More Unplanned Events
Disclaimer: See Chapter One
Beta: Queen Sereya
Chapter 2: More Unplanned Events
Xander stepped out of the bathroom dressed in dark jeans and a dark green shirt. He knew that Ryan was nervous enough and he wanted to do what he could to make things easier for him, and these people were very important to Uncle Speed. Yes, Calleigh and Eric were Uncle Speed’s friends and they were important to him. But not like Horatio or Alexx. No, they were especially important to the man. Given how often he would mention the two when they talked and the fact that Uncle Speed would often slip and call Alexx ‘Mom’, Xander knew that they ranked pretty close to Ryan in his heart. So, when Xander came home from the library, he decided to hit the shower.
He was just finishing when he heard a noise in the other room. Xander quickly towel-dried his hair and throwing the towel at the laundry basket, walked out to the living room.
“Uncle Speed? What are you doing here? I thought you were going to go with Horatio to pick up dinner tonight.”
“I am, “Speed said as he walked quickly into his and Ryan’s bedroom. Pulling up his shirt, his muffled voice carried out through the open door, “but I feel nasty after therapy today, so I’m just getting changed real quick. Horatio’s gonna pick me up in a minute. Ryan, babe, what are you doing with the dirty clothes?”
Ryan paused before he continued folding the dirty laundry. Innocently, he replied, “Nothing.”
Speed watched his boyfriend in concern. He walked over and placed his hands on top of Ryan’s, stilling their movement. “It will be okay. Trust me.”
Ryan smiled wanly, “I trust you. You know I do. It’s life I don’t trust.”
Speed squeezed his hands gently. “Relax.”
Ryan took a deep breath and nodded.
Xander looked out the front window. “Looks like Horatio is here.”
Speed glanced out the window to see Horatio approaching Ryan’s car before he turned to Ryan. “Will you be alright? We can do this another day.”
Ryan shook his head. “No. I want to tell H and Alexx tonight. Get it over with, you know?”
“Don’t worry ‘bout him, Uncle Speed,” Xander piped up, “I’ll keep him busy while you get dinner. I can tell him what I’ve found today.”
“Good. I’ll be back. Love you.” Speed gave Ryan a quick kiss and rushed out the door.
He intercepted Horatio who was stalled in the driveway staring at a familiar car. “H? Ready to go?”
Horatio pulled his glasses off as he stared at the car. “That car. . . .”
Speed looked at the car. “Yeah. I was going to talk to you tonight about that.”
Horatio looked at Speed a moment before nodding. He replaced his ever-present sunglasses and headed for his hummer.
Ryan sighed. He turned to look at Xander. “You said you found something out?”
“Hmm?” Xander blinked. “Oh. Yeah. Hold on a sec.”
He hurried out to the other room to grab a bunch of papers. Returning, he shuffled the papers looking through them. “I found an interesting ancestor from about the 1850s. Named Vin Tanner. It looks like he was one of seven protectors for a small town out west. But that’s not all.”
Ryan gave him an interested look, motioning him to continue.
Xnader showed Ryan a copy of an old wanted poster. “It turns out Tanner was wanted in Texas for a number of years for murder before he was finally exonerated.”
“Wow. Sounds like your ancestor was an interesting guy.”
“So, what happened to that town he protected?” Ryan asked.
“Uhm. . .” Xander looked through the papers. “Let’s see. It was called Four Corners. It turned into a ghost town. Says here that it doesn’t get many visitors. In fact, about three years ago, this corporation tired to buy the land so that they could build a strip mall. Apparently some private donations kept that from happening and those donations now keep it from being torn down.”
Ryan looked thoughtful. “you know, you could go there. See where your ancestor lived.”
Xander frowned. “I don’t know. I’m not sure going to a ‘ghost town’,” Xander made quote motions with his hands, “is really a good idea for me.”
Ryan looked at him. “Just think about it, okay? It doesn’t mean you have to go.”
Xander nodded. “I’ll think about it.”
They both turned when a knock sounded from the front door. Ryan glanced at the clock as he made his way over. “It‘s too early for Speed to be back.”
“And he has his keys,” Xander said as he put his papers away. “He wouldn’t knock.”
Ryan opened the door slowly, his eyes widening in surprise.
“Ryan?” Calleigh gasped. “What are you doing here?”
“I. . . .” Ryan’s grip tightened on the door as Calleigh walked in.
She looked around the living room curiously. Ryan followed, looking for any sign that he lived there. Lucky, for him, all his things were in the bedroom. There was nothing to show he lived there as well.
“It’s a little cleaner than I thought it would be,” Calleigh observed.
Except that. Ryan winced.
Calleigh turned to Ryan and stared. “I didn’t think you knew Speed. Where is he? The back?”
