Zeppo Patrol
by Tesla

Despite the mental stimuli of facing down the walking dead, the possible end of the world as he knew it (like that didn't occur three days out of the week anyway), and having a Slayer seduce him, Xander still found it depressing to be patrolling along the streets of Sunnydale with Wesley Wyndam-Price.

The ends of the Scooby food-chain, he and the extra, un-Giles Watcher. The Watcher that fumbled his handling of Buffy, and of Faith, the Watcher who----

well, wasn't Giles was enough to say. Barney Fife to the real sheriff in town, and what did that make Xander, then, Gomer Pyle?


Wesley looked like he had been having similar thoughts. "So, we're the back-up brigade? Right, then," he said, in a falsely cheery voice.

"We wish," Xander said. "I mean, Restfield. Restfield hasn't had a decent vamp in it for years. It's the closest to Buffy's house, so she keeps it cleaned out pretty well, just like she brushes her teeth every night." He waved a stake around for emphasis.

"Giles wouldn't have---I mean, we wouldn't have decided to make a sweep here if it wasn't important." Wesley straightened his jacket lapels. "I believe we should follow my grid system, and methodically check all burial plots."

"Whatever," Xander sighed.

"Orderly methods," Wesley said, enunciating every syllable precisely, " and efficiency are necessary in proper demon- tracking."

"Lead on, Tracker Man," Xander said. He looked at Wesley's clip- board, with attached pencil on a string, and decided that Wesley wouldn't get any joke he made---not even enough to roll his eyes.

It was thus in an orderly fashion that they fell through the hidden entrance of the subterreanean labyrinth. Wesley tripped, and his lunge for balance knocked Xander off his feet, and they tumbled down a smooth tube to the bottom.

"Well, that's efficient," Xander commented. He patted about, feeling for his stake, and discovered that they had fallen on a thick carpet of grass. "Hey, any chance this is a friendly hole? Like, a hobbit's house?" He sat up, peering upward.

The crescent moon was visible in a circle of stars. Maybe they were at the bottom of a well.

Wesley, he discovered, hadn't replied because he was knocked unconscious.

"Well, that's something like a real Watcher," Xander muttered, and unbuttoned Wesley's collar.


"Listen," Xander said, patiently. "Giles gets knocked out all the time. I thought it was a requirement for Watchers. After all, you're supposed to be in there, mixing it up with the Slayer, right?"

"No," Wesley said. "That's exactly wrong. We train the Slayer, but we're guides, we're---"

"Not on the front lines," Xander said. "Heck, I bet I've been up- close-and-personal with more demons than you ever have. I've had 'em try to mate with me."

"Yes," Wesley said. "I read about it in Giles' report. The mantis---"

"Okay, needless to say, of the two of us, I think you're the one who'd be her prey now," Xander said. He didn't know what made him say that. Wesley stopped moving, seemed to stop breathing for a moment. Xander knew that he'd hit a sore spot.

"Schoolyard taunts," Wesley said, finally. "Very funny."

"Get you where it hurts, " Xander said. "Believe me. I know all about schoolyard taunts, and yes, I'm very funny. I'm the class fucking clown." He stood up and looked up into the sky. "But I've been on the front lines here in Sunnydale for three years, and we haven't got any help from the Council of Watchers in all that time."

"Giles is too close to Buffy to be objective. Slayers are the world's weapon against the forces of evil. One can't personalize---"

"Yeah, it makes it easier for you to replace 'em like burned out lightbulbs, huh? Burned one girl out? Here's another!"

"It's the way of things," Wesley said. Xander thought his voice sounded less sure. "We shouldn't be wasting our energies on debate, Xander. We should try to get out."

"Sure," Xander said. "What's the most efficient way?"


"Surely, we'll be missed, soon," Wesley said, an hour later. There was no trapdoor in the floor, there was no doorway into another cave, they had tried boosting the other up, but the smooth sides of the drop resisted all efforts to climb.

Xander, from across the darkened space, barked in unamused laughter. "Yeah, by third period when I'm not in science lab. Willow will notice."

"But what about your parents?" Wesley asked.

Xander rolled his eyes, forgetting that he was just outside the shaft of moonlight. "That's really funny. Why would I be in a cemetery with a stake for, oh, I don't know, the last nine hundred nights if my parents gave a rat's sweet ass about me?" He leaned against the smooth curved wall and slid down to sit. "Face it, man, we're the two least missed of this whole evil-fighting crew."

"Yes, you've made that quite plain," Wesley said. "I'm just trying to do my job, and I've received nothing but disdain and obstruction from all of you. No other Slayer had a support group."

"Maybe that's why they all die young," Xander said. "Face it, you got the short end of the straw. No one could come after Giles and get anywhere with Buffy. Or Faith, either."

