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Summary: Xander discovers a new toy after getting kicked out at 16. God help us all...

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > Xander-Centered > Pairing: Other HetGandalfTGFR151076,6584319496,7545 Feb 0626 Dec 10No

Thursday

Disclaimer: I own nothing, not even my car, so please don’t sue me! Buffy & Company belong to Joss & a bunch of other people who have very expensive lawyers. The MAU belongs to Elrod W. who I’m sure at least knows a few very expensive lawyers, but lets people play with his toys anyway. Please also note that Star Trek belongs to Paramount, and Star Wars belongs to George Lucas. The other series mentioned herein all belong to others far more creative than I. I’m just doing what I do, take other people’s Ideas and throw them in a blender and hit frappe.

Summary: Xander gets kicked out of the house at 16 and finds a new toy.

Pairings: B/A, X/W, (implied possible Future W/X/D)

Warnings: Dawn exists, Buffy & Xander didn’t make nice at the end of “When She Was Bad”, and Buffy is still stressing over dying & not willing to tell Joyce & Dawn anything.

Spoilers: None

Timeframe: Beginning of Second Season, just after “When She Was Bad.”

Characters Bashed: None, well, at least not deliberately…

Pre-Readers: Dana Short, Capt_Nemo.

MAU Notes: After speaking with Elrod W. about this story and what I was planning on doing with his toys, there were certain things that he wanted to make sure that I was aware were not canon with the MAU. Magic is one of them. Normally, a MAU cannot make another MAU either, it’s a form of copy protection within the device’s software. Normally, it also does not work on the dead, or the Undead. Also, normally, a MAU has a 96-hour time limit. The main reason why the MAU can do magic in this story is due to the fact that in the Buffy-verse, magic is real and can co-exist rather well with technology, evidence the computerized demon summoning spell. So, regardless of the existence of magic in the ‘real world’, various forms of magic exist in this story, so I see no reason for the MAU to be incapable of reproducing it. For more from Elrod W. please visit his site at www.armchairconservative.com/Elrod/.

Prologue By Elrod W
1946
First Tm'skor was having a bad day. This had started as a very routine day on another routine freight run on just one more routine Fwirthian freight ship. He was looking forward to a peaceful retirement after 84 cycles of dutiful, if boring, service on the Fwirthian merchant fleet, including the past 12 cycles as First, commander of a vessel. Of course, as a member of the merchant caste of Fwirthi, he lacked the imagination to see how dull and boring his job really was.

That was, until this morning, when his ship was suddenly surrounded by warp holes, each one spitting forth an M'Platwiri attack cruiser. Even as the bells rang the alarm of the pirate attack, bolts of energy splashed against his hull plates. The ship groaned in protest as his pitiful crew, soft and helpless, shrieked their terror, dashing about in confusion and abandoning their duty stations. Even Tm'skor was frightened and confused. Fwirthian merchant ships were not crewed by the military caste; as such, they were easy prey for the M'Platwiri pirates.

Rather, they should have been. The fates stepped in, and spared Tm'skor the fate of being captured by the pirates. As he stumbled about his bridge, confused and frightened like the other Fwirthian crewmembers, he collided with his navigator, and the pair smashed into the navigation controls. Of the buttons depressed randomly by the flailing captain, one commanded the engines to engage, and the warp generator to activate. The ship, still drawing fire, vanished into a warp hole.

Wounded, spewing freight containers from the ugly gashes in the hull, the ship popped out of its warp hole in a backwater of the galaxy, an uninteresting, backward system with one nondescript yellow star and only one reasonably habitable planet. First Tm'skor and his crew ignored the system. It wasn't on their route, and as such it held no interest to their unimaginative minds. And because their orders said nothing about recovering cargo lost from battle damage (such conditions couldn't have been imagined by the traders commissioning the cargo!), they ignored the countless canisters trailing their ship like a ribbon of confetti, each carrying nearly three thousand cubic meters of cargo. As soon as the essential systems had been repaired, they swung around the sun, set a new course, and dropped into another artificial warp hole. Behind the ship, a trail of cargo canisters, not having a warp hole as a destination, felt the tug and pull of the tiny sun and its tiny planets. Some fell almost immediately into the sun. Others were smashed against asteroids or moons or planets. For centuries to come, though, most of the cargo canisters would drift through the system, lost forever to the shipping company and its customers.

