Million Dollar Bachelor


Part Eleven

Their lips had just met when Gunn rushed out, startling them apart. “Yo, yo! Who’s ready for carnival candy and lots of rides?” he asked. He’d always loved the fair and even though they never had a lot of money his mom would scrounge up a little cash so Gunn could take Alonna to either play a few games or go on a couple rides.

William jumped up, the moment gone. “I think we’re all but ready to go. Do you know if Lindsey is up?”

“I think so,” Gunn replied. He looked between William and Xander and realized he had interrupted something. Gunn actually felt guilty. If it had been Lindsey he would have mentally cheered and maybe thrown a smirk at Lindsey. “Did you guys work everything out?”

“Yeah,” Xander replied clearing his throat. “I just want to say bye to Sparky and I’ll be all set.”

William told Gunn he would be a minute and went with Xander. He knelt down by Sparky. “I’ll take good care of Xander.”

Sparky wanted to still be mad at William but he knew by the look on Xander’s face that everything had been worked out. He let out a little whimper and placed his paw on William’s leg.

“I think you’re forgiven,” Xander whispered. He couldn’t contain his smile. It was important that Sparky approve of William.

“Good,” William said with a smile. “Now Buffy and Liam promised to take good care of him while we’re gone,” he said and stood up. “The worst thing is we’ll come back and find him stuffed from Buffy pampering him all day.”

Sparky barked and wagged his tail. With a final lick to Xander’s hand he watched as they left. He made himself comfortable underneath a tree and wondered what kind of treats he would be given. With a lick to his chops Sparky decided that a nap was needed.


The sun was bright and the temperature had to be at least ninety-three degrees. Kids screamed and ran by as William bought day passes for everyone. Gunn was giddy; he was so dragging William onto the rollercoaster with him. But first some food! “How about some corndogs?” Gunn suggested.

Lindsey wrinkled up his nose in disgust. “It’s nine o’clock in the morning.”

“Yeah, well if they didn’t want you to eat it at nine o’clock in the morning they shouldn’t have them made,” Gunn shot back. “Come on, who’s with me?”

William wasn’t sure, but Gunn seemed so eager. “I’ll have one but don’t stuff yourself we’ve got a long day ahead of ourselves.”

“Don’t worry about me, man. I won the hotdog eating contest here last year.” Gunn patted his stomach.

“I used to have hotdog contests with Jesse in high school,” Xander said with a big grin. “I’m in.”

Lindsey rolled his eyes. Four grown men goofing around at a stupid carnival. But he didn’t want to be left out so he ordered a Coke.

While they ate they watched as groups of friends and families ran around playing the games and going on the rides. William was trying to be excited but all he could think about the kiss that didn’t happen. What would have happened if Gunn hadn’t come out? Would the kiss have been any good? Would he have hated it? Would Xander? The thought of kissing Xander worried him just because he was afraid there wouldn’t be a spark. Unlike kissing Lindsey where William was just afraid it would be unfair to the others. And what about Gunn? William hadn’t even had any real alone time with him. Would he feel like William was excluding him?

This was harder than William had thought it would be.

“Yo, Will!” Gunn poked William in the arm, not hard but not lightly either. “Where’d ya go?”

“Sorry,” William said blushing. “There are just so many people here.”

Xander smiled at William. “It does take some getting used to, doesn’t it?”

“I’m sure this is nothing to you though, Will,” Lindsey added. “Didn’t I read that you were a guest at San Diego Comic Con two years ago?”

William blushed even harder. “Yes, but my book was new and there really weren’t that many people there for me.”

“How about we stop embarrassing Will and decide which ride to go on?” Xander asked, detouring the attention slightly away from William. He was rewarded with a soft smile.

“How about we start off with something romantic?” Lindsey said and grabbed William’s hand. Not even twenty feet away was the Tunnel of Love. Never too soon to steal William away was it? Plus he wouldn’t mind a few more kisses.

William spotted the ride. “Oh...well. I don’t know. It seems awfully early to be splitting up.”

Lindsey pouted.

