A huge smile broke across Jesse's face and he ran to Willow and pulled her into a big hug. Willow stood stiffly with wide eyes and a terrified look on her face. Xander noticed the look and fished in his shirt for his cross and took it from around his neck.
"Don't worry Wil, he's not fangy." Xander said as he pressed the cross to Jesse's neck, right in front of Willows shocked gaze.
As Jesse released Willow, she started sputtering, "How? How? I mean, you said... two years... oh God... How?"
"Does it matter? He's back, can't you just be happy for him?" Xander asked seriously.
"Yes it matters! Absolutely it matters! To do this takes magic. I mean the so not happy kind of magic. So yes it matters very much!" Willow said with increasing volume.
Xander quickly said, "You might want to tone it down, Wil. Public place, non-Scoobs. We can tell you all about it later if you want. I was thinking of taking Jesse to the Scooby meeting tonight before we go Bronzing. I mean, we ARE meeting at the library in about an hour, aren't we?"
"Uh... Yeah. Meeting tonight." Willow said, refusing to take her amazed eyes off Jesse.
"We're going to go now, tell Oz that I'm sorry about making him sick. I didn't expect to see you today, so I made a ward to protect Jesse from werewolves. I mean, it IS Oz's time of the month tonight, isn't it?" Xander said matter-of-factly.
"Uh... Yeah. How'd you learn to make a ward powerful enough to effect him so strongly?" Willow asked with professional curiosity.
"Martha Stewart, I saw her making this thing she called a sachet, and I just substituted wolfsbane for lavender. It seems to work." Xander said as he looked to the far end of the food court where Oz was standing with a paper towel pressed firmly over his nose and mouth.
* * * * *
Xander and Jesse made their way into the school. Xander had made a point of putting Jesse's ward in the car so Oz wouldn't be affected.
As they walked into the library, silence fell over the room. [Here it comes.] Xander thought as he led Jesse over to the table for a seat.
"Hey G-man, I don't think you ever met my best friend, Jesse. Jess, this is the G-man." Xander said with goofy smile #3 firmly in place.
"Rupert Giles, a... pleasure to meet you." Giles said stiffly to Jesse sparing an irritated glance at Xander.
"I hope no one minds that I brought Jesse along, I mean, he already knows about the whole vampire thingie so I thought he would fit in." Xander switched smoothly to goofy smile #4.
"He's dead." Buffy said shortly.
Xander turned and took Jesse's wrist and looked up as if he were honestly taking Jesse's pulse. "Nope, alive and kicking." Xander said with a smile.
"Kicking your ass if you don't let go of my hand." Jesse said seriously to Xander. The hand was immediately released and Xander affected a wounded look.
Willow let out a chuckle despite herself. Buffy shot her a venomous quelling glance then spoke again. "How is he alive? He was killed two years ago." She said with attitude.
Xander got a conspiratorial look on his face and leaned across the table to her. He mock whispered, "I think he can hear you. He's sitting right here." Then he sat back into his chair and spoke normally, "It's not polite to speak about him as if he's not."
"Just answer the damned question." She snapped, unaccustomed to having Xander stand up for himself.
"Fine, I found a book in the stacks that had a resurrection spell, so I used it to get Jesse back." Xander said simply, then sat back with his arms crossed across his chest.
"Which book did you use?" Asked Giles with curiosity.
"I dunno, I think the title was about twenty-two letters long and didn't have any vowels. What does it matter? It worked. Jesse's back." Xander concluded.
"It matters because you were doing magic. You could've raised a zombie or a demon or hurt someone." Buffy said in a near scream.
"Could'a would'a should'a. What's the diff? Jess has been alive since last night, he hasn't tried to suck my blood or eat my brain all day so I figure it worked. Why don't you stop trying to force me into saying I was wrong for bringing him back? I wasn't. Jesse's alive and it was the right thing to do. And you, Buffy, are cordially invited to get off my ass about it."
Buffy sat in shocked silence for a minute, giving Willow a chance to ask her own question. "What was the spell that you used?"
"I already told Giles, it was in one of those books over there." And he pointed in the general direction of the stacks. "I can't really tell you much more, you know I don't retain the things I read." And a quick transition into goofy smile #2.
Seeing that this was going as he expected, Xander stood and addressed the group as a whole. "The only people who know that Jesse died are in this room. In the name of whatever friendship we ever had I'm asking that you never mention it again. We're going to say that Jesse ran away from home two years ago and now he's back. If you ever met his family, you'd have no problem believing that."
Seeing that they were all paying attention, he dropped the goofy persona completely and continued. "If you force me to choose between the Scoobies and Jesse, I'll tell you now, I'll pick Jesse. If for no other reason than the fact that he would never ask me to choose. Now as to HOW I brought Jesse back, let me put it to you this way. I'm will never willingly tell you how I did it. And if you attempt to bully me or magic me into telling you, you'll regret that you ever screwed with me. Willow and Giles have some idea of the dark forces involved in necromancy. I don't like to use them, but I can."
Then he put the goofy smile back onto his face, making it evident that the goofy persona was an act. "I'm going to go to the Bronze. They have a live band tonight. Jess, Wil, wanna come with?"
Jesse nodded in stunned silence as Willow said in a trance-like voice, "I'm going to stay with Oz."
Acting as if it were any other day, Xander said, "See you guys later."
After the exit from the school was complete Xander broke out into a fit of laughter. In about half a minute, Jesse was laughing to as he remembered the looks on their faces.
Finally Xander was able to speak again, "Oh God Jess, you don't know how long I've wanted to do that."
"You did it very well." Jesse said with a smirk.
"C'mon, I was serious about the live band." Xander said as he opened the trunk of his car.
He handed two stakes to Jesse and took two for himself. Then they drove off to enjoy the nightlife of Sunnydale.