Summary: After a gruesome night of trouble on the Hellmouth Xander is forced to leave Sunnydale. He ends up in L.A. living with his Uncle John and two cousins, Dean and Sam.
Warnings: Strong language, violence, gore, brotherly and cousinly love (sorry - no Wincest), eventual Spike/Xander slash, century year old vampire having slashy thoughts about teen Xander, crossover, spoilers for first three seasons of BtVS and possible spoilers for all later seasons, possible spoilers for season 1 of SPN and AtS.
Disclaimer: Don't own em'. No copyright infringement is intended. I'm writing this for fun, not profit.
AN: According to canon Sam was born in May 83, Dean in January 79 and Xander in 81 (in June in my mind). So if I did the math right Sam is 15, Xander is 17 and Dean is close to 20. These are the ages I'll be going by in the fic. Feedback is appreciated.
"You know, saving people, hunting things...the family business." - Dean Winchester
Prologue: Home Sweet Home
"It's kinda strange, don't you think?"
Xander pulled his History text out of his locker and shot a look at his friend. Willow was huddled close to him, biting her lip and wrapping a strand of bright red hair around her index finger in that way that showed the world she was nervous about something. Xander shoved his book into his backpack.
"What do you mean?" he asked. And he honestly wasn't sure what his best friend was asking. Strange? That could mean so many things. They lived on the Hellmouth, after all. And the way things were going right now... Well, she could be asking about school. Classes had just resumed the day before. Today was Tuesday and the second day of their Senior year. When she said strange she could be referring to the way all of the underclassmen now seemed to glide out of their way as they walked down the hall, or the fact that they could now step off campus during their lunch hour without having to worry about teachers spotting them and giving them detention. She could also be asking about Buffy. When she said strange she could be talking about the fact that their blond and buxom Slayer friend had suddenly shown up in Sunnydale two days before, looking worn and sad and mumbling something about L.A. and waitressing and being mostly over having to destroy Angel to save the world. It was necessary, she understood that now, she was sorry about everything.
Or Willow could be asking about something completely other than those things. Like maybe the plan that had been discussed at Giles's place the night before (at sunset the Scoobies were going to attack a nest of slime demons that were holed up in a large monument at the Rest Field cemetery).
"Buffy not at school with us. I mean, I know she wasn't here the last week or so of our Junior year but...her not being here just feels weird."
Oh. That was strange.
"I guess," Xander answered.
Seeming surprised at his short reply, Willow immediately stopped biting her lip and twirling her hair. Her expression morphed from nervous-thoughtful to worried-angry. Her mouth opened and Xander just knew he was about to get a lecture. Right. Like he was the one who deserved a lecture and not Buffy. Buffy who had bailed on her friends and her mom and who so obviously still loved Angel deep down inside even though the guy was a cold blooded killer.
He slammed his locker shut and braced himself for the redhead's yelling. He already had a good idea of what she was going to say. Are you still angry, we have to be supportive Xander, she did come back, I can't believe you're holding a grudge...
"Xander! I have something for you."
Willow's mouth snapped shut. Xander spun around. Cordelia was hurrying toward them. She had the straps of her mini backpack (which was swinging wildly as she walked) in one hand and her other hand fisted around something that looked very much like a wadded up brown paper towel. She stopped in front of them, huffing and looking somewhat ruffled. Xander, feeling suddenly very fond of his girlfriend (what great timing she had) leaned in for a kiss. Cordelia shoved the paper towel, which wasn't really a towel after all, more of a waxy ball of paper, at him before his lips could make contact. He looked down at the waxy lump in his hand.
"Um," he said. "Thanks." He glanced at Willow. The redhead appeared to be just as confused as he was. He turned back to his girlfriend. "This...whatever this is is great and all but you were gone all summer and I only saw you for about five minutes yesterday and I won't even see you tonight because you said that you can't patrol for some reason so could we maybe kiss-"
Cordelia cut him off. "Unwrap it," she insisted.
Xander again looked down at the lump he was holding. With his free hand he folded back the waxy paper. A tiny, intricately crafted statuette was revealed.
"It's the souvenir I promised you," explained Cordelia. She shrugged, as if uncomfortable. "It just...reminded me of you for some reason."
A little knight statuette.
Xander stared at his girlfriend. From the corner of his eye he could make out a half smile on Willow's face. He balled up the wax paper still in his hand and launched it at the nearest trash can. The paper bounced off of the rim of the bin and fell to the floor. Xander wasn't sure what a little knight figurine had to do with him or with his girlfriend's summer trip to London with her parents, but it didn't matter. He was just glad that Cordelia had actually bothered to think of him during her trip.
