Title: After

Author: Shawn



Summary: 24 hours after a blissful and secretive first time...

Rated R: For language

Category: Romance/Humor

Ship: B/X

Timeline/Spoilers: Set in a alternate Season Seven where Spike never returned and Tara is still alive. No 'First' ever came to Sunnydale, Anya left town for parts unknown, and so our story begins.

Email: Dayshawn1974@hotmail.com

My personal archive: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ShawnsLibrary/

Disclaimer: Mutant Enemy owns it all.

Dedicated to: Lexie, who received really good news this week. *smiles*

Authors Notes: If you're in the mood for a light hearted fun story that's offering romance and humor, then hopefully this story is for you. Enjoy.





I love you not as something private and personal, which is my own, but as something universal and worthy of love which I have found.

--Henry David Thoreau










The Magic Box

Friday, November 18, 7:30 PM

Sunnydale, Ca



Knowing your best friend, and then knowing your best friend very well are two starkly different things.

Lucky enough for Willow, she knows Buffy as well as anyone, so her curious perusal of the Slayer who sat across from her on the long oak table in the front of the Magic Box came with a slight note of wonder. Just a touch of gentle mystery.

Whatever is Buffy humming to herself about? Why is she happily researching the Demonic Encyclopedia for background information on Sunnydale's newest tourist when she would usually be munching snacks and complaining about researching, only to disappear in the back to train, where she would later be found reading a trashy love novel while munching snacks?

She's wonderfully predictable that way.

Lifting her eyes over her research material, Willow took in the fullness of her best friends appearance. She's having that rare 'good hair' day women dream of, and Willows pretty damn envious of that. There's a joyful glow about her skin, and her eyes were bright and full of mischief. Casual clothes for Buffy, faded blue jeans and a white sleeveless scooped neckline top made up her Slaying outfit for the evening. But it wasn't the clothes that captured Willow's attention. Oh no, it was her constant soft humming of some song she couldn't place with that little quirk of a smirking smile curling her lips as she flipped pages. Her gaze darted ever so often at the front door, as if she were waiting for someone in particular. Well, in fact, Giles and Xander are due back in a little while so they can brainstorm over the reported sightings of human-sized Rats running around the docks. Still, for some reason Willow was sure Buffy's seemingly serene mood wasn't do to a potential night of hunting rats. "You come up with anything yet?"

Startled out of her inner thoughts, Buffy shook her head. "Nope. I haven't found one page on demonic super-sized rats so far. But I'm only on page 45 of 7450. Alas, the night is young."

Ever the exaggerator, Willow frowned at the sight of her huge encyclopedia and how far she's in it as well. "When is the Council going to get their computer database up and running so that we don't have to pull out the old dusty books to find what we're looking for. I'm a point and click sort of girl these days."

"The Watcher's Council is so far behind the times I expect the Demonic Encyclopedia to be ready for eight track or

a cassette tape before we get one on CD."

"Maybe fifty volumes of VHS tapes."

"Their cheapness is legendary."

"When they refused to help you pay your phone bill last summer after Dawn accidentally called Argentina and the phone company threatened to turn it off, I knew then that they just didn't care. How can they refuse to pay the Slayers phone bill? They don't even send us stakes. We've all got splinter wounds from making them ourselves."

"Yeah, my next door neighbors don't understand why me and all my friends are constantly bring logs of wood in my house when we don't have a fire place. My house is the pariah of the neighborhood."

"It's still the number one stop for kids on Halloween. That's gotta count for something."

"It does, but Xander shows favoritism. He rewards the kids with the better costumes more candy, thus shortchanging the kids with costumes he didn't like. That's costumism and it's just not right."

"Discrimination in any form sucks."

"Like a two dollar ho."

"Like Paris Hilton."

"As I said, a two dollar ho," the Slayer laughed with her best friend at the rich heiress/amateur porn stars

expense. "I sure hope those big Rat-men sightings are false or as hoax of something. I mean really, what am I supposed to do? I am a Slayer of demons and vampires. I am not pest control. The city has a department for that. And pest control, unlike me, gets paid for slaying their enemies. Plus, rats wig me out. I can't stand even putting the little traps down the couple of times we had them at my house."

"I remember your legendary cursing fit when one trap accidentally snapped on your thumb. Dawn still talks about that night. She said you used every bad word that existed, and seemed to channel bad words from other languages as if you were possessed."

"She called me the Cursorcist."

"Dawn has a way with words."

