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Fic: Teenage Dirtbag

Discussion in 'Introduction To The Watcher Diaries' started by sosa lola, Nov 19, 2015.

  1. cryptwarmer

    cryptwarmer I'm in charge of morale!

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    Black Thorn
    powerful. I am really feeling this
     
  2. sosa lola

    sosa lola Scooby

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    Thank you. Spike had to witness Xander's moment of heroism. :D

    Thank you! :)
     
  3. sosa lola

    sosa lola Scooby

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    Part 13:










    Leonardo Da Vinci will off himself if he sees the rubbish created in this art class. Make a car out of foam boards? Madam Picasso over there used to just ask us to draw a fruit basket or some other rot but now, because some tit complained, we have to produce art. This class used to be a breeze, only one at that. Don’t think I’ll be seeing anymore “A”s from now on.

    “Aw, Mrs. Ward.” Buffy raises her foam board, torn in half. “Can I have another one?”

    Art teacher flips another page in the couples’ magazine she’s scanning and nods her head dismissively, clearly unbothered by the consumption of foam boards.

    “This is hard,” Willow whines, cutting her board askew.

    “Least this is your first mistake. Unlike others.” I smirk at Buffy bringing over her fifth board.

    “When you have slayer strength, you get to talk,” she retorts, placing her new board a little too hard on the table and it cracks. She groans and hits her head on the board, cracking it even further.

    “Some of us aren’t having much trouble at all,” Oz comments, gesturing at Xander who has already finished pasting the car’s body together.

    “Wow, Xander, you’re a natural,” Willow praises, sounding a bit envious. Poor thing isn’t used to her inept friend outshining her.

    The boy looks up, bewildered by the attention and admiration he’s getting. He looks between his fine work and the wreck we’ve made, and his lips pull back into a smug grin.

    “It’s a no-brainer.” He flips his utility knife into the air and misses it. Thing almost slices his foot in half. Sheepishly scratching the back of his neck with his empty hand, he grabs his pencil and starts drawing the car wheels on what’s left of his foam board.

    Serves him right. Putting on airs and all. Once a barmpot always a barmpot.

    “Hey, Lar, check this out.” One tosser cuts two thin long pieces of his board and sticks them in his mouth like fangs – never got what’s so funny about this joke.

    Larry barely smiles at him and returns his attention to his work.

    Willow gives me a gentle nudge. “Have you spoken to Larry after the break up?”

    Last time I talked with him was on Christmas Eve when he pointed Xander’s house out to me. Don’t fancy doing that again. Heard his granny set him up with a boy. He doesn’t look any chipper about it. Poor git, still finding it difficult to get over yours truly.

    His mate is too thick to get how unfunny his little joke is, attacking everybody’s personal space and growling for a giggle. When he pounces at me, my fist connects to his jaw instinctively. The boy recoils back and knocks Xander – who’s gluing one car wheel to the rest of the body – to the floor.

    Willow’s “Xander!” breaks out the same time as my “Bollocks!”

    “Watch it, Nimrod!” Xander glares down at his damaged masterpiece. Larry’s chum looks more heartbroken by his broken fangs.

    I reach out to help Xander up. “You all right?”

    He accepts my hand mutely and lets me help him up. I catch Larry’s piercing stare fixated on our clasped hands.

    Suddenly I’m shoved back a step. Larry’s friend covers his jaw with one hand and does not look amused. “I’ll kick your ass, low life.”

    “Big talk for a silly walrus.” I don’t waste a second and fire a punch, which the twit ducks before his fist slams against my jawline. Sodding hell, I bit my tongue.

    Buffy grabs me by the back of my collar and pushes me back before I mess up the wanker’s face. “That’s enough,” she threatens. Willow behind her sounds the alarm, “Mrs. Ward!”

    The teacher sighs and glances at her watch, fifteen more minutes before the end of the class. She reluctantly stands up and musters her best intimidating scowl. “If you two don’t settle down, I’m failing you both even if your cars looked as glamorous as a Jaguar.”

    The art room does settle into blooming silence, each pupil turning back to their work minus one. “Mrs. Ward, may I be excused?” Xander’s voice floats into the room, low and suspiciously calm.

    Mrs. Ward, still on an admonishing roll, directs her smoldering gaze at the boy. “Where are you going?”

    He hesitates for a second – this is the first time the teacher cares enough to investigate. “Uh… the little boys’ room?”

    She loses the seething eyes with a tired sigh. Gotta hand it to her, must have taken her a hell of an effort to last this long as a teacher who gives cobblers. “Just go.”

    The door clicks shut behind Xander when Willow hands me my utility knife. A hasty glance at the boy’s table. His knife isn’t there.


    ~*~*~*~


    “Xander, get your arse out here.” I delve my sharp stare between the bathroom stalls and stop at the only closed door. The revolting stench of urine hanging in the stale air soils my limited sense of smell. If I was still a vampire, I wouldn’t have survived.

    “Will?” Xander’s confused voice drifts from inside followed by the sound of flushing. Can’t fool me. This stinks of cover up.

    He walks out of the stall with his eyebrows up to his hairline.

    Crossing my arms over my chest - “What were you doing in there?”

    A pause. “Number two?”

    “That right?”

    Xander opens his mouth. Closes it. Shakes his head. “You’re crazy.” He walks past me to the sink with a snicker.

    I stand behind him as he washes his hands, my suspicious stare reflected on the mirror. “Where’s the knife?”

    He shakes his wet hands dry. “What knife?”

    “The utility knife. You snuck it out of the art room.” I hold up his long shirt and pat the back pocket of his trousers.

    He recoils and slaps my hand away. “Hey there with the naughty touching!” He looks me in the eyes. “You swing that way. I don’t.”

    I roll my eyes. “Look I know what you were doing in there. It’s why you keep wearing long sleeved shirts. You’re hiding your scarred wrists.” I grab his hand and attempt to push his sleeve back.

    Xander pulls his hand out of my grip and shoves me back. “Hey, knock it off. What’s gotten into you?”

    “Where is the utility knife?” I demand, standing so close to him I can feel my breath hitting his skin.

    He pushes me back again. “Back in the art room.”

    “Right. And I was born yesterday.”

    He shakes his head in disgust. “Take a hike, Will.”

    Oh, no, you’re not getting off so easily. I start following him back to the art room. “Listen to reason now, mate. Keep at it and one day it may cut deeper than it should. Then no one will be around to save your pathetic life.”

    “You’re not just crazy,” Xander starts breathlessly, quickening his steps, “You’re a lunatic.”

    “And you’re thick as mince,” I retort, following him into the art room. He stops at his table, and I take his arm, whispering into his ear. “It ain’t worth it, Harris. Don’t try something you’ll regret.”

    He bends down and picks up something from under the table. “You mean this utility knife?”

    I stare at the thing, gobsmacked and a little bit embarrassed. Xander doesn’t say anything further, just lets out a humorless chuckle and starts gathering the rest of the pieces to his foam board.

    “William?” Larry whispers behind me, making me jump slightly.

    Really not feeling like dealing with him right now, I start thinking of an excuse to get out of talking to him.

    “Is it Xander?” he asks solemnly.

    Taken aback by the question – “What?”

    “Why you… why we didn’t work out.” He looks down then up, putting on a brave face and waiting for the blow. “Is it Xander?”

    Not likely. Don’t fancy you, Larry, that’s why. However, thinking about it, William did break it off because of his ninny crush on Suicidal over there. Would probably do us both a favor if I just spit out the truth.

    “Yes.” He flinches. “That doesn’t mean a free ticket to pummel him to death though.”

    He frowns at my serious expression then a smile finds its way to his lips. “I’d never hurt Xander. I owe the guy. He helped me come out.”

    Tossing a skeptical glance at the silent boy redoing his car model, I start wondering if he did have more depths than I’ve given him credit.

    “You’re the one who should be watching his back.” Larry nods his chin at his nitwit of a friend trying to make new walrus fangs. “Dan said he’ll wipe the floor with you after school is over.”

    I scoff. “Let him dream.” As I make my way back to my table, I’m stopped by the blank stare in Xander’s eyes. He’s looking through the board pieces, his friends laughing together next to him yet he’s unaware. It’s brief, though, as the boy snaps out of it and resumes his work.


    ~*~*~*~


    I check out the cut in my tongue in the mirror. How can a tiny little cut be so irritating?

    Van Halen’s ‘Without You’ starts blaring through the stereo. I dance over to my bed and look for the mouth gel between the pile of University of Oxford brochures and college applications.

    I got into Oxford.

    And other very prestigious colleges here in the US.

    I got into Oxford.

    I just… never thought I’d be this enthusiastic about it. How much of it is still the same and how much has changed? Do pupils still skate on the Thames at Port Meadow when it freezes over? Do they still hold canoe racing contests?

    I apply the mouth gel over the bitten tongue surface, feeling it numbing the pain a bit. That Dan git was waiting for me outside the school premises. His face flashed a ridiculing smile when he noticed Rupert by my side as we walked out of the school’s building. The tosser must think I’m a wuss. I’ll show him tomorrow when I’m not preoccupied with saving bloody Xander.

    The boy is going to the Bronze. Alone. He didn’t make a fuss when Buffy and Willow declined on account of a study night for tomorrow’s chemistry test. He got the face of a bear with a sore head when I offered to tag along. Not exactly reassuring.

    First you say that you will
    Then you say you won't


    Can hear the faint ringing of the phone outside my room through the music and overlook Rupert’s bark to turn down the volume. I comb my gelled hair back flawlessly – reflection is heaven’s gift that the living don’t appreciate much. I run my fingers against my smooth forehead, glad that pimple has buggered off. Buffy and her knowledge in skin care came through again.

