Spoilers: Buffy S7, SPN season 1 Devil's Trap and some ps of S2.
Timeline: Buffy: post s7, SPN, post Devil's Trap and somewhere in the middle of S2, maybe around before No Exit.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything related to Supernatural or Buffy.
Kind of mushy...
The door to the Roadhouse swung open. Ellen, Dean and Sam, the only people at the Roadhouse at that moment, looked up from what they were doing, hoping that it was Jo. Jo had been gone for a week now, a few days before the Winchesters had arrived. She and her mother had had another explosive argument about whether or not Jo could hunt on her own or not.
Apparently, Jo had had enough of being under her mother's supervision and had stormed to her room, packed, and had marched out the door. Jo, taking after from her father as well as learning a thing or two from the hunters she played pool with, had covered up her tracks nicely and from the information Ellen had gathered from various hunters, her beloved daughter was in Cleveland.
Dean and Sam had offered to go and take her back and as much as Ellen had been tempted by the offer, Ellen had told them not to. She wanted her daughter to come back out of her own accord. From their arguments and disagreements, she had learned to let her daughter go and that the only way Jo was going to learn was to discover things on her own through experience.
She had to respect her daughter's wishes.
Besides, the hunter who had informed her on her child's whereabouts had assured her that she was in good hands. According to him, she was at the headquarters of the Slayer and he had visited them himself to make sure that she was okay. From what he had seen, they were taking good care of her, training her before allowing her to go hunting on her own.
So now, all three of them were hoping against hope that it was Jo, hoping that she had decided to just come home, had decided that the hunting lifestyle just wasn't for her.
Unfortunately, it wasn't her.
"Guess it's going to take more than a week for her to experience what a hunter's life really is." Ellen thought sadly as she gave the newcomer a once over. He was around Dean's height and age, slightly muscular although his build seemed to come from doing actual work instead of going to the gym three times a week. He had chocolate brown hair and one dark brown eye. The other eye, if it was still there, was covered by an eye patch. He looked worn out and tired and his clothes were rumpled. An aura of weariness surrounded him and after watching him walk in for a few seconds, she turned her back on him to get a beer.
Something told her it was exactly what he needed.
As Ellen was examining the stranger, Dean was observing him quietly as well while taking a drink out of his own bottle. Dean was pretty sure the man was a hunter, from the way he was acting. Oh the man was very subtle but sometimes, when it came to hunters, the philosophy of "Takes one to know one." usually came into play. To an ordinary person, it would seem like the man was just walking in. But to a trained eye like Dean, he could see that the stranger was quickly scanning his surroundings, marking the entrances and exits just in case of an emergency. After that, he quickly glanced at the occupants of the bar, taking note of little details about them just in case they were needed.
Finally, he looked at Ellen who had just placed a bottle of beer on the counter and asked with a friendly smile on his face, "Are you Ellen?"
Ellen smiled back at him. There was something pleasant about him that she just couldn't put her finger on. "Yes that would be me. Who's asking?"
The man strode forward and extended his right hand. "Alexander Harris, ma'am, but everyone just calls me Xander."
"Ellen Harvelle, it's nice to meet you. And please, don't call me ma'am. Makes me feel old." Ellen shook his hand firmly. Even if she barely knew him, she was beginning to like him.
But even if she was starting to like him, that didn't mean she trusted him.
Xander grinned at her. "It's really great to meet you too. From what I understand, you're the reason that water demon down in Michigan didn't drown me to death. Without your information, I might not be seated here in front of you today."
Ellen raised an eyebrow. "I've never met you or even heard of you before today. How could I have helped you?"
"Without the things you taught your daughter, she wouldn't have been able to tell me how to waste that sucker." Xander replied simply, a small smile tugging at his lips.
Ellen's eyes narrowed suspiciously, demanding him to tell her exactly how he knew her daughter at the same time as Sam, who had been occupying the seat right next to Xander's interrupted their conversation, surprise clearly in his eyes as he asked disbelievingly, "That was you? Down at Michigan?"
Xander nodded affirmatively. "Yeah."
