Part 19 - The Art of Conversation
Merrick watched as Giles said his goodbyes to Larry. When he turned
after shutting the door he saw that the worry line bisecting his
brow had grown deeper. It was obvious to Merrick that the other
Watcher was concerned about the boy. Larry hadn’t said much
about what had happened last night, but it was obvious to anyone
with eyes that more had gone on than he had admitted to.
Giles sighed as he turned to face his last guest. “Drink?”
Merrick hesitated for only an instant before nodding.
“Yes please,” he said quietly.
It was surprisingly easy to fall into a comfortable conversation
with the other Watcher, to let the animosity dissolve in collegiality
and single malt. They discussed Council politics and gossip and
were of one mind regarding the awfulness of iced tea and American
“I’ve contacted the Council and requested an official
transfer of the Slayer to your charge,” Merrick said.
“What?” Giles stared at him.
“I have no choice. The Slayer needs a watcher she trusts,
and I am no longer that man.”
“Good Lord. I can’t possibly... I’m sure that
given time Miss Summers will change her mind about all of this…”
Merrick shook his head. “It’s done. I know you will
take good care of her, and I intend remain in Sunnydale for a little
while if you don’t mind?”
“No. No, of course not.” Giles looked at Merrick, clearly
at a loss for words. Merrick knew what he was thinking of course.
The vast majority of Watchers never had the experience of guiding
an active Slayer, that he was willing to give her up, in support
of his duty was truly remarkable. “She’s the best Slayer
I’ve ever seen. You trained her well.”
“Thank you.” Merrick accepted his due with a gracious
nod. He looked into his empty glass. “Could I bother you for
“So,” Cordelia said, as she completely failed to signal
a left turn.
“Huh?” Angel forced himself to uncurl his fingers from
the slightly crushed door handle.
“Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m
talking about. I saw you and Giles giving each other looks. So spill:
what’s up with Larry?”
Other than him reeking of vampire and spunk? “Uh, nothing,
far as I know.”
“Yeah, right. Fine. I’ll work it out. It’s probably
something obvious like Xander macking on Larry.”
He twitched; she was looking at him, when she should be looking
at the road; looking at him with a little smile on her face and
“Hah! Knew it!” Her grin glittered in the darkness.
“God that’s so weird. No offense, but the whole undead
attraction thing, I mean, ewww. There was other you and Buffy –
and then Joyce goes all Mrs. Robinson with Spike and now Larry…”
“Joyce isn’t going after Spike,” he protested.
Cordelia looked unconvinced. “Fine, it’s all Spike’s
fault, whatever.” She said dismissing his correction with
a wave of her hand. “My point is, no matter how cute any vampire
might be in my book ‘room temperature’ doesn’t
really go with ‘hot, hot, loving’.”
Angel was speechless.
“No offense,” she added as a stop sign flashed past
There was silence as Cordelia continued to recklessly pilot her
car through the unsuspecting town. As she blew through a stop sign
Angel was relieved to recognize the neighborhood and realized that
they were almost home.
Cordelia punched the dashboard remote as they came up the drive
and pulled into the garage a bare instant after the door had opened.
Angel let go of the door. Cordelia unlatched her seatbelt and checked
her appearance in the mirror. He took a deep breath.
“You know, what you said earlier -- about Spike, and me.
I’ve got to say, that sounds kind of bigoted Cordelia.”
“What did you call me?” She stared at him disbelieving.
Angel shrugged. “I’m just saying, it’s kinda
unfair to reject something before you’ve tried it. Unless
you have. Have you tried it?”
“Tried what? Locking lips with a vampire? Nope.”
“So, I was right. You’re a bigot.”
“Stop saying that!”
“Bawk bawk bawk. Chicken.”
“Prove it.” He grinned at her, channeling Liam for
all he was worth as she stared at him, biting her lip. Her lovely,
soft, lush, lip. He’d been spending a lot of time thinking
about her mouth lately, all alone in his carefully blacked out bedroom.
Her mouth, her eyes, her long curvy legs, her hips, her full round
breasts, that absolutely perfect ass…
“Fine!” she snapped. “Just lips though, no tongue.”
He nodded. Barely managing to keep from shouting in triumph as
with a look of grim determination she shut her eyes and leaned across
the armrest towards him.
He met her in the middle, and pressed his lips to hers with infinite
care, a butterfly’s wing of a kiss that sent fire racing through
his dead nerves. God knew how many women he’d kissed but this
felt like the first time; for him it was the first time, the first
time it mattered. Forgetting to be careful he pressed in greedily
and felt the shriveled muscle in his chest leap when she didn’t
recoil but opened her mouth and kissed back. He put a hand on the
back of her neck to pull her closer, losing himself in the wonder
of her wet warm mouth, her smooth skin, the rising scent of her
Without warning Cordelia went stiff and yanked herself free. She
scrambled away from him until her back was pressed against the car
“What was that!” she sputtered. “That was no
test kiss. That was… What the hell was that!”