    There must be some kind of way
    That we can make it right


    Night has already fallen, and the boy is sure up to something. Hope he waits until after I finish off my dinner, no way I’m passing up Rupert’s bubble and squeak.

    Hey fool, wise up, better late than never
    Yeah you, you know that nothing lasts--


    I stop combing my hair when the music dies suddenly. Rupert is standing next to my stereo, staring at me.

    I roll my eyes and grunt. “Fine. I’ll turn it down.”

    His intent stare doesn’t wager. Never seen a gaze so cold since my first day as the man’s son when William lied to his father and friends about his weekend plans.

    “What?” I snap, a terrible feeling seeping inside.

    “Why on earth do you want to summon a vengeance demon?”

    My stomach lurches hard as my mouth goes dry. He knows. The bloody phone! Why didn’t I answer the phone?!

    “A better question; who were you going to curse?” the steel in his calm voice is nothing compared to the obsidian gaze in his eyes.

    Tell him, a voice in my head demands. Put an end to this nightmare. He’d want his real son back. He’ll help you retrieve your fangs. Be who you are.

    “Who were you going to cure, William?” Rupert’s voice rises sharply.

    A lump so thick in my throat clogs my vocal cords. Words can’t pass my lips. Gaze, mind and soul captured by the betrayed stare mirrored in his eyes.

    Tell him, the voice persists. What’s holding you back?

    The warm smell of roasted dinner floats in the air and lingers amid the college applications and the Oxford brochures on my crumpled bed.

    “Is it me?”

    That snaps me out of my numb silence. “What?”

    His gaze is lowered; jaw looks like it has been set in iron. “It all makes sense. You stopped talking to me after your mother…” He bites on his lips, words lost in his throat.

    “Caught your affaire de coeur with another woman?” I decide to help.

    He winces and then glowers up at me. “You changed your appearance, started calling me by my first name, disrespecting me every chance you get.”

    My jaw line goes rigid. “You think this is all about you, innit?”

    “You’re punishing me,” he spits out. “But that’s not enough, you had to summon….”

    “Get off your high horse there, Rupes,” I retort sharply, taking a step forward and staring him down, glasses to glasses. “This ain’t about you. I did it…”

    Tell him!

    “… for Xander,” the lame lie slips weakly.

    His incredulous stare can melt steel girders.

    A weak shrug. “I wanted to help him get his touch back.”

    “On your own?” he exclaims. “William, that’s exceptionally irresponsible…”

    “Xander at the Bronze.” Realization suddenly drops down. It’s almost 9 PM.

    Rupert removes his glasses and begins rubbing his forehead with the back of his hand. “You are not to meet your friends anywhere for two weeks. Especially with a test tomorrow.”

    “No, I have to be there or he’ll hurt himself.” I start towards the door, but Rupert blocks my way.

    “Xander is capable of going to a club on his own, William.”

    “Would you put on your bloody glasses and open your eyes for a minute? Xander hasn’t been well for a while now.”

    Rupert does put on his glasses. “He looked fine enough this morning.”

    “Not what I meant. I’m talking gun to the head, rope tied to the ceiling fan, knife to the wrist kind of not well.”

    He tries not to choke on his laughter. “Xander? That’s preposterous.”

    That’s it. I’m going. I try to get past him to the door, but he grabs me by the shoulders and pushes me back. I try to shove him aside, but God, he is much stronger.

    “Stop this nonsense, William.” He pushes me back until I fall on my bed. “You are not to leave this house except to school for two weeks.”

    “If Xander winds up dead tonight, it’s on your neck.” My grip on one of the brochures tightens with frustration.

    He sighs and starts closing the door. I fling the brochure at him but it ends up slamming against the closed door.

    ~*~*~*~
     
  4. Ethan Reigns

    Ethan Reigns Scooby

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    Sineya
    Another excellent installment. But I bet when you said "His intent stare doesn’t wager" you meant "His intense stare doesn’t waver." Don't mind me, I was trying to figure out where a bet would come into this.
     
  5. sosa lola

    sosa lola Scooby

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    Thank you. "intent stare" is exactly what I meant, but "wager" is a freakin' typo that's supposed to be "waver" *smacks self*
     
  6. sosa lola

    sosa lola Scooby

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    Part 14:






    Mrs. Taggart places the test booklet on my table, and with tired eyes I stare at where I’m supposed to write my name. I have studied. Been a true swot. But a certain brainless wanker kept interrupting my train of thought, and substance and energy didn’t seem to matter.

    Glancing at the boy sitting behind me, all that worrying amounted to nothing ‘cause Xander hasn’t offed himself last night at the Bronze. He didn’t even go there. Rupert was generous enough to take my concerns seriously and called the boy’s house. He told me Xander pissed himself laughing ‘cause who goes out clubbing when there’s a big test the next day. He can lie through his teeth all he wants, but there’s no fooling me. He can’t hide it for long, one day I’ll catch him flat-footed.

    Was it really a lie though? The question catches me flat-footed. Is Xander really harming himself? Not last night apparently, ‘cause there he is, fine as rains, and desperately trying to tick the right answers. Once Buffy shuts her gob that is.

    “You see, the thing was, Faith knew I didn't even wanna go down there...”

    Mrs. Taggart clears her throat. “Ms. Summers?”

    Buffy turns around, jerking her seat and knocking mine, pencil flying to the floor. I really hate this chemistry lab! Every time I wind up here, bad luck strikes. My brassed off stare floats from Buffy doing a buttoning her lips gesture to the teacher to my pencil on the floor as I lean down to take it.

    I turn to the first page in the booklet and stare at the twaddle written in it. Multiple choices; shouldn’t be hard. First question: This gas law deals with pressure and…

    “Okay, so the best part...”

    I grit my teeth when Buffy starts again. Can’t see the teacher. Must have slipped out to the loo or do something better than waste a whole period watching children sweat and whimper.

    “Buffy. Test?” Willow interrupts Ms. Chatterbox urgently. “You know. Remember? The thing you didn't come over to study for?” Despite her passive aggressive approach, the bitterness in her words don’t seep into her tone.

    “Right. Got it.” Let’s hope she means it. The slayer has become such a skiver since the last apocalypse – too much time with Leather Pants ought to do that.

    I glance at her settling in her seat. She notices and mistakes my fleeting look for interest. Grinning from ear to ear, she pushes her chair closer next to mine. “So, Will, we were at the sewers…”

    “Do I look desperately bored to you? Get stuffed!”

    She purses her lips, then turns around to face Xander and Willow again. “Sorry. Okay, so we're down there, in the sewers, and Faith got three of them on her at once...”

    “Hey! Whoa!” Xander cuts her off. “Can we resume Buffy's 'Ode to Faith' later, like when I'm not actively multiple-choicing?”

    There’s a pause. “How come your eye twitches every time I say Faith's name?”

    I look over my shoulder at Xander whose eye does twitch. “What?” He lets out a nervous chuckle. “No, it doesn’t.”

    Buffy leans in closer to him, her eyes intently watching his face. “Faith.”

    His eye twitches again, and he slaps his hand over it. “Cut it out! We got a test to take, okay? And I'm highly caffeinated, and I'm trying to concentrate. Some of us actually care about school. You know.”

    I return my gaze back to the test, but once again Xander stands between me and conjugate acids. He appears perfectly normal with a side crush on Ms. Bad Influence. Is it all in my head? The boy isn’t really a sad clown after all?



    ~*~*~*~



    Ride back is as silent as death; slow, agonizing and endless. I don’t think Rupert will utter a word. Last night still too fresh and raw in his mind. I rest my head against the glass and close my eyes – could use some shuteye after spending a whole night worrying about nothing.

    “What do you think of the new watcher?”

    The question comes as a shock on its own, and it takes a few seconds before what he asked registers. The council’s new replacement has arrived yesterday; a younger, rather carbon version of the codgers who shipped him to take over Rupert’s duties as Buffy and Faith’s official watcher.

    “Uptight and a bit of a plonker. Why do you ask?”

    Rupert shifts his hands on the wheel and arches his back, a long due sigh leaks out. “After our blow up last night, I have been thinking. In the past two and a half years, I have been neglecting you in favor of Buffy and her calling.”

    I cock my head to the side. “Understandable.”

    “Of course, but now that Wesley’s here, I thought instead of trying to drive him away – an approach Buffy seems to be taking – it would be for the best to take him under my wing, teach him how to operate well with Buffy. That should give us an opportunity to leave Sunnydale permanently after your graduation.”

    My eyes strain wide as I process his words. “What?”

    “You were accepted in Oxford, which wasn’t an easy task as you know. Two and a half years away from a proper English education was not in your favor. Your grandmother’s relations and connections contributed to your acceptance.”

    His foot leaps to the brake, almost crossing a red light. Another sigh escapes his lips, and down goes the glasses for a quick clean up. I watch him, words lost, unable to comprehend what he’s saying. Leave Sunnydale? Away from the Hellmouth? Away from a chance of going back to where I belong?

    “But this is where your part starts.” He puts his glasses back on and looks directly at me. “This is a chance of a lifetime, William. I know you will do well once you apply yourself.”

    “What about being there for Buffy no matter what?” Is that curiosity in my voice or desperation to stay?

    “That was before I realized your future is at risk.” Genuine smile of a father graces his lips. “You come first, William.”

    I have never known my real father. Or if I did, I don’t remember him or his influence in my life. Anything about him has faded away in a century worth of more important and crucial events. Rupert’s heart to hearts always leave an unsettling feeling in the pit of my stomach. Heart raging and body heating up, horrible feeling, add up his intense stare fixated on my face. Can we have a head-on collision with a car rollover on the side?

    Rupert starts the car when the traffic light signals green. “Speaking of your future, how was your chemistry test today?”

    Any words on that car crash?



    ~*~*~*~



    Sodding hell, they are longer. I line up my fingers again, matching the base crease with the palm. My right hand fingers are still longer than my left hand fingers.

