Having It All
****disclaimer**** I own nothing! Property of Joss, GrrArrgh and 20th Century Fox, IIRC.
****note**** This story is way AU because I started it right after To Shanshu in LA. Pairings are subject to change.
Having it All
Willow opened the door allowing Xander into the living room. He paced back and forth around the coffee table excitedly. The redhead noticed Xan's change of clothing, liking what she saw. It seemed her Xander had finally found his style, although his style reminded her an awful lot of Angelus with black jeans instead of leather. She filed that for later reference.
He finally stood still, but shifted his weight from foot to foot anxiously. "I got a new job today Wills! I think this one is really going to work out."
"Really, what is it?" Willow's eyes started to cross from watching her best friend try to wear a hole in the carpet. "Slow down Xander, you're wearing me out." Willow pulled Xander over to the couch but couldn't stop his leg from bouncing.
He took a deep breath. "I'm working for Giancarlo Buscetti. I'm his personal assistant, and he likes me!"
Willow had to smile at Xander's enthusiasm. She didn't know anything about Mr. Buscetti but hadn't seen Xander this happy about any of the sixteen jobs he'd had so far. "Well? Tell me about it Xander! Don't keep me waiting! How did you get the job, and what does it pay, and what do you have to do?" By the time Willow took a breath, she was bouncing in her seat.
"Whoa, and you talk about me slowing down, Wills?" Xander laughed. "Breathe, Willow. Donut run, plenty, and take care of personal errands as far as I know." Xander smiled at his oldest friend.
Willow puzzled through his response. "What do you mean donut run? The one for this morning's research session?"
Xander nodded. "You know the donut shop over on Main, right?" Willow nodded as he continued, "Well this morning the scary lady was working and she was giving me a bit of trouble with our order."
Willow remembered the scary lady very well. She was legend among the children and even the adults of Sunnydale. She wasn't old, or unattractive, or even unpleasant. She was a fixture at the bakery, having joined the staff in her teens nearly twenty years ago. Her reputation was made on the fact that she would take an order, smile, and then proceed to give her customers what she thought they should have, charging only half of what the business was owed. She wasn't malicious; she always gave her customers the exact pastry they had been craving even though they didn't realize it or order it either.
It was just plain scary how she knew her customers and their pastry desires, even if they weren't in the shop and someone else placed their order. Business never slowed, and the shop never lost money over her strange mercantile practices. In fact, the shop made enormous profit and allowed four owners to retire early, but the scary lady, only known as Millie H., seemed content to stay in the position she started in, waiting on customers. "Right, so what happened?" Willow asked.
"Giles had been wanting to try the éclairs instead of his jellies this morning and Millie didn't want to give me any éclairs." Xander gave her a goofy grin.
Willow smiled, knowing it was impossible to get Millie to change her mind, but remembered Giles trying an éclair only to put it down after two bites. She was amazed that Xander got Millie to give him the pastries he ordered. "How did you manage to convince her to let you have them?"
Xander's grin got even wider. "I was Xanderiffic! I used my boyish good looks and charm," Xander paused, "and then I told her I would eat the éclair if Giles decided he didn't like it."
Willow giggled, "She couldn't argue with that! So how did Mr. Buscetti come into all this?"
Xander started bouncing with excitement again. Willow thought they really should cut back on his sugar intake, but smiled when he said, "Wills, I was great, it was a prime performance, Mr. Buscetti was behind me in line and heard it all. He was impressed that I got Millie to change her mind by taking initiative. He decided he could use me in his organization."
Willow frowned. "Organization? Xander, I don't want to rain on your parade, but that doesn't sound right. What does he expect you to do?"
Xander saw the worry. "No, no, Wills. Nothing illegal, I just run errands and pick up his dry cleaning and make sure his appointments are kept; stuff like that. He said his last assistant decided to go into a specialized program at a university out of state. He said I could take a few classes and he would work around it as long as I keep up with everything he needs."
The job sounded perfect for Xander. He was very skilled at handling people and getting things done. A quality often overlooked by Buffy, and sometimes Giles, unless it was something they didn't want to do. Willow reached over and hugged her friend. "I'm so happy for you Xander! When do you start?"
Xander returned her hug fiercely, she was the best friend a person could have, he thought. "I start tomorrow, and I haven't even told you the best part, Wills."
She pulled back from the hug. "It gets better?" Willow wondered what on earth could be better than what Xander had already described.
"Ya know that Italian pizza place just off of Main, about block and a half from the donut place, with the deep dish that's to die for?" He grinned.
Willow absently played with her shoelaces. "Gio's Pizzeria? Yeah, I remember it. I haven't been there in a couple of months though."
Xander pulled her hand away from her shoelaces. "Guess who Gio is?"
She slapped his hand and the light bulb suddenly went off. "Oh, oh!" She grinned in triumph. "Giancarlo Buscetti!"
Xander spoke in his best circus announcer voice, "Give the girl a prize!" Xander couldn't sit still any longer. He stood in front of Willow and did the happy Xander dance. "And he says that as long as I'm his assistant I can live above the pizza place and have all the food I can eat from the restaurant. It's perfect, Wills."
