Title: Operation: Fabulous!
Author: gleefulmusings (formerly xanzpet)
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season Three AU
Characters: Xander Harris, Cordelia Chase, Buffy Summers, Willow Rosenberg, Daniel Osbourne, Rupert Giles, Harmony Kendall, Angel, Joyce Summers, Larry Blaisdell, Percy West, Jonathan Levinson, Devon MacLeish, Faith Lehane, Wesley Wyndham-Price.
Pairing(s): Mentions of Xander/Cordelia; Buffy/Angel, Willow/Oz. Xander/Other Male(s).
Warning(s): Sexual situations,language, unabashed Cordelia worship. Minor Buffy and Willow bashing. People get so tetchy if I'm mean to them about anything, so here's your warning. Spoilers for everything up to and including Lover's Walk and Doppelgangland.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, lyrics, etc. are the property of their respective owners. Snippets of dialogue may be incorporated from the original canonical episode(s) and belong to their respective authors/creators. The original characters and plot are the property of the author(s). The author(s) is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended, nor should any be inferred. No profit is being made.
Summary: When Xander admits to Cordelia that he might be that way, she vows to make him the Best Gay Ever! Oh, and use it to take over complete control of the school, of course.
Author's Notes: While this story takes place roughly in the second half of the third season, I have made alterations to the canon timeline, freely extrapolating future events to suit my whims. Be advised that this is pretty much fluff. I got a little discontented with the plethora of gay!Xander fics in which he lingers in denial or is angry about his orientation and has no support. Thus, a happy gay!Xander, whose friends love him. Also, for a change, I gave both Xander and Cordelia loving and supportive parents. The Chases don't lose their money, and Harmony has more depth than canon rote. Faith isn't psycho, but still has her edge (hopefully); she's friends with Xander, impressed with Cordy, and a little wary of Buffy. Cordelia has no interest in Wesley as anything other than an object of intense scrutiny and bafflement.
Xander Harris was having a blast hanging with his two Best Buds with Boobs, Willow Rosenberg and Buffy Summers.
When he had first christened them as such, they had berated him for an hour, but he had held firm: BFF was a weird abbreviation, and he wasn't about to wear a charm bracelet with half a heart. Besides, whose half would he wear? He could never choose between them. It was hard enough being a guy whose only friends were girls, and they did have boobs, thank you, and very nice ones and he just didn't see what the problem was.
Slowly, he had watched their anger dissipate until they were left staring at him with glazed eyes and open mouths. He took this as acquiescence and fully assimilated the new moniker into his everyday vernacular. Not in public, of course, even he wasn't that much of a cretin, but in private it slipped from his lips with regularity. Especially around Giles, who turned mottled and pale all at the same time, which led to Buffy n' Willow Snickers, which were just so cute that Xander couldn't get enough.
When pressed, Giles had stated quite vociferously that, as far as he was concerned, Buffy and Willow had no breasts, just as Xander had no penis, and he then had demanded they desist with such foolishness in his presence. That had just made Buffy and Willow laugh harder, but Xander had been annoyed that Giles took much comfort in reducing him to a eunuch. Angel was the only eunuch!
"Nothing can defeat the penis!" Xander trilled.
Buffy and Willow looked up from their magazine and stared. They had holed up in the Slayer's bedroom, inhaling ice cream in frightening amounts, reading trash, and playing horrible music which they should have outgrown long ago. Moments before, Xander had finished braiding Buffy's hair and she now looked like a princess in a Disney movie. In contrast, Willow, whose hair had been braided by Buffy, resembled an epileptic Pippi Longstocking.
Buffy blinked. "Uh, thanks for the update."
"Is that going to be your new war cry?" Willow asked him. "I much prefer your Xena imitation."
Buffy nodded. "It's a good one. The Xena cry, I mean. Not the penis."
"Penises are bad?"
"No, but Willows are," the Slayer responded, throwing the magazine at the witch's head.
