Setting: The Chosen, our Buffy virtual continuation, is a 22 "episode" series that picks up where the real thing left off. Logically speaking then, this story contains spoilers for not only every episode that aired on TV, but also all those that have come before it in the continuation. If you're interested and would like to not be spoiled, our advice is to head to episode #1 and start from there.
Notes: Episodes are posted to btvschosen-dot-com weekly, at 8pm EST on Tuesdays, all pretty and HTML'd with graphics and oo! Credits. We have credits, too. Eps will appear the following Friday or Saturday on ff-dot-net. So if you don't want to wait all that extra time (and really, how could you?), the site is the way to go.
(6 November 2004)
Episode 18: "Separate Tables"
Story by: Jet Wolf & Ultrace
Written by: Jet Wolf & Novareinna
Buffy and Xander slouched on opposite ends of their sofa. Their posture, immediately recognizable by couch potatoes worldwide, would've made every schoolteacher in the 50s sob uncontrollably. Head and shoulders rested about mid-way down the back support and legs were sprawled straight out. Movement was obviously optional, though occasionally each would partake of the can of mixed nuts that occupied the center spot. The television flickered in front of them, and their eyes were rooted to the dancing images.
Xander popped a cashew into his mouth and crunched lethargically, yet noisily. "This sucks," he finally stated with tired authority as he jerked his chin at the TV.
"Yup," replied Buffy in a bored tone.
"We should change it."
A long minute dragged out, with no movement in the room besides that projected by the television. Both Buffy and Xander remained in their exact positions, neither twitching so much as a muscle.
"You don't know where the clicker is either, do you?" Xander finally questioned.
"Nope," Buffy replied without changing her tone.
Another silent moment passed before the carpenter decided, "You should change it."
Rolling her head to the side, Buffy regarded her friend with a frown. "Me? Why me?"
"Because you're super-powered," he explained as though the answer were obvious.
"You guys always throw that in my face," complained Buffy in a peevish voice. "Like, just because I'm super-powered, I should be able to do stuff you guys can't."
Xander's head also rolled to the side and he blinked at the Slayer. "I'm pretty sure that's the definition of 'super-powered'," he pointed out.
"Well it's a stupid definition."
Still neither made any effort to move, and both gazes drifted back to stare dumbly at the screen.
"Can't you just, like ... flick a nut at the channel up button until we find something good?" Xander asked.
Buffy eyed the almond in her hand and seemed to be giving the idea serious consideration. "But then who's gonna clean up later?"
Both contemplated this deep moral puzzler.
"I could make Dawn do it," Buffy concluded with a bright smile.
The carpenter shook his head. "She'd accuse you of unfairly abusing your guardianship again."
"Oh, yeah," replied Buffy, her face falling. "Last time she wouldn't stop singing 'It's a Hard Knocks Life'."
'Tsk'ing loudly, Xander viewed the memory with regret. "You know you've broken someone's spirit when they fall back on Annie show tunes."
Buffy shifted her position slightly as she thought hard on an acceptable answer to their dilemma. "We need someone else. Someone who loves us too much to do more than pout."
Eyes wide, the two friends shared a look. As one, they turned toward the stairs. "Willow!" Buffy and Xander called out in union, and then lapsed into an intent silence. There was no reply, nor the telling sounds of someone rushing to save them from their own laziness.
Xander rolled his head back to focus on Buffy. "That settles it. She has spurned our love."
"No, she's up there studying for some big test," the blonde answered, though her tone didn't indicate she felt this was a particularly valid excuse. "Or avoiding talking to Tara," she added as an afterthought. "Possibly both."
The light of a brilliant idea shone in Xander's eye. "Oo. Tara. Tara'll save us from televisual mediocrity."
With a shake of her head, Buffy rejected that possibility. "She's not here. She went for a walk."
"Again?" The carpenter frowned. "That's, like, her third one today. She's doing that all the time."
"I guess she has a lot on her mind. I get that. I've tried to talk to her, but ..."
"But she just sort of smiles and says that's okay?" completed Xander. "Yeah, me too. I'm worried."