Decades later, a few of the cargo canisters, bearing the legend of the Gamalfi Company, would skim the atmosphere of the third planet. The canisters would break up quickly, disintegrating in the awful heat, but the cargo itself is made of sterner stuff.

***
June 14, 1992 – Office of Admissions, Llewellyn Academy for the Gifted, California, USA
Senior Administrator Davis was working diligently in the Office of Admissions, Llewellyn Academy for the Gifted, California USA. He was addressing the annual student acceptance letters, once again following the European Wizarding Tradition even though he disagreed with it. He had always felt that children should be taught magic from the start. This would allow them to also study non-magical subjects, such as physics or chemistry, or biology, or any of the other sciences that most of the wizarding world typically ignored. Unfortunately, it wasn’t his choice.

He had started just a little while ago, and came upon the name Alexander Remus Black in the Book of Magical Children West of the Mississippi River. Using the Addressing Quill that had long ago been enchanted for this task, he filled in the appropriate information, and was confused as to why the quill had written “Alexander LaVelle Harris” instead of the expected ‘Remus Black.’

He was further surprised when the quill refused to address the envelope that contained the boy’s acceptance letter. Fortunately, there was a procedure in place for such occurrences. Policy indicated that he was to perform a series of scrying and detection spells that would at least indicate if the child were still alive, or protected by some charm, such as the Fidelius. If he was protected, they wouldn’t be able to find him easily, but they could narrow the search.

Performing the required detection spells indicated that neither Alexander LaVelle Harris nor Alexander Remus Black were dead. The spell didn’t say that either was alive either, so he continued with the next set of spells.

The boy was not protected by magic.

The boy was not in hiding.

He simply didn’t exist as far as the spells were concerned.

Setting the letter aside for further investigation later, he continued his task until he came upon Miss Willow Rosenberg whereupon he ran into the same problems he had with young Mr. Black.

He again set the envelope aside for later investigation.

As he headed for the school Owlry, he accidentally knocked the two letters from his desk.

As Fate would have it, they did not fall to the floor, they instead fell to the trashcan, and as soon as Administrator Davis was out of the room for the afternoon, one of the loyal house elves came and emptied the trash of its contents.

Neither letter would be remembered for many years to come.

***
Wednesday September 1998 – Sunnydale, California, USA
Xander was listening to his brand new Walkman, tiny little thing that it was, that he had just bought for twenty dollars at the Walgreen's down the street. It had been a while since he had a working radio, and he was enjoying himself listening to it as he went home. He wouldn’t be eating a whole lot for the next few days, but the quality from the headphones was a lot better than the old radio anyway, so it was a step up in his opinion. The song playing at the moment was “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister. It did rather fit his mood of late, made him feel like he had more energy than normal, like he could almost do just about anything, including take Buffy in a straight fight.

Xander walked in the front door to his house and noticed several empty beer bottles as well as a half bottle of tequila, something that he was fairly certain that they had been out of for quite a while. Tony only drank tequila when he was in a really bad mood. Xander instinctively ducked the first punch that came his way and rolled away to gain some room. Right about then, he realized that it was probably Tony Harris, his oh so loving father, and not some demon that was attacking him. This meant that the beating he was about to take wouldn’t kill him, but would hurt a hell of a lot more.

Tony came at Xander again, and Xander's mood returned with a vengeance. Tony threw a wild swing, which never connected with anything besides air. Xander's shot to the solar plexus however landed rather hard, staggering his father. Xander followed up with a shot to the jaw and laid Tony out cold.

“Damn… now what? I can’t just leave you there. It would be like an open invitation to the vamps to have a snack.” Xander complained before grabbing Tony’s feet and dragging him over to the couch. He grabbed the half empty bottle of tequila and dumped it down the drain before returning it to the living room and dropping it near his dad. He took his things and went to his room, leaving his father passed out on the floor.

