Clearing up loose ends
The fact that I'm managing to post anything with the World Cup and Wimbledon on is remarkable.
Xander changed from his work clothes and met Faith, who was waiting by the door for him. He took a deep breath.
“Nervous?” she asked.
“Don’t worry, I went to see G earlier, and he’s not expecting any of that lot to be there this evening.”
Xander relaxed a little. “I need to face them at some stage.”
“I’ve got no real wish to face those bottom feeders back home. Problem is, you’ll probably bump into them around here sooner or later.”
“True.” They headed toward Sunnydale High School to meet up with Giles first, and then the Prom Committee, which included Harmony and Lance.
Faith took his hand and squeezed. She laughed suddenly. “Those bottom feeders wouldn’t recognize me. Faith, being girly?”
“Faith having self-confidence,” Xander retorted.
“That too. Would still kick their asses, but would celebrate with my man instead.” She moved in front of him, walking backwards at the same pace. “Speaking of which, you can stop watching your words a bit.”
“Huh?” he asked.
“You are allowed to call me your woman, you know? Coz that’s what I am. And I know I am other things as well, but I’m fucking proud that we’ve done adult shit. Anyway, my point is, you’ve gotten good at thinking before you speak, but you can still be a little spontaneous, ya know?”
He hopped forward, caught her waist, and lifted her up. She wrapped her legs around his waist, and he kissed her, hard. And then slid his hands down and cupped her rear. She kissed him back, tensing her legs so that she rose up, her arms around his neck.
When breathing was an issue, she pulled back and looked down at him. “Forceful, I like it, remember that I’m a Slayer, Xan, not a china doll.”
“A slayer with an incredible rear.”
“So, you wanna tap that rear?”
Xander felt his face go bright red, as Faith laughed delightedly. She unwrapped her legs and stood. He reluctantly let her go. She grinned, and reached up and pecked his cheek. “I’ve never done that,” she whispered. “Might be something I give the guy I think I’ve fallen for.” She turned and marched off, her hips swaying as she raised both arms and lifted her hair, before letting it drop.
Xander whimpered and bent slightly. His jeans were a little too tight for him to be comfortable. “Think unsexy thoughts, think unsexy thoughts,” he chanted. “I’m might see Snyder.” That worked. He hurried up and caught up with Faith.
Old him would have either made a joke or accepted Faith’s win. “You still owe me a schoolgirl look. And I have this awesome pair of tight shorts that will look great with my tool belt and work boots.”
Faith actually stumbled. “You are serious?”
“There’s this dark-haired wildcat that I’m falling for,” he said, deliberately using her words, “so why not?”
“This conversation is not over,” she announced as they entered the school grounds.
“Serious déjà-vu,” Xander muttered, as they climbed the few stairs and entered via the main doors. He paused, and looked at the corridor. “Heh.”
“Heh, indeed,” Faith said. “Come on.”
They headed toward the library.
“Harris,” an overly familiar voice called.
Xander froze, and he felt Faith tense next to him. The small form of the principal made its way over to him.
“I had a phone call from the mayor,” he said, a faintly dissatisfied look on his face. “When you left school, I expected you to either come begging back, or ending up a drugged-out loser.
“Instead, you got a job, and then got your G.E.D. with a very high score. You grew up, Harris, and stopped being a slacker. Congratulations.” The principal took a deep breath. “The mayor wants you to attend the graduation, and I agree.” He took another breath. “And I want to offer you the both the chance of attending the prom.”
Xander felt absolute shock at the offer.
Snyder gave a twisted little grin. “It’s up to you.”
“Thank you,” Faith said. “We appreciate the offer.”
“Good to see you again, Harris,” Snyder said, and walked off.
“Sir,” Xander blurted as the man left. Snyder half turned. “Thanks.” Snyder nodded and moved off. “Christ,” Xander exhaled. “Didn’t expect that.”
“Me neither,” Faith agreed. “Do you want to go? Get me all dolled up?”
“Honestly, if you’re gonna get dolled up, I would rather go somewhere nice.”
“Good point. Very good point. You don’t wanna, you know, rub it in, you know, that you have this hot chick?”
“I would, only with people who I’d enjoy making jealous.” He paused. “And a place where we don’t have to act like kids to get a drink.”
“I’ve done a fine job of corrupting you.”
They entered the library. Giles had some classical music on, and was reading from a book that looked like it needed a Slayer to move.
“Now I’m conflicted,” Xander said to Faith.
“Part of me wants to use my education and greet the Tweed-meister in his natural language, but the other part of me still finds his reactions funny.”
