After giving a perfunctory rap on the closed front door of Andrew Wells' apartment in the Cleveland Slayers House, Xander Harris didn't bother waiting for an invitation.
Instead, the one-eyed man breezed into that residence, letting the door he'd thrust ajar swing open until it was stopped short in its path by bumping into one of the heaps of collarless, short-sleeved, white upper body garments piled up high on the carpet. Many, many other t-shirts were crammed inside the living space, where they'd been placed all over the floor, laid atop the furniture, and pinned to the walls for display to discerning customers.
At the very back of the room, Andrew looked up in surprise from his cross-legged perch upon a large mound of fabric he was using as a chair. Fingers resting on his laptop's keyboard where he'd been checking a financial spreadsheet, the former Sunnydale geek heard his unexpected visitor declare, "Yo, Andrew, the G-man sent me over from Scotland to have a little chat with you about the latest business venture you've been running in this place."
"Great!" beamed Andrew, who next reached into the side of the mound he was occupying.
While he pawed through assorted layers of t-shirts, obviously searching for something in there, the New Council cook and chief bottle-washer absently commented to Xander standing there in the middle of the room, "I was gonna mail it later today, but now that you're here, you can have your cut right now. Ah-hah!"
With this last sound of triumph, Andrew pulled out a small metal box from under the layers of clothing. Flipping open the lid, Andrew grabbed the thick wad of cash lying inside the box, and he promptly offered it all to Xander. In turn, the other man stepped forward and reached down to take from Andrew this chunky roll of currency more than sufficient to impair any equine's airway.
Straightening up to then stuff with some difficulty the money into his front jeans pocket, Xander next heard from an extremely pleased Andrew, "Looks like your latest concept is gonna break all our sales records, Xan! Every one I made sold like hotcakes!"
Turning his head to glance at the left-hand wall, Xander felt an inner warm glow of pride at one special t-shirt attached there, all the result of a vastly annoyed e-mail suggestion to his business partner just a few days ago. The New Council troubleshooter continued to admire the front of this article of clothing.
There, a photograph of a certain pasty-faced film actor sparkling in the sunlight while possessing a genuinely soulful expression was just barely discernable past the large international "NO!" symbol of a bright red line in a circle and an inner diagonal slash overlaid over his image.
Giving one last fond look at what his unmitigated loathing of a particular movie series' main character had profitably produced, Xander brought himself back to the whole reason why he'd come to Andrew's apartment today. Turning again to meet the other young man's inquiring gaze, Xander reluctantly announced, "Sorry, dude, but we're going to have to shut down everything. Maybe not right away, but I don't think we've got more than a couple of days to dump the rest of our inventory."
"How come?" Andrew indignantly blurted out at this most unwelcome news.
Xander sighed, lifting his right hand to scratch his cheek a few times under his eyepatch while gathering his thoughts. At length, he started explaining, "A couple hours ago, Giles met Faith when she was wearing her newest favorite t-shirt, the one she came up with when we asked her what she'd like. It didn't go too well."
"What?" frowned Andrew at the regretful man. From his seated position, Andrew noted, "Considering the other X-rated stuff she proposed that we shot down, the slogan she finally picked wasn't all that bad. Go ahead, see for yourself."
A nerd's finger was then pointed across the room. This was directed at where several examples of a dark Slayer's literary expression rested on a side table, with those t-shirts having Faith's lengthy motto printed on both sides of these garments.
Xander didn't bother looking. Instead, he dryly said, "Hey, fella, I was there. Giles shanghaied me into helping him escort around the castle some people from the old Watcher families, the ones who managed not to get killed when the First Evil blew up their London headquarters. The G-man's been trying to get their support, plus copies of their dad's and grandad's Watcher diaries we lost then. Me, I wouldn't have bothered. They were the biggest bunch of English upper-crust bores and dimwits I've ever met. Which made it even more fun when those jerks came face to face with Faith and her t-shirt."
An evil grin slowly appeared on Xander's face. This naturally got Andrew's attention. He demanded, "So, what happened?"
Starting to snicker, Xander eventually said through his giggles, "Faith said hi to me and Giles, who started getting busy polishing his glasses. She gave her usual 'drop dead, assholes' glower - you've seen it yourself - to the Watcher morons and started heading off. Until the oldest douchebag there with the biggest stick up his butt sniffed that if this was the latest example of a Slayer, some scrubber of a gel flouncing around with an inept, crude attempt at humor on what passed for their clothes, standards had really fallen to new lows for the Council."
"Uh-oh," winced Andrew.