***
Thursday
“You little shit! Get the hell out of my house!” Tony shouted as he threw a recently emptied beer bottle at Xander as he walked in the front door. The bottle impacted the door and shattered off to the side away from Xander. Obviously he was drunk a little early this afternoon, as Xander was only just arriving home from school.

Xander stood there gaping, trying to process just what was going on. Was he really getting kicked out? For good?

“I mean it you worthless bastard! You’ve cost me enough for one lifetime! I never want to see you again!” This time it was a half empty beer bottle that nearly hit Xander. Well, it would have except he managed to dodge the three inches to the left to avoid the improvised weaponry.

Xander stepped back and closed the door. Well, at least he still had his schoolbooks; replacing them would have been expensive. Maybe he could sneak into his room later tonight to get the rest of his things and be gone before anyone knew he was there. He did have a stash of some money, and a few souvenirs that he would be loath to part with. A couple of RPG books that had belonged to Jesse, half of a broken yellow crayon he'd treasured since the day he'd first met Willow, and a few other mementos that he had saved to remind him of the important things over the years. Maybe he could convince Buffy that they really were demons, and needed to be slayed for the good of all Humanity? Nah, letting them live would be punishment enough. There really wasn’t anything he could do to them that was worse than what they were doing to themselves.

Xander started following his feet for a few minutes as he decided what to do, eventually deciding to see if Willow would allow him to crash at her place for a couple of days while he thought of something more permanent.

As Xander passed one of the town’s many cemeteries, he heard a small explosion come from within. Grabbing his stake in case it was something hellmouthy, he headed in to investigate.

After looking about for a few minutes, he located a small crater, maybe five feet across with a small metal pizza box half buried in the bottom. Pulling it out, he noticed that it was much lighter and cooler than he expected a chunk of metal that size to be. Looking it over briefly, he noticed that it had no seams, and was fifteen inches wide, nine inches long, and about four inches thick, about right for one of those all metal briefcases, except he could find neither handle nor latch. In fact, the only marks he could find on the surface were some strange looking runes. No scratches from what was obviously an impact crater from only God knew how high.

Xander looked around and noticed that the sun was setting, which meant that he could mess with the little metal box later, right now he needed to get over to Willow’s if he was going to have a place to crash tonight. He brushed it off a little more and then crammed it into his backpack before resuming his trip.

***
Walking up to Willow’s front door he rang the doorbell and waited briefly for someone to open the door. In short order, Willow did so, and noticing Xander, smiled and moved out of the way, letting him in without inviting him in. “Xander, what are you doing here, not that it isn’t ok for you to be here, but weren’t you going home, oh my god, they didn’t hurt you again, did they? I hope they didn’t hurt you too badly, not that I hope they hurt you at all, I’m just saying”

“Will, breathe,” Xander requested, his trademarked lopsided grin making its appearance as well, as he interrupted the brief bout of Willow-Babble. “Dad just kicked me out, and I was wondering if I could crash here for tonight? I understand if your parents aren’t cool with it, us being older than we used to be and all…”

“Of course you can stay here Xander,” Willow led him up to her room, a place he had slept both on the floor and in the bed with Willow, although that was when he was much younger. “Mom and Dad are in Paris for the rest of the month for some series of conferences. Well, that’s what they said anyway. At least this time they remembered to leave grocery money.”

“You know, I’m starting to think that they only leave grocery money when they go on one of their ‘working vacations.’”

“I know, it’s their way of buying me off so I don’t get too upset with them for going to have fun and just leaving me behind all damsel-in-distressey, but without a whole lot of the distress, except this is Sunnydale, and there is plenty of distress to go around.”

Willow offered sodas and went to get them, returning with a couple of extra pillows and the desired beverages. While she was gone, Xander had pulled out the strange metal box again and was examining it in the improved light that electricity provided after the sun began to set. Still no scratches, seams, or marks of any kind except for the strange runes that grace what Xander had taken to referring mentally at least to the top of the thing.

“What do you have there Xander?” Willow asked upon returning and seeing the gray metal box.

“Don’t know Will, I found it in a crater in the graveyard. It’s either a really fancy briefcase, an artifact of some alien race, or God’s dinner plate.”

