Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project
Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project

By Kassie
For Rebecca

Watching Fred is sort of a new hobby. Since she started coming out of her bunker (out in a very loose sense); out as in standing shielded in the elevator letting the doors open and close over and over until I thought about begging Angel to have the bell removed; out under the desk like a kid from the fifties in a bombing raid drill; out to Wesley's office with the dry erase board between her and the door. But still out as in not in the new cave. I watch her when she doesn't know it. She might know it, but she doesn't say anything. Anything about me looking at her, she's always talking about something.

A.H., After Harmony, I flipped that conversation with Willow over in my head so many times that I don't feel bad anymore calling her a lesbo. She's called me worse, and I didn't mean it like that. Just reacting to shock. But I've thought about it. The female voice in the background when Willow got angry at me. A hushed, calm voice soothing her, wanting to make whatever wasn't right ok again. And when Miss Perfect left here (went back to Sunnydale leaving us with Angel), I tried to picture her crying with her face pressed against a bony shoulder, her hair pushed back by a small hand, and I envied her.

Sure, when I got out of Sunnydale, I totally thought it was my chance to go it alone and not be part of a herd of chicks, with the bickering and left-handed compliments, boyfriend stealing and fighting for status. Complete relief to not be on 24, just in case someone stopped by, you know? Who would have thought that I of all people would get tired of men? But then there was Wes and Angel and Gunn, and before that Doyle. All guys doing their guy things. No one to pick out nail polish with, talk about fad diets to, tell me the truth about that new zebra print skirt. Wes does a mean stand-in when it comes to Steel Magnolias and listening to chick rock, but even his almost queeny thing isn't enough.

So now there's Fred. And I watch her, and I wonder if she cares about anything besides numbers and theorems, maybe she has a secret shoe lust. Her hair looks a lot like mine used to, and when it catches the light from the chandeliers in the lobby, my fingers travel up my neck, and my chest gets tight. Maybe she cut her hair before and could understand my loss? It's almost as good as having it back, to be able to watch it fall around her face and shoulders.

She gets on my nerves with her talk talk talk about nutso topic after hair-brained scheme, but everyone annoys me, really. Even now when I try to hold it back, not say anything about Wesley tapping his pencil against the desk for fifteen minutes straight, Gunn leaving his dirty clothes wadded up on the floor of the downstairs bathroom, and Angel, well, the list is too long to even work myself up about it, but it starts and ends with his choice in women.

Fred's kookie, like the Adams family, Mortica wouldn't be a bad nickname for her if she had a black dress, so skinny, her elbows and knees knobbly like a little kid. Her crush on Angel makes me sick. No, not because it's a threat to me, Angel's too raw to be looking for love anytime soon. And maybe he even learned a lesson or two this year, but more than that, he's incest territory. When I think about dating now, usually when I've watched three hours straight of QVC without a vision or a phone call from the gang, I think about it. What it would be like. Getting ready, make up and hair and special sparkly body powder. Smiling the megawatt smile all night, the one that makes my face hurt the next day. Acting interested in basket/foot/baseball or car racing or his pets/work/favorite color. And I just turn it off. In my head the date dims, and I sigh when the muscles in my neck relax from not even having to try in my mind anymore.

Because, really, I have to work to see myself in those fantasies now. When Xander screwed me over, I said no more men. When Wesley was a cradle-robbing dork, I said no more men. Demon pregnancy? You can guess. One night stands and cheating boyfriends, and I just don't get it. Most of them are just hairy and snory and after the next piece of ass anyway. Why should I knock myself out for that? Conceal my secret identity? Risk further insemination? Especially when I expect it to end in a slime trail or changed phone number in the end.

Knocking myself out over some man who wants the surface, the L.A. polish and none of the me underneath, it's not how I want to live my life. Not since I know there's more, or less if I'm being bitter. But there's also Fred cleaned up and in the daylight. Her hair is like twenty colors at once, gold/ red/copper shimmering. And she doesn't care when I wear my 'I-have-cramp-clothes', doesn't say, "Oh, is this the bag lady ensemble?" just smiles sympathetically when I wince as I sit down. She should smile all the time, it takes the pain right out of her face, unpinches it. She's teaching me the names of flowers and lets me brush her hair when I want. And she told me she would like to go shopping some time soon. Today, after the paperwork was done, I almost fell asleep as I imagined walking through the mall with her, wondering what clothes would suit her best, getting a coffee afterwards, and she didn't once talk about her pets or work or favorite color, just where she could get a new pair of glasses and maybe some ice cream.