Title: Life’s Changes
Fandom: Buffy/CSI: Miami
Challenge: AU 100
Prompt: 001 Beginnings
Warnings: Unbeta’d, Off camera Character Death, Mentions of future Slash, De-Aging
Spoilers for CSI: Miami Lost Son and Last Season
AN: Speed is not dead and neither is Marisol, she and Horatio were only ever friends.
Sequel to Introspection
Disclaimer: Not Mine never will be mine.
Summary: He woke up, not ever expecting to do so and changed the life of one man.
When he woke up, he was shocked, as he never expected to wake up at all. Looking around him, he was confused to find himself lying on a street. He shuddered fearfully and stood, placing a hand against his chest, his heart was still beating. He frowned slightly, confused by what was happening. He distinctly remembered being murdered by Spike, yet Xander Harris was alive and here, wherever here was.
He was naked, something that shocked him when he glanced down at his body. The scars he had acquired over the years were gone. His body was youthful and slim. He looked the way he had when he was 16. Reaching up he touched his face feeling two eyes when he ran his hand over them.
“Where am I?” he whispered to himself, and then he knew nothing but pain. He clutched his head screaming in agony, barely able to register that he was screaming.
Across town, four people turned as one, each of them shuddering at the sound of that pain. Across from them, another group shuddered under the sound of that pain. All of them reacted on instinct, running to find who was making that sound and hoping to help the person in need.
By the time that the two groups reached the young man, Xander had fallen to his knees, his body once again changed. Still youthful, but even more so, he was no longer an adult instead a child. When they saw the naked boy, kneeling on the ground the group cursed roundly. This caused Xander to spook; he spun turning to face them, eyes wide with fear and wariness.
One of the men stepped forward, his eyes dark with worry, but gentle enough to cause Xander’s fear to evaporate, even though he was suddenly a child, some instincts remained and Xander could sense the inherent good in the man who stood before him. Tears entered his eyes and he allowed the man to lift him into his arms.
“How did he get out here?” A sweet voice drawled Xander looked over at her, he saw a blond woman that was both sweet and pure steel. Xander liked her instantly. He could see that all of them had guns and badges and several were in uniform.
“Can you tell us how you got here?” the man holding him asked, his voice slightly accented.
Xander sniffled and lay his head down on the man’s shoulder, unable to tell them anything and unwilling to speak. Eric looked down at the boy in his arms and wondered how such young eyes could hold such knowledge and sorrow.
“I’ll call for an ambulance; he looks like he’s been bleeding.” Another man said his voice held a light twang Xander liked it as well. The once dead man turned child had no idea what was going on, but he knew his life had changed for the better. These people were going to be there for him. He had no idea how or even why, he just knew they would be.
When the ambulance arrived, Xander began to scream as the paramedics tried to separate him from the man holding him. The paramedics gave Eric a look and the man smiled down at the boy, cuddling him close and nodding to them. When Xander realized he was not going to be separated from the man holding him, his screams faded away and he hiccupped through his tears, clinging tightly to the person that had become his savior.
Nearby a balance demon stood watching the group of police officers, paramedics, and Xander. A soft smile crossed his face and he turned to look at his fellow demons. Both women had soft smiles on their faces as they watched the gentle way that Eric Delko held their one time friend. “He’s the one to be Xander’s dad. Do your stuff you style deficient freak.” The taller of the two women order affectionately. The male demon sighed, much put upon by his two female friends. The one who had spoken was stunning and she had long silken brown hair that shimmered with the lights from the street. Warm, whiskey eyes and flawless skin. She was curvaceous and had a wide bright smile. Cordelia Chase became a demon to save the world. When she died, she remained a demon, this time she was a protector of Champions Betrayed. Xander Harris was definitely a Champion betrayed by life itself.
The other woman was smaller than Cordelia, but no less beautiful. However, where Cordelia’s beauty was in your face and hard to deny, the other woman’s was subtle, sweet, and elegant. This was in keeping with the gentle blond’s personality. She had been human when she found herself murdered so that her girlfriend’s destiny could begin. Tara had been stunned to learn that the Powers That Be had distorted her lover and a misguided young man into become ruthless killers. In addition, her death set off a chain reaction within the Higher and Lower realms themselves.
