Old Fashioned Fella
Word count: 12,152
Disclaimer: Everything Buffy and Marvel doesn't belong to me.
A/N: Still procrastinating. So here's the sequel to Old Fashioned Mayhem part of an Alpha Harris AU.
A/N 2: Still a soulmate AU. The kind where people have the first words their soulmate ever says to them somewhere on their body. And though it’s rare some people have two soulmates.
A/N 3: Apologies to my beta. Kachi I swear I didn't know it was gonna end up being so long.
Steve took his time making his way to Sunnydale on his motorcycle. At first he wasn't going to chase after Xander so soon; in fact, he wanted to stick around and help with the clean up. Honestly though he’d had enough of New York for a while, besides Tony pointed out that maybe the young man was expecting him to chase after him. Make a big romantic gesture, be his escort to prom, the senior formal. Maybe even sweep him off his feet.
He wasn't sure he was ready to court anyone, not even a soulmate, but he was kinda old fashioned. Besides after the experience in New York, maybe they could both use something normal like a dance. Not that Steve knew how to dance, but he could probably fake it during a slow song.
So he hopped on his motorcycle, he rode hard during the day, camped out under the stars at night, and made his way to Sunnydale. Toward his soulmate and a future of possibilities; even if he wasn't ready for any of them.
It was better than punching through bag after bag in the gym.
They'd been back in the ‘Dale for two weeks, and already New York seemed like an entirely different lifetime. The aliens, Chitauri they'd been called, the chaos, and the sheer destruction. It was so nice to be back on the Hellmouth where things were so much calmer. Well, mostly calmer, now they had to deal with prom madness.
Prom was days away, and Xander was starting to get anxious. All their tickets had been paid for, now he just needed to get a tux...and a corsage for Cordy. If she still wanted him to take her...maybe he should double check on that. He'd promised to take her if she needed a date...luckily he'd just spotted her at her locker.
“Hey Cordy. Any preference of flowers when I get your corsage?”
She stared at him, brow raised. “Are we prom dates?”
“Do you not want to go?” He frowned. “We made a pact to go together if you didn't have a date...did I presume too much?” Stupid Xander, always ask the girl first, never assume.
Cordy shook her head and closed her locker a little too forcefully. “I'm not going.” Her words were stiff and unhappy as she walked away toward the front entrance. He followed her, confused.
“But your ticket...”
“Is non-refundable...just like the senior trip.”
He blinked. “I'm missing something.”
He got a glimpse of an eye-roll. “A lot...listen. I gotta get to work, it’s a long walk to April Fools.”
Xander caught her arm before she could get away. “Cordy?”
Her hazel eyes were full of anger and sadness when they met his. “My dad's been arrested for tax evasion. The IRS took everything. The part time job I have is barely enough to pay for my crappy motel room and there's no way I'll be able to afford the dress I have on layaway.” She started moving again.
“Where's your mom?” He asked, barely getting ahead to open the door for her.
Cordelia breezed past him into the sunlight, voice bitter. “She had some money stashed away in the pool boy's name and they skipped town.”
“Jesus...Cordy I am so sorry.” Then he frowned as his mind backtracked. “What motel?”
“The super crappy one Faith stayed in. Why?”
“Cordy, any vamp can just walk in and...” He shook his head. “Tor's got a second guestroom. Kyle's parents have a guest house...any of the pack would have taken you in. It’s not safe to stay in any motel or hotel, the lack of proper threshold is life threatening.”
“Not to mention that place is super skeezy.” Faith interrupted, making Cordelia jump. “Tell me what room you're in and I'll pack up your stuff and take it to Giles' place. It’s where I'm crashing. Then we can talk about prom.” She smirked at Xander. “That okay with you, Boss?”
“It’s Cordy's life.”
She focused on Cordelia. “What'll be Queen C?”
Cordelia shared a look with the slayer, her eyes drifting toward the direction the other girl had come from...and an expression of understanding appeared on her face. “Walk me to work?”
“Um...so I'm not needed for anything?” Xander asked. “Just to clarify. No corsage, no prom date?”
Cordelia linked her arm with Faith's and nodded toward the street. “I think you'll be too busy for me Xander, and I won't even hold it against you.”
He blinked in confusion and followed her gaze to the street where one Steve Rogers was leaning against a motorcycle. Holy crap. “Uh...” Xander sputtered but was at a loss for words.
“Hopefully you can get him out of the grandpa clothes and into something decent for prom.”
Xander felt his face heat up, and watched in fascination as the tops of Steve's ears turned a pretty shade of pink. “Cordy, he heard you.”
“Good, gorgeous as he is, my dead grandmother had better taste in clothes. Come on Faith, don't want to be late.” The brunettes walked away arm in arm, Cordy in her still tasteful summer dress and Faith in her tight denims. Huh. Something might be going on there. He shook himself and made his way to Steve who was getting a lot of stares from the students of Sunnydale High.
“Hey.” Oh yeah, that was sooo smooth Xander.
Steve, however, grinned; then ducked his head a little and managed to look up at Xander through ridiculously long lashes. It was the angle, it had to be, leaning the way he was...and Xander standing up on the sidewalk put him above Steve. “Is this okay?”
“I mean coming to Sunnydale.”
“You don't sound sure.”
“Um...can we stick to the not so hard questions?” Xander shook his head and smiled. “Also we should probably get out of here; I see a lot of cell phones starting to come out. That'll mean new pictures and videos that will be swarming the net within minutes.”
“Have anywhere in mind?”
Xander wracked his brain for a public location. “Uh...how do you feel about pizza?”
“I like it.”
“Yano's Pizza it is. It won't be so crowded there this time of day. Unlike all the fast food places which will have lines like you wouldn't believe.”
Steve nodded and moved so he was standing, not leaning and wow was he tall. Like two full inches taller than Xander. Ugh, he hated being just under six feet. Steve climbed on the bike, a Harley, and looked at Xander expectantly. “Hop on.”
Xander tried to remember he was an Alpha werewolf and could handle anything the world threw at him. But...his heart skipped a beat. That was something that hadn't happened in a long time. Not since the first time he'd ever laid eyes on Buffy, but a hundred times more intense.
He climbed on the bike behind Steve Freaking Rogers and tried not to giggle when instructed to hang on to him. It was hard though, to not just melt into the body in front of him as he wrapped his arms around Steve. They didn't really even know each other...but the feeling of rightness was overwhelming.
Perhaps he was in over his head. Nah.
Steve had been worried about being too forward; even in this day and age he felt that maybe just showing up at Xander's school would be a bit presumptuous. However he didn't know where Xander lived so it was pretty much his only course of action. So after killing time exploring the town he parked his bike outside the school just as the bell rang and waited for his soulmate to appear.
He had no explanation for how Faith snuck up on him.
Steve tried not to jump, turning the movement into a roll of his shoulders and a twist of his neck. The young lady didn't seem fooled at all. “Hey there. Faith, right?”
“Aw, you remembered me.” Her lips were painted dark burgundy and her expression was sultry.
“All of you are pretty memorable.”
