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Main Dude: A Season 8 fic (spoilers through 8.12)

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  • Main Dude: A Season 8 fic (spoilers through 8.12)

    Title: Main Dude
    Rating: PG-13 (language)
    Characters: Mostly Buffy and Xander, no ‘shipping.
    Spoilers: Through 8.12 “Wolves at the Gate”, Part I.
    Setting: During 8.12, immediate following meeting.

    Xander stared in a mix of amusement and relief when Andrew spoke up from the back of the command room.

    Calma, ragazze, calma, concentratevi, per favore”, Andrew lilted smoothly, despite still wearing a stocking cap and pajamas. Xander wasn’t sure what he said or if any of the two dozen Slayers that had been starting to whisper and murmur understood either, but the effect was the same – everybody got quiet. “Our fearless leaders are in the midst of planning the next brilliant counter-attack against this strange and new breed of the vampire.”

    Naturally, he accented the “-ire” in the word. Some things are constants, Xander thought. He glanced over to Buffy, who had crossed her arms over her cut-off UC-Sunnydale hoody. Xander had his own worries all of the sudden, but he caught Buffy glancing furtively at Satsu. Xander turned his glance a little and met eyes with Willow, and her saw in her face the same knowing anxiety that he felt – Buffy plus sex plus awkwardness plus emergencies didn’t always go well. Especially since there was no question what it was that was causing the whispers rippling through the group.

    Some things are constant, Xander thought again, with less amusement.

    “Thanks Andrew,” Buffy cut in, nodding gratefully to him, “Xander, look, I know you don’t like this Dracula thing, I don’t like it much better. You’re not going in alone. We’re going to make sure we have your back, send one of our best. I think…”

    Xander cut the movement as Buffy began to gesture towards Satsu. The younger Slayer still looked thunderstruck from being walked in on, and from Willow’s oddly passive aggressive smack down of Buffy. Xander realized in an instant that Buffy meant to announce Satsu would go with him – probably meaning to show some faith in her after all that had happened. It would have been a great idea, Xander knew, if it wasn’t for the whispering.

    “Renee’s already dressed, Buffy. No reason to put this off. It’s not like he’s not awake at this time of day.”

    Buffy’s eyes were not amused when she widened them to meet Xander’s. He didn’t flinch. Neither of them wanted to just openly contradict the other, and they both knew it.

    “Right,” Buffy said slowly, “why put off a trip to the dentist? Renee, you go get armed up, you’re going with Xander. Leah, take Meredith and Sania and make sure the helicopter is fueled. Everybody else, we’ve got a lot of cleaning to do, and defenses to shore back up. Pretend it’s a pajama party.”

    Buffy smiled when she said that last, and so did most everyone in the room. Xander felt reassured by that, and stood still on the dais watching as the Slayers began moving amidst a low rumble of “yes ma’am” and other affirmations.

    Within a few minutes, the room was nearly empty. Willow and Buffy were with him on the dais. Satsu had drifted toward the door, but hadn’t left. She looked unsure of whether she should stay or go. Xander shook his head subtly as he took a few steps toward Willow. He and Buffy crossed like ships in the night as Buffy moved over toward Satsu. Buffy’s… what is Satsu now? “Prot?g? just doesn’t seem to fit. Xander wondered.

    Xander crouched down next to Willow and helped her with her ice bag, checking to make sure she wasn’t bleeding anywhere they’d missed. They didn’t talk about it, although Xander desperately wanted to. It was written in both of their eyes; fear for Buffy, fear for Satsu, but most of all, fear for the delicate balance that seemed to come and go throughout their lives together with Buffy whenever they faced world-threatening danger and Buffy’s love life was in any way full of drama.

    Of course, as usual, there were other problems to deal with first. Xander ran a soothing hand over Willow’s hair and squeezed her shoulder. Wordlessly they conveyed the basic ideas of “I’ve got to get going” and “it’s okay, I’m fine”. He stood and headed to the door, planning both to go get ready to go meet the mas… Dracula, dammit, he amended, and to slip right around the big pile of awkward quietly conversing right by the same door. As a bonus, he hoped to pretend he hadn’t seen them both naked within the past hour.

    “Xander, pedeconference,” Buffy said just as he was stepping into the hall.

    Aw, crap, Xander thought again.