    Hands dropped to my sides, I stare at the ceiling and fight off a new yawn, my leg swinging back and forth. No TV, no computer, no phone calls. Rupert should get a medal in the arts of punishment.

    I push myself off the bed and wander around the room, touching this and that. The framed pictures already collected too much dust. Slipping onto my chair, popping my neck and my sigh turns into a full blown yawn. I start to open and close my desk’s drawer, watching the contents inside jiggling.

    I open the drawer and stop, my gaze focused on William’s little notebook of love poems.There’s nothing else to do. I grab the small book and fling myself in bed. First page already has a poem handwritten by Nancy Boy.

    Camouflaged Grief is the title. ‘Camouflaged’? Young William does have range, doesn’t he?

    He jokes, he smiles
    His laugh rings false for those who care
    He jokes, they laugh
    Of subterranean pain they are unaware

    He charms, they buy
    Uniting the world with his facetious might
    Strolls about with the mask of a clown
    Sealing the darkness underneath the light


    Doesn’t sound bad. Not exactly keen on the rhymes, always felt they bound a poet. But for a child in the modern world, he’s got potential.

    Now, of course, the object of our boy’s interest here is none other than Falstaff Harris. I check the date under the title; March 16th, 1997. William, you love sick puppy, been baring a torch in silence for that long?

    Look who’s talking, the bitter thought twirls in my head. Who is William but a modern version of me. My infatuation with Cecily should be locked and drained out of existence.

    My eyes see, all he conceals
    For the eyes of love are not always blind


    ‘Love’? William, oh, William, you naive little fool.

    Behind all the smiles are the tears
    For the contemporary loss conquers his mind

    Night and night nightmares never end
    Jesse appears and disturbs his sleep
    Face of the devil bursts to dust
    And his guilt and grief cut too deep


    “William?” Rupert’s voice muffled behind the door. I stumble out of the bed and kick the notebook under the desk.

    Soft knocks on the door followed by Rupert’s head peering inside. “Your mother’s on the phone.”

    My eyebrows furrow. “Since when she started calling?”

    “I informed her about what happened last night.” He has the decency to look guilty at that. “It’s clear you feel a tad full of resentment after what happened with your mother.”

    Give me a break. The corner of my mouth tips up and my eyebrows sink into a disbelieving gaze.

    “I just want to do what’s right. I want to make amends.” He opens the door wider and gestures for me to go out. “Best not to keep her waiting for long.”

    I shake my head at him and walk out of the room.

    I may not remember my real father, but I remember my mother well enough. Dread in the pit of my stomach, the thumping of my heartbeat blocking all sounds around me. Haven’t seen her since the nineteenth century, her face is a vague blur, but the intense feelings she evokes are as strong as I remember them to be.

    Unsure fingers clasp the phone, and fear of impending doom takes over as the phone touches my ear. “Hello?”

    “William darling, how are you doing?”

    Coldness tempers my soul, and my tight grip on the phone loosens. “I’m doing all right.”

    “No, really, your father tells me you have been experiencing some changes.”

    Her voice, her tone, honeyed and penetrating, but doesn’t arouse memories or feelings. That’s not my mother’s voice. Years might have passed, but I still remember the croaky edge of her voice troubled by constant coughing, and the quiet affection that drips when she sings…

    “William, are you still there?”

    “Um, yes.”

    “Did you get a backlash from your father?” her voice grows stentorian and unpleased. “You know how he gets sometimes.”

    Anger tightens my chest and flushes my cheeks. “No, I don’t. How does he get?”

    “You don’t need to get testy on his behalf.”

    Unable to take it anymore, I directly ask, “Mother,” dragged out of my lips, “do you remember that song you used to sing me when I was little?”

    “A song?”

    “Yes.” Heartbeat stops in anticipation and dread.

    “Wheels On the Bus Go Round and Round?”

    Ice freezes my insides. As if I lost her for the second time. “Never mind,” I say thickly. “You needn’t worry. I am all right.” I smack the phone down and start towards my room, passing Rupert in the kitchen.

    “Everything all right?” he asks, concerned.

    The rising steam of his cooking warms the ice within. “You don’t have to beat yourself over the head anymore. I don’t wish her in my life any more than you do.”

    He flings his towel on his shoulder, eyebrows creasing. “Did she say something that upset you?”

    “It’s all right. I just… need to retire.”

    His eyebrows fly up. “Retire?”

    “Get some rest.” Whatever young people say these days. I’m already bursting with visions of Mother’s fangs, her cruelty which I’ve inflicted on her, tainting everything that was beautiful in our relationship.

    Door slammed behind me, I lay down on the bed, trying to distract myself with any thoughts. I glance at the small book under my desk when a thought pops in.

    Who’s Jesse?



    ~*~*~*~
     
  7. cryptwarmer

    cryptwarmer I'm in charge of morale!

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    Black Thorn
    I really love this update. I've come back to read it several times. I like the prosaic little interlude at the start...another day at school with chatty Buffy...and how they all react to her.

    Then Spike just dealing with the prosaic parts of his life, and the tug of emotions that are starting to really pull below the surface. The way he is curious about who Will was/is and realizing that he was/is Will in his own way. And his reaction to the possibility of leaving Sunnydale.

    On top of all that, very beautifully and powerfully written.

    A very nice installment.
     
    sosa lola: Thank you!
  8. Ethan Reigns

    Ethan Reigns Scooby

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    Sineya
    Another great installment and some great poetry as well! And since you asked for editing comments, change "baring a torch" to "bearing a torch".
     
    sosa lola: Thank you!
  9. sosa lola

    sosa lola Scooby

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    It's true when they say feedbacks feed the muse, 'cause I just wrote three paragraphs in Ch.15 after reading yours. :D

    When writing that poem, I rewatched Lies My Parents Told Me to get into William's head when I realized Teenage Dirtbag's William and show's William will take a different approach at writing poetry. Show's William is an adult in the 19th century. TD's William is a teenager in the 90s of the twentieth century. Different writing styles indeed. I kept two aspects of William's poetry: 1) he's still a bad poet 2) he likes using odd and big words

    Spike would like William's poetry of course :D

    Thank you so much for catching those typos!
     
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  10. sosa lola

    sosa lola Scooby

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    Part 15





    “I can’t believe you never tried Hubba Bubba Bubble Jugs.” Willow holds up the small container and pours all pink dust into her mouth. She starts chewing on it in heavenly bliss. My disgust wanes with a laugh when she starts coughing.

    “Now you do.” I grab a bubblegum container that looks like a pager and break the seal open. “Sorry. Nothing beats regular.” I hold up a perfectly normal gum stick with a wrapper that has ‘SORRY, LINE’S BUSY’ written on it.

    Willow, already managed to turn that galling dust into gum and is now blowing tiny bubbles, seizes the container in my hand and runs her thumb on the sixteen other sticks inside. “I like to pretend I got a beeper when I hold one of these bad boys in school.”

    Only one in our sad little group who has a pager is Buffy. Rupert believes these vile things lead to drugs, so neither of us has one. I’d rather have a mobile phone instead. Like the one Cordelia flounces about with in school.

    Willow spits her gum in a tissue and tosses it in the garbage can next to my bed. She turns her gaze to the rest of the junk she snuck into my room when Rupert wasn’t looking and exhibits her trademark guilty frown. “We need to study a bit of math. I don’t like lying to Giles.”

    Only reason Rupert allowed Willow in was for her exceptional tutoring skills. Math isn’t exactly my strong suit.

    “Oooh, the William Sonnet Stravaganza!” Her face lights up when she finds the forbidden notebook tucked between the textbooks. Never hide anything in books when dealing with Willow. “Have you written something new?”

    “Not really, no.” I steal the book of bloody rhymes and lock it in my drawer out of her reach. Though from her reaction, William clearly let her read his odes to Xander.

    I watch her dip a Dorito in the sour cream, engrossed in the way her chin moves as she chews on it. “What?” she asks with her mouth full.

    “Do you still think about Jesse?” The lad was only mentioned in that first poem, but was never referenced to again. I haven’t worked out his significance in their lives yet, even Rupert didn’t remember who he was when I casually brought him up at breakfast.

    Willow’s face is splashed with deep crimson shame. “Not as of late,” she admits rather difficulty.

    “Xander?”

    “I don’t know.” She averts her gaze toward our neglected textbooks on the floor, safely removed from the dangers of dipping sauce and chips crumbs. “He… we don’t really bring him up. It also sucks ‘cause he doesn’t have a tombstone to visit or anything. Even his parents left town after he ‘ran away.’”

    ‘We don’t bring him up.’ By ‘we’ does she mean herself and Xander? It doesn’t sound like William knew their deceased friend well. Rupert let it slip that we have arrived to Sunnydale a few weeks before Buffy, so he was either killed before her arrival or shortly after.

    Turned. He was turned. Consistent with William’s sappy poem, Jesse wore the face of the devil and it burst to dust, then he mentions Xander’s guilt. Could Xander have staked his friend? That ought to leave some permanent scars. I should know. I’ve staked my own mother.

    “You know; it was really sweet that you got into trouble because you wanted to help Xander.” Willow wiggles her eyebrows suggestively. “Romantic even.”

    That lie I told Rupert! Since when did he turn into a chinwagger? “Rupert told you about the vengeance demon?”

    She nods with a wide grin. “Gave us the full scoop.”

    She wouldn’t be grinning like that if she knew the truth. They knew about the pendant. They knew I gave it to Xander. They didn’t know I was withholding it in my room for a long time while Xander suffered for weeks.

    But Xander did.

    “Was Xander there?”

    “He looked really pensive.” She shrugs and fetches a Dorito for another dip.

