TITLE: Distant Relations
AUTHOR: Sierra Phoenix
DISCLAIMER: I have no claim to any television shows, much to my extreme dismay.
SUMMARY: (Crossover with Supernatural) Xander learns the truth about his parentage and must decide whether or not to seek out his real father. Set the summer after BtVS Season 3.
NOTES: I know the long lost family plot device is really cliché, but I just couldn't help myself. This plot bunny bit in and I couldn't shake it off.
"Are you sure passing math is absolutely necessary for me to graduate?"
Xander heard Willow sigh over the phone, the scolding tone evident in her voice as she told him, "Xander, you can get this. You just need to focus."
"I mean, really," he continued, "when will I ever need to graph a pringle after high school."
"Parabola," Willow corrected, "and they can be extremely useful for-"
Xander cut off Willow's well-intended pep-talk, "And for all we know I may not survive the Mayor's whole ascension thing. These could be my last moments and I'm wasting them with prigulas and formulas."
"Nice try," Willow said, "but impending doom only works as a 'get out of homework free' card so many times before it just gets old."
It was Xander's turn to sigh, "You're wearing your 'resolve face,' aren't you?"
"Darn tootin', mister."
"It's just…this doesn't make any sense. I mean, unless this thing is supposed to look like a lop-sided triangle, I don't think my numbers are right." Xander turned his paper to see if it would look better at a different angle.
"Maybe this would be easier if we…you know…did it in person instead of over the phone?"
Xander repressed a groan, thinking math pretty much sucked no matter the setting, but he conceded anyway. "Yeah, I'll be over in a few."
"Okay, see you then."
He hung up the phone and began stuffing his book and papers into his backpack. He had really hoped to avoid going over to Willow's, not so much because he hated math (although he did), but because he didn't want to undertake the task of getting out the house without his father noticing.
His dad was constantly on his case. Tony Harris had never been the kind of father to take his son out in yard and toss around a ball, but lately it seemed even breathing was a capital offense worthy of bringing down the wrath of Old Man Harris. Xander couldn't think of any particular thing he'd done that could have irritated the man. He spent most of his time at school (either in classes or doing demon research in the library), and when he was at home, he tried to stay un-heard and un-seen. He wondered if maybe his dad was just having some sort of mid-life crisis considering his only son was nearing adulthood and about to graduate. That, or maybe it was just the obscene amount of alcohol the man could pack away.
Xander shouldered his backpack and made for the bedroom door, cracking it open just enough to see if the hallway was clear. When he was sure that it was, he slipped out and quietly closed the door behind him. He sneaked down the hallway, past the living room where it looked as though his dad was passed out in front of the TV, and made it to the front door without incident. His hand closed over the doorknob and Xander smiled and thought to himself, home free.
Xander winced. Apparently Old Man Harris was not quite as passed out as he seemed. And what was with the 'boy'? What, the man couldn't be bothered to remember the name of his only son? Xander schooled his features and tried his best to keep a bland voice before he turned and asked with a shrug, "Yeah?"
"Don't you take that tone of voice with me," his dad blared. Tony teetered drunkenly in his direction, and Xander had to repress a shudder of disgust at the overwhelming smell of alcohol that wafted off the man. "Where do you think you're sneaking off to anyway?"
"I wasn't sneaking," Xander fibbed. "I'm just going over to Willow's to study."
"Study," Tony snorted. "As much as you two study," he said, clearly implying that he thought there was something other than studying going on, "you should be making straight A's."
"Whatever," Xander shrugged the comment off and turned to go.
"Don't you turn your back on me boy!" Tony grabbed Xander's shoulder, spinning him around so forcefully that his back slammed into the door.
"What on Earth is going on in here?" Jessica Harris appeared, wiping her hands on a dishtowel.
Xander pressed his back harder against the door, wishing he could just sink through it and get out of this situation. "Nothing, mom, I'm just going over to Willow's to do some studying."
"Well, you better do some studying," Tony had to get his say in again, "'cause after this year is over you're gonna have to start earnin' your keep. No more of this free-loading crap."
Xander knew he should just let it go, knew that smarting off would only cause problems, but his mouth had gotten him into trouble on more than one occasion and today was no different. "Right…because god forbid my dad be forced to provide for his own son."
"You're no son of mine," Tony yelled, his eyes blazing with anger.
"Tony!" Jessica's shocked voice shouted before Xander could say anything.
"What's he talking about?" Xander asked.
"Nothing," Jessica attempted to smile, but it fell flat. "He's just had too much to drink."
"The hell I have," Tony said fiercely, turning his anger on her. "Don't play dumb; you know what I'm talking about."
"Don't do this!" Jessica's voice shook with tension and fear.
"Do you even know who the little bastard's real father is?"
Xander had had enough, "What the hell are you talking about?"
Tony turned and looked at him with such loathing in his eyes that Xander would have staggered backward were it not for the door at his back. "Why don't you ask your mother that?" He shot a hateful glare at his wife before he shoved Xander aside, jerked the door open and stalked though, slamming it shut behind him.
Xander stared at the door he'd been so desperate to escape through only moments ago. Sure, he'd never been on the best terms with his father, but he'd never doubted that the man was, in fact, his father. He wanted to dispel the heavy feeling that had settled in the pit of his stomach. "Is it true?" he asked, watching his mother's reaction with equal parts hope and dread.
