Disclaimer: I own nothing. All Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters are the property of their original owners.
The ultra-deluxe business jet flying across the Atlantic had such first-rate soundproofing that the only noise in the passenger cabin was the quiet scratching of Xander’s pencil writing his preliminary report of the mess back in St. Louis. This was just being done to put down his thoughts in advance, since the final account would be delivered in person by the New Council’s Head of Security to his boss, Director Giles. Frankly, Xander wasn’t looking forward to it at all. Years after the Sunnydale collapse, he far preferred working with his friends to directly safeguard the supernatural organization whose numerous Watchers and Slayers protected the world from vampires and other evil demons.
Regrettably, just because they fought for the Light, it didn’t mean the rest of the New Council’s personnel were exempt from mistakes and actual human frailties. After several scandals and near disasters, the evident need for some kind of internal affairs policing was glumly acknowledged, and Xander got stuck with the job in addition to everything else. The last few days had been an unwelcome reminder of just why he loathed this part of his usual duties.
About a month ago, a new Head of House had been appointed for the U.S. Central Midwest Zone, and this hadn’t turned out very well. The former Watcher, one Nate Plummer, seemed effective enough at first, despite his inexperience and distinct lack of imagination. Unfortunately, the chief of one of the neutral demon clans living in the St. Louis area was much more clever than anyone knew or suspected, resulting in this tribal leader subtly manipulating the New Council’s local Slayers into attacking his rivals and basically wiping them out of existence. This nearly led to a full-scale war between every other demon in the vicinity and the St. Louis House, until word got back to Director Giles and a hasty cease-fire was arranged.
Xander had been forced to make a quick flight to that Missouri city, relieve in disgrace the unlucky Nate Plummer, and basically try to repair the New Council’s tarnished reputation. It’d all left a truly bad taste in his mouth, particularly since the demon chief got clean away with it. Not even an furious threat delivered in person to the nastily-grinning creature that they’d damn well be keeping a close eye on him from now on and the instant he stepped out of line, there’d be one more decapitated fiend around did very much to ease Xander’s sullen mood when he left on the New Council’s private aircraft.
The one-eyed man’s bad temper wasn’t helped any by his transportation needing to make a stop in New York City to pick up Andrew Wells. An exceedingly grumpy “Hello” was all that greeted this other man when he boarded the plane while carrying several rare magical tomes collected during his own job of Head of Records and Archives. Over the years, Andrew had matured sufficiently to recognize when to leave someone alone, so he spent the early part of the plane trip skimming through his latest acquisitions during the total silence between the pair. Soon enough, this grew thoroughly tedious for Andrew seated in his passenger chair. He started to cautiously study Xander over the ancient book held in his grasp.
In his own seat at the small table on the other side of the plane, the man fixedly staring with one eye at the sheet of paper before him had deeper lines on his face than his fellow Sunnydale survivor could ever remember. Xander also looked a lot more tired, showing he’d been under far too much stress. Inwardly nodding to himself, Andrew at once decided something needed to be done about that. Fortunately, he’d been keeping this in reserve for a while, so let’s see now…
Clearing his throat, Andrew stated, “Xander, I’ve got a question--”Tik!
went the tip of this addressed man’s pencil abruptly pressed down on the table, snapping entirely off, and then having the remaining stub rip through the sheet of paper. Without looking up, Xander said in a truly dangerous tone, “No questions, Andrew. I don’t want to hear a single one of your stupid, cockamamie, harebrained questions which never have any kind of sensible answer. In fact, all they do is keep me up half the night trying to figure them out. Or even worse, they prove you’re still as evil as you ever were when your stupid little supervillain group was running around in the ’Dale.”
“But this one’s a Star Wars question!” protested Andrew, not appearing to take any obvious offense over this really unfair criticism of that specific period of his life back in Sunnydale still being a part of him.
This additional information finally convinced Xander to glance up, giving his flight companion the most suspicious glower he could manage past his eyepatch. Still feeling he’d eventually come to regret this, Xander also reminded himself about Andrew’s enduring devotion to George ‘Don’t Let Him Write The Dialogue’ Lucas. The Head of Security’s gruff “What?” indicated Xander was, for the nonce, preparing to cut Andrew a little slack over something the other man loved so much, but it’d damn well better be good.
