The Citroen pulled up outside the shabbiest house on the block. The car windows were down and the yelling from inside the house could clearly be heard. Xander blushed. Giles cleaned his glasses. They sat together in silence.
Xander broke first. “Do you think it could be the Hellmouth?”
“I beg your pardon?”
“The Hellmouth. Do you think that could be the reason they act that way?”
Glasses replaced, Giles cleared his throat. “Hellmouths are notorious for giving off negative energy that the demonic are attracted to and some species feed off of. It stands to reason that the same energy could also influence one’s actions and—”
“Or it could just be the alcohol,” Xander interrupted dryly.
Giles sighed. “Or it could just be the alcohol,” he agreed softly.
A crash followed by more screaming as the men sat quietly once more.
Minutes passed with Xander still not making a move to exit the car and Giles watching worriedly as the boy stared vacantly at the house he had grown up in.
“You know,” Giles began. “It’s been ages since I’ve had an ice cream sundae. Would you care to join me?”
Xander turned finally, his eyes older and wiser than the years should allow. He studied the older man for a moment before smiling faintly. “Yeah, ice cream sounds great.”
The car pulled away from the curb. Away from the screaming. Away from a house that never felt like a home.
“Can I have extra whipped cream?”
“You can have whatever you wish.”
Xander turned back to the window to stare at the other houses as they passed.
If only that were true.