Had Tara not died the slayers would not have activated and Sunnydale would not have fallen into the earth. Willow and Tara alone would have had the power to close the Hellmouth for good. Warren, Jonathon, and Andrew would have worked at the side of the Slayers. Instead, the Powers played the wrong hand. In the end, it had worked towards the Lights side. That did not changed things however. The Oracles and their direct superiors found themselves punished and others put in their places. The new leaders recruited Tara themselves, asking her to become a Protector of the Innocent, something that D’Hoffryn had destroyed when he killed Halfrek.
Tara had agreed immediately and the first person she had demanded be seen to was Xander. Tara always cared for Xander, no matter what was happening between herself and Willow Xander was at her side and supportive. She watched him from the Higher Realms and watched him suffer through loneliness and despair. It was her idea to have Xander rewarded. The Powers agreed, but being who they were the reward could not come with out pay, as such, Xander had to die and be sent somewhere else. Eric Delko was Xander’s reward.
Yet at the same time, Xander was a reward for Eric. Eric was floundering and alone. No longer was he content to loose his loneliness in faceless bodies Eric rarely went to the clubs anymore. He was slowly beginning to heal from Speed’s near death, having Speed back at work was helping that a great deal and for a while he was happy. Then he found himself floundering once again in the face of his sister’s near murder.
He blamed himself for not protecting her and for the pain, he saw in his family and Horatio who had become good friends with Marisol. Marisol was recovering, but Eric was not. Xander would help to bring him back from despair and help get him with the men he was destined to be with as a life mates, Speed and Horatio.
Whistler nodded to the two women that his spell had taken affect and the three disappeared after one last look at the now sleeping Xander. When he woke he would still have his protective nature and his instincts, but he would have the mind of a child. Only when he was in danger would those instincts come to play. One thing they could not remove was Xander’s ability to see into people. This would also help Xander since he would still attract the darker natured around him.
Eric couldn’t explain why he did not want to let the child go, but lying him down was nearly a physical pain. Looking over at Horatio, he saw that the older man knew what he was feeling. “Eric, go to the hospital with the boy. We’ll get back to our scene and then to the lab. His trace and DNA will be a priority process; I want to know who this boy is and what happened to him.”
Eric nodded in relief and stayed where he was at the side of the stretcher in the ambulance, never knowing the change that his life was affecting while he was driving away. Later at the Lab…
Maxine Valera had worked in the lab for several years and in that time she had had several shocks, one of those being the near death of her friend Speed and the other finding out that Horatio’s brother was alive. This however, shocked her. It had been joked about for many years, but she had never expected to find Eric’s DNA profile linked to a child’s, especially not a child who was a victim and who’s mother had been found dead three weeks earlier. Valera decided against paging Horatio with the information and took it to him instead.
Horatio, Speed, Ryan, and Calleigh all looked up when Valera walked into the Trace lab. “Valera?” Horatio questioned quietly.
“I have a hit in CODIS on the boy.” Valera said quietly, handing the papers off to Horatio. Horatio blinked in astonishment and then looked back up at her. “I ran it twice Horatio, its true. His name is Xander Harris; three weeks ago, his mother Jessica Harris was murdered and her son missing. No one knew were he was and the mother had no family or close friends, she was a club jumper, Yelina and Ryan pulled that case,” she paused there and Ryan nodded, “By CODIS, Eric is his father.” She finished, still stunned.
“What?” Speed asked shocked. Ryan started in surprise, while Calleigh shook her head in stunned silence.
“Eric seems to have a five year old son.” Horatio murmured, while the others looked at one another in stunned silence.
“There is no way he knew, if he did he would have told us. Hell he would have been tearing this town apart looking for the boy.” Speed said angry for Eric and for the little boy that had lost his mother.
“I know, however, I now have to inform Eric of his new status. Speed you’re in charge; I need to go tell the new father.” Horatio told them as he pulled off his gloves and headed out of the lab.