He couldn’t take his eyes off her mouth, wet and swollen
from his kisses. His hands itched with the urge to take hold of
“Cor-de-lia,” he purred. “I think you know…”
“Stop that!” Cordelia snapped, forgetting her fear.
“It’s not funny!”
“You know you’re in love with Buffy!”
It was his turn to look startled. “Huh? No I’m not.”
He could see her struggling to recalibrate her memories with this
“O.K., maybe not yet but you will be. You guys are like Romeo
and Juliet. You came to Sunnyhell because of Buffy.”
He remembered. Remembered watching her from Whistler’s old
beat up car. Watching her bounce down the stair, a gleaming blonde
vision. His heart had been filled with her. He’d come to Sunnydale
with new hope, of being able to make up for his sins, of being her
But she never came. And the Master captured him, and three years
of torture had dimmed his hope even before he’d lifted his
head and seen her.
He recognized her. The scar was new. And the anger. More than three
years had passed, and the sweet girl he’d fallen for was gone.
This Buffy Summers was hard, and cold; a Slayer, through and through.
“Yeah. I did. I came to help her fight, and I’m still
going to do that. But we’re not in love. I can’t even
imagine being in love with her. She’s not that girl and I’m
not that guy.”
Cordelia stared at him.
“Cordelia, I don’t want her. I want you.” He
leaned forward, and she mirrored him for a sweet instant before
jerking herself back.
“Whoa! Aren’t you forgetting something? The curse?
I’m not planning to play sudden-death tag with Angelus again.”
Angel scowled, he still wasn’t sure he believed that story
about him losing his soul because of ‘a moment of perfect
happiness’, or sex; he still wasn’t clear on that. Obviously
it couldn’t just be sex; if that was all it took he’d
have lost his soul years ago...
He leaned back with a sigh. It didn’t matter if he believed
in it as long as Cordelia did. There was no way he was getting any
further with her tonight.
“Yeah,” he said. “I forgot. I guess you’re
right. I just needed you to know how I felt.”
She relaxed. “Oh. Oh Kay. Well, um. Good night.” She
got hastily out of the car and disappeared through the door into
the house. Angel watched her go, the half smile on his face slowly
He really needed to have a talk with Giles.
When the doorbell rang, Trick knew immediately who it had to be.
Damn, couldn’t a dude eat dinner in peace? He took a last
swallow before pulling out his fangs and letting the girl flop back
onto the bed. She lay there with her eyes half-closed, pretty much
out of it. He was a long way from done with her though. He’d
fucked her once already and he had plans to do it again before finishing
her off. He hoped this wouldn’t take too long. He pulled on
his pants and a sweater. “Be right back baby,” he murmured
as he opened the door. She didn’t stir but he made sure the
door locked behind him.
His premonition had been right on. “Hey man,” he said.
He opened the door wide to the Mayor in. He still moved stiffly,
and his features were still a little too greenish to pass, but with
every day that passed he got closer to the time he could return
to the public eye.
Wilkins smiled, revealing yellow teeth and purple gums. “Mr.
Trick. Sorry to drop by unannounced, but I wanted to check up with
you to make sure everything’s on track. You haven’t
been in your office much these days.”
Wasn’t much room for him there, now that he was back and
getting ready to take up his duties as Mayor again. Not that Trick
wanted the job, but having his boss hanging around made him nuts.
“Plan’s going great. Everything in place for three
nights from now.”
“Excellent. And our other problem?”
“The lawyers finalized the contract and wired them the retainer
this morning; they’ll be here tomorrow. They cost a bomb,
but their reputation says they’re worth it.”
“Well, that sounds great! So you don’t see any trouble?”
“Naw, I think we’ve got it covered. This time next
week you’ll be living large and in charge.”
Trick smiled and let the silence sit there until Wilkins finally
took the hint.
“Well, I guess I’ll be going then.”
“Have a nice night man.” Trick shut the door on him,
and locked it. Jesus fucking Christ on a bicycle he’d be glad
when the dude ascended and he could blow this one-horse town.
Larry slipped in the back door quietly and crept downstairs to
his room, careful not to disturb his parents. Technically he didn’t
have a curfew, but if they knew he was coming in this late on a
school night he’d hear about it. They were already pretty
unhappy about him being cut from the team, but he couldn’t
help it that he kept having to miss practice all the time so he
could patrol. They’d had to shut down the program anyway after
half the team had died/disappeared but that didn’t make it
O.K. as far as his Dad was concerned.
He shut the door carefully, collapsed onto the sagging old couch
he’d claimed when they got a new one last year and grabbed
the remote. He flicked around a little before settling on Letterman.
