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Title: Black Magic White Lies
Chapter 13 - In Which Xander Finds Out About Giles' Secret
Timeline: BtVS, alternate season 5
Genre: drama, mystery, action
Characters, pairing: general, Xander/Faith
Rating: R (for intense situations).
Summary: Xander thinks he has a little secret. He doesn't know that his little secret is a part of a big fat conspiracy.
Disclaimer: They all belong to Joss. He said I could play with'em, so there.
Author's notes: Much thanks to my wonderful betas [personal profile] lusciousxander and [personal profile] deird1 who encourage me, help me with character voices, fix my bad grammar and style. All mistakes are mine. This is my first plotty multi-character fic, so concrit is very welcome.

The story starts here

"We have to shield her."

Xander looks at Anya questioningly.

"Shield her," she repeats patiently. "Willow says magic hurts her and this spell is quite a blast. The only way to shield a human body is another human body. Or bodies."

Xander is baffled. Anya is brisk and businesslike. She brought the supplies, gave him a quick nod - "hi, hon" - and started helping Giles and Willow with the spell. She hasn't said a word about him having another woman in his apartment. A woman, pregnant with his child. The only sign of Anya's attitude is her stubborn refusal to call Faith by name or to look in her direction as she explains that the more bodies participate in shielding the more effective the shield is.

"Are dead bodies eligible too?" Spike asks, wiggling his brows. Buffy kicks him in the shins.

"Yes, Spike - you have a rare chance to grope two slayers at once," Anya deadpans.

Xander preemptively envelops Faith in a hug, cringing mentally when Anya looks at them, but she doesn't say anything. Buffy unceremoniously pulls Spike away from Faith, and Xander can't help but notice that her hands linger on Spike's arm.

When the spell is done, everybody relaxes. Buffy does a test - she tries to punch Spike and her fist sticks in the air an inch from Spike's cheekbone. Spike smirks and offers Buffy a ride to the hospital. Much to Xander's frustration, Buffy asks Willow to come with them. No doubt she wants to grill her about him and Faith.

Damn. He has to talk to Willow.

Leaving Faith in the bedroom, Xander sees Buffy and Willow to Spike's car. "Will, there is something I have to tell you..." He looks at her pleadingly, trying to convey that "something" is for her ears only. Willow stops, concerned, but Buffy also stops and grabs Willow's hand posessively. Xander suppresses an exasperated sigh. "I just... I want to thank you, Will... and you too, Buffy - for what you're doing. I owe you."

He follows them with his eyes. Tomorrow. He'll tell Willow tomorrow.

As he returns to his apartment, he hears Anya's voice from his living-room. "You tell him, Rupie".

Xander stops cold in his tracks. Rupie? What the hell?

"No, Anya, I think it would be better if you tell him yourself."

Xander's heart sinks. Anya's voice is urgent and insistent; Giles replies wearily and morosely. They sound like people who don't like what they are about to do. Of course, they don't want to kill Faith - but, somehow they figured out something about her baby and... There must be a stepladder downstairs. Maybe he could sneak into the bedroom without them noticing. He'd climb up the balcony from the outside, grab Faith, put her in his car and drive far, far away from Sunnydale...

"As a matter of fact I'm not sure if we should do it now when he goes through such difficult time," Giles continues.

"Rubbish - it's the best opportunity! We have to tell him now when his baby hasn't been born yet. In a month he may change his mind. He'll get tired of sleepless nights and baby cries. Even a sexy girlfriend won't be able to make up for it. He will want to stay with me."

What the hell is Anya talking about? Xander sighs. Okay, sneaking into a bedroom and escaping with Faith can wait. He pastes a fake smile on his face and enters his apartment.

"What's up, guys?"

No Faith in sight, both Giles and Anya look guilty. His heart sinks.

"Where is she?"

"Xander, I have to tell you something important," Anya declares solemnly.

"Where is Faith, Anya?" he yells.

Anya sulks. "In her bedroom. I mean - your bedroom. She must be knackered - is that the word, Rupie? It must be very tiresome, to have such a huge... a very nice belly."

He sighs with relief. "So, what is it that you have to tell me?"

"Delicately, remember?" Giles murmurs.

"Sure, sweetie." She flashes them a megawatt smile. "I have wonderful news for you, Xander. You won big time."

What? He must have misheard her. What is she talking about?

Anya goes on, unperturbed. "Just think of it, sweetie. Instead of a thousand-years-old demon with a rich history of murders and disasters all around the world you get a young slayer with an almost spotless reputation of killing only several humans. She is sexy and can give you a lot of orgasms. She is strong and can protect you if somebody tries to hurt you. She is beautiful and hot, so all your male friends will be envious of you. And soon she will give birth to a wonderful baby and you will become a proud father. While poor Giles will have to cope with me and my horrible demon ways."

"Woe is me," Giles adds dryly.

Their faces reel before Xander's eyes. "Guys, you mean you're... together?"

"Just don't get violent," Anya warns. "Violence is the resort of the weak-willed."

He is at a loss. "Why would I use violence?"

"You were constantly telling me about your father's hot tempers."


She shrugs. "Men often refer to their friends and relatives when they want to talk about things they do but are ashamed of revealing. They say, "a friend of mine is into Internet porn." Or, "My big brother beats his girlfriend when she cheats on him."

He is taken aback. "You mean every time I was complaining about my old man you thought I was making threats in disguise?"

She lowers her eyes. "Sorry, honey. I haven't got used to human ways yet. You speak in unfathomable codes."