Dean whistled. "That was a pretty tough one. We were going to see what was going down there but Ellen called us and gave us another case so we had to pass that one up. I'm Dean Winchester by the way," h then gestured toward Sam, "and that braniac over there is Sam." Sam scowled and rolled his eyes at Dean's comment before waving at Xander.
Xander chuckled at the Winchester brothers antics. "Oh the wonders of brotherly love." He thought amusedly. He had always wondered what it would have been like if he had had a sibling, not that he didn't consider and love having Willow, Buffy, Dawn, Giles, Faith and the others his family.
"It's nice to meet you. I've met your dad actually. He stopped by Cleveland a couple of times around a year or so ago." Xander told them. "He was a great guy. I'm sorry to hear that he died." He continued quietly.
He knew it was never easy to lose someone to the darkness.
After a moment of silence, Dean nodded somberly and replied. "Thanks."
Xander continued on a lighter note, trying to distract them from getting too depressed. "From what I hear," he said suddenly, an overly bright tone that caused them to give him a strange look," you guys are pretty great hunters too." he gave them a friendly smile. "Making a name for yourselves already."
He then turned around to look at Ellen, after trying in vain to ignore the wary look on her face that demanded answers she was sending his way with a cheery smile "Oh, and by the way, Jo says to tell you that she's doing fine and not to worry. She also says thanks for not bringing her back here even if you knew where she was."
Ellen's eyes narrowed suspiciously. "Again, I ask, how would you know Jo?"
"She's staying in Cleveland, at Slayer Central right? Well, my friends are there too and I passed by there a few days ago and I met her. This was before I went hunting that demon. Anyways, I wasn't sure of how to kill it so I asked her and she told me how to. Then after I had gone to Michigan and exterminated it," he paused, taking a deep breath before continuing with his story, "I called her and said thank you and asked if there was anything I could do to repay her. She told me to go here and tell you what I just told you. And she knew that you wouldn't believe so just in case, she told me to tell you eight five eighty-eight and in her exact words, 'Thanks for not hauling my ass back there even when you knew where I was."
Ellen chuckled after his explanation. "You can relax now. That's her. And the last part sounds just like her. Thanks for coming all the way here to tell me. And sorry for-"
Xander shook his head. "No need to apologize, a beer on the house is thanks enough." He grinned after that statement.
Ellen laughed knowingly. "I had a feeling that was just what you needed." handing him the bottle as she spoke.
Dean frowned. "Hey!" he exclaimed. "How come I never get free beer?"
Ellen smirked at him. "Because you're not the one who told me where my daughter is and if she's safe or not."
Dean growled and crossed his arms, muttering something about crazy barkeepers and their rebellious daughters.
"What did you say Dean Winchester?" Ellen said sharply, her keen ears hearing his mutterings.
"Nothing!" Dean exclaimed, a little bit too loudly. "Nothing at all."
Ellen rolled her eyes. "I thought so."
After Xander stopped laughing, he gratefully accepted the bottle, popped the cap and took a sip. He then pulled out his wallet and removed a business card from it. "Here," he handed it to Ellen, "All our numbers are listed on there. If you ever need to call Jo, or just need help to kill the Big Bads, just call the number listed there."
Ellen nodded and accepted it with a quiet 'thank you'.
While Xander had been giving the card to Ellen, Sam had been quietly examining the picture in the man's wallet. It was of a smiling, beautiful blonde with brown eyes. In a way, she looked a little bit like Jessica, he realized with a painful pang.
Some wounds would never heal, he thought sadly.
Xander noticed him looking at the photo and smiled sadly. "That's Anya, just in case you're wondering which I'm pretty sure you are."
Sam looked up, meeting his eyes curiously. "I realize that it's not any of my business, but is she your girlfriend?"
Xander replied sorrowfully. "Ex. She died 4 years ago."
"I'm sorry." Sam offered his condolences quietly, understanding the pain the man was going through. Even after 4 years, he was pretty sure this man's wounds hadn't healed completely, and probably never would.
"Yeah, me too."
"How did she die?"
Xander took one last look at the photo before keeping the wallet in his pocket. "Trying to avert an apocalypse. Oh, we averted it alright, but she didn't make it out of Sunnydale alive."
"You're from Sunnydale?"
"Was, as I'm sure you've heard. Sunnydale's nothing but a hole in the ground now." Xander chuckled sadly.