“Go on, Will,” Xander said and waved his corndog around. “I’m not quite done yet.”

“Yeah and I’m not that gay to go on that ride,” Gunn said adding his two cents. “Me and Xander will pick the next ride.”

“Great!” Lindsey said and dragged William away.

Xander and Gunn both saw William turn back to them, looking worried. If it was about leaving them or possibly being stuck with Lindsey, Gunn didn’t know, but he was hoping for the latter.


Lindsey climbed into the electronic plastic swan first. “I was afraid they wouldn’t let us be alone,” he said and snuggled up nice and close to William.

“I hope they don’t mind,” William said and bit his bottom lip.

Lindsey had to swallow down a sarcastic remark. Something along the lines of, Are you sure you’re a man? “If they had a problem with it I’m sure they would have said something. If you ask me they didn’t seem all that concerned about me taking you off their hands.”

“I’m sure they were just being polite,” William said in a clipped voice. He didn’t like thinking he had to be taken off another person’s hands.

Realizing that maybe William wasn’t as dumb as he thought, Lindsey needed to do some recon work. “I’m sorry, Will. I didn’t mean anything by it. I know they are good guys,” Lindsey said with a sigh. “It’s just...I guess...never mind.”

“Tell me,” William said softly.

The ride started up and this was not how Lindsey had expected it to go. “It’s just that I’m afraid you’ll think I’m boring.”

“Why would I think you’re boring?” William asked confused. He took Lindsey’s hand into his.

“Because, well, Gunn has this hot bad boy thing going for him and Xander has the survivor thing going for him,” Lindsey explained trying to look utterly pitiful.

William was completely lost. Gunn’s past he knew about because of what Lindsey had told him but Xander? “What do you mean Xander is a survivor?” he asked as his heart picked up, fear instantly kicked in.

Lindsey could have kicked himself. This was exactly why he hadn’t mentioned Xander’s past. “Nothing. I shouldn’t have said anything.”

Like that was going to work.

“Is there something wrong with Xander?” William asked. “Is he sick?”

“No... look the ride’s almost over. Can we just spend some time with just us?” Lindsey asked with a slight whine.

William shook himself. “Yeah. I’m sorry.” He wrapped his arms around Lindsey and just cuddled. His mind was on Xander. He didn’t look sick.

The ride ended and Lindsey climbed out of the swan with a huff. Stupid William. Who cared about a construction worker with a dumb dog? In his opinion Gunn was a much better catch. Sure he didn’t find him attractive but at least he had his own business!

Xander bounded over to them, pink cotton candy in hand. Half of it was already gone. “How was it?” he asked excitedly. He had a nice little sugar high going on.

“It was fine,” Lindsey said gruffly and stormed over to an empty bench.

“What’s wrong with him?” Gunn asked, not really caring. He just didn’t want the day ruined.

William shook his head. Now wasn’t the time to get into the secret Lindsey had let slip. “The ride wasn’t all that great,” he said and wrapped his arms around Xander’s and Gunn’s waists. “Have you two decided on the next ride?”

Xander bounced on the balls of his feet. “Yup! Bumper cars!”

Part Twelve

Liam sat at the table and watched Buffy doing the dishes from the night before; he of course helped by collecting them all from the night before. It always confused him when Buffy did them by hand when there was a perfectly good dishwasher. Apparently it was a quirk of hers. She was a strange one, he knew that when they got together.

“Are you just going to spend the day staring at me?” Buffy asked with mock annoyance.

“Yes,” Liam said with a shit-eating grin. “We’re alone and I have nothing else to do.”

Buffy turned around with a raised eyebrow. “You could go keep Sparky busy,” she suggested.

“You don’t like my company?” He stood up and walked over to her. “Don’t you love me anymore?” He grabbed her around the waist.

“Get off me,” Buffy giggled and smeared bubbles on Liam’s face.

Liam sputtered and in retaliation began to tickle Buffy’s sides. That was her biggest weakness and she began to squeal and try to wiggle free. “Tell me you love me,” he said.

