**Part Eleven**

Xander was drifting off in the chair. He was kind of cute, Buffy had to admit. She felt bad for him that the only time he got quality family time was at her house. Considering, her family wasn't all that normal it didn't say much for his.

She was leaning against Lindsey, who had his arm around her. She glanced at him once or twice, wondering if he was going to drift off, too. There was something about men, Thanksgiving, turkey, and football. It was inevitable that a nap would result.

Buffy and her mom used to laugh at her dad. So insistent the turkey be ready early enough so he could watch football. In theory, it was a fine idea. Except he spent most of the game asleep.

Her mom was tidying up the kitchen. With four of them to help it hadn't taken long to get the table cleared, leftovers put away, and dishes done. Giles had left almost as soon as they were done cleaning up. Buffy wasn't sure why he'd rushed off, but was glad he'd come. Thanksgiving wasn't a holiday he celebrated, not being an American and all. It meant a lot to her, though, that he wanted to be a part of her life like this.

"So, was Thanksgiving dinner everything you expected?"

"More. You didn't tell me that your mom is a good cook."

"Well, do I look like I'm starving?"

He chuckled. "No, I guess you don't."

"So, it goes without saying Mom can cook."

"Right. What was I thinking?"

"See," she said, leaning up to kiss him.

"So, Lindsey my man, can I hitch a ride with you when you leave?"

"Leave where?"

"The Buffster's house?"

"I'm not leaving until Sunday."


"Mom's allowing Lindsey to stay in the spare bedroom."

"She what?"

Poor Xander. He looked absolutely aghast at the thought. Aghast? Where had that word come from?

"Evidently, since he's our guest for Thanksgiving she thought it was rude to make him stay at a hotel."

"Well, but, he's your, you're his."

"Yes. He's in the guest bedroom, Xander. Not my bedroom."

"Well, but he, you."

"Xander, it's okay."

"Does he always get like this?"


"Thanks a lot, Buff."

"You're welcome, a lot."

"I can give you a ride if you want one."

"No, no, I'll walk. I just thought. I would like a ride while you're here though. I bet that baby moves."

"Yeah, she hauls."

Buffy rolled her eyes.

"Enough with the masculine pickup truck talk. It's bad enough I'm in here watching football with you."

"But Buffy."

"I'll make sure you get a ride in it, Xander."

"Thanks. See, that wasn't so hard, Buffy."

"You're too nice," she whispered before kissing Lindsey.

"So I've heard."

"You have, huh?"

"Yes. There's this girl I know."

"Oh? Is she pretty?"

"The prettiest."

"Well, okay. What about her?"

"I think she thinks I have the willpower of Superman or something."

"Hmm. Just stay away from Kryptonite."

He chuckled.

"Only thing is, she's the one with the super powers not me. I'm just a man."

"You're not just a man."

"I'm not?"

"No. You're my man and you're willing to do something dangerous for me. For us."

"With the help of your ex."

"Who cares who's helping? It was your idea. And you're giving my relationship with him more emphasis then it deserves I think. We weren't like exclusive or anything."

"But you liked each other."

"Well, yeah, I guess. He was never overly forthcoming with the admission of such things."

"His loss."

"Your gain, baby."

"Yeah, I guess it is. I should stop complaining." He kissed her, hugging her to him. "Are you going out tonight?"



"Giles and I decided with you staying here, Mom will probably be listening rather intently. So, he agreed that sneaking out probably was better off not done."


She sat up and looked at him, her smile widening. "You liked it! You had fun."

"Well, yeah, who wouldn't? I mean, I'll admit it's kind of strange realizing you could kick my ass from here to LA and back, but," he leaned closer against her ear. "I'd be lying if I didn't tell you it was an incredibly turn-on."

"Oh really?" Well, that was something. She'd definitely remember that for another time, when her mother wouldn't be sleeping with one eye open, waiting for something unsavory to happen under her roof.

"It's weird thinking she doesn't know."

He grazed his nose against her cheek, kissing her. When he did things like that it was all she could do to not jump him. She wondered if he had any idea how close she'd come. Several times now. She knew it was because of her he always stopped things from getting out of hand. He didn't want to push, or to appear like that was all he wanted from her.

"I know, believe me! There are times I think it would be so much easier if I could tell her the truth. And then other times I realize she's better off not knowing."

"She'd worry."


"Like I will now."

"Don't worry about me."

"That's easy to say, but not so easy to do. You've already died once. You don't think it bugs me I can't help you the way Angel can?"

"But you are helping. You're doing something I can't do, Lindsey. You're doing something you don't even have to do. You're risking your life. That's huge."

"I guess. It's not the same."

"Hey," she maneuvered herself with grace onto his lap and wrapped her arms around his neck. She snuggled against him with a pout. "It's the same to me. And I'm all that matters. What Giles or Angel or Xander thinks doesn't matter. Not about this. If they all came to me with evidence you were the devil incarnate I might have to listen. Unless you're Keanu Reeves in that new movie he's got out with Al Pacino. I think one of them's the devil."

He chuckled and kissed her. She didn't let him pull away quickly like he tried to. She deepened the kiss, loving the taste of him. The feel of his lips against hers. They fit so nicely against hers, comfortably. He was a beautiful man with his hair just a touch too long. It was nice on him, though, and she loved being able to twine her fingertips around the ends.

"So, how about them Cowboys," Xander called out and Buffy pulled away.

"What?" She glared at him. She couldn't help it. Other than last night she hadn't had any time alone with Lindsey at all. Walking through cemeteries on the lookout for vampires and other baddies wasn't exactly her idea of a way to impress a date. Though, he seemed to enjoy himself.

"The football team, the sport we're watching. Just making sure you remembered someone else was in the room and your mom's in the kitchen before you got too carried away. I'm pretty sure those sleeping arrangements might be adjusted if she saw that."

She rolled her eyes and shifted off Lindsey's lap.


She settled next to him once again. She hated to admit it, but Xander was right. The quickest way to get her mom to send Lindsey packing was for her to see them getting too snuggly on the couch. She couldn't help it, though. His wanting to do this, just the fact he came up with the plan, proved he really meant what he'd said outside of Giles' house. He loved her.

It would be one thing if they were one-step away from having sex, but they weren't. Not even close. They still had several steps to go to get to that point. So, it made no sense for him to come up with this plan just to get her into bed. That and, well, he wouldn't have accepted her mom's invitation if that was his plan.

He kissed the top of her head.

"What are you thinking about?"

She tilted her head up slightly to look at him. "You. That I love you."

"Well, don't let me stop you from thinking about those things then. I'll be right over here, watching the game. Pinch me once in a while so I know you haven't fallen asleep. Or I haven't."

She chuckled. "Will do."

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