"Are pillows next?" Xander asked. "There could be pillows. And nighties with ruffles and lace. And me with a camera." He nodded.
Buffy rolled her eyes. "God, that's all you ever think about!"
"I'm seventeen!" he protested. "Of course that's all I think about! Are you telling me that girls never think about boys and their...boy bits?"
The Slayer bit her lip. "Well, sure we do, but we fit it in between shopping, homework, and saving the world. It's called multitasking, Xan. Look into it."
Willow shook her head. "I blame Cordelia. Xander wasn't like this until she shoved her boobs in his face."
He stiffened, set his jaw, and turned his head.
"Sorry," she whispered. She really should have known better than to mention Cordelia. The breakup had been bad. Really bad. And she had played a major part. Or quite possibly the only part. She didn't like to think about it.
"You still miss her, huh?" Buffy softly asked.
He sighed and nodded, finally ducking his head because he refused to cry in front of them.
"I understand," she whispered.
He looked up, eyes blazing with anger and resentment. "No, you don't. Whatever you and Angel had or still have, it's not the same. Cordy was my friend. That's what I miss."
Her eyes widened. "Oh."
"Sorry," he whispered, hanging his head in shame. "Sorry. Didn't mean to snap, Buff. I'm just not dealing with it very well. Or at all."
She took his hand. "You don't have to be sorry. You don't have to feel anything but what you feel."
He smiled, but it didn't reach his eyes. "Thanks." He looked around. "Uh, so where's Oz? And how come whenever you two decide to have Girls Night In, I'm the only participant with a Y chromosome?"
"Oz had a Dingoes gig," Willow replied.
"Besides," Buffy added, "you're one of the girls."
Xander's mouth dropped open, but Buffy and Willow had returned to Cosmo and the wealth of secrets it contained.
One of the girls? He was one of the girls? Could that really be true?
He frowned and considered it. Here he was, sitting with his two best friends, both girls. He was in Buffy's bedroom on a Friday night. He had just finished braiding her hair and had done a much better job than Buffy had with Willow's tresses. They had just talked about feelings and he had gotten all teary and then moody.
Before he had arrived at Buffy's house, he had stopped off at the drug store to get emergency tampons for Willow. It hadn't meant anything that he had known the brand she favored or that she was having a light flow, right? Right.
Oh, God! He was a girl!
What was next? Popping Midol? A rousing discussion of four-walled protection? That not-so-fresh feeling and how best to combat it?
He shook his head. No, he was being ridiculous. He was very much a guy. He had a penis, and he was quite happy with it, as had been Cordelia. He liked girls. He was attracted to girls. He was attracted to Buffy and Willow, and Cordelia still made his groin twitch even when she was calling him scum. In fact, especially when she was calling him scum.
He dreamed about girls, for Twinkies' sake! About his girls, and Mrs. Summers, and about Kendra and Jenny, and oh God! He had sex dreams about dead women! He was basically a vampire!
He needed boyfriends.
No, he needed friends who were boys. Guys. Men. Manly men, with muscles and hairy chests, who drank beer and talked about boobs. Guys like Oz and Giles didn't count, because Oz was weird and Giles was old. Angel? Too dead, and too much of a psycho. And way too pretty.
"Xan?" asked a distracted Buffy. "You okay?"
That seemed to placate the Slayer, for which he was both grateful and annoyed.
Was Angel pretty? Maybe, for a murdering fiend. Sure, he was handsome in that gothic GQ kind of way. And he had elegant fingers and really big feet.
Wait! When had he checked out Angel's feet? Why had he checked out Angel's feet? And what did that mean?
He had to stop. Stop thinking about Angel and his big feet. He needed to think about girls. Naked Buffy. Naked Willow. Naked Cordy, with her tan skin and taut body and amazing boobs.
Giles had a nice ass.
It was time to stop thinking altogether. Clearly, he was having a moment of insanity. It was par for the course on the Hellmouth and would pass momentarily. He just had to ignore it.
