Title: Transitions From Blindness: After the Start
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel the Series—AU from Tabula Rasa onward.
Genre: AU, Romance, Angst
Content Warning: M or MA
Warnings: past canonical child abuse/neglect, None planned, but I’ll update as things occur.
Word Count Goal: 30,000 minimum
Xander dug the edge of the green scrub pad into the corner of the pan. Giles had used the good dishes to cook the turkey and it’d been worth it. The turkey had been perfect. The mashed potatoes were slightly over-salted, but Giles had fixed that with a quick splash of milk.
The same application was apparently useful with a number of different demons, but then the oddest things seemed to be useful when it came to dealing with Demons. Look at Spike. Some decent beer and a friendly round of pool or poker had cut the death threats to the minimum. It was rather nice not being threatened with bodily mutilation as well.
He was almost as creative as Anya.
Anya. Yeah. It’d started there.
Or maybe everything had started to go downhill when he’d seen the cookies. His stomach had certainly turned on him and not in the, “So good. So good. I want those” way. No. It’d been a punch to the gut because they weren’t just delectable pastries with chunks of gooey chocolate spread throughout. They were a trap. Take the cookies and it’d be back to the way things had been for years. Forgive and forget, especially forget, one more time. It’d be Tabula fucking Rasa all over again, except this time there’d be no spell. Just habit. Yeah, it was definitely the cookies.
He’d known Willow was coming. She’d said she would come. Tara had said she’d join them a bit later when he’d asked after she’d arrived and picked a seat at the table as far from Anya and Harry’s barely contained makeout session as she could get. He just hadn’t expected the cookies, which was maybe a bit dumb of him, but there it was.
Xander should’ve told her it’d been cancelled. He should’ve shut the door and walked away, but this was Willow, his best friend. The last of his first friends, so he didn’t. Instead, he’d dredged up a smile, waved her in and told her he’d be at the table with the others.
At least he didn’t take the cookies.
She’d noticed that. How he hadn’t even commented about them, and he’d seen the hitch in her step and the way her smile trembled for a moment, but he wasn’t breaking. He wasn’t giving in this time and he wasn’t letting her off easy because of green crayons and nights spent hiding at her house when Tony was looking for a bit of sport. Instead, he’d walked away and joined the others in the living room.
Harry and Anya didn’t bother looking up from where they were kissing… again. Or maybe they’d never stopped since they’d been at it before he’d gotten up to answer the door. Giles was ignoring them, having given up fussing at them. He had his back to the room as he stood at the counter hole-in-the-wall thing and focused on cutting the turkey into perfect slices. Spike and Tara though, had looked up when he stepped into the living room, breaking off their conversation about something called Victorian flower language. Apparently Spike knew it and Tara was a big fan.
“Willow’s here.” He offered Tara a brief smile that in no way mimicked a grimace at her wince and shrugged. “We’re just waiting on Buffy and Dawn.” He headed towards his seat between Spike and the seat at the head of the table Giles had laid claim to.
A teenage tornado streaked in front of him and tackled the open seat next to Spike as if she expected someone to fight her for it.
“Or not.” Xander grinned. “Hey, Dawnie. How ya doing?” How in hell had he missed her and Buffy? Because where Dawn went, Buffy was sure to follow.
“Hungry.” She flipped her hair over her shoulder and stared hard at the food. “Buffy cooked breakfast.”
Xander nodded as he flopped down in his seat, batting away Spike’s helpful hand that would have tipped it backwards. Spike called it awareness training. Xander called it annoying, but he preferred it over threats of evisceration. Especially at the dinner table and why did he feel like he’d forgotten something important. There were drinks. Food. No alcohol. Plates. Silverware that was actually in the right order. Dessert was in the kitchen oven. Giles would join them as soon as Harry and Anya broke it off—
“What the hell, Xander? Who is that and since when has Anya had more than one boyfriend because that, that is not friendly-friendly. That is decidedly sexy-friendly. ”
Oh yeah. The whole not talking to Willow and Buffy because he had not jumped on the forgiveness cookie wagon meant he hadn’t told them about that yet. Or about the fact he’d hooked Anya up with his downstairs neighbor and co-worker, Harry the friendly sexed up Satyr. Or that he’d changed apartments. Or anything really. Well… fuck. An apocalypse might be useful right about now. Just a little one. An afternoon distraction. Really, it wasn’t like he wanted the world to end. He just needed to hit pause for a moment. Please?