Word Count: 1,220
Buffy knocked, going into Xander's room once he'd said she could come in. She didn't usually go for such formalities, but for once there was someone else in Xander's room. Buffy wasn't too sure how she felt about an outsider spending much time here, but the girl already knew about Buffy and the other slayers. And besides once Xander had explained the situation, she hadn't had it in her heart to refuse. And really, Xander had given up so much already, lost his parents they were pretty sure so she probably wouldn't have told him no anyway.
She couldn't blame Kylie's guardian for being concerned. Most people had a limit on how much they could see and experience before they started shutting down. Or acting out. And since Kylie had lost everyone close to her, she could understand why Bill had expressed concern about Kylie being around for a baby with the possibility of being not completely human.
Xander had been back for about three weeks. Kylie just got here two days ago. During the time Xander was here alone, Buffy made sure that Bill realized there wasn't anyone around here to play chaperone. Not that she didn't trust Xander, but Buffy'd known he liked Kylie after his second trip to Wheelsy. She and her slayers had too much to be responsible for as it was to be worrying about whether Xander was having sex.
Besides, she was close enough to eighteen and after everything she'd been through, some would consider her more of an adult than some adults who hadn't been through what she had. Buffy also knew that Xander wasn't going to pounce on her the second the wheels of her plane set down in London. Xander wasn't that kind of guy, his relationship with Anya aside.
"Hey, sorry," Buffy said, not accustomed to feeling as if she was disturbing Xander. He had become almost as much about the mission and the job as Buffy was. Kind of scary, but he was good at what he did.
"It's all right. What's up?"
"I've got some correspondence I need you to look at."
"All right. Now?"
"Well, yeah," she said.
"I don't know. Some cryptic message. Or maybe it was encrypted. I don't know."
He smirked then and she pouted. "Don't get all smirky on me because I don't know the lingo. That isn't my job! You, Mister," she said, thumping his chest good naturedly, "are the tech guy. I'm the muscle."
"And don't I know it," he said, rubbing the spot she'd hit. "You don't have to hit me, Buff."
Her eyes widened. "Did I hurt you? Oh my God, I'm sorry. I forget sometimes, you know? I was just playing."
"Buffy, it's fine. I'm fine. Really. I was just pulling your leg. I'll be down in a minute. Okay?"
"All right," she said, pouting again.
Xander closed the door and padded the short distance to his bed where Kylie slept. She'd been doing that a lot since she'd gotten here. Between the end of school, graduation, and the arrangements to come here being done in a matter of weeks he imagined she was pretty tired. Not too tired last night to keep him awake half the night, though. Not that he was complaining.
"Kylie," he said softly, setting a hand gently on her shoulder.
"Mm hmm," she mumbled.
"I gotta go downstairs with Buffy for a bit."
"You remember how to get a hold of me if you need something right?"
"Mm hmm," she replied.
"Okay, I hope you're coherent enough to remember this and you don't wake up freaking out because I'm not here."
He walked to his bathroom. Their bathroom. He'd offered to give her a room to herself. It would have taken some finagling but it could have been arranged. Not all of the slayers stayed here and some could have been sent off to Andrew, Faith, or Robin for training if need be.
She hadn't wanted her own room. That had made Xander a little nervous. He'd been surprised when Bill had agreed to her coming here instead of a trip somewhere else. Xander knew Kylie had money saved up from Bill selling stuff off, but that was supposed to be for college. And this way all she'd been responsible for was a plane ticket. Housing, food, and anything else she'd need would be seen to by Xander. Or the Council.
He'd thought for sure Bill was going to say no way in hell, but he hadn't. Xander figured the sheriff probably realized they didn't need to be across the ocean for things to happen if that was where their intentions lay.
Nothing had happened yet. Well, nothing much. He really couldn't remember the last time he'd just laid in bed with a girl and kissed. And, well, a little touching, but nothing she wasn't a willing participant in and didn't do to him as well.
Bill's final words to Xander were still as clear as if he'd just said them seconds ago.
"You just make sure she comes back here when the time comes for school."
"I wouldn't stop her from going to school."
"No, but she may decide she wants to go there. You and I both know that wouldn't be good for her."
"Yeah," Xander had said simply.
He knew how young Kylie was and that despite liking one another she needed more life experience than just her time in Wheelsy to make any decisions. Not that Xander was thinking of marrying her or anything. There wasn't anything wrong with her, but he'd known even before Bill mentioned it that she had a whole bunch of living to do.
And so, Xander was being careful. Ever so careful that nothing happened, emotionally or physically, between them that would serve as incentive for her to stay here. And there was Claire and Bill's wedding. Kylie had been worried with Starla coming back into town Bill would change his mind about Claire.
Evidently, that hadn't happened because one of the first things Kylie had told him when she stepped off the plane was that Bill had proposed. And Claire had accepted. As if Xander didn't know that! He liked Claire, and hadn't revealed her secret to anyone here. He'd come to find out why she was in Wheelsy and knew that what knowledge he had had to stay with him.
He dressed and went down to his area in the castle. He'd shown it to Kylie so that if she needed to find him she could. She'd been more than mildly impressed at their setup. He supposed until actually seeing it she had pictured a clandestine outfit barely scraping miscellaneous items together to keep in contact. He didn't tell her that they hadn't come by all of this stuff legally or legitimately.
They were at war, though, and they did what had to be done to ensure as many slayers survived as possibly could. Buffy wouldn't have it on her conscious if she'd activated hundreds, thousands of slayers only to have them die due to lack of proper equipment and tools to help them in the field.
"What's up, Buff?" he said finally, sitting in his chair and tapping on the keys that would let him into the system.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com