Secrets and Surprises
Denver, CO – August 1980
“Good Lord!” Giles exclaimed under his breath. Willow and Buffy looked up from painting each other’s nails. “Do you remember the night Buffy was killed?”
“Kinda etched in my memory, Giles. After all, that was the first time this body’s died.”
“Yes, well, it appears that the groups you and I faced were the distraction. The Gjamdsedis were trying to amass a large army, and use that army as a sort of Scourge. They were going to kill every human and half-breed on the planet.”
“If they were the apocalypse, how did Xander and I manage to stop them by ourselves?” Willow questioned.
“For one thing, the two of you spent over fifty years battling every evil thing we came into contact with. You have a rather extensive amount of training. For another, the Gjamdsedis were not prepared to battle anyone with your skills.”
“So we just got really lucky?”
“Only if the luck was accompanied by skill. Don’t downplay your abilities just because your opponents were unprepared. The average, or even slightly above-average, human would have died in that situation.”
“I should tell Xander!” Willow shouted, jumping up and running to the phone. She stopped as she picked it up. “But I should wait until he calls us. Since, you know, it’s not like I have a cell phone number for him… Mainly because they’re not consumer ready yet.”
“Where is he, anyway?” Joe asked.
“He’s trying to resume his road trip plan from Sunnydale. He called a few days ago and said he was nearing Texas.”
“On the plus, though, this time he does
realize that he can’t drive to Hawaii,” Buffy added.
-=- Ninnekah, OK – August 1980
Xander sat in the hard plastic chair patiently, listening to the yelling and coughs coming from the next room. He shuddered at a particularly harsh cough. He looked up when the door opened and a large man walked out, his enormous hand clasped around the tiny wrist of a toddler. The child’s crying was periodically interrupted by his horrible coughs. The man looked down at his child helplessly. It was obvious even from their clothes that the family was not well-to-do. Xander stood and made his way to the duo.
He looked into the adult’s eyes, and saw his exhaustion. The man had already given up on life, and was only continuing the motions for his son’s sake. The child was severely malnourished, and looked not far from the grave himself. Xander asked if he could give the child a sucker. It was a cheap, easy alternative to a cough drop. The man nodded once, and Xander pulled the candy from his pocket, presenting it to the child calmly. The boy looked to his father for permission, then accepted.
“Would you look after him?” the man asked.
“Uh… sure.” The man handed the boy over the Xander and headed in the direction of the restroom. Xander lead the child to his seat, and pulled the tiny blond onto his lap. Huge, red-rimmed blue eyes stared up at him trustingly.
“What’s your name, kiddo?” Xander asked. The boy had just opened his mouth to reply when there was a crash from around the corner, then a woman’s voice screaming that a man was dead.
-=- England – August 1980
“Sorry, Andrew, but I don’t think I can keep it from them for that long. Even Buffy and Giles got depressed when we realized that you were probably lost to us forever. And you know you annoyed them worse than anyone else.”
“It’s only four months,” Andrew wheedled.
“Only? Andrew, I consider myself lucky if I keep my sister’s birthday gift a secret from her for a week. And you want me to hide the fact that I’ve found you from all
of the Scoobies until we can visit for Christmas? I don’t think so.”
“Please? I promise to make it worth your while!”
“Worth my while? Who are you and what have you done to my geek-boy?”
“I grew up this time as the older of two boys. Well, three now. Plus, “Empire Strikes Back” was just released in theaters this past May, and “Star Trek” really isn’t all that popular right now. “Next Generation” won’t come out for another seven years! All of my other annoyances and obsessions come out even later. And what do you mean your
“Nothing, just that… um… we always got along really well, and you’re my friend…”
“And you like me,” Andrew said smugly, knowing that it was only as a friend. “And yes, I can make it worth your while. I happen to be good friends with the owner of your favorite pub. Guess who could
get us free, or at least obscenely cheap, meals for the next few months?” Dawn’s eyes held a contemplative gleam.
-=- Denver, CO – September 1980
“Hey, Giles. I’m back,” Xander called softly. Giles, Willow, Buffy, Joe, and George stepped up to greet him, stopping short at the sight of a tiny blond curled up against their friend’s chest.
“Okay, I know you called us, and we set up stuff for him, but part of me didn’t really believe you were bringing home a live souvenir.”
“He’s not a souvenir, Buff. He’s… my son.”
“Perhaps you had better explain, Xander. And tell us the child’s name.”
“I was driving through Ninnekah, Oklahoma when I heard this screaming from one of the trailers. I stopped to see if I could help with anything, and there was this man. His family had all gotten really sick last winter, two of his daughters died when it was first going around. Anyway, after he sold his house, the rest of the kids just kept getting sicker. Earlier that week, his wife, remaining two daughters, and older son had all died of the flu. It wasn't even that bad of a strain, but the family just couldn’t afford any medicine or anything, and the conditions got so bad… Anyway, the screaming was because his baby was starting to show the same symptoms. He didn’t know how the kid survived when all of the older ones died, but he couldn’t handle losing his baby, too. I offered to take them both to the hospital, and he agreed. He spent the whole time holding onto the kid. I never got his name or anything.
