Change is Inevitable
Word count: 1,992
A/N: Skipping over the flight as I've never been in a plane, don't know what flying is like.
What you need to Know: This story takes place after New Ghost Story, go read that first.
As it turned out his mom was not the one to drive him to the airport, she was too busy making sure her things were being put in storage. He at least managed to make her promise to ship the rest of his stuff, and if she forgot Giles could pick the lock and get it for him.
Giles had promised to ship weapons first, then the rest of Xander's belongings if need be. But for the flight, Giles had given him a book on basic magic, protection spells and such. Just in case he needed them.
Cordelia was the one to drive him to the airport...Willow still wouldn't answer her phone so she had no idea he was leaving. Cordelia was quiet as she sat with him in the waiting area, curled up in his lap, a few tears leaking from her eyes. He kissed them away and held her close.
The time they'd spent together in the old Crawford place in Spike's bed...had been something of an eye opener. They fit together in ways they never knew they could, and while the hormones and lust helped things along...they were definitely in love. And now saying goodbye was that much harder.
“It’s not forever Cordy, but if you wanna see other guys I won't mind. You'll need someone to look good for you at prom.”
The elbow to his stomach shut him up. “We are not breaking up. We are not saying goodbye. This is just...just some sort of hiccup or pause or something. You're my boyfriend and I'm not giving you up just because your mom is a bitch.”
He smiled and kissed her temple, playing with her hair as she glared at nothing. “I love you too Cordy.”
“I know...and I...love you. I've never gone this far with someone Xander.”
“It wasn't far enough.”
“I want forever. Its sounds stupid and I know how short life can be...but I want forever with you.”
“Even though we both have Spike-lust.”
“Well he's a vampire that's been around for more than a hundred years. That's pretty close to forever from a teenager's point of view.”
Xander laughed and nibbled at her neck. “So if Spike shows up in Sunnydale are you gonna capture him, toss him in your trunk and deliver him personally to me in Amity Park so we can ravish him and be ravished?”
“I'm gonna miss you Cordy.”
“I know, this isn't goodbye. We'll find a way, but until we're together again. I'm gonna miss you Queen C.”
She turned her face to his and kissed him one more time, just as his flight was announced over the speaker system.
Xander walked slowly into the terminal doing his best to avoid bumping into the other people getting off the plane. As far as he was concerned he'd have enough of their company, and if he never rode a plane again he'd be a very happy Xander.
The Louisville airport wasn't as big as the one in LA, but it was just as busy. He sighed because he knew he still had a ways to go before reaching Amity Park, which like Sunnydale had a distinct lack of its own airport. This meant a long and awkward car ride with relatives he didn't know.
He looked around dejectedly, wishing silently that he could have brought Cordelia with him. How was he supposed to find these people when he didn't know what they looked like? He hadn't seen his Aunt and Uncle since he was...two...three? Then he saw a HUGE man holding up a sign with the name 'Alexander Harris'. Oh...that was how. “Geeze, couldn't Mom at least give them the right name to call me.” He sighed, of course she wouldn't...the name Xander never did stick at home, only at school. It was time to change that...he really hoped the huge man wasn't crazy...what with the bright orange jump suit...or was it a hazmat suit.
Xander approached the guy, who wasn't alone. There was a woman beside him, also in a jump suit, hers was blue. Her auburn hair came down to her chin and she looked...nice? Kind maybe? “Uncle Jack? Aunt Maddie?”
They blinked and stared at him...Jacks' eyes focused on his cast with a frown. “Alexander?”
“Xander. I go by Xander.”
And then he was swept up into a crushing hug, Jack completely lifted him up off the ground. “It’s been too long kiddo. I'm sorry about all this.”
Xander nodded silently, though his eyes burned a bit from holding back tears. When Jack put him down Maddie hugged him, her grip almost as strong as her husband’s. “Welcome home sweetie.”
“So...how far away is Amity Park?” Xander asked before taking a bite of his cheeseburger. Thankfully it seemed his Aunt and Uncle had hearts of gold because they took pity on his growling stomach and insisted on lunch at the airport restaurant. Though he couldn't really hold onto his food with both hands. Stupid cast...stupid vampires. He looked at Jack expectantly, eyes occasionally straying to Maddie who was talking on her cell phone some distance away.
“Once we cross the Ohio River, it'll be a four hour drive.” Jack answered...it was odd how the man kept eying his cast.
He sighed. “You might as well ask about it.”
“How bad is the break, and how did it happen?”
Here we go, time to lie like a pro, good thing he had years of practice. “You know how Sunnydale is only a couple of hours from LA?”
“Well sometimes the LA gangs bring their turf wars to the Dale so they won't screw up their territory.”
“My friends and I got stupid...we were sort of a take back the night kind of group. Ya know? Patrolling in groups, making sure our classmates got home safe, keeping the grapevine informed if dangerous types were spotted anywhere in town.”