    No surprise there. He’d know it was a lie. He was probably wondering why I was summoning a vengeance demon in the first place. Unless he thought I wanted to curse him again.

    Willow hands me a Dorito covered in sour cream with an understanding smile. I pop it in and enjoy the cheesy flavor in my mouth.

    “Speaking of scoops, any more on our slayer gone rogue?” I wipe a bit of cream from my lips. “Anything Rupes is holding out on me?”

    “Bad case of loony-tunes is still the main headline.” She sweeps the Dorito crumbs off the desk and into the tissue she’s holding with her other hand. “Buffy thinks she can be redeemed, but if you ask me, that type only belongs behind bars.”

    I raise an eyebrow in her direction. “You really don’t like her.”

    “After everything she did?” She takes the tissue filled with crumbs and walks over to the garbage can. Her body stiffens after she drops the garbage in the can and jerks her fear stricken face in my direction. “Giles is coming!” she hisses, rushing back to relieve the desk from all the junk food.

    I grab the math books from the floor and drop them on the desk. I glare draggers at her when she stuffs the Doritos and dips in my drawer. She gives a helpless shrug.

    The door clicks open.

    We crack open the books, each a different page, and Willow blurts out, “Okay, which trig function is negative in the second quadrant?”

    My gaze skims through the diagrams drawn in my page. “Um, an ellipse?”

    “Would you two care for some pie?” Rupert stands by the door, a hand on the knob and his head rests against the frame.

    “No, thanks, Giles.” She tries to hold in a burp. Too much dip for that one.

    He smiles knowingly, his gaze on the crunched Dorito on the floor. “Go on with your studies then.”

    After he closes the door, Willow furrows her eyebrows at me. “An ellipse? You’re even worse than Xander.”

    I snap the book shut and lean back against my chair. “And how is Mr. King of the World? Still can’t believe Faith buggered him. I mean, really.”

    She smiles empathetically. “Is that jealousy I’m hearing?”

    I scoff. “Of Xander?”

    “Of Faith. It’s me, remember? You don’t have to hide anything.” Her confused stare twitches to a sad one as she empties my drawer. “I did the cry my eyes out in the girls’ bathroom. What was your sad reaction to the news?”

    My nostrils flare when I notice some of the dip has stained my notebook of poems.William’s. William’s notebook of poems. We are not the same person. And I bloody don’t have a pesky crush on Xander Harris.

    “Nothing.” I take the notebook and sniff its stained edge, shuddering at the foul stench.

    “Really?” Willow does her wide eyed face, having already finished stacking every piece of junk food neatly on the desk.

    I shrug. Since Rupert busted my bum and cancelled my purchase of magic ingredientsand chucked out the items in my room – without returning my money, the wanker – I’ve lost the will to pretend. Mostly smaller things. Probably everything soon enough.

    “I just feel so… disappointed,” Willow says softly, watching me as I clean the stain on the notebook with a tissue. “I mean, his first time. It should be uber special and with someone special, not that skanky kook.” Her eyes droop down and she heaves a sigh. “Xander will look back on his first time and all he’ll remember was Faith trying to kill him.”

    I blink up and refocus on her face. “Wait, what?”

    “You know, when she tried to strangle him.”

    No, I don’t know. When did that happen? “Again, what?”

    She frowns. “Giles didn’t tell you?”

    “Clearly not.”

    She bends to get the tissue that fell out of my hand. “Xander went to Faith’s motel room to talk to her about what happened…”

    “After what Buffy said?” I exclaim, recalling how Buffy laid it out for the boy in the cafeteria. Pointing out, quite harshly, that he was nothing but a big joke to Faith.

    “Yeah, but you know Xander…”

    Git never listens to reason, always ignores decisions made by the group and acts on his own.

    “If it weren’t for Angel, Xander would have been dead,” Willow whispers. “I just can’t process the awfulness of the whole thing.”

    Xander thought he had something special with Faith. What did he say? Connection. Finding out that it was nothing in the worst way possible, that’s just…

    Heart freezes. “Where is Xander now?”

    “He went back home.”

    A sick thud of fear slams against me. I chuck the notebook aside and jump to my feet, racing in the room with my eyes on the sodding iron bars covering the window. “I need to see him.”

    “But you’re grounded,” Willow reminds me with a swift glance at the door. Rupert is an obstacle, but there’s a way around him. Just need Willow to cooperate.

    “Willow…”

    My hands grip her shoulders, her skeptical gaze locked with mine.

    And that’s when I tell her everything.


    ~*~*~*~*~


    The Harris household is uncharacteristically silent. The faint sound of Conan O’Brian taking a piss out of some bloke drifts from inside and blocks the chirps of the crickets. Frantic knocks on the door that don’t stop, if his legless folks don’t hear this, I’ll slip in from Xander’s window.

    The doorknob is turned. Bloodshot eyes of a weary woman me in confusion.

    “Hello Mrs. Harris, is Xander home?” I force in a polite William act, desperately hiding the anxiety inside.

    The audience’s laughter in the TV floats out as she takes her time staring at him, then recognition lights in her eyes. “William? You haven’t dropped by for months.”

    Been here on Christmas eve, but the woman was drunk out of her arse to notice. My serious case of collywobbles intensifies. “Is Xander home?”

    She blinks, as if trying to comprehend the question, a gutted frown touches her brow. “Oh, Xander, he… he always sneaks in unannounced.”

    I head past her when I realize she’s no use, scanning the chaotic living room for a certain dark haired wazzaock.

    “Don’t mind the mess.” The woman fledges next to me with an embarrassed laugh. “I was in the process of cleaning up when you came.”

    “So, Xander is in his room?” I already take a step in the direction of the boy’s bedroom when his mother stammers, “Unless he’s in the bathroom. Or with Willow. He’s always hanging out with those girls.”

    I turn around, seeing past her tosh. “In other words, you don’t know.”

    “He never tells me anything,” she says defensively, wiping her hands together the same way her son does when he’s tense. “Always got more important things to do.” She catches her tone and forces a fake tender smile on her lips. “But it’s just a phase. He’s still my little boy.”

    I clamp my jaw closed so I won’t say anything else and turn around to Xander’s room. Dark and empty with nothing but the moon shedding light on the swarming rubbish the boy never bothered to tidy since Christmas.

    I hear a hint of a movement coming from another room. I try to open the door. It’s locked.

    “Mom?” Xander’s voice, hollow and distant.

    “Xander, open the door.” My demand followed by two aggressive knocks.

    “What are you doing here?” his voice isn’t its usual irritation, too loaded with exhaustion.

    “I said open the bloody door, Xander!” I hit the door with my shoulder, switching to kicking it, then banging on it with my fist. “Open the door!”

    Movements, something slides, something is flung away, heavy movements opposing to my intense banging on the wooden barrier standing between us.

    The door swings open revealing an irritated Xander, finger-shaped bruises surrounding his throat. I push past him into the decrepit bathroom, gaze examining the Formica that’s peeled from the vanities and the water dripping from the base of the faucet.

    “What? What?” Xander throws out his arms in frustration, eyes screaming wrath at the invasion of his privacy.

    I grab one of those flailing arms and push his sleeve up, and voila, there they are! A fresh cut surrounded by faded older ones.

    “What the hell? Let go, son of a bitch!” He rips his arm out of my grasp, eyes wide with alarm and fury. His outraged rampage booms louder and louder with each defensive step back he takes, “You barge into someone else’s home and get in their business! Maybe that’s what you do in England, but here we don’t…”

    His riot is cut short when his mouth slams against my shoulder, his body stiffening as my arms close around him. He doesn’t say a word, stands there in shock, then his muscles relax with a quivering breath. I feel his head drops, breath coming out in shudders, and wetness starts to form on the base of my neck.

    Over his shoulder, I witness the edge of a bloodied knife poking out from behind the sink.


    ~*~*~*~*~


    The dripping of water slows down into a drop each minute on the chipped surface in the sink. Perched on the tile floor and leaning against the tub, my legs growing numb as my hands patch the cut in Xander’s wrist. His eyes ablaze, dotted red and staring ahead, and his hand held out submissively for my attention.

    “Gonna talk anytime soon?” I start examining my decent work. Never had to patch someone up in years. As a vampire, I used to lick Dru’s bruises clean and feel her skin healing under my tongue. Not that vampires had curative saliva, we just heal faster than humans, especially with heaps of their blood in our system.

    “Like you give a crap,” tone as hollow as the look in his eyes that stared at the faded toothpaste spattered on the mirror.

    “I do.”

    He turns to look at me, some life in those dead eyes, clearly sensing the sincerity in my voice.

    “I don’t get you.”

    “I don’t get myself either.” Still sincere with a dash of confusion. I care, quite intensely I admit. William’s humanity taking over, I suppose.

    “So fess up.”

    He doesn’t. Just stares at me, trying to figure me out. Perhaps seeing little glimpses of his old best friend appearing on the surface.

    “When did you start?” I give him a helping nudge and stretch my legs for the blood to flow.

    He looks down at his wrapped wrist, breath slipping out ragged and short. “Remember that hypnotizing demon? The Bazaar demon.”

    “Bazr demon,” I correct. Memory lane takes me back to a miffed Buffy slicing the demon in four to avenge her bruised slayer ego. Being the only poor soul who fell under its thrall had turned her vicious with rage. It was a sight to see. Willow, Rupert and I praised and cheered. I don’t remember Xander in that circle of applause.

    “It grabbed my wrist and its scales bruised them,” he goes on, his thumb caressing the bandage on his wrist. “Which was followed by the regular flinging thing and the flying across the cemetery thing, both not so much with the fun.” An empty smile followed by a loaded sigh. I try to remember when he got hurt, but it doesn’t ring a bell. I don’t remember him at all that night. Could it be he walked home by himself? Did we not notice him missing?