Dave was just starting the night’s list when the phone rang,
jerking Larry upright, heart pounding ready for a fight. “Yeah,
what?” he snarled into the phone.
“Hey, Lar. What cha doing?”
Larry’s brain froze. “Xander?” he managed after
a painful pause.
“The man himself. How’re they hangin’ bro?”
He stopped himself from asking how Xander had gotten his number.
“Uh. O.K. I guess,” he said warily.
“Still living with the ‘rents huh? Got your own phone
“How are your folks anyway?”
“Fine. I guess.”
“They’re not giving you any trouble?”
“Naw, they’re great, really.”
“Yeah? ‘Cause I could help you out if they were getting
on your case.”
“Let’s face it, football was your only shot at
college, now you’ve blown that…18 and you’re out
of here.” Larry wouldn’t even let himself think
about it. “No! Man, please…”
Never thought he’d be happy to hear Xander’s nasty
little giggle. “Hey man, just pulling your leg. You’re
my pal. I wouldn’t eat your ‘rents – unless you
want me to?”
“No. Really. Uh…Thanks.”
“No problem. So, what did Library Man say when you gave him
“Angel and – Giles! They’re going to check it
out.” Which made it sound like they didn’t trust Xander…which
of course, they didn’t.
“Sounds like you don’t trust me. Hey, you’d have
to be pretty stupid not to check it out. And I already knew you
White Hats weren’t stupid. If you were you wouldn’t
have lasted so long without a Slayer. How’s she working out
anyway? What’s her name again?”
“Buffy. She’s scary. Super strong. Kind of hostile.”
“Yeah? Sounds like fun. She’s killed a lot of vamps
lately. Definitely made her mark.”
“I’m just glad she’s on our side,” Larry
“Bet you are. So, buddy, want to meet up? Get a couple of
beers, talk over old time?”
Larry didn’t know which would be scarier: if Xander was serious
about being buddies, or if he was just trying to kill him. “Tonight?”
he hedged. “Uhh… It’s a school night.”
“Oh yeah. School. Been awhile. Tell you what – I’ll
call you Friday, we’ll make plans, kay?”
“Ciao baby.” Xander made a wet kissing noise into the
phone, and hung up.
Larry stared at the phone until the recording started complaining
that if he wanted to make a call he should hang up... He hung up
and unplugged the phone and spent the rest of the night watching
Xander flipped his cell shut and put it away. He was disappointed
but not surprised that he couldn’t get Larry to meet him tonight.
Left him with nothing to do though, like all the nights since the
Master had gone down. Sunnydale was a really dead town if you were
on your own. He missed Willow, and the Bronze. He’d heard
the humans had taken it back over. Had someone living upstairs so
vamps couldn’t cross the threshold.
All this talk about families had made him homesick. He couldn’t
remember the last time he’d been by the old homestead. Maybe
he should drop by.
Mom had changed the locks, again. A quick twist and shove took
care of that.
She’d cleaned up since the last time he’d been here.
The place still would’ve given Martha Stuart the heebie-jeebies
but there was no stink of garbage like the last time, and there
were only a couple of dishes in the sink. New carpet too. Guess
the insurance money had finally come through.
He found a half-filled black garbage back sitting on the service
porch; it clanked when he lifted it: nice to see some things hadn’t
He had a quick look at his old bedroom. Nothing had changed from
the night he left, same boxes of comics under the bed, same Star
Wars and 7 of Nine posters. Dresser still packed with fluorescent
shirts and comic boxers; his stash of porn was still tucked away
under a stack of baggy pants. God he’d been such a fucking
Mom was fast asleep, snoring lightly, face buried into the pillow
on ‘her’ side of the bed. The sag in the mattress that
dear old dad had worn over the years was still there but that was
the only sign left that he’d ever been there. She didn’t
stir as he closed the curtains and got undressed. He pulled back
the quilt and grinned because despite the new locks she was wearing
the soft blue polyester nightgown that was one of his favorites.
The smell of bourbon was sweet on her breath when he bent down to
She woke up then, eyes wide and blind in the dark. “Who’s
there?” she whispered.
“Hi mom.” He straddled her, covering her mouth with
his, as her eyes began to leak.
He was kinda surprised when he pulled down her top to expose her
breasts to see that his marks had all healed. It really had been
a long time since he’d been by. That was Willow’s fault,
she’d started getting really weird about his visits. Like
she was jealous or something. When he’d come back the last
time she’d forced him to take a bath in scalding hot water
and nearly scrubbed the skin off his back. He didn’t need
the grief, so he’d decided to take a break. Never meant to
stop completely though.