Buffy panted for breath. “I love you,” she giggled and she was released. Buffy grabbed a hand towel and threw it in Liam’s face. “You big jerk,” she said and stuck her tongue out at him. She decided to change the subject onto serious ground. “So...what do you think of the guys?”

“Buffy...” Liam said with a groan. “I thought we decided to let William make his own decisions on this.”

“Well duh,” Buffy said and continued with the dishes. “We agreed to be Switzerland but it doesn’t mean we can’t discuss it, does it?”

Liam knew she was right; he sighed. “Fine. What do you think of them?”

Buffy could have squealed for the fact that she won. Though she knew she would, she was the master after all. She forgot about the dishes and rushed over to the table to get comfortable. “Great! So which one do you like more?”

“Xander and Gunn seem like good guys,” Liam said. “They seem like they're really interested in William.”

“And Lindsey,” Buffy wheedled.

Liam glared at her. She was lucky he loved her. “I think he isn’t here for the right reasons.”

“You think he’s after Will’s money too,” Buffy said. She knew she wasn’t wrong. Her instincts never were... well most of the time. At first she thought Liam was kind of stuck up because he never gave her the time of day but at the end she realized he was just the kind of guy that did his job and stayed to himself for the most part. Well until Buffy was able to drag the fun side out.

“We don’t know that,” Liam argued.

Buffy rolled her eyes. “Fine, it’s not the only reason he’s here then. I am sure we both know what the other reason is,” she said wiggling her eyebrows.

“It doesn’t matter. William has to make this decision for himself. I will not be the reason he loses the person he is meant to be with. And neither will you,” Liam stated firmly. “Now why don’t you finish up the dishes while I check on Sparky’s water and then we can have a little picnic?”

“Fine,” Buffy said with a huff. She’d let Liam end the subject... for now. Xander was still her number one choice. Though she wouldn’t complain if Gunn was William’s special someone. “Sparky might need some more kibble. Will had Xander put it in the closet with the broom and mop.” She swatted at his butt and watched him as he walked away. Liam had one of the finest asses she’d ever seen.

Liam felt Buffy’s eyes on him the entire time. Appraising him. When they had first met he had been thrown off by her. He’d never had a girl try so hard to get his attention. Buffy was the kind of girl who always got what she wanted. Not that he was complaining; it just took some adjusting from his quiet life. He turned back around, bag of dog kibble in hand, to see Buffy just grinning at him. When this experiment of William’s was over he and Buffy were going to go away for a weekend. They needed some time alone and so would William and his future boyfriend.

Right now he had a job to do. He went outside, ignoring the glare in his eyes from the sun. Liam noticed that as soon as Sparky saw him he hid behind the tree. He took no offense; he knew the story of the dog’s poor life. While he poured the food into the bowl Liam spoke quietly. “It’s all right. I don’t really like new people either.”

Sparky’s muzzle appeared as he smelt the food. He refused to come out though. Liam seemed nice enough but there were too many people around and it scared and confused him. He trusted Xander not to take him somewhere where he would be in danger, but that didn’t quell all his fears. Only when Liam finished filling the bowl and went back into the house did he come out. Sparky missed Xander and hoped he would be home soon.

Part Thirteen

William thought he was going to be sick. They waited in line for almost an hour before actually being able to do the bumper cars. Gunn and Xander had managed to polish off another bag of cotton candy, this time it was blue. Lindsey was still sulking, the reason for which was beyond William.

They were all each assigned a car. Gunn had confessed he never learned how to drive, which was proven when for the most part the only thing he ran into were the walls. That didn’t dampen his spirits any though. He just laughed and continued to try.

Lindsey on the other hand was very good at bumper cars. He loved going to the carnivals when he was younger and if he was forced to be here then he was going to play hard. Gunn was an obvious choice, he was stuck against the wall. Even though it would be too easy, Lindsey didn’t like Gunn. Gunn was a mouthy one, and there was no way Lindsey would ever win in a real fight but smacking him a few times with a toy car would let him get his frustrations out.