“That does sound pretty stupid...but very brave as well. I take it the police didn't know?”
Xander grimaced. “The police are pretty useless in Sunnydale and they have a habit of shooting at scared unarmed teenagers.”
“Let me rephrase that, some of us were studying in the school library when one of the gangs, who weren't happy with us getting in their way, ambushed us.”
“They attacked you on school property?”
“Yeah. I managed to distract some of them long enough so Cordy got away without a scratch...” When Jack gave him a puzzled look he smiled briefly. “Cordelia is my girlfriend...one of my friends, Willow, ended up in a coma for a few hours after some book cases fell on her. Mr. Giles, the librarian got beaten up pretty bad, and I ended up with a broken wrist and a concussion. And ... Kendra was killed.”
Xander nodded. “She was a newer friend, we hadn't known her very long...but she and Buffy were close.”
“Another of my best friends. She didn't get to the library until after it was all over. She was kneeling by Kendra, holding her hand when the cops showed up with their guns. And Principle Snyder, who hates all kids, told them she was responsible so they tried to arrest her...she got scared and ran...and they shot at her.”
“Is she okay?”
“I don't know...she and her mom had a fight and Buffy ran away from home.”
“So your dad didn't...”
Xander glanced at his cast. “Not this time.”
“But there were other times when he did?”
“Tony knew not to leave bruises on the face or where they could be seen, and every kid breaks a bone or two growing up.”
“I'm sorry kiddo.”
“Not your fault Uncle Jack; there wasn’t any way you could have known.”
“Your mother should have done something.”
“I wasn't his only target, he hurt her too.” Xander shrugged. “She's free now.”
“And you're safe. Neither of them will hurt you again. I promise.” Jack reached across the table and ruffled his hair.
Xander nodded and tried not to wince, unused to the contact. “Thanks Uncle Jack.”
Maddie frowned as she eavesdropped on their conversation, anger swirling within her. Poor Alex...or rather poor Xander.
“Mom?” Jazz's voice inside the phone brought her back.
“Sorry Jazz, I spaced out for a moment.”
“So what's Alexander like?”
“Xander, he goes by Xander honey, make sure your brother knows...and try not to look shocked when we bring him home.”
“He has a cast on his right hand and wrist...it’s a touchy subject.”
“Okay...I'll tell Danny.”
“Thank you sweetie. Make sure the house is clean would you?”
“Already on it, I roped Danny and all his friends into helping...do you want dinner to be just us or should we order pizza and welcome...Xander with a sort of party.”
“Pizza and a small gathering of prospective friends’ sounds lovely so make a list of everyone's orders and we'll call it in after we get home.”
“Okay, see you later then.”
“Um...what is that thing?” Xander asked as he stared at the...well he didn't know what it was which was why he asked.
“The Fenton RV and assault vehicle.” Jack said proudly.
He blinked and looked to Maddie for conformation. “Huh?”
She smiled uneasily. “I guess we should have told you...we invent things...and we're professional ghost hunters.”
“And you hunt ghosts in jumpsuits.”
“And you built this thing.”
“Indeed we did.” Jack's chest was still puffed out proudly.
“Do you see ghosts very often?”
“Every week.” They said together...in a somewhat creepy cheer.
“Okay then...anything else I should know about?”
They shared a look, and Jack cleared his throat. “Danny has a boyfriend.” They concentrated expectant looks at him.
“That might mean something...if I knew who Danny was.”
They blinked, and Jack chuckled. “I guess you were too young to remember your cousins, you have two by the way.”
Maddie smiled and opened the back of the...assault vehicle. “Jasmine, Jazz, is a year older than you. She just graduated high school and will be going to Harvard this fall for college. But you'll get to know her this summer.”
“Is a year younger than you.”
“And he has a boyfriend.”
They gave him expectant looks again as Jack started to load his suitcases into the RV. “They've only been dating a couple of weeks.”
Maddie gave him sort of secret smile. “But according to Jazz they've been dancing around one another for almost a year...and before that they fought like cats and dogs.”
Xander smiled. “That kinda sounds like me and Cordy. We used to fight all the time...”
“What changed?” Maddie asked him.
“Err...we sort of got locked in a room together...which led to our first kiss. And after we got out there were more kisses...we uh...we did have a bit of a rough patch around Valentine’s day. But we made it through.”
“So...no comments about Danny being gay?”
“No, not really. I've crushed on a guy before.” They stared at him and he blushed. “Actually Cordy and I both crushed on the same guy...not that he knows. Anyway, I've got no problem with the gay thing.”
“Wonderful. Now, what do you like on your pizza? Jazz, Danny and their friends are getting the house ready for a welcome home gathering.”
Xander smiled. “Pepperoni.”