“Especially the Boss.” She grinned at him. “He must have made quite an impression back in New York.”
“Something like that.” He frowned suddenly. “Were you not in class today?”
“I don't do school.”
“But...I know I've been outta the loop, but isn't an education important for your future?”
“Slayers don't usually live long enough to have a future.” She shrugged. “B and me, we got it good here though. A pack of wolves and witches for backup. Less likely to die before we hit twenty.” Before he could comment she gestured toward the school. “There's your boy.”
Steve turned to look and stared. Xander was talking with Cordelia, a frown on his face...upset or sad maybe. Then there was a flash of anger and Steve started to actually listen in on the conversation and his heart went out to the girl. He couldn't believe her mother would abandon her like that.
Faith swooped in like some kind of delivering angel...or maybe a devil making sinful promises as she came to the other girl's rescue. A moment later Cordelia, then Xander, were looking in his direction and he smiled at the surprised look on the young man's face. He was a little hurt too...it was obvious Xander hadn't expected to show up at all.
The girls left and Xander approached him, luckily both of them had stopped blushing and Steve felt better than he had in a long time. Just staring up at Xander and basking in his presence. Luckily Xander noticed the cell phones before they got mobbed and he convinced his soulmate to hop on the bike so they could make a break for it.
Xander settled his backpack over both shoulders and was glad no one, including the werewolf behind him, could hear the sigh of relief when those strong arms wrapped around him.
Steve ordered them two large meat specials and a double order of bread sticks as an appetizer. Xander was almost embarrassed by the amount; Steve apparently remembered what Xander had said about werewolves and fast metabolisms. Hell he'd seen how much the pack could eat at the shawarma place. Again, embarrassing, and he tried not to ask what Steve was going to eat. He knew if he tried he could easily eat the entire order.
For his part Steve looked just as embarrassed. “I know it’s early, and I wouldn't mind taking you out to dinner later but I'm starved. I haven't eaten since I got to town.”
Xander blinked as the bread sticks and marinara sauce was placed on the table, the waitress shooting them both appreciative looks. “You boys need anything else?”
“This should tide us over until the pizzas are ready.” Steve assured her.
“Okay, enjoy.” She left them to their food, a basket of bread sticks for each of them.
“So you'll need to eat again later?” Xander grinned. “Fast metabolism huh?”
“About four times faster... at the very least. So would you be interested in dinner later? Maybe a picture?”
Somehow Xander had already devoured a bread stick. “Picture?”
“A film, movie. With me.”
Xander smiled. “I'd like to...but I have homework. My grades are as good as they've ever been and I don't want them to slip this close to graduation.”
Steve blushed. “Sorry...this is...”
“Awkward? Embarrassing? Mortifying?”
“Its not that bad...I've never been good at dating. So I should apologize for that now before I make a fool of myself.”
Xander grinned as he watched Steve eat, almost like he was hiding behind the food. “Well you're in luck. I've had exactly one relationship and Cordelia and I broke up last fall when school started. If you're clumsy about the dating thing I doubt I'd notice.”
Steve nearly choked on a bread stick and took a hearty sip of coke to clear his throat. “So you...like dames? Uh, what about fellas?”
“Again you're luck; I like 'dames' and 'fellas'.”
“Oh, good. Um...have you... That's too personal a question I guess.”
“Cordy and I were never fully intimate if that's what you were wondering.”
Steve flamed red. “Um...so you've never...”
“Tor and I had sex, several times, before he finally manned up and asked Jonathan out. He'd been in love with the guy for years.”
“Oh, they uh, they looked good together.”
“They've never been happier.” They ate the last of their bread sticks, let the waitress take away the empty baskets and Xander went for it. “So, why are you really here in town? It’s certainly not to feed me.”
“I...want to get to know you. I also wanted to go slow...which is why I wanted to get a least a date or two in before I asked if I could escort you to your prom. If you wanted...if you didn't have a date.”
“You know I don't, you witnessed Cordelia turning me down so I'd be all yours.” Xander sipped at his own coke. “I don't have a tux yet though.”
“We could shop for them together? It’s not like I have one in my saddle bags.”
Xander thought about that. “You sure? I mean it’s a high school thing and you're...very much not in high school.”
“I never had a school formal...and I can't actually dance...but I'd like to be your escort anyway.”
“You must have the luck of the Irish Steve, because I can dance...so if you don't mind me leading I think we'll be okay.”
“I don't mind at all.”
“Cool...so where are you staying? I know you heard me and Cordy talking, so you know that anywhere but an actual home isn't really safe.”
“I haven't found a place yet...and I doubt your parents would want me in the guestroom...soulmate or not.”
Xander frowned, wondering how long he could put off the big reveal of his crappy upbringing. “Tor and his godfather have a second guestroom. I'll ask if you can crash there while you're in town.”
“I wouldn't want to impose...”
“You wouldn't be. Jerry is pretty laidback, I doubt he'll mind. Also he's pretty weak against puppy eyes, we'll manage.”
Xander flashed said puppy eyes at Steve and watched the older man as he almost spilled his drink. “Puppy eyes.” He confirmed.
He grinned, partly because of Steve's reaction and partly because their first pizza was headed toward them. “So if this is our first date...maybe our second can be eating in while I do my homework.”
“I'd like that.”
The rest of their pizza snack went well, and they worked through both pies while keeping the conversation on Steve's trip across the country or on Xander's classes. When they were done Steve paid for their food and they climbed back on the bike. Xander provided directions to Tor's house and they got there in no time.
Tor and Jonathan were just getting out of Tor's car when they pulled up on the bike. “You smell like pizza.” His wolf commented. “Early dinner?”
“Early snack.” Xander clarified. “You and Jerry mind if Steve crashes in the second guestroom?”
“Nope and Jerry is at his girlfriend's tonight. He said he needed a night away from teenage antics.”
“See Steve.” Xander climbed off the bike with a grin. “No problems.”
“Thank you Tor.” Steve smiled at the younger blond who shrugged before Jonathan dragged him inside the house. He turned his eyes to Xander. “So...I should get you home and meet your parents.”
Xander sighed and rubbed the back of his neck, time to take a step into his backstory. “This is home...I'm staying in the first guestroom.”
“Are your parents...”
“They're alive...I think. I haven't actually seen them since last summer.”
“Let’s go inside and talk about this.” He tilted his head listening in on Tor and Jonathan. “On second thought let’s go around back, there's a comfy porch swing back there.”
Steve grabbed his bags and followed Xander around back, leaving their things on the picnic table before heading for the swing. They settled on it, both turned so they could face the other. “Xander?”
“So my parents are renowned drunks and the night my dad came at me with a broken beer bottle I left home.” Xander held up a hand to stop Steve from commenting. “I crashed in this crawl space inside the school. A girl who turned invisible had made a nest there and I utilized it. Invisible Marcy is a story for another time. Anyway...when Tor figured it out he brought me home with him. While we were having sex I stayed in his room...the moment he asked out Jonathan I moved into a guestroom. I've been there ever since.”
“Did he hurt you?”