Cheerfully forging ahead despite it all, Andrew burbled into Xander’s forbidding gaze, “It all goes back to Return of the Jedi,
where I noticed something. You know the scene where we first see Jabba the Hutt in his palace, with Princess Leia lying in front of him in her gold bikini outfit?”
A reluctant, tiny smile quirked Xander’s lips at the mention of this iconic science fiction costume worn by a very nubile young woman. He nodded to Andrew, who’d paused for him to reply, “Yeah, so?”
“Well, for the next couple of minutes, we’re watching what happens, right? The movie switches to the sail barge and the Great Pit of Carkoon, and then the big fight with Luke and the others, where Leia chokes Jabba to death with a chain before they all escape. Now, we come to the important part.”
At those last words, Andrew lifted an index finger for emphasis, and he leaned forward into Xander’s direction. Who in turn, unconsciously did the same towards his company, just as Andrew went on. “The next time we see Princess Leia on screen, she’s put on new clothes.” Andrew dropped his finger and he looked expectantly at Xander.
When the silence in the passenger cabin stretched out for moments more without being broken by either there, Xander blinked incredulously at Andrew, who still seemed to think he’d said enough. At last, Xander tried, “And the whole point of what you just said is…?”
Sending back his own best disbelieving stare at somebody who couldn’t have possibly missed it, Andrew slowly and patiently asked anyway, “What did Leia do with the bikini costume?”
your big, important question?!” choked Xander.
Feeling an overwhelming wave of irritation at having wasted his time in listening to such a puerile bunch of hot air, Xander then snapped, “Are you insane? That’s as dumb as wondering when people in the movies go to the bathroom! If you actually want an answer, maybe she tossed it in the trash before taking a shower or left it where she changed! Andrew, you’re such an idiot--”
Calmly interrupting his ranting companion, Andrew pointed out, “Hey, I’m serious. There’s actually something significant about the whole thing which never gets mentioned ever again. What you said, about Leia discarding the costume for the simplest reasons, isn’t all that unlikely. In the Star Wars universe, though, there’s usually a more deeper meaning about the most trivial things, and I think it applies here, too.”
Going on in the same brisk manner regardless of how Xander was now numbly gaping at him, Andrew lectured, “The costume can be viewed by Leia in two different ways: as a hated symbol of her slavery to get rid of as fast as she can, or an equally cherished symbol of triumph to be kept forever. Don’t forget, no matter how bad things got for her, she never broke throughout it all, and she also personally killed her captor to help free her friends. It’s up to you to decide what Leia might’ve done, Xander. Let’s put it this way: if any of the Scoobies we know went through the same thing, taking Leia’s place in the movie, what would’ve they done with the costume after everything?”
Without actually thinking about it, Xander shrugged. “Faith would’ve kept it, strutting around the castle in it to celebrate and showing off to everybody. Buffy would’ve tossed it ‘cause it wouldn’t go with any of her shoes. Dawn would--” At that specific point, his brain caught up with Xander’s tongue, presenting numerous mental images in glorious detail of exactly how these three beautiful women would appear while wearing this famed skimpy outfit.
His mouth hanging half-open, Xander now stared off into the distance, an increasing sparkle in his remaining eye, completely lost in his gleeful fantasies. After watching this in secret amusement for some time, Andrew glanced out the plane window by his seat, and he victoriously smirked at the reflection there smiling back at him.
Oh, yeah, Xander had surely been brought out of his recent bad mood, and it was all due to none but Andrew Wells, the New Council’s court jester. A title which he proudly bore, given how vital it was to keep Xander and the rest of his family happy and sane.
After all, it’s not like Andrew just spontaneously came out with his supremely ridiculous questions, which had the odd habit of diverting those who’d heard them from their current crop of troubles…
Author’s Note: So, what do you think about the story and also what Leia in fact did with her former garments? I’ve been considering this myself, helped along by a certain Friends
episode (hint: “We don’t talk about girth.”), and now it’s your turn, readers! And yes, in case you missed it, this story covers the same theme as my previous tale here on Twisting the Hellmouth, ‘A Question For The Ages.’