Title: Knights Consort (4/?)

Author: Cyclone

Feedback: Please be gentle.

Distribution: Gimme credit and a link.

Rating: Just a little bad language.

Spoilers: Anything and everything.

Disclaimer: The characters depicted herein belong to other people. I'm just borrowing them for a while.

Summary: There's more to love than sexual attraction. In fact, sometimes, it just gets in the way.

Author's Note: Nothing much to say here.

That moron!

That complete and utter, pig-headed moron!

I mentioned before why I always go with Xander, his apparently incurable habit of trying to get himself killed in the line of duty.

It's not really a martyr complex, despite what it sounds like. He's not trying to suffer or die doing something meaningful. He just places so little value on his own life that I want to beat his head in with a spoon sometimes.

All right, some background here. When Willow cast the spell to call all Slayers, it didn't actually affect every Potential. It asked each of us a single a question: "Are you ready to be strong?"

Not everyone said "yes."

We're not sure how many answered "no," but it's definitely a significant number. After that mass calling, the spell seems to have tweaked how the whole Slayer calling thing works.

Sometimes, a girl who said "no" changes her mind, thinks back to that question, and gives a different answer. That's how most of the meet-and-greets go.

But occasionally, a girl who said "no" gets called whether she likes it or not. Because she's needed. Because something big - something apocalyptic - is going down nearby, and there isn't an active Slayer around. When that happens, the girl who said "no" is basically told to shut up, quit whining, and slay, usually with a rather graphic vision to help her along. And we're always praying it isn't this or that we at least get there in time. Those meet-and-greets are never fun.

That's how Eleanor got called.

It shouldn't have been anything special. Another vampire apocalypse cult summoning a major demon to make a meal out of a small town. It should have been simple. It should have been easy.

As you might imagine, it wasn't, or I wouldn't be here, in the hospital, waking for him to wake up. I'd gotten a bit banged up too, but hey, Slayer healing.

"You stupid idiot," I hiss angrily. I'm not crying, damn it. "I'm a Slayer. I can take that kind of hit."

One of the vamps had gotten the drop on me, but Xander had my back, as always. Now, a piece of lead pipe to the noggin will knock even a Slayer for a loop, but give us a few minutes, and we're back in fighting trim. Xander, on the other hand... well, I won't say he's a normal human. I've heard the stories, after all: hyena possession, Russian shark-man SEAL killer gene mods, troll god hammer to the head. No, he's definitely not normal, but he's still within normal human limits. A piece of lead pipe to the noggin to him...

"Don't you dare die on me, Harris."

I can hear the some chatter from down at the nurse's station. Slayer hearing is such a lovely...

Excuse me. It seems I need correct some misconceptions.

I get up and storm out of Xander's room, making a beeline for the nurse's station. I slam my fist on the counter. Not Slayer hard, but hard enough to get their attention.

"One, I did not hit him," I growl. "Two, he did not hit me. Three, he, in fact, saved my life. Four, if he doesn't wake up, I will hold you responsible. Personally."

They're staring at me, wide-eyed. Hmm. I think I'm forgetting something. Oh, that's right.

"Five, he is not my boyfriend."

Had it been any other time, I would have stuck around to enjoy the looks they were giving me, but instead, I just turned my back on them, ignored them, and stalked back to Xander's bedside.