"What're you doing over there?" Larry asked from the couch, over the sound of a sports announcer.
Xander, leaning over the kitchen counter, tapping away at his laptop, glanced over his shoulder. "Just sending an e-mail."
"I can't believe you're missing Butler whomping on Ball State for e-mail. It's a sad day for guykind everywhere."
"It's a thing." Xander turned his head back to the computer screen, away from the other. "I can't believe you're watching basketball."
"What, a dude can't grow and change? Branch out a little?" Somebody called a foul, somewhere in Indiana, and a lot of somebodies were really unhappy about it. Loudly. Unlike Larry, who was quiet for a second, then said, "Speaking of..."
"Hmm?" Xander stared at his keyboard, not really wanting to admit he couldn't think of anything else to type. Things are pretty much the same as the last time I wrote, except I'm a year older and I travel so much that I still haven't bothered to buy another car of my own...
"Y'know, I got a thing you could be doing over here, too, and I don't mean college hoops..."
Xander snorted, turning around to look at him but still leaning on the counter. "And they say romance is dead."
Larry spread the fingers of one hand, the other arm stretched across the back of the couch. "You want romance, get yourself a girlfriend." He shrugged one shoulder. "Or a boyfriend. Whatever. Ex-roomie with benefits extends to a place to crash when you're in town, free pizza, and, y'know. Benefits."
Xander was absently impressed that Larry finally included both possibilities in the equation without rolling his eyes. "I don't need a girlfriend. Or a boyfriend. And they sure as hell don't need somebody who's never in one city for longer than a week. I'm good with the way it is."
"Yeah, well..." On the screen, whomping was indeed taking place now, to the tune of a free-throw that had everybody in the opposing team's bleachers groaning loud enough to be picked up on the broadcast. "About that."
That had Xander raising an eyebrow and abandoning his computer for the arm of the couch. "What? You're not cool with me being here, you know all you have to do is say the word, right?"
"I'm cool with you being here. My, ah, boyfriend's a little less cool with the benefits part."
"Seriously?" Xander's eyes widened; he couldn't tell how well that matched Larry's expression, since said ex-roomie was looking kind of fixedly at the basketball game. "I mean, duh, I guess not. But why didn't you say something?"
"Kinda just did," Larry pointed out, looking up.
"Kinda after making an offer you didn't expect me to refuse." Xander gave him a Look. "Guy's not cool with benefits, but he's cool with 'come over here 'cause I've got a thing you could be doing...?' "
"He knows. He's okay with one last time." Larry shrugged again, both shoulders into it this time, but the small smile he gave Xander was a lot less casual. "He's a nice guy. Been a while since I met one of those."
That took a few seconds to process. "Wow. Well... good for you."
"Could be good for you too?"
Xander blinked. "Just how nice of a guy is he?"
"Dude, I wasn't offering a threesome. I'm saying that thing about finding yourself a...whatever... that wasn't just me working up to dropping the bomb."
"And I told you - I move around too much." Xander shook his head. "Plus who'd want to get dragged into the extended Scooby Army life if they had a choice about it?"
"Just 'cause I'm in one place doesn't exactly mean I'm out of it," Larry pointed out. "And you don't have to move around like that, not anymore. We've got people now. Not sayin' you're not good at what you do or they don't need you, but I'm not exactly the only one who thinks you could do with parking yourself someplace long enough to qualify for a library card and a cable bill."
Xander rolled his eyes. "Buffy and Dawn got to you too, huh? They want me to take a break and finish up college out by them, just do the contracting stuff when we need it."
"So? What's so bad about that idea? You just keep ... floating around, man."
"What's so bad about that?" Xander countered. "Not like I don't visit. I go where people need me, I get stuff done. "
"And that's good enough for you?"
"Well, I don't get bored." It was almost not a lie, if you subtracted the airports and the highways. There were, of course, a lot of airports and highways.
"I guess. If it makes you happy."
The uncertain look on his friend's face gave way to a nod. "You want to..." Larry made a gesture that would mean something totally different if it was being directed at the referee on the screen. "...cash in your benefits?" He grinned.
Xander shook his head, though some part of him -- a very specific part, yes -- was asking him WTF he thought he was doing. 'One last time' even with permission, didn't quite sit right with him under the circumstances. He slipped off the arm and flopped back on the couch itself. "So when do I get to meet this nice guy?"
"Dinner tomorrow, if you want." Larry shot him a warning glance. "But if you say one word about shovels? You're outta there. He already made the mistake of picking up the phone when Willow called. I don't need everybody to scare the crap out of him."
"Hey, no, the garden tools, that's her thing, man," Xander protested.
"Cool." Larry turned his attention back to the basketball game, since it was clear that'd be the only one going on tonight.
"I'd just drop a wrecking ball on him."
Subject: Happy Birthday.
Nothing much to report from this side of the multiverse. Buffy still kicks ass, Dawn still grows an inch taller a month, I think. Angel still uses too much product, world still turns, I still see a lot of it.
I'm fine. You be that way too.