No Longer the Zeppo: Return to Sunnydale

By Shannon K

Disclaimer: I don't own any recognizable characters from BTVS and KTE. If I did, I wouldn't be working for the public school system. Any characters you don't readily recognize from the shows belong to me. I promise to return Xander and other characters eventually, though they will be a bit scuffed.

A/N: This is an interlude-type story that takes place between No Longer the Zeppo and No Longer the Zeppo 2, BTVS/Kindred the Embraced crossover stories. I am setting this story about one year after No Longer the Zeppo and right before the end of season 5 and Buffy's big swan dive off the platform to save the world and Dawn. This story goes into detail about something I eluded to in NLTZ 2 and gives a back story to the death of Xander's father (yes I know he was alive in the show – remember that this is an AU story). This will probably be a shorter story than the other stories, but it should be interesting (at least I hope so).

Xander is my primary focus in this story once again. I am not a true Buffy-hater; I just like the character of Xander more. Characters not from BTVS refer to Xander as Alex, as a way to show that he has changed, and is no longer the goof-ball that the Sunnydale people still associate him as being. If you find any thing that is horrifyingly wrong, please let me know or just chalk it up to my bizarre imagination. I always appreciate comments and constructive criticisms, so feel free to hit the review button or send me a private message. I tend to reply in as timely of a manner as I can manage and I hope you know how much I appreciate the time you took to do so.

Warnings: Potty language, violence, blood, and mild gore

Chapter 1

The day was ordinary enough. He had arrived early, timed in, grabbed his hard hat, and went over the schedule for the day with the site foreman. Today they were framing the second floor and Gary, the foreman, had asked him to look after the new guy, to make sure he was doing things correctly and was being safe about it.

The day was bright. The morning fog had burned off long ago, leaving nary a trace of clouds in the bright sky. It was promising to be a pleasant day.

The early part of the morning went swiftly by. By the time his crew took a break, he was surprised to see that it was already 10:30.

As he was sitting there getting a drink of water, joking with other members of his crew, Alex felt his phone vibrate. Looking at the LCD display, he was surprised to see that it was his mother calling him.

Mary Harris only called occasionally, never more than once every couple of months. Unfortunately she was too caught up in her alcoholism to fully realize that her son had moved out of the home and away from Sunnydale. Usually when she called, it was never pretty. Most of the time she was sloshed before noon; making any sort of conversation problematic at best.

Sighing, he steeled himself and hit the send button.

"Hey Mom, what's going on?" he asked, his voice tight, expecting this to be another infrequent drunk and dialing episode.

On the other end, Mary was sobbing, but it wasn't entirely due to the alcohol in her system.

"Mom! What's going on?" Alex demanded.

"It's your father Alexander. Tony didn't come home last night and the cops just came by to tell me that his body had been found early this morning. They said it was a gang on PCP that did it," she bawled.

"Oh God no," Alex breathed. It was what he had always feared. While he knew that moving away from Sunnydale was the best thing for him, he still worried about his parents living on the Hellmouth. They weren't the best parents in the world, but they weren't monsters and he always feared that they would eventually become another victim to a roving gang on PCP that looked a whole lot similar to Primordial vampires.

His mother, oblivious to his internal musing, carried on with the conversation. "Can you please come home? I really need you," she said, weeping.

Gritting his teeth, ignoring the small voice in the back of his mind that was saying no way in hell, he spoke into the cell, his voice calm and full of assurance. "Yeah, I'll come home. It will take me about five or six hours to get there, but just hand on until then." As an afterthought he added, "If I'm not there by dark, don't let anyone in the house."

He then turned off the phone and sighed. His drunk-ass father had finally gotten himself killed by a bunch of vampires and his mother needed his help. He had to do what he had sworn to never do: Return to Sunnydale.

A/N: So what do you think? Crap or not? Hit the shiny review button and let me know.

Also, thanks for reading my story. I do appreciate the fact that you took the time to do so.