THESE GAMES WE PLAY
By Niels van Eekelen
". . ."
"You don't know the rules."
"I suppose strip poker is out of the question?"
Willow finally turned away from the computer screen to glare at her lifelong friend. Succes! Xander thought. "Xanderrr!" Willow admonished him, trying futilely not to smile or blush.
"Aw, come on, Wills! I'm bored," Xander complained. It was past midnight on a friday evening, and the two were still at school, in the library, so Willow guessed that Xander had a bit of a right to complain. Still, it was not as if they had anywhere else to go. The Bronze was closed for repairs after the last time the vampires had attacked it, Buffy was out on a definitely-no-tagging-along patrol with Angel, and both Xander's and her parents were at home, and they didn't feel up to parental interference on their night off. Well, night off . . .
"I promised Giles I'd search for information on this new demon on the internet, Xander," Willow explained again with a sigh. "It's important."
Suddenly Xander had a lightbulb light up above his head. "How about Clue?"
Halfway turned back to the computer, Willow froze, and Xander knew he had her. She loved that game. Whenever Xander and Willow played Clue, Willow won easily, but that wasn't the point. This was really a game where playing was more important than winning. Xander could fool around all he wanted, and Willow immensely enjoyed playing detective.
"Well," Willow tried to save herself, "I really should finish this, you know . . ." She trailed off.
"You've been sitting behind that screen all night already," the dark-haired boy argued, "that can't be healthy. Even Giles has left, and sometimes I think he stays here because he can't find the way back to his apartment anymore and doesn't want to admit it. Besides, would it really be so terrible if you finished up tomorrow, or even on monday--you know, when we're supposed to be at school?--and there's a vampire by the stacks above you!"
Startled by the sudden outburst, Willow looked up, only to see a man with the distinctive facial ridges and fangs that marked him as a vampire jump down at her. Somehow Xander managed to reach Willow and to pull her out of her chair before the vamp reached her, but they had no time to get out of the way.
After the vampire hit them, Willow found herself sprawled on the floor, fortunately unhurt. Xander, however, was trapped beneath the vamp's heavier body, fighting for his life. "Willow!" he yelled. "Run! Get out of here!"
While Xander struggled futilely, Willow stood still in indecision. Of course she couldn't leave Xander. She . . . Well, even with feelings aside, she just couldn't abandon him. But she wasn't a fighter, that was Buffy's job! She turned on her heels and ran.
She ran straight to Giles's office. Quickly she snatched the Englishman's key from its hiding place under the desk and opened the weapons locker. Clutching a stake, she ran back as fast as her feet would carry her.
Despite of what she feared, Willow had no real trouble. The vamp was was lying on top of Xander, pinning the boy to the ground. He never even noticed the redhead come up behind him until she thrust the wooden stake into his heart.
"Ugh!" the vampire remarked, before exploding in a cloud of dust
Willow stood frozen with residual fear. Xander lay on the floor panting, and coughed when he breathed in a mouthful of dust.
After a minute, both recovered. "Willow to the rescue," Xander breathed. "I thought I told you to run." Willow helped him back up to his feet, and Xander gave her a quick hug to reassure both of them that the other was really all right. Then he put an arm around her shoulders and led her to the exit.
"No more vamps tonight, not even in research, OK?"
". . ."
"I don't really feel like playing Clue anymore tonight. Is that all right with you?"
"No prob. I already know who did it anyway. It was Miss Scarlet, with the stake, in the library."
And they lived happily ever after
until the next story came along.
Story written by Niels van Eekelen. © Copyright 2004 Telltale Productions.
In a perfect world, I would own the series 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'. Alas, it is not, and I bow my head to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. Ah, well. It's probably for the best, me not having a contract to put the show on the air and all.