Cheeseburgers and Chips (No Coke, Pepsi....)
(A Divergent Destinies Story)
(Set Immediately After the Episode 'Revelations')
(Visit www.scrollandquill.org for the most up to date versions and sequence)
Written by IceWing (email@example.com)
Xander watched silently as Buffy left Faith's room at the Sunnydale Motor Lodge. 'Talk about your lousy timing,' he thought to himself. 'Now I'm going to have to wait out here in the bushes for fifteen or twenty minutes. Oh glorious day…'
As he sat there, watching Buffy walk from the parking lot towards Angel's mansion, Xander replayed the days events in his minds eye. Chaos and confusion. Those two words, pretty much summed up the entire situation which had unfurled. That damned Gwendolyn Post had really screwed things up pretty bad. And, he noted, at a time when the gang's relationships were already strained beyond belief. Between Buffy's little omission about Angel having somehow snuck out of Hell, his own concern's about Buffy discovering his rather large lie during the Acthala incident, the problems he and Cordelia were having and Buffy having issues with both Giles and her mom, well, saying things weren't good, well it didn't nearly sum it up.
'But', he thought, 'At least she'd realized she had some talking to do with Faith.' Unfortunately, the conversation had lasted less than a couple of minutes, so Xander knew that nothing had really been worked out. But, then again, he'd been surprised when he'd seen her walking up to the hotel at all. Maybe she wasn't as dense as she'd been seeming lately. But, then again, maybe she was.
Stepping out of the brush, the original Scooby knocked a few pieces of greenery from his shirt before heading across the pavement.
A moment later, he was in front of Faith's door. He found himself surprisingly nervous as he raised his hand to knock on the door. What did he have to be nervous about? He was just stopping by to see how she was doing, nothing more. Just being supportive guy. Everything's cool. He knocked on the door, the rapping sounding far more confident than he actually felt.
The door opened a few seconds later. "Hey B. Glad you came…." The words stopped as Faith realized that the person on the other side of the door wasn't her sister Slayer. "Oh, its you."
"And nice to see you too Faith," said Xander in a joking tone.
"What are you doing here?" she asked. Of all the people she would have thought of knocking on her door, Xander wasn't one of them. 'Hell,' she thought. 'I didn't think anybody but B. , Dawnie and Alfred even knew where I was staying.'
"Well, at the moment I'm standing on the doormat in front of your hotel room…." When Faith just cocked her head a bit and looked at him, he continued. "I just thought I'd stop by, see how things were going."
"As you can see, I'm having just a grand old time here. So you can run back to Scooby central and report on that."
Xander looked confused. "Huh?"
"Isn't that why you're here, to make sure that the real Watcher knows where I'm at?"
"Uh… No… I thought I'd stop by and see how you were doing, but not because anybody asked me too. I just wanted to."
"Oh," said Faith, not quite sure how to handle that information. "Well, I'm here…"
"So you are. And so am I…." Xander paused for a moment. "Look, I'm heading over to Mario's for some food. Want to join me?"
"Won't Queen C be jealous?"
"Probably, but I'm hungry and your place was on the way, so I thought I'd swing by… Plus, although I'm not the best company in the world, I thought maybe I won't look as pathetic if I had somebody else with me." Xander watched as Faith considered his offer, and the excuse for swinging by her hotel room.
"I don't know."
Xander tried a slightly different tact. "Look, if you don't want to, its cool. I just wanted to get away for a while from the rest of the gang, Mario's sounded good to me. I mean, it may be a dive, but they've got some of the best cheeseburgers in town. But I don't want to get lectured for being out on my own after dark, so…"
Faith considered. She knew how the rest of the gang seemed to treat Xander, although she wasn't really sure why. She'd checked him out a couple of times since her arrival in town, and although he wasn't a body builder, he definitely had some muscle under those baggy shirts and pants he wore. Not to mention he'd been tossed into a lamp post earlier in the day, by her in fact, and was up and about like it was nothing. Add in the fact that anybody who wasn't a Slayer and was still alive after fighting vampires for over a year was either luckier than hell or pretty good, well, she didn't understand why they tried to protect him all the time.
"Free food?" said Xander, trying to entice her out…
"Well, who am I to turn down a free meal." She grabbed her jacket and closed the door behind her. Looking at him, she told him to get a move on already, she was hungry.
** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **
"Thanks Lucy," said Xander to the waitress as she set their meals down in front of them. Double cheeseburger with fries for Xander, a triple mushroom bacon cheeseburger with fries for Faith.