“True, but that ways lies dorkiness, donut runs and Hawaiian shirts.”
“Indeed, so, maybe a homage, rather than a full-on descent?”
“I’m afraid it’s hardly going to work when you use the word homage in the correct context, as I will know you are teasing me, rather than having the unsettling feeling that you really don’t know better,” Giles said without looking up.
“I think the man with a taste for unfinished wool just scored a point against me.”
“Bollocks,” Xander sighed. “There, an English swearword.” He took a seat, as Faith spun a chair and straddled it, leaning on her arms.
“Again in context,” Giles murmured. “We’ll civilize you yet.”
“He’s making it hard,” Xander said.
“Not the same way I do, I hope,” Faith purred.
“Not even close.
“Okay, Giles, I hear that there’s another apocalypse on the horizon, which I am now sure is going to happen, as Snyder was just nice.”
Giles closed the book. “Ahh yes, he did mention the prom. I will reassure you that it was entirely his idea.”
“Scary,” Xander intoned.
“Right, to make a long story short. We think the Mayor is going to perform a ritual to become an Old One, a demon of phenomenal power. And as part of that, he is currently invulnerable.”
“He is a really nice guy,” Xander said. “And not creepy, which, in a weird way, makes me really concerned.”
“Yeah, I shook his hand, and didn’t even feel anything from my Slayer senses.”
“I wonder if that is because he is so supremely confident.” Giles shrugged. “There will be a magical eclipse, and while he is becoming the demon, vampires will probably take advantage of it.”
“What’s your plan for killing him?”
“Well, the only thing I can think of is massive explosions. I am going to get Buffy to entice him into a trap.”
“Wait,” Xander interrupted. “You are going to blow up part of the school?”
“Well, I’m going to have to take part now. How are you for explosives?”
“Good, surprisingly. I’ve got some fertilizer and done a lot of research, and called a friend or two from back home, who might have spent time in Ireland.”
“And a stoichiometric formula?”
Giles gaped at him.
“That’s a point back to you,” Faith cheered. “What’s the word mean?”
Xander grinned at her. “It’s a word the demolition guy at work uses a lot. He said that it’s the measure of air and fuel needed to make things go boom.”
“A concise definition,” Giles said. “And I did forget that ‘making things go boom’ is part of construction.”
“So I need to sort out the students to help protect them from the vampires?”
“Pretty much, yes.” Giles passed them a manila folder. “Everything about the graduation ceremony is in there.”
“Thank you,” Xander said. He took it, and stood. “We’re going to have a preliminary meeting with the Prom committee. Faith and I will work on the plans for the next few days, and let you, and them, know what the plan is.”
“Thanks, Xander. And once again, congratulations to both of you. I am extremely proud.”
“Thank you,” Xander said softly, for both of them, as they walked out. “That was kinda fun.”
“It was. And you know what, I kinda like the feeling of pride I have right now.”
“Me too. Positive parental influence, it’s nice.”
“Which means we’re gonna have to stay in touch with him?”
“You know what we should do?”
“Get some English tea and learn to make it properly, and maybe some crumpets.”
“I like this wicked little sense of humor you’re developing.” She leaned up and pecked him on the cheek.
They entered a classroom, to find it half full of students, gathered around various desks.
“Xander, Faith,” Harmony yelled cheerfully, as she rushed over, and gave them both a hug. “Thanks for coming.”
“What the hell?” Cordelia Chase yelped. “I thought you’d jumped town.”
“Oh, did I forget to mention that to you?” Harmony asked sweetly, as she winked at Xander and Faith. “Like, my bad.”
“Cordelia,” Xander, said with a nod.
“So, rumor has it that Snyder’s invited you two to the prom. You gonna come?”
“We talked about it, but probably not,” Faith said.
“Because if I’m gonna get him all dolled up in a suit, I’m gonna want him to myself.”
“What she said,” Xander agreed. “Only replacing the pronouns with the correct gender.”
“Also, we’re a bit past smuggling cheap booze in to parties,” Faith added.
“Pity,” Harmony said with a pout. “Still, less competition for Queen that way.”
“Have I entered bizarro world?” Cordelia demanded. “You know each other?”
“Deffo,” Harmony agreed.
“You don’t like anyone who doesn’t shop a Gucci, never mind Goodwill.”
“Yeah, fuck you, bitch,” Faith said, her voice calm. “So what if we do, at least it’s our own money we do it with. And frankly, you fucking preppies go through so much clothing that it’s like shopping on Fifth Avenue in the local Goodwill.”
