Title: First Impressions (AKA The Meeting of The Zeppo and The Evil Lawyer)
Cast: Xander, Lindsey, A.I. Crew
Rating: PG-13 (for language)
Warning: lots of Xander babble
Disclaimer: I do not own anything except the computer I'm typing this on and am making no money. The characters all belong to their respective creators and owners who *are* making money off them. I'm just doing this for my own fun and entertainment; in general, if you recognize something, I don't own it.
Beta: NONE! Any mistakes are mine, sorry
A/N: I got this as a random plot bunny on the way home from dinner one day, have no idea what brought it on, but it amused me. This is borderline crack-fic in some parts, just a warning lol
Summary: Xander goes to visit the A.I. crew to pick up a book from Giles. Of course nothing's ever that simple.
Cordelia was sitting at her desk painting her well-manicured nails when the hotel doors opened and a familiar face entered. "Xander! What are you doing here?" Slipping from behind the desk, she stopped him before he could give her one of his regular exuberant hugs. "Wet nails!"
Xander laughed and carefully hugged her, well trained after years of hanging around his all female friends, well except for Giles… and Spike, and even Spike painted his nails, not that he was hugging Spike. Dragging his mind back to the present, he pressed a noisy kiss to her forehead, making her laugh. "Giles sent me up here to get some book from Wes. So how's my favorite ex?"
"I'm your only ex, dimwit."
Xander waved a hand airily. "Details. So where's tall, dark, and broody?"
Cordelia laughed and shook her head, pointing to Angel's office. "The team's in his office. You know, he's going to snap and kill you one day."
"Yeah, well, he didn't manage it as Angelus, doubt he'll do it now." Xander smirked and headed to the office, not bothering to knock before pushing the door open and entering. "Hey, Deadboy, Giles sent me up here to get…"
A husky laugh and a choked out "Deadboy?" had Xander stopping in his tracks, finally noticing a figure tied to one of the office chairs, Angel, Wes, Gunn, and Fred surrounding him. Gesturing to the tied up man with his thumb, he looked at the others. "Who's Bondage Boy?"
Gunn replied simply, "Evil lawyer."
Xander paused, looking over the man in the very expensive looking suit. "Oh… Isn't that kinda redundant?"
Fred muffled a giggle behind her hand while the man was still sputtering over the "Bondage Boy" comment. Angel took a deep breath and counted to ten. "Xander…"
Xander tilted his head curiously, looking at the completely normal looking man, ignoring Angel. "Demon?"
Fred answered this time, "Nope, he's just a plain ole human."
"Oh…Big with the mojo?" Xander tilted his head the other direction, trying to figure out what was so special about the man that he was tied up in the A.I. office.
Wes pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed. "No, Xander, no powers."
"Xander…" Angel's voice had taken on a distinct growl.
Lindsey was trying not to laugh. He didn't know who the newcomer was, but he was certainly entertaining. He knew vampires didn't have a pulse, but he could swear the vein in Angel's forehead was starting to throb… or maybe it just looked like that due to the spastic twitching of his left eye. The look on the boy's face didn't help; Lindsey was pretty sure if this Xander had a stick, he'd be getting poked with it about now.
"So he's just a normal human? Wow, that's… different. So why's he all tied up if he's all powerless and everything? You've got a Master vampire and three other people; isn't the rope kinda overkill?"
Wes tried to explain in simple terms. "Lindsey works for Wolfram and Heart, an evil law firm that…"
"Lindsey? Wow your parents hated you, huh? And again with the redundant thing, 'cause I mean lawyer, law firm, big evil…not exactly surprising me here."
Gunn was trying not to laugh, but between Lindsey's insulted sputtering about the "powerless" comment and Xander's babbling, he was having a hard time keeping a straight face. "Hey, isn't your middle name Lavern or something?"
"Gunn!" Angel turned a sharp glare on his employee. The traitor! How dare he encourage Xander.
Xander wrinkled his nose and shrugged. "Lavelle, and we already know my parents hate me. So, Bondage Boy, what did you do to get tied to the chair?"