He nuzzled into the powdered valley between her breasts, where
it smelled like the good parts of his childhood and the sudden scent
of fear as she felt his face change against her skin reminded him
of all the good things about his new life. She shivered as his fangs
scratched a thin line along the curve of her breast to her nipple
and whimpered as he slid his fangs into her skin and pushed slowly
into her dry heat but she didn’t try to fight him. Never since
the first time. Xander sighed as he felt the blood began to flow,
sweet and thick in his mouth. Every heartbeat, every whimper and
groan sending pulses of heat through him.
Slow shallow thrusts and small, careful sips were the way to make
it last and he wanted it to last as long as possible. Buried inside
her, feeling her heat creeping through him, filling the hollow spaces,
making him feel cared for and safe making him feel so fucking good,
and hey, wasn’t that what moms are supposed to do for their
kids? When he finally couldn’t hold out any longer the rush
nearly blew out the top of his head.
Considerately, he rolled off her as soon as he could see straight
again. After a moment she slowly pulled her legs together and turned
on her side, away from him. He pulled her back, spooning her, soaking
in her heat, and dropped a kiss onto the nape of her neck.
“Thanks mom,” he whispered. She didn’t say anything,
but that was O.K. They understood each other fine.
Posted 10 May 2004
"Would you like to come in?" Joyce asked. She meant it
even though she was pretty obviously dropping on her feet. Which
served her right for going along with that vampire’s crazy
plan and almost getting herself killed.
“Sorry, can’t.” Buffy said. She wanted to change
her answer when she saw the sadness in Joyce’s eyes.
“I understand. Well, goodnight then.”
Well, that killed off any lingering doubt she had that this really
was her mom because only mom possessed the power to make her feel
that guilty without saying anything.
“I’ll see you tomorrow.” The hell with it. She
wrapped her arms around her mom and hugged her, before pushing her
inside and getting the hell out of there.
She hit the cemeteries on the west side of town, as far away from
Restfield as this one Starbucks town allowed. Pickings were thin,
she only managed to dust three lone suckers and decapitate a scaly
green demon with a whiny voice before she decided it was time to
Buffy grimaced at the scruffy blonde chick in ripped jeans she
saw reflected in the big ass mirrors that had been installed at
the Bronze's entrance, and then walked right on in anyway. The bouncer
started to say something to her about a dress code but backed off
real quick when he recognized her. He didn't even ask her for the
They'd done a nice job fixing up the place, though personally she
would’ve burnt it down. The name was the same but the interior
had been completely redone and repainted, there wasn't much left
to remind her of the abattoir she'd liberated a few weeks ago. Buffy
was amazed by Sunnydale people. Everyone there knew what had gone
on here when the Master was in charge, odds were that most of them
had lost people to the monsters, but that didn't seem to bother
anyone. The place was packed with people loudly determined to have
a good time, even on a Sunday night.
Hypocrite much: not like she gave a damn about the casualties either.
She moved out onto the dance floor and marked out her spot. Started
to move, giving herself up to the harsh repetitive music, letting
it pound into her, fill her up like syrup, sweet and warm. The tension
she'd built up from slaying drained away and other tensions started
to build. She could feel their eyes on her, almost read their minds,
could sense them wanting her. She danced alone, and waited.
Didn't take long till a guy moved in on her, crewcut UC Sunnydale
student with a sloppy grin and a 16 oz plastic cup clutched in his
hand. He tried to keep up with her; she let him try.
"Hey, wanna take a break?" he yelled after ten minutes.
Buffy ignored him, she wasn’t done dancing yet. After five
minutes he retreated back to his buddies.
Buffy kept dancing and the boys kept coming. There was a brunet,
a cute Asian guy, a freckled skinny guy: not bad at keeping the
beat, but he lacked stamina, then another blond, huge, pretty much
had 'fullback' tattooed on his forehead. He wasn't bad, and she’d
danced enough for now. So she moved closer, grabbed his hips as
she did a slow grind and smiled up at him. "Want to go somewhere?"
She figured that one of these days a guy was going to tell her
'no', but she really didn't expect to live that long.
He had a bigass Jeep parked around the corner. He said something
about a room, but she was in no mood to wait. She’d straddled
him as soon as the door slammed shut, yanking up his shirt so she
could feel the muscled chest underneath.
"Hey!" he said, but forgot his complaint when she reached
down and deftly unzipped him, and then herself. His arms tightened
around her as she took hold of him and quickly stroked him to fullness.
He mouthed along her throat, and tried to kiss her as she got everything
aligned. “Fuck!” he gasped as she impaled herself on
"That's the idea," she said. He made a noise that wasn’t
a word when she flexed her hips.
Seven minutes later, she climbed out of the jeep, and slammed the
car door behind her. She straightened her hair, checked her zip
and headed back to the club. Oh well, maybe she’d have better
luck with the next one.
posted 15 May 2004