    He sucks in his lips and look up at the cracked paintjob in the ceiling with glistening eyes. “Things were… they weren’t good.” His voice breaks and he blinks back tears. “You started to detest the air I breathe, and Willow with her no touching rule, which yeah I understand, I screwed up that one big time. And Buffy and I weren’t, you know, ‘cause of the whole Angel thing. But with Buffy, there was that occasional pat on the shoulder, which was gone, too, because of the curse.”

    He wipes the forming dampness in his eyes and takes a long shuddering breath. “It was really… it was like this bubble inside that keeps growing and growing but never popping, you know.”

    His eyes droop down and his posture deflates, the finger marks on his throat so glaringly red. Intense hate nurtures in me when I remember Xander at the cafeteria, so sure he meant something to that bitch, so sure they shared something special, so sure he can be of help. Willow was right. He’ll look back at his first time and remember her sodding fingers on his throat choking him to death.

    “When that demon cut me, it was really painful, but it was… it was better than feeling nothing. But later when I went back home, the feeling numbed down. I took that knife and made it hurt again.”

    He looks at me and suddenly the room starts shrinking and a heavy feeling forms inside. “I get why Buffy and Willow… I get it. But I still don’t understand what happened here. You and me, we were inseparable.” His eyes are pleading, seeking an answer I can’t provide.

    “It was what hurt the most,” he whispers, eyes red rimmed and mouth set in a cold hard line.

    Ball in my court now, a ball I can’t possibly throw. Should I tell him the truth? Would it really matter now? Any chance to get back to who I was is destroyed when Rupert found out. There’s no way back. Might as well accept it; I’m stuck here. And Xander deserves to know. He deserves to know why his friend cut him loose.

    “There you boys are,” Mrs. Harris’ chipper voice startles us both. Her smile is too bright for the dim bathroom. “Why didn’t you tell me William was coming, Xander? I’ve ordered Chinese. How about we watch the late night show and have a nice little meal?”

    Xander releases a sigh. “Mom…”

    “I’ll have mine in the kitchen,” she quickly proposes. “You two can eat in front of the TV.”

    “Mom, it’s not…” He shakes his head and uses his other hand to push himself up. “William is going home.”

    “Oh.” She looks at her son with disappointment, then directs her gaze at me. “Your father must have made those English pies then? Xander always talks about them.” The unmasked jealousy drips in every word.

    I rise up and smile at her. “Actually, if you don’t mind, I’d like to have dinner here.” Xander whips his head up and stares at me with raised eyebrows.

    “I… love Chinese?” I provide awkwardly.

    “That’s wonderful.” His mother brightens again, and I’m hit with a wave of rum. “I’ll go set up the table in front of the TV. Don’t worry I won’t be joining you.”

    “No, you should…” I say out of false courtesy.

    “Xander wants to have dinner with his buddy, don’t you, Xander? I’ll stay out of your way.” She hurries out of the bathroom, knocking something over on her way.

    Xander gives me the stink eye. “I don’t need your pity.”

    “What are you talking about? I love Chinese.” I brush past him and follow the sound of clanging plates in the kitchen where Xander’s drunken mother attempts to be hospitable.



    ~*~*~*~*~



    Xander is sleeping, the comforting thought that accompanies me home. He can’t harm himself when he’s sleeping. Everything will be all right in the morning. But only for now. Something has to be done about him. Can’t leave him under the care of his wasted parents. His mother didn’t even notice the bandages on his wrist.

    I unlock the front door to the flat and release a sigh. Rupert is my only way to help the lad. And ‘my only way to help Xander’ is sitting on his chair directed at the door, arms crossed against his chest, and eyes firmly boring a hole in my head.

    Willow is sitting on a stool chair uncomfortably and waves at me. The sleeping in someone else’s bed to fool the father trick never works, but at least it managed to get me out of the flat. “Sorry, Will.” She flicks a concerned glance my way. “How’s Xander?

    “He’s all right.” She doesn’t buy it. “Really, I was just being paranoid.”

    “So Xander isn’t cutting himself?” she asks, searching in my eyes for the truth.

    “This stays between us,” Xander has warned him. “I don’t want Willow and Buffy fussing over me. I’m fine.”

    I shake my head. “He’s not.”

    Willow stares at me long and hard. I try not to flinch.

    “I believe you should be heading home, Willow,” Rupert says, smacking his hands on his knees and rising up. “Do be careful though.”

    “I always do,” Willow reassures him. One last glance at me before she closes the door behind her.

    Rupert takes off his glasses and the lecture is on, “Honestly, William, all that nonsense about Xander and worrying Willow…”

    I slip my hand in the giant pocket of my baggy trousers and toss the bloodied knife right at the spot in front of his feet.

    Rupert stares down at it, speechless.

    “He’s been at it for a month or so,” I explain. “Now I promised him I won’t tell anyone, but I need your help to keep him safe.”

    “Xander…” Rupert whispers in complete state of shock.

    “I want him to move in temporarily with us until he gets better.” I try to get his attention but his eyes are captivated by the knife. “Rupert? What do you say?”

    He blinks as if coming from a fog and puts his glasses on. “What about his parents?”

    “Nothing to worry your head about. Just need you on board, what do you say?”

    “Of course.” He bends down to take the knife and stares at it. “I can’t believe… how did we not notice?”

    “Because he’s good at hiding things.” His heroic stunt during the apocalypse he wasn’t allowed to participate in springs to mind. “But no more.”

    Rupert looks at my determined gaze and a proud smile tugs his lips. “You’re a good person, William.”

    The heat radiates off my face and my heartbeat picks up speed. I did not anticipate this was going to turn into one of those awkward father-son moments. I give an uneasy shrug and helplessly stare at the door to my room.

    Rupert heads to the sink to wash the blood off the knife when my mind indignantly protests, I’m not a good person. I’m bad. I’m… eh, who am I kidding? My big bad days are way behind me, I’m afraid. Bugger.


    ~*~*~*~*~
     
  11. Ethan Reigns

    Ethan Reigns Scooby

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    Sineya
    This is getting good. I can see where you are trying to go with this and I like it.
     
  12. sosa lola

    sosa lola Scooby

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    I'm really glad you're enjoying it! Thank you :)
     
  13. cryptwarmer

    cryptwarmer I'm in charge of morale!

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    Black Thorn
    he's really finding out who he is once the persona is not only gone, but not even expected. He doesn't have to pretend to anyone, not even himself now that he's not "going home".

    He finds it harder NOT to care than to care.

    A powerful update. Well written, feel like I'm watching it all unfold, the characters are so fleshed out and real
     
  14. sosa lola

    sosa lola Scooby

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    Thank you! Five more chapters before the fic wraps up. I'm especially excited to write chapter 19 - that would be painful.
     
  15. Priceless

    Priceless I didn't forget y'know

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    So good, but so sad, poor Xander. Can't wait to read the next chapter! :)
     
  16. sosa lola

    sosa lola Scooby

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    Thank you! Things won't be as sad for Xander for now that is *evil grin* but right now poor Spike will start having confusing and conflicting thoughts.
     
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  17. Erickson22

    Erickson22 Potential

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    Sineya
    I have to say I really am enjoying this story and I think what I really like is that Spike Genuinely cares for Xander and cares for him as a friend just as much as he would if they where together and I really like that it reminds me of season 4 Willow and Tara when it comes too all the feel it doesn't feel forced it feels natural (I just say that because sometimes with pairings like Spander they make it feel really forced sometimes but thats just my humble opinion lol)
     
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  18. sosa lola

    sosa lola Scooby

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    Thank you! I'm glad you found it believable and not forced. Chapter 16 is actually ready, but I realized there should be a chapter before it. So, I'm writing a very short chapter right now to make the events flow smoothly.
     
    Erickson22 likes this.
  19. sosa lola

    sosa lola Scooby

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    Part 16








    Heavy silence falls upon the empty classroom. Xander’s jaw line twitches as he considers what I just told him. Perched on the teacher’s chair, legs propped on the big desk, his carefree defiance deserts him. His gaze flickers to the white blinds covering the windows, relaxing slightly that our conversation is concealed and buried in the dark room. I watch the light streaming from the blinds, split in half and landing on the floor, while impatiently waiting for Xander to respond.

    I found him earlier sitting at the fountain with Willow. She was clearly trying to fish out all the details of what happened last night. If he knew I told her about my suspicions, he would assume it was after I promised him never to tell anyone. He barely trusts me as it is, no point in driving him away even further.

    “So let me get this straight,” he finally speaks, venom soaked in every word, “You and your father decided I’m some charity case that you need to rescue, is that right?”

    “Basically.”

    He rolls his eyes and drops his legs to the floor. “Thanks, but I’m good.” He passes me to the door, turning around to toss a forced reassuring smile. “I won’t do it again.”

    “Easier said than done.” I observe his hand tensing on the doorknob. I walk over towards him, gently removing his hand and pressing myself against the door to block his exit. “I’m not going to pretend I understand this. I’ve never been in your shoes before. But I’ll do whatever it takes so you won’t end up dead.”

    He stares at me. Confusion written all over his face, trying to make sense of all of this. “Why?”

    “Why what?”

    “Why do you care?” He starts back to the teacher’s desk, not looking at me. “You made it perfectly clear that I’m scum, not worth your time.”

    His hands clutch the desk in a white-knuckled grip. Shoulders tense, he looks like he’s waiting for a new blow.

    “I don’t want you dead, Xander,” I whisper.

    His head hangs, but he doesn’t move. My eyes drift to the whitewashed walls, realizing that Mr. Wallace’s classroom is as dull as he is.

    Xander turns around, relenting in defeat. “I guess, it won’t so bad.” He points a finger. “As long as Giles is cooking.”

    “Oh, he’s definitely cooking.”