"No problem, Xander," said the fifty-ish waitress as she moved to another table to take their order.
"Come here a lot I'm guessing," said Faith as she grabbed the monstrous burger with both hands and crushed it down, so she could get at least part of the one pound burger into her mouth.
"Oh yeah. Cheap food, nice folks and nobody else in the gang knows about it. So, I don't have to worry about them checking here for me when I want some quality alone time."
Faith looked at him, as she chewed the burger. She could definitely see why he thought the food was good here… The cheeseburger was definitely the best she'd had since she got to California. Come to think of it, it was probably in the top five, although not as good as that place down in Texas. "Damn good," she said as soon as she had swallowed most of the first bite. "Definitely worth stopping by here again. Thanks for showing me this place, Xan-Man." Inwardly, she was a little confused why the guy behind the takeout counter was yelling at a customer that there were no hamburgers, just cheeseburgers.
Xander nodded as he chewed his own burger. A moment later, he spoke. "Hey, if I'm going to treat you to dinner, I'm going to make sure it's a place that I know is cheap and worth eating at." He grabbed a fry and dipped it into the ketchup. "So, what do you think of our shitty little town?"
"Other than the whole sitting on the mouth of Hell, infested with vamps and the rest of the creatures of the night… Its ok I guess. Needs more clubs other than the Bronze. I mean, you know that if somebody wanted to, they'd always be able to find you guys at either the Bronze, the Library or maybe at Buffy's place."
"Yeah, no pun intended, but the night life is pretty dead around here… There are a couple of coffee shops that are pretty good, one has like an open mic night a couple of times a week, but they all close early. Go figure."
The dark haired Slayer took another bite of her burger. "So, what's Queen C think of this place?"
"No clue," replied Xander. "Cordy doesn't really like to experience the non-posh sides of our fair town. If they don't take Diner's Club, she doesn't want to be seen there. And needless to say, she reminds of these points just about every time I try to take her out."
"That's got to suck."
Xander banged his head against the back of the booth. "You have no idea. I mean, it's seriously demented. One minute, she's this great person, who anybody would be so damn lucky to be with, the next… BAM! She's back to being the insufferable socialite who is about as deep as an inflatable kiddie pool." He sighed. "Plus, I don't need the tongue lashings from her too, I get enough…" He let that sentence peter out, chosing to take a sip of his Pepsi. "Anyway, enough about me. How are things on the Faith front?"
"Oh, just a couple of 36C's."
Xander's response was far from subtle. The pepsi he had been drinking emerged from both his nose and his mouth in one hell of a spit take. "Oh that was so not funny," he said as he mopped up the pop with a couple of napkins.
"Looked pretty hysterical from over here," she said with a snicker.
"Oh, ha ha… Just for that, no desert for you Missy!" Xander continued drying himself off, trying to ignore the burning sensation from his nostrils.
"Oh, I don't know Xander…" said Faith with a sultry smile. "I can think of plenty of desert you might want to share with little old me…."
Xander flushed then stuttered a bit as he tried to regain his composure. "Ok, that's just so not fair."
"Alls fair in love and war, Xan-man."
"Great, and which is this…." He muttered.
"It's gotta be war," came back the sniped reply. "Cause a guy like you, ain't ever getting no love." Even as she said it, Faith winced inside.
Xander looked at her for a moment, the look on his face fading from anger to disappointment. "You know what, I can get this kind of abuse at home." He grabbed his windbreaker and stalked to the door, handing a twenty to Lucy on his way out.
Faith watched the rapidly departing form with disbelief. "Oh, you have so got to be kidding me." She banged her head on the booth, as if trying to wake herself from a bad dream. She knew that the comment she had made had been over the line, but it hadn't been that far over the line, not enough for him to go storming off like that…
She looked up as Lucy stepped up to the table. "Umm, can I help you?"
"I'm just wondering why you haven't gone after him yet," said the waitress. "Xander's been coming in here for years," she said. "He's helped a lot of our folks get home after night shift. The boy's a keeper, young lady. I don't know what you said, but he's never brought a single person in here before tonight, so you must be a friend or something to him. So, whatever you said, he didn't deserve it, so you get yourself out there and apologize."
The younger Slayer looked at the woman standing over her, who was giving her a tongue lashing the likes of which she'd never gotten before, mostly because there had never been anybody who had cared enough to bother.