He shoved the knight into his pocket. "Thanks."
Again, he leaned forward to kiss his girlfriend but before his lips had a chance to meet hers, before Willow could open her mouth and start her belated lecturing the bell that signaled the start of fourth period rang out and the three teenagers scrambled for class.
"So...Buffy being back. Great, right?"
Xander sighed. He felt the muscles in his back and shoulders tense. He looked over at Oz.
After a quick and easy eradication of the slime demon nest earlier that night Giles had speedily briefed all of the Scoobies on an all new nasty demon. The demon was something called a nalbyd. And this particular nalbyd was famous for creeping its way into unsuspecting people's houses in the dark of night and eating them. Giles wanted everyone available on patrol and aiming to kill the deadly demon. And he wanted them all to be very careful please children.
So. That's exactly what Xander and Oz had been doing for the last hour and a half. Patrolling, eyes wide open and searching for the latest big bad. But they were tired. Oz's tennis shoes were covered in pus colored crust that had been slime two hours before, Xander's eyes were heavy with fatigue and it was getting the kind of school night late that made even Slayers and their Slayerettes drag their feet. So without really thinking about it or discussing it both teens had started toward Xander's house. Unless the other patrol teams found it, the nalbyd was just going to have to wait to be slain another night.
"Sure," Xander finally answered the werewolf. "Great." He wasn't lying, exactly. He was glad that Buffy was back in Sunnydale. He was glad that his friend was safe and mostly sound. He just hadn't yet been able to shake the images of a dead Ms. Calendar, of a tortured Giles or of Angelus's twisted face from his mind. He hadn't been able to rein in the shiver of anger he felt every time he looked at or thought about the blond Slayer. And he didn't understand why his friends (mostly Willow) were treating him as if he were the bad guy for acting the way he was acting when it was Buffy who...
Well. Xander didn't really want to think too deeply about any of it. And he really, really didn't feel like talking about it.
He waited a few moments, half afraid that Willow had somehow convinced Oz to talk to him about his shiny new attitude toward Buffy. But all Oz did was nod and stuff his hands into his pockets and continue walking. Silently.
Sometimes Xander really appreciated Oz.
The werewolf didn't speak again until they had reached the stretch of sidewalk in front of Xander's house a few minutes later. "I'll see you tomorrow," he murmured. He looked around, his neck at a strange angle, before shaking his head. And then, "You're coming to the Bronze before patrol tomorrow, right? Willow and Buffy are gonna' be there and my band is playing..."
"Yeah," said Xander, a little surprised at the invitation. "Consider me there."
He stood on the sidewalk, the night air wrapped around him like a familiar blanket and the fingers of his right hand wrapped tightly around the base of the wooden stake half stuffed into his jacket pocket, until he saw Oz round the corner and disappear from sight.
He took a deep breath. Thought about the events of the day and about everything that had happened that week so far.
He headed for his front door. Across the front lawn, the yellowed grass crunching beneath his tennis shoes as he walked. Above him the stars seemed unnaturally bright in the black sky. The night around him seemed unnaturally still.
He reached the front door. Noticed that it was already ajar. The door and frame were splintered and broken.
Dad, thought Xander. Because his father had a habit of losing his keys, or forgetting his keys or getting tired of drunkenly fumbling for the correct key and kicking the front door in.
Xander stepped into the house and nudged the damaged door as closed as he could get it behind him.
He started down the short hallway that led into the living room. The lights were out in the house and Xander could make out the shifting glow of the television screen, could hear his father's snoring. He noted that the sound seemed slightly off. Strange. Like maybe his father had a bad cold that was making him gurgle along with his snores.
He reached the end of the hallway. His father's snoring was louder now. Closer. He stared at the television for a moment (an X-Files rerun was on), then stepped into the living room.
Xander's father, limp and unmoving, was toe up on the living room carpet. And some thing -- scaly white flesh, long jagged fangs, claws -- was on its haunches, crouched over his father, chewing.
Xander didn't pause to think. Before his mind had even fully registered the fact that this was the nalbyd in his living room, this was the demon of the week feasting on his dad, Xander was coming up behind the thing. His stake was out of his jacket pocket, he was bringing the weapon down. Stabbing.
He got the neck. The stake stuck out of the right side of the nalbyd's head, gushes of thick black blood leaking around the edges of the weapon and down the monster's shoulders in rivulets.
It screamed. A high pitched, animal squeal and for a crazy moment Xander was wondering how. How was it still screaming with ten inches of wood lodged in its throat? But the next second it didn't matter because the monster had turned, had its bulging disbelieving red eyes set on him. It struck out and geez what did it take to kill these things again? What was it Giles had said?