With a smirk he turned the steering wheel hard and aimed for Gunn who had just managed to get out of a corner. Lindsey prepared himself for the impact. Right on course, the front of his little car rammed into Gunn’s back sending him back into the wall. He backed up only to rev the engine and smash into Gunn one more time before backing up once more and leaving Gunn to glower after him.

William agreed to get into a cute little car but there was no way he was going to drive it! He just hoped that if he stayed in one place everyone else would leave him alone. Wishful thinking on his part when a chubby snot nosed boy stared him down before purposely slamming his blue car into William’s red one and then drove away laughing at William’s shocked expression. He turned when he heard a low chuckle and scowled when he saw that it was Xander. William pouted and crossed his arms over his chest. “What are you heehawing about?”

“Just how adorable you are,” Xander replied with a smile. “Want me to go smack into that kid? Defend your honor?”

“No,” William said still pouting.

Xander bit his lip to keep from laughing. He leaned in a little. “Want me to kiss it better?”

“I um...” William gulped. He was about to answer when a whistle sounded, indicating that their time was over.

Xander sighed. “I don’t know about you but I’m starting to get the feeling that the fates don’t want us together,” he said before he drove his car back to the center of the ring.

“Damn the fates,” William whispered. One way or another he’d get his kiss from Xander!


After an hour and a half Gunn tracked down another food stand. This time he ordered cheese fries and a chili cheese dog. William ordered a plain burger and a Coke while Xander ordered fries and a cream soda and even Lindsey ordered a double cheese burger with all the fixings with fries. They were able to find an empty table and made themselves comfortable.

“I hope everyone’s having a good time,” William said while biting into his burger. It was greasy but still delicious.

“Oh yeah,” Gunn said a smile on his face. Despite Lindsey trying to ruin his fun in the bumper cars he was still having a great time.

Lindsey was gobbling down his fries. “Oh yeah, this is great, Will.” Surprisingly he was actually having a great time. He'd had to spend the day with Gunn and Xander but William was paying for everything so it made up for it. “What’s next?”

“Oh! Oh!” Xander said eagerly. “You can’t go to the fair without playing a few games.”

“Splendid idea!” William smiled. “We all need a memento from today don’t we?”

And it went back to being stupid for Lindsey. Stupid carny toys? Really? But he plastered on his fake smile. “That sounds great.”

Gunn rubbed his hands together. He knew the game he was going to do. Hopefully he could win a big stuffed animal thing for William. Like the saying went, the bigger the better.


Everyone circled around Gunn as he held the slightly heavy mallet. His game had always been Ring the Bell. William watched, excited. He’d seen Gunn’s muscles the day before and he had no doubt that Gunn could hit the bell with little to no effort. “Go, Gunn!” William said encouragingly. He was rewarded with a wink. Oh yes, he was a lucky man. Who else here could say they were with three of the sexiest men he’d ever seen? No one!

Gunn raised the mallet over his head and brought it down onto the lever. The weight was easily moved and flew up and it the bell. The crowd screamed as excitedly as if they just saw the winning goal for the Stanley Cup.

The guy that ran the game looked very impressed; he didn’t see a lot of people actually hit the bell. “What will it be, fella?”

“What do you want, Will?” Gunn asked and pulled William up to see his choices.

William was happy. He looked over all the types of toys and stuffed animals. One caught his eye. It was a Count Von Count doll. Count Von Count had been William’s all-time favorite Sesame Street character as a child. “Count Von Count!” He was handed the doll and he just beamed as he held it. It brought back his childhood.

“Count Von Count huh?” Gunn said with a smile. “I preferred Oscar.”

“Oh no!” Xander said getting into it. “Snuffleupagus is the all-time best character!”

Lindsey said his favorite character was Ernie which made them all laugh because it was so obvious that Ernie was in love with Bert.


The rest of the day was a hit. They played a few more games like The Dart Game and The Milk Bottle game which was always rumored to be rigged, but William was impressed when Xander was able to knock them all down. The guy who ran the game however wasn’t. But Xander ignored the dirty looks and demanded the monkey that wrapped around your neck. He then wrapped it around William’s neck and ordered him not to take it off.

“I think one more ride and then we should head back to the house,” William said. “What about the Ferris Wheel?”