He just had to not think about Brad Pitt's stomach or Matt Damon's lips or any part of Johnny Depp's anatomy. Because he had never thought of them before and never would again.
Focusing intently, he tuned back in to the girls' conversation.
"I think the amethyst eye shadow could work for you, Will."
The other girl scrunched her nose. "I'm just not sure."
"Are you nuts?" Xander barked. "Willow's a Spring, and her complexion is too fair for a color as dark as amethyst. It would take away from the vibrancy of her eyes! Now, a pale lavender or perhaps a dusky lilac..."
He started to hyperventilate
At first, the girls didn't notice anything was wrong. Willow had been nodding her head at Xander's assessment, while Buffy's face was screwed up in silent debate. As he began slipping into shock, they finally wised up.
"Xander?" asked a fearful Willow.
"Are you okay?" added a wide-eyed Buffy.
He laughed hysterically. "Okay? Am I okay? Of course I'm not okay!"
Plucking the Cosmo out of her hand, Xander raced over to Buffy's desk and grabbed a pen. Frantically flipping the pages until he arrived at his destination, he chewed on the pen when he wasn't writing on the text.
The baffled Slayer and witch looked at each other, before sliding their eyes over to their friend.
As soon as he was finished, his worst fears confirmed, Xander released a choked howl, threw the pen across the room, put his head between his knees and sobbed.
They were at his side in a flash, cooing and clucking over him, petting his hair and rubbing his shoulders, telling him it was all going to be all right.
"All right? All right?" he whined. "It's never going to be all right!"
Willow continued to worry over him, while Buffy decided to take a page from the Queen C Playbook and kick his ass.
"Xander Harris! What is your trauma?"
"Trauma? My trauma?"
"What the hell are you?" she demanded. "A mynah bird?"
"No! I'm gay! You two made me gay!"
Willow's hands fell to her sides and she blinked. "Gay," she repeated slowly. "You're gay?"
"When did the two of you become parrots?" Buffy demanded.
"Enough bird references! This is serious!"
Buffy forced herself to breathe. "Okay, let's think about this. Xan, why do you think you're gay?"
He started ticking off his points with fingers. "One, all of my friends are girls. Two, I talk way too much about my feelings. Three, I did too good a job braiding your hair. Four, I can't make it work with any girl. What kind of a moron scores Cordelia Chase and throws it away?"
He rolled his eyes. "No offense, Will, but stand there and tell me Cordy's not a goddess."
She shrugged diffidently. "Yeah, Cordy's okay."
Buffy snorted. "Please. The girl gives me wood. It doesn't get much hotter."
Xander nodded. "And five," he added, shuddering, "I think Angel's hot."
The Slayer's eyebrows shot off her head before a slow smirk settled across her face.
"But Angel is hot," said a confused Willow.
He shook his head frantically. "That's not the point! I shouldn't be thinking about Deadboy's hotness! Or his big feet, or wondering how soft his hair is. It's not normal!" He threw up his hands. "And Giles! Giles has a nice ass!"
"He sure does," murmured the now-dreamy witch.
Buffy wrinkled her nose. "Ew."
"Big help, Buff."
The blonde also threw up her hands. "Big deal! Xander, I just admitted that I think Cordelia is yummy. So you think Angel's hot. Newsflash, who doesn't? It doesn't mean you're gay! You're being a dork!"
Xander began bouncing his leg, slapping away Willow's comforting hands. "It's not just that, Buff. I'm giving Willow makeup tips." He glared at her. "The right ones. And I'm buying her tampons and knowing exactly what to get. When the two of you are on, I crave chocolate and want to hurt people. I cycle with you, and not in the way of Lance Armstrong!"
She plopped herself in his lap. "Doesn't mean anything, other than that you're a really good friend."
"See! You're sitting in my lap, something I've been dreaming about for three years, and nothing! Nothing! Little Xander's not even registering your unquestionable lusciousness. Something is wrong!"
She blinked. "Lusciousness? You think I'm luscious?" she cooed.
