Title: Making a List, Checking it Twice
Rating: PG-13 for language
Synopsis: Spike and Xander make a list for Christmas.
Takes place December 2004 in my post-NFA HEA-verse, although it’s not necessary to read any other stories in the verse to read this (basically, the PTB resurrected Cordelia and Anya and saved Gunn’s life as a reward to Angel, Spike, and Gunn for taking on W&H, and now the Scoobies live in London). 1,500 words.
A/N: This ficlet is for annapurna_2, who requested “Spike and Xander buddy fic,” and for quinara, who seconded it. Ideally this would be the first in a three-part Spike & Xander series of unconnected vignettes (this being the lighthearted part and the others being more serious), but I’m not sure if/when the other scenes will be written. So for now, here is light-hearted buddy fic! :)
“As most of you are probably already aware, we’re going to have visitors over the Christmas holidays. You’ve all heard of the team in LA, Angel Investigations, that occasionally works with our local slayers and watchers. Its four associates will be spending two weeks with some of our members.”
Several slayers and watchers seated around the conference table glanced none too discreetly in Buffy’s direction, but she ignored them.
“Their visit is primarily for personal reasons…”
A pale hand that Buffy knew as well as her own was suddenly sliding the notebook she brought to these meetings for appearance’s sake away from her; her pen went the same way a second later. Buffy arched an eyebrow, but the utterly shameless culprit didn’t even look at her as he scribbled on a blank page and then continued sliding the notebook to his right.
“…but as they will be touring our facilities and talking to any slayers and watchers interested in meeting them, I’ll be sending a memo on what to expect. One of their team is, ah, a little peculiar and must be treated with caution. Other matters on the agenda today…”
Sniggers sounded from Buffy’s right.
“Henry and Yvette are officially moving to Stockholm after the holidays to train five slayers we’ve located in the region. I’m delighted to announce that we’ll have a new student ourselves in January-”
A loud snort interrupted.
“Hopefully you all remember DaYoung Kim, the daughter of a Korean diplomat who recently moved here; she toured the school two weeks ago.”
The scribbling sounds grew more frantic, accompanied by the wheezing of badly smothered chuckles.
“She has agreed to study with us on a trial basis. As for further recruiting- would you two like to share with the class whatever is so amusing?”
Again, heads swiveled toward Buffy. Biting her lip in a desperate attempt to keep from smiling, she looked at the two men next to her.
Xander had the decency to look embarrassed, but Spike just blinked his baby blues in a Who me? kind of way, his pen- her pen- conspicuously poised on the notebook, as though he were only waiting to capture Giles’s every word. Fresh faced as a schoolboy and just as innocent, that was her vampire.
“What about recruiting?” he said. “Carry on.”
Giles’s stare was murderous enough to leave Buffy in little doubt that she would get an earful about this later.
“As I was saying-”
She could practically hear his teeth grind.
“Regarding recruiting, we’re going to resume our efforts in France…”
When Giles was safely on task again a few minutes and no longer looked like wanted to throttle someone, Spike passed the notebook. When Xander returned it, Buffy leaned over to read their scrawls.
It took all of her not inconsiderable willpower to not make a sound. Instead she had to restrain herself to a derisive look that both boyfriend and best friend blatantly ignored.
* * *
“Okay, read it off.”
“Put paint in his blood.”
“Pig and turpentine, that’s a delicacy. Ever try that on my blood, I’ll kill you.”
“I quake in abject terror. Oh wait- it’s not 2000 anymore.”
“Fuck you, Harris, I’m still terrifying.”
“Your hair is anyway…”
“What was that?”
“I said, you’re terrifying, okay?”
“Sure you did. What’s next? Itching powder in his clothes?”
“Hey, I dictate! You scribe! I mean…scribble.”
“Your mastery of the English language astonishes, as usual.”
“Shut up. Where do you even buy itching powder?”
“Dunno…we can make Andrew get it.”
“Oh, good idea.”
“Short-sheet his bed. He’ll have a bed, right?”
“Probably. Was going to put him on the couch, but Buffy pointed out I could just stay with her and then Angel and Cordelia could have my room to themselves. Makes sense. And, you know…”
“Angel borrows your room with the knowledge that you’re boinking Buffy.”
“If I ignore the gross mental picture, I can get onboard. He’s with Cordy, though; I don’t think he’ll get too jealous.”
“It’s the principle of the matter.”
“Of course. So they’ll be in your flat…hey, having to live with Andrew will be like a prank in and of itself.”
