Wherever You Go, There You Are

This is an answer to Caliadragon's challenge for there to be another reason for Xander to dislike/hate Angel and Spike than because they are vampires. Also to be included was someone accusing Xander of being a species bigot, and for Buffy to remind everyone of the love/lust spell in use in Season 3.

It was the end of the world, and Xander was being his usual snarky self.

Wait. Hold up. Correction.

They were in the middle of stopping the end of the world – yet again. What was this? The thirteenth time? Talk about a bad numerical omen – and Xander was being his usual snarky self to the two vampires in their midst.

Something must be done, Buffy decided and slid through the crowd of two witches (Willow and Tara), two former Watchers (Giles and Wesley), two vampires (a pissed off Angel because of the subdued Spike in his hotel), two half/former-demons (Cordelia with her as-of-yet not completely controlled demonic powers give by the Powers That Be and Anya, respectively) and four mostly normal humans, (Charles Gunn, Winifred Burkle AKA Fred, Dawn Summers and the aforementioned Zeppo-turned-construction worker of the group, Xander Harris) towards her target.

Hope I can do this without causing a scene, Buffy thought as she snagged the brunet's arm and pulled him off the side for a chat.

It was the end of the world – the time for hopes had passed.

Five minutes after Buffy had broached the subject with Xander, all Hellmouth – well, not literally, thank the Powers That Be – had broken loose.

Hold up. Rewind. Let's take it from the top.

"Xander," Buffy said in a hushed voice, making sure no one could overhear them. "I really think you need to lay up on the vampire insults; it's not helping the situation the way your weird brand of humor normally does." She hoped the pat to his pride on that count would soothe his sure-to-be-ruffled feathers. Xander's wisecracks and bad jokes were what kept their spirits up, but if the butt of said jokes were always the non-humans in their midst, soon, soul or no soul and chip or no chip, Angel and Spike would try something.

Xander grimaced. "Yeah, I know. I'm sorry, it's just…" He sighed and looked over at Cordelia. "I mean, Spike was the one who told me about Angel and Cordelia."

Buffy made a startled noise. "Angel and Cordelia?"

Giving her a sympathetic look – and obviously mistaking her surprise for something else – Xander said, "Yeah, it had to hit you pretty hard, too, huh? Hearing they'd gotten together, and because of the whole 'Cordelia being part demon' thing his soul won't go poof if they…" He made a rather odd fluttering gesture with his hand, obviously trying to find some alternative to crudity to express himself.

Buffy gasped. "Angel and…Cordelia?" she whimpered. She'd had no earthly idea that they were together. None at all.

Xander winced, obviously figuring out that he'd taken Spike's previous role in this relationship unveiling. "You, ah…didn't know, I take it? I mean, Dawn overheard, and I would have thought…" He trailed off, realizing that he was just digging his grave deeper.

Buffy shook her head numbly.

Deciding to try and bull through this, Xander went back to answer her original comments. "Well, anyway, since Spike was the one who told me – and in his usual tactless way – I was rather miffed at the messenger, which is why I've been picking on him, and Angel, well… I know it's been years since Cordy and I were together, but it still kinda stings. I didn't even think they liked each other."

"Nether did I," Buffy said faintly.

Things went downhill from there when Fred – overhearing only half of their words regarding her two coworkers – got into the conversation and tried to clear things up – and only managed to muddy them up more. When she was near tears with an angry, hurt Buffy, and an exasperated Xander on her hands, Gunn came in to support her as a good boyfriend should. Wesley, who was still sore over losing Fred's affections to the other man, kept throwing caustic comments into the mix and making things even worse.

By that time, both Spike and Angel had been listening for a while, and when Angel managed to get everybody to quiet down, Spike decided that he'd constrained his usual urges for mayhem and destruction for too long and tried to get the conversational conflagration started up again by attacking Xander.

"You're a species bigot, wanker," Spike said, though half of the usual amount of derision was replaced by some odd mixture of melancholy and disinterest. "Not that I can blame you for being pissed at Mr. Goody Two-Shoes, here," he gestured at a scowling Angel, "but you seem to hate our nonexistent guts for the sole fact that we're vampires. It's not like we asked fer it, ya know."

Cordelia, Wesley, Gunn, and Tara had all taken a noninvolvement stance near the front counter. Fred was with them, biting her lower lip nervously, Willow her partner in providing their dentists with false evidence of a severe overbite. Dawn was doing her best not to giggle at the 'cat fight' that was taking place in the middle of the Hyperion's lobby floor.

Xander took in the scraggly phalanx of two enemy vampires – one souled, one chipped – one Vampire Slayer, and one Watcher who were all watching him with at least some degree of impatient anticipation. Normally he'd diffuse the situation with some well-placed humor, but since that seemed to have gotten him in this position in the first place, Xander decided anger would do as well.

"You all seem to forget I hated Angel before I knew he was a vampire," Xander reminded them pointedly, grimly gratified to see both Buffy and the aforementioned Scourge of Europe falter. "You also seem to forget that I liked Oz," here Willow flinched and Xander grimaced in sympathy for the reminder, "and that I dated a former Vengeance Demon and am still friends with some of the demons I met through her." He nodded at Anya, who smiled back; no hard feelings there, the break-up was mutual.