    He pushes himself up and sits on the desk, his lanky legs dangling motionlessly.

    In an attempt to avert yet another moment of awkward silence, I inch forward and ask, “So, what are we going to tell your parents?”

    He gives a careless shrug, legs starting to swing back and forth. “Sleepover?”

    “It’s not,” I object firmly. “Not just for one night.”

    “Will, this isn’t the first time I stayed at your house for a long time. Remember when I spent the entire summer with you guys?” His legs freeze in place; a dubious frown takes over his face. “William, if you’re doing this to pay me back…”

    “What are you waffling about?”

    “You know, for playing nurse last summer. After the whole Angel kidnap-torture thing.” There was a long poem in William’s notebook about the sacrifices and generosity of heroic Alexander Harris who nursed him and his father back to health after Angel did a number on both of them.

    I tilt my head, finally having him where I want him. “And why did you do that?”

    He arches his eyebrows. “Doesn’t need an answer.”

    “And neither does this.”

    His stressed face dissolves into a reluctant smile. The smile grows more reluctant until it disappears into a frown. “What are we going to tell Willow and Buffy?”

    Willow already has an idea about what’s going on, and if he knows this, he’ll throw a wobbler. “We all know about your rat arsed folks…”

    He nods, not happy with this answer, but clearly it’s better than telling the truth. I head back to the door, better piss off now before he gets stroppy.

    “So, we’ll swing by your house on the way home and get your things.” I open the door, welcoming the flooding light and the noise of wandering pupils that emerge in. “Better clear off. Math test is a period away.”

    Xander whistles, slipping to the floor. “I’m gonna blow that one. Math is the equivalent of a
    foreign language when it comes to me.”

    “Why didn’t you ask Willow to help you out?” We trudge through the crowded hall. Kids are scurrying about and chatting among each other.

    “Willow and I don’t study together anymore.” He’s looking straight ahead, the muscles in his face limp and motionless.

    “Because of Oz?”

    “No, don’t you remember? You and Willow putting dibs on which idiot to tutor. Buffy got Willow and I got you.” The bittersweet grin doesn’t hide the pain in his eyes. “And the Oz thing, too.”

    He explained it all last night. The loneliness is nothing but the consequences of him cocking everything up. He brought it all on himself. He knows it, everybody does, but the lad has suffered enough. He’s… he’s not that bad.



    ~*~*~*~*~



    “You’re gonna abide at the Giles residence?” Buffy pops a black olive into her mouth, then spits out the seed. “I hear it’s extra bookwormy this time of year.”

    We tell the girls about it during lunch. Buffy, still on her healthy diet, accepts the news with ease and quips of humor. Willow, though, hasn’t touched her food and is too busy looking fagged.

    “Yeah, that’s what I need during examination season.” Xander grimaces down at the green goo he picked up from the cafeteria bar, instantly regretting choosing to try this rubbish. He smiles sheepishly at Buffy. “It’s getting too noisy at home.”

    She nods sympathetically. “I hear ya. I think it’s nice of Giles to do that.”

    “Hey, I bring some action into their dull lives. It’s me doing them a favor.”

    Willow indicates with her head at the door for a sidebar. Should clear things up with her before she rabbits on to Xander.

    Outside the cafeteria, she crosses her arms with a cheesed off glare that doesn’t match her fluffy pink sweater. “What’s wrong with Xander?”

    “You heard him.” I lean back against the lockers behind me and notice her face reddening at my answer.

    “Tell me the truth, or it’s you versus my resolve face.” She steps up to me, her green eyes blazing with a challenging threat.

    I stare up at the ceiling and sigh. No use of hiding it, she’s going to drag the truth out eventually. “I promised him not to tell anyone.”

    Lower lip flutters in shock. “So, it’s true. He’s…”

    “Don’t tell him I told you. He’s already upset I told Rupert,” I interrupt her, glancing inside the cafeteria at Xander and Buffy chatting away, unaware.

    “Why won’t he tell me?” Her voice cracks with pain and frustration. “He never talks to me anymore. First Faith and now this? We used to tell each other everything.”

    “And then you stopped,” I say pointedly. The girl did tell Xander that she needed a time out to focus on Wolf Boy, so she doesn’t get to act mad and shocked ‘cause the boy followed through.

    She takes a step back looking like she was just slapped. “Well, that’s…”

    The cafeteria doors swing open, a boy slips out, eying them with mild interest while treading off.

    With a head tilt, I catch Willow’s wounded gaze with an understanding one. “He didn’t tell me either, remember? I found out on my own,” my voice low and calm, and she makes a wobbling sound.

    “What matters is that he gets better, eh?” I push gently, watching her drawing a long shaky breath.

    “I know. It still hurts.”

    I glance back at the inside of the cafeteria, eyes and ears on red alert in case Xander shows up. It was too difficult for the boy to agree to move in. If he catches me talking about him with Willow, he’ll bite my arm off. “Just don’t throw a spanner in the works. You won’t like my resolve face.”

    She touches my arm, her voice sad and pleading, “I wanna help.”

    “Maybe ask him if he needs help studying now and then.” With a little shrug, I start heading for the cafeteria door. The rest of my lunch is probably too cold to eat now.

    “William?”

    I sigh and turn around.

    “Can you keep me posted on, you know, everything?”

    I give her the nod of a gentleman. Her lips curl up into a sad, accepting smile.


    ~*~*~*~*~


    Rupert starts the engine and the Citroen roars like an old dog after a bone. I glance at Xander through the rearview mirror, looking uncomfortable and out of place.

    “Do you want me to speak with your mother, Xander?” Rupert asks, ripping through the silence before it settles around the car.

    “No, it’s better I do it.” Xander squirms in his seat, you’d think he’s sitting on a bed of hot ambers. “She’ll get… she won’t like it if you did it.”

    Rupert doesn’t respond, swerving out of the school parking lot and to the main road. Xander falls slightly to the left, then composes himself, legs glued to each other and hands clasping restlessly.

    “Giles, uh, thanks.”

    “No thanks necessary. I already pulled out the Xander mattress. We haven’t used it for a while.”

    “Must have been a relief,” Xander says with a nervous laugh.

    “It’s been quiet, rather dull, hasn’t it, William?” Rupert winks at me.

    “It sure has.” I wink back and then smirk at Xander through the rearview mirror. His face is the color of Willow’s hair.


    ~*~*~*~


    Part 17 will be posted tomorrow. :)
     
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  20. sosa lola

    sosa lola Scooby

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    Part 17



    The numbers on the math test make no sense. The tapping of a pencil and the humming and the gum chewing. The clock ticks, half the time almost over. I should write my name. The pencil isn’t sharpened. I can’t find the bloody sharpener.

    “May I speak to William?” Rupert at the door in a black trench coat and without his glasses.

    “I have a test,” I tell him and try to find a sharpener.

    “Buffy, turn down that rubbish!” Rupert exclaims.

    Buffy is skipping rope in the library. I try to hear the music, but Larry taps on the paper and tells me to concentrate. I look down at the test. “Xander, this has Willow written all over it.”

    I turn to my left. Drusilla is sipping hot chocolate and seizing a marshmallow from a flowery plate.

    “I thought Xander was here,” I muse.

    “Who’s Drusilla?” Faith asks, spreading Xander on the library counter and locking lips with him.

    “What are you doing?” I snap at her. “Stop!”

    Xander is choking and Faith keeps kissing him. I turn my gaze to Buffy doing step aerobics. “Stop her!” I try to say, but nothing comes out, and Buffy doesn’t notice. None of them notice.

    “Stop, please!” Words locked in my throat, voiceless, and Faith keeps kissing Xander who is dangling in her arms now, lifeless.

    My breath quickens and I blink at the closed drapes of the window in my dimly lit room. The odd shaped colognes and Avengers action figures on top of the drawers’ chest dissolve the icy tension inside. I peer down at the spot next to my bed on the floor and find Xander sleeping on his mattress.

    A sigh of relief leaks out and I lie down in bed, going over the nightmare I just had. Xander has been staying here for days now and it just accrued to my conscious to show him dying in the hands of a lunatic slayer?

    Then there’s the guest appearance of Drusilla. I haven’t thought of her in a long time. And that in itself is disconcerting. That’s Drusilla. My black goddess. My guide into the world of evil. She’s the reason I’m trapped in this reality as an adolescent boy with unsettling protective feelings for an insignificant human child.

    The image of her sipping hot chocolate keeps playing in my mind. She didn’t even glance my way, too absorbed in what she was doing. She must be disappointed in me. I’ve abandoned the mission. Given up. Stopped trying to get back to her. What about Drusilla in this reality? Could I bear it if she didn’t know me? Her dark knight? Her Spike.

    Xander shifts in his sleep.

    I have an English test tomorrow. And a history test two days after that. So much to focus on. So little time to… to think about something else.



    ~*~*~*~



    “Giles didn’t get upset when I washed my lucky drawers with his shirts, did he?” Xander stands behind me wittering on as I try to remember the combination to open my locker. “’Cause they’re my ticket to ace English, and I was in charge of the laundry anyway, and are you even listening to me?”

    I nod absentmindedly. “You’re right.” The numbers remind me of the math test in the dream. Am I losing my mind or they’re not making sense here either?

    Xander’s face appears out of nowhere. “I’m right what?”

    I jump back. “Huh?”

    He hugs his books to his chest and furrows his thick eyebrows. “What up? Been quiet all morning.”

    An image of Drusilla and the plate of biscuits flashes before me. I stare at him and he stares back, his expression growing serious with concern.

    “Hey, guys.” Buffy struts down the hall, sunglasses firmly placed on top of her head where her golden hair bounces with each step. “I come bearing news.”

    Clearly happy for the distraction, Xander grins at her. “Good or bad?”