"Speaking of my bratty little sister and living bill, is she really in the back doing her homework or just dodging the important work of researching the Rat-men?" Buffy angled towards the back area, listening for signs of her sister talking on her cell phone or any other activity that had nothing to do with school. "I know she has to be done with her Algebra by now. How long could it take?"

Having refereed many bouts between the Summers sisters, Willow always enjoyed them as she flipped through pages, and caught out the corner of her eye Buffy yet again sneaking a peak at the front door, sighing, then back to her own book. What was that all about? "Is Xander bringing you dinner or something? You keep staring at the door."

Deer in headlights look aside, Buffy replied slightly nervous, "Oh... uhm, nothing. I just wanted to get this rat-hunting show on the road so we can call it a early night." She leaned back in her chair, rocking it on it's back legs just to see if she could hold it steady, for the heck of it. "I wouldn't mind a little late night Bronzing to end the week. I'd rather kick up my heels than kick some vamps tonight."

"Hey, I never asked you how last nights patrol with Xander went." The hard thump that accompanied Buffy's wild yelp when she suddenly tipped to far back and fell on the floor shocked Willow, as she stood and rounded the table. Dawn came running from the back too, grinning when she saw her older sister sprawled on the floor. "Are you okay, Buffy?"

"My pride is wounded. That's all," she replied, her heart still racing the second Willow mentioned last night, which sent her off her feet, literally. "I'm good."

"Buffy, Buffy, Buffy," Dawn immediately began to taunt as she circled her grounded sister, who calmly rose back to her feet and set her chair up straight. "You've had thirty some odd years to learn how to properly sit in a chair."

"Twenty-two, actually. A number you won't reach if you don't shut it."

"What happened to your good mood? You were humming in the car this morning on the way to school, and you baked cookies when you got home. They actually had taste to them. Where did that happy Buffy go and leave this restless uncoordinated version behind? Where is she?"

"Did you finish your Algebra?"

"As much as you did when you were in High School."

"Hey, I nightly had to protect the city. I had reasons why allot of my assignments were incomplete. You have no excuse, other than incompetent phone usage and a penchant for stealing things that don't belong to you."



Aghast, Dawn cupped her breasts. "These are real."

"Yeah, real with the help of Charmin."

"Just because you are a member of the Itty Bitty Tittie Committee doesn't mean mine aren't real."

"My boobs are perfect for my height," Buffy assured her, "And I own a car, which you do not. And last I checked Charmin didn't make automobiles, so watch your mouth."

"Whatever." Deciding to let this go because she needs the car this weekend for a concert, deep inside Dawn knew that one day when she had her own car if she didn't run her sister over she'd at least make sure it was better than hers. "So, how's the Mickey Mouse hunt going?" Buffy tugged at her wrist to sit down in her chair, pushing the Demonic Encyclopedia in front of her.

"You're just in time to help." Watching her younger sister huff and frown gave Buffy a happy, who then ruffled her hair until Dawn shoved her away, but was smiling just the same. Sisters often went from hate to sisterhood again in a split second. "Research and enjoy."

Dawn turned the book open, offering a sarcastic "You're far too kind." Suddenly, all eyes peered up when Giles and Xander ambled into the Magic Box at long last. They looked quite guilty for some reason. "Where you guys been? It's researching time."

Following Giles inside, Xander made eye contact with Buffy for a split-heart stopping second, causing both to suffer a flushed grin they quickly hid. "And good evening to you, Dawn." Willow waved his way and he waved

back. "Did you find the rats?"

It never ceased to amuse her when Xander just assumed she'd already have this figured out. "Not yet, but you are in time to help us research. Grab a Demon Encyclopedia and get to work."

Something’s up, and the Slayer can tell. Buffy carefully watched a quiet Giles as he hung his coat up. Upon turning around, a napkin fell out of his jacket pocket. For some strange reason she had to see that napkin, so she went and grabbed it off the floor. When she read what was printed on it, she just shook her head, her temperature rising as did her voice. "You two are so busted!"

Crap. Crap. Double crap. Giles painted on his best older father-figure type pose, hands in his pocket as he prepared to address the Slayer. "Buffy, whatever are you referring too?" Playing dumb was never his strong suit. Xander was no help at all, seeing as how he was trying to back his way out of the room.