"And don't forget Andrew," Dawn threw her in her absent boyfriend's name with a smile.

"Andrew?" Buffy asked, expressing the incomprehension the rest of the group wasn't.

Dawn nodded. "Well, yeah… He, Warren and Jonathan tried to take over the world, didn't they? I mean, they didn't do a very good job, but…" She shrugged, obviously giving up on trying to find a balance between trying to defend her boyfriend's world take-overage proficiency while simultaneously not supporting his foray into Evil Overlordness. "They did try."

Xander nodded. "Yeah, and now that he's given up his delusions of grandeur and world take-overage, he's a pretty cool guy."

"But why do you dislike Angel and Spike so much?" Willow asked her best friend.

"Yeah, boy, why?" Spike seconded. "You keep calling me 'Fangless'." He growled and gnashed his teeth.

"And why can't you call me something besides 'Deadboy'?" Angel chimed in with, though he had to stifle a snicker at Spike's own nickname.

"Because it annoys you. Duh," Dawn answered for her unofficially adopted older brother.

"Exactly," Xander agreed with relish.

Willow garnered everyone's attention by the none-too-subtle stratagem of clearing her throat. "Back to the question at hand?" she prompted.

Xander nodded and turned to the two vampires with a smirk. "I dislike you so much because you both are two of the most arrogant people I've ever met. It's like you think the moon rises and sets on you and your problems."

Spike rolled his eyes at the – to him – lame excuse. Angel snorted and did the same, his opinion obviously concurring with his childe's.

Willow coughed and nodded discreetly to Cordelia.

"Hey!" the brunette exclaimed. "I've gotten much better."

"Yeah, and she was a different person when her little clique wasn't around," Xander said, tone indicating that was the end of the discussion on that. His break-up with Cordelia wasn't nearly as devoid of hard feelings as it was with Anya, but then that love/lust spell had spelled Doom – with a capital D – from the beginning.

"If you two were so good together then," Angel said dryly, wrapping a possessive arm around his lover, "then why did you kiss Willow?" Ah, yes; always good to put the old boyfriend down when you wanted to make clear your claim on your girl.

The witch in question flushed and ducked behind her lover. Tara just looked bemused.

Shaking his head in exasperation, Xander said, "Hello? Does anyone remember that love was in the air? Literally?" They all looked blank – except for Buffy. Xander sighed and made a motion as if he was washing his hands of the whole deal and looked to Buffy to explain. The others followed suit.

"They were under the influence of a lust spell," Buffy reminded them.

Comprehension dawned across the room on the faces of those who had been there. The others – Fred, Gunn, Wesley, and Tara – just nodded slightly, having enough experience with spells gone awry to know that that was explanation enough for Xander and Willow's aberrant behavior.

Seeing that there were no more pressing personal matters to rubberneck, Dawn clapped her hands together. "Well, if there's no more Xander-bashing…?" she asked leadingly.

The groups nodded, Spike, Angel and Cordelia grudgingly.

Buffy said, "Right, then let's get back to work!"

Before they could do so, however, the door slammed open, and everyone towards it, weapons – stakes, knives, crossbows, and in Gunn's case, his axe – at the ready. A certain bombshell of a brunette Slayer stood in the doorway, decked out in black leather and covered with more knives and stakes than would be needed to take out all the vampires in L.A. and Sunnydale together.

"Faith?" Buffy said, incredulity suffusing her voice. They'd tried to get a hold of her, hoping that with her new vigilante kick she'd be amenable to helping them save the world, but she hadn't gotten back to them and no one was sure if she'd even gotten the messages.

"Honey, I'm home!" Faith announced. She grinned ferally at the gobsmacked group. "And ready to kick some end of world demon ass!" Spying Xander, she slinked her way down the steps and across the room towards him, that feral glint in her eyes changing to something even more predatory as she neared him. "But first…" Grabbing hold of Xander's shirt she purred, "C'mere, sugar," and pulled him into a thoroughly wet, heated, tongues-tangling, hands-groping kiss.

The others stood, slack-jawed as they watched the free showing of live soft-core porn.

When Xander and Faith finally broke apart, the Slayer not even breathing hard, she turned to the group and clapped her hands together. "Well!" she announced brightly. "Let's get this show on the road, shall we?"

Hours later, the craziness had still to wear off. The formerly abstaining from conflict group (Cordelia, Wesley, Gunn, and Tara) plus Dawn, were still mostly sane (or at least as sane as they had been to begin with) thanks to the use of mental duct tape to hold their sanity in place.

Angel could be heard grumbling, "Harris has more 'Luck of the Irish' than I do." Spike seemed to feel the same; something about, "Never thought that bint would want a boy she'd hafta train, 'stead of going after the men with experience."

Buffy kept giving the two unexpected lovebirds weird looks and going on about the 'Opposites Attract' theorem.

Cordelia, however, sounded like a broken record crossed with a repeating parrot.

Or perhaps a mockingbird.

"Xander and Faith?" Cordelia said incredulously for the umpteenth time. She snorted derisively as she gazed the two going over battle strategies on the couch. "And here I thought we were rid of her." She stomped off in disgust.

Buffy nodded dumbly as she watched Xander say something that made Faith laugh. Talk about the end of the world…