    “Depends.” She presents him with two large envelopes. Xander’s face loses the grin, and he barely reaches for the envelopes, looking at them as if they’re about to tell him he got a fateful disease.

    “What are those?” I ask.

    “Admission packets to the colleges you forced me to apply to.” Xander’s accusatory tone thaws to a hopeless one as he shakes the envelopes. “I don’t like it. They’re both too light. Crayon ‘No Way’ papers are rearing their sharp finger-cutting edges.”

    Buffy smiles sympathetically. “You won’t know what’s in them until you open them.”

    He slams the envelopes against my chest.

    “Oi, what’s that for?”

    “You open them. It was your idea!” He rushes to hide his larger body behind Buffy’s petite one.

    I look down at the first envelope, ‘Montana State University’, and rip it open.

    “Oh God,” I hear Xander mutter as I read the acceptance paper. “I’ve already been rejected to every college I applied to. I’m all rejected out.”

    “What do you know? Maybe this is your shot.” Buffy turns back to me hopefully.

    I shake my head.

    She quickly pats an unaware Xander on the shoulder. “Maybe the next one is your shot.”

    Xander’s upset gaze shoots up. “The next one? See? Nothing but rejection.”

    I open the second envelope while Buffy tries to calm Xander down as he rambles about his future in pizza delivery. Dear Alexander Harris, we are pleased to inform you…

    “We’ve got a winner!” I exclaim, waving the paper in Xander’s face.

    Xander blinks at the paper, his eyes widening with shock. “I got in?” He snatches it out of my hands, his eyes flick from right to left, taking in the paper’s content. “I got in!” He grabs Buffy and spins her around. Then smacks my shoulder and shows me the paper. “This right here is the proof that I do not deserve my stupidity rep.”

    Buffy tries to peer at the paper. “Where did you get in?”

    He points at the name in the paper, and declares for those who can’t read, “Weber State University.”

    Buffy’s face falls. “Oh. That’s in Utah.”

    “Um, yeah.” Xander loses his smile and bites on his lip.

    I look between the two in bewilderment. “Why the sudden long faces? Thought we were happy for Harris.”

    “We are,” Buffy reassures with a guilty glance at Xander. “It just… hit me that we won’t be together next year.”

    “That’s life. People grow apart after high school. They lose touch.” My words of wisdom seem to make her feel worse.

    “I don’t wanna start over,” she mumbles in a low voice. Something tugs inside. Must be hard to form friendships when you’re the Slayer. Buffy is a lucky one to have landed a bunch of friends, who not only are okay with who she is, but also chip in every time there’s a crisis.

    Xander squeezes her shoulder with a huge grin. “Hey, that won’t happen if we don’t graduate. How about we pull an Oz and repeat Senior year?”

    Buffy smiles up at him. “Well, there’s good chance this may happen to me.” Her nose wrinkles. “History test is coming up.”

    “Do you think Willow taped Biography?” Xander asks, referring to the documentary series.

    “Of course she did. She’s Old Reliable.”



    ~*~*~*~*~


    Houses, cars, children on bicycles all fleeting by the way my day went. I rest my head against the window’s glass, feeling troubled and uncertain. I don’t remember much of what happened at school. There was the English test, chemistry lab, and my mind wandered in math class. I was lost in the numbers, didn’t make sense there either. The teacher wasn’t pleased.

    Then what happened in between classes; Xander getting into a uni, that twit Dan tripping me to the floor, and Willow storming off with a banana. I remember nothing else.

    “How was your English test?” I hear Rupert’s question. I can’t bring myself to answer.

    “William?”

    I heave a sigh. “It was brill.”

    He regards me with that fatherly concerned stare, which causes a heavy weight in my chest. The way he cares throttles me, and suddenly I feel really tired.

    He doesn’t comment on my tone, not when we have company in the car. He glances at the back seat. “Xander, I trust you did well after you violated the sanctity of my shirts.”

    “The questions were easy, but the answers weren’t.”

    “You mean your lucky underwear fell short?” Rupert grits out.

    “Not exactly. I nearly got a 100. I was just a digit out; I averaged 10.”

    Rupert’s knuckles tighten on the car wheel. “I’m going to stop the car, and you have five seconds to clear out.”

    Xander’s laugh is contagious; I look back at him sprawled in the backseat, his rucksack resting on his stomach. “Giles, I just spouted every test joke known in history. You’re so uneducated. You gotta be proud I fitted them all in.”

    “Oh, if only you could memorize the test material as well as those jokes, then we’ll talk proud.”

    I chuckle at Rupert’s dry retort, finding my spirits at last. “Well, you have to be. He got into Weber State Uni.”

    “An eleven hours’ drive away from here?” Rupert glances at me. “Finally, some good news.”

    Xander’s head sticks out between us. “More news of the good; I’m having French fries for dinner at the Bronze with Willow and Buffy tonight, so don’t wait up for me.”

    “That does put a smile on my face.”

    Xander pats a grinning Rupert on the shoulder with a laugh. I watch them, immersed by the spontaneity, completely at ease with each other, and it’s bloody attractive. Knowing there will be more of that easy going bantering, in other rides to school, at the dinner table, and my heart beats faster.

    Rupert notices my intense stare and smiles apologetically. “Sorry, William, you still have one last night.”

    I realize what’s he talking about, and pretend to be miffed. “Aren’t you tired of having me fuss about in that tiny flat?”

    “It’s excruciating. But the books say it’s good parenting.”

    I can tell by that glint in his eye that doesn’t mind having me at home. I don’t mind either. And that thought puts a stumper on my mood for the rest of the drive.



    ~*~*~*~*~


    These William poems are informative. Without Drusilla and I in in the picture, Angel ran his destructive operation solo and from his flat. It doesn’t look like he moved into the factory, and the aftermath of killing the teacher was a bit messier. The police were involved and Rupert spent a night in jail, my ‘mother’ was contacted, and she threatened to fight for my custody if Rupert didn’t straighten out. William sounds quite scared in this one, ‘crying his soul to sleep’ and ‘coldness reaching his heart’, his fear of losing Rupert is poignant and reflected clearly in his words.

    That was probably the only poem about Rupert, most of these are descriptive tales to the adventures of one brave Xander Harris. An earlier one describes Xander’s quest to save the damsel Cordelia from the clutches of a monster with a face of an angel – very original, William. It ends in heartbreak; William and Willow bursting into Angel’s flat to save the boy of their dreams only to find him in the arms of that stuck up hussy.

    The door suddenly bolts open. I shut the notebook and grab that Harry Potter book I never bothered to read.

    “Hey, bud!” Xander walks in, leaving the door open, and flings himself on my bed. The elusive dinner smell starts to amble, and Xander noisily inhales it in. “Glad I came back before dinner time.”

    “You’re early,” I comment, glancing at the notebook, knowing that he’ll notice it if I try to hide it now.

    “Willow was in the worst of moods,” he whines, pushing himself up on his elbows. “It’s like anything we say sets her off.”

    “Is it that time of the month?”

    “That’s not it. It’s the whole Old Reliable thing.”

    Willow had a hissy fest in school about this. Poor little lamb can’t catch a break. From the midget school principal to the jock wanker to Rupert in the library and then her chums. “Nobody likes being taken advantage of.”

    “We don’t take advantage of Willow.” My eyebrow goes up. Xander bites his lip. “Well, not intentionally.”

    “Everybody takes advantage of her. She’s smart. She’s sweet. She has a problem saying no and now she’s rattled.” I place the book on the desk and walk towards the door, closing it gently.

    “I feel like a giant ass,” Xander declares, recognizing the truth now that his mind isn’t consumed with the inviting smell of Rupert’s special bubble and squeak. He sits up straight with a pleading frown. “Can we change the subject to something that doesn’t fill me with guilt?”

    I stuff a hand into the pocket of his rucksack and toss him a college brochure. “Like getting into Weber?”

    The brochure hits his chest then lands at his feet. “Not exactly,” he says with a grimace.

    “What? That’s good news.” I sit next to him, leaning over to take the brochure and then handing it to him.

    He stares at it but doesn’t take it. I start waving it in his face. He grabs it and tosses it away. “I’m not going to college, Will.”

    “Why not?”

    “There are so many factors.”

    “Like?”

    He gets up and walks toward the drawers’ chest, seizing the framed picture of him, Willow, Buffy and I. He traces a finger on it, staring at one of the faces pensively.

    “Buffy,” he says, his eyes still on her face in the picture. “Willow is going to Harvard or Yale. You’re going to Oxford and taking Giles with you. Who else will be around to help her out with the vamp stuff?”

    “Wesley.”

    The scowl he gives speaks volumes. “You’ve gotta be kidding.”

    “I’m not.” I head towards him and take the picture off his hand, putting it back in its place. These children still have nothing but contempt towards the new watcher. It is out of loyalty for Rupert, but obviously they noticed Rupert’s constant lecturing and training so that Wesley would be able to take things over when we leave for England. Buffy would benefit from trying to get along with Wesley now before every single Scooby leaves her side for their future.

    I watch him standing before the few boxes that contained his clothes. He was too eager to empty the ones with his comic book collection but always managed to neglect unpacking his clothes.

    “Why should you take one for the team? Don’t base your future on someone else’s happiness.”

    “There’s also the money,” he explains. “On account of not having it.”

    “Don’t you have a college fund?”

    He shrugs. “I don’t think I ever had one, and if I did, it was most probably spent on booze.”

    He wanders towards my desk, his hand going for the notebook – my heart almost stops – but he takes the Harry Potter novel instead. Silence takes over, him flipping through the pages, me trying to remember where the conversation stopped.

    “I… have no words,” I finally say, recalling the time I met the boy’s clumsy mother. When Xander and I were moving his boxes out of the house, his folks didn’t seem to notice. They didn’t even react to Xander’s offhand ‘I’m moving in with William.’ Lost in their own glass, watching whatever came along on TV. Those sad, miserable lot.

