Being estranged from everyone except his parents, with whom Xander had been spending all the nights out hunting vampires and demons, was causing the happy-go-lucky boy to change. His sarcastic, one-liner spouting, humor side was defiantly developing, much to the joy of one Tony and Jessica Harris.
They were especially proud when Xander told a vampire that he was going to fight to disarm him, only for the confused bloodsucker to state that he wasn't carrying a weapon. The end result of the fledgling demon getting beaten upside the head with his own two severed arms (before they dusted) made the parents grin something fierce.
Home life had also improved considerably. Tony had been investing most of the spoils he and his wife had been looting from the vampires, and it seems that just about every investment had gone up. When Xander asked how he did it, Tony grinned and said that whenever you, or any magical or clairvoyant beings, try to make money in the market; the gods of chaos will toy with you until you are destitute. That was also the reason why no psychic has ever won the lottery. If you just grin and start trying to have a little fun and not mind if you lose what you put in, then chances are, you will actually start making money. The trick was to not let the chaos gods know that you're not really trying to lose the money.
This explanation only caused Xander to develop a massive headache.
His fashion sense stubbornly remained the same, although he did wear a vampire trenchcoat over the clashing Hawaiian print shirts. Having a rapidly growing collection of vampire trenchcoats and jackets just made him smile, and the shirts were for his vow to never wear all black like a certain dead boy he knew.
In fact, family togetherness was at such an all time high, that Xander wondered if Tony alienated him from his friends on purpose with that... talk. But the more he thought about the new Tony Harris, the more Xander discounted that theory. Tony had always been a man of action, by which he acted first and thought later - if at all. Gomez Addams was a creature of exuberance and chaos. Neither attributes lent themselves to careful schemes and backup plans. It was just hit the cue ball as hard as you can just to watch all the carefully racked balls go bouncing everywhere.
"So, you were possessed by a hyena?" Tony Harris asked with his usual grin pasted on. They had been talking about what had happened ever since Xander had found out about the night life in the town.
"Yup. A primal hyena spirit," Xander said uncomfortably. "I ate a live pig and tried to.. um.. forcibly mate with Buffy."
"Hyenas. Such happy beasts," Jessica expounded. "Especially when they're ripping apart a defenseless animal."
"Too true, my little rose thorn," Tony said. "And next time, son, try to use a little subtlety when you try and mate with that Buffy girl. Maybe offer her a chunky piece of your fresh pig kill?"
"Women do like gifts," Xander's mother nodded.
Xander smiled and just shook his head, dimly realizing that he was slowly getting used to his parents, version 2.0.
At school, Xander was hoping things settled down some. He had missed talking with Willow and Buffy. He was about to try to apologize and get back into the conversation, when Buffy's old friend, Billy Fordham, showed up. Xander noticed something was off about the new boy, but he wasn't sure if it was anything mystical or otherwise. His mage sight was still developing, even though his parents both agreed it would eventually surpass their own.
It was the day after that Willow approached him.
"Um, Xander. I have something to tell you, about Buffy's new friend, Ford, I mean," Willow said nervously.
"Yeah, the boy who is a car. What's up with that?"
"No, I mean. He saw Buffy staking a vampire at the Bronze last night, but he knew all about her being the slayer already! Then, Angel came by and asked me to do some investigation on Ford, you know. It turns out that he isn't even enrolled here! I tried to tell Buffy, but Ford was there, and I was all 'Um, I want to tell you something, but Ford is right there so I can't', and Buffy was all 'Oh, Willow is twitchy. She must have had some coffee recently', and I can't have coffee, because I start to babble much too fast, and.."
"Whoa, there! Big dose of Willow-babble there," Xander said with a smile and then though about what he had heard. "Hmm, about Ford. Well, in the immortal words of Hank Hill, 'That boy ain't right'. I think we need to keep a closer eye on mister car-boy."
"Well, I did find a club that was connected to Ford's name online. The Sunset Club. I think it has a vampire theme!"
Xander smirked. "A vampire themed club on the hellmouth? Who'd have thunk it?"
"Ha ha, Xander. I'm serious. We should investigate it, at least."
"Well, do you mind if we bring a bit of backup? It is a vampire-themed club and all."
"I can ask Angel, " Willow brightly said.
"I was thinking of heavy-duty back up. My family."
"Oh. Um, yeah. That should be okay," said Willow as the small blush faded. "Do you think they can dress up like vampires, though?"
Xander just stared incredulously at his Willow-shaped friend.
"Oh, yeah. Right."
That evening found Xander, Willow, Angel, and Xander's parents walking into the bombshell-converted Sunset Club after telling the doorman that they knew Ford.
"Hmm, I'm noticing a theme here, " Xander looked around. "Like Anne Rice meets Gary Gygax. The only thing missing is some Cure or Bauhaus playing on the speakers."
At that moment, Bauhaus' 'Bela Lugosi's Dead' started playing.
"I take that back, " Xander observed. "Nothing is missing."
"You guys are newbies. I can tell," spoke an enthusiastic girl dressed up like the stereotypical vampire.
"We have plenty of.. experience," Jessica Harris drawled out. She was dressed in an almost perfect duplicate of one of Morticia Addams' dresses, complete with gothic arm sleeve tails that went down to the floor. She and Tony had applied makeup liberally in a goth style, causing both of them to appear much younger than their true ages.
"Don't be ashamed! It's cool that you're open to it. We welcome anyone who's interested in the Lonely Ones," said the girl.
"They're lonely because their soul has left for vacation and forgot to tell the body," Xander quipped. "Also, nobody likes them because they make terrible house guests; what with the killing and the torture and stuff."
"Now, now, son, " grinned Tony, "Nothing wrong with mixing a little torture and house guests every now and again."
"Are you lonely, Mr. Angel?" Jessica Harris asked with neutral curiosity.
"I think he's dating Buffy," Willow chimed in.
"Ahh, yes. Vampire and vampire slayer. Who could have predicted that opposites attract?" Jessica said.
Xander shrugged. "Paula Abdul and MC Skat Cat?" he offered helpfully.
The pretend vampire girl just shook her head in a combination of sadness and confusion and walked away.