"It seems almost too good to be true. Are you sure there's not something Hellmouthy going on somewhere?" Willow didn't want her friend getting hurt.
"Nah, he's just desperate. His last assistant left two weeks ago and he doesn't have time to interview. His company, Buscetti Enterprises, is an investment firm that's a parent company to the restaurant. He gave me a wad of cash and told me to go pick up some black jeans and dark colored silk button downs to wear while I work. He wanted me to look a certain way when I met people for him."
That explains the sudden change in outfits, Willow thought. "But why didn't you say anything earlier at Giles' place?"
Xander sat back down next to Willow. "C'mon, Willow, you know how they would've reacted. They would've just shook their heads and thought 'another failure coming up for the Zeppo'. I wanted to share with someone who'd appreciate what this means for me."
Willow smiled. "A new place to live, a new wardrobe, lots of money, why am I going to college again?"
"Because you're the brains of our gruesome two-some. So have the Fangs decided what we're going to do tonight?" Xander leaned back on the sofa, having calmed considerably from his earlier bouncing. Willow thought the sugar might have finally worn off. Either that or the fact that he finally let his secret out had calmed him.
"Um, I'm not sure." Thoughts of the bleached vampire made her lose her train of thought briefly. "We'll probably eat something and then go shoot pool over at Petey's." An idea occurred to her. "Would you mind if we went to Gio's? It's across the street from Petey's. We won't see Buffy there. Riley is taking her to that Hunan place across town. I know you're going to be living there, but I thought maybe we'd all take a look at it tonight. Pretty please?" Willow gave Xander her version of his puppy dog eyes.
He couldn't resist them, and didn't know of anyone that could. "That's fine Willow, I think it'd be a good idea to recon the place before I start. I just hope you can convince the living undead to be around all that garlic."
Thoughts of how she could convince Spike were dancing through her brain. "Xander! You know that the only thing garlic does is give them a headache from the smell!" She pushed his shoulder playfully. "I'll convince Spike. You worry about convincing Angel."
Xander's face turned an unusual shade of purple. "Willow, it's not like that and you know it!"
Willow smirked and feigned innocence. "Xander Harris, I didn't say anything like that. It's your mind that's continuously in the gutter."
Xander regained his natural color. "Yeah, right, Wills, like yours isn't just as bad. You know you want the bleached wonder."
"He does have a name, ya know? You don't have to call him the bleached wonder all the time. I don't go around calling Angel, hair-gel boy, do I?" Willow pouted.
"All right, all right, I was joking, geez." Xander ruffled Willow's hair. "You know you want Spike. Is that better?" Xander laughed at the expression on Willow's face.
"Thanks, Xander, that's *so* much better!" Willow knew he was just playing with her though. He was as much infatuated with Angel as she was with Spike even if he wouldn't admit it yet. The whole situation had come about when Giles had sent Willow, Xander and Spike up to LA to exchange some books with the soul-having vampire two months earlier. Giles didn't want to leave the Hellmouth and Spike went along grudgingly because he was the only other person with a car.
They were surprised to find out that they all actually enjoyed each other's company. It seems that once Angel stopped being the Slayer's lapdog in hopes of finding redemption, an error made by Whistler and rectified later by Doyle, the other two men had no problem with him. Willow didn't have a major problem with him before, but she had to admit that she liked him much better now. Since it was summer, they all decided to spend two nights during the week together, barring Cordelia's visions or saving the world from total destruction.
It was working pretty well so far. They were Thursday night regulars at Petey's and Friday nights they either went to the Bronze or stayed in and watched movies depending on what Buffy did. They weren't hiding their friendship with Angel from Buffy. The two mortals had a long talk with Buffy about hanging out with Angel the day they had come back from LA. She said she didn't mind, but that she needed more time before she would be comfortable hanging out with him and that she was sure that Angel felt the same way about hanging out with the blonde slayer.
Willow and Xander felt closer to Spike and Angel than they ever did with Giles and Buffy. With the two vampires they didn't feel like they were just tagalongs or weak links. Spike and Angel would often tell them stories of the past. The two mortals would tell the vampires about childhood memories growing up on the Hellmouth. The vampires especially liked the stories about Xander and Willow pretending to be sibling superheroes that always ended in water fights. Xander's alter ego could turn into any form of water and he liked to douse Willow in the process of saving the day.
After that first trip to LA, Willow told Xander about her feelings for Spike. He didn't laugh or tell her he was going to find a dull stake or a bottle of holy water. After ranting about his concerns loudly for several minutes, he calmed down, only reminding her about the chip possibly not being permanent. She had a tiny suspicion that Xan liked Angel, really liked him, as in Larry the football player liked him, and therefore couldn't really protest too much. She thought he and Angel would be great together.
It was Xander's turn for the puppy dog eyes, "Pretty please call them both, Wills?"
She relented and pushed him towards the end table with the phone on it, "All right, I'll call them both, give me the phone Mister Coward."