TITLE: Lovers Nots
FEEDBACK/EMAIL: The PAL site and wherever else just let me know.
DISCLAIMER: I'm not making any money off this or anything else actually so don't sue. Also any resemblance to wholesale reps, relic hunters or other demons living or undead is purely coincidental.
TIMELINE/SPOILERS: Season six canon up to "Life Serial" Xander and Anya haven't told anyone they are engaged yet.
RATING: PG-13 or FRT
SUMMARY: Anya and Giles attend Nexus Occult Trade Show: an inter-dimensional occult supply trade show. Hopefully wackiness will ensue.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Thank you Tales of Spike for the beta.
Giles realized shortly after meeting Anya that her vivacity and outspokenness could be energizing and amusing -- or annoying as hell. Recently, much to his dismay, he found everything about her far too attractive. There was no sign that this was anything but one sided. If anything, Anya was more wrapped up in Xander than usual. "Would you stop fiddling Anya? You rearranged those shelves before closing last night," Giles said. His attempt at an annoyed glare was wasted on the round bottom that wiggled enticingly at eye level as Anya stood on the step ladder, moving some crystals around.
"If I weren't in a committed relationship with Xander I'd have sex with you."
Giles made a sound somewhere between a whimper and a groan. He was instantly grateful that Anya still had her back turned and took the noise as protest.
"Well, Buffy coming back from the dead hasn't made you happy. You obviously need something to improve your mood. If you're like this over the weekend, you'll scare all of our costumers away while I'm gone."
"You haven't said anything about a trip. Let me guess. Xander has finally decided to whisk you off to Vegas. I hear it's a nice place for a honeymoon. I'm sure he won't gamble away much of the community property." Anya got down from the ladder while Giles was speaking, and by the time he finished she was facing him so kept his tone light and lifted the corner of his mouth in a slight grin.
"You know Xander is actually very responsible with money. He doesn't have my flare for investment but he's very good about not spending foolishly. Aside from a comic now and then, he hardly ever buys anything frivolous."
"It was quite frugal of him to forgo buying you a birthday present this year."
"That's an example of British humor isn't it? Good for you! Keep trying to buck up!"
Anya's tone had been cheerful enough but she was giving a hard look that prompted Giles to change the subject or rather to get it back on track. "So, where are you going?"
"Oh, the NOTS. I' thought I could combine business with pleasure."
"N.O.T.S. - the Nexus Occult Trade Show," Anya explained. "The portal is in L.A. this year. It's a wonderful opportunity to make some interdimensional contacts and see what new on the market."
"You're going to hop dimensions with Xander!"
"Don't get you panties in a knot- or whatever it is Spike says. It a perfectly stable dimensional nexus set up for business purposes. It's like a mystical Deep Space 5. Besides, the hotel suite I reserved has a hot tub and a fire place."
Giles did his best to banish the vision of Anya, lying in bed, the fire making her damp, naked skin glow. Instead, he focused on the thought of Xander treating a trade show full of witches and demons like a science-fiction convention. "Isn't that the show with the aliens that look like Cardassian Demons but speak like Watchers?"
"Yes, it is, I don't even think they bothered to change the name of aliens to something else. Of course Cardassians are really just dumb thugs like Fayrls only without the big horns and genitals. Giles, we've just made a pop-culture reference in casual conversation!" Anya looked around disappointed there were no witnesses.
"I am unutterably proud." Giles sighed. "My point is that, on that show, one alien is always spilling his beer on another in the pub and causing a war to break out."
Anya threw up her hands. "So? I'll pretend Xander is his father and keep him away from the bar."
The bell over the door jingled and any response Giles had to her words was left unsaid. The after-school crowd had finally shown up and the shop was too busy for the rest of the day for anything but their well practiced routine of customer service.
The trade show was forgotten until Xander showed up to drive Anya home. She greeted the boy with a warm smile that tied a hard knot, made of equal parts envy and guilt, in Giles' gut.
"Hi there, Giles. Is there an apocalypse we should know about or did the cash register come up short?" Xander asked then greeted Anya with a kiss.
"No, no – Everything's fine… Just wool gathering." Giles said while he cleaned his glasses to avoid the visual.
"Oh, he's just worried you'll set off an interstellar incident. Just promise not to spill beer on the aliens, Xander." Anya answered after ending the kiss and Giles' discomfort.
"Um, did Spike come in and accidentally ignite some of the more interesting herbs in here?" Xander asked, sniffing.
"No, silly, I'm talking about the trade show this weekend."
"Yeah, how dumb of me not to know that right off. Um, look, Ahn, about that…"
"Wait 'til you see the hotel. It's so nice!"
"You'll have to take lots of pictures."
"What!" Anya shouted.
"I can't go. This job is way behind and we're so shorthanded they need to us work the weekends." Then Xander's voice inched dangerously close to a whine. "I'll get paid double overtime."
Anya crossed over her chest and her cheeks were angry red flags. "I paid the fee for two people, Xander. Why can't you just take off? You'd do it if Buffy needed help."
"This is a trade show we're talking about, not the end of the world," Xander reasoned.
Anya looked ready to explode and Giles decided to remind the couple that they weren't alone. "Perhaps you should finish this discussion at home?"
"Why don't you go with Giles? Tara could watch the shop and it's his business anyway," Xander offered.
"He's supposed to be the silent partner now. Besides, this was going to be a practice run for our honeymoon."
"Anya is the oldest person in this room, possibly this state. I'm sure she can take care of herself for one weekend away," Giles said.
"I thought we agreed to wait to make an announcement?" Xander complained.
"You…" Anya poked a finger at Xander chest as she spoke. "Can spend the weekend thinking about whether or not you want to announce our engagement at all. As for you, Giles, you're coming with me. I paid for two people and it's too late to get a refund." There was a lust for vengeance in her eyes that caused both Giles and Xander to swallow hard and nod meekly.