To be on the safe side, this might not be work safe due to implied sexual situation.
No, I'm not writing a threesome. I have a hard enough time even crossing the line into vague smut. *heh* My hang-up, not the readers'.
And for the record, yes, the story will earn its R rating before the end, which means I doubt I'll be able to post this at Fan Fiction Dot Net since they seem to be taking their cue from the FCC. It's hard to tell what they'll take offense to and I'm not in any mood to find a catch-all archive for my PG-13 and under stories. It's the same reason why I didn't post Ishmael Sings of the White Whale there.
[Yes, at some point I really need to post it to the Buffy Fanfiction Archive or Silverlake, but I haven't had the chance.]
So, nervously put forward for your approval.
Continued from Part 6.
Part of the problem, Xander finally figured out, was that he wasn’t used of being inside after dark. Even on his nights off he tended to get out of the Mother House, if only just to get out. The jittery, claustrophobic feeling of being shut in made it difficult for him to concentrate on even simple things.
Haley was up in her room doing homework, the freaky bit being that she volunteered she had homework and had gone to her room without so much as a push from her parents.
Anya curled up on a couch in the den to watch some infotainment news show on one of those flat-screen, high-definition televisions that people could hang on their wall like a picture. Not knowing what to do with himself, Xander took possession of an overstuffed armchair. The hyper, happy drone from some young perky blonde thing talking about the latest hot stud sensation wasn’t helping.
As for other Xander, he seemed to be suffering from the same attack of penned-in-itis that he was. He could hear other him wandering around the house.
Anya stretched her neck to look over the back of the couch. “Why don’t you join us?”
Other Xander’s head popped into the room. “Checking to make sure everything’s locked, hun.”
“I already heard you do that.”
“Just checking again.”
Anya settled back down with a grumble. “Bet he’s checked the stove a thousand times, too.”
The sound of other Xander’s footsteps going up the stairs set Xander’s teeth right on edge. A sympathetic pounding in his head began in time to the rhythmic walk of other Xander going from room to room in the too-large house.
“Doesn’t he ever stop?” Xander asked.
Anya shrugged, but her eyes didn’t move from the screen. “Sunnydale.”
“He does know that vampires can’t get in unless invited right?”
Anya shot him the shut-up look.
Right. Don’t mention vampires. Freakier and freakier.
Other Xander’s circuit eventually brought him back to the den. “You need something?”
“Water’s good,” Anya said without moving her eyes from the television.
Other Xander pointed at him. “You?”
Xander simply shook his head.
When other Xander left, Anya visibly relaxed into the couch cushions, like she had been expecting a storm that didn’t come. Xander could feel every muscle in his back tense in response.
Other Xander was back carrying one of those T.V. dinner trays made out of wood. Anya’s water sloshed over the edges of her glass as he set it down next to the couch. Sitting next to the full glass was two empty smaller glasses along with that oh-so-familiar bottle of booze.
Everything in Xander’s body stopped working; lungs, heart, brain, the whole package. He was pretty sure his mouth was hanging open in a very uncool version of Idiot Jeb.
Anya looked up as other Xander set the tray down, but didn’t react beyond a puzzled frown upon seeing the bottle as she reached over and grabbed her water glass. Instead of turning back to the television, she kept her eyes on other Xander.
“Drink?” other Xander asked.
Responses ranging from “Are you fucking kidding me?” to “Breeding will show” flashed through his mind. Since the surest way to spark a violent reaction from a Harris was to get between said Harris and a bottle, Xander decided that maybe he should keep it minimalist. “No,” he said.
“You sure?” Other him asked this with half a nasty sarcastic smile, the kind of smile that Xander so desperately wanted to smack off the guy’s face.
“Let me see. High stress. Alcohol. Harris genes. Not mix-y things last I checked,” Xander fought to keep his voice even.
“Well, all right,” other Xander reached for the bottle.
For some bizarre reason, Anya looked flat-out confused. “What are you doing?”
“Having a drink,” other Xander said as he broke the seal on the bottle with a twist.
“Since when?” she asked.
“Ahn, I am a responsible adult last I checked.”
“Wild Turkey,” Xander interrupted.
“What about it?” other him asked.
“That’s Tony’s drink.”
Other him looked down at the bottle and seemed lost for a moment. When he looked up again, the nasty smile had turned sad. “You’re right,” he said softly. “Sorry about that.”
Without another word, the tray was whisked away like other Xander couldn’t get it out of the room fast enough.
“What the hell just happened?” Xander asked.
