Mutants, Slayers, And Vampires, Oh, My!

"Who do you think will win?" Xander asked.

Brennan shrugged and Jesse shook his head. "No telling," the other brunet added before turning back to watch the fight.

"Yeah," Jesse put in. "Shal's a really good fighter, especially when she goes Feral, but that only lasts so long. Her reflexes are slightly better than Buffy's, though, and she's gone up against lots of people like her, unlike Buffy."

"So it could be anyone's match?" Willow asked, her eyes avidly watching the two blond warriors spar.

"Mm-hm," Brennan replied absently, before yelling out, "Good one, Shal!" as the blond Feral delivered a roundhouse kick against the Slayer's left side.

Shalimar threw him a wicked grin – with a hint of promise for later – before throwing herself full-force back into the match.

Xander sighed as he caught the look. "You lucky dog," he said, not a hint of jealousy in his voice.

"No way, man. And I am so glad I'm an Elemental," Brennan said seriously. "Shal's a Feline Feral, they don't like dogs."

"So you're not Top Dog?" Xander asked jokingly, fingers raised in air quotes.

Brennan just chuckled and shook his head, turning back to watch the mock-fight.

"Besides, if anyone here is a canine, if would be you, Hyena-boy," Angel snarked.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm never gonna live that down, am I, Deadboy?" Xander grumbled, slumping back into his chair.

"Not even, Harris." Angel grinned, before turning back to the match. Buffy had just slammed Shalimar to ground and threw him a sultry glance before she herself was knocked off her feet.

"What is it with blonds and wanting tall, dark, and dangerous men?" Xander mock-complained. "Why don't any girls want cute, safe, dependable guys? Then I'd fit all qualifications."

"Who knows?" Jesse shrugged in commiseration. "But I guess it's a case of birds of a feather flocking together. Both Shalimar and Buffy are warriors, protectors. Naturally they'd hook up with who their instincts perceive to be the Alpha Male."

"So that makes me a Beta Male?" Xander groused.

"Me, too, man," Jesse pointed out. "Besides, it doesn't really bother me; Shal's like a sister to me. And I can tell you feel the same way about Buffy."

Quirking a dry grin, Xander said, "Yeah, but doesn't that mean I get to hate all her boyfriends on principle?"

Jesse laughed and said, "Sure, but you can't say anything about it to her face or she'll hurt you. Believe me, I did that with Shal when she first hooked up with Brennan and I'm still finding bruises."

A shout from the ring caught their attention and the two men swiveled back to watch the two combatants. Buffy and Shalimar were kneeling on the floor, each with a hold on the other that permitted neither one to move. After a tense sixty seconds of no change, Adam called out, "I think that's a tie, girls. Why don't you both let go, all right?"

The two blond warriors exchanged looks, nodded, and then simultaneously let go, both falling onto their backs at the loss of balance. As they picked themselves up off the mat, each was met by her respective lover, congratulating them on a great match.

And in the background, Jesse, Willow, Adam and Xander watched the two couples, prepared, as always, to look out for their friends…their family.