Lindsey, hoping the boy might turn out to be more responsive than the A.I. group, actually answered. "Nothing! As I've been trying to tell them for the past half hour, I was sent simply to talk to Angel about joining our firm."
Xander tsked and shook his head. "See, that's where you got screwed over by your bosses 'cause Brood Boy is all about the redemption. And evil law firm?" Lindsey shrugged as much as he could and reluctantly nodded. "Yeah, that's not so good for the redemption. You'd have had better luck with Angelus, he was all about the lying and chaos and random violence. Well, him or Cordy."
"Xander! How can ya say that about Cordy?" Fred looked at him in shock .
"Puh-lease, I grew up with Queen C and used to date her, if anyone knows anything about manipulating people to get what she wants, it's her. But evil law firm or not, they couldn't afford her terms. Besides, it'd be bad for her image."
The group looked at each other and reluctantly nodded at the truth of his words.
Lindsey stared at Xander in astonishment. Who was this guy? "Who Iare/I you?"
"Me? Xander Harris, from the oh-so-lovely Sunnyhell, home of Hellmouths and demons and witches and Slayers, oh my!"
"And you are?"
Xander gave him a look as if he was slow. "Xan-der."
Lindsey rolled his eyes, beginning to sympathize slightly with Wes and Angel. "No, what are you? Witch?"
"Oh! No, that's my best bud, Willow."
"Watcher?" It was a stretch, but maybe the boy was in training. The whole group breaking down in laughter at that suggestion, kinda negated that idea.
"Oh no, that's Giles."
Thinking of what else Xander had rattled off in the list, Lindsey ventured, "Demon?"
"Nah, that's my girlfriend Anya, well technically she's a thousand year old former vengeance demon. Oh, though I was possessed by that Primal spirit…and the soldier…and then there was the mermaid tears thing…" Xander trailed off, lost in thought, not noticing the surprised look everyone was giving him at his casual admission. "nope, I'm just like you and Gunn and Fred, well not so much Fred 'cause she's got like a whole super-computer shoved in her brain or something 'cause she's even smarter than Willow when it comes to the techy stuff, and…"
"Xander! What the fuck are you doing here?" Every occupant of the room but one turned to stare at Angel in surprise at his sudden outburst, as much for the rarely heard curse word as the anger behind it.
Xander simply turned wide, innocent brown eyes on him. "Why, Deadboy, if you wanted to know, all you had to do was ask. No need to get your knickers in a twist…damn, I've been hanging around Spike too much."
If Lindsey hadn't been tied to the chair he probably would have fallen out of it from laughing so hard. Damn this boy was good. Angel looked like he was about to self-destruct and his hands were clenching rhythmically, as if he was just itching to wrap them around the boy's neck.
Ignoring Angel again, Xander turned his back on the fuming vampire, leading Lindsey to believe that he was either incredibly brave or completely crazy, and looked toward Wes. "So Giles sent me up here to get this book, the Book of…Terraf…No, um, The Book of Ferret? No, no, that can't be right either. The Book of Raffia?"
Wes sighed and counted to ten. "The Book of Raf'et'tara, perhaps?"
"Yeah, that sounds right! Tells how to get rid of giant green slimy demons that hock up asphalt dissolving loogeys? A Spatula demon or something? Buffy got kinda pissed 'cause in the last fight some of the spit got on one of her new boots and ate a hole through it. I had to listen to the girls plan a funeral for the faux-leather thing, and really I don't know why she was so stressed 'cause even I could tell they were knock-offs. I really should send her up here to shop with Cordy some time, but then I'd have to listen to both of them bitch at me about the other after she came back so maybe that's not a good idea after all. And I mean, she killed it after she got the boot off so the spit wouldn't eat a hole through her foot, but Giles said he's pretty sure those things usually travel in packs, and if that's the case, we need to know how to counteract the spit so me and Giles don't have to listen to the girls whine about their killed clothes and so I don't have to get dragged to the mall to offer my opinion which is just going to get ignored anyway."