Harmony shrugged, “Their style might be simple, but it works, and besides, Xander rocks the rugged construction worker look.”
“Damn right,” Faith said smugly. “And we were just discussing the shorts, boots and tool belt look on the way here. A gal’s gotta enjoy what she’s got.”
Harmony fanned her face dramatically. “Bitch,” she said with no heat.
“Anyway, shall we talk about why we are here?”
“I guess,” Harmony said, as she moved back.
Xander moved over in front of the desk, and looked at all the students. “Yes, shit is going to go down. Sensible thing would be for you all to catch the flu.”
“We can’t miss graduation,” Chris Epps said, “Sunnydale by-laws from the seventies means we don’t graduate until we attend the ceremony. Besides, we’d attend anyway. Sometimes, there are things you just gotta do.”
“How long has this fucker been planning this?” Faith wondered out loud.
“The shit is going to come from his Mayorness.” He held up a hand. “And yes, we’ve met him, he is a really nice guy, and ask yourself this, how many nice guys do you know that are a success in politics?”
The people who had been about to protest subsided, some looking sheepish.
“Faith and I are going to look through the plans and come up with something,” Xander continued. “In the meantime, Harmony, I need you to start a new fashion trend.”
Harmony blinked. “I can do that.” She paused, and then smiled. She turned, “See, I told you we needed to get someone who can give us realistic jobs. What’s the trend, because I can even pull of Hawaiian shirts?”
“Nothing quite as wild as that. I’m gonna suggest religious iconography.”
“Crosses, Stars of David, plenty of religious jewelry.” He reached out and lightly tapped Faith’s necklace. “It would be even better if you could work out a way of using them as epaulettes as well.”
“No problem,” Harmony stated with confidence. “By the time I’m done, you’re gonna think that this is a Catholic school.”
“Speaking of which, you know where I can get one of those cute little schoolgirl skirts? I owe my man a bet,” Faith asked.
Most of the males in the room stared at Faith. Xander moved his arm and pulled Faith closer. “Mine,” he growled.
“I love it when he gets all possessive,” Faith smirked. “So, yeah, make with the fashion, and we’ll see you on Thursday with some real plans.”
“Sweet,” Harmony exclaimed. “Thanks, guys. And Faith, I’ve got one you can borrow. And it’s easy to clean if it gets, uh, like stained.”
Faith nodded, and they turned and walked out.
“Wait,” Cordelia called, as they were in the hallway.
“Yes?” Xander asked.
“What do you mean, ‘yes’?”
“You just vanish, and then turn up, acting all friends with that ditz.”
“I think we are actually friends with Harmony,” Faith said after a few seconds. “Which is admittedly strange.”
“And you!” Cordelia yelled. “You knew where he was all the time.”
“You were all being bitches,” Faith replied. “And not one of you asked.”
“Come on,” Xander said to Faith.
Cordelia pushed past them and stood in their way. “I’m not done with you.”
Xander looked at her. She was still as beautiful as he remembered, but he had no emotional attachment to her any more. He hadn’t really even thought about her in ages. “I am sorry about what happened; you didn’t deserve that.”
Cordelia looked shocked.
He walked past her, Faith going the other way, before she could recover.
“So,” Faith said innocently. “What happened?”
“We we’re dating, Willow and I were captured, I thought we were gonna die, so I kissed her. We were found, Cordelia ended up with a piece of rebar through her stomach.”
“Right, new rule,” Faith said. “We both screwed up a lot, so we can’t take offence about shit that happened before that night we found each other. And I say that because if that’s your deep and dark secret, you’re a fucking boy scout compared to me.”
“I think I know that,” Xander said. “And you’re right, the past is that.”
Faith grabbed his arm and held it close. He was in no way able to ignore the feeling of her generous bust against his arm.
“Come on, let’s go plan.”
“Fucking teenagers,” Faith groaned as he arrived home. There was a beer ready for him, as she relaxed on the couch.
He shrugged, removed his jacket and boots, and then toppled directly onto her. She didn’t make a sound, as one hand went under him, and she shifted them both so she was draped over him. “I might be stronger, but you’re bigger, and if we’re gonna chat,” she explained without finishing her sentence.
“So, Cordelia couldn’t keep her whore mouth shut, so B and W were all in my face today, and then it turns out that a load of kids actually liked you, and as they now know that we are together, they were asking me to give you the congrats for passing the G.E.D. and not, you know, being a fucking failure.”
“And practically all of them want us to come to the damn prom.”
“That’s probably because Harmony and the other seniors want us to go,” Xander mused, “and the rest of the kids are just following along.”