“Then after he was done in the hospital room, he asked me to watch the kid, and went to the restroom. The next thing I knew, the doctors were saying his heart just quit. I made the arrangements and stuff, and fought for custody. Of course, if I hadn’t wanted him he just would have gone into some child welfare program, and I didn’t want him to have to deal with that. Because of his situation, I am now his ‘Parent and/or Legal Guardian’. As for his name? Meet Lindsey Monroe.”
“Lindsey… Good Lord, Xander, are you saying you adopted the Wolfram and Hart lawyer who gave Angel so much trouble in LA?”
“No, I’m saying that I adopted the child who might have otherwise grown into the Wolfram and Hart employee in another dimension. This is Lindsey Monroe
. He is not an evil lawyer, or a traitor, or a back-stabber, or any of those other beautiful terms Dead-boy graced us with when he got going on Lindsey McDonald. Right now he is an innocent two-year-old who just watched his entire family die around him.”
“He’s so cute
!” Buffy cooed at the sleeping toddler. “Can I hold him?”
Xander handed the boy over to her, and she sat down on the couch, cuddling her new ‘nephew’ close and promising to spoil him rotten to the best of her abilities. Willow quickly joined her, and while the girls were busy with the child, Xander joined the men in the kitchen to discuss living situations. All four knew that neither Buffy nor Willow would have much interest in the rest of the discussion, so they didn’t feel bad about excluding them.
“I think I should start,” George began. “It might help your situation, Xander. I got my new orders today. I have one month to sell my apartment and put my things in storage. I am then going to spend three years in Germany. Xander, I believe we can work something out with the owner’s of this apartment complex and have my ownership signed over to you if you want it.”
“If you think we can do it, that would be great. The Monroe house is crowded enough with me and my parents living there. Adding a toddler would leave barely enough room to walk.”
“Then we’ll take care of that later this afternoon or early tomorrow.”
-=- Denver, CO – 21 December 1980
“Why did we have to use the airport?” Dawn muttered under her breath, shoving a man twice her size out of her way. “We could have gone Willow express, but nooo!” She wrapped her fingers around the handle of her suitcase and pulled. A stranger’s grip on her arm was the only thing that kept her from tumbling onto the baggage claim terminal. She smiled her thanks at the man. The suitcase itself wasn’t all that heavy, but it was under someone else’s suitcase, and, Dawn thought crossly, that bag probably weighed over the actual limit. “Nope, Andrew just had to keep it all a secret!”
She finally pulled her bag free and joined Andrew at the door. When they had all their things gathered, they made their way outside and called for a taxi. Twenty minutes later, they handed the cab driver his money and a generous tip and stood together facing a brightly-lit, Christmas-card-perfect house. The snow had been recently shoveled off of the sidewalk and driveway, so the duo had an easy trip to the front door. Dawn rang the bell and smiled at the childish shriek of laughter, and the thundering of feet headed to the door.
The knob turned once, then there was a loud thump against the door. Dawn and Andrew heard a muffled “Me got
it, Daddy!” before the door was finally opened. Xander stood in the entryway, a thin, rosy-cheeked blond boy in his arms. The boy shrank back from the strangers, suddenly growing shy.
“Dawnie! Welcome home! Were we expecting you?” Xander asked as he ushered her inside. “Lindsey, we told you about Auntie Dawn, right?” The boy nodded slowly. “This is Auntie Dawn. Are you sure you don’t want to meet her? She usually has chocolate.” The boys blue eyes grew even larger and he lunged at the young woman. She caught him quickly and shifted him onto her hip, a Hershey’s Kiss finding its way into the tiny hands.
“Bribery, Xander?” she asked, standing on her toes to accept the kiss on her cheek.
“I couldn’t very well take your bags with my arms full of toddler, now could I?” he laughed, turning back around and finally noticing the guest. The men stared at each other for a long moment. Then, Xander’s arms flew around the blond man and squeezed tightly. “Giles, girls, get in here! Dawnie brought Andrew!” Andrew was released just to be pulled into more sets of arms, each one pouring out love.
“This is quite the Christmas surprise,” Giles commented after everyone had gotten settled, and Andrew was introduced to Lindsey, Joe, and the Bradleys, Monroes, and Shanahans.
“It’s not the only one,” Dawn teased quietly. The rest of the group, with the exception of Lindsey, who was sitting contentedly in Xander’s lap sucking his thumb, looked at her in expectation.
“We’re engaged,” Andrew announced.
A/N: That’s all. This story is now over. Stay tuned next time for either Andrew’s back-story, or the beginning of the one-shots that fit nowhere else. BTW, did anyone reading this know that there’s a Lindsey, Oklahoma in real life? I was trying to find a small town near Tulsa where Lin and Xander could meet, and there it was on the map! I laughed. Also, there’s a St Giles… I think it’s a street… in Oxford. I love me my Google Maps!
A/N 2: I just saw “Prince Caspian” earlier tonight, and that movie is AWESOME!!!! I love the mice!