“A mild form of torture, definitely.”
“Ooh, tell him Angel’s a closet Trekkie. He’ll never shut up about it.”
“Christ, tell me about it.”
“All right, so short-sheeting…oh, that’ll affect Cordy.”
“Yeah but…she might kill us.”
“You’re afraid of the cheerleader?”
“I’m not afraid…”
“Once more with feeling now, Harris.”
“You didn’t know her in high school.”
“Would’ve made a good vampire?”
“…Yeah, now that you say it.”
“No wonder Angel fell for her. Well, I'm not scared of her. I'll do it if you're chicken. What else?”
“Uh, speaking of the devil, Property of Cordelia Chase stickers.”
“Where the hell do you get ‘Property of’ stickers?”
“Heh heh…put corn syrup in his hair gel.”,
“Mphmph, yes. This is going to be the best Christmas… If you ever touch my gel-”
“Yeah, yeah, you’ll rip my lung outs and boil my brain and eat my heart, blah blah, blah, I get it.”
“…Boil your brain? That’d take effort. Also, your heart would taste gross.”
“My heart would taste delicious. Way better than those onion things you like.”
“Bite your tongue!”
“Do it for- wait.”
“Just to be clear, I hate you.”
“Well, I hate you more.”
“Do not! I hate you more than I hate….crowds on the Tube.”
“I hate you more than I hate…ads on the telly.”
“I hate you more than I hate Brussel sprouts.”
“I hate you more than I hate rat’s blood.”
“I hate you more than I hate Hellmouths!”
“I hate you more than I hate Rome!”
“I hate you more than I hate Angel!”
“I didn’t mean it, I’m sorry, there’s no one I hate more than Angel.”
“Really. That’s why we’re going to…spread the rumor that he’s a eunuch.”
“That one was my idea.”
“And it’s a very good one. Assuming they don’t notice Cordelia.”
“He’ll be here for two weeks. There’s got to be more we can do.”
“Put a whoopee cushion under him.”
“What are we, twelve?”
“…Yeah, all right.”
“There have to be some Christmas-specific pranks we can do."
“’Kay…‘Christmas pranks’…I don’t think this is what we’re supposed to be using our Council computers for.”
“Don’t think we’re supposed to be using their conference rooms and white boards for it either.”
“Point. Here we are…hmm…no…ah ha! Put coal in his present!”
“Ohhhh, yes! Heh heh…bet it’ll even make him feel guilty; he'll never be on Santa's Nice list. Ten quid it makes him brood…”
“Will he even open it if it’s from us? Are you getting him a real present?”
“Uh…I’ll probably get him something small with Buffy. Dunno. Not really used to this group Christmas thing.”
“Yeah…hey, what about garlic? Does that really work on you guys? We could put it something he eats.”
“…Are you shitting me? Eight years in the game, and you don’t know if garlic affects vampires? Call yourself a Scooby!”
“Hey, I’m a good Scooby! I hold my own, I know my lore. I just…haven’t had to use garlic before. …What does it do?”
“…Mostly just tastes bad. Makes some vampires break out.”
“What, like hives?”
“Garlic gives you guys hives.”
“Some of us.”
“Well, that’s useful.”
“Can be bloody annoying.”
“But you can still eat it and everything. If I waved it at you, it wouldn’t chase you away.”
“Could still put it in his blood for fun.”
“Yeah…does it give you hives?”
“Oh my god, it totally does! Does Buffy know? Ahaha-”
“Don’t even think-”
“I’m not gonna put it in your blood! Jeez, it’s like you don’t trust me at-”
“What are you doing?”
Spike and Xander froze.
Giles pushed the conference room door all the way open and stepped inside. His glare moved from Xander and the computer open in front of him, to Spike and the uncapped marker in his hand, and finally to the white board filled with Spike’s messy scrawl. Xander and Spike exchanged looks; the latter opened his mouth but didn’t speak.
Giles’s eyes widened behind his glasses as he took in the heading, “Pranks to Play on Angel,” and then moved rapidly from side to side as he went down the list.
His mouth thinned. Xander winced. A minute passed.
At last Giles spoke, quite stiffly. “Reprogram the numbers in his phone.”
Xander stared. “Uh…”
“And…my memo to the slayers and watchers will have some typos. They’ll be expecting Angela, the vampire detective.”
Giles glanced between them, mouth still grimly set, brow still dark and foreboding. Then he turned and left, pulling the door shut behind him.