“Got me. Xander’s not a big drinker.”
“Oh, he has the occasional drink,” Anya paused to sip from her glass, “special occasions, holidays, he’ll have maybe one or two, but that’s it. Even then he makes me drive if we’re out somewhere.” She gave him a sympathetic smile. “I’m sure I don’t have to tell you.”
“So what’s with waving the Wild Turkey under my nose? No. Wait. Don’t tell me. Another test, right?”
“I guess.” Anya huffed a half-laugh. “Surprised me seeing it, that’s for sure. We’ve had that bottle for a couple of years. Someone brought it for a party and it’s been gathering dust in that back of one of the cabinets ever since. Well, you saw. Never even been opened.”
Right. If he stayed in this room for one more second he was going to start killing people, starting with other Xander for scaring the hell out of him like that. As he got to his feet, other Xander entered the room looking like a kicked puppy.
“Don’t,” Xander gave him talk-to-the-hand, “Don’t say you’re sorry. Don’t even try.”
Other Xander shoved his hands in his pockets and managed to look even guiltier. “You’re right,” he quietly admitted. “That was a pretty shitty thing to do to you. I should know better.”
The show of contrition only got him angrier. Other him knew what he did was wrong, yet he did it anyway. Don’t you think you’re overreacting? It’s not like this is at all real. And if it is, you have to admit that it’s actually a good test.
No way. No. Unh-unh. He wasn’t going to go all understanding-guy about this.
When Xander thought he could speak without yelling, he said, “Know what? I think I better head to bed.”
Other Xander actually hunched as Anya asked, “Isn’t it a little early?”
“I’m tired,” Xander said. “It’s been a long day. I have a headache. I’m on overload. And I’m hoping that when I wake up I won’t be here, but in my own bed. In Cleveland. With my friends. In 2003. Because that’s where I belong.”
“I’ll take him to the guest bedroom,” Anya volunteered as she hauled herself off the couch.
“I’ll do it,” other Xander said.
“That’s such an unbelievably bad idea that I can’t even begin to express it words,” Xander said.
Other Xander gazed at his feet as he said, “Ahn. I’ll be in my workshop, okay?”
“I’ll come get you when we’re done,” Anya said sympathetically.
Other Xander retreated as Anya led him upstairs and into a small room. Lovely. This one also had some family pictures scattered around.
Anya nervously stood in the doorway while he surveyed his temporary quarters and said, “It’s right next door to our room, so if you need anything we’re right there. There’s some raggy sweats in the dresser drawers over there. They should fit. They’re Xander’s. We just keep them there in case any of our friends have to stay unexpectedly after a party. Xander’s pretty strict on the no-drinking-and-driving rule. Paranoid about it actually. More paranoid than even the locking the windows, and you can see he’s pretty paranoid about that.”
“The bathroom’s right across the hall if you need to visit it in the middle of the night. I’ll leave out a toothbrush for you. It’s still in the package. Just leave your dirty clothes outside the door. I’ll put some fresh ones in front of it before I go to bed.”
“Let me guess. What’s his face’s clothes?”
“Well, do you see another man your size around here?” Anya snapped.
“Sorry. Me with the sarcastic.” Xander gave her a wan smile. “Thanks, Ahhhnnnya. Anya.”
“Good night,” she replied with a sweet smile and closed the door.
Xander clenched his fists and sat down on the edge of the bed. If anyone from Cleveland could see him now, no doubt they’d be commenting on his heroic, manly struggle against his overwhelming desire to smash everything in the room.
Oh do stop being such a child, the voice sounded disturbingly like Giles. Throwing your toys around in a fit of temper solves nothing.
Except these weren’t his toys and they never will be his toys.
The hell of it was, they could’ve been. Even if this was all a nightmare, he could almost see how he could’ve grabbed the good life for himself if he just had the balls to do it.
Willing to bet Anya’s, Buffy’s, Dawn’s, and Willow’s lives on that, champ?
He could’ve compromised. He knew he could’ve done it, but there was Tony and Jessica reminding him that no matter what he did he was always going to be a Harris deep down where it counted.
Yeah. Blaming his parents. Willow’s mother would have a field day with that one.
“Face it, chump,” he said quietly, “you fucked yourself so stop blaming everyone else.”
Anya and him could’ve gotten married and just not leave town. In fact, he was willing to bet that if other him hadn’t told Anya about the visions they would’ve never left Sunnydale.
Oh. Wait. One drawback. Things might’ve played out exactly the same way, which would’ve meant Anya would still be dead. The only difference would’ve been that he’d officially be a widower.