“Not really, I was a werewolf by then, lucky me.”
Xander sighed, he might be King of the Puppy Eyes...but Steve could totally own Willow with his disappointed face. “I wasn't expecting him to come at me. He hadn't tried to hurt me in a couple of years. I didn't react in time; he caught me off guard and tried to carve my left eye out of my face.” Steve's hand reached for his on the back of the swing and gripped it tight, anger in his sky blue eyes. “My eye was hanging out of its socket, so I popped it back in and when he saw how fast I healed the old man freaked.”
“What did he do?”
Xander smirked and knew the look was full of dark humor. “He got so scared he ran away, right into the wall and knocked himself out.” He shrugged. “I packed up the important things and left.”
“I'm so sorry.”
“No love lost there, nothing to be sorry for, nothing to miss...can we talk about something else?”
Steve nodded, but the anger was still there. “You said you have homework?”
“Yeah a bit. Wanna move this to the picnic table?”
“Sure, you can show me how much school work has changed since my day.”
The homework went faster than Xander thought it would and by the time he was done Tor and Jonathan had finished up in Tor's room. Neither he nor Steve commented on the smell of sex coming from them, and instead settled around the living room to watch a movie.
“You familiar with Abbott and Costello?” Tor asked over his shoulder, as he sifted through Jerry's DVD collection.
“People still watch them?” Steve asked. He was seated beside Xander on the couch, not quite snuggling. “The last Abbott and Costello picture I saw was in 1944 while we were on leave in London. Lost in a Harem.”
“Never heard of that one,” Tor replied. “We have their first color movie though. Jack and the Beanstalk.” He picked up the case and flipped it over. “It came out in 1952.”
“Sounds good to me.” Xander grinned. “Who doesn't like Abbott and Costello?”
“I met them once, when I was touring the country selling war bonds. It was just before Costello came down with rheumatic fever. They were pretty swell.”
“That is so cool.” Jonathan grinned. “Popcorn?”
For the next hour and a half they ate buttery popcorn and watched the classic comedy. Xander spent about half the time watching the movie and the other half watching Steve. Tor had made a good suggestion, giving Steve something that was both familiar and new at the same time.
It also made Xander panic a little...he knew absolutely nothing about the 1940s except what had been in his history books. He needed a crash course in 1940s pop culture STAT.
When the movie was over Steve offered to pick up dinner, which wasn't a bad idea...not many places delivered. Or rather not many food service workers were suicidal enough to make deliveries after dark. Xander wrote down their orders and Steve borrowed Tor's car for the errand.
Once Steve was down the street and out of earshot Jonathan gave him a concerned look. “You okay Xander? You haven't really said much about Captain America being your soulmate.”
“I'm trying not to panic actually. I told him about the night I left home...I'm dreading the moment he sees the scars.”
While Steve was waiting on the order to be filled he pulled out the phone Stark had given him and made a call he hoped he wouldn't have to make. Xander's brief foray into his home life left him with an uneasy feeling and there were other things he wanted to address too.
Stark picked up after a few rings and his tone was as snarky as ever. “Capsicle, how goes things on the Hellmouth?”
“I need you to do some research...and I may need some favors.”
“I haven't heard his life story or anything, but Xander doesn't live with his parents. His father tried to kill him with a broken beer bottle last summer and he left home.”
There was a horrified silence on the other end of the call and he could just imagine the rage that would be on Stark's face. “What do you need, I won't even consider this a favor.”
“I...I'm not sure what the kids all need. Some might need financial aid. Cordelia's father was arrested for tax evasion and her mother ran off with the pool boy.”
“Jesus. Are all the parents in that town shitty?”
“God I hope not.” Steve said. “So can you help? And be sort of discreet?”
“Pfft. Who cares about discreet?”
“Yeah, yeah. It’s not like I'm gonna yell from the rooftops or anything, but those kids helped save the world. They deserve a break.”
“Yeah they do.”
“Keep in touch Cap. Enjoy taking your boy to prom.” Tony hung up and Steve hoped he hadn't just overstepped.
Xander was up early the next morning, they hadn't staid up too late even with dinner and another Abbott & Costello movie, Africa Screams. He had a feeling Tor was going to track down copies of every one of their movies that Steve had missed while in the ice.
Jonathan slept over as he did sometimes and Steve walked Xander to his room before saying goodnight and heading down the hall to his own. The kiss on the cheek he'd given Xander was warm and nice and he fell asleep with a smile on his face.
This morning found Steve already up and tying his shoes in the living room. They were running shoes and not the boots he'd been wearing the day before. It looked like he was dressed to go running.
“Want some company?” Xander asked.
Steve looked up. “You don't have too...oh.” He took in Xander's similar attire, of loose pants, t-shirt and running shoes. “You run in the mornings?”
“Wolves like to run. Well, this wolf likes to run. Tor's a late sleeper.”
“Think you can keep up?” Steve's grin was mischievous, something the history books said Captain Rogers was incapable of, despite all the Nazi ass kicking he'd done.
“Oh it’s on Old Glory.”
They locked the door behind them, went through a series of stretches and then took off down the street. Xander kept up just fine, racing Steve all over the neighborhood...and maybe they competed a bit...hurtling over a few parked cars. It was thrilling to have a human who wasn't a slayer keep pace with him.
An hour later they got back, showered, luckily there were three full bathrooms, and started breakfast. By the time Tor and Jonathan finally crawled out of bed breakfast was ready and Xander and had already eaten.
“The only good thing about you early risers is the breakfast.” Tor grumbled.
“Glad you think so, because you have clean up. Don't be late for school.”
Jonathan laughed and kissed Tor's cheek. “I'll help.”
Xander grabbed his backpack and took Steve's hand as they went out the front door. “Care to give me a lift?”
“It'd be my pleasure.” They hopped on the bike and Steve, who was fast becoming familiar with the streets of Sunnydale, got him to school with no trouble, they were even a little early.
“You never actually met Giles in New York did you?” Xander asked, as Steve put out the kickstand.
“No, he was one of your chaperones right?”
“And Buffy and Faith's Watcher...though the Council fired him when I ran them out of my territory. Actually he quit just before I ran them out of my territory.”
“That's a story for another time...so do you wanna come in and meet Giles? He's also our librarian.”
“Maybe later. I have a few errands to run.”
Xander blinked and tilted his head, suddenly suspicious. “How can you have errands to run? You just got here yesterday.”
Steve gave him an innocent smile, but Xander wasn't buying it. “We haven't talked much about the future.”
“Because we want to get to know each other first,” Xander agreed.
“Right and I still wanna take you to dinner and a picture.”
“Technically we had a date and a double date yesterday, two meals and two movies.”
“We did...but this is going to take time. So I need some place a little more permanent then your friend's guestroom. Maybe a house with a guestroom of its own?”
Xander stared and knew his jaw had dropped. “You want to buy a house and have me move in the guestroom?”
“Well if you moved in, it would be your room.”
“How exactly would you afford that? Buying dinner last night was one thing...but...”