"So she knew about..." Sam gestured with his hands, "the supernatural?"
Xander laughed wholeheartedly this time. "Sam, a long time ago, she was a supernatural being too. She used to be a vengeance demon with the name of Anyanka. Then something happened back in high school and we broke her amulet, her source of power so she became human. So yes, I believe it is safe to say she knew about the supernatural."
Sam grinned. "Lucky you. At least she knew what she was getting into from the very start. I had to lie to my girlfriend the entire time we were together." He shared.
Xander winced. "Sad."
Sam's smile disappeared from his face as he grew more solemn. 'Was it a demon that killed her?" asked Sam gently.
Xander's amused grin disappeared as well as he answered Sam's question. "I guess you could say so. It was a Bringer. Basically they are, or they were, the lackeys of the First. The First is the ultimate evil, the evil that came even before the word 'evil' was invented. They were trying to destroy the Slayer line so that no one would defend the world from evil anymore. It was the final battle and one of those bastards killed her." Xander choked slightly on his words, the emotion taking over him, "And you know, we never even got the bodies of those who died out of there. Everything I had that reminded me of her, it was all down there. That picture, it's the last and only thing of hers I have. Hell, I wasn't even there to watch her die. I couldn't even protect her because I wasn't around." He continued softly.
Sam snorted. "Yeah, but since you didn't see her actually die, at least you don't have nightmares of seeing her die and die over and over again every night after her death."
Xander raised an eyebrow. "As opposed to imagining all the different ways she could have died? I think not."
Sam chuckled. "The grass is always greener on the other side huh?"
Xander rolled his eyes in agreement. "Yeah," he said before taking a sip out of his bottle.
Meanwhile, as the two men were talking quietly by the bar, Dean was reading the newspaper looking for mysterious disappearances or murders. As soon as he caught the gist of what it was they were talking about, he looked at Ellen who was washing some of the dishes behind the bar. They met each other's eyes and exchanged a look that simply said, "Let's give them some privacy." They both stood up at the same time and silently leaving the room. Before leaving, Dean patted his brother on the back and told him quietly, "We'll just be in the back if you need us." Sam realized what they were doing and was grateful for it.
Xander saw the exchange between them and smiled. It was just as John said: Dean was very overprotective of his younger brother but at the same time, wanted to give him some space.
For a few minutes, silence reigned in the Roadhouse.
"So..." Xander broke the silence tentatively, "You were saying something about nightmares? Sounds like you know a thing or two about losing people you love."
Sam snorted. "Hell yeah I do. My girlfriend, Jessica Moore, she died around a year ago."
"My condolences. I know, as I've just told you, what that's like. Seeing as you're from a family of hunters, I'm guessing it was a demon?" Xander replied sadly.
It was always painful to lose someone to the darkness.
"Yep." Sam answered. "Same demon that killed my mom. I'm sure you've heard about that from my dad, seeing as according to you, he passed by Cleveland in order to get more information about it?" Without pausing to hear the other man's response, Sam ran a hand through his hair and went on. "One night, I came home after Dean and I went out looking for Dad. I go in, hear the sound of water dripping coming from the bathroom and I assume that she's just taking a shower. Then I lie down on the bed, close my eyes. Then something drips on me, then a second time. Then I open my eyes and," Sam paused, his eyes glazed with grief and pain, "there she is. Dead with a gash along her stomach on the ceiling dripping blood and then she goes into flames."
The man beside him was silent. He knew that there was nothing, absolutely nothing he could say or do to make the other hunter feel alright.
"And I can still remember the look in her eyes," Sam continued on, rambling. For the first time since her death, he was finally able to let it all out to someone aside from Dean. He had tried for months to keep it all in but aside from the fact that it wasn't healthy, ever since Dad's death, it had been building up inside of him and he had just felt like a dam about to explode.
"They were filled with pain and fear and she was just terrified."
Xander remained quiet, letting him get all the emotions out. He got the feeling that Sam had been keeping it all inside him for a very, very long time.