“Oh,” Faith said, before she poked him. “I prefer my version where others saw through your jokes and realized that you are a good man, so we’re sticking with that, okay?”
“So, what are we gonna plan to keep these kids safe.” She paused. “And not that I don’t dig the confidence, because I really do, but, can you do it?”
“Yes,” he said. “I was possessed by the spirit of a soldier last Halloween. Got a few memories, and I was digging through them today.” He scooted out from under her and grabbed some paper and a pen, and started to explain what he had come up with.
Faith had simply draped herself over his back, so she could read over his shoulder. Which didn’t do that much for his concentration, as he could feel her pressed tightly against his back, and he was pretty sure she wasn’t wearing a bra.
She whistled as he finished. “Right, no arguing from you, we’re going to advanced second base.” She turned him, whipped her top off, and kissed him really quite seriously.
After work on Thursday, they headed back to school. “You know B and W aregonna be there?”
He nodded. It was fine, it might hurt a little, but he could deal with it. He paused. “I can deal with it,” he told her. “When I’m working, I can think clearly. I had a ton of issues with the lot of them, and I’ve worked through a lot. I was crushing so hard on Buffy, had a holy-shit-Willow’s-a-girl moment, and Cordelia had big tits and was my best friend’s dream girl.”
“And you know what word I associate with them now?”
“Yup, not one of them would announce second base and then pounce on me. Everything with them is tied up in, well, practically the entire Western Culture.”
“And then you have me, who thinks, fuck that.”
“And what if I change?”
“Pfft,” Xander said, as he turned and crowded her against a wall, one of her feet raised so that it was flat against the wall, and he straddled her knee, well aware of the damage she could do. Her arms went up and rested on his shoulders. “First, we’ve changed,” he told her, “both of us, grown up a bit, but we ain’tgonna grow up much more. Why should we? We’re young, soon we’re gonna have transport, and we’ll take off and see the country for a couple of weeks, before I go back to work and you get ready for college.
“Secondly, the way things are going, if you do change, I’m gonna be right next to you, changing as well.
“But you’re talking about surface things, and that ain’t important.” He tapped her chest, over her heart, “because inside here, inside your heart and soul, is a kick ass wildcat, and you are never gonna lose that.”
“Fuck, Xan,” she whispered, “I swear you are the only guy in the world who understands me, and it’s kinda scary, in a way, but fucking great in another.” She tightened her arms around his neck and pulled him down for a kiss. She sighed. “Come on, let’s get this over with.”
He took her hand, and they strolled into school. Rather than avoid the issue, they headed to the library, to find Giles alone. The elder man looked up. “They are waiting for you with the prom committee.”
“You wanna come? I’m gonna explain what I’m planning.”
“Honestly, no,” Giles replied instantly. “This is going to be an American soap opera.”
“Probably,” Xander agreed. “It won’t be as gritty and dark as EastEnders, and we all have shiny teeth and clear complexions.”
“And the girls have great boobs,” Faith added. “And we all look like we’re well past jailbait.”
“Indeed,” Giles said dryly.
“Oh, that’s just not fair, that accent is far better suited to dryness,” Xander complained.
“True,” Faith agreed, tapping her finger to the corner of her mouth. “Personally, I prefer yours, though. It’s a little more obvious that you’re teasing. I might know you, but others, not so much.”
“I guess. Come, Giles, let us brave the horrors of teenagers in their natural environment.”
“If I must.”
“You must.” The three of them walked the halls to the prom committee. Xander opened the door and entered.
He froze, as Buffy stormed toward him, drew her hand back, and launched a punch. He braced for the pain, when Faith moved like a blur of dark hair. She caught the fist, diverted it, kicked Buffy’s legs out, and smacked her face into the floor. “I don’t know what the hell you are thinking, you stupid bitch, but you do not get to touch Xander, let alone try and fucking punch him. And seriously, resorting to violence without a word? Grow the fuck up, you stupid child.”
Faith dropped Buffy’s head.
“Thanks,” Xander said to her.
“Wow, she can get me angry,” Faith sighed. She looked at Giles. “You win another point.”
“Hurrah,” Giles said blandly, as he looked disdainfully at the now-embarrassed Buffy.
“And seriously, attacking someone we asked to come here, totally un-cool,” Harmony pointed out with a sniff. “But hey, Faith was cool. Hi guys!”
Xander looked at Harmony’s blouse, complete with silver crosses embossed up and down the collar and shoulders. “Nice.”
She smiled happily at him.