“Xander I have almost seventy years worth of back pay. I'm not loaded like Stark, but I'm well off.” He looked alarmed all of a sudden. “Is this too much? Is this too fast?”
“No...I'm...just not used to someone wanting to spend money on me like that. The last person who did was Cordy when she revamped my wardrobe last fall.”
“Before or after you two broke up?”
The happy smile was back. “Maybe after we go tux shopping she can revamp my wardrobe too.”
“She'd probably like that. Cordy likes shopping, it doesn't matter whose money she's spending...or who she's shopping for. You'll want to sleep for a week by the time she's done with you though.” Xander blinked. “When do you want to go shopping with me? Prom is in a couple of days.”
“I'll pick you up after school?”
“It’s a date.” Xander matched his smile and leaned in to kiss Steve's cheek before taking off in the direction of the school entrance. Holy crap he'd just made his third date with Steve Rogers.
Tony picked up right away when Steve called him from a little table at Sunnydale's only coffee shop, The Espresso Pump. “Tony?”
“I have this urge to send an army of demented robots to attack certain parents of your boy's pack. Including his.”
“Don't tell me.”
“I thought you'd want to know.”
“When Xander's ready to tell me he will.”
“Whatever. I've set up some scholarships for the ones that need funds for college...want me to do the same for Xander?”
“Um...I'm thinking about taking care of that myself.”
“Let me know how that goes. You need anything else from me?”
“What's the housing market like here?”
“You have an appointment with a local real-estate agent in half an hour. I'll send the address to your phone.”
“Now how did you know I'd ask about that?”
“Please it’s you; you're not going to do anything by halves. You might think about getting a car for him too...or one you can share so he has a means of transportation.”
“I'll keep that in mind, thanks Tony.” They hung up and Steve waited for the address, Stark did him one better. He sent directions to the real-estate office starting from the Espresso Pump. So Steve finished his coffee and headed out.
Xander made his way into the library where Buffy and Willow all but pounced on him and dragged him to the research table. “I heard you rode off into the sunset with Captain America yesterday.” Buffy grinned.
“Details!” Willow demanded.
They'd managed to get him seated at the table, one of them on either side of him. “Uh...we went for pizza and talked for a while.”
“That's it?” Buffy asked.
“No, we went to Tor's. Steve is crashing in the second guestroom. He helped me with my homework and then we watched a couple of Abbott and Costello movies with Jono and Tor and ate dinner.”
“No snuggles?” Willow pouted.
“We sat really close on the couch.”
Buffy wrinkled her nose a little. “Abbott and Costello?”
“He watched some of their movies before he was frozen Buff, but there's a lot them he hasn't seen.”
“What did you watch?” Willow asked.
“Jack and the Beanstalk and Africa Screams.”
“Good choices.” Buffy said. “But, you need to introduce him to The Princess Bride.” He raised a brow at her. “What? It’s a standard date night movie.”
“Have either of you watched it with your guys?” Xander asked.
He and Willow looked at Buffy. “Angel doesn't watch movies?”
“Angel doesn't have a TV.” Buffy told them.
“Well maybe we can make it a group date and we can all watch it together?” Willow suggested. “Buffy and Angel. You and Steve. Me and Oz.”
“Where?” Xander asked. “Have either of you invited him back into your homes since last year? Because I can tell you right now, Tor will never invite Angel into his home.”
“He's got a point Will. Mom's still a little tense whenever Angel's name comes up.”
“Yeah okay, but maybe we can do something else?”
“Uh...maybe not? I haven't exactly told Steve we have a non-homicidal vampire on our team.”
“What else haven't you told your soulmate?” Buffy asked.
“Well considering we only really started talking yesterday...not much.”
He glanced at Willow. “These things take time Wills and Steve is sort of old fashioned...and dear god I just remembered something.”
“What?” Both girls asked.
He gave them the terrified version of his puppy eyes. “I don't know anything about music or pop culture from the 1940s. History class was always focused on the war, the Nazis and the holocaust.”
Willow grinned and dug out her laptop. “We'll start with a search for hit songs from the early to mid 40s. Steve crashed the Valkyrie in ‘45 so he won't be familiar with anything after that year.”
“My hero.” He didn't notice the thoughtful expression on Buffy's face as they watched Willow work her research magic.
“Hey Tor, wait up!” Larry called out.
Tor raised a brow and waited by his locker for the Quarterback. “What?”
“I heard a rumor that Captain America was waiting for Xander outside the school yesterday.”
Tor sighed. “How many people know?”
“Everybody. Some people got a few shots on their phone when they rode off together.”
“Larry can you kinda spread the word that those pics need to stay offline? We don't need a media storm here.”
“What am I missing?” Larry asked.
“The Battle of New York, while you and the others were locked up and safe in Stark Tower? Our group was on the streets fighting aliens.”
Larry nodded. “I figured. We've all seen the footage...I mean all of your faces are blurred and no one has been able to clean them up.” He grinned. “But what other group of kids uses swords like that?”
“Queen C and Xander prefer battle axes, but yeah.”
“So I get you guys don't want the attention...or want the government involved in Sunnydale stuff. I'll spread the word, not sure how much good it'll do.”
“Larry, it’s a little more complicated than that...while they were in the middle of the battle...Captain America and Xander said each other's words.”
The taller boy stared at Tor. “Xander and Captain America are soulmates?”
“Yeah...and it’s kinda funny really. 'Cause this one vampire once called Xander the White Knight. They both have superhero names.” He grinned. “But Cap prefers to be called Steve...and they're taking things really slow.”
“And Xander doesn't want the media hounding them.”
“I'll spread the word man...I mean after you guys made Jack O'Toole disappear no one wants to piss Xander off.”
“Dude.” Tor shook his head. “O'Toole was a zombie. He got shot up in a drive-by and his grandpa used voodoo to bring him back. The last two weeks he was around? He was a walking dead man.”
Larry stared. “Why'd he come to school?”
“Hell if I know, straight guys are weird.”
“So what happened to him?”
“Xander and Oz stopped him and his zombie buddies from setting off a bomb in the boiler room.”
“Here at school?”
“Yeah. His buddies were half-rotted so they didn't feel bad about chopping them up.”
Larry shuddered. “I wouldn't either. Were you at Buffy's party when the zombies crashed it?”
“No, I missed that excitement.”
“So do you want to see a picture tonight?” Steve asked, and smiled when he heard Xander chuckle in the fitting room next to his.
“I think Tor is going to drown you with Abbott and Costello for a while, so we might want to hold off on a movie. Besides, I need to patrol tonight...and we have things to talk about.”
Steve opened the curtain so he could take a look at himself in the small hall of mirrors that were set up. Sometimes his own appearance still surprised him, like he kept expecting to see the little guy from Brooklyn staring back at him. Not the muscle-bound stranger. Xander's reflection joined his, looking nervous, unsure of himself and Steve nearly swallowed his tongue.
Xander raised a brow, the nervousness gone. “You okay?”
Steve turned to look at him and nodded. “It looks good on you. I mean you look good...not that you don't always look good.” He frowned. “Usually I only foul up like this around dames.”