Willow ran her hand over the runes gently, and the box started to grow rapidly. Xander tossed it to the center of the room before it got too big and decided to crush him into the bed. The box continued to grow until it was the size of a phone booth.

“Um, Superman’s telephone booth maybe?” Willow mumbled at the box.

Xander walked over to it and looked around it. Then he turned it so that Willow could see the one side that wasn’t totally smooth. There were only three things on this side of the device, a three fingered ruby hand print, an amethyst crystal to the left of the hand print, and an obsidian rectangle, flush with the side of the device, about three inches above the hand print. Xander reached out to touch the handprint

Willow grabbed his arm, “Don’t touch it!”

“Why Will?”

“What if it’s a booby-trap?”

“I think if it was going to kill us, it would have done so already, when you did whatever you did to change it from the brief case to the telephone booth. I think it’s pretty safe, don’t you?”

“All right, just be careful. I don’t want to visit the hospital tonight, ok?”

“I’ll be careful, and you can watch to make sure, ok Will?” Her answer was the tentative nodding of her head, and Xander went ahead and touched first the little purple crystal that looked kind of like amethyst, and nothing happened. Then he tried the obsidian-like rectangle, and likewise got no response. Nervous, he took a deep breath and let it out slowly to help calm his nerves, and then put his hand on the ruby handprint. Immediately, the obsidian rectangle began displaying some kind of runic script, obviously some kind of display, in what was presumably some language neither of them was familiar with, despite their many research parties with Giles. After a few moments, the script stopped scrolling and there were two boxes at the bottom, one of which was blinking.

Willow, looking over his shoulder, pressed the blinking box, and the script disappeared, and was replaced shortly by a very realistic likeness of Willow, if only six inches tall, but definitely three dimensional. Xander pulled his hand back and they exchanged a brief look, after which Xander shrugged and turned back to the device. He tentatively poked at the ruby hand print, but nothing happened. Then, he poked at the Willow on screen, and seeing nothing happen on screen turned to check on the real Willow. Seeing that nothing had changed in her except that she was no longer quite so nervous, he poked the purple crystal. As soon as he touched the amethyst, almost half of that side of the box disappeared and became very doorway-like. Inside was another amethyst crystal in the far side of the booth, and a small ruby disk in the ceiling.

“I’m going to try it Will, if I’m wrong, and don’t come out, please don’t come in after me, ok? Just get Giles and tell him everything?”

“All right, but you be careful mister, I still want my snuggle-buddy for the evening,” her tone leaving no doubt that she was giving him ‘The Resolve Face.’ That suited him just fine, as he had no intention of being anywhere else that evening, especially the hospital.

After nodding, he stepped into the box and looked up at the ruby disk, then to the amethyst crystal. He touched the amethyst crystal and the door disappeared and a bright yellow light was cast down upon him from the ruby disk above him. Xander closed his eyes, and the light went out. He realized that his balance was a bit off, but figured that it was caused by the light-blindness that was slowly wearing off, and he stumbled out of the box through the door that had reappeared. Feeling a jiggle on his chest, he looked down and noticed two breasts on his chest now that his eyes were working slightly better. He also noticed that he was wearing the same dress as Willow. His only comment was the ever-intelligent “Wha?” as he also noticed that it had exited his mouth sounding a lot like Willow. Xander turned to look into the mirror over Willow’s vanity, and saw Willow looking back at him.

“Xa-Xander?” Willow offered tentatively.

“Um, I think so, although I seem to be more of a Willow-Shaped-Friend at the moment,” he said as he touched his face to see if it was real. Not believing it, he tried the breasts, and got a strange sensation as he did so. “Ok, so this is real. Um, I don’t think I am you, I just look like you, I’m still rather upset with Buffy for that dance thing, and watching the girl in the mirror feel herself up was more than entertaining, so I’m still myself.” Then he got a strange look on his face as he simultaneously looked down and grabbed his crotch to check on little Xander. “Ohhh kaaayyy. A very complete Willow-Shaped-Friend and a Xander that’s missing something very near and dear to Xander.”

