"Okay, ladies," Xander Harris announced, "Let's do it one more time."
As he finished his statement, the man then put on his face a truly comic expression of intense concentration, as he took his right hand from its position supporting his body, to start pointing at the young women gathered in an interested semicircle in front of him. These amused females all started giggling, as Xander now gravely announced one name after another, all while indicating the identified persons, and getting each and every single one completely wrong.
Well, not a specific individual, as this someone behind Xander now meaningfully cleared her throat, causing the man to hastily add another name, to the accompaniment of more giggles from those standing before him.
This acknowledged woman, the tallest one there in the room, now dryly said as she continued working away, "Why am I the only one whose name you always get right?"
An innocent look now on his face, Xander solemnly answered, "You never want to offend someone with a deadly weapon- OW!"
After yelping that, the man twisted his head around to glower at the woman there on her knees, as she smirked back at their visitor that she'd just jabbed with her needle. Chuckling, the sewer finished her last stitches, and then she tied off the strong thread, absently sticking her needle out of the way through the left shoulder strap of her upper clothing. Easily rising to her feet, the woman proudly examined her handiwork, and she announced, "You can get up now, Xander."
From where he'd been leaning over the rough wooden chair, Xander pushed off with his left hand that had been resting at the top of this chair, supporting himself in his awkward, L-shaped position, as he straightened up, with a thoughtful look now on his face. Taking a few steps away from the chair, Xander nodded with satisfaction, and he then moved back to the chair, reaching down to pick up his battleaxe he'd laid across the chair seat a few minutes ago.
Glancing over at the women watching his every move, Xander requested, "Could you step back, ladies? I need to try everything out."
The onlookers nodded their acceptance, and they all then retreated to their own individual beds at the side of the attic, sitting down on top of these pieces of furniture with their legs curled up tailor-fashion, leaving Xander standing in the middle of the large, bare room. As the women continued watching in utter fascination, the man gripped the shaft of his battleaxe, lifting the head of the weapon to hold it in front of himself for a moment, and then he began to dance.
There was no other word for his graceful movements, as the man began to sweep and thrust his axe in long, smooth curves of slashes and chops, accompanied by equally agile strides and spins of his body, as Xander moved around the entire attic space, pretending to battle invisible challengers.
It lasted several minutes, until with one final stroke that hewed down the last of his imaginary opponents, the man froze in place, to then recover himself and straighten up, his axe held horizontally from his dangling hands, to smile at his mesmerized audience, as Xander now whooped in delight right at the woman who'd just sewn up his torn pants, "You did a great job, honey!"
Of all the strange events that had taken place today in the attic room, the simple fact that an item of torn apparel had alleviated whatever fright and panic the women there had experienced several minutes ago was itself probably the most bizarre result of them all. Yet, that was exactly what had happened.
Just after the oldest of their number had gone back downstairs after revealing she was going to have a baby, and the rest of them in the attic had then expressed their own longings for the future, they'd all clustered in front of the room windows, looking out at the gentle fall of the snow in the farmyard. In the next instant, the unimaginable had come to pass.
An abrupt, soundless burst of pure white light had flashed into life from behind them, throwing their shadows in front of the women, and as the light had then dimmed, the half-dozen startled people had all simultaneously whirled around, to see something at the far end of the room that had shocked them all into silent immobility.
A glowing white disk, about six feet in diameter and floating vertically in the air a few inches off from the surface of the floor, had now appeared, and nobody in the group of women had any idea whatsoever how it had come to be there, what they should do about it, or what on earth was going to happen next.
Well, at least that latter concern was answered right away, as a man then tumbled helplessly out of the face of the floating disk of light, rolling along the floor of the attic room, as he struggled desperately with the large, double-bladed axe he was holding, trying frantically to not accidentally disembowel himself with his own weapon. Managing to accomplish that, the intruder then having come to a stop while lying flat on his back on the floor now lifted his head, and he hurriedly scanned his entire surroundings, ending up with the man blinking his remaining eye in utter astonishment at the six women now staring at him.
All of these females across the room felt a sudden stab of terror at seeing the very scary face of this man, with his grim, unshaven features and his left eye being hidden behind a black eyepatch that failed to conceal all of the scars around that missing orb. The fearsome axe the man was tensely gripping in his hands was even more daunting. It was no wonder that every one of the women cringed back, and they all drew in simultaneous breaths down to the very bottom of their lungs in preparation for their imminent screams for help.
Xander Harris knew right away what they were going to do, and he had to stop them from screaming the house down, before any more complications were added to his sudden, unexpected trip through that goddamned wizard's portal! Acting at once, a quick twist and push of his body had him off the floor, almost all the way on his feet, and as he continued straightening up, Xander also opened his own mouth to start a hopefully-obeyed shouted order at those girls to be quiet!