Xander grinned and ducked his head. “Thanks. You look good to.” He moved to stand beside Steve so they could see their reflections together. “So, what's the verdict? We getting them?”
“I think so.”
“Awesome, now let’s get out of them.” Xander blushed and it was Steve's turn to chuckle. “I meant get out of them and into our street clothes.” He ducked back into the dressing room and closed the curtain behind him. Steve headed back to his own but froze in his tracks when he got a glimpse of Xander because the curtain wasn't closed all the way.
Xander had already taken off the jacket and dress shirt and Steve watched him take off the undershirt with a feeling of guilt as he spied. Then he saw the scars. “Xander.”
The young man sighed. “You might as well come on in...Just close the curtain all the way behind you.”
Steve slipped into the small room, doing as Xander wanted shutting them off from the world, though there was no one back here but them. His hands reached out to touch the scars but he held himself in check, afraid Xander would be able to feel the rage.
“Your father?” Steve asked.
“What did he use?” Steve suspected a switch or a scrap of leather...he knew whip marks when he saw them.
“To leave scars like that...”
“He kept going till I bled.” Xander's eyes met his in the mirror. “You can touch them.”
He didn't hold back then, his hands smoothed over the old hurts, trailing down the raised tissue. “Werewolves don't scar easy do they?”
“I said before that I've been a wolf for less than a year.”
“You were human when he did this.”
Steve slid his hands even further down; glad to see none of the scars went below the waist. Xander's head tilted forward and he leaned into the touch. “Some of these are really old, they've faded some.”
He couldn't help himself then and wrapped his arms around Xander and pulled him close. “How old were you the first time he did that?”
“Four.” Steve hugged him even tighter. “I was playing in the living room and I knocked over his beer.” He tucked his face into Xander's neck and breathed in deep to quell the rage inside him. Xander was the calm to his storm, hands resting over Steve's as he leaned back into the embrace. “That belt hasn't touched my skin since I was sixteen.”
“What changed?” The words were muffled against Xander's skin.
“That's a story-”
“For another time?” Steve asked, raising his head to meet Xander's gaze in the mirror. “You have a lot of those.”
“I promise we'll have a long talk after patrol tonight. We have a lot of things to cover. Including our soul marks.”
“Usually when people say each other's words they also show each other their marks.”
Steve blushed and ducked his head again. “That can wait.”
“Are my words somewhere naughty?”
“Almost.” Steve mumbled, and then he looked up again. “What about you? Where are my words?”
“Showing you would require taking off my pants. You ready for that?”
Steve shook his head, though he really wanted to nod instead. “It can wait...” He squeezed Xander again and nuzzled at his neck. “So after patrol we talk.”
“You got it.”
Steve paid for their tuxes, shoes and all the trimmings and arranged to have them delivered. Which made sense; they couldn't just stuff them into the saddle bags of the bike. Then Xander directed him to three cemeteries with fresh graves and dispatched the baby vamps in them with ease.
Xander double checked, sending a text to Buffy about her own patrol, she texted back that she and Angel were about to head down to the sewers after a vamp that got away. Faith was walking Cordy home from work, and the others were making quick sweeps though the other cemeteries and seedy part of town.
So they decided to pack it in for an early dinner only instead of going out to eat, or back to Tor's house, Steve drove them to a modest two story house with an older model pick up in the driveway.
“Uh...who lives here?” Xander asked as Steve shut off the bike, though he had a suspicion that he already knew the answer.
“I bought a house today.”
“Wow. Old fashioned fellas move faster than I thought they did.”
“I also bought the truck.”
“Of course you did.”
“If you want you can use it...I mean...if you want to.”
“Thanks. So...we staying here tonight?”
“I only have a couple of air mattresses set up. I thought it'd be nice to pick out furniture together...and so you could pick out things for your room.”
“Is there food inside?”
Steve laughed. “The fridge is fully stocked. I hope sandwiches are okay for tonight.”
Xander hugged him tight before finally getting off the bike. “Sandwiches are fine.”
They got inside and Xander saw a familiar duffel in the living room next to an air mattress. “You packed me an overnight bag?”
“Yeah...um. There's another mattress in the master bedroom...and the bathrooms are stocked with towels and things. Is this okay?”
Xander nodded and offered his hand. “Lead me to the kitchen?” Steve smiled and accepted his offer.
They ate in the kitchen at the breakfast bar on the comfy chair stools that Steve had picked out. The room was big enough for a dining table and Xander got a little thrill that they'd being picking one out together.
“So how big is this place? I mean I saw the two story situation, and you said there were two bathrooms.”
“Three bathrooms actually. There's one in the basement, which has its own access to the backyard. I thought we could set up some gym equipment down there. It would have to be reinforced for us or the pack to use it.”
“Wolves are social animals...does that translate to werewovles?”
“It does.” Xander confirmed. “On occasion we kind of pile up in a big puppy pile to sleep. Also, we like to have slumber parties.”
“So we'll make sure we have comfy foldouts in the living room, den, basement and attic.”
“Ooo, the attic is a walk in?” Xander grinned. “Could we turn it into a library?”
“I'd like that...and there are three bedrooms. The master is down here and the other two are upstairs.”
“Neat.” Xander smiled and reached for Steve's hand at the bar. “So I'm guessing what you really wanted was privacy for this conversation.”
Steve nodded. “You aren't my first soulmate.”
“Bucky Barnes or Peggy Carter? There was a lot of speculation in the history books. The bigots are totally in denial about Barnes.”
“It was Bucky. We met when we were kids...I was ten he was eleven. He found me gettin' the snot kicked outta me by some other boys. So he came to my rescue.”
“What were his words to you?”
“What kinda punk gets beat up on Sunday?”
Xander grinned. “What did you say back?”
“The kind that doesn't like bullies, ya jerk.”
Xander snickered. “What are the odds that you met us both during a fight...well for us it was an alien invasion...but still.”
“Yeah. Bucky's words trail down the outside of my left thigh.”
“And my words?”
“I woke up from the ice with them...” Steve's ears pinked, but his blue eyes were heated. “They wrap around the inside of my right thigh.”
“So where are my words?”
“On my right calf...but uh. Since we're talking about soul marks...I have another.”
“Have you met them?”
“No...and the second set never made sense to me until after I became a werewolf.”
“What are they? If you don't mind sharing.”
“What's with the mutt?”
Steve blinked. “I don't get it...how will they know you're a werewolf?”
“I'm an Alpha...I can take full on wolfy form.”
“You can turn into an actual wolf?”
“Yep.” Xander confirmed. “Just ya know, bigger.”
“How much bigger?”
Xander smirked and decided to go for it. Before Steve could stop him he hopped from the stool and walked around the counter so he'd be partly hidden. Then he stripped...not too hard since they were already barefoot. Steve's eyes were wide, surprised, but still had a heat to them, though he couldn't see all of Xander. Then he shifted, glad he was so fast at it, and trotted around the counter so Steve could get a good look.