"Don't you dare move, Xander," Buffy ordered, then walked over and laid the napkin on the table like it was evidence in a criminal investigation. "While Willow and I were going blind as we choked down the stale air surrounding these old books, and poor Dawn was slaving over Algebra homework, you two were at the International House of Pancakes eating breakfast food for dinner." The Slayer stared at their hands. "I see no doggy bag, so I doubt you brought anything for us. Explain yourselves now!"

Why ever had he let Xander talk him into taking a little detour for a quick bite to eat. "Well, it was dinner time and neither of us had eaten dinner, so the conclusion was reached that we needed food."

Buffy snarled, "You could have called and we could have met you there. You could have called and asked us what we wanted and brought it here. But oh no, you were selfish and greedy with the good food. You're both evil. Evil I say."

"You tell'em, Buffy." Willow even clapped here support.

A little hi-five the witch's way, Buffy continued. "What did you eat?"

The Slayers glare wasn't often focused his way. Giles took a step back. "Well, food, of course."


"Pan... pancakes."

"What kind of pancakes, and don't you for a second say they were just the normal kind. I know you, Rupert."

Oh boy, she used his first name. A sure sign of Buffy-anger if there ever was one. "Blueberry..." he spoke in a low tone. "They were blueberry pancakes."

"HANG'EM!" Dawn offered as a suggestion. "Hang'em high!"

Buffy grabbed a pencil and threw it so hard near Xander's foot it embedded in the flooring, stalling his attempted getaway plan. She swore she heard him swear 'Damn' under his breath. Turning her attention back to Giles. "What else did you eat? What else did you deny the rest of the team? Talk!"

"Buffy, he's had enough."

"Hush Xander."

"He told you the truth."

"I want all of the truth."

"YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!" All eyes turned on Xander, with Willow giggling at him and even Buffy cracked a

smile. "Oh come on, I couldn't resist that one."

"You are all so very strange. And yes, I do blame American television," Giles declared in amusement. "Buffy, I regret to inform you that we ate a heaping helping of blueberry pancakes covered in syrup, cheese eggs, a steak omelet and some sort of raspberry pastry item. It was quite a good meal and for only eight dollars. Now are you satisfied?"

"No," the Slayer replied with no intention of letting him of the hook. "I'm hungry. Willow is hungry. Dawn is hungry. How are we supposed to patrol on a empty stomach? You two just blew us off and left the little ladies with all the work. Well I will not stand for it."

Dawn chimed in, "You already fell down sis, so you better stand."

"Shut up, Dawn. Or I won't buy any more Charmin." Dawn quickly shut up. "Now here's what's going to happen. You are going to go in the back and grab all our restaurant fliers and then bring them back out. Willow, Dawn and I are going to decide what we want for dinner, order it, and then you and your cohort," she tried to glare at Xander, but he was kind of staring at her in a soft way, "Are going to pick it up and pay for it."

"Now you listen here, Buffy. I am your Watcher."


You could hear a pin drop.

"... I do believe that new Chinese place on Fosters just opened." Smiling in time with her own, Giles made his way towards the back area, with Willow and Dawn tagging along behind. Victory belonged to the Slayer. All of a sudden she's alone with Xander... just as they were last night. "Sorry I had to get tough with you guys, but I will not stand for unfair treatment."

"You look so beautiful when you're being unfairly mistreated."

All at once she's shuttled back in time to last night when they took an impromptu trip to the movies after an early patrol and Buffy felt she was shortchanged on the size of her popcorn at the snack counter. Xander whispered the exact same thing to her there as well. "Looking for a repeat of last night, I see."

A dare and a challenge accompanied her arched brow. Xander knew her all to well as they circled the table, closing in on each other. "I certainly wouldn't be opposed to it."

"You were bad."

"How so?"

"You should have called me so we could have had dinner together. Hence, the badness."

"I wanted to have dinner with you, I just got out of work late and met up with Giles."

"You should have called me."

Sighing to himself, Xander paused to collect his thoughts. "Hearing your voice wouldn't have been enough, Buffy. Not after last night."

His sincere confession came with it a sense of awe as she was sure he had to be remembering how close they sat while watching 'Die Another Day' in the theater. Closer then they ever sat together at the movies before. Then again, feelings have been simmering just below the surface between them since last summer. Last night simply brought everything to a boiling point. "I'm hungry"

Sweetness laced her soft voice, tugging at his heartstrings. Already she's got his stomach tied up in knots. Her sparkling hazel eyes held him captive, and all he wanted was to kiss her. "You order and I'll pay."

"That worked well for us last night."

"I would have bought you a large popcorn and a Sprite years ago if you just asked."

