Disco: It's Not For Wimps
Xander couldn't decide if he was nervous or if the peanut butter, instant potatoes and brown
gravy sandwich he'd had for lunch was staging a revolt in his intestines. Considering the
PBM&G sandwich was a staple to his diet, he'd have to bet on the former by default.
With a sigh that reminded him that they'd visited with Angel way too long, Xander raised his
hand and knocked on the door.
"...Buffy, no you may not. I don't care if it is a dire emergency, you do not possess a permit,"
Giles was saying as he opened the front door.
"But Giles..." Xander heard Buffy whine from within the ex-Watcher's home.
Giles, however, didn't reply to Buffy because he was too busy staring at Xander with a stunned
expression on his face.
"Hey, Giles," Xander greeted. "Long time no see."
"Who is it, Gi-- Xander!"
A redheaded tornado flew past Giles and engulfed Xander in an enormous hug. "Xander!
"Wills," Xander hugged his oldest friend lightly. "Yep, I'm back for awhile."
Willow leaned back, her arms still around Xander's neck, and she beamed at him. "It's so good
to see you! How was your trip? Did you have fun? Where did you go? Did you meet anyone
"Still my Willowy-Willow," Xander said with a soft smile. He smoothed his hand over her red
hair and watched with detachment as the longish strands began to stand on end from the static
"Xander!" Buffy exclaimed, rushing out of the house.
Xander released Willow in order to hug Buffy. "Buffster, hey."
"Hey back!" Buffy replied enthusiastically. "And I repeat everything that Willow asked."
Xander took a step back. "All in good time, my pretties." He moved past the two girls and extended his hand to Giles, who was still standing in
the doorway. "Giles," he greeted again, more formally. "It really is good to see you."
Giles grasped Xander's hand. "And same to you."
Xander nodded, dropped Giles's hand and stuck his own hands back into his trouser pockets. He looked up
at the blue sky through his mirrored sunglasses, then returned his focus to Giles. "Why don't we
move this reunion indoors?"
"Oh, for heaven's sake, do forgive me," Giles said, somewhat flustered. He stepped out of the
doorway, and Xander entered the home, with Buffy and Willow not far behind.
Xander glanced around the interior of Giles's place, noting that most everything looked about the
same as over a year ago. Xander had spent several hours carting boxes of books from the
high school library to Giles's during the last-minute graduation preparations. Those boxes were still piled around the small living room and dining room, some open, some re-enacting the Leaning Tower of Piza. He could see through to the tiny kitchen, over the counter separating the rooms. Curving steps went up to the loft and the short hall led to the only bathroom in the place. Sunlight streamed in through the large window into the living room, making it too bright for Xander.
"Um, Xander," Willow said as she went over to the blond girl Xander had seen his old friend
with earlier. "I'd like you to meet Tara. My-," she paused, then stood tall and proud, "-My girlfriend."
Xander clicked his heels together and gave Tara a stiff bow. "Tara, I am delighted to make your
acquaintance. Any girlfriend of Willow's is a girlfriend of mine." He grinned rakishly. "Oh, I
like the sound of that."
Tara blushed and ducked her head. "It-it-it's nice to meet you."
Xander turned to the other stranger in the room and, from behind his sunglasses, looked
the man up and down with an exaggerated head movement. "You're Riley," Xander said.
Riley looked surprised, as did the others. "Uh, yeah. How did you know?"
Xander smirked. "A little Angel told me."
"You saw Angel?" Buffy asked with small hitch of surprise in her voice.
"On the way here," Xander replied. He moved to perch on the arm of the couch and crossed his
ankle over his knee. "He says 'hi.'"
No one said anything for a minute, during which time Xander studied each of the people in the
living room with a quick, cataloging efficiency.
Giles: still the father figure, looked a bit lonely, much more fit than he remembered.
Buffy: looked content, even though the angst-king was mentioned; too skinny.
Riley: just like Angel had described -- big dumb jock.
Tara: shy, kind, totally in love with Willow, radiates power.
Willow: not-so-shy anymore, still soft-hearted, radiates even more power.
Xander glanced out the side window after his assessment and frowned. The thunderstorm was
going to arrive sooner than he'd have liked.
"So, folks, I guess you want to hear On The Open Road with Xander Harris," Xander said,
breaking the silence. "I don't have enough time to go into the travel guide version because of
the storm coming, but I can give you a blurb or three."
"Storm?" Giles queried, looking out the window into the sunny, clear day. "It doesn't look like
"Trust me, it's gonna pour," Xander said with an odd-smile. He clapped his hands on his leg and
turned to Willow. "Well, ladies, which would you like to hear about first: my nights as a disco
stripper or the prank on Angel that involved superglue and his hair?"
Riley snorted, and Xander pointed at him. "I know which you'd prefer."
"Xander, did you say 'disco stripper'?" Willow said. "Like... like taking your clothes off to disco
Xander nodded. "Don't forget the 'for money' part. That was the number one rule at The
Fabulous Ladies Night Club in beautiful Oxnard, C-A."
"Why disco?" Giles said, then shook his head, as if not believing that he'd just asked that.
"Disco: it's not for wimps," Xander replied in an announcer's voice. Then, he shrugged. "The
customer's pick the music, not me. If I had a choice, it wouldn't be Donna Summer or Gloria
"When did this happen?" Buffy asked.
"Last year, soon after I started my jolly holiday," Xander said. "My car broke down in Oxnard,
and there I stayed until... I left. I glued Angel's hair two days ago."
A soft chirping sounded in Giles's living room and everyone looked questioningly at Xander.
Xander pulled a small, flat cellphone out of the front pocket of his blue shirt, hit the talk button, and
put it to his ear.
"Storm's coming," Xander said into the receiver in lieu of a greeting. He'd been expecting the call, a pre-arranged excuse to keep his visit short.
"Bugger," came the soft swear over the line. "How long?"
"Another ten minutes, give or take."
"Again with a 'bugger.'"
Xander chuckled. "Just find me a spot, old man. I'm leaving Giles's soon."
Xander shut the phone with a snap, stuck it back in his pocket, and gave an apologetic smile
to the others. "Sorry about that."
"You're leaving? Already?" Willow said.
"Here, yes. Town, not yet," Xander said, allaying her fears. He stood and pushed at the
nosepiece on the sunglasses he wore, even though they never moved.
"But you just got here," Willow persisted. "And... and I want to hear about your adventures."
"Sorry, Wills, you'll have to take a...," one side of Xander's mouth quirked sardonically, "...rain
check on the stories."
Not listening to the others' protests, Xander started out the door. "I'll call. Once the storm's over and we're settled in, we'll do lunch
or something, okay?"
Xander pulled the door shut behind him and glanced up at the sky, which was no longer clear.
He rapidly made his way through the courtyard and out to the street. He knew he'd been rude to
his friends, but he had a saying for when a thunderstorm was brewing.
Better rude than dead.