Willow’s eyes went wide with realization and disbelief as she reached over and felt her chest on not-her-body. With Willow standing behind Xander-in-Willow’s-Body, “Yeah, they’re mine,” she whispered quietly. Willow also repeated Xander’s previous short arm inspection, only to find the short arm missing, and finding a nice smooth mound in its place.

Staring into the mirror, both of them watching Willow feel up Willow, Xander let out a brief moan. “Willow, if you don’t stop whatever it is you’re doing, I’m not going to let you stop for quite a while.”

Willow turned bright red and jerked her hands behind her as she squeaked “Eeep!”

“Well now, let’s see if I can change back,” Xander said as he tried to get his breathing back under control. Xander walked back to the device and put his hand back on the ruby hand print.

Seeing his own body appear on the screen, he touched the amethyst crystal, stepped back into the machine and activated it. Remembering not to look at the ruby disk, and thus, not getting blinded this time, he stepped out looking significantly more like himself.

“Xander! You’re taller, well, not much, but, well, taller,” Willow exclaimed as Xander rechecked his face, then chest, then making sure that he was still a “Him.”

“What do you mean Will?” Xander said as he checked himself in her vanity. “Haven’t I always been this tall?”

“Almost, I’d say you’re about an inch and a half taller than you were then when you got up this morning.”

“How is that possible? I mean, I was just trying to get the machine to turn me back to normal, not improve me.”

Xander sat down at her vanity as Willow sat on the edge of her bed. “Well, it was probably reading your mind. It made you look like what you think you look like, your own self image. The other time it changed you, you were thinking about me, and you know what I look like, so it turned you into my twin.”

“So, it reads your mind. That makes sense. It was kind of cool being you for a few minutes, it felt as natural as my own body does, and I finally understand what they mean by the center of gravity being different for girls. It’s a lot lower. I wonder what else it can do?”

Willow put her hand on the control plate and brought up her own image and let her mind drift a bit. The clothing changed, the hair became longer and brown, then blond, and finally back to red. Then she tried blue, green, and a few other colors before returning to red again. “Well, at the very least, you could probably make yourself look just about any way you want. It doesn’t seem to be limited to natural occurrences, well, at least with the hair. Probably eyes too.” She made her boobs grow on screen until the thought of how big they really would be was painful, and then made them totally disappear. She changed her height down to three feet and up to seven feet tall. Then she started getting creative. She imagined herself as Hawkgirl, a Twi’lekian Dancing Girl, a Vulcan, and a few others. Then she stopped at an image, not letting Xander see what it was, “Promise you won’t peek until after I come out? I want to try something.”

“Ok, Will, so long as you promise me that it isn’t dangerous, I won’t peek.”

When Willow came out, she was dressed as a WWWA Trouble Consultant from Dirty Pair. Willow floated up off the ground a few inches and told Xander that he could look.

Xander turned around and noticed the costume and the grin on her face, and the strange sheen to her eyes. “Um, Will, didja know that you’re really flying there? Well, more like floating, but still.”

“Yep, and all of Yuri’s other toys too Xander,” as she holds up Yuri’s “Gash Master” and standard issue WWWA pulse pistol.

“Well, you’ve kind of proven that that thing can make us superheroes and that we can make any kind of physical changes that we want and that it can make equipment, let’s see what else it can do.” Xander walked over to the handprint and thought of himself with the abilities and knowledge of Goku from Dragonball Z, added in telekinetic ability, and from X-Men, Wolverine’s Adamantium claws and regeneration then stepped into the machine.

Stepping out of the machine, with an odd blue sheen in his brown eyes that quickly disappeared, he grinned. “So Will, care to have some fun at the expense of the Sunnydale Vampire Club?”

“I’m good, but what about you? What did you do, you just look like you?”

Xander pulled one of the unsharpened stakes from across the room with telekinesis and extended a claw and proceeded to sharpen the piece of wood into a stake. “Oh, I’ve got a few ideas that I’m working on, but I want some payback from these vamps for tonight. Why don’t you go put on some regular clothes over those, and we’ll go play with some Vamps?”