Those blue eyes were still wide, and his hands twitched as if they wanted to touch Xander. So he stepped closer and wagged his tail in invitation. Steve smiled and stood in front of him, Xander's shoulders nearly came up to the Steve's waist. “You are quite a bit bigger than the average wolf.”
He kneeled in front of Xander hands out, and Xander stepped right into his grasp so those strong hands could get caught up in the ruff of his fur. That first touch led to a lot of cuddling with Xander draped across Steve's lap for the ultimate petting. Xander figured he could spend the rest of his life as a lap wolf without any shame at all.
“So you'll be like this when your second soulmate meets you.” Xander sighed and started climb out of Steve's lap, but Steve held on. “Where are they? The other words.”
Xander shifted back to human right there in Steve's lap. “My left hip.” He took Steve's hand and put them on the words. Steve looked down...and froze. “Steve?”
“Can you move for a second? I want a closer look.”
He nodded and climbed off Steve's lap so he could see the words that started on his left hip and trailed across his lower stomach. Steve looked close, fingers trailing over the words and Xander was trying very hard not to react to that touch. Suddenly Steve was moving, undoing his own pants and shoving them down to reveal his left thigh and the words there.
“Shouldn't Bucky's words have faded?”
“Maybe not. Look.” Steve pointed to his words, then Xander's. “The hand writing is the same.”
He felt his eyes widen. “Bucky? I have Bucky's words? But...that means...”
Steve's eyes met his, though there were tears coming out of them now. “He's alive.” And he didn't hold back the sobs that wracked his body. Xander didn't hesitate, he straightened Steve's clothes, retrieved his own jeans, put them on and then scooped Steve up like he weighed nothing and carried him to the mattress in the living room.
There were no words that he could offer, only his arms to wrap around Steve while the other man sobbed into his neck. He only had his hands to rub soothing circles on Steve's back and his fingers to run though his hair. He made a rumbling sound deep in his chest, not a growl, something softer; if he were feline in nature he'd call it a purr. It was all he could do until Steve was ready talk again.
The sun wasn't quite up, but there just enough light to see, not that the mostly empty living room offered much of a view. It wasn't all bad though, Steve was still in his arms, face tucked into his neck. His reason for being there wasn't good, but Xander couldn't regret holding him like this.
“Sorry.” Steve mumbled against his throat.
“Its okay...I get it.”
Steve rose up, moving away so he could face Xander, who turned to lie on his side as well. “Get what?”
“What it’s like to lose your best friend. That's what Bucky was right? He wasn't just your soulmate; he was your best friend.”
“He was...who did you lose?”
“His name was Jesse McNally. He, Willow and I met the first day of kindergarten and we became inseparable.”
Steve reached out to cup Xander's face and Xander leaned into the touch. “What happened?”
“Vampires happened. They took him, and they turned him. And I killed him.” Xander sighed. “I'm glad you'll get a chance to see Bucky again.”
“I'm sorry about Jesse.”
“I wouldn't even know how to find Bucky after all this time. Or what shape he was in after the fall from the train. How old he'd be now.”
“We'll look for him. Willow probably has some fancy hacker programs that can search the net for facial recognition.”
“I thought Willow was a witch.”
“Willow is also a genius and a hacker. She has a backdoor into most of our nation's federal agencies.”
“I kind of insisted on it after New York. Oz is helping her.”
“Oz is a hacker too?”
“And he plays lead guitar in a local band.”
“What about the rest of your friends, the pack?”
“Actually we need to talk about Buffy's boyfriend first...because he's a vampire.”
Steve frowned. “How does that work?”
“It’s a long, dramatic and heartbreaking story. Are we running this morning?”
Steve groaned. “No, but I'll cook breakfast. Then you can tell me the ballad of Buffy and Angel.”
Steve drove them to school on the bike again, only this time he walked Xander all the way to the library.
“So every May someone or something tries to end the world?”
“Yep. We refer to the whole month as Apocalypse season.”
“But that's over this year, because of what happened in New York?”
Xander shook his head and entered the library first. “No, that was totally out there, but we were already preparing for major badness.”
Steve followed him in and directed his gaze to the table. “And the mouth of hell is right there?”
“And the badness you're preparing for?”
“The Mayor is an evil sorcerer who's been around for about a hundred years and he wants to turn into a demon. It’s called an Ascension and we're having trouble finding any information on the rituals.”
“How can I help?
“At this point we're looking through the books for any scrap of information. We know it’s gonna happen on graduation...we just don't know where or what kind of demon he's gonna turn into. But before that, there's of course the prom.”
“Good to know you have priorities.”
“If we're all gonna die we'd like to have that piece of high school fairy tale to take with us.”
Steve frowned. “You think it'll come to that?”
“No idea, hope not, but we're sure of nothing.”
The library doors opened and Willow poked her head in. “In the near future we need to have an ice cream binge.”
“What happened?” Xander asked.
“Angel broke up with Buffy.”
“Shall I set him on fire before we have the ice cream binge?”
Willow frowned. “You don't even like Angel; you've never thought he was good enough for Buffy.”
“Yeah, but only the lowest of the low would break up with someone just before prom.”
“Agreed. Hi Steve! You going to prom with Xander?”
Steve smiled at her. “We bought our tuxes last night.”
“Good.” The first bell rang then. “Don't be late to class Xander.” And she ducked back out of the library.
Xander batted his lashes at Steve. “Walk me to class?”
“Only if I can carry your books and hold your hand.”
Xander didn't get a chance to talk to Buffy until lunchtime. She was sitting by herself under a tree in the quad, not a bite of food anywhere near her.
“Hey Buff, what's the what?”
She looked up at him, green eyes sad and heartbroken. “Willow told you?”
“Yeah.” He sat beside her and handed her one of the ice cream sandwiches he'd gotten.
“So you got me ice cream.”
“I think we both need it after a night like last night.”
“What happened to you? Are you and Steve already fighting?”
“No...but...you really wanna hear this?”
“If you feel the need for ice cream then we can be miserable together.” She told him, unwrapping the treat to take a bite.
He did the same. “So Steve and I have two soul marks a piece. His first one, the one he's had all his life, were the first words Bucky Barnes ever said to him.”
“Really? Not Peggy Carter then.”
“Take that bigots. Wait...he still has Barnes words? They haven't faded.”
“No...He still has them...and when he woke up after being frozen for almost 70 years he had a new set.”
They ate in silence for a minute, trying to keep the ice cream from getting all over their hands. “What about your second mark?”
“The handwriting matches Bucky's mark on Steve.”
“Wait...so Bucky's your other soulmate?”
She put her hand on his arm. “So he didn't die back in World War II?”
“So, where is he?” She popped the last bite of ice cream in her mouth.
“No idea. For all we know he end up with amnesia...or brain damage...or even a coma. If he doesn't remember Steve he certainly won't be looking for him.” He ate the last of his treat and wadded up the paper. “Good reason for ice cream huh?”
“Oh yeah.” She settled against him and leaned her head on her shoulder. “Thanks.”
“When Angel leaves, you me and Wills can watch sad movies and eat our weight in ice cream.”
“I'd like that.”