“Right, the G-man might have an unnatural affinity for all things tweedy, but he’s also got some really eclectic skills. He’s come up with half the plan to deal with the large issue, and believe me, this ceremony is gonna go down in history.
“But what can we, we poor graduating class do to live up to this infamy?” he asked rhetorically. “We just can’t let a teacher have all the fun, right?”
There were some nervous chuckles as the students gathered around. Willow, Buffy and Cordelia stood near Giles at the back.
“We’re all aware of the fact that Sunnydale is, somehow, the gang capital of the world, with a seemingly endless stream of thugs that come around, so many, in fact, that we’re pretty sure they get imported.”
“We’re just that damn lucky,” a guy who Xander barely remembered said.
“Indeed. Now, we are all aware that violence begets violence,” he continued, “and as staunch graduating students, we wouldn’t want to go around that, would we?”
There as some weird looks. “Which is why we’re gonna prepare for a prank.”
“A prank?” Harmony asked.
Xander reached into the bag on his shoulder, and pulled out a plastic device that looked like a video game gun. “This,” he said, “is the MasterSprayer 3000. It’s got a range of thirty feet. Before the graduation, the senior class is gonna have a pre-party at Harmony’s house.”
“Yay,” Harmony cheered.
“At lunch time today, I had a chat with Father Michael Crook at St Martin’s. Turns out, he was a bit of delinquent in his youth, and he appreciates a good prank, especially when it doesn’t harm any humans. So he’s gonna pop by and say a few words before we come to the ceremony.
“And if those words happen to be over Harmony’s swimming pool, and we all fill up the water pistols, well, it just means that our water prank will be sanctified by God himself, and no politician, no matter how powerful, will be able to deal with that.”
“I, like, totally win,” Harmony crowed. “I told you that he’d come up with something.”
Xander chuckled. “Some of the gang members might be tough, so we’re not fighting, our job is containment, while the expert does the fighting.”
Faith smiled and bowed demurely. “I’ve got plenty of experience,” she said confidently, “and if they are distracted, it will be the biggest slaughter since a bunch of clever Greeks left a giant horse in front of the gates of Troy.”
“We can help fight,” Lance said. “We’re strong.”
Faith moved over and grabbed Lance. She twisted slightly, and then raised him over her head, one hand on his chest, the other grabbing his trousers between his knees for balance. She pressed him a few times, before putting him down. “Any of you do that?”
All the boys looked at her in shock, as they shook their heads.
“And that’s why,” Xander finished. “So, any questions?”
“Shouldn’t we bring guns?” one of the guys asked.
“Two problems with that,” Xander replied, “and I did think about it. The first problem is that these,” he made his voice dry, “drugged up gang members on P.C.P.,” he returned to his normal voice, “won’t even feel them. The second problem is that if you miss, you hit one of ours. If you miss with the water pistol, why, then, someone gets a little wet and it’s all just a big laugh.”
There were plenty of nods of agreement.
“What about others who are visiting?” one of the girls asked.
“I’ll be explaining that at the party,” Xander said.
“What about the police?” Another girl asked.
There were several snorts from students. “I’m sure that we’ll see our hard-earned tax dollars at work just after the problem has been dealt with,” Xander said, trying to keep his tone level.
“Now, the more important question,” Harmony interrupted. “How do we get you guys to the prom?”
“You don’t,” Xander said, going for his dry tone again.
“Almost as good as Giles,” Faith praised with a grin.
“Seriously, our idea of a good night is the local Italian.”
“The prom is, like, the celebration we got through school,” Harmony said. The other students were nodding their agreement.
“I didn’t, though,” Xander pointed out.
“Yeah, but that’s coz you were friends with geckos.”
Xander closed his eyes, and thought desperately. “Do you mean chameleons?”
“That’s the one! I’ve always been a bitch in school, they hide their bitchiness.”
Xander chuckled. “There’s also the practicalities. We don’t have the money to blow on new clothes for one night, or do any of the other things that tradition dictates.”
“We’ve got a bunch of suits that’ll fit you,” Harmony said breezily, “and, like, my wardrobe has enough prom dresses to fit out the entire graduating classes, I’ve got one that Faith would look awesome in.”
“Faith would look awesome in a sack,” Xander pointed out with a sigh, as he saw Faith grinning at him.
“Yeah,” Lance agreed. “And a bunch of us are sharing a limo, there’s easily enough room for two more.”
There were several sounds of agreement from other students.
“Fine,” Xander groaned. “Please tell me that the theme isn’t tacky.”
“Well, I like tack,” Harmony said with a pout, “but I was outvoted, so we’re going traditional.”