A tease for a tease. Buffy held her arms crossed as he moved in front of her, leaning back against the table. They haven't been this close since she left his bed in the wee hours of the morning. "How was your day?"

A simple enough start, Xander surmised. "I had the most productive day I have ever had the construction company."

That slightly crooked sexy smile of his revealed all. "Tell the truth, Xander."

"I got absolutely nothing done all day long. All I could think about was you," he offered truthfully. even at his own expense. "I might have assisted someone in building something and I think I signed my name to a contract or two. For all I know I could have signed myself up as a background singer for Destiny's Child world tour."

"I sincerely doubt that one," she laughed and hoped the others would bicker in the back a while longer. "So, you had a good day?"

"I just thought about you."

"It's not every day best friends make love all night long," she asserted out loud for the very first time, acknowledging what had happened. What is was and what it was not. He seemed more than a little pleased by her

description. "I couldn't think about anything but you at work today either. I was... distracted all day long. I saw some students, but can't remember one thing they said. I took one page of notes all day long and didn't even write down one name."

"Last night must have been pretty special for you to have been affected like that."

He's carefully asking her a personal question without asking, and she knows his game. "It was very special."

"For me too," he assured her, exhaling the breath he held. She's wearing some new perfume that's wrecking havoc on his senses. Something tropical, gracing her skin the way his tongue did last night.

As a nervous silence settled in around them, his hands caught her attention... those same strong hands that caressed her entire body to so many passionate awakenings. Her body gaze a small shudder from the memory alone. "It was all so... unexpected."

"The movie or the love making?"

"Love makings," she corrected him with a light blush fluttering her cheeks. On her every blink she can mentally scan intimate photos of their endless passion under the warm covers last night. Slow, and deeply passionate, their souls touched, and it was so far beyond simple sex, and yet the very best sex either had ever had. And she knows he feels the exact same way. "I counted three times last night," she noted with a cute little bite of her

bottom lip. Okay, four if you count... you know."

Oh he did know and enjoyed every second of it. "Would you kindly turn your back so I can pump my fist in the air."

"No," she chuckled, taking a step closer. Either his body's giving off heat, or she's in it. Buffy looked over her shoulder, then back to Xander. "I'm ah.... I'm sorry I left before you woke up. I wanted to get home before Dawn woke up."

It hadn't surprised him to wake up alone, and nor did he take it as a bad sign. "Did you?"

"Yeah, barely." She needed him to understand this. "I wasn't trying to hide what happened, and I don't have any... I don't regret any of it. It's just you and I haven't had a moment to sit down and talk about last night, so it's not something I want to broadcast until we do."

"I agree with that." Casting a quick glance to the back, Xander's left hand reached for hers, caressing her small fingers on the palm of his hand. Touching her wasn't his dream anymore, but felt like a right he

now owned. However did a James Bond movie and two glasses of wine at his apartment lead them to the absolute best night of his life? "I didn't bring you back to my place last night for... you know. I wasn't trying for that."

"I know, Xander. I know you. I never thought that."

He nodded his appreciation, though still unsure of their next step. "I wanted to spend the whole day with you."

Buffy's smile seemed to light up the room. Her hand felt so warm in his. Just like last night. Never in her life had she made love holding hands before. It felt like a borderline religious experience. "I came so close to calling in sick for work today."

"Yeah, but here we are, the responsible adults."

"Yeah, responsible adults." It's funny to her how they are avoiding the big stuff and just talking as they

normally would. He's calmer than she expected him to be. Heck, so is she. "So now what?"

The hell if he knew, Xander said with his free arm as he stretched it out. The last thing he wanted was to endanger their friendship, but damn it all to hell, he had every intention of taking his last shot with her and seeing what would happen. "I don't know. I guess we could..." At that very moment Giles, Willow, and Dawn came rushing back into the front of the store.

"Dinners going to have to wait. We just got a tip from one of our informants that a large Rat-like man was seen by the docks ten minutes ago. We need to check it out now," Giles informed them as he made his way to the weapons chest.

Buffy and Xander's complicated relationship will have to be put on the back burner for a little while longer.






Sunnydale North shore Docks

Friday, November 18, 8:45 PM

Sunnydale, Ca


As strange a moment as this is for him to take a quick looksie at his watch, Xander did just that. The time, and his current situation cruelly mocked him, especially seeing as how at this exact moment twenty-four hours ago he was enjoying himself immensely, snuggled up to a warm affectionate Slayer in a packed dark movie theater.