"And it's all my fault," Sam finished morosely. "Knowing what I do about the supernatural, I should have been able to protect her. I should have told her the truth from the very beginning, then maybe she would still be alive today." Although the two of them were exchanging stories about the people they had lost in their lives, Sam didn't trust him enough to tell him about the visions. Despite their similarities, realistically, they had only known each other for an hour or so.
Xander sighed sadly, a smile playing on his lips that didn't quite reach his eyes. "I would be a hypocrite if I told you not to blame yourself and told you that you didn't know it was going to happen."
Sam agreed. "No matter how many times and no matter how many people tell us it's not our fault that they died..."
"We're always gonna end up blaming ourselves and not listen to them." Xander finished. "Personally, every time my friends tell me it wasn't my fault, I just say 'Okay.' or 'I know.' but even if I seem to believe them and I give them a reassuring smile, the guilt's always going to be there." he went on.
"Absolutely, except in my case, it isn't my friends who tell me that. It's usually my brother and though he's got a phobia when it comes to chick-flicks," Xander stifled a chuckle at the word 'chick-flick', "he's told me that more than once. And, if failing to get through to me on my broody days, he tells it to me through his eyes during the long drives we have." Sam laughed inwardly, recalling the memory. "I remember during one especially long drive, every time I would so much as glance at him, he would stare at me with his eyes that were literally screaming 'It. Is. Not. Your. Fault. Sammy. Get. Over. Yourself!'
Xander laughed out loud. "So you guys are on a road trip then? Hunting every thing you can find?" As good as it was to find someone who knew what he was feeling, sometimes it was even better to move on to lighter matters.
"Ever since Jess died?"
"So what do you tell your friends or people who ask why you're on a road trip with him right after your girlfriend died?"
"If I know them well, I tell them it helps with the grief. If I don't know them well or even like them or they're just being nosy, I tell them to mind their own business." Sam replied with a grin.
Xander chuckled at that. "Good answer. And at least you're traveling in America. Right after Ahn died, guess where I headed to deal."
Xander rolled his eyes. "I told you to guess."
Sam rolled his eyes right back. "Fine. Um, Zimbabwe?"
Xander laughed. "Well in fairness I did go there, but no, the correct answer ladies and gentlemen would be Africa."
Sam raised an eyebrow at him. "Seriously?"
"Seriously." Xander replied, his eyes shining with amusement.
"That's amazing. For how long?"
"Oh, around two years. It was actually pretty interesting. Went to different places, met different people, did different things. Of course, there was that problem with indoor plumbing and the female demons who would throw themselves at me but other than that it was fine."
After their laughter had died down, everything in the Roadhouse quieted again.
"You know what I'm going to miss the most?" Sam asked quietly, looking towards the back of the bar at something only he could see, his mind drifting towards their previous topic.
"The little things." he replied softly.
Xander chuckled quietly. "Yeah. I remember Ahn, she used to be obsessed with money and business. And she was brutally honest, never bothered to sugarcoat her words. Heck, she'd even talk about our sex life in public!"
Sam whistled. "Hell of a woman."
"Oh damn right she was. Darn stubborn too. Back then, those were some of the things that annoyed me the most, no matter how much I loved her. But now, they're the things I miss the most."
Sam nodded. "Yeah, I know the feeling. It was like, yeah sure, nobody's perfect, but it was their imperfections, the quirky things they did that made them so perfect in our eyes. Those were the things that made us laugh, made us love them all the more."
Xander nodded his head silently in agreement.
"And you know what scares me the most?"
"Forgetting those little things. I'm afraid that ten, twenty years from now, I'm not going to be able to remember how she looks like, or what her voice sounded like, or how her hair smelled, or what her favorite color or song or food was."
"Absolutely. Seeing as the only thing I have left is that picture, it scares me too." Xander paused, then asked, "Do you still have a picture of her? Or anything you might have saved from the fire?"
Sam shook his head. "I didn't save anything from the fire, save for a picture and a ring." He then reached for his wallet and removed the picture he always carried around with him.
Xander reached for the picture. Jessica was a stunningly beautiful woman with a look in her eyes that told you she was a gentle soul and yet at the same time, could be quite mischievous. After putting down the picture, he recalled the latter part of what Sam had said.
"Yup. A ring. The day she died, I was supposed to propose to her that day."
