Donut Boy 2
"Jesus!" Xander flailed, clutching at the table to avoid
falling off his stool, staring at the vengeance demon in a panic. "Okay,
whatever Anya told you? It's a lie. We're on good terms, I swear, don't send me
to the world without shrimp!"
Hallie cocked her head, blinked rapidly, and then laughed, patting Xander on the shoulder. "Oh, you are such an adorable little boy, aren't you? Don't be silly. I know you and Anyanka are still on the best of terms. Who do you think sent me? Didn't she ever tell you about me?"
Xander shook his head slowly. Because it was possible Anya had told him. But there were times when Xander was really bad at listening. Like right after an orgasm. Which was when Anya liked to talk.
She tsked. "Well I'm Halfrek, Hallie to her, and we go way back together in the vengeance game. Oh, and FYI? I'm not much into the vengeance gig per se. I'm more of a justice type." She smiled at him, an expression he thought would be a lot more winsome if she weren't all veiny. "And lucky you, pumpkin! I'm here to dish a little justice for you."
"A little wha-?"
Hallie patted his shoulder again, and Xander realized that her hand was the only thing keeping him from sliding right off his stool. "Justice!" She waved a hand, and the entire Bronze went silent and still around them.
"Um. Justice for what?"
"A lifetime of wrongs." Delicately, Hallie plucked a drink out of the frozen hand of a boy passing by, and helped herself to a sip. "A lifetime of being the - oh, what was the word Anyanka used - oh, yes, the Harpo."
"Zeppo," Xander distantly heard himself correct her.
"Well whatever. I'm here to grant your wish and make you the suave, strong, capable man you want to be. Then, you can go out to patrol, dance, fuck," Hallie took another sip of her drink, made a face, and put it back into the frozen hand, choosing another passerby's drink instead and nodding with approval, "whatever you want."
"Yeah, right. And then Buffy and
"Not if they don't recognize you, sweet thing!"
And o-kay, back away from the crazy justice demon. "I'm thinking that after five years? They're gonna recognize
"Not with me on your side." She patted his cheek, and lifted a silver and green pendant from around her neck, leaning over to re-fasten the clasp around Xander's. "Now listen to me, darling. From sundown until , nobody who knows you will recognize you as long as you're wearing my charm." She let her fingertips rest on the pendant, and Xander felt a sizzling tingle like the time he'd licked the light socket on a dare from Jesse. "And here's the fun part. You will be as strong, as suave, as invulnerable as you wished, but mind the time, because the charm does run out at . Every . And you must be wearing the pendant."
"Are you for real?"
"Could something this pretty not be real?" She gestured to her face, and Xander bit his tongue, figuring that not pissing off the justice demon was a pretty good idea. "Well what are you waiting for? Shoo. Go try it out." She pushed him off the stool, and placed her empty glass back in the frozen young man's hand. Then, with a dramatic gesture, sound and movement returned in a rush to the Bronze, leaving only her voice behind. "I'll be keeping an eye on you, sweet thing. Have fun!"
Xander looked down at his hands, and flexed them. He didn't feel any different.
But then, the pendant was still sizzling a little against his skin, and that sure didn't feel normal. But what was he supposed to do? Go out looking for something big and demony to test out his super strength just because he had a new piece of jewelry?
And he still wasn't entirely sure that Hallie wasn't a vengeance demon out to make vengeance that much sweeter by luring him into a sense of false security. Okay, so false security was still more security than Xander had had before.
He was just reaching up to the clasp of the pendant when he was knocked into from behind, driving his chest against the tall table and the air from his lungs to the sound of drunken laughter. "Hey! Lay off, will you?" Xander shoved back, and then turned in amazement just in time to see the guy who'd bumped into him go sailing across the dance floor to land in a heap before the stage.
He looked down at his hands again, then picked up the pendant to look closely at it. *Okay. So on board with the wish thing, now.*
Grinning like mad, Xander scrambled away from the table and raced for the door. He had demon ass to kick!
And if he ran into a couple of guys from the old Sunnydale High football team, well, he figured a vengeance demon would forgive him stopping to take a little extra justice along the way.
Wandering along the Sunnydale streets, Xander tried to decide the best way to go looking for violence which, by the way, went against every instinct he'd previously held, but his old instincts also didn't go with his new role as the guy who kicks ass and takes names, at least from sunset to midnight.
Which left him feeling like a weird cross between Cinderella and Batman, but that was something he figured he could get used to. And as Xander heard blows landing down an alleyway up ahead, he decided that there was no time like the present to start getting used to it.
He also realized that he really should have asked for night vision in the package because all he could see was a tangle of dark limbs, but he could hear just fine, and if there was one sound Xander knew, it was the sound of a fight. Especially the many-against-one, kind.
Xander grabbed the first guy he could get his hands on, yanking him out of the scuffle. "Is this fight taken or can any number play?" He took a deep breath, spun, and threw, staring in slack-jawed amazement as the guy sailed across the alley and into a dumpster. "Jesus...ow!" He staggered to the clang of a garbage can that some other guy had hit him over the head with, whirled, and grabbed it, and then did something he knew he'd never be able to explain or imitate again in a thousand years that sent the second guy sprawling after his buddy and Xander into a crouch facing down the last three with a manic grin.
*A guy could get used to this kind of thing.*
With a whoop, Xander threw himself at the last three, catching two around the waist and going down in a tangle, fists and feet flying, and it felt so fucking good to hear that solid thump and crunch of bruises and bones that when he came out of it, panting, laughing, and the last one standing, he found himself looking for more.
*Jesus. Fuck, a guy could get addicted to this kind of thing.*
Still breathing hard, he crouched by the group's victim, his hand coming down on a leather clad shoulder, trying to uncurl him from his defensive posture. "Hey, guy. It's okay. You're safe-" Xander swallowed his words as the body uncurled in one malevolent stretch, rolling away and coming up in a crouch, facing Xander. "Spike."
Because despite the bruises, despite the dirt. Despite a nasty split lip, it was Spike they'd been beating on, and he looked dazed. "I know you, mate?"
"Yeah you-" Xander stopped himself, remembering the non-recognition clause, and shook his head. "Probably don't," he finished. "I've seen you around."
Oh, had he ever. But always, it'd been Spike fighting gracefully, Spike kicking ass. Spike with those flashing blue eyes that now glittered behind dark bruises and tried in vain to focus on him. "Yeah, well...ta. Coulda taken the wankers. Was just- just regaining my strength." He pushed off the ground to stand and staggered, leaning heavily into Xander when he leapt to his feet to catch him. "Just restin'," he finished, before his eyes rolled back in his head and he became dead(er) weight on Xander's arm.
Which meant that the guys who'd been beating on him were...*Human. Shit.* "Uh. Spike? Buddy? How about I help you back to your crypt now?"
*And get the hell out of here before those guys think to call the cops.*
Praying that it wasn't too close to midnight, and vowing to buy himself a wrist-watch the next day, Xander scooped Spike into his arms as easily as if Spike weighed nothing, and ran as fast as he could for the cemetery.