    They stepped into the corridor, and Xander saw the odd Slayer up and down the hall scatter, looking busy and not gossipy. He set a fairly brisk pace toward the stairs up to the floor he and Buffy’s suites were on, hoping to avoid any type of conference in earshot of the others.

    “Buffy, you know, you could always make this trip yourself, couldn’t you?” Xander asked, the anxiety he felt over seeing Dracula creeping out. “I mean, he was all with the thrall and the seduction and the Slayer fetish, he might like hearing it from you more than me.”

    Buffy answered with a half-smile. “Yeah, but you two had such a good working relationship. I staked him a couple times, it’s not good for team-building.”

    “I really doubt that’s all there is to it,” Xander sighed. Buffy met his eyes as they rounded into the stairwell.

    “Xander, what you saw…” Buffy began. Xander wasn’t interested in this part of it right now. He continued up to the top of the stairs and held the door open for Buffy. He didn’t speak until they stepped into the more private corridor and headed toward his room.

    “I asked out Renee,” Xander said with abrupt pleasantness.

    Buffy looked surprised for a moment before smiling. “Xander, that’s great. What happe –“

    “I’m not sure if I should go out with her, though,” Xander continued, interrupting on purpose. When Buffy sputtered, looking at him in suitable confusion, he went on. “I mean… we work together. She sorta works for me. I mean, she’s great, and I like her, but… it would be awkward if, y’know… any of the others thought she was getting special treatment or something, or it made her feel like an outsider from her friends.”

    When Xander stopped and opened his door, Buffy was staring at him levelly. He gestured for her to go inside. “Do you think that’s a risk I should be taking, Buf?”

    She didn’t blink as she walked in ahead of him. “I guess that depends on what you want out of it, Xander. I mean, it shouldn’t be anybody else’s business, and as long as you don’t give her that special treatment, the others shouldn’t say anything.”

    “You’re probably right,” Xander agreed carefully, shutting the door and heading over to his own weapon cabinet. It wasn’t as large or well-stocked as most of the Slayers’ obviously, but he wasn’t exactly looking to go to Dracula with an olive branch and a six pack of Transylvanian Amber Lager. “I guess it’s just, with all the life and death situations we get in around here, I’m worried they wouldn’t be able to keep that kind of perspective. I don’t want these girls not to trust me anymore.”

    “So what do you think you’ll do, Xan?” She was leaning against his dresser, eyeing him patiently.

    “What I usually do, follow my heart and the other applicable body parts. But I figured I should go to the people I trust the most before I do anything and bounce my thinking off of them. That’s what they’re there for, right?”

    “Xander…” Buffy drew in a breath. Xander saw the point hit home. “Xander, you’re right, none of this is simple. But I don’t think either of us thought we’d need to take a vow of celibacy to move into this castle. Not a monastery. Er, was it a monastery? I wasn’t really listening when Giles was… any-who, I like her. I just wanted… I.”

    “Buffy, are you okay?” he asked. He finished laying the weapons he wanted out and took Buffy by the arms and looked her in the eye. “I’m not going to ‘get it’ no matter how you try to explain, and frankly, you don’t owe me an explanation anyway. But… look, I’ve seen you in love, and I’ve seen you lonely, and I’ve seen you in pain, and most of these happen at the same time. I just… you’ll talk to me? Please? Let me know if you’re going through something?”

    Buffy slipped into his arms and hugged him. “Thank you, Xander. I will. I didn’t plan on this, and I really, really didn’t love the part where everybody found out before we even… I’ll talk to you. I’m not tune-out my friends girl anymore, promise.”

    “That’s good. Because once Dracula turns me back into a giggling jackass and starts trying to turn Renee into one of his brides, I’d really appreciate you showing up a little faster this time.”

    Buffy laughed where she had been starting to sniffle a bit. “Right. Well, I was really busy that month. You’re still whining about this?”

    “I hate you,” Xander smiled, pulling out of the hug and rubbing Buffy’s arms.

    “Anyway, I wouldn’t be worth much without you around, you’re, like, my main dude,” Buffy said, kissing Xander on the cheek. “You just have to be tough. Be brave. I’ll tell Renee to smack your hand when you go for any bugs. Don’t let him get to you, okay?”

    “Check,” Xander nodded, “no more buttmonkey.”

    They hugged again. Buffy handed Xander the weapons he’s selected and pulled the door shut behind her when they left his room.
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