"Oh, yeah, big surprise," he sighed. "The clueless thing? Not working anymore, Buff. You know I used to feel about you, and you knew from day one."
She flushed and couldn't meet his gaze.
He blinked. "Used to feel. When did I stop feeling warm for your form?"
Buffy wondered that too, as well as why it bothered her so much.
"None of this means anything," Willow staunchly declared.
He looked at her. "Will, I just got a perfect score on the How to Seduce that Hard-to-Get Man Quiz."
"You got a perfect score?" Buffy roared. "Why didn't I?"
"So not the time," Willow hissed. "Xander, you think you're gay? All right, then, answer me this: do you want to have sex with guys?"
His mouth fell open.
"You're drawing flies," she drawled. "Answer the question! Do you want to the dirty-dirty with another guy? Anyone in mind? Giles? Angel? Ooh, what about Spike? Of course, he left town. Oh, wait, you don't like vampires. Guys at school? Tell me!"
He released a manly shriek, shoved Buffy off his lap and onto the floor, stood, and fled the house.
"Wait!" the Slayer called after him. "At least let me walk you home! Xander, it's dangerous!"
She scrambled to her feet, grabbed Willow's hand, and they thundered down the stairs.
"Buffy?" Joyce called from the kitchen. "What's going on? Is Xander okay?"
"He's gay!" her daughter screeched.
The woman appeared next to them. "Gay? Xander's gay? Are you sure?"
"He's not even sure," Willow seethed, glaring at Buffy. "And you didn't help anything!"
Buffy looked at the floor. "I was surprised." Her face darkened. "And you were worse!"
"Yeah," the other girl said sarcastically, "surprised that he didn't try to cop a feel when you sat in his lap. And, hey, I was doing that intervention thing! The one that we did with you! That didn't work so well." She blinked. "Oh."
Joyce's eyes widened. Clearly, she needed to monitor her daughter's sleepovers a little more carefully. But did that even matter if Xander was gay? Poor, sweet Xander. She would get him some helpful pamphlets.
"What should we do?" Buffy asked her friend.
Willow sighed. "I don't know. Probably nothing, at least for right now. I don't think he wants to talk about this with anyone. We'll wait until he's ready."
Xander was hotfooting it over to Cordelia's house. He needed a heavy dose of reality, replete with shrill shrieks and kidney punches, and no one did that better than her.
He stormed the streets of Sunnydale, completely oblivious to whatever dangers might be lurking around him. For once, he simply had no fucks to give. He rambled all the way across town, mumbling to himself and gesticulating wildly.
"Well," Angel muttered, "there's something you see every day."
The boy remained clueless that he was being followed. Typical.
Angel had been outside Buffy's house, just checking up on her. Right. He wasn't stalking, wasn't lurking, wasn't looming. He was just worried about her. Especially because she was locked safely inside her home with her mother and two best friends. Yes.
He just couldn't stop worrying. It didn't matter that she could take care of herself, or that they had decided to cool things for a while. If something happened and he hadn't been there to protect her, he never would have forgiven himself.
And despite what Xander insisted, that did not make him Edward Cullen! He didn't sparkle.
So when Xander had fled the Slayer's home late at night in the greatest state of agitations heretofore seen amongst mortals, Angel decided the best course of action was to follow him and make sure he was safe. Though he had never pretended to understand why she cared so for him, he couldn't let something bad happen to the boy. Buffy would be devastated.
Besides, he still owed Xander for protecting Buffy from Angelus. As far as the vampire was concerned, he was going to be in the red to Xander for years. And Xander was a good boy. Sometimes.
So, Angel followed him, surprised when he realized that Xander was heading toward Cordelia's neighborhood. Perhaps the three friends had yet another argument about the cheerleader?
Angel shook his head. He thought it funny how insanely jealous both Buffy and Willow were when it came to the other girl. They had become practically apoplectic when Xander and Cordelia had begun dating, and both were just a little too smug when the couple had broken up. Even Willow, despite Cordelia's injury and emotional devastation, had been secretly pleased; Angel could smell it on her. Buffy had been relieved, and Angel was once again painfully reminded that Xander appeared to be her safety guy.