At least I would’ve had a word, some kind of definition other than Xander-loser-Harris-whose-ex-fiance-died-b
Technically not one word and it still didn’t explain a damn thing.
When he finally calmed himself enough so he wouldn’t go into ‘Hulk smash’ mode, he swapped his borrowed clothes for the borrowed sweats. As he put the folded pile outside his door, he saw that Anya was true to her word and had left behind the next day’s fashion choices for him.
As he shut the door, another thing occurred to him about how wrong this whole situation was. Anya and other him left him alone in an unlocked room on the second floor. As far as he knew, the only other person on the second floor was their daughter.
“Now is that me? Or is that completely stupid?” he asked. They didn’t know him from Adam. He could’ve been anyone from anywhere. Sure, they threw little tests at him that he had passed, but he also knew he managed to wig them out a few times. You’d think someone would be hanging around outside to make sure I don’t sprout fangs after dark.
If someone had shown up out of the blue back in Cleveland that didn’t pass his personal vibe test, he sure as hell would’ve had someone guarding the hallway outside that person’s room. Actually, he would’ve done it even if the stranger in question seemed firmly in the no-threat camp. In fact, he had done it in the recent past, so there was no ‘if’ about it.
He snatched a picture off the dresser—this one with Anya, other him, and a kindergarten-age Haley—and snarled, “You know what? If you’re this stupid, you really don’t deserve any of this. You should’ve left me in the street to get eaten by the local vamps or dumped me at an emergency room and taken off.”
Or at the very least find a way to lock his goddamn bedroom door to prevent him from sneaking around while everyone was asleep.
It took every ounce of his willpower not to throw the picture against a far wall instead of putting it back where it belonged.
Knowing he had to calm down if he even hoped to get any sleep, he spent time studiously avoiding the pictures as he fiddled with the window, hoping against hope that the smell of fresh California air would knock him out. The smell of the night made him only twitchier about being indoors and he shut the window. In short order, the room felt stuffy again and he could practically feel the walls close in, so he cracked the window. Then he shut it. Then he opened it again.
That pretty much defined his night before he gave up, shut off the light, threw himself into bed, and stared up at the ceiling through the murky darkness.
At some point he could hear two sets of footsteps—one heavier than the other—walk down the hall and enter the bedroom next door. A quick glance at the clock told him it was only 10:30 p.m. and he groaned in frustration.
There was some more walking around, probably to check on Haley and get ready for bed, before the door to the bedroom next to him shut with a final sound. It was quickly followed by the murmur of tense voices weaving around each other in disagreement. The walls must’ve been pretty well insulated, since he couldn’t make out any actual words, just the flat, hushed voices of two people in the middle of an argument.
Hopefully other him was giving Anya hell for being dumb enough to leave him in an unlocked bedroom with their daughter just down the hall. Or maybe Anya was giving other Xander hell over the Wild Turkey incident. Frankly, he didn’t much care one way or the other.
There was a sound of a thump that caused Xander to sit up. He relaxed when he heard the deep voice say something in a questioning way. Not throwing things, then.
His moment of relief disappeared when he heard a very definite male moan.
Oh, shit. She wouldn’t.
Oh yes she would. This was a familiar tactic. If they argued or were still arguing come bedtime, Anya had always trotted out her not-so-secret weapon and he had fallen for it every single time.
The male voice was saying something again, although there were odd breaks in the stream of words. Anya wasn’t saying anything, probably because her mouth was busy elsewhere.
His hands helplessly fisted the sheets. He knew the smart thing would be to bury himself under the blankets and jam a pillow around his ears, but he was frozen as the familiar-but-not-familiar muffled sounds insinuated themselves under his skin.
He didn’t need x-ray vision to know what was happening on the other side of the wall. All he had to do was dust off his memories and he could get full surround sound with 360-degree wall-to-wall mental images of Anya on her knees and his hands clutching through her hair while she worked.
Angry sex. Fighting sex. The best kind, according to Anya. Then again, any sex could be the best kind depending on her mood.
Angry sex ended one of two ways. If it was really angry sex, it ended on the bed with him on top, probably one of the few circumstances when he actually got to be the top. If it was just disagreement sex, Anya’d swallow and then he’d return the favor. The only time he’d ever really felt completely in control in the bedroom was when she was on her back and his face was buried between her thighs.
The control was all an illusion and he knew that. Anya never did anything she didn’t want to do, even in cases where angry sex crossed into furious sex.
