Rating: R. No one actually has sex, but they discuss it in great detail.
Characters: B/A, T/W, X/Anya, Spike
Spoilers: None
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of these characters. If I did, I’d be taking them into the shop for some repairs.
Summary: The characters relax after a hard day’s work and talk shop.
Note: I’m not out to get anyone with this. I have no particular author in mind, just the fact that I have seen so many of these story elements so many times. I have read and enjoyed many stories that incorporate some of these elements. In most cases, there’s nothing wrong with them in and of themselves. But when something that was once fresh and original and exciting is imitated until it becomes a cliché, that’s when some satire is needed.

After a Day's Work at the NC17 Studio
By Matt

Setting: A spa. A tiled room with a hot bath-pool that could seat perhaps a dozen people, a cold pool that could seat four, both set in pretty little artificial grottoes with waterfalls. Across from the pools is a wooden door that says "Sauna" and an arrow pointing offscreen with the words "To Swimming Pool" above it. Tara sits in the hot pool, waiting.

Spike, Willow, Buffy, and Angel come trooping in, all wrapped in towels. Willow winces with every step she takes. Buffy has a gauze pad taped to her neck and carries a gallon jug of juice. They shed their towels, revealing that they’re wearing nothing beneath them, and climb into the pool with Tara. Angel accidentally leaves grip marks on the rail as he descends the stairs.

Angel: Oh, man…

Buffy (Shakes her head): Why don’t they learn their lesson and make those rails out of titanium or something?

Angel: I think they did.

Buffy (Testy): Then why don’t they learn their lesson and not make you chew on me all day? (Pops the cap off her juice jug and takes a long swig. Wipes her mouth, recaps.) I mean, okay, it’s been established on the show that vampire bites can be erotic for me—that scene in "Graduation" and then with Dracula—but that doesn’t mean I have to get bitten every time we have sex. Didn’t they notice that I needed to be hospitalized for blood loss that first time?

Angel (Shrugs): Apparently not.

Looking disgusted, Buffy crosses to the other side of the pool, sets her jug on the edge, and sits down. The water is up to her chin. Angel sits beside her. The water is at mid-chest. Spike sits by himself, but Willow crosses to Tara and stands beside her.

Buffy: God, am I glad we only do this once a week.

There is a chorus of "amens" and "I heard that" and other sounds of agreement, then a moment of silence. Willow stays standing.

Tara: Aren’t you going to sit down, honey?

Willow (Uncharacteristically curt): I can’t.

Tara looks confused for a moment, then looks at Willow’s butt. Her expression turns sympathetic and she begins—very carefully—to stroke Willow’s back.

Tara: Oh, honey. I’m sorry. Shouldn’t you put some ice on that?

Willow (Still curt): Probably.

Tara: Is there something you want to say?

Willow fumes in silence for a few moments, then bursts out:

Willow: Why does everyone assume because I used to be quiet and shy and meek that I’m a masochist?

Buffy: Well, unless you’re hopped up on Dark Magic and turning yourself into Sauron with boobs, you’re not exactly the most assertive now.

Willow: It doesn’t mean I like pain! It would be one thing if it was Tara or Oz or even Xander, but I spent all today getting whipped and spanked by vampires! Hello! Super strength!

Angel: Sorry.

Spike: Yeah, sorry, Red.

Willow: It’s not your fault. Why can’t I have a nice, harmless fetish? Like…like furries! (Turns to Tara) You’d wear cat ears and a tail for me, wouldn’t you, baby?

Tara: Of course.

Angel: I blame Anne Rice.

Buffy, Willow, and Tara: Huh?

Spike: I’m with Peaches. Everyone makes the connection between Anne Rice and vampires, and from there it’s just a short hop to all that BDSM stuff she likes so much. They never consider anything else, even if it’s right there in history.

Buffy (Cautiously): Like what?

Spike: Like corsets.

Angel: Or shoes.

Willow (disbelieving): Shoes?

Angel: Sure. Think about it: between the corsets and the low necklines, women’s breasts were half-exposed and shoved up in our faces all the time anyway. Remember Becoming? Darla didn’t even have take off her top. But if a girl showed off even her ankles, everyone thought that she was a prostitute trying to drum up some business. And there was at least a 50/50 chance that she was.

Spike: Drusilla’s legs were the first I ever saw. Even though I knew women had to have legs under all those layers of skirts, I had to take that on faith. I’d never had what you’d call a confirmed sighting.

Buffy: So, if someone wanted to do a story about me getting a pair of thigh-high, spike-heel boots…

Angel (Shrugs): At least I’d get to stop hurting people. If I’m not whipping, I’m biting. I could deal with kissing your boots.

Spike (Dreamily): Dru had a pair of boots like that…(Notices everyone staring at him) What?

Xander (Offscreen): I think that was a bit of an overshare.

Xander and Anya enter, hang their towels, and join the others in the pool.

Willow: Weren’t you two done like an hour ago?

Anya: Xander wanted to take an extra-long shower. He said something about the Slash scene he had to do today.

