, a single hash-mark under each eye and two fingertips of grease down each cheek, looking somewhat thunderous as both Giles and Xander walked in, both of them wearing pleased looks on their faces, “Uh, hi, Buffy.”
Buffy stopped and looked at her, “Hi, Wills.”
Thinking that all was forgiven and forgotten, Willow went back to listening until she noticed that Buffy was standing right behind her, with Slayer strength-enhanced hands on her tiny shoulders, with a grinning Xander approaching her – Willow struggled to get loose, but it was to no avail as Xander swept one hand forwards and dabbed a bit of grease on her nose with a flourish.
Buffy let her go at that point, “There, now we’re even.”
(Later – back yard of Summers residence)
“Ohhhh, pretty,” Buffy breathed even as Xander loaded a new box of pencils into the hopper of the weapon she had been brought over to look at. In the hour since she had ‘greased’ Willow, she had been doing her best to scrub the grease off of herself, but found that it wasn’t as easy as she thought it would be – she had a black streak down the middle of her face now and one under each eye, and while that angered her, she was formulating a plan to get even with Xander.
“Pretty? No, Buffy, this is a work of art!” She looked up at Xander, who hefted the weapon, which looked like a super soaker with a large air tank attached to it, only it was made out of metal and the tank was on his back, “This is the Xandford 1000 long-distance vamp staker – it fires a number 2 pencil with a muzzle velocity of 50 fps which, while slower than a crossbow, is compensated for by this nifty little feature.” Xander turned and, after taking aim at the ‘vampire’ target, depressed the trigger, releasing a trio of on-target pencils that buried in the chest of the vamp, “Aiming is helped by way of a laser aiming module built into the underside of the barrel, you have about one hundred shots per tank at the lowest setting and you had a maximum range of about fifty feet of lethal penetrating power.”
That one word stopped Buffy cold in her tracks, “’Had’?”
Xander gave her an innocent smile, “Yeah, I just tweaked it a little.”
“Oh, dear God.” Giles was already moving towards the inside of the house, Willow not far behind, as Xander turned the dial on the side of the launcher.
Buffy heard the lock click on the back door and looked back at Xander, “What’d you do and how scared should I be?”
He gave her a wounded look, “I just added in one more setting, kind of a half-step between levels one and two, Buff. It’s nothing to worry about.” He aimed at the target’s head and fired again.
The pencil flew straight and true, straight through the target’s head, and continued on through the top board of the pressure-treated fence, and on to lodge into the brick facing of her neighbor’s house. Both Slayer and inventor were more than a little shocked to see that the pencil was actually intact in the brick, having not shattered but actually penetrating the stone.
“Wow.” Xander put the setting back from 1.5 to 1 and turned to Buffy, the muzzle of the weapon in the air and a huge grin on his face, “I like this thing!”
Buffy, however, was less than amused as she stomped over and tore the weapon away from him, “You’re NOT using it, Xander.” She glared him into submission and he took off the two air tanks on his back, at which point she put them on her back and lovingly caressed the weapon, “Me, on the other hand…” She turned the dial on the weapon from 1 to 5, its highest setting, and pointed it at the target, a grin on her face.
Xander, however, backed up, “Uh, Buff? You may want to turn that thing down – I haven’t tested it that high before.”
Buffy shot him an annoyed look, “Honestly, Xander, I’m the Slayer – what could possibly go wrong?”
Even as Buffy took aim and pulled the trigger, Xander disproved that theory that white men couldn’t jump as he dove over the air conditioning unit he had been forced to replace after one of his repairs had caused it to detonate the week before. As he hit the ground and curled into a small ball, he heard and felt a thunderous detonation and watched as several dozen pencils flew over his head and buried themselves into the fence beyond him. He cautiously poked his head over top of the AC unit and was shocked to see that Buffy was still standing – sure, her back and the top of her butt crack were exposed due to the back of her shirt, bra and the top few inches of her pants and underwear having been blown away, her hair was blown and frozen in place and there were a few small, yet growing, patches of fire on her pants legs. But she was alive – that counted … right?
Willow’s screech answered his unasked question, “XANDER! YOU BLEW UP BUFFY!”
(20 minutes later)
Buffy mourned the loss of her favorite pair of ‘butt’ pants even as Willow continued to verbally tear into Xander – honestly, had she taken a breath in all of that time? She then looked up at Giles, who was busily destroying the rest of the evidence of the mishap, which Buffy was forced to admit was partially her fault as she had not listened to Xander, “Do you think he can make me a new one?”
She saw Giles shiver slightly, “I suppose he could, Buffy, but if he ever says he wants to ‘tweak’ something ever again, I ask that you beat him senseless and prevent him from doing it.”
She nodded as she paid the last of her destroyed clothes into the trash, “Deal. So, should we save him from Willow?”
Giles gave her a grin that wasn’t very nice, “No, I do believe the boy needs to learn his lesson from this, Buffy. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to my car.”
She perked up at this, “Can I drive?”
Ending Note: Okay, folks, that’s all for this story – if someone wishes to continue it, though, you have my blessings; remember, though, that Spike and Dru are dust now, and don’t forget the grunts. Read and review, please. AR.