"Yeah," Xander smirked. "Faith stopped dead in her tracks, spun around, and stalked back to us. She got right up into Mr. Stupid's comfort zone, yelled straight into his face that from the way he'd been staring at her tits, he might have an excuse for missing the joke on her t-shirt. However, she'd be nice about it, and let him study it up close and personal. Then, Faith completely yanked off her top, wadded it up in a ball, pulled open his suit waistband, and shoved the t-shirt down the front of his pants!"
Andrew just gaped at the guffawing man with the eyepatch standing there.
At last, Xander calmed down enough to finish his story. "After the riot was over, I got told in no uncertain terms by Giles that those responsible for those bloody t-shirts - in short, you - were to immediately cease and desist in this. Which is how come I'm here now."
A very dubious stare was bestowed by Andrew upon his visitor, along with, "He still doesn't know you thought it up in the first place, selling them to the rest of the New Council? Or even why?"
Xander's lower lip suddenly protruded in an authentically childish pout, a mood made even more evident by his whine, "Hey, if our el cheapo jefe hadn't cut the office snack budget so that I don't get my morning Twinkie fresh and warm every day any more, I wouldn't be sneaking around behind his back, trying to hustle the odd dollar or two!"
Glancing at his spreadsheet, Andrew said sotto voce, "As of this month, $16,820, to be exact."
That little bit of news immediately brightened Xander's frame of mind into something much more cheerful. He happily shrugged, "Okay, so we can afford to quit the t-shirts and lie low for a little while until the heat's off. Speaking of that, have you made any progress on our next fiscal caper?"
"Oh, you bet," nodded Andrew. He tapped the keyboard to bring up an appointments screen, and read to Xander what was there. "I locked down the photographer for the New Council lingerie calendar. He can get started midway next month, so we'll have plenty of time to get everyone ready."
"That goes for me, too," Xander agreed. He glanced down at his flat stomach beneath his blue polo shirt and said thoughtfully, "Couldn't hurt to work more on the abs." Looking back up at Andrew, Xander cautioned, "I still have May, right? There hasn't been any changes in that?"
"Nope," Andrew confirmed, but he also added, "Willow isn't going to do October, though. She said somebody else can be the witch in black and orange bra and panties, but Kennedy persuaded her that February was better for them both.
"Why?" came from a puzzled Xander.
A glazed expression of pure bliss promptly appeared on Andrew's face. He said in a dreamy voice while evidently recollecting something very pleasurable, "Like Kennedy told us last week, when she dragged Willow in here and showed us the very skimpy pink underwear with heart designs on them which they'd pose in, plus demonstrating with each other the proper way to kiss for the photographer, February has Valentine's Day, which is perfect for lovers!"
Trying to blink away the very sexy images abruptly crowding in his mind, all involving hot and heavy lesbian action, Xander eventually cleared his throat to draw Andrew back from that guy's own fantasies. He told the other man with his computer, "That's…fine with me- The calendar, I mean! Anyway, start closing down the t-shirt business. If Giles calls to find out if I came here yet, just grovel to him that I put the fear of God in you during our talk, and you won't be doing it any more, okay?"
"You got it, Xan," Andrew reassured his fellow Sunnydale native. Turning once more to his laptop, the geek started busily working away on this, soon becoming lost in his task of moving all their profits into a private account at a very discreet Cayman Islands bank.
Xander watched this for a few seconds, before nodding in satisfaction and turning around to leave the apartment. He paused at the sight of something which caused him to remember a favor he owed Faith. It'd been during all the yelling between G-man and those Watcher pricks, leaving Xander and the Boston-born Slayer at one side of the uproar in the castle corridor to quietly speak with each other. Faith had told the man she'd known since high school that since she obviously wasn't gonna get her t-shirt back, he better find her damn quick another just like it.
Xander had in turn promised Faith he'd pick up one as soon as possible, which he figured was going to be right after the squabble going on over there. During this assurance, the man had kept his remaining eye firmly fixed straight ahead, at the level of Faith's eyebrows, all too conscious that any downward glance at the nubile warrior woman's now-topless body would have him instantly being force-fed his eyepatch by Faith.
Grinning to himself, Xander stepped over to the apartment table where numerous t-shirts lay, picking up and folding a very special example of these to take along with him back home to the Scottish castle headquarters. He didn't bother reading Faith's slogan printed on both the front and back of this t-shirt, since he already knew it by heart ever since she'd gleefully recited this to him and Andrew:
SLAYERS DO IT IN THE DARK WITH STAKES AND KNIVES AND SWORDS…
…AND IF THAT DON'T WORK, WE START THE REALLY KINKY STUFF.