In the middle of all this, everyone's forthcoming use of their voices was abruptly interrupted by some other, very loud noise:
After that, there was now total silence in the room. All of the people there were absolutely still, with Xander standing frozen, his axe forgotten in his hands, and with the women also unmoving and holding their breaths, as these females gawked at the man who'd somehow produced that outlandish-but-strangely-familiar sound of tearing material.
Finally, there was again motion in the room, as the man's axe slipped from his numb hands to clatter onto the attic floor, and freed from this weapon, these same hands were then hastily sent behind himself, to clap against the rear of his pants, where Xander had just felt a very unwanted breeze against a large portion of his lower body, as that Sunnydale survivor now said a very quiet word.
None of the women were ever sure which of them was the first of those who'd heard that woeful lamentation, to set free their feminine gasps that turned into snorts of mirth, a sound that released the others' beginning merriment that quickly grew into loud hilarity, and finally becoming actual shrieks of laughter, as they leaned against each other while wiping away tears of delight.
It became even more enjoyable when they all looked at their uninvited caller, to see himself also roaring with glee, grinning back at them. All while he continued holding onto like grim death to the ripped portion of the seat of his pants.
After their shared amusement, it wasn't all that hard for the women to then stop being nervous about their visitor with the strange name of Xander. Particularly when this man was soon bent over a chair and having his pants repaired by the best girl there with a sewing needle, while he teased the others during his offhand remarks to the clustering females.
Xander himself also found it really funny, plus it gave him a chance to avoid saying too much. A quick look around the place that he'd wound up in, not to mention those really old-fashioned clothes the girls were wearing, meant the man soon realized he'd been sent back in time by the portal. So, he had to keep his mouth shut, in case there was the faintest possibility of him changing things in the past. Not to mention Xander had to think of a way to keep the others in the room from talking about him. However, he needed to quickly come up with something to explain his presence here. Especially with that portal still hanging there in mid-air at the far end of the room, that all of the girls were giving wary looks.
So…the easiest thing was to just tell them the exact truth, only in the most simple terms, so that no important information was accidentally revealed to the girls. Plus, even if they did talk about him and what they were now learning, nobody would ever believe them.
A quick explanation was then made, of how Xander was a warrior fighting an evil wizard, who had cast a spell that had sent him here, through that disk of light, which was a doorway or portal to his home. After his pants had been repaired, he'd go back through the portal and return to the battle. Once that had been done, the portal here in the room would disappear, and it wouldn't come back. So, everyone in the room would be safe and sound, and they could then return to their normal lives.
As the girls mulled that over, Xander then cheerfully broke up the serious mood by joking that it was hard to remember everybody's name, but he'd give it another shot.
Standing in the middle of the room after checking that his repaired pants would hold up during his coming fight against that dumbass wizard, who really needed a nice decapitation and Xander would be most happy to provide this delicate surgical operation with a good whack of his axe, the man smiled at the girls on their beds, and he jovially spoke, "Well, it's time to say goodbye, and-"
Startled, Xander looked at one particular bed, where the youngest and shyest of the girls was sitting there. Despite the blush on her face caused by her impolite interruption, the little blonde also had a bright gleam in her eyes, as she eagerly continued, "Mr. Xander, are you going off to defend the honor of a beautiful princess?"
The other women, who'd been staring at their friend for asking that odd question, now all turned their heads to gaze at the man there, just in time for them to hear a single word of a very sincere answer.
At that exact moment, just as sincere was the face of the man they were watching, with totally honest, genuine, and heartfelt emotions present on Xander's features. And why not? His girls back home were willingly defended by him; they had honor, each and every one of them; they were all beautiful; and they were his princesses.
The suddenly formal mood in that room was then abruptly shattered by the girl who'd asked her question, as she now squealed with pleasure, excitedly clapped her hands, and then jumped off her bed to scurry over to the far end of the attic room at the other side away from the portal.
Xander and the rest of the women gaped at where the oddly-acting girl was now rummaging through a large chest on the floor, after she'd thrown back the lid of this piece of furniture. Even if the man didn't know what was in there, the other women did, and none of them could think of any specific reason why their friend needed to find something in the rolls of fabric and other materials they'd been using to make new dresses for themselves.
A happy giggle of discovery was then heard by all, as the blonde girl now turned away from the chest, to skip over to stand in front of Xander. Who, along with the others, was staring in puzzlement at the strip of red cloth she was carrying in one hand. As the man now lifted his gaze to look full into the face of the again-blushing girl, he heard from her, "A true knight should have a lady's token to remind him of his duty, given by those under his protection. So, this is from me."
