If I Want Someone To Eat (AKA "Not Really A Foodie")
First third of season 5, before people start dying and stuff.
1. I don't own jack. Or Jill. Or any of the characters in this story. I have no character whatsoever. Joss Whedon, on the other hand, has lots. Bow down to him.
2. I am not mocking anyone for their constitution. Heck, it wouldn't kill me to lose a pound or two myself. If people are offended, I'll be happy to write a "why the hell was Buffy so thin in season 4" fic to compensate.
Angel was playing Tetris in his office. Partly because when you're the CEO of an evil multi-dimensional law firm with a secretary, a staff and a skyscraper full of people ready to grovel at your feet, there really isn't all that much you need a computer for. Partly because it was the only application he had figured out how to launch. On a good day, he'd make it to level three before the boxes filled the screen and an angry beeeep told him he'd lost. Today, though, he barely even managed one level; he was in deep brooding mode. And he was hungry. When the door opened and Wesley, Gunn, Fred and Lorne walked in, he welcomed the interruption.
"Oh, hey guys! What's... up?" he trailed off as he saw their serious faces. They sat down on the chairs in front of his desk. Wesley, looking bitter and ruggedly British as always, took the lead.
"Angel... I think we need to talk."
"Sure. Anything specific?"
"Well... I'm not sure how to put this but... are you feeling OK?"
Angel was a bit surprised by the question, but considered it. "Well, apart from the obvious... you know, living with having killed thousands of people, running an evil law firm, worrying about Co... uh, corporate takeovers, having to babysit Spike, I guess I'm..." he noticed their looks becoming even more concerned. "What? I don't even get to brood now?"
Fred answered quickly. "Oh, that's not it, by all means, brood away. It's just... I think you're getting... kinda..."
"What?" Angel looked around at the gang, who all seemed like they were afraid of what he might do if they told him. It was Lorne who finally spoke up.
"Angel, sweetums... you're fat."
"FAT?" Angel pushed his chair back a little so he was partially (and conveniently) obscured by the computer monitor. "That's ridiculous, I'm not fat! I'm... big-boned!"
Wesley rolled his eyes at the others, then unshavenly leaned forward and produced two photographs. "This photograph was taken around the time you first met Buffy. This second one was taken this morning."
Angel looked at the handsome, muscular, spiky-haired, broody vampire in the first picture and then at the somewhat less handsome, decidedly chubbier and short-haired-er (but still broody) vampire in the second. He tried for a carefree laugh. "Come on, guys, this was taken eight years ago..."
"You don't age."
"Well yeah, but... still..." Angel sighed. "Alright, so I'm... stout. Big deal. Stop judging me or I'm calling the American Obesity Association."
Fred fidgeted. "No one's judging. But you're..."
"'I' statements, remember, Freddles?" Lorne interrupted.
"Yeah. Sorry. I feel that you're... well, even if you don't get as much exercise as you did when you were actually, y'know, fighting demons..."
"I still fight demons, Fred! I just do it... "
"...from behind the desk, sure. And that's, you know, good." Fred seemed nervous. "But I've had the lab people run tests comparing your blood intake to the amount of exercise you've been getting, you know, your basic energy-in-energy-out thing, and cross-referencing it to the metabolism of a normal healthy vampire, and taking into account that the pig's blood you get from Wolfram & Hart is low-carb, low-cal, basically fat-free... there's simply no way you should be this fat."
"I'M NOT FAT!" Angel slammed his fist on the desk, and noticed everyone staring as his belly jiggled for a few seconds afterwards. "Well, OK, maybe I've been letting myself go. A little. But I still don't see how that's any of your business."
Fred was regretting that she had been the one to explain it all, because suddenly the others all seemed to have found something interesting to look at outside the window. She cleared her throat. "We were just kinda worried that you'd been... snacking inbetween meals, so to speak..."
Angel couldn't believe his ears. "Are you- are you asking me if I've been feeding on humans?"
There was much shaking of heads, grinning of too-wide grins and embarrassed scratching of necks. "Oh, no!" "Most assuredly not!" "No way, bro!" "Of course not, creampuff!" An uncomfortable silence followed, until Fred continued.
"So... have ya?"
"I don't believe this! I put on a few pounds -"
" - a few pounds, which I needed, I mean look at this!" He gestured at the old Sunnydale photo. "I was obviously dangerously underweight here! I fill out a little and immediately you all think I'm killing again! What kind of friends are you?"
"The kind who have been told at least twice every day for the last four years that the day might come when we'd have to kill you?"
"Well... OK, sure, but... Guys, I'm not evil, OK? Look, I'm not even wearing leather pants!"
"Nobody's saying you're evil, man, it's just... we're worried about you."
"Worried? Then what's with the stake in your pocket, Gunn?"
Lorne tried to ease the tension in the room a little. "Angeldumplings, if you're only putting on some weight, it's really no problem. A lot of Wolfram & Hart clients have had successful careers even with some extra junk in the trunk. Elvis... Roseanne... Rush Limbaugh... that guy in the sandwich commercial..."
"Not helping, Lorne!"
"And besides," Gunn pointed out, "ain't they all evil?"
"You mean wasn't?"
"No, silly, isn't."
"GUYS!" Angel interrupted very loudly. "This conversation is over! I'm not evil, I'm not fat, and I'm not the King Of Rock'n'Roll! Now either find something else to talk about or get the hell out of my office, I've got things to do!"
Everyone sat around shuffling their feet and not staring at each other for a while. Finally, Wesley suggested something.
"Perhaps it's a mystical obesity of some kind...?"
"Dark magic, of course!"
"Yep, gotta be!" Everyone was very relieved by this possibility.
"Right then! Fred, you hit the lab again and I'll consult the ancient texts. Don't worry, Angel, whatever fiend is causing you to swell up like this, we'll find it and... er... fire it, I suppose..." The gang walked out of the office a little too briskly, casting a few slightly nervous glances at Angel as they left.
Angel leaned back, looked out the window and sighed. Then he turned to his desk and pressed the intercom button.
"I'm out of cookie dough again. Could you run down to the store and buy ten more pounds?"
"It's daylight, boss."
"Crap. Could you send someone else? It's kind of an emergency."