Steve was already in the library when Xander got there after classes. He was sitting at the table writing in a little notebook as Giles listed off names of bands from the 70s and 80s. Xander grinned. “Hard at work researching the Ascension are we?”
“Giles was just suggesting some music to try out. How was your day?”
“Could have been better, or it could have been worse. All in all about average.”
“What would you call a bad day?” Steve asked, putting the notebook away in his jacket pocket.
“Zombies, fish monsters, or finding a teacher's body in the fridge.” Xander supplied moving closer, tilting his head in question. Steve pushed back from the table to make room and Xander settled in his lap.
“Xander, something you want to share?”
He blinked and looked up at Giles. “What?”
“I understand you finding comradery with Mr. Rogers due to what happened in New York...but-”
“Whoa...how do you not know?”
“Not know what?”
“Giles, why do you think Steve came all the way to Sunnydale? Why do you think he chased after me?”
“I'm certain I have no idea.”
“You've been ignoring our teenage antics again haven't you?” Xander shook his finger at the watcher. “You miss important things when you do that.”
“And what did I miss?”
“Xander and I are soulmates, Sir.” Steve said, wrapping an arm around Xander's waist. “We said each other’s words during the battle.”
“Ah. Everything makes sense now. I apologize, Xander.”
“No, I should have told you directly and not just assumed you'd heard it from one of the others.” Xander sighed and reached for the nearest book. “Anything new?”
“I don't know anything about demons or magic...” Steve started. “But I have an acquaintance who might have heard something. She's seen a lot and she knows about vampire slayers.”
“Natasha?” Xander asked.
“Yeah. I could give her a call?”
He looked at Giles who nodded. “We'd appreciate that Mr. Rogers; we are getting rather desperate for information.”
Steve gave Xander's leg a pat. “I'll come back in a bit. With food?”
“Sounds good.” He stood and smiled when Steve followed him up and gave him a chaste kiss on the lips. “Hurry back.” That got him a grin before Steve exited the library.
“Thanks Giles...but it’s not all sunshine and roses...”
Xander settled in the chair Steve had vacated and told Giles what he knew about Bucky.
After leaving a message on Natasha's voice mail Steve headed to the house where he switched the bike for the truck and headed toward one of the fast food places. He wasn't sure how many of Xander's wolves would be at the library when he got back, so he opted for four family buckets of chicken.
On his way back, he saw Faith and Cordelia walking down Main Street, and Faith had...something big and not human slung over her shoulder. He slowed down even with them. “Ladies. You need a lift?”
“Hell yeah, this creep is heavy.” Faith practically threw, what he assumed was a demon of some sort, into the truck bed. She hopped in after it, leaving Cordelia to join him in the cab.
“Sorry about the chicken.” He said, moving it to the middle of the bench seat.
“Maybe. So what happened?”
“My shift at the dress shop got cut short by big dead and ugly. He tried to kill a guy that was shopping for a tux. Faith was hanging out and killed it. No idea what it is.”
“Is it normal for demons to suddenly attack in broad daylight?”
“Nope, hence us taking the body to Giles. So thanks for the ride.”
When they entered the library together, the entire pack was there and Steve was hoping he'd gotten enough food for everyone. Xander looked up from the book he was skimming and made wide eyes.
“That's not food.”
Steve grinned and carefully placed the demon corpse on the book counter. “Just giving the girls a hand, they carried the food.”
“Please don't get grease on my books.” Giles said, moving closer to the body. “Why did you bring me a dead hellhound?”
“Should we have left it layin' in the dress shop all dead and stuff?” Faith asked.
“No I suppose not.” He conceded.
“We also have this.” Cordelia held up a flash drive. “Security footage from the store...it was weird Giles.”
“And how am I to access it?”
Everyone rolled their eyes and Willow got up from Oz's lap so she could take the drive from Cordelia. “I'll get it going on the TV.” At Giles' puzzled look she grinned. “It has a plug in for the drive.”
“Really, what will they think of next.”
Xander snorted and gave Steve a chaste kiss. “There's a small bathroom off Giles' office. You can wash the demon off your hands there.”
“Me first.” Faith said. “I actually got some of its blood on my hands, save me some chicken.”
By the time Willow had the security footage up they were all settled around the table with chicken and paper towels. Something Giles' had stashed in his office. They watched as the hellhound crashed through the store window, looked at everyone screaming in fear...and then focused on the boy in the tux. If Faith hadn't kicked it away and gotten it in the heart with her knife the boy would have been shredded.
“Hey Will pause it.” Oz said.
She did. “What do you see?'
“That guy running away, he was watching...smiling and stuff. Creepy. Also he was in my chem. lab. Tucker Wells.”
“That gives us a place to start.” Xander nodded. “Let’s look into Wells.”
It didn't take long for Willow to hack into Tucker's email. “You guys aren't going to believe this.”
“What is it?” Buffy asked.
“The Sunnydale Lemmings have no idea what awaits them, their big night will be their last.”
“Seriously?” Heidi asked. “This loser summoned a bunch of hellhounds and trained them to attack people in formal wear?”
“There goes the prom tonight.” Rhonda grumbled, slamming a book shut.
“Think I can take my dress back?” Willow asked no one in particular.
“Don't even think about.” Buffy stood with a look of determination on her face. “We'll take the hounds down. Xander, think you can track where it came from?”
“I'd have to start at April Fools to follow the scent. Might want to have a backup plan.”
She nodded. “Giles anything specific about these things that will help us?”
“They eat the brains of their victims.”
“Alright, I'll look into that angle. Willow you and Oz look into the kid he sent that email too. Everyone else, go ahead and get ready for the prom...just keep your weapons close.”
Xander gave her a salute and looked to Steve. “I'll change in the office and get all wolfy. You mind carrying my things?”
“Not at all.”
Steve looked in the rearview mirror at Xander as he paced back and forth on four paws in the truck bed as they drove. It was odd to see a ridiculously huge brown wolf scenting the air as they approached Main Street. At least it would have been odd anywhere else; no one in Sunnydale blinked an eye at the scene.
Xander had called it Sunnydale-Syndrome, and most people in Sunnydale suffered from it. The ability to ignore the impossible all around them. Steve kinda doubted it was real...except when Willow shared the story about almost being burned at the stake by her own mother. Her mother was in denial about the whole thing and only remembered the part where she'd found out Oz was a musician.
Steve parked in the street outside of April Fools, the window had already been boarded up and was still in business. Xander hopped over the side of the truck bed before Steve got out and had his nose to the ground. He locked up the truck and followed Xander.
He kept pace with Xander, walking with him as he followed the hellhound's trail. They were finally getting some looks and even some comments. Though it was all smiles and “What a pretty dog!” or “He's a big boy isn't he.” It was like it never occurred to anyone that Xander wasn't a dog at all.
Xander sped up a bit once they got away from the main part of town and Steve jogged to keep up. They went down a few backstreets and ended up in a neighborhood that was a little run down. Suddenly Xander stopped in front of a small one story house, not much more than a bungalow and stared at the structure. Then he turned and looked further down the street, Steve looked and saw Buffy headed for them.