Gunn looked a little green. “I think I ate too much...” he placed a hand over his mouth hoping to stop himself from barfing. “I think I’m going to sit this one out. I’m going to meet you guys at the car.” He left their little group to find a bathroom.

William looked concerned. “Maybe we should get him home?”

“I think we should give him a few minutes,” Xander said. He knew if it were him he wouldn’t want William seeing him like that. “Lindsey, you want to do the Ferris Wheel?”

“No. I don’t like heights,” Lindsey confessed hating to sound weak.

Xander grinned, happy to hear that. “Looks like it’s just you and me then!”

“We’ll be back in just a few minutes,” William said before he and Xander rushed over to the Ferris Wheel which was shockingly not very busy.

Lindsey opened his mouth to say maybe they should just leave. For the sake of Gunn of course but Xander and William were already in line. “Fuckers.”


William and Xander were buckled into their seat. Xander bounced with excitement. “This is going to be so much fun!” he exclaimed.

“I have to confess I’m a little afraid of heights myself,” William whispered as the ride began to move to allow a few more people on.

“Why did you suggest coming on here then?” Xander asked. He was ready to wave his hands and tell the guy they needed off.

“Because I’ve always wanted to ride one,” William explained looking a little fearful. “Hold my hand?”

How could Xander resist? He took hold of William’s hand as soon as the ride officially started. Xander stayed as still as possible not wanting to rock their seat. The last thing he wanted was to send William into a panic. “You’re doing good,” Xander said with a smile. Apparently that was a jinx because the ride jerked to a halt. Of course they were at the very top.

“Is that supposed to happen?” William asked curiously.

“Erm...I don’t think so,” Xander answered. Very carefully he looked over the edge to see a group of people staring up at them. “Nope, definitely not supposed to happen.”

“Everyone!” The ride manager had pulled out a loud speaker. “There is no reason to panic. We will have you off in ten minutes. Twenty at the most.”

William turned and blinked at Xander.

Part Fourteen

“We’re stuck,” William said, stating the obvious. “We are going to die.”

“Will, we are not going to die,” Xander said, pulling William as close as the safety belts would allow. “This type of stuff happens all the time.”

A loud ruckus could be heard from below and they both looked down carefully just in time to see Lindsey flailing his hands.

“My boyfriend is stuck up there!” Lindsey yelled frantically. “Screw everyone else! Don’t you know who he is? He’s William Pratt! The famous author!”

A security guard came over. “Sir, please. We don’t want the crowd or the people on the ride getting riled up. They are perfectly fine,” he said. “But if you keep this commotion up I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”

Lindsey huffed. How the hell would he get William’s money if he was dead?! “You don’t understand.”

“I understand perfectly. But I don’t need you worrying these fine people. Some of them have kids up there and the last thing we want is them thinking they are in any real danger. Right?” The security guard who was a good five inches taller than Lindsey towered over him.

“Right,” Lindsey said with a scowl.

The security guard seemed happy with the answer and left Lindsey to reassure a few other people.

William started to hyperventilate after about five minutes. He could hear the squeaking of seats from kids who thought it would be fun to swing them. Didn’t they know how dangerous that was?

“Will, deep breaths,” Xander said, as he ran a hand through William’s hair. “If you don’t calm down, you’re either going to barf or pass out. And I’d really love it if you didn’t barf on me.”

“I need to be distracted,” William said, coming to a conclusion. “Any distraction.”

“Any?” Xander asked. When he was given a nod he did the only thing he could think of. The only thing he’d been thinking of. Xander made William turn his head to face him and kissed him senseless.

William had been taken off guard by the kiss. He had thought that maybe Xander would talk about his work, his mind too far gone to think about a make-out fest. But he did say any distraction and really he was scared not stupid and soon fell into the kiss and wrapped his arms awkwardly around Xander’s frame.

Neither of them came up for breath. They only split apart when they heard cheering and then they realized that the ride had been fixed and they were now back on the ground. As soon as the seatbelt had been released Lindsey was there helping William out, completely ignoring Xander’s protests.

