Author's Note: After writing the preceding chapter, I came up with an alternative ending, which is presented below!
Valentine's Day was not Xander's favorite holiday, though his feelings didn't approach this one-eyed man's loathing of Halloween or a snowy Christmas Day (*just one little sunbeam then, and ol' Deadboy woulda been a handful of ashes*). Still, every year when that specific date rolled around, Xander gritted his teeth and he tried to get through his normal job of running the Cleveland Slayers House without actually losing his temper. This was pretty hard though, what with the entire houseful of warrior women occupied with gloating about how many cards, chocolates, flowers, and other gifts they got, along with casting a few thoughtful glances towards one of the few males in the house not gay, taken, or otherwise unavailable for a little lovin' on this special day.
What made it even worse was having to live in a residence which also included the odd witch, various Watcher gals quite capable of researching spells of affection, and any other woman thinking it'd be hilarious to tease him by doing something to remind him today was for lovers. If he actually needed this encouragement, anyway.
At his desk inside the Sunnydale survivor's locked and barred office, Xander checked his weapons, making sure they were once more ready to fend off anybody's attempts at tenderness. Noting that the stretched rubber bands were in position on the wooden replicas of the pirate flintlock pistols, Xander gently laid the fake guns onto the desktop, and then he went back to his paperwork. Until a few moments later, when his Romance Danger Sense went off full blast, right at the same time a small figure hovering in mid-air materialized in the room, with this intruder's own weapon ready and aimed directly at the man with an eyepatch.
In a blur of speed, Xander snatched up one pistol, and he fired off with a snap! the rubber band at his foe, with a loud "Ow!" being produced by this, signifying he'd hit his target dead-on. Smirking at seeing how the interloper had hastily vanished, leaving him again alone in his office, Xander brought the muzzle of the toy pistol up under his mouth, and he pretended to blow away a wisp of smoke.
Elsewhere in the house, Dawn and Faith stared in surprise at the little near-naked cupid angrily shaking at them the tiny bow in one pudgy hand, while the miniature cherubic boy was rubbing at the painful welt now apparent on his cute protruding belly. In a squeaky voice which still managed a tone of sheer menace, the cupid then furiously declared, "I'm telling Mom!"
Blinking at the now-empty patch of air which a moment before had been occupied by a winged, diapered child with a quiver full of pink arrows, Faith worriedly looked over at where Dawn was also appearing alarmed. The Slayer then apprehensively commented, "Hey, little D, I'm all for prankin' Xan, but maybe ya mighta gone a little too far in whippin' up that spell ya found in the old-time Greek scroll last month."
Giving Faith an exasperated glower, Dawn opened her mouth, about to sarcastically note that the other brunette had been the one enthusiastically cheering on her in their little practical joke on the man they'd known since Sunnydale. However, the two women then gaped at the person who'd just materialized in the bedroom with them. One reason for the stupefaction now shared by Dawn and Faith was that they both recognized her, courtesy of a truly enjoyed television show of a few years ago, by the name of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.
Sending the other females in the bedroom her best evil smile, Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love waggled a trim finger with a perfectly-shaped fingernail at Faith and Dawn in an evident gesture of "Naughty-naughty!" Then, the superbly stacked woman in the see-through flowing robe vanished.
An split-second later, the entire house shook to a feminine shriek: "OW!"
Just as quickly, Faith and Dawn found themselves transported into Xander's office. As this pair frantically looked around, they found themselves sharing this room with Buffy, Willow, Vi, Rona, and an additional half-dozen older Slayers. Also in the room and standing in front of the desk was Aphrodite now wrathfully rubbing at the welt rising on the perfect skin of her forehead. Glaring at the wide-eyed man shrinking back in his chair, the Greek goddess hissed, "Honeybunch, you're gonna pay for that!"
With an irate wave of Aphrodite's hand indicating every single woman there, the deity menacingly continued to address a paling Xander, "So you don't like romance? Well, guess what, you moron! All of the fine ladies here have either felt this for you in the past or still do, and the same goes for you, too! Part of your punishment for shooting me is that from now until one minute past midnight on February fifteenth, you're all stuck here!"
Whirling around at where Willow was beginning to point her finger, Aphrodite shook her head in warning at the frozen redhead, while also sternly intoning, "Don't even think about it, little witch! In your country alone, more than fourteen billion dollars was spent in gifts and other stuff for Valentine's Day in 2009, and I can tap into all that power! Now, I've put this room in a little pocket dimension, along with adding a few more rooms over there-"
Nodding at the far wall, the goddess of love watched the mortals' attention be directed at where a door had abruptly appeared in this partition, before their notice was drawn back to her speaking again. "There's some lounges, sitting rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, recreation rooms - everything you need to spend the rest of the day having a short vacation. Except for Mr. Quick-Draw here," Aphrodite snickered, an evil smile beginning to appear on her fabulous lips, as she went on, "who's gonna be trapped in this place with you all, unable to escape talking about his feelings! I'm sure everybody will have a lot of fun, getting him to share! Now, I'm really busy, so toodles, everyone!"
Drawing herself up in an impressive display of her gorgeous assets, the goddess paused for a moment, only then to muse as if to herself, "Oh, yeah, there was something else… Alexander LaVelle Harris, nobody disses me or Valentine's Day!"
After those last words, a guffawing Aphrodite vanished from the room. Along with every single scrap of clothing the remaining occupants in the office were wearing, down to Xander's eyepatch.
Among the abrupt shrieks and squeals of the other nude people there, a completely starkers Faith stood in the middle of the room, her brain working swiftly. Sooner or later, as this kind of thing usually worked out, this Slayer and Dawn presently trying to hide behind a houseplant in the corner would be established as bearing a great deal of blame for today's events. Sooo…before all the yelling then, she might as well as have a li'l fun.
Swaggering over to Xander's desk, where this naked man still in his chair had hastily clapped his cupped hands against his groin, Faith perched a superb bare butt atop a corner of this piece of furniture, tossed back her mane of hair, and did a slow, thorough stretch of her upper body, arms up and out in the air. Bringing these down, Faith then leaned over closer to where boytoy was fixedly staring upwards into her face, and she purred at him in her sexiest tone, "Hey, stud, how do ya think the Sox are gonna do this year?"