“Hey guys.” She held up a piece of paper with an address written on it. “Guess we're in the right place.”
“Looks like. We going in now or coming back?” He asked.
“Xan?” She asked and Xander wagged his tail and headed for the house. “Guess we're going in now.”
The outside of the house had been deceptive; you couldn't tell there was a basement from the front. Xander led the way, Buffy next and Steve watched their six. All four hellhounds were in the basement, still in cages. Tucker saw them and reached for a knife, but Steve grabbed a plate from the floor and tossed it like he would his shield. It hit the kid right in his forehead and he dropped to the carpet unconscious.
“That was so cool.” Buffy grinned. “So...do we just kill them? I mean sure they're demons but they're stuck in cages.”
The hellhounds seemed rabid growling flailing in their cages. Xander went to each one, his eyes glowing red and he growled low and deep. A warning. It took a bit but each one quieted, calmed down, they were almost docile.
Then Xander shifted to human form. “He summoned them right, maybe Willow and Jonathan have a spell to send them back where they came from? Or Giles might know.”
Buffy pulled out her cell. “I'll call and find out.”
“That's it?” Steve asked.
“Never be unhappy with a peaceful conclusion Steve.” Xander said, eyes pleading. “We get them less often than you think.”
Giles had a spell to send them back to where they were summoned which was simple enough. Tucker they dropped off at the police station with a written confession stating that he trained a dog to attack people in the dress shop. Between that and the security footage they left his fate in the hands of the police. Not that animal control would find any more of the 'dogs'.
Now they just had to get ready for Prom.
Xander looked up at Faith, frowning. “Hey, shouldn't you be getting ready?”
“Cordy and I have our dresses here...Just wanted to talk to you before you left with Steve.”
“Thanks for helping her pay for the dress. And uh...you mind if I ask her out?”
He blinked. “Cordelia is a free woman. I don't have say in who she goes out with.”
Faith shrugged. “I waited ya know. I heard that you two broke up just before school started. Didn't wanna step on any toes in case you wanted to get back together.”
“What about all the guys you were... Actually that's none of my business.”
“Guys are for fun, for blowing off steam. I want more than that with her.”
“She won't tolerate cheating. You go for Queen C you give her everything, and she'll give you everything right back.”
“Good to know.”
They took the bike to prom. It got them a few odd looks, showing up at the school on it, wearing their tuxes, but it was worth it. Steve offered his arm to Xander and walked him inside where the party was in full swing the newest Maroon5 hit filling the gym.
They located the rest of the pack, and everyone looked amazing, dazzling even, in their finery. Everyone was sort of grouped together, while still paired up with their dates, and to Xander's surprise Heidi and Buffy were dancing together.
“When did that happen?” Steve asked. “I suspected Faith and Cordelia but...”
“Heidi's boyfriend lives in Northern California; she'll be leaving to join his pack after graduation. He couldn't make it here for prom and no one wants to go to prom alone.”
“I told you I can't dance right?”
Xander grinned, but before he could reply the song ended and the DJ tapped a microphone to get everyone’s attention. “So we have a few unusual awards to give out this year and we'll give them out in a bit. But since our guest of honor has arrived I can start playing some of the music that was picked out just for him.”
“What guest of honor?” Steve whispered into Xander's ear.
“I don't-oh...I think that might be you.”
Bing Crosby's voice filled the air then. Kiss me once, then kiss me twice
Then kiss me once again. “Oh...I know this song.”
Xander took Steve's hand and led him in a slow dance to a tune he was familiar with. The rest of the pack followed and then everyone was dancing to the old time crooner.
“I might have made a panicked confession to Buffy and Willow that I knew nothing of 1940s pop culture.”
Steve smiled at him, comfortable letting Xander lead. “Think they're behind this?”
“I'll make you deal Xander, you share your pop culture with me, and I'll share mine with you. No reason to panic over it.”
When the song ended there was roar of applause and the DJ grinned at them all. “We'll have a lot more songs from the early 40s so Captain America and The White Knight can get their old time groove on. Right now though we want to give out the first in our special awards.”
“The White Knight?” Steve asked him, brow raised. “You have your own superhero name?”
“Um...I'll tell you later? Oh look Jonathan's on the stage.”
Jonathan accepted a microphone from the DJ and faced the senior class and their dates. “When the Prom committee approached me for this I told them one award wouldn't be enough. We wanted to honor all our heroes, not just one, but it all started with a girl. A special girl who stood between us and the darkness of Sunnydale. We all know our town and our school is different. A lot of weird stuff happens here.”
Jonathan grinned. “This girl kept us safe and protected us, even when her life seemed to be going up in flames. By standing against the evils that surround us, she inspired others to stand tall at her side. It all started with a girl.” The DJ handed Jonathan a shiny little parasol with a plaque on the handle. “The Sunnydale class of 2012 is proud to have the lowest mortality rate of any graduating class in Sunnydale High history. So we crown you Buffy Summers, Class Protector.”
“Lowest Mortality rate?” Steve looked completely horrified.
“Our school paper has an obituary section,” was Xander's only response.
“Jesus.” Steve still clapped with everyone and shouted applause as Buffy accepted her award.
When everyone quieted down a bit Jonathan continued. “It all started with a girl...and that girl inspired others. And now we have an entire pack of werewolves to guard us against the darkness. The White Knight is our Alpha. Our General. Alexander Harris.” The DJ handed Jonathan a hand painted statue of a brown wolf. It was on a little stand with its own plaque. “The Sunnydale Alpha.” Xander accepted his award, sharing a grin with Buffy and Jonathan handed the microphone back to the DJ before rejoining Tor.
The DJ nodded at them. “We'll have a few more awards later, for now let’s party like its 1999!” And then Prince was blasting throughout the gym.
Xander danced with Steve during every 40's slow song, but he danced with each of the girls as well. There was actually a lot of partner switching, but everyone went back to their dates for the 40s music. It was a better prom than Xander had ever hoped for.
During one of the breaks, Cordy and Larry were crowned Queen and King. This was huge, because Cordelia had salvaged her popularity...but more importantly Larry was the first kid to come out in their school. They danced together with their crowns shining almost as brightly as their smiles. Then there was another fast song and Cordy and was back to dancing with Faith.
And if he teared up a little when FrouFrou's remake of Holding Out for a Hero played no one mentioned it. Or maybe only Steve noticed it.
The last award of the night was for cutest couple and Jonathan looked absolutely floored when he and Tor were chosen. Tor looked like he had no doubt that they were the cutest couple of the class of 2012.
The last song of the night was another slow song from the 40s, and as Frank Sinatra serenaded them, Steve led him in a dance for the first time that night. He'd gotten the hang of it and held Xander close, and everything was perfect.
Especially when Xander caught a glimpse of Angel dancing with Buffy, he was happy his friend finally got that perfect high school moment. If anyone deserved that it was Buffy Summers, Vampire Slayer.
And maybe Steve Rogers, the old fashion fella holding him close and looking at him like he was something special. And for the first time Xander felt special. Yeah, everything was perfect.