Xander winced. God that had to be painful. "I remember when I proposed, it was in the middle of an apocalypse, not the one with the First though. Another one before that."
Sam looked Xander, a confused look on his face. Just how many apocalypses had this man been through? Then another thought occurred to him.
"So how come you guys weren't married yet when she died?"
Xander looked down at the table, as though all of a sudden it was the most fascinating thing in the world. The bottle of beer lay beside his hands, completely forgotten. "It... wasn't exactly one of my finest moments. I mean, we had a wedding and everything, but I left her at the altar.'
Sam was startled. If this was the love of his life, why would he leave her standing at the altar on what was supposed to be the happiest day of their lives?
As though sensing his thoughts, Xander suddenly looked up from where he was staring. "But I had my reasons, no matter how pathetic they are. There was this demon that gate crashed the wedding and pretended to be me except from the future. Then he showed me what our 'future' was going to be like and it showed how miserable we were together and how terrible of a husband I was. After that, I decided that maybe I wasn't the best thing for Anya and I didn't want to hurt her and so I left." Xander looked like he was running out of air so Sam told him to stop and take a deep breath before continuing.
Xander did just that before continuing. "But as it turned out, that demon was just pretending and he just wanted his revenge on Anya. But still, what I did was inexcusable. After that she became a vengeance demon again and tried to get someone to wish something bad to happen to me but I didn't work. So anyway, she hated me. Then after a couple of months, she decided being a vengeance demon wasn't for her anymore and so she became human again. So then we became just friends then during apocalypse with the First we revealed our feelings again to each other and then she died and then I was all alone." Xander took a big gulp of air after he finished babbling.
Sam stared at him in shock. 'Okay, first of all, did you even breathe when you said that? And second, boy, and Dean and I thought our lives were weird."
Xander shook his head from side to side mirthfully after taking a sip of beer. "You have no idea."
Just as Sam was about to say something else, Xander's phone rang. He reached for it in the pocket of his jacket and flipped it open.
"Hello? Oh hey Giles. Uh huh. Uh huh. No, I'm fine. At the Roadhouse. Yeah, remember what Jo told me to do? Yeah. Uh huh. Uh huh. Near Washington you say? Okie dokie. I'll be there. Alright. Give my love to the girls. And yes G-man, that includes Andrew. Uh huh. Okay. I'll see you guys soon. Bye."
He put down the phone and kept in his pocket, then turned to look at Sam. "Well, as fun as it has been to talk to you, I better get going. According to Giles, there's some 'suspicious' activity down in D.C. Course, that could just be the politicians, but what do I know. Might as well check it out." He grinned.
"Need any help?" Sam offered.
"Thanks for the offer, but I'm sure it's nothing I can't handle." Then taking his wallet out again, he removed another business card and handed it to Sam. "Here. You ever need any help, just give us a call."
Sam nodded. "Thanks. I'll see you around."
Xander smiled at him. "Definitely. Good luck with everything and..." he paused, trying to find the right words to say, "and good luck with everything. I hope you find your peace someday. Don't dwell too much and get to broody kay? Your girlfriend wouldn't have wanted that. Besides, if you brood too much, you're gonna end up with a rather large and bumpy forehead like a friend of mine." He grinned, remembering Angel.
"Same to you."
At that moment, Dean and Ellen walked in, sensing the conversation was over. Xander turned to look at them and asked.
"So. What were you guys doing back there?"
Dean shrugged. "Oh nothing important. I was just looking through the newspaper for anything we could hunt and Ellen was just cleaning up the stuff in the back."
"Oh okay." Xander replied. "Thanks for giving us some privacy. Sam's lucky to have a brother like you."
Sam snorted. "Oh I wouldn't be so sure."
Dean glared at him, shooting daggers with his eyes. "And what is that supposed to mean?"
Sam smirked. "That's for me to know and you to find out, jerk."
Dean rolled his eyes. "Bitch."
Leaving the brothers to their bickering, he turned to say goodbye to Ellen. "Bye Ellen. Thanks for the beer."
Ellen nodded. "You make sure my daughter stays alright you hear?"
"Absolutely. Anything you want me to pass on to her?"
"Just tell her to be careful and that I miss her." Ellen replied, her expressions softening. The days had been quiet ever since her daughter had left the Roadhouse.