Willow got a long black broomstick skirt and a white blouse and put them on over her Battle Bikini. The Battle Bikini itself, which was standard issue to all Female WWWA agents, looked exactly like a halter-top bikini, with maybe a bit fuller bottom than your standard bikini, and was all black. Despite its lack of skin coverage, the Battle Bikini still protected the wearer far better than any other form of light personal armor. The distraction value was also not to be overlooked.

As they were walking out the front door, Xander commented off handedly “The Battle Bikini looks good on you Will.” At which Willow turned as red as her hair and almost went back in to hide, except that Xander now had his arm around her and was preventing her from running away. Ok, so he managed to get her back for groping him, or was it herself, earlier, quite easily at that, but was he really flirting with her, or was it just the same old Xander-jokes? Willow couldn’t tell, but she hoped to figure it out shortly.

***
Xander and Willow walked around town for a while, very close together, and very comfortable with the closeness, neither really realizing that they had been that way for about 20 minutes, ever since leaving Willow’s house actually, and neither willing to change the situation. After a while, Willow had put her arm around Xander as well, having done this a couple of times during the summer break from school; it was starting to become very comfortable.

Deciding to take a ‘shortcut’ through several of the cemeteries, but avoiding the two that they had seen Buffy go into, they finally found a group of five vampires just hanging out chatting. The two just walked past them until the vampires noticed the two of them and decided to have a midnight snack.

“Well, well, look at what we have here boys; who ordered delivery? The Redhead certainly looks tasty, if a little bland, might need a little A1,” one of them said.

“I don’t know Will, I never thought you would be bland, always thought you were more peaches and cream, and A1 just doesn’t go well with peaches and cream. Don’t think it would go too well with Willow either. Come to think of it, Ice Cream was good, so chocolate sauce would probably be pretty good, too.” Xander looked from Willow to the group of vampires just in time to miss seeing Willow look up at him with confusion again written on her face.

About then, the guy who was obviously a fledgling spoke up. “Um, isn’t this supposed to be the point where they get scared of us?”

“Yeah, just goes to show how stupid they are, don’t even realize how much danger they are in,” a third vampire answered. Willow got over her confusion over Xander and returned her attention to the vampires, where it was needed.

“Aw, the stupid never taste good,” was the comment from yet another, not noticing Xander’s eyes were shifting towards blue.

Still with his arm around Willow’s shoulder, Xander tapped her shoulder once with each finger, and then tapped his ring finger several times. Willow confused about this looked to Xander. Noticing her confusion, he nodded towards the vampires, and she realized what he was saying. She gave him a little squeeze to let him know that she understood and was waiting for whatever he had planned.

The vampires had gotten a little annoyed that their snacks were pretty much ignoring them and looked like they were about to attack, so Xander squeezed Willow and they both let loose with their own weapons, Willow shooting her target with the pulse pistol and hitting him right at the heart, blowing a rather large hole in his chest, and Xander let loose with a Dodon Pa, one of the basic Ki attacks from Dragonball Z, right between the eyes of the one who had spoken first. Both vampires dusted after a second.

The other three vampires stood and watched in horror what had just occurred. For them, it was like watching a train wreck in slow motion. They wanted to turn and run, but their own fear now held them paralyzed.

Willow and Xander exchanged a glance, then Xander shrugged and proceeded to burn a second Vampire, this time aiming for the heart, with Willow shooting the fourth vampire a moment later. Finally reacting, the fifth vampire turned and ran, only to be shot in the back by Willow's pulse pistol.

“Huh, that was too easy. I’m almost disappointed.”

“We could try to find a bigger group, Xander.”

“Nah, you know Sunnyhell, they only get together in big groups when they are trying to start some real trouble, and I haven’t heard about anything major on the horizon. The town is pretty much not doing anything tonight, and I just don’t feel up to anything more tonight.”

“Well, we could hit The Bronze for a little while, it is still pretty early.”

“Couple drinks, little dancing with my favorite girl friend, sounds like a plan.”

***
Xander and Willow had been in The Bronze for all of five minutes before Xander got bored looking for women to pick up. “Hey Will, dance with me,” Xander half asked and half stated as he grabbed her hand and dragged her, unresisting, to the dance floor.