Giles shakes his head, embarrassed. "Every time I suggested we should tell you, she stalled me. But today, when I called her to the Magic Box and told about you and Faith, she decided it was the right time to break the news."

"Because you don't have the right to get angry at me, Xander," Anya says. "Judging by your girlfriend's size, you cheated on me nine months ago. And I started doing it five months later."

Baffled, Xander tries to change the subject before Anya decides he deserves a vengeance wish put upon him. "Uh, Giles, so, you were uneasy around me recently because of - this?"

Anya looks at Giles with reproach. "I always said you were a terrible liar."

Giles smiles painfully. "It was too obvious, wasn't it? When did you guess about us?"

Xander grins. He is so exhilarated he wants to hug them both.

"Actually, you've caught me completely unawares. At first I was sure you were fidgeting because you knew about me and Faith. Then I thought you were sneaky around me because you wanted to kill her."

Giles is shocked. "What an absurd idea!"

"I thought you were planning her grisly death too, honey," Anya puts in brightly. "Recently you've been talking so much about doing the duty and taking the responsibility."

Giles is genuinely baffled. "Anya, responsibility doesn't necessarily mean murder!"

She snorts. "You humans use so many funny euphemisms for killing and death. A demon can easily get confused by them. Anyways, I'm happy to be wrong about your motivations. I don't want Xander to grieve. Are we still friends, Xander? It's the best way to cease a relationship - to stay on friendly terms and visit each other's families on Christmas and Thanksgiving, bringing presents and good cheer."

He stifles hysterical laughter. Good cheer. Small talk at the Christmas table - Anya and Spike arguing who caused more mayhem, Faith and Buffy debating if axes are better for beheading than swords, Giles and Willow discussing the prospects of the next apocalypse. And the funniest thing? It feels normal. Well, almost.

Anya interprets his silence the wrong way. "I realize it's too sudden. I expected you to be confused so I brought - this." She hands him a sachet made of black cloth. "I ordered five ounces of the powder of Nagarjuna. Specially for you. It reveals the inner essence of a person. Sprinkle the powder on you and you will see..."

Giles frowns. "The last time I checked the powder of Nagarjuna was used to reveal a person's weakness."

Anya smiles a bit guiltily. "It's a matter of definition. Are his feelings to this girl a weakness or his true essence? I'd say both. He only needs to stop resisting it and embrace himself as her lover."

"Thank you, Anya," Xander says with difficulty. "I appreciate your efforts. I... I'll make sure I do that. Later, okay?" He takes the sachet she's still holding in her hands and puts it in his pocket. "And - I congratulate you and Giles on finding each other."

She beams. "Thank you, dear. And - don't count on Giles' feelings of guilt to derive benefit from his difficult situation. Him being a current lover of your ex-lover doesn't give you the right to ask for money, or for your new Slayer girlfriend's employment in Magic Box..."

"Don't worry, Anya, I won't be asking anything. Except one thing." He turns to Giles. "The Council has to leave Faith alone. If she doesn't want to cooperate with them - it's her right. If it was the Council who sent these killers, they will regret the day they did it. Because they can't win in a war against the Slayer. Or, rather, two Slayers."

"I can assure you, the Council isn't involved in these assaults," Giles retorts. "Also, I can assure you that Buffy will never side with Faith against the Council."

"Really? Two years ago the Council sent a crazy vampire after her and he almost killed her mother. And now they're after another Slayer."

Giles looks at him with grim determination. "Do you really think Buffy can forgive her for everything she did to her and Angel?"

"Oh, she can!" Anya says briskly. "Former enemies do become the best of friends and allies. Do you remember that funny movie we watched? About a robot with a horrible foreign accent? In the first film he tries to kill the girl, until she kills him, and in the second he protects her and her child."

"Also, the X-men and Magneto's clan united against a common enemy," Xander adds. "Wait... Giles - you watched both "Terminators"?

Giles winces. "It's... irrelevant."

"Anyway, Buffy's got her closure," Anya continues, imperturbable. "When she wounded Faith in the womb, she metaphorically castrated her enemy and took away her woman power. Since Buffy's all about woman power, she felt bad about it. And now it turns out that the above-mentioned enemy retained her ability to procreate. Buffy hasn't destroyed her womanhood. To keep her role of a big shiny hero Buffy has to help her former enemy. Humans always feel affection for those they're helping. They love neighbors for the good they do to the neighbors. Because humans constantly need to prove to themselves they're good guys... what?"

Giles closes his mouth with a snap. "You never cease to amaze me, Anya."

"But of course, sweetie! That's why you love me so much!"

Giles smiles ruefully, as he hugs Anya's shoulders. "Sure, dear – but we digress. Xander, you have to believe me. The Council is not Faith's enemy. They are ready to discuss terms of future cooperation. Talk to her."

Xander nods wearily. "Okay. We'll talk about it. Tomorrow." He looks at the clock pointedly.

"Will you ask me to be a godmother of your child?" Anya asks. "Rupert and I ..."

"Anya, dear," Giles interrupts. "I think this matter can wait. Today was a hectic day. Let's not outstay our welcome."

She pouts but obediently follows him to the door. "I'll call tomorrow morning," Giles says.

Xander nods. Tomorrow. Whatever it is, it can wait until tomorrow.

He looks at the clock. It's ten to midnight.

Tomorrow is imminent.

Next: chapter 14 - In Which Xander Finds Out Something About Faith
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December 2009


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