** ** ** ** ** ** ** **
Xander finally bothered to slide his jacket on three blocks away from Mario's. A bottle on the ground drew his attention. A quick kick, straight on with the toe of his sneaker, hit the bottle square on the side. The blue-green bottle shot through the air, ending its trajectory as it smashed against the brick wall of the back of a building.
The pointless destruction made him feel a tiny bit better. He knew he had over reacted to Faith's snide remark, that she hadn't actually meant it in the way he had taken it. But, sadly, it didn't make the hurt any less. He knew he should probably turn back around. Go back and tell Faith that…. 'Tell her what?' he wondered. "Oh, sorry Faith. I'm all screwed up right now because I'm tired of everybody in the gang acting like I'm some kind of loser. Willow and I have no idea what our relationship is right now. She wants me, she wants Oz. Oh, and we kissed and now that whole thing is just WAITING to blow up in my face. Buffy lies to everybody about Deadboy, or rather forgets to mention that he snuck out of Hell. My parents invited a bleeding vampire in the house. The Mayor is a bad guy, passing out mind altering chocolate. And NOW, to top it all off, we've got evil, or eviler anyway, Watchers running around!"
** ** ** ** ** ** ** **
Faith jogged down the block silently as she muttered under her breath. 'Can't believe I'm running after a guy. Even if he is cute.' Who'd have thought a waitress old enough to be her grandmother would have sent her out of a dive after a guy with her tail tucked between her legs.
She saw Xander ahead of her, less than a block away, and slowed down a bit. She sucked at apologies as it was, and there was no way she was going let him know she was running after him. As she closed, she watched him kick a bottle, sending it shooting across the way, to a shattering death in an alley. 'Nice form,' she thought as he started a rant.
Listening to what he was saying , as well as the raw emotion underneath, Faith could hear the pure frustration and pain in his words, when he thought nobody was around to hear him. And the anger.
It was a side of Xander that she'd never seen. A side of him that, from the way the rest of the gang talked about him, that none of them had seen. Xander was always the calm one, the one who was there in the crunch with a bad joke, stupid comment, or some other Xanderism to break whatever foul mood was holding the gang in its clutches.
The idea of Xander as someone who had this center of rage in him, an anger hidden somewhere under that smiling face, well, it just seemed wrong somehow.
Having closed the distance between them, at least physically, Faith reached out for his shoulder, trying to get her mind around the very strange concept of apologizing.
That's when things went crazy.
** ** ** ** ** ** ** **
Suddenly there was a hand on his left shoulder, trying to stop him, turn him around.
Instinct took over, reflex fueled by the anger, confusion and turbulence he felt within. Stepping forward, he dropped his left shoulder, then pivoted back into it, grabbing the wrist, then snapping himself back the right, rolling his hip, throwing the attacker to the ground, maintaining the grip on the wrist, causing the attacker to spin around the immobilized arm like a pivot point.
His leg drew back for a stomp kick, before he realized who he had just thrown to the ground like a practice dummy….
"Fuck me," said Faith from the ground. "How the hell did you do that?" she asked in a mix of disbelief and anger. As she pulled her hand from his grip, the anger faded due to the apologetic look on the Slayerette's face.
"Akido," answered Xander without thinking. He still was having problems processing the fact that he had just taken down a Slayer, even if just for a moment. It was one thing to do that in the dojo to another student or even the sensei, but to take down a Slayer….
Faith was back on her feet and dusting herself off. "Gotta say, damn… That was impressive X-man. Never thought you had it in you…"
"Sorry," he replied. "I didn't hear you coming, and when you grabbed me, well, I just reacted…"
"Oh. Don't apologize, well I mean, I should be madder than hell for you tossing me on my ass like that, but I guess I deserved it for sneaking up on you and saying what I said back there… Sometimes my mouth just runs off on it's own. I didn't mean anything by it."
"I know. And I'm sorry for flipping out like that. Just, well, its been a long month. And there's no real end in sight. Well, I guess Graduation is an end. A big one too, since I pretty much blew the SAT's and have a GPA just this side of average."
"Why bother? Drop out, spend your days with me. Plenty to do around here in the daylight. Some of its even legal, or so they tell me."
"As tempting as that offer seems, I want to get at least one diploma in my lifetime. Otherwise my dad will have been right about yet another thing I couldn't even do right… Anyway, enough of my glorious fun… "
As the two walked aimlessly down the beach, Faith spoke up… "So, tell me about you, Red and this kiss?"
** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **
End Revelations Aftermath: Cheesburgers and Chips (No Coke, Pepsi....)
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