CAIRN

DISCLAIMER: The characters of Buffy the Vampire Slayer are the property of Joss Wheaton and Mutant Enemy and the characters of the X-Men are the property of Marvel Comics. They are used here without their creators' knowledge or consent and only for enjoyment. All other characters and the plot belong to the author.

Authors note: This story is set the summer after Season 3 for Buffy. The placement in the X-Men storyline is harder as I have not read these comics in the last few years, but it is before Cyclops is taken over by Apocalypse. Please ask before archiving. Constructive criticism is welcomed.

_____________________________

The sunlight rippled in air of Buffy's bedroom as the two lounged around the room. Buffy's arms dangled over the edge of the bed and Willow leaned against a pile of pillows stacked against Buffy's dresser as the two gossiped their way through the beautiful Saturday afternoon. At least, Buffy had been trying to gossip. Willow had absent-mindedly shredded three tissues, the fringe on one of Buffy's pillows (Not her favourite one, so it was no big), and was currently pulling threads from the hem of her skirt as she stared at the bed. Not at Buffy. At the bed.

Willow had been fretting about something since she arrived and Buffy was getting a bit annoyed. This was one of her few non-fight, non-homework, non-worry moments, and she wanted to spend it with her best friend, not just her friend's body while her mind went bye-bye. The two had so little time they spent together just hanging out anymore and Will was just wasting it by just sitting there! They could be wasting it be giggling about Oz, Angel, that new cute guy that had transferred in (by the way, SO the wrong time to come here, buddy), how funny Mrs. Maison had looked with the back of her skirt tucked into her panties, or a million different things.

Well, Buffy never claimed that she had any patience.

"Will. Will. Wiillloww. Are you in there?"

The redhead blinked.

"Huh?"

"Give, Willow. What's up?"

"What? What are you...?" Catching the look aimed at her stopped her before she could get started in her deny-dither, a Willow speciality. Somehow, Buffy had guessed.

She sighed and took a breath. There was really no reason to think that Buffy would be mad. But everything had been going so smoothly lately and, as soon as she had thought that this morning, she had had a bad feeling. Not a wiggins. Just a bit of superstition chill. It had followed her for the rest of the day.

"Well, you know that assignment we had awhile back? I decided to do some extra research and --"

Buffy interrupted, amusement bubbling on her face. "Extra research? You? What a surprise. But, Will? Not the faintest clue of what you are talking about. We've had a lot of assignments. I'm not a mind reader." She paused for a second's thought, and added, "Not anymore."

"Oh. Oh, Oh!" Enthusiasm radiated from Willow as she leaned forward in her eagerness, original topic forgotten for the moment. "I was thinking about that and I think Giles and I can modify this spell to prevent people from reading our minds. Well, not PEOPLE, obviously. But, DEMONS, yes. That way, if we come against that type of demon again, they won't be able to see what we're gonna do and --"

A giggle stopped her. Actually seeing Buffy, instead of just looking at her, she noticed the wide grin, thought back on what she had said and grimaced. "I'm babbling. I really am trying to stop doing that." And she was. Somehow, she didn't think babbling was appropriate for university and that wasn't all that far in the future.

Buffy had been watching her friend unconsciously using the 'go-off-on-a-tangent' move, another Willow speciality. Very effective, usually. And funny. "You're also trying to change the subject. The spell sounds like a good idea, Willow, and I think you should tell Giles about it - ON MONDAY - but I want to know what assignment you're talking about."

"The research project."

At Buffy's blank look, Willow tried jogging Buffy's memory.

"Prep for research in College? For English? Geneology? The family tree thing?"

"Ohhh, yeah. Sorry, sorta blocked that out of my memory. It felt like I was in Grade 4 again. What a stupid assignment. You were all freaked about my dad's side of the family."

"Buffy, there was only your dad. Nobody else. At ALL. It felt like someone had wiped out your family from all the records. Or just wiped out your family. It was creepy. Ssssooo," Willow was concentrating on the bed again and picking apart another pillow fringe, "I started looking into your family history. I kinda thought something had happened, like the Witness Protection program or something."

Buffy had started out by gaping, but ended up interrupting with laughter. "T-that is s-s-soo f-funny." Suddenly, she stopped, a horrified look sweeping across her face. "It is funny, right? Not true funny, right? God, my life is freaky enough without something like THAT getting into the mix."

Willow hurried to assure her friend on that count. "No, no! Nothing like that! No Witness Protection, or anything criminal, or anything like that." She took a breath. "But I did discover something we missed the first time. Your dad had an older cousin that he hardly ever saw. Remember? The pilot who crashed his plane with his family on board?"