"Yes, I've realized that it's a hardship assignment," Wesley said. He sounded stiff.

"Yeah? Who'd you piss off to get it?"

There was that silence and stillness again. Another sore spot, ladies and gentlemen. Don't mess with a professional bully's victim.

Xander bonked the back of his head against the cave wall. If he was really cruel, he could follow that up. He could ask, like, what other schoolyard taunts had Wesley heard. Four-eyes? Did English kids say that, or was that just American? Pencil-necked geek; now, was that untranslatable into the Queen's English?

"My father is on the Council," Wesley said, beside him.

"Yeah, see? If my father was on the Council, you can bet that I'd be right here, just the same." He patted his pockets. "Score! I have a Snickers left. Want half?"

"No, thanks," Wesley said.

"Come on," Xander said. "We got to keep our strength up. You know, for the screaming." He broke the bar in half and started to hold it out, but found himself jabbing Wesley in the face with it.

"No," Wesley said. "You're very kind."

"Well, I can't eat it now, that it's got your face cooties on it," Xander said. He groped for Wesley's arm, and felt for his hand. Wesley's long fingers twitched, then closed over the candy bar.

"My what?" Wesley asked, sounding more grumpy, now, than mortally offended.

"Face cooties," Xander said. He pressed his thumb over the back of Wesley's hand, leaving him the candy.

They ate in silence for a moment.

"My father wouldn't let me eat dinner until I had properly declined Markosh verbs," Wesley said, thickly.

"Huh. My father threw a workboot at me that accidentally went through the front window. We don't have dinner; we have take-out."

"Thrashed every week at school," Wesley said.

"Got knocked into the refrigerator so hard, it went sideways and took out the icemaker hose." Xander shivered. "Dang, I wish I hadn't remembered that. I'm cold. It might be nice in the daytime, but nights are cold." He rubbed his arms. "You aren't using that jacket, are you?"

"Yes," Wesley said.

"And now I have to pee," Xander said. He stood up. "I'll aim away from you." He began feeling his way around to the other side. "And, I'll kick leaves over it."

"Now I have to," Wesley said, dismally.

"Hey, it's not like it's Number 2, " Xander said. "That would be awkward. Hey, we can't even see each other to compare---just watch out for my shoes."


"About three hours until dawn," Wesley said, looking at his watch.

"Well, we could always yell again," Xander said, and shouted. "Hey! Buffy! Guys! Help!"

"Are you by yourself?" a voice said, faintly.

"N--" Wesley clapped his hand over his mouth, but it was too late. With a :whoosh: a vamp was right there.

"Smells like pee!" the vampire complained, and snatched at Xander's shirt. "Oh, well. Hey!"

There was a roar, and the explosion of dust.

Wesley said, angrily, "We need to wait until daylight, or we could attract vampires!"

"Thanks for telling me earlier," Xander hissed.

"I thought you were smart enough to figure it out yourself!" Wesley said.

"Well, fooled you, didn't I?" Xander shouted.

"Quiet!" Wesley said.

"Make me!"

And then, just like in one of those cheesy chick movies, Wesley kissed him. And what was so kind of not-strange, Xander's body jolted just like it did when Faith had grabbed him, jolted in a way that the girlish softness of Cordelia and Willow hadn't. Something in him responded to hard hands on his arm and hard muscles under his own fingertips.

He tore his mouth away. "This isn't payback for that virgin remark, is it?"

"Partly," Wesley said. "Partly not."


They stumbled around for a second, with the kisses getting deeper. "Careful, we're getting close to the urinal," Wesley said.

Xander snorted, and grabbed a handful of starched shirt and yanked upwards. He got his other hand on Wesley's bare skin, and hello there, six pack. Who knew? Wesley pushed him against the wall, biting at his neck, and worked his hand down Xander's crotch.

"Why, Mr. Wyndam-Price, you've done this before," Xander gasped, seeing stars.

"Shut---up---Xander," Wesley muttered.

"Make me," Xander said into his mouth.


"We saw your clipboard," Giles said apologetically, after Buffy had tossed a rope down the hole and pulled them up. "It's nearly daylight."

"Clipboard, ay?" Wesley asked, meeting Xander's eyes for a fleeting smirk.

"Man, I gotta get a shower before I go to school," Xander moaned. "Didn't you say you live near here? Buffy, can you bring my bookbag to the library?"

Buffy said, "Sure, Xander." She checked her watch. "Ohmygod, I'll hardly have time to do my hair!" She sped off.

"It's very kind of you to let Xander use your bath," Giles said approvingly, following her much more slowly.

"Well, we're all on the same, er, team, here, aren't we?" Wesley said, heartily. He rubbed his back. "I must say, a shower sounds---" he looked again at Xander---"just right."


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