"Agreeing wholeheartedly," responded a concerned Buffy. "Hey, you know what we need?"
"An extra remote?"
"No," she replied immediately. "Well, yes, but no. We need a night. A night o' fun."
At the mention, Xander's eye darted to his watch. "Oh! Speaking of night o' fun ..." With that prelude and a massive groan, he began to sit up.
Buffy blinked at Xander's motions, uncomprehending. "You're moving," she stated with bewilderment. "This is in direct violation of our mutual no-moving agreement. I can't be all sloppy if you're not here to make me not look so bad."
"Remember that fun thing we were just talking about?" he asked, slowly getting to his feet.
"Oh, tonight?" Echoing Xander's motions from earlier, the Slayer sat up straight on the couch. "Great! We'll hang tonight. Drag Willow kicking and screaming from her books, spend some good quality time with Tara ... maybe nudge things along...?"
Buffy waggled her eyebrows meaningfully at Xander, but he didn't seem to share her enthusiasm, and she narrowed her eyes at him suspiciously. "Uh-oh. I'm suggesting something naughty involving two women and you're not reacting. Who are you and what have you done with Xander?"
"The fun thing," he replied with a hint of reluctance. "See, I sorta already have fun-thing plans."
"Fun ones. With the guys."
At this revelation, Buffy appeared downright dubious. "Guys? What guys? You don't know any guys."
Indignant, Xander puffed up defensively. "Hey, I do so!"
The blonde remained unconvinced. "Name them," she commanded, crossing her arms.
Xander thrust a finger at Buffy and ticked it off. "Giles—" Another finger. "—and Wood, and ..." His conviction waning, the carpenter visibly deflated as he mumbled, "Andrew."
Like a born warrior, the Slayer detected the weakness and leapt upon it. "Andrew?" she repeated with a laugh. "Please, Dawn is more of a guy than Andrew is." Xander flashed her a wounded look and, with a sigh, Buffy let it drop. "We'll just all do something together, what's the big?"
"Look, Buff ... I want us to all do something, I do. But I gotta do something with some guys my own gender, y'know? I mean, if I get sent on one more covert mission to buy girly products, I might as well just start wearing a dress and be done with it." He gestured to the lower half of his body to add, "An' I gotta tell ya, I don't have the legs."
Her proposal rejected, Buffy seemed unsure of how to next proceed. "Well ... well fine," she threw at him. "You do that. You go and ... drink your beer and smoke your cigars and ..." She frowned. "And I don't actually know what else you guys do, but I'm sure it's not actually fun! Because we?" Fully getting into her rebuttal now, Buffy leapt to her feet. "We're gonna have all the fun! That's right buddy, you've gone to the store of life and found out they're sold out of fun, because we bought it all!"
"Oh yeah?!" Xander shot back.
"Yeah!" retorted Buffy.
"Fine! We'll fun the pants off you, you girl."
"Fine!" With a 'hrmph' that was clearly intended to embody Buffy's complete disregard for Xander, his viewpoint, and quite possibly the entire male side of the human species, the Slayer tore out of the living room and stomped up the stairs, calling out, "Willow! Dawn! Forget school, fun's more important!"
Xander glared at her back and also stomped to the door. He grabbed his jacket, nearly pulling the rack down in the process, and bustled out of the house, slamming the door shut behind him. In the wake of his demonstrative departure, the house fell silent.
Then a pounding of feet could be heard from upstairs, and just as Buffy reemerged at the top of the first flight, the front door opened and Xander stuck his head inside.
"Hey, we're still on for movie night tomorrow, right?" he asked in a congenial tone.
Buffy rapidly nodded. "Oh, yeah, absolutely."
"Okay, cool," he replied. "Later."
"Have fun!" the blonde responded with a smile that soon faltered. "But not more than us!" she hurriedly tacked on.
Xander pulled the door closed behind him, and Buffy dashed back upstairs. "Willow! Stop complaining and do a locator spell thingie to find Tara! We're gonna out-fun the boys if it kills us!"