Now really red-faced, the blonde determinedly put her head down, to watch with utter concentration, as she tied the strip of cloth around Xander's upper right arm. Only after doing the knot did the girl look up into the man's expression of amused pride, as Xander then gave her a formal nod of acceptance of her gift.
Perhaps this allowed the girl to work up her courage for what she did next, as a rush of words then came from her, "And…and this is from me, too. Alice." At her name, the girl stood up on her toes and leaned forward to give Xander a quick peck on his stubbly cheek. Hastily dropping back onto her feet, the scarlet-faced blonde now put her cupped hands over her mouth in mortification over her forward behavior, and she then scuttled backwards to her own bed, trying to avoid everyone's eyes.
This was easy enough for her to do, as all of the other women there had then jumped off their beds, joining together in a rush for the chest with the dress materials. A quick selection of what was there was made by them all, and then the women lined up in front of Xander, each carrying variously-colored fabric strips in their hands.
Grinning widely, the man offered both arms, as every one of the next presenters of their tokens now tied these around his upper limbs, alternatively on the left and right arms, all while then murmuring their names and also bestowing upon him a quick kiss on his cheek.
Finally, the last of them, the tallest woman there, the brunette towering a head higher than the others, now stepped forward, to challengely stare at nearly eye-level with Xander, whose own expression changed to one of bemusement, as for the first time since he'd come here, he had the chance to fully study the woman who now named herself.
The tall woman then tied her own token around Xander's left arm, all while he stared at her in growing puzzlement, as he tried to remember something that was refusing to reveal itself in his mind. Xander was abruptly distracted from his thoughts when Dorcas gave her own kiss to him, since unlike the others in giving him a peck on his cheek, this woman boldly leaned forward to kiss him full upon their unexpected visitor's lips.
Smirking at the half-hearted gasps of disapproval coming from the others behind her, Dorcas then straightened up and she looked at the man before her, who currently had a most strange expression of gleeful recognition, as Xander muttered under his breath a quick comment heard only by the woman who'd just kissed him. A now very bewildered Dorcas, trying to understand what he'd just said, unthinkingly backed up, joining with the other women standing by their beds.
All of them - Alice, Liza, Sarah, Martha, Ruth, and Dorcas - now watched Xander roll his head, with accompanying cracking sounds, as he took a deep breath and exhaled. Finally, he looked around the room at the women, giving each and every one their own proper nod of thanks and farewell. At the end of this, Xander raised his axe in front of himself in a last salute for his ladies, and then the man smoothly whirled around and ran right at the portal, to next leap and disappear into this disk of light.
Another bright burst of illumination immediately flooded the attic room, bringing startled yelps of pain from the dazzled women who'd been looking right at the portal. When several moments later they could see again after blinking away their tears, the portal was completely gone, with nothing whatsoever to show any signs that a mystical gateway had once been there at the end of their room.
Looking wonderingly at each other, the women then decided, without needing to actually discuss it, to now simply go to bed. Maybe later, when they choose to talk about it, they'd do it among themselves, but right at this moment, the six people currently in the room just wanted to think about their recent experiences in the privacy of their minds.
Indeed, in the future, various chats between two or more of the women about the man with the axe were held, but these soon ended, as there was not the slightest evidence of their visitor, and they soon began to doubt that it had really happened at all. The half-dozen females shortly stopped talking about it, and not just among themselves.
In the fullness of time, the women became married, and if the thought of a certain male with an axe and an eyepatch over his missing eye might have crossed their minds, it was certainly never, ever told to their husbands.
Yet… When it came time to tell their children a bedtime story, all of these sons and daughters became more than familiar with the exciting adventures of Xander the one-eyed knight and his mighty axe, as he battled dragons and other monsters, to protect the innocent and defend the flower of womanhood.
A certain rose of femininity was a truly willing participant in narrating these thrilling chronicles. Though at the end of the stories, when the hero married the beautiful princess and gave her a kiss, Dorcas always finished off by giving her children their own kisses and then bidding them a good night, before she went off to her bed. And ever at that time, the woman would ponder over to herself the strange remark she'd once heard:
"I never thought I'd be kissed by Catwoman."
Author's Notes: Yes, It's a crossover with the 1954 Hollywood movie 'Seven Brides For Seven Brothers', right after the big dance number with all of those six women in their underwear. I thought it'd be fun to drop Xander in his underwear among the girls. In that film, Dorcas was portrayed by Julie Newmeyer, who later changed her last name, and as Julie Newmar, she was the best ever Catwoman in the sixties 'Batman' tv show.