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Title: Laundry Day
Author: Robyn the Snowshoe Hare
Part: 1/2
Spoilers: 'The Initiative'
Disclaimer: (we know the drill, blah, blah, blah)

Author's Notes: I do the laundry in my house. It used to be so that I could get a weekly allowance, but now it's because I realized that if I don't do it, the clothing just remains in the bin. Today I was trying to get blood and coffee stains out of my favorite white tee-shirt (don't even ask, it happened when I was visiting my cousins, let's just say that it was a tragic and unavoidable accident and leave it at that) when this story just popped into my head.

Dedication: For Jen, who sits next to me in Physics and was remarkably patient for the two weeks that I sang excerpts from The Pirates of Penzance. And for Karen, who helped out with this story as only a fellow loony could. *g*

~*~*~*~*~

. . . Vampire dust . . . vampire dust . . . . blood . . . ew, slime . . . blue gunk . . . grass stain . . . something brown that I don't even want to think about . . . . . blood . . . *lots* of blood, I hope that isn't all from me . . . demon drool . . . tomato sauce from last night's spaghetti . . . dirt . . more blood . . .

Buffy looked down at the pile of clothing on her bed. Somehow the fact that her life was seriously fucked up never really hit her until laundry day rolled around. After all, none of the *other* frosh had to try and get demon slime out of a shirt after the stain had set.

"For I am a pirate kiiiiiiiing! I am a pirate king!"

Of course, she doubted that many of the other frosh had to deal with a roommate who had just seen 'Pirates of Penzance' for the first time, either.

Still holding the shirt, Buffy quickly crossed the room to open the door for Willow. The redhead gave a nod of thanks as she sashayed into the room, still mangling Gilbert and Sullivan. With a carefully concealed wince, Buffy tapped the redhead on the shoulder, which resulted in some blessed silence. Wild applause broke out from the residents of the neighboring rooms.

"What?" Willow asked, looking slightly irked at both the interruption and the subsequent applause. Turning, she waved a small shopping bag threateningly at Marty from across the hall before slamming the door shut.

"Do you have any laundry that needs my special attention?" Buffy asked with a slight grimace. Very early in their tenure as roommates, Buffy and Willow had realized that the challenge of a successful laundry day required a double-teaming effort.

Willow usually went in with all of their regular laundry on a morning that she didn't have a class. Tossing the shirts, jeans, skirts, and underwear that just needed a washing into the machine and popping in quarters was no incredible intellectual feat, but Buffy found it mind-numbingly boring to sit next to the machine and guard it against laundry thieves. Willow didn't find it incredibly stimulating either, but sitting in a folding chair with a book for two hours every week was something she could handle. Buffy invariably got stir-crazy after the first hour, and while she was entirely capable of keeping herself relatively amused, she was tired of getting weird looks for seeing how many push-ups she could do without a break. Or worse yet, the speculative looks the guys gave her, obviously picturing her in quite a different situation.

Buffy did their 'special laundry' every two weeks or so, depending on the level of demon activity. Over the five years she had been slaying, Buffy had found herself in possession of quite a few interestingly stained items that even her distressingly-clueless mother would've noticed as out of the ordinary. Due to a clothing budget, Buffy had become quite good at getting various supernatural stains out of her clothes. Since Willow's burgeoning wicca hobby was also not the cleanest of activities, Buffy's repertoire had grown to include most herb and potion stain removal.

Reaching behind her bed, Willow extracted a partially-filled green laundry bag. As she tossed it to her friend, she shrugged. "Not much this time. Just a few skirts and a pair of jeans that I got marnac root on again."

Stuffing her own stuff into a beige laundry bag, Buffy slung both sacks over her shoulder with her left hand. Next to the door, she carefully lifted and balanced a medium-sized cardboard box - filled with her special assortment of cleaning fluids - with her free hand. Nudging the door open with her foot, she called a goodbye to Willow as she exited.

Willow gave a distracted wave to her roommate as she tore open the shopping bag and removed her newest purchase from it. With an evil grin, she regarded with glee the double-CD set of "Pirates of Penzance".