“Delko is a father?” Ryan said with a headshake. “Who gets to tell Alexx?”
“Tell me what sugar?” Alexx asked as she came to the doorway. “I got your cause of death; I thought I would bring it up on my way home. So, what did you want to tell me?”
Speed shared a look with the other three, and then cleared his throat. “You remember us telling you that we heard screaming and then found a toddler?”
“Of course honey that was only an hour ago.” Alexx answered amused.
“Yeah, well Valera ran his DNA through CODIS to find out if there was any info on him; she came back with two parental hits. One on a dead woman named Jessica Harris, his mother and one on his father. It turns out that Xander, the baby, was kidnapped that night.” Speed stopped there.
“Yes, so who’s his father?” Alexx asked wondering why her baby boy was hesitating.
“Delko,” Speed answered.
Alexx raised an eyebrow, “Excuse me? Eric has a child and didn’t know, still doesn’t know?”
“Yeah, how come you all think he doesn’t know?” Ryan asked confused.
“Oh baby, Eric would have destroyed the world looking for his baby and we all would have known about his child. That and with his Momma he and the mother would have been married before you could bat your eyes.” Alexx answered with a slight smile.
Speed let out a snort of humor, “That’s an understatement. Clorinda is going to scream.” He muttered and Calleigh nodded in agreement. ~@~@~@~@~@~
Eric looked up as Horatio walked into the baby’s hospital room. “H, did you find anything on him?”
“I did, his name is Xander Harris and his mother Jessica is dead, she was murdered three weeks ago and Xander was kidnapped. However…Valera found another hit for the father in CODIS.” Horatio paused looking at Eric. His brow was furrowed and he was trying to think of why the name Jessica Harris meant something to him. “Eric, by CODIS the boy is yours.”
Eric gapped at him in shock, and then cursed roundly, on the bed Xander whimpered causing Eric to force himself to calm down. He leaned over and gently stroked a hand down the little boy’s back making him settle further into sleep. “I remember Jessica now, we dated for several months, and I met her in the club. She told me she was pregnant, but a week later told me that she lost the baby. I swear H, I never knew about the baby.” Eric vowed.
Horatio nodded, “I know you are not the type to abandon your child. What did the hospital say?” he asked worried for the boy.
“He’s suffering from malnutrition and has a broken arm and several broken ribs. Several lacerations and multiple bruises, they say he should be fine. He hasn’t said a word since we found him, the Doctor thinks it is because of the trauma. I-I need to tell my Mother and do something about getting custody.” Eric looked up at Horatio in helplessness. Horatio put a hand on his arm, he understood the shock of finding out someone you once cared about wasn’t who you thought, and then to find out you had a child, an injured child at that, was a lot to bare.
“It’s going to be okay Eric, we will all be there for you and so will your family. I will deal with Family Services; you call your Mother and Marisol and tell them what is going on. Have the Doctors said when he can leave?” Horatio said gently, his eyes warm and compassionate.
Eric nodded, “Tomorrow, they want to observe him tonight just to make sure they didn’t miss anything.”
“Alright, I’m going to apply for leave for you for the next week, that will give you time to figure out what you need for Xander and to get him settled in a routine. I’ll have Ryan go back to Jessica’s apartment and look for anything he can find on Xander, see if he already has a daycare he goes to or whoever it was that takes care of him.” Eric nodded and took a deep breath. He could do this, Horatio gave him an approving smile and with one last pat to the shoulder, walked away.
Once Horatio was gone, Eric took another deep breath and called his sister. Marisol would be calmer about things than his mother would and she could tell Clorinda the news. For the next thirty minutes Eric explained to Marisol all that he knew about what was going on, after her initial shock she promised to tell their mother and to get him to promise to bring the baby over to see them the next day when Xander was released from the hospital. Once he had hung up Eric looked over at the little boy on the bed and reached over, brushing a hand across his son’s head. Eric was terrified and awed at the fact that he had a son. He had never thought to have a child so soon in his life, but one thing was certain, no one was going to take his child from him and whomever it was that harmed him was going to pay for it.