She avoided his gaze, smoothing her hands over her clothing as if she could just brush off the last few minutes. "Xander, you know how your father is when he drinks. He was just talking nonsense."
"So it's not true then?" he asked again, looking for some kind of solid confirmation in her pale, stricken features.
"Of course not." She still wouldn't meet his eyes. "Now, you should get going," she told him, stepping closer and reaching a hand out to brush his arm. "Willow's probably waiting on you."
She didn't wait for his response, just turned and hurried back to the kitchen.
Xander wanted to simply believe her words, but he just couldn't shake that sinking feeling. He slid his backpack off his shoulders, his study date completely forgotten for the moment, and followed after his mom.
"Why would he say it if it weren't true?" he questioned her.
She was standing at the sink with her back to him, arms submerged to her elbows in dishes and soap-water. "I told you," she shrugged. "He'd had too much to drink and was just talking crazy."
Part of Xander wanted to give up, didn't want to push the issue any more than he had, but he had to ask, "Then why can't you look me in the eye?"
Her movements stilled and she was quiet for a moment. She spoke again as if she hadn't even heard his question, "He'll sleep it off and everything will be back to fine again tomorrow. You'll see," she said, but her voice was strained and the words were empty.
"Mom," Xander began pleadingly, "things have never been fine."
Her shoulders slumped, "What do you want me to say, Xander?"
"I want you to tell me the truth," Xander said, though he wasn't entirely sure that was what he really wanted.
She dried her hands on the dish-towel again, her movements slow and methodical. She turned then, crossing her arms in front of her and bending her head so that her chin almost touched her chest. It was like her body was trying to fold in on itself. She couldn't seem to pull her gaze away from the floor, but eventually she dragged her eyes up to meet his, and Xander saw they were glistening with unshed tears.
In that moment, Xander knew the truth and desperately wished he didn't. He looked away trying to blink back tears of his own; his eyes searched the kitchen as if they could find something there that might explain this all away.
"I'm sorry," his mother whispered. "I had hoped that you would never find out."
Xander looked back at her. "How…who…" He stuttered, not sure which question he should ask first.
Jessica gave a deep sigh and sat down at the small kitchen table, and Xander was suddenly struck by how old and resigned she now looked. She gave him a pained smile, "Why don't you sit down?"
He took the seat across from her, resting his elbows on the table and clasping his hands in front of him.
"Your father and I," she stopped and amended, "Tony and I… had decided to separate for a while. Things were…well, they just weren't going very well…" She took a deep breath before starting again, "We were living in L.A. then and one night I met this man at a bar. His wife had died several years before, we were both hurting…it was just one of those things. We used protection," she told him, as if that could somehow excuse her actions, especially when it so obviously hadn't worked.
Xander wasn't exactly sure how he was supposed to respond to that. Not only was he someone else's son, he was someone else's accident. A mistake. The statistic that proved that no product comes with a full-proof guarantee.
She continued on, "About a month later Tony and I got back together and moved here, to Sunnydale. We wanted to try and make things work."
"Guess he wasn't too happy when he found out about me?"
"I thought he would get past it. I thought he would think of you as his own."
Xander swallowed hard and tried to filter through the conflicting thoughts and emotions that were warring within him. "What was his name?"
"John," she told him.
"Was there a last name?" he asked, thinking John was probably a pretty common name.
"Williams," she said. "Or maybe it was Wilson," she murmured, frowning.
Xander stared at her, horrified at the thought that maybe she really didn't know who his father was.
"No, it was Winchester. I remember now, it was definitely Winchester. Like the rifle."
Xander was starting to feel like he was nearing his breaking point by now. "What else do you remember about him?"
His mother looked anxious, "I don't really remember much else. It was only one night."
Xander guessed he was lucky she could even remember his name.
She must have noticed how upset he was because she tried to dredge up some more information for him. "I think he may have been from Kansas. Somewhere near Kansas City, I think. He said that's where his sons were."
"Sons?" Xander asked, surprised.
She nodded and looked away.
Xander didn't know what to say and didn't think he could handle hearing anything else. He was back to wanting desperately to be somewhere else. He stood up shakily and backed away from the table, "Well, I, uh…I should go. Willow's waiting and all."
Jessica stood too, "Xander."
He waved her off and gave her a smile that held more heart-break than humor. "I'll be back later." And with that, Xander practically bolted from the house, not even bothering to pick up his backpack on the way out the door.
A/N 2 - TIMELINE: I've been working out the timeline issue so that the story aligns and here's what I've come up with: For BtVS the timeline is getting pushed forward so that the Scooby gang will be the proud graduates of the class of 2006. For Supernatural most things stay the same. Sam was born on May 2, 1983, Mary is killed the following November 2, 1983. John Winchester and Jessica Harris meet up in April 1987, Xander is born in January 1988. For Supernatural, the episode "Home" took place around January or February, I think, but for the purposes of this fic I'm going to say it took place in mid- to late-April, and 'Asylum' and everything after that episode won't have happened yet, which I guess means this is going to be AU (like a crossover could ever be anything else). For the current date of the fic, May 2006, ages are as follows: Xander, 18; Sam, 23; Dean, 26.