This was not going to be a good day for Marty-across-the-hall.

~~~~~

With a satisfied smirk, Buffy scrubbed the last of the demon blood out of the tee-shirt in her hands. She had yet to see the stain that could withstand a bombardment of Stain-Away, standard bleach, club soda, and holy water. Though this was not how she usually liked to spend her mornings, she had to admit that it gave her a nice feeling of pride to be able to see a wide array of slaying clothes that were free from stains and tears. One of those little self-affirming moments, like a certain pride in being able to get up on Saturday for a jog before ten or managing not to burn the toast.

Adding the tee-shirt to the pile of wet-and-already-scrubbed-and-stain-free clothes on the counter, Buffy dug a handful of change out of her pocket for the dryer. As she started to count out the right amount, a dark yellow blotch on the bottom of her shirt caught her eye.

For a moment Buffy wondered if somehow mustard had found its way onto her in the dining hall before realizing that when dressing that morning she had accidentally grabbed the same shirt she had been wearing on patrol the night before.

To be more specific, the shirt she had been wearing when a Grenoliate demon had jumped her. It must've bled on her sometime during the fight and subsequent chase. With a groan, Buffy regarded the stain. The stain was close enough to the color of the fabric to pass casual inspection, but it was the principal of the thing. Ever since the whole aspect-of-a-demon incident, she had a real issue about demon blood.

Cautiously, Buffy looked around the rest of the laundry room. It was nine-thirty on a Wednesday morning, and everyone was at classes. She would've been there too, in fact, had Psychology not been cancelled due to Walsh's case of the flu. Quickly re-counting the change in her hand, Buffy cursed viciously. She only had enough to do one run in the dryer, so there was no chance of just drying one shirt enough to wear for the few minutes it would take her to wash this one.

Caught in the agony of decision, Buffy surveyed the laundry room a second time, glancing from the door to the stain several times. Finally, cleanliness won out over modesty.

"I'm insane. I'm *SO* insane!" Buffy muttered under her breath as she whipped off the shirt and began scrubbing at the stain with a vengeance.

*****

Rubbing his hair briskly with a towel, Riley poked around his room for clean clothes. After a ten-minute search (during which he managed to find both his yo-yo and his switchblade, both of which he had considered lost for good), he finally came up with a pair of jeans and a button-down shirt that passed the smell-test. A quick mental estimate told him that the next holiday would not come soon enough for him to just cart a sack-load of dirty laundry home for his mother (Merry Christmas, Mom!), so with a martyred sigh he picked up his laundry bag. Pausing, he gave the bag a sniff as well, and realized that he would probably have to wash that too. Great, just how he wanted to spend his unexpected day off.

Good thing he had played nickel-poker with Graham last night, because now he at least had enough spare change. As he left with his bag, he passed by Forrest.

"Finally doing some laundry?" Forrest said with a grin. "Good. We were starting to wonder if we'd have to inform Walsh about the dump of hazardous material and noxious odors that were residing in your room."

"Very funny. Do you have any idea how peanut butter got into my laundry bag?"

"Remember when we initiated that pledge about two weeks ago?"

"Yeah."

"We used your laundry bag."

With a sharp exclamation of disgust, Riley dropped the bag and jumped to the opposite side of the hallway as Forrest screeched with laughter.

"CHRIST, Forrest!" Riley yelled, "If you ever do that again, I'll beat the crap out of you! Use a garbage bag, like any sane person!"

Still snickering, Forrest responded, "Hey, at least I told you. Graham wanted to wait until you after you came back with all your clean clothes in it."

With another disgusted look, Riley picked the bag up tentatively by the edge. "That's just foul." he said darkly as he left.

Behind him, Graham walked out of the bathroom, his shaving towel draped on one shoulder and the left half of his face still covered in foam.

"He actually bought it?" the taciturn man asked with a rare grin.

"Yeah. Like we'd actually use something that we couldn't throw right out."

*****

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