Buffy grimaced and nodded, remembering the picture of the family that had appeared in the newspaper. They had looked so happy and the boys had been so young...

Willow plunged on at Buffy's nod, taking heart in her non-anger. She had figured that, if anything, Buffy would be most likely to be angry about her poking around in her family history. And there HAD been the chance for other trouble, if it HAD been the Witness Protection Program, or something like it. But it was just a family where way too many people died way too young.

Willow tried not to think that, with Buffy's destiny as a Slayer, she would probably fit into the 'way too young' category, someday. Maybe even by the end of the year, when the Mayor did whatever he was gonna do. She tried not to think about it, and to hide all the accounts she came across of other Slayer's ages when they died. Self-fulfilling prophecy was something all the Scobbies were familiar with after that farce at the end of Buffy's first school year in Sunnydale.

"Well, turns out the papers were wrong. About the boys, anyway. Apparently, their mom put them into the only parachute not on fire or something and shoved them out. But the 'chute caught on fire while they were in the air and they landed hard. The oldest was in a coma for a long time and the younger one was adopted out. I didn't quite follow what happened, but somehow there was a mix-up, I think an on-purpose one - maybe so the younger would be go along with the adoption easier?- and they both thought the other one had died. I guess they found each other when they got older. The important thing is, they survived."

Willow paused to emphasize her point. "Buffy, you've got cousins. Scott and Alex Summers."

"What?!"

Willow winced in surprise as she was hit with stereo-sound, Buffy on one side and Mrs. Summers on the other.

"Mrs. Summers! I -- It's true. I mean, I --"

Joyce Summers laughed.

"I believe you, Willow. It's wonderful news. Isn't it, honey?", addressing the last comment to her stunned daughter, who didn't bother answering. "Hank always was a bit upset when we were married about his lack of family. His side of the church was completely empty. This is such incredible news, Buffy. You'll have to call your father tonight and let him know."

Buffy's mother came into the room, smiling as she handed the ice-cold sodas to the girls.

By this time, Buffy had recovered enough to raise an eyebrow at her mother.

"Mom. Do you honestly think that will even care? What with him being as 'busy' as he has been lately?"

The smile had left Joyce's face as she listened. Just as she opened her mouth to defend her daughter's father, she caught the old look in Buffy's eyes and stopped. Feeling like her legs wouldn't support her much longer, she sat on the edge of Buffy's bed.

"I always swore I wouldn't be one of those bitter women who ran down their ex's to their children."

"You never have, Mom. Didn't stop me from seeing things for myself, though. Once I got old enough."

Joyce looked again at her daughter, and realized that she did, indeed, see things for herself. When, she wondered, did my little girl grow up?

Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed a very twitchy Willow and realized that the poor girl was embarrassed at being witness to the conversation.

"But, just because your father may be a bit busy at the moment, it doesn't stop you from contacting them." Grinning inside at the look on her daughter's face, she turned to Willow, and asked, "What are they doing now? Do you know where they are?"

***

Xavier's School for the Gifted

Two Weeks Later

Ororo Monro efficiently sorted the previous day's mail, as none had had time the day before. Noticing the return address, she idly wondering who would be writing Scott from California. Then, with a double take, she caught the name of the correspondent.

Scott was NOT going to wake up. He wasn't. He had been up very late last night working on some new battle tactics. It was Saturday, for Christ's sake! Everyone knew that he was not a morning person. Who would be so suicidal as to bug him at - he slit one eye open and tried to decipher the time through his strapped-on glasses and morning-blurred eyesight - GOD, at 6:30 in the morning. He whined in the back of his throat as the crazy person knocked on the door again, then sighed in relief as the nasty person slid some papers under the door and promptly went back to unconsciousness.

When Jean Grey-Summers returned from her morning jog to the small home (formerly a boathouse/storage shack for Xavier Mansion) that she shared with her husband, she didn't notice the envelope just inside the door. She was more taken with the sight of her husband spread out on the couch, still fully dressed and sleeping as soundly as the dead.

The coffee table in front of him was covered with notebooks, printouts, disks and his laptop and she knew that he hadn't wanted to disturb her when he had finished his plotting last night. For some reason, she had never been able to sleep as easily as Scott did, something the man was very familiar with. Add to that the fact that she hadn't gone to bed very early herself, an early morning appointment with the professor and it added up to a very sweet gesture. Although, probably not very good for his neck, she thought as she noticed his position.

Softly smiling, she covered him with the blanket on the back of the couch and when to get ready for the meeting.

What with one thing or another, the envelope wasn't discovered until much later in the morning. And, after it was discovered, it and Scott were in Professor Xavier's office in less than twenty-five minutes.

***