This too, they had done several times over the long, uneventful summer. One thing that they hadn’t done was slow dance. They would always take a break for a few minutes and catch their breath or get a drink. Sometimes it was Willow who wanted to take a break. Sometimes it was Xander instead. This time, neither could come up with an excuse not to keep dancing as the first song ended and a slow song started.

Willow moved in closer to Xander as they moved slowly with the music. To a degree, Willow was glad that they were dancing so close, as it meant that Xander couldn’t see the bright red glow that she knew that her face must be giving off. For the first time in a couple years, she got to hold Xander, ‘wow, what a chest, and those arms! Didja get a load of those shoulders? And don’t forget that chest!’ her mind kept shouting at her, going round and round in circles, completely lost as song after song played.

Xander meanwhile was trying very hard to think about anything but how good Willow felt in his arms in a supreme effort to avoid a potentially embarrassing shift in his blood pressure. He didn’t last past the two-minute mark before he gave in. Well, by the time he gave in, it was already too late, but Willow never noticed, she was busy thinking about other parts of his body.

Another song was just ending when they both realized that the band up on stage was no longer playing slow songs. They quickly separated and headed back to their table. Xander ordered drinks for them, and they wait for them to arrive. They both sat in awkward silence wondering what to say next that wouldn’t sound either lame or like they were trying to encourage the other to take a step into the more-than-friends territory.

They nursed their drinks as the band came back from a short recess. Willow had tried several times to start a conversation, but every time she stopped herself.

“So Will, another dance, then head back to your house?”

“Sure, I’d like that, and it is getting a little later.”

Two songs later and the band again switched to slow music, not that either of them noticed, or complained this time. Xander and Willow simply moved in and embraced each other, Willow looking at Xander this time, not putting her head on his shoulder again.

Shortly after this began, they couldn’t even be called dancing any more when Willow reached up and kissed Xander lightly on the lips.

Such a move rather took Xander by surprise, but after Willow broke the kiss, he did reach down of his own accord to kiss her again.

Willow then broke the kiss a second time and realized what she had just done, going quite red and quite shy very quickly. She turned and ran out of The Bronze, heading for home before she embarrassed herself further.

Xander of course stopped only to grab their things and leave a goodly sized tip for their waitress before following Willow.

***
Xander knocked on the door to Willow’s house. After not getting a response, he flew up to her window, which she had left open for the comfortable night air common to southern California.

Xander spotted Willow sitting up against her bedroom door as he floated in and landed gently upon her bedroom floor not far from her. Willow looked up at him with tears in her eyes.

“Sorry Will, but you can’t run from me this time. You want to tell me what’s wrong, or are you going to make me guess?” Xander stated as he sat down next to her and tried to hug her, but she pulled away slightly before giving in to him and his always wanting to comfort those around him.

After a few moments Willow finally spoke, but rather quietly. “I’m so sorry, Xander. I don’t know what made me kiss you like that.”

“Why? I didn’t kiss that badly, did I? I mean I know I don’t have a whole lot of experience kissing or anything, but I wasn’t that bad, was I?”

Willow looked rather horrified at the thought that Xander now thought that he was a terrible kisser, which wasn’t why she had folded so badly and ran away. “No, Xan, you were wonderful! It was just what every girl dreams of for her first kiss. I’m just afraid that I’ve ruined our friendship and you won’t want to be around me any more because I’m so shy and I really don’t deserve…”

Xander cut off Willow at that point due to the fact that she suddenly found her lips occupied by a slightly more important task than speaking, mainly that of being kissed for the second time that night.

After a minute of kissing, Xander finally pulled back. “If you don’t deserve someone who loves you and will stick by you no matter what, then I don’t know who does, Willow.” Xander pulled her chin up gently with his fingers. “You have been and always shall be my best friend, and now that I know that you can see me as something more than just a friend, I won’t just let you shy away until we decided that there is nothing besides friendship between us, or that we decided that there is something more, something better than just being friends.” He sat back then and took her hands and pulled her up off the floor.