Did he ever really have any control over anything when it came to Anya? Except for the marriage thing. He proposed. He was also the one that walked away, so, yeah, he had some control. He just wasn’t very good with it.
Looking at it from the wrong side of the bedroom wall, it occurred to him how pathetic, how fundamentally wrong, it all sounded even in his head. All these coded messages were so burned into him like a Hellmouth signature that he knew what was going on based on a few sounds. If he didn’t know any better, he’d think that the only time he and Anya ever really communicated was when they were naked.
Now that he thought about it—and he really didn’t want to even go there, but it was hard to avoid what with the noise—he spent an awful lot of time on top of Anya in the weeks leading up to the marriage that wasn’t. That should’ve been his first clue that all was not right in Xander-land.
He heard the sound of someone falling heavily on the bed, a female moan, and that low, intense male voice.
Really angry sex it is, then.
He could feel every muscle tense, but he remained frozen as he stared wide-eyed at the opposite wall. This wasn’t even close to a turn-on because he knew whatever the argument was, it must’ve been a beaut judging by the way the soft thumping very quickly picked up steam and the flow of male words was getting more intense.
Ah, yes. That would be the filthy talk. When Anya first got her hands on him he was more of a grunter by nature, but for some reason she loved the talk. He went along with it because, hey, where else was he going to find a girl willing to try all his Hustler-fueled fantasies? Where was he going to find a girl that was willing, period? He didn’t even think about it, going along until he finally developed Tourette’s of the penis. Towards the end, unless his mouth was busy doing something else, the words would just flow out of him like a foul river; all words he wouldn’t say, couldn’t even admit to saying, in the harsh light of day.
Hey, guys! Hope you’re daughter isn’t in an adjoining room, otherwise she’s getting quite the messed-up education about the birds and the bees.
The only time it occurred to him that there might be something off about the filthy talk was just after Anya moved in with him. It had been a supposedly a romantic night, complete with take-out from a nice restaurant, candles, and soft music, followed by a long night in bed. Anya had really pushed the talking part, encouraging him in a thousand ways to go further and harder than he ever had.
When it was all over and they were relaxing into each other in that lazy way he loved, he finally asked her why.
She smiled and shrugged it away by saying that she just liked the way his mouth worked while they had orgasms.
Living Anya in the other room was making a lot of noise now. She wasn’t a talker, more of a moaner. At least she wasn’t as loud as he remembered, so maybe she learned to tone it down after Haley. Other him seemed to be reduced to single disconnected words between grunts.
“You lied to me,” he quietly accused the dead Anya. Sitting in the dark and listening with an outsider’s knowing ear, he could finally see it. The filthy talk was a sort of brand, a way to make him into the kind of lover Anya wanted but no one else would. What woman in her right mind was going to put up with a guy talking about bending her over a table and ramming into her until she screamed? Not too many, that’s for damn sure.
Simple, crude, and effective: Anya in a nutshell. Even if things didn’t work out, even if things fell apart long before they finally did, she managed to turn him into damaged goods, a man no woman would even want once they had him. He was tattooed with permanent marker: Property of Anya. There was nothing he could do to wash it off because he was too well trained and too tainted.
It made a sick sense. Anya was a vengeance demon that granted wishes for scorned women. Anya was going to make sure that she was never scorned, even though she knew the guy who shared her life was capable. Hell, that was how he even got on her radar.
It was sheer genius, absolute sheer genius in an Anya sort of way. Sitting where he was as he listened to other him finally pop off with a strangled sound, he could see it so perfectly. Had it happened to someone else, he might’ve even appreciated the joke.
The sounds stopped. He couldn’t even hear voices talking, but he knew they probably were whispering to one another. Sorry. I didn’t mean… We okay? We’re good. We really need to do something about that.
Maybe he was being harsh with a touch of bitter he thought as he sunk back into the mattress. There was no way it was anywhere near as twisted and bad as all that. It couldn’t possibly have been that way. He loved her. He knew he did. There was plenty of sweet sugar to go around when they were happy and they were happy more often than not. But in the dark with the sounds of intense sex still echoing in his head and not even a twitch from his dick, he was left with only the belief that it was true.
Besides, all couples have their kinks, right? he thought. Anya’s kink was talking dirty and he loved what it did for her. As far as their kinks went, it may have been their biggest one, but it wasn’t the kinkiest.
Just the same, he could feel Property of Anya stamped right on his ass as he stared at the glowing numbers on the clock and watched the minutes turn to hours.
Download (Good for seven days): The Bones Underneath by Averi (local Boston band)