“Are you all right, William?” Lindsey asked and ran his hands over William’s body as if he had fallen or something.

“I’m fine. Xander took good care of me,” William said with a smile. “Now we should get Gunn home. I hope he's feeling better.”

Lindsey scowled. Not even any consideration for him? He was stuck on the ground alone for a good fifteen minutes having to watch William and Xander suck face! Of course it had been hot but that just meant Xander was still competition and Lindsey had no idea how to get rid of him.


When they returned to the house William helped Gunn up to his room to let him lie down for a while. “Are you feeling any better?”

“Ugh,” Gunn replied. “I don’t know,” he burped. “Fuck. This is real sexy.”

“Nothing to worry about. We all over-indulge once in a while, don’t we?” William said and helped Gunn out of his shoes before putting him to bed. “I just want you to feel better. We have our solo date tomorrow and I’d hate to see us have to postpone it.”

Gunn wiggled getting into that comfy position. “Nothing is going to stop us from our solo time,” he promised. “I might be bed bound for the rest of the night though.”

William rubbed Gunn’s shoulder. “You just feel better. I’ll have Buffy whip you up some soup. I’ll bring it up personally to see how you’re doing. Now you just close your eyes and rest,” William ordered.

Gunn couldn’t help but grin. “Thanks, Will.” He then closed his eyes. William stayed with him for half an hour before leaving to see to Lindsey and Xander. He couldn’t help but dread tomorrow. How would William bring up what Lindsey had told him?


Xander said hello to Buffy and Liam who were in the kitchen playing poker using gummy bears as the prize. Buffy stole two of Liam’s. Xander grinned when Liam stole three of hers and the poker game ended and turned into a gummy bear fight.

“OW!” Lindsey said. He was a casualty of war when he was pinged in the forehead by a green gummy bear. Buffy managed not to snigger...much.

“Sorry...” Giggle. “Liam started it.” Giggle.

Lindsey didn’t look impressed one bit. “I would like something to eat.”

“Well you’re in luck. The kitchen is fully stocked. Have at her,” Buffy told him and went back to her game. Liam kicked her from under the table. She ignored it. “Supper will be done in about an hour.”

“Isn’t it your job to serve me?” Lindsey asked and was greeted with a gasp from Xander.

Buffy stood from her chair and walked over to Lindsey. She ignored Liam telling her to sit back down. “First of all I don’t have to serve you shit. I am only obligated to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Second if you want something maybe you should try being polite.” Buffy stood in front of Lindsey staring up at him. His height didn’t intimidate her. “If there is a chance that you will be in William’s life you’d best remember that we are not only his employees but also his friends.” She leaned in to whisper in his ear. “I know you’re not here for William and if you end up hurting him you better believe that I will kick your cowboy ass all the way back to Texas. Do you understand?”

Xander couldn’t hear what Buffy had said but it must have been something bad because Lindsey paled and mumbled something about going to watch television. “So...” Xander was still shocked that Lindsey ran away from Buffy. She was such a sweet girl! “’s Sparky? I hope he wasn’t too much trouble.”

“Nope!” Buffy said, a bounce in her step as she checked on the roast. “He’s just hung out by that tree all day. He’s marked it about twenty times now. I think we may have to cut it down so you can take it with you,” Buffy joked.

It felt like the wind had been knocked out of Xander. When he went home? Well of course he would go home. It’s not like he and William would move in together after this was all over. That was if William even picked him. “Yeah, I might have to bring him by so he can visit,” Xander joked but his voice was slightly strained. “I’m just going to check on him and then get cleaned up for dinner.”

Buffy and Liam just shared a confused looked before he started cleaning up the wounded gummy bears and Buffy started cooking the potatoes. She did not serve anyone boxed mashed potatoes!


When William came down from sitting with Gunn he spotted Lindsey sulking on the couch. He couldn’t help but notice that Lindsey did that...a lot. Plopping down beside Lindsey, William looked at him. “What’s wrong?”

“That Buffy girl doesn’t like me,” Lindsey whined. “She’s rude.”