“We’ll come. But do not spike the damn punch.”
“Because you always find the cheapest booze to do it with, and it tastes like shit.”
There was a round of laughter.
“So we can spike it with decent stuff.”
“No, cheap booze makes the fruit taste bad, expensive booze should not be wasted on fruit!”
“Man has a point,” one of the football players muttered. “No wasting good booze on punch, no ruining good punch with crap booze.”
“Well, I suppose that means I won’t end up drunk, and apologizing to everyone, puking, and ending up sleeping somewhere I shouldn’t,” Harmony said happily.
“You’ve thought about that way too much,” Faith stated.
Harmony waved her hand airily. “Right, meeting’s like, over.”
It was a much happier group of students who walked out. As they did, Xander noticed that they had all experienced strong religious conversions, judging by their clothes.
At the end it was only Harmony, along with what he once referred to as the Scooby gang. “You guys want me to stay in here, moral support and all that?” Harmony asked.
“You are a blonde bimbo, and a bitch,” Faith said. “You probably don’t eat enough, and you’ve clearly spent more time in-fighting and plotting than actual learning.” Before Harmony could react, Faith continued, “So just why I like you, I do not know.” She reached forward and hugged the blonde. “But I do.”
“Cool!” Harmony said and giggled. “In that case, I’ll wait in my car; I’ll give you two a lift.”
“Thanks, Harmony,” Xander said. The girl smiled, raised a finger at the others, and sashayed out.
“Xander, an excellent plan,” Giles said. “I was concerned about how to protect the students. And Faith, where does the horse come from?”
“Dunno originally, but it was mentioned in the Illiad, by the epic story telling Greek dude Homer.”
Giles tilted his head, “Is that how you remember the Greeks?”
“Weird triangle dude with the funky beard,” Xander agreed. “Pythagoras.”
“Greek with way too much time on his hands, who believed what he could see,” Faith added, “Aristotle.”
“A good mnemonic,” Giles praised. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Faith.”
“Five-by-five, G-man,” Faith agreed.
That just left the five of them, three one side, two the other. The door opened, and Oz appeared. He looked around, and spotted Willow. “Hey,” he greeted. “Sorry I’m late.” He looked around and spotted Xander. He shrugged and nodded.
Xander nodded back.
“Just so we’re clear, no violence.”
“Lucky,” Buffy mumbled with a glare at Faith.
Faith sighed, and Xander wrapped an arm around her when she didn’t respond. “Proud of you,” he whispered into her hair. He looked at the other four. “If we’re just gonna glare, we’re gonna head out.”
“I’ve got dinner ready,” Faith told him.
“Wait!” Buffy yelled, as they started to move. “What the hell?”
“I said that,” Cordelia muttered.
“Look, you guys told me you didn’t need me,” Xander said. “At the time, I went through a major crisis of confidence, and I was ready to skip town. I stumbled across Faith after she killed that demon, and she still thought it was a human.”
“Yeah, we argued, talked, and realized we were both fucked up,” Faith added. “So we decided to see if we could fix each other.” She cocked her head. “Honestly, I think he’s fixed me, and done a pretty good job of fixing himself, but he’d say the opposite.”
“So, anyway, the past is gone,” Xander said. “I am sorry for any worry, not a huge amount, but a bit.”
“I’m not sorry, but I don’t really like any of you,” Faith said cheerily.
“You can’t go,” Willow yelped. “You promised me.”
Xander smiled at her sadly. “You let me off that promise when you agreed with Buffy,” he said gently. “I had to find my own path, and my own future.” He took a deep breath. “Look, I know you didn’t do it out of malice or anything like that, so I’m really not angry. But I was upset and hurt, and I know you didn’t realize. And I think it was that that hurt, you know? That you didn’t realize that you broke me, I know, now, that I overreacted, that everything was too much, but it doesn’t matter. That’s the past, and we are all moving forward.”
Willow looked devastated.
Faith groaned, she turned and punched him in the arm, lightly, “You’re a damn do-gooder,” she muttered. “Look, it doesn’t mean we can’t try and be friends, but honestly, if you talk down to me, or to him, it ain’tgonna happen. You wanna be friendly, I’ll reciprocate.”
They headed to the door. “So that’s it, you’re just gonna walk out?” Buffy demanded.
“Yup, we’re both said our pieces, you know where we are coming from, we’re open to being friendly in the future, but that will have to be friendship with the people we are slowly becoming, now who we were. Door’s open, if you want to step through it.” Xander paused. “Later, Oz.”
The boy nodded, and they left.