Ryan gulped. He wasn’t sure if she did it on purpose, but he always felt as if she was measuring him up to some sort of ideal person and he was always falling short. Nervously, he said, “He, uh, went to get dinner.”
Calleigh frowned. “What are ya doing at Speedle’s home by yerself? How do you know him?”
Xander barged in at that moment. Offering his hand, he said, “Hi. I’m Alexander, but my friends call me Xander. I'm Speed’s nephew. Your,” Xander paused as he looked over her long blonde hair, “Calleigh, right? I think I’ve heard Uncle Speed talk about you.”
Calleigh blinked. Shaking his hand, she said, “Wha? Oh, yes. I’m Calleigh Duquesne.”
Calleigh looked Xander over. “I remember Speed mentioning you once or twice.”
Xander nodded. “I’m sure it was around January. And he was probably swearing at the time.”
Calleigh turned from staring at Ryan who was acting strangely. Ryan was busily straightening the books in the bookshelf against the wall while Xander continued to distract her. Facing Xander, she said, “Yes. But he was swearing at someone he called Anthony.”
“Yeah, “Xander said, “Anthony’s my dad. He’s my uncle’s older brother. Uncle Speed has been trying to get custody of me since he found out about me when I was eight.”
Calleigh frowned. “So that week he takes off every January. . . .”
Xander nodded. “He was petitioning the Sunnydale Courts.”
“But why? Why would he do that?”
Xander shrugged. “My parents aren’t what I’d call good role models.” Ryan glanced over at Xander one eyebrow raised before he glanced briefly at Calleigh and quickly went back to his straightening. “Simply put, they’re drunks.”
Calleigh blinked. “Oh.”
“Wolfe! What do you think you’re doing!?!”
Ryan jumped. His hand jerked back in surprise and he whirled around to face an angry Eric warily. Xander frowned at the man. Even Calleigh stared at Eric with apprehension.
Beside Ryan, he heard a loud clatter. He jumped back and looked down at the scattered books. When he had been startled by Eric, his hand had brushed against the books, unbalancing them.
“Damn, “Ryan swore softly.
He was already bending down to pick the books up when he heard Eric’s sharp retort. “Great, Wolfe. Not only do you paw through Speedle’s things, you’re clumsy enough to drop them too!”
Ryan stiffened. His grip tightened on the books as he slowly stood up.
Xander’s eyes hardened. He held his arms at his side as his hands slowly clenched into tight fists.
“Answer me, Wolfe! What are you even doing here?” Eric asked accusingly.
A low animalistic growl sounded beside Calleigh making her turn to find out what it was. To her surprise, Xander was still standing beside her and the noise was coming from him. She didn’t think humans could make that noise . . . and were his eyes lightly glowing green? She shook her head. She had to be seeing things. A trick of the light or something.
Ryan had also heard the growl from Xander and he glanced briefly at the teen with concern. Even with all that was happening, he still had enough wits about him to worry about Xander being upset.
Eric, meanwhile, continued his rant, “Let me guess, you overheard me and Calleigh talking and decided to follow us?”
Ryan bit his lip. He knew this would happen. And what would Eric say when he found out that Ryan and Tim had been together for years? It wouldn’t be good. Ryan could already hear that mocking voice now.
Xander watched as Ryan’s eyes widened and his whole body seemed to shrink under his coworker’s onslaught. Finally, he took a deep breath to calm himself as he could see the anxiety of the night was getting to Ryan.
“Why don’t you go—“
“Ryan.” A strong voice interrupted Eric’s tirade before he could say more things that were hurtful. Everyone turned to Xander whose calm voice belied the fierce glare he was directing at Delko. “Why don’t you go get some fresh air? Uncle Speed should be back soon.”
Ryan hesitated. He glanced at Eric before looking back toward Xander. Xander gave him an encouraging smile. Ryan nodded and slipped out the door.
Eric turned his angry gaze on Xander only to meet an equally furious gaze. “If you ever treat him like that again. . .”
Eric frowned. “Who are you?”
“This is Xander, Speed’s nephew,” Calleigh spoke up.
“Well, Xander, “Eric began, “Wolfe and I have a complicated relat—“
“My name is Alexander,” Xander said frostily. “Only my friends call me Xander. You are not my friend.”
Calleigh looked at the teen in bewilderment.
Ryan leaned against his car door. Taking slow deep breaths, he processed the past few minutes. Why had Calleigh and Eric shown up? How did they know about this dinner night? Things were not going well. And now, he had left those two in the house alone with Xander. Xander could be a fierce protector when he cared about someone. He had seemed under control. They’d all be okay. Hopefully.
And soon, he and Speed would have to tell them about their relationship. Things wouldn’t get worse, would they?
“Ryan Wolfe.” Alexx’s voice said coldly.
Ryan whirled around to see her standing there.