Wes winced; Lindsey looked amazed. The lawyer turned to look at Fred and Gunn who were standing quietly watching the others. "Is he for real? Because, for one, shouldn't he have to breathe in all that? And, two, they're seriously not worried about an Ast'atula demon for any other reason than the possible damage to their clothes?"
Gunn and Fred looked at each other and nodded. Fred venturing meekly, "You kinda get used to the babble after a while. And, yeah, pretty much. They're kinda laid back over there about stuff most times."
Xander, having heard the side conversation, and tuning out Wes' lecture about the Spatula demons and their habits 'cause really, Buffy was just going to make Giles explain it in terms she could understand anyway, looked back to Lindsey. "You gotta understand, these guys are pretty much just the monster of the week, we'll have something new come through town after they leave. They're not even apocalypse inducing, so not really big with the wiggins over them, you know?"
Angel watched Lindsey as he tried to absorb what Xander was saying with a dazed look on his face. He actually almost felt bad for the lawyer; nobody should have to be forcefully submitted to Xander-babble. "Don't think to hard on it, it won't help. You'll just give yourself a headache."
Xander perked up and turned to Angel. "Oh! Speaking of headaches, your spawn wanted to know if you'd heard anything more on getting his chip out."
Angel gritted his teeth and tried to remember why it would be bad to strangle the human…surely The Powers wouldn't count it against him, right? "Spike is not my spawn. But no, I haven't, though I'm meeting with a witch next week about it."
"He's your Childe, or Grand-Childe, or whatever, so it's close enough. And I really, really hope you find out some good news, 'cause I'm tired of listening to him gripe about how much carnage he's going to cause when he gets it out when everybody knows he's just going to keep going to Willy's and playing kitten poker. I mean, he helps Dawnie with her homework, he's not exactly striking fear in the hearts of the Scoobies."
Lindsey was caught somewhere between laughter and a mental breakdown. Apparently this boy, because if he was old enough to drink it'd be amazing, was complaining about Spike, William the Bloody, one quarter of the Scourge of Europe threatening carnage and mayhem on his hometown. But then again, he was also insulting Angelus, so maybe it wasn't too surprising. Shaking his head, he looked at the boy questioningly. "Aren't you afraid of anything?"
"Oh sure, Twinkies being discontinued, losing yet another job on account of staying out all night helping to save the collective asses of Sunnydale, seeing my parents have sex." Xander shrugged at the astonished looks the group was giving him, a serious expression settling on his face momentarily. "Look, I've faced down Angelus and not only lived, but won." Angel shrugged and nodded at Lindsey's shocked look. "I've helped stop yearly apocalypses since I was in high school, I dated and cheated on and was subsequently dumped by Miss Cordelia Chase, and am currently dating a former vengeance demon who's favorite hobby is describing in great, gruesome detail how she used to make men suffer. I fight beside the Slayer every night against vampires and demons and whatever baddy crawls out of the wood work thinking that the Hellmouth would make a wonderful retirement spot. I've been possessed, almost eaten by a teacher, almost eaten by a transfer student, and helped raid a secret military base that was experimenting on anything not 100% normal human. It takes a lot to truly scare me. The rest, you just deal with and move on, 'cause what good is it going to do anyone to cower in fear in the corner? You're just that much more likely to get eaten faster where I live."
Cordy, who had opened the door to tell Xander that Giles had called to check on him, smiled softly as she listened to him speak. Everybody discounted Xander because he was the "normal" one, the goof, but he had such a well of inner strength, he really was the heart of the group back in the 'Dale and helped hold them all together. She wouldn't tell him, but she was so proud of the man he had become. She noticed a couple of the others giving Xander cautious looks as they worked to realign their concept of the boy amongst them. She cleared her throat softly to get their attention. "Hey, Xander, Giles called; he wanted to know if you got the book?"
Xander looked at Wes who had paused in his search as he listened to Xander's speech. "Oh, um, right, yes, it's right here. I've marked the page so Mr. Giles doesn't have to search the whole thing to find the relevant information."