Xander jumped back, the creatures claws missing his belly by inches. He reached out blindly, grabbed the first thing that met his fingers. His mother's old and heavy brass lamp. He threw the shade aside and gripped the lamp like a baseball bat and...WHAM. He caught the nalbyd smack in the middle of its forehead just as it was unfurling, rising from the floor and stretching to its full height. The lamp bulb shattered and two of the creatures razor blade teeth flew across the room, bounced against the wall with a clatter and landed on the floor.
The nalbyd stumbled, looked confused for a moment and Xander's mind reeled because he didn't know what to do next. Didn't know how to take the bastard down.
The creature caught its balance, cried a wet sounding cry. Dropped to all fours like a dog and sprinted around Xander, down the hallway and out the busted front door.
Still wielding the brass lamp Xander spun to follow, his sneakers making a squelching sound on the carpet because there was so much blood. His dad's blood. The monster's blood...
And that's when he heard it. A low keening sound.
Xander's eyes searched. Landed on his mother, huddled into a corner of the living room. She had her hand over her mouth as if she was trying to muffle her weeping and her exceptionally wide eyes were fixed on him.
"Mom," he said and let the lamp drop to the floor. "Mom. It'll be okay...I'll call, I'll call..." But before he could say anything more his mind registered the fact that the gurgling sound he had heard as he'd walked down the short hallway leading into the living room had not been his father snoring.
It had been the nalbyd slurping, eating.
Xander took in a deep, shaky breath. He stumbled to the wall. Put his palms flat against it and leaned.
It was almost a full minute before Xander felt steady enough to go for the phone.
Dogs. A pack of wild dogs. Maybe even the same pack that had eaten Mr. Flutie, the former Sunnydale High principal, a few years ago. That's what Xander and his mother had told the EMTs and the cops and the Sunnydale General medical staff.
And judging by the way his mother had acted, the way she'd been so strangely hyper and enthusiastic while telling the lie, Xander was pretty sure that the woman had been trying to convince herself that the story was true more than anyone else.
Xander had tried to talk to his mother. Once the mayhem had died down and his dad (touch and go the doctors were saying, Mr. Harris has fallen into a coma and it's touch and go right now) was out of surgery and they had been allowed in to see him for a few minutes and they were both in the room, sitting on plastic chairs that they had crowded up next to the bed. He'd tried to mention the nalbyd. Tried to explain just why he had had a wooden stake in his jacket pocket, to convince her that she must have always known deep down inside about the strangeness and evil that was Sunnydale...but she hadn't listened.
She had ignored him. Hadn't even looked at him. Hadn't even acknowledged his existence.
So Xander had finally stopped trying to talk to his mom about what had happened. Had decided to give her some time to recover from the shock of it all before he tried to talk to her about anything period.
And now he was sitting in the hospital waiting room. His mother was sitting in the chair next to him, fretting out loud to no one in particular about her appearance. Should she go home and get cleaned up? Was that a stupid idea? Should she just try to wash up in the bathroom and not change and stay? Because something could happen, something could go wrong at any moment. But if she was going to be staying at the hospital for a while she would need clothes. Maybe her toothbrush.
Xander was trying not to listen to her. Instead he was forcing himself to think about the sun that he could see rising through the window, about his teachers at school and what they might think about him missing the third day of classes, about whether or not the fictional wild dog attack would make the newspaper or the news. About his friends and his girlfriend and Giles and about whether or not any of them would come to the hospital to see him when they heard.
He sighed. Without really thinking about it he lifted his hands so that his palms were just inches away from his face. He had already washed them, but there was still blood caught between the cracks in his palms.
He turned, startled. His mother was looking at the blood, too. Xander let his hands drop from their place in front of his face. Gripped the edges of his chair hard.
And then his mother was looking at him. She was no longer shaking or ranting or ignoring or fussing over her husband. She was looking straight at Xander. Her gaze was focused and determined.
Xander straightened in his chair. This was it. He and his mother were going to talk about what had happened the night before. They were going to talk about all the things that went bump in the night in Sunnydale and about how Xander knew about them. And maybe once they got that out of the way they could concentrate on more important things like his dad. And once his dad got better (it would be a while, he knew it would be a while) Xander could go back to fighting the dark things with the rest of the Scoobies and his parents could go back to mostly ignoring their son and everything could go back to normal.
"Xander. I..." She faltered.
Xander took a deep breath. Held it.
"I think it would be best for all of us if you left...for a while. I think...I'm going to send you to live with your Uncle John for a while, Xander."
Wait. Xander blinked. "What?"