“But what if it was a mistake?”

“Willow, I have loved you since kindergarten. Whatever I have done to make you think that kissing me could have been a mistake, I’m sorry. I would never think it could ever be anything other than wonderful, which incidentally, I thought it was pretty damned wonderful to kiss you.”

“But.”

“Hey, no more buts. I’m yours for as long as you’ll have me, now I could really use your help getting the rest of my stuff from my parents’ place.” Xander sat Willow on the bed and looked at the machine that took up a good deal of floor space in her bedroom. He floated up and noticed the runes from earlier, and remembering that all Willow had done was run her hand over them, did likewise and the telephone booth shrunk back down to the size of a briefcase. “Well, that’s one mystery solved. Now we can at least hide it somewhere…”

“Xander, why don’t we just go over to your parents’ place and get your stuff. It’s not like they could hurt either of us considering the changes we’ve made…”

Xander set the briefcase in an open spot a bit more out of the way and re-activated the machine. “Yeah, but I’m thinking I don’t want him to see me there, so I want to be a little bit more invisible if I need to be.”

Xander walked over to the handprint and brought up his current state and then thought himself into a suit of Yautja Power Armor. He wasn’t really surprised when the image on the screen looked like Xander in a suit of armor with the helmet held under one arm, just as he’d imagined it, plasma cannon on one shoulder, collapsing staff behind his waist, the disk at his right thigh, net caster strapped to his back so it could be drawn with his right hand over his shoulder. “I think that should cover it,” Xander said as he pressed the purple button to let him into the machine.

Willow looked at the screen and nodded, “Yeah that should just about handle anything short of a nuclear bomb.”

Xander came out of the machine and put the helmet on and attached all the connections. As the displays came up and gave him a read out of the suit’s status, he realized that he couldn’t read it as it was still in Yautja. He thought for a moment, wondering if there is a way to change it from Yautja to English, and the displays changed over for him. “Convenient little computer,” he mused and made way for Willow to make any changes she wanted.

“No, I’m fine. Maybe after we get back.”

***
Xander and Willow flew over to Xander's house and let themselves in through the front door after scanning the house with Xander's armor. They quietly made their way up to Xander's room and began collecting the more irreplaceable items, keepsakes, and mementos. Among the items collected was Xander's comic book collection, which Willow very rapidly flew over to her house, and a couple boxes of Role Playing books that they had used when playing with Jessie, a stack of character sheets, and a bag of dice. While Willow was making one of her trips, Xander took a small box that contained his “Willow Stuff” that included the small broken yellow crayon amongst other things, and stuck it in with some other things that he picked up as the last load of things that he needed. With that taken care of, Xander and Willow flew back to Willow’s house.

Xander realized that he would need some new clothes, and used the machine to create a duffel bag full of the kinds of clothes that he had been wearing for the past few years, only to realize that he didn’t have to dress that way any more, he didn’t have to afford better clothing, he could just get the box to make whatever he wanted.

Xander proceeded to change the clothing in the duffel bag from the “K-Mart Clearance Sale Specials” that he had started with, into tailored shirts, slacks, suits, shoes, and other assorted “Nice Clothing” that he had never had the chance to wear before.

Then Xander made another duffel bag full of things he could take to the local Pawn Shops, stuff that they could buy from him easily such as jewelry, portable electronics, and similar things. If he went to the pawn shop that was run by one of the local demons, he could get more money by selling them weapons so he included a matched pair of Pearl Grip Colt 1911 in .45ACP, a Colt AR-15A3 Carbine, and a Mossberg 590DA 12 gauge shotgun.

Xander removed the Yautja armor and piled it in a corner before getting into the machine. He stepped out of the machine and put the bag with his clothing in it by the door and hid the other in the hall closet before going to find out what Willow was up to.

Xander found Willow watching a movie on TV, and it took only moments before he realized that it was “The Princess Bride” that Willow loved so much. He himself had tried to watch it several times, and had always liked what he had seen. It was just that he had always been exhausted and fallen asleep before it was over. Unfortunately it just wasn’t meant to be this time either as they both fall asleep three quarters through the movie.
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