“I can’t believe you would be so desperate to fit in, “Alexx chastised the man, “that you would crash a private party.”
Ryan’s eyes widened. She thought that. . . . Oh! There was no way she would accept his relationship with Speed. She barely accepted him working in the lab. And to think he had hoped she would be fine with him dating her adopted son! Ryan could feel the panic starting, but he could do nothing to stop it. And what would Horatio say? Would he even be able to keep his job? They’d probably say he’d seduced Speed. Oh, god. He knew this was a bad idea. He could feel his breath coming in short spurts and he couldn’t seem to slow it down. His back to the car, he slid down to sit in a heap by the tire.
Alexx paused her words and looked at Ryan in concern. She may have been cool toward the man, but that didn’t mean she didn’t care about him as a human being and he was clearly in some form of distress. “Ryan? Are you all right?”
He just stared at her, his eyes wide. His breath coming in gasps as he tried to get air in his lungs.
Suddenly, Alexx felt herself shoved aside as Speed rushed by her. Tenderly he held Ryan who stiffened in his arms. “Ryan, hon, I need you to calm down. Okay? Just take a deep breath for me. Just one, please”
Standing beside Horatio, Alexx gasped in shock. She heard the endearment Speed had used. Her baby and Ryan? How could she not know? She could see that Speed cared deeply for the man. He was ignoring everything else, even Eric and Calleigh joining them in the driveway. Why had he never told her? Did he think she would reject him? Reject Ryan? If she really thought about it, she knew she wasn’t treating Ryan right. It was just, Ryan had been hired to help with the workflow while Speed was gone and every time she saw Ryan, she was reminded that her Speed had been seriously hurt. But now, she realized she had been hurting the young man even more by her cold reception.
Speed pushed Ryan’s head against his shoulder, his arms wrapped tightly around the man. “Shh. . .it’s gonna be alright. . .”
“Bad idea. . .” Ryan gasped out once his breathing had slowed somewhat. “They know. . .hate me. . .”
“Shh. . .no it’s wasn't. They don’t hate you.” Speed tried to calm his love. “Look at H, babe, he’s not angry with you, he's just surprised and concerned at the moment that's all."
Ryan looked up at Horatio’s concerned gaze. All he could see was heavy concern and a warmth that he had never seen in directed at him before. Ryan relaxed bonelessly into Speed’s embrace. His gaze passing from one coworker to another. He briefly wondered at the regret he could see in Alexx’s eyes before moving on. In each, he saw nothing but concern and acceptance until he reached Eric’s gaze. He flinched at the angry gaze the man gave him.
“How long has this, thing," Eric spat, “been going on?”
Speed’s eyes narrowed. “Five years.”
“And you couldn’t tell us?” Eric asked hotly. Glaring at Ryan he asked, “What? Speed not good enough for you to let others know?”
“Shut up, Delko.” Speed spoke. He slowly stood up, drawing Ryan with him. Silently he gave the man to his nephew who led him into the house. He watched quietly until the door closed firmly. Slowly he turned around only to grab Eric’s shirt and slam him against the car. “Do not ever bring up things you could not possibly understand.”
“Yes I didn’t tell you because Ryan asked me not to.”
“But why? You couldn’t possibly think we wouldn’t accept you two.” Calleigh asked.
His eyss still glaring at Eric, Speed said softly. “Because Ryan was scared.”
Eric started to scoff but was stopped as Speed slammed him into the car again. “That man in there watched his best friend brutally murdered for being gay. He was fourteen at the time and unable to do anything. Help didn’t arrive for hours and he watched his sixteen-year-old friend bleed out due to injuries. So don’t even say anything. You were not supposed to even be here tonight, so leave.”
Speed released his grip as Alexx gasped. She hadn’t known. She thought it was a group dinner and had told Calleigh and Eric about it. “Speedy, sweetie, I am so sorry. . .”
Speed glanced at her. “It’s okay Alexx. You couldn’t know the real reason I’d invited you tonight. Are you mad?”
Alexx shook her head vehemently. “No, sweetie. If he makes you happy, I’m happy.”
Speed smiled. “He does.”
Alexx smiled. Eric started to say something but stopped at a look from Speed. Relunctantly, he quietly left. With a soft apology, Calleigh soon followed.
“I feel the same way,” Horatio said. “As long as you two can work together and don’t let the relationship affect your work, I have no problem with it.”
Speed smiled at him. “Thanks H, Alexx. That means a lot.” He sighed before continuing, “I know we were going to have dinner tonight, but do you think we could do it another night? I’m not sure we’re up to it.”
Horatio nodded as Alexx said, “Of course, sweetie. You just take care of that boy of yours.”
Speed grinned. “I always do, Mom. I always do.”
Next time: Not Again! Times Seven.