“Buffy can be rude but she doesn’t mean it,” William said. “Once you get to know her she's a great person. She’s been a great friend to me for years.”

Lindsey turned to look at William. “You were kissing Xander,” he said accusingly.

“Yes,” William replied. “I’ve kissed you too.”

“Who was better?” Lindsey asked seriously.

William became uncomfortable. “You kiss differently.”

“That doesn’t answer my question,” Lindsey said with narrowed eyes. “Do you like Xander more than me?”

“What?” William said with a nervous laugh. “Lindsey, you are being ridiculous. Look, we still have a few days left. Just enjoy yourself, yeah?” He kissed Lindsey on the cheek before standing. “I’ve got to tell Buffy that Gunn won’t be joining us for dinner.”

Lindsey perked up immediately.

Part Fifteen

Buffy and Liam joined them for dinner. Everyone was quiet except for Xander who babbled on about their day. William smiled happily because Xander'd had such a good time. He couldn’t get the thought of Xander being sick out of his head though. What if Xander was dying? William couldn’t get involved with him, to know that there was nothing he could do to help Xander. That he’d have to watch Xander slowly fade away, to see the light leave his eyes.

Xander also talked about being stuck at the top of the Ferris wheel and how well William had done considering he was afraid of heights. Not sure if he should, Xander didn’t mention the kiss.

Lindsey remained silent just like the rest of the day though he did send glares to both Buffy and Xander. Buffy was a bitch and if Lindsey had his way she’d be out of a job. He wasn’t going to let her ruin his plans. Gunn was basically one foot out the door; Lindsey had no doubts about that. By the end of their solo date tomorrow Gunn would be packing up his stuff and he’d be out of William’s life for good.

Dinner ended and William stood. “I’m going to go visit with Gunn for a while, see if he's up for eating some soup.”

“Oh, I’m sure Gunn is sleeping,” Lindsey interjected. “You wouldn’t want to wake him up, would you?” he said and ran a hand over William’s arm. “Why don’t we let him sleep? You don’t want to mess up your date tomorrow, do you?”

“Well...” William said unsure if he should chance disturbing Gunn.

“William Pratt!” Buffy said as she cleared the table. “You are going to go up there and check on him! He could be awake, feeling miserable, bored and alone.” She looked at him. “I think you could spend some time with him. I’m sure Lindsey and Xander can find something to keep themselves occupied for a while.”

Lindsey wanted to slap her. Buffy was the help, what right did she have to talk to William like that?

“Will, Buffy is right,” Xander said. “I know I wouldn’t like being alone, especially in a strange house.” He smiled. “Go make sure Gunn is all right and maybe we can watch a movie after?”

William grinned; that was a perfect idea. And what better way to let Xander know that than a peck on the cheek? As he walked by William planted one on Xander’s cheek. “I’ll be back in a while. Why doesn’t Liam show you to the living room so you can pick out a movie?” He accepted the steaming bowl of soup from Buffy and left to check on his patient.

Lindsey glared at William’s retreating back. How could he give Xander a kiss and not him? It was just rude! He turned his attention to Liam. “Well? Are you going to show us or not?”

“Follow me,” Liam said, mock bow, and swept his arm towards the living room.

“What is your job here anyway?” Lindsey asked as he stomped into the living room. “I never see you doing anything.”

“I make sure the house stays in order. From keeping it clean to paying William’s bills and balancing his cheque book,” Liam replied.

Xander smiled. “I think you are doing a very good job.”

“Suck up. Why don’t you see how much further you can stick your nose up there?” Lindsey spat.

The smile never faltered. “I’m not trying to be a suck up. It’s called being polite. Maybe your parents should have spent some time teaching it to you.”

For the first time that Xander had ever heard, Liam sniggered.


William managed to balance the hot bowl and knock lightly hoping it was loud enough for Gunn to hear. He heard rustling so William accepted that as an invitation and opened the door. “Gunn?”

“Hey,” Gunn said and sat up. He still looked a little sick but not as bad. “Soup?” he asked.