"Will do. If you need anything, don't hesitate to call. Oh, and thanks for the beer." Xander added.
"No problem. You're welcome here anytime."
Xander nodded then he turned around to look at Dean, not really knowing what to say to the elder Winchester. "I'll be seeing you and your brother again, I hope."
Dean nodded. "Yeah." As Xander walked towards the door, Dean couldn't resist asking the question that had been bugging him from the moment the man had walked in.
"One last thing."
Xander turned back to face him, a questioning look on his face.
"How did you lose the eye?" He asked, "If you don't mind me asking." he added quickly, not wanting to offend the man.
Xander laughed sadly. "Oh you know, fighting in the line of duty. Evil preacher working for the First who was also imbued with its powers pushed it in, saying something about how I'm 'the one who sees'. You know, same old, same old." Though his voice had a light tone, Dean could sense the sadness in it. As for the comment about 'the one who sees', it was pretty intriguing and interesting and it made him wonder if Xander had special powers like Sam but decided it was another question for another time.
Sam winced. "Ouch. I'm sorry."
"Yeah, I am too." Xander replied. 'So if you guys don't have any other questions, I better get going."
Xander gave everyone one last wave and a wink. "Bye guys."
Then he walked out the door, leaving the three of them in each other's company in silence.
"So..." Dean said, anything to break the silence that had descended upon them. He turned to Sammy and began walking towards the bar with an innocent look on his face. "What were you guys talking about?"
Sam snorted. "You know damn well what we were talking about." He was glad that he was able to talk to Xander. Somehow, it helped that he wasn't the only one in the world going through the pain and grief of losing a loved one to something supernatural. It was comforting to find a kindred spirit. For all he knew, Xander's friends and family had lost people they loved too.
In truth, of course Dean knew what they were talking about and although it hurt him that Sam would willingly talk about Jessica to some stranger who had just walked into the bar instead of his own brother who was always there for him, he was also glad Sam had been able to unload some of his emotions with a kindred spirit. Plus that Xander seemed to be a nice guy too.
Besides if he was lucky, maybe Sammy would lessen his brooding in the next couple of days.
But for now...
Dean's eyes grew bigger. "No really, I don't. I can't believe you would accuse me of eavesdropping!"
Ellen shook her head, half-amusedly half-exasperatedly as the siblings began to bicker.
Some things would never change.
Somewhere in heaven
"It's a good thing they were able to unload and help one another deal with their grief." Jessica Lee Moore observed as she watched one Xander Harris head towards his vehicle.
"I guess so. You know, your boyfriend's pretty hot. If we were both still alive and if all of us had met before, I wouldn't mind having orgasms with him. I bet you he'd be pretty good." observed Anya Jenkins, formerly known as Anyanka, with a grin as she watched the love of her life drive away into the sunset.
Jessica chuckled. "If you say so Ahn. Now come on, I hear there's a good Leonardo DiCaprio movie showing. Come on!"
Anya laughed. Before Jess came to heaven, it had been very lonely and boring and she had missed Xander terribly. Then Jess had come, and although what had happened to her was a tragedy, things had been looking up ever since Jess had gone there. Now Jess knew the truth about Sam and she hadn't been angry. After all, it had been a pretty big secret and even if Sam had told her, she wasn't sure if she had believed him. It had also taken her some time to get used to Anya's blunt ways but after a while, they became great friends.
"Come on already!"
"Alright, alright I'm coming!"
For all their antics, all they wanted was for the men they loved to move on and be happy. Sure, the pain would never really be gone forever, but all they wanted was for them to remember the women they had loved with happiness, not with grief and pain.
Because of Anya and Jess' love for them, they had decided to pull some strings and eventually, their meddling paid off when Xander entered the Roadhouse and met Sam.
No matter how much time it would take, someday, the two women were certain, Xander Harris and Sam Winchester would indeed, be happy.
1.the eight five eighty-eight thing is just a random date but in the fic, it symbolizes when Jo's father died. I'm not really sure of the real date though.
2.This is before 'No Exit' so the boys don't know why Ellen was so mad at John for years.
3.I'm not sure of the color of Anya's eyes, hehe.
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed. Please review!