Xander exhaled. “I feel good.”
Faith laughed and hugged his arm. They headed out to the car park, where Harmony was perched on the hood of a Lexus.
“Not exactly my style,” she said with a smile, “but it’s comfy and looks good.”
Xander sat in the back, letting Faith ride shotgun. It was pretty roomy. “You know, you need a cute little cap, Harmony,” he teased. “Home, please.”
“Sir, yes, sir,” Harmony called back, as she drove out of the school parking lot.
“That makes me the official bodyguard,” Faith said. “I need some sunglasses.”
Harmony popped a button on the roof of the car, an opening folded down, and a pair of sunglasses dropped out. Faith grabbed them and put them on. She pressed a finger to her ear. “Control, come in.” She paused. “Have picked up the pretentious butt-wipe, we are proceeding to next destination.”
Harmony laughed, as Xander pouted.
Faith leaned over and looked back, and shot him a grin and a salute.
“As I’m still the boss,” he said portentously. “You shall be punished later.”
“Yup, I shall tan that pretty rear of yours.”
“And what about the punishment?”
Xander found it very difficult not to go to his happy place.
Faith pulled back, “He keeps forgetting that I’m more adventurous than him,” she told Harmony.
“I wish I had your confidence,” Harmony sighed. “I just end up giving blow jobs to get out of trouble.”
Xander went silent, and looked out the window. He pretended he wasn’t listening.
“Ahh, yeah, I was like that a few years ago,” Faith agreed. “Before I learnt to fight, it meant that if I did get in trouble, I could deal with it. I then took control of my sex life back. And I thought that was what I wanted, until I found something more, something deeper. It’s weird, you know?”
“No,” Harmony sighed. “Fighting is hard, though.”
“Maybe I should show you some moves?”
“Xan, you mind sitting on a chair and watching two girls rolling on the floor and getting all close?”
“Tease,” He replied.
“Not if I’m willing to follow through,” Faith pointed out. “Take us to your place, Harmony.”
“Go ahead. I have an imagination formed by Tolkien. Sure, it means Harmony will be Galadriel and you’ll be Arwen, and both of you will have pointy ears, but it’s better than no imagination.”
“Huh?” Harmony asked.
“He just called us two of the most beautiful Elves in The Lord of the Rings,” Faith explained. “I’m halfway through the second book.”
“You read?” Harmony asked.
“Yeah, I’m surprised, too.”
Harmony pulled into their driveway, and they headed through the house to the back garden. Xander took a seat on a deck chair and settled back.
“Right, first thing. The guy is in front of you.” Faith moved in front of Harmony. “Kick him in the shin, especially if you have pointy shoes. As he moves, knee him in the crotch.” She demonstrated slowly, and then let Harmony do the same. “When you knee, make sure you put your hips into it.”
Harmony made the movements a few times, as Faith corrected her.
“Right, next. Come on, Xan, let me hit you a few times.”
“Yay,” he said dryly.
“You’ll get to grab my boobs.”
“Yay,” he said again, changing his tone.
Harmony giggled. “Behind me,” Faith said, “and grab.”
He walked behind her, “Hey, sweetie,” he said, mimicking a drunken slur. He put his arms around her in a bear hug, and did indeed slide his hands over her breasts.
“Right, in most cases, he will be stronger than you,” Faith explained. “Normally, you just shoot your hand forward, and then back, into his stomach.” She demonstrated, Xander made an “Oof” sound, as he let her go. “Again,” Faith said.
He moved and grabbed her again.
“If that doesn’t work, then watch this.” Faith stomped on his instep, hard, but not as hard as he knew she could. She then twisted, and her hand shot under her, and fortunately, for any future Harris, she pulled the punch.
“Wow,” Harmony whistled.
“Wow indeed,” Charlotte called. Xander looked up, to see here with a tray loaded with four drinks.
“You should join in, Mom,” Harmony said. “Faith’s showing me some self-defense moves.”
“So I see,” Charlotte said. She offered them all a drink, and then sat down as they did.
“Oh,” Xander said, “I kinda volunteered your pool and house for a pre-graduation party.”
“That’s fine,” Charlotte agreed. “Harmony told me that people are having a weird feeling about it, and that you’re helping.” She paused. “I’m having a weird feeling, as well.”
“Xander came up with the idea of a holy prank. We are all going to have big water pistols, and a priest is popping over to bless the pool,” Harmony added.
“That sounds harmless,” Charlotte agreed.
“It’s often been noted that gangs on P.C.P. have such powerful hallucinations that they believe that the holy water is affecting them.”