Xander (Glances at Angel, then looks away, starts to shiver): I feel so dirty. And for once, that’s not a good thing.

Anya (Soothing): It’s okay, honey. Nobody is questioning your manhood.

Spike (Sympathetic): Did he beat the crap out of you?

Xander (Stares at Spike in horror): No.

Spike: Ah. Got lucky, then. He always does with me.

Angel: Not always.

Spike: Often enough. And half the time, it’s not even a whips-and-chains Anne Rice Special. You just come in, beat me bloody and then ram me in the arse as part of some Sire Dominance thing. I ask you: what makes it right for Peaches here to do it to me, when it’s wrong for me to do it to Buffy?

Angel: I don’t know. A lot of the same people seem to think it’s okay if I do it to Buffy. I guess "No" doesn’t mean "No" if you’re reclaiming your destined soulmate.

Buffy: I hate doing those. "Thank you for raping me, Angel. Since I relaxed and enjoyed it, it all turned out all right. Now we can be together like we couldn’t be when you were tender and considerate." It would not have worked that way for Spike and me on the show, and it shouldn’t work out that way in stories.

Xander: Could we bring this back to my pain for a moment?

Angel (Concerned): Pain? Didn’t I use enough lube?

Xander: That’s not what I mean!

Buffy: Xander, take it easy. Everyone in this cast has had sex with just about everyone else. Since only Willow and Faith show any real indications of being bi, that means everyone has swung the direction they usually don’t at least once.

Tara: Like the times I’ve been with Spike.

Anya: Do we have to do the bitch session this week?

Everyone glares. Even Tara.

Xander: I know that you’re a demon again, hon, but that doesn’t mean that you have to throw tact completely out the window.

Anya: There is virtually no chance that Buffy and Angel are going to get to have intercourse again on the shows. I’d think you’d be grateful for fic, even if it means Angel spends a few hours a week breaking everything he touches and Buffy spends those same few hours replenishing her fluids.

Buffy and Angel subside a bit, grudgingly, with exasperated sighs. He loops an arm around her shoulders as they relax back against the side. Buffy takes a sullen swig of her juice.

Anya (to Willow): You used to like boys. If Spike’s as good in bed as he is on a table, then I know it was some degree of worth it. And Angel had those three—three!—Weird Sisters purring his name every time he was mentioned.

Willow (blushing): Well, yeah, there is that…

Tara: What about me?

Anya realizes that she may not have an answer for this one.

Anya (semi-apologetically): Close your eyes and pretend it’s Willow with a strap-on?

Tara gives her a look that says, "That statement alone demands a serious regimen of psychiatric medication".

Xander: And me! What about me? It’s not enough that I’m the butt-monkey for every Big Bad who comes along in the figurative sense. They have to go and make it literal!

Angel: I wasn’t a Big Bad in that story.

Xander: Which is entirely beside the point!

Anya: Xander, relax. You may prove your heterosexuality upon me if it’s that important to you.

Xander (Brightening): Oh. Well. Thank you! That’s all right, then.

Buffy takes another sip and stares at Anya hard.

Buffy: This is all pretty easy for you to say, Anya. I don’t see you coming out with injuries every week.

Anya: But every week

Buffy: At the very least, I reserve the right to mock people.

Anya: Oh, of course. That’s a given. Some of these stories are clearly being written by people who are getting far less actual sex than the norm.

Angel (To Xander): Does it really worry you so much that people might think you’re gay?

Xander: How can you not worry about it?

Angel: Secure in my masculinity. It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks. Even if I was gay, that wouldn’t make me any less of a man.

Buffy: The fact that you’re dead, however…

Angel: But I’m a manly corpse!

Spike (Deadpan): Truth is, Xander, all vampires are bisexual. Didn’t you know that?

Xander’s eyes bulge out of his head, and he presses close to Anya.

Xander: Please tell me you’re kidding.

Angel (Deadpan): Nope. Despite the fact that neither of us has ever demonstrated any interest whatsoever in men or anything but hostility for each other, even when we were on the same side. Despite the fact that beating the hell out of him and threatening him with a stake is a perfectly viable way of dominating him—

Spike: Despite the fact that I use homosexual insults regularly—

Angel: Vampires are naturally bisexual.

Spike: Androgynous, sensual, children of the night. Not in any way blood-drinking monsters.

Angel: For so the Anne People have written it. So must it be.

Spike: So guard your tender het arse.

Xander glares.

Buffy: If either of you say the words ‘Lonely Ones’ I’m going to find some holy water to pour into this pool.

Spike & Angel: Yes, ma’am.

Moment of grinning silence. Willow is still standing.

Tara: Still hurts?

Willow nods.

Tara (Innocently): Want me to kiss it, make it all better?

Willow (Smiles. Sultry): Maybe…

Sound of door opening. Footsteps on the tile. Spike tenses up.

Anya: Who could that be? Weren’t we the only ones who had to work today?

Spike (Too quiet for anyone else to hear): Not quite.

The new arrival rounds the corner, and they all freeze and stare in shock.

Buffy: Dawn?