    “That’s okay. I don’t think I’m college material anyway.” He sits on my chair, glancing at the cover of the book before he looks at me with an ear to ear grin. “At least I got into college, right? Not stupid. I’ve also been thinking about taking one of those road trips they do after high school? So something to look forward to. Also, not a virgin anymore. Big plus.”

    His expression becomes serious all of a sudden. “Speaking of sex, it’s all I think about. I mean, it was good with Faith. The first time, not the one with her fingers on my throat. But… something was missing. It went by fast, you know.” He leans forward and looks right into my eyes. “Shouldn’t it be… longer?”

    I stifle a laugh. “It was your first time. Your soldiers couldn’t wait to… ambush.”

    “Still, she didn’t even wanna coddle.”

    I burst out laughing. “You and coddling, Harris. So, your first time didn’t go well, you’ll have other times.”

    “When?” he asks impatiently.

    “When a girl is desperate enough to bugger you silly.”

    “And where do you find those desperate girls?”

    I give him a light punch on the shoulder. “Change your clothes and eat something. You’re worse than Dru.”

    His eyebrows furrow. “Who’s this Dru you keep bringing up?”

    Bollocks. I try to remain calm, walking around him aimlessly. “When did I bring her up?”

    “That day when you pranked Giles into grounding you. Then again in the library.” His eyes widen and he holds up a finger. “Was she your girlfriend before you came out?”

    I stare at him, the embarrassing notebook safely hidden behind my back. “Yes.”

    His eyes glisten with interest. “Did you sleep with her?”

    “As a matter of fact, yes.”

    “What was it like?” He looks like an eager puppy scenting a treat.

    Head tilt. Smug smirk. “Let’s just say I know how to keep a lady satisfied.”

    “How?”

    I snatch the Harry Potter book and swat him with it. “Change.”

    Outside, I can easily hear the bubbling and squeaking in the kitchen. Rupert’s cooking towel is draped over his shoulder as usual, and he bends to taste the chicken soup. I instinctively start setting the table, able to tell that dinner is about to be ready.

    “How’s Xander?”

    I scoff. “A confused mess.”

    “Why? Did something happen?” He appears extremely concerned. I realize what he was referring to instantly. “I put the knives back in the drawer. Did he do…”

    “Oh, no.” I shake my head, remembering early in the morning when we were making sandwiches the look on Xander’s face when he saw the knives. “He was surprised. But nothing happened.”

    Rupert wipes his forehead with his towel, glancing at the direction of my bedroom. “We still have to keep an eye on him. These urges don’t wear off in the span of few days.”

    “I know.” I don’t tell him that I caught Xander with scissors in the school’s bathroom. I don’t tell him about the way Xander stares at the sharp edge of a stake he just sharpened.

    “I talked to the school’s counselor today.”

    That’s why I don’t tell him. “Rupert, you know Xander doesn’t want anyone to know.”

    “She thinks Xander should see a professional therapist.”

    “No,” I hiss, hoping Xander doesn’t hear this conversation.

    “William, I understand your loyalty to your friend’s wishes.” He turns his attention back to his cooking. “Xander’s problem could be a long-lasting one and it requires professional help. We are not equipped to deal with a situation like this.”

    I know he’s right. However, I don’t think Xander would understand us betraying his trust like this. The last thing I want is to see that look on Xander’s face when I gave him the vengeance demon’s pendant on his birthday. The burning anger in his eyes, the hurt in his voice. I can never bare it.

    Rupert starts inverting the bubble and squeak into the skillet’s lid, then slides it back to cook the other side. I begin placing the plates on the kitchen counter, wondering how Rupert is going to break the news to Xander. I wish he’ll leave me out of it.

    “Dinner is ready. Go and get Xander.”

    It’ll be easier if I pretended to be as gutted as he would once Rupert brings up the therapist. Take his side and vent along, but at the same time not dismiss it as a bad idea. Rupert can take the heat and I’ll still look good.

    I push the door to my room open and find Xander reading my notebook.

    “What the hell are you doing?” Upset and furious, I steal it from his hands and glare daggers at him. “Who gave you permission to read that?” For someone who doesn’t like anyone middling in his affairs, he sure doesn’t mind doing it to others.

    Xander appears like he’s about to throw a wobbly. He jumps to his feet, eyes wide with alarm, mouth opening and closing in utter shock. “Okay, William… I just read a whole poem about my eyes.”

    I stand frozen, the notebook in my hand about to slip to the floor.

    Xander’s expressive face shows a rollercoaster of emotions as his mind clearly runs over different explanations. He snaps a finger at me, an invisible bulb lights up above his head. “Was that… oh, did you…” A frown takes place and he drops his finger. “No, I guess not.”

    “Harris, you’re not making sense,” I snap, feeling a variety of emotions myself. Embarrassment and anxiety high on that list.

    “I figured this is why you stopped wanting to hang out, but then I remembered one of those earlier drafts ‘Ampata: The Rotten Biscata.’”

    I hide my face behind the notebook. “Bloody hell.”

    He holds up his hands, looking at me warily. “Look, if me being here makes you uncomfortable…”

    I shake my head. “No, it’s…”

    “Because it’s making me uncomfortable.” He’s about to burst, absolutely freaked out.

    I force myself to calm down. I place the sodding notebook on the desk and wear a bored scowl on my face. “Relax. I’m completely over you.”

    “Really?” The hopeful gleam in his eyes quickly vanishes. “’Cause the last one was all about setting Larry free because he wasn’t me.”

    Chest boiling with anger. “How many of these sodding travesty have you read?”

    “Mostly titles. I liked that one about me and Cordelia, ‘Straight as a dart, dating a first class tart.’” He snorts a laugh, an anxious laugh, his back glued to the wall far away from me.

    If only the earth splits and swallows me now. He seems to be noticing my distress, the scared wide eyes smoothing into a look of nervous concern. He clears his throat and drags his feet towards me, his hand timidly patting my shoulder.

    “It’s okay,” he says in an almost convincing tone. “I’m calm. Calm is me.” He holds up his hands with a toothy grin. “See?”

    “I should burn this.” I toss the notebook at the garbage can. It hits the rim and lands next to it.

    “I really hope you don’t,” he says with a mischievous grin. “I mean I didn’t know that my eyes graduated from green tea leaves to dying fields.”

    I push his cackling arse away and he ends up bouncing on my bed, lost in a fit of laugher.

    “That was a bad one.” Actually, that poem has the best imagery I’ve ever read.

    He sits up, wiping the tears in his eyes. “I really need to process this. First Willow, then you, then Cordelia. Hey, do you think Buffy…”

    “No.”

    “Oh.” His hope crushed to pieces. I feel better all of a sudden.

    “I really hope this doesn’t get over your head. You’re not all that, you know.”

    His bushy eyebrows wiggle. “My shimmery eyes beg to differ.”

    “Piss off, Harris.”

    His grin dims down to a somber smile. “I liked that first one. About Jesse.”

    I stare at the bittersweet glimmer in his eyes, my overwhelming emotions settling down at last. “Yeah?”

    He nods mutely, directing his gaze to the floor.

    I settle down next to him, clasping my hands. “Do you ever think about him?”

    He sighs. “Sometimes. A lot when Angel got his soul back.” He shakes his head and stares up at the ceiling. “It’s not fair.”

    I remember the disdain in my mother’s healthy features, hear the ridicule in her voice, the disgust. The hurt and distress I felt back then reflected on Xander’s face, not fresh and strong as it once was, but diminished over the years.

    “Giles told me…” he starts, gaze on the notebook next to the garbage can.

    “What?”

    “He said when a person is turned into a vampire, they’re completely gone.” His eyes on me now are filled with deep sadness. “Jesse still went after Cordelia. Angel still went after Buffy. It doesn’t make sense.”

    “Rupert was wrong,” I say from experience. Being turned into a vampire changed a lot of things, but me, the essence of my personality… I still wrote poems, still wanted my mother to live long, to be well and healthy.

    “Makes you wonder what it’s like to be a vampire.” He crosses his arms behind his head and falls back on the bed. He rolls his eyes when he notices my look. “I’m not thatinsane.”

    Just making sure. My talk with Rupert still fresh in my ears.

    “Didn’t you ever imagine how it’s like?”

    I don’t need to imagine. I know what it’s like. Smelling humans’ fear, hearing the rush of their blood and thumping of their hearts, yearning for the taste of their blood, to suck my fangs into their flesh and drink that…

    My stomach recoils when I remember that revolting taste, how I used to lick the remaining of it off my fingers.

    Xander sits up suddenly, his face so close to mine that his breath touches my skin. “So,” in a voice loaded with masculinity, “you’re really over me?”

    I swat him with my pillow. “Like shite down the toilet. And flushed.”

    He laughs. “Dude, I kid.” He wipes an invisible tear. “But you hurt.”

    “Get bent.”

    A charming wink. “You’d like that.”

    “I swear, Harris…”

    “I kid again.” He pats my shoulder. “I’m glad it’s over. ‘Cause this whole thing will be weird.”

    “Yeah. Weird,” I mumble in discomfort.

    He heads for the door. “C’mon, let’s feast.”

    “I’ll be right with you.” I press on the pillow in my lap, hiding the tent that formed there.

    Drusilla pops up in my head, in the library drinking and eating, didn’t even look at me. She knew. She knew I was far gone.

    Xander left the door open again, letting the delicious aroma waft in with the intriguing banter between Xander and Rupert. Natural. Attractive. Troubled with a squeeze on my heart, I feel a strong yearning for this. I don’t belong here, not the man’s son, not the boy in love with his friend, but here I am. Took his life away from him, living it to the fullest, and I desperately want it.


    ~*~*~*~
     
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