Charlotte’s eyes cleared and she smiled. “Good idea, harmless, but they believe it. I’ll order some of the water pistols.”
Xander finished the drink.
“So, is it my turn to have my boobs caressed?” Harmony asked.
“No,” Faith said. “My man, my boobs.” She didn’t look upset, just amused.
Harmony pouted. “That bit looked fun.”
“It was. Which is why I’m being selfish about it.”
“Yeah,” Faith agreed. “Come on, Mrs K, you can have first go.”
“Oh, my,” She said, as she stood up. She looked at Xander. “Does the same answer go for me?” she purred.
Xander felt himself go red.
Faith laughed. “Oh, a cougar wants my boy-toy. Come, Xan, grab the lady.”
Xander shook his head as he moved behind Charlotte, he grabbed her, making sure he missed her chest.
“Now, stomp on his instep,” Faith called. “If you’re wearing heels, you might be able to break a bone, and you can then take the shoes off and run.”
Charlotte did, he felt her trainers, but as he was still wearing his work boots, it wasn’t painful, but he released her a little.
“Now twist, and as you do, sink down, so his arms are around your shoulders, and you are free. Then, use everything you have to smack into his crotch. But don’t you dare hit him!”
Charlotte performed the movements, and then grinned as Xander released her. “This is gonna be fun,” she said. “While you get Harmony through that move, I’m gonna quickly go and sort out dinner for five. You two don’t get to leave without being fed.” She trotted off.
“Well, I think we’ve been told,” Faith said to Xander.
“Oh,” Harmony exclaimed. “You don’t know the gossip!”
“It turns out that the Chases haven’t been paying their taxes. The IRS has seized everything, even Cordelia’s prom dress!” She looked gleeful.
“You want some advice, Harmony?” Xander asked.
“No,” she said with a pout, “’Cause I can tell it’s gonna be adult advice, and good advice, and it will make me feel like the shallow bitch I am, and probably take away my gloating.”
Xander and Faith both laughed. “I think that’s why I like you,” Faith declared. “You know what you are.”
“Go on, then, Xander, hit me,” Harmony sighed.
“You should let Cordelia borrow one of your dresses.”
“But I don’t like her, she’s not a real friend like you guys, she’s just a fellow school bitch.”
“So, think of it like this. You could know she is humiliated and not at the prom. Or you can help her, and never mention it to her again, but every time you meet, she will know that it was you that saved her reputation.”
“Oh,” Harmony said. “It’s like, being classy, right?”
Harmony thought for a moment, the expression looking a little foreign on her face. “And we’ll either end up proper friends, or if we don’t, I’ll know that I did a good thing?”
“Wow, that’s, like, super sneaky revenge, and, others will realize, and I’ll look good, especially if I don’t rub it in, or be a bitch about it. Is this what growing up is like?”
“A little,” Xander said. “None of us are saints, sometimes we need a different reason to help others, and finding that is a way of talking yourself into doing the right thing.”
“That makes loads of sense,” Harmony said with a nod. As Charlotte rejoined them, she looked at her mom. “I’m gonna go phone Cordy, tell her she can borrow any of my dresses,” she said, and dashed off.
“Okay, how did you two perform that miracle? Her gloating was getting so bad I was contemplating pushing her into the pool!”
“Xan just framed it in a way she could understand,” Faith said.
“Thank you. I’m going to give her some positive parental reinforcement when she goes back.” Charlotte sighed and tucked her blonde hair behind her ear. “It’s my fault, of course. My divorce took up most of my attention for three years of fighting, while I took the cheating bastard to the cleaners. It was only when I met Hank that I started to look at the air-head I’d managed to mis-raise.”
“She’s a good girl inside,” Faith said. She shrugged. “I wouldn’t be friends with her otherwise.”
“But enough talk; let’s go back to why we’re here and not snuggled on a couch. Stand like this, Mrs K.”
It was late when they got home, after an entertaining evening, and he headed straight to bed, while Faith went for a patrol.
Thanks to Luan Mao for the beta and for adding just a touch more humour to the story.
I think I was channeling a bit of Principal Strickland (Back to the Future) in part of Snyder's dialogue.
I actually first heard of using fertiliser in a bomb in news reports about the IRA. You can decide which side Giles' friend was on.
Some of the relationship stuff was made deliberately a little naieve. Surprisingly hard to write.
I (the author) do know that the Trojan horse was in the Odyssey not the Illiad. Giles let it fly as it didn't matter.
I like Harmony in this, she was fun to write.
One more chapter to go.
This story has been marked as suitable for adult readers only.