Xander took the overly large book, nose wrinkling in disgust at the funky smell coming from it, not to mention the questionable binding… it looked awfully…fleshy. "Um, thanks. I'm sure he'll have one of us run this back up next week. Thanks for the help. Later, Deadboy. Fred, Gunn, it was a pleasure as always. Bondage Boy…well I hope they let you go soon, though if your bosses are as bad as you say, you might want to consider a career change 'cause I doubt they take kindly to failure. Or you might want to look into who set you up on a suicide mission." Shrugging the issue off as no longer important to his immediate future, he waved and headed toward the door.
"Hey, Xander?" Lindsey had been shocked silent by the boy's off-hand advice, his mind already beginning to run through a list of possible culprits. As the brunette turned to look back at him questioningly, he offered a rare true smile. "Thanks, for listening and for the advice. If you ever want a job…"
Xander laughed freely and shook his head. "Thanks, but I don't think your bosses could handle me. Good luck though." Waving once more to the others and planting a gentle kiss on Cordy's cheek, he stepped through the door and headed out of the hotel and back towards home, the encounter already going the way of most non-life threatening things in his memory, namely somewhere behind his sci-fi knowledge.
Lindsey looked at the others, confused by the enigma the boy had come across as, asking the question he asked Xander at the start. "Who is he?"
Angel grabbed a knife and cut the rope holding Lindsey to the chair, smiling on the inside at the minute flinch the lawyer gave at the sight of the knife. Leaning back against his desk, he toyed with the knife absently. "Have you heard of the Slayer's White Knight?"
"Occasionally, usually when one of the firm's plans fall through in that direction, some demon will mention him or her." Lindsey was pondering the seemingly random question as he rubbed the circulation back into his hands.
Angel smiled ruefully and pointed towards the closed office door with the knife. "That was the White Knight. That annoying, motor-mouth, obnoxious, completely loyal white-hat named Alexander Harris, that is the White Knight. He's the one that faced down Angelus before I could kill the Slayer while she lay helpless in a hospital bed. He's the one that's stood up to Spike and every other demon that thinks they're a Big Bad and lived to tell the tale." A wicked smile tilted his lips. "He's Dru's kitten, as scary as that is. You'd have better luck recruiting one of us to work for Wolfram and Heart than you would him. Though he's right, he'd drive the entire firm insane within a week, I guarantee." He sighed, a disgusted look on his face as he continued, the very idea of how much he was complimenting the boy irking him. "And unfortunately, he does see to the heart of things, more times than not. When he offers advice like that…he's usually right. I can't believe I'm going to say this, but if it's too dangerous for you to go back, you can stay here until you figure out a plan of action."
Cordy laughed to herself and went back to her desk, already calculating how much more they could charge customers with an actual lawyer on staff as well.
Several hours later Xander arrived back at the Magic Box, book in hand. "Hey, G-man, got the book. Wes even marked the page for you."
"Ah, Xander, thank goodness you're back, the girls have gone out on patrol with Spike. Did anything happen? You were gone quite a while."
"Nah, aggravated Brood Boy, ignored Wes' lecture, talked to some lawyer they had tied up, nothing major. Now what do we need to do to get rid of these demons, 'cause if they drag me shoe shopping again, you're coming with me."
Giles cringed, he'd rather be back at Angelus' tender mercies than deal with that torture. He gave Xander a puzzled look at the lawyer comment but decided he really rather not know; if it was important, or heaven forbid, apocalypse inducing, he'd find out later he was sure.
Several days later, Xander met the rest of the Scoobies after work in the Magic Box, hopping up on the counter as Anya counted the register down. Giles stepped out of his office and gave him a puzzled look. "Xander, Cordelia called, she told me to give you a message. 'Bondage Boy says hi, and sends his thanks. He's now working for the white-hats.' Is there…there something we should know?"
Xander laughed lightly and shook his head. "Nah, I guess I just made a good first impression on someone. So what are we looking for tonight?"