“Feeling better I see,” William said with a grin. He passed Gunn the bowl before pulling a chair up beside the bed. “It’s tomato, I hope that’s all right.”

Gunn took the first mouthful and moaned in delight. “Campbell’s. I basically lived off this stuff as a kid,” he said and took another spoonful.

“I’m glad you like,” William said and leaned back in the chair. “You had me worried that we’d have to cancel our outing tomorrow.”

“Hell no! I’d still go with a bucket tied around my neck,” Gunn replied seriously. “It’ll be nice to get some one on one time with you.”

William beamed at that. To have someone want to spend time alone with him, to be willing to go out even while he was sick. It was nice. “I’d prefer you feeling better though.”

Gunn nodded in agreement as he polished off the soup. “Agreed,” he replied and licked the spoon clean.

“I was thinking since we probably won’t want to spend the entire time at the batting cages whether you’d want to go to the movies after?” William asked. “But only if you promise not to go overboard on the junk food,” he said pointing a finger at Gunn with a stern look.

“I promise,” Gunn said and placed a hand over his heart. “Can we go see Captain America?”

William on his part got slightly excited. He did not bounce a little in his chair. Nope not at all. “I think we could do that,” William said, trying to compose himself.

“You think Chris Evans is serious hottie too, huh?” Gunn said with a chuckle.

“What can I say, I have a thing for muscular men,” William said with a wink.

Gunn laughed louder. “Flirting with a sick man, huh?”

“What can I say, I know what I like,” William said. As much as he wanted to spend time with Gunn his mind was going back to Xander.

There were a few minutes of silence that William didn’t notice until Gunn took hold of his hand, startling him out of his thoughts.

“What’s wrong, Will?” Gunn asked worriedly.

So much, William thought. Gunn having a record and Xander being sick, he had no idea what he was going to do. “There’s just...things I’ve recently found out and I don’t know what to do or how to handle them.”

“Do you want to talk about it?” Gunn asked. He hated seeing William look so troubled.

“There is something I want to talk about with you but maybe we should wait until tomorrow,” William said. He didn’t think having the conversation about Gunn’s past with the others around was a very good idea. “And I hope it doesn’t ruin any possible relationship in the future.”

Gunn was now worried. What did William want to talk to him about? “Is everything okay?”

“I’m sure it will be but we need to get it out of the way before we can move forward,” William said.

“Cryptic much?” Gunn asked.

William laughed and pulled a deck of cards from the bedside drawer. “How about we forget about what’s to come tomorrow and play some cards?”

“Blackjack?” Gunn asked and pushed any bad thoughts from his mind. The last thing he needed was his stomach churning again.


Xander had brought Sparky in for the night. After all, Sparky enjoyed a good movie too. He was curled up at Xander’s feet.

“Does that fucking mutt have to be in here?” Lindsey spat. He had been pissed off ever since Xander had embarrassed him in front of Liam. The help!

“I would ask the same thing about you,” Xander shot back. “Sparky is much better than you in every sense.”

Lindsey turned to look at Xander with his eyes narrowed. “What the fuck does that mean?”

Xander began to tick off on his fingers. “He’s loyal even after everything he’s been put through in his life. Sparky is sweet and cuddly,” he said. Xander leaned in. “You don’t give a piss about William. You think you’re so smart? That you’re fooling anyone? Well the only one you’re fooling is William and that’s because he thinks you might be the one that will give his all. To be there when he’s down and help cheer him up. To be there when he has good news and wants someone to help him celebrate. But you don’t care about any of that. You’re just a heartless fucking bastard,” Xander said. He then sat back and patted Sparky’s head. “And if you say anything bad about my dog again I’m going to hit you.”

How dare Xander talk to him like that! Lindsey’s mouth had dropped open. Who would have guessed Xander would actually have a pair let alone brass ones. That didn’t mean Lindsey was going to lie down and let a little nobody talk to him like that. “At least I’m not a disgusting... thing that should have been put down!” Lindsey hissed. Who would get so defensive over a dog anyway?

Xander stood and towered over Lindsey, making him feel small and insignificant. “I warned you,” he said and punched Lindsey square in the nose.