He thought the girls could have saved everyone a lot of time by just peeing on Xander and marking him as theirs.
The vampire decided that it was more important to overcome his antipathy for the boy and try to help him. God knows no one else ever did. He wondered if he had been so pathetic when he was Xander's age. Then he realized he indeed had been and felt a twinge of sympathy.
The boy jumped three feet into the air. "Bell! Damn it, Deadboy, I distinctly remember that we discussed a bell!"
Angel suppressed a smirk. Scaring Xander was one of his few guilty pleasures, and he could only do it by sneaking up on him. The boy wasn't cowed otherwise, and that really pissed him off.
"Are you okay?" At the hysterical laugh, the vampire noted the tinge of mania and widened his eyes. "Xander, what's wrong?"
The boy refused to meet his gaze, however. Angel sensed Xander's heartbeat and respiration increasing, and saw the drops of sweat breaking out across his brow.
"Why are you looking at my feet?"
"Guh!" Xander screamed, before turning and running away.
Angel stared after him. "Weird."
Xander pounded on her door while intermittently ringing the bell.
"At least someone has a bell," he savagely muttered.
The door suddenly opened wide, and Cordelia's father was peering down at him.
"Uh, h-hi, Mr. Chase." He cleared his throat. "Is Cordy home?"
The man sighed. This wasn't the first time one of his daughter's former beaus had shown up late at night, asking to see her. The difference was he actually likedthis boy. Xander Harris was different from the Neanderthals whom Cordelia often brought home.
The first time Cordelia had dragged him over for dinner, Xander had walked into the house and been appropriately awed by his surroundings. More impressive, however, was that it was apparent to anyone within a hundred-mile radius that he cared greatly for Cordelia; he had looked across the dining table repeatedly, his eyes lighted as if he had won the lottery.
Xander had been charming, self-effusive, and displayed an intelligence and cunning which, while not reflected in his class standing, was laudatory. The boy was also good-looking and well-mannered, although extremely nervous. Cordelia had set that to rights by immediately launching into a blistering tirade which had made her father proud and her mother mortified.
Xander, however, had slipped easily into the banter, his biting wit rising to the fore as he refused to be cowed and instead pointed barbs at the girl with a ruthless lethality. Never had Cordelia been so well-matched and her parents could see by the sparkle in her eyes that she not only liked this boy, but respected him. Thatcertainly had been new. Granted, the Chase patriarch hadn't been pleased that Xander had no money, but other things were more important.
His daughter had never revealed why she and Xander had broken up, but her parents had been almost as disappointed as she had been, for they had never before seen her so happy.
"Xander," he said more gently, "I don't think this is a good idea."
"Please," the boy begged. "I need her."
The man's eyes softened and he appeared to waffle.
"Daddy?" a voice called, echoing throughout the foyer. "Who is it?"
Mr. Chase breathed a sigh of relief and stepped aside to allow his daughter to view their guest. He would leave it in her hands.
"What do you want?" she demanded of the boy.
"I need to talk."
"To me?" she screeched. She shook her head. "We've said everything we need to say."
Her father slowly began to edge out of the room.
"Please," Xander whispered. "I don't need Queen C. I don't need Cordelia, my ex-girlfriend. I need my friend Cordy."
Her eyes widened. She stood there and considered him. "Well," she allowed, "you do look a mess. Even more than usual, I mean."
He sighed, and that was what clinched it for her. No matter how upset he was, the day Xander Harris just stood there and took her abuse without his eyes even blazing was the day the world was doomed.
She stomped across the floor, grabbed his hand, and pulled him inside. "Let's go." She began leading him up the stairs.
"Cordelia," her father halfheartedly protested.
"Not now, Daddy!" she barked. "Xander needs me!"
He smirked as he watched his daughter drag the now-reluctant Xander toward her bedroom.