Disclaimer: See Chapter One
Beta: Queen Sereya
AN: Thanks goes to Jaderose, who pointed me in the right direction for Mag 7 info.
Pairings: Speed/Wolfe, Vin/Ezra
Chapter 4: There’s Family,
Xander stared at the group of men. The one closest to him was a good half-foot taller than him. He had warm brown eyes and big smile beneath his bushy moustache. He must be Buck. He looked like the friendly voice that he had heard. Behind moustache man, there stood a young man who looked to be about Xander’s age. The man had on that silly bowler hat from that picture of the sheriff and his dark eyes watched Xander curiously. The hat gave it away, that had to be JD.
The other nearest one seemed to tower above him, just like the first one, easily being six and a half feet tall. He wore a canvas shoulder bag, white in color that contrasted with his dark skin. His dark eyes glanced briefly at the hyena before returning to looking over Xander in concern. Behind him was another tall man. While shorter than the dark skinned man, this grey haired man’s presence made him seem more like a giant than the other two. He wondered if that was Josiah. The man’s voice had made him think of someone older.
Directly in front of Xander stood three men. The nearest two had an unshaven scruffy look and reminded Xander of his Uncle Speed. One was dressed in a dark grey shirt with a black duster over it. His dark green eyes bore into Xander. He must be Mr. Gruff. He seemed the type who gave orders and expected them to be followed. Behind him, the last two men stood quite close together. One had dark wavy hair that fell across his shoulders. The shape of his face and the barely there beard made him think of his Uncle even more than Mr. Gruff did. Strangely enough, it made him think of his father too, except his old man never had that slightly friendly look. He appeared to be leaning back, against what Xander wasn’t sure. His tan colored buckskin jacket made Xander think about all those old westerns he’d sneak over to his friend’s house to watch when he was young. Xander wasn’t sure who he was, so he decided to call him ‘the quiet one’.
Standing in shadows, even though there was none on this mental plane, the last man was dressed in a dark red jacket. He was the only man to be wearing a vest and tie. His black hat was dipped low, shadowing his green eyes, even though the front of the hat curled up. Xander named him Shadow, until he had a name to put to the face.
“What’s with the animal?” The youngest man asked nervously with JD’s voice. So he had been right, Xander thought, and he was probably right about the others.
“She won’t hurt you,” Xander said. “At least not unless you attack me.”
The men stared at him.
“You’ve been blessed by the spirits,” The quiet man said looking at the animal beside the boy.
Xander blinked. He looked down at the hyena. He smiled wryly. “I guess you could say that. I kinda wandered in to a dark shaman’s summoning spell and she sorta decided to stay."
“If you didn’t have a strong soul, the animal spirit would have overpowered you.” The quiet man pointed out.
Xander looked down. “She kinda did. I was sixteen and she was a primal spirit.”
Josiah frowned. “But she’s not in control now.”
Xander shook his head. “No. My friends undid the spell and the others who were affected lost their possessions. I have control for the most part. ‘Cept when I get upset sometimes. Especially when my pack’s in danger.”
JD looked at the hyena warily, was that thing grinning? “Why is she still here then?”
“Two reasons,” Xander explained, “One, I’m a medium. It’s real easy for me to be possessed. Second, she didn’t want to go. So, instead of forcing her out, she became chained instead.”
Xander pointed at the remnants of chains around the hyena’s neck. They were iron chains that had been soldered off a few links from the throat. “She was only able to send me dreams. Which she did in abundance. Dreams of hunting, protecting the pack, life in Africa. It was freaky. Once we were finally able to talk, I realized she wasn’t evil and released her.”
The quiet man nodded. “As it should be. You said something about being possessed before. Was the animal spirit the only possession?”
Xander shook his head. “No. There was this one Halloween, but that wasn’t really a possession,” he paused for a moment, his head tilted in thought, “and there was that time in Oxnard . . . but I don’t want to talk about that. I’ll only say that I was lucky that Father Philip was there.’
Xander nodded. “Yeah. This chaos mage had sold these costumes and then cast a spell making everyone become their costumes. Well I dressed as army guy.”
“So you were possessed by some one in the army?”
“No. You see,” Xander explained, “it wasn’t a true possession. It was more like a set of memory engrams had been superimposed over my own memory. Those memories weren’t from a real person. So once the spell was broken, the memories were gone too.”
“As fascinating as this is,” Mr. Gruff barked out. “I want to know why the kid was talking about Tanner earlier.”
Xander blinked. “I came here because I found out he lived here.”
The seven men exchanged glances before Xander continued. “You see, he was my ancestor and I wanted to see where he lived.
The quiet man’s eyes widened and he stared at Xander. Xander looked at the man, worried. “Are you okay?”
The quiet man nodded mutely.
Buck laughed. “Don’t mind him; he’s just shocked is all. What with meeting his great great grandson and all.”
Xander’s eyes widened as Buck’s words sunk in. Turning to the quiet man, he asked. “Does that mean?”
Vin nodded. “I’m Vin Tanner.”
Xander blinked. He blinked again before moaning. The others exchanged glances at the strange response. “Of course! Has to be Harris luck. Who else would go to a ghost town only to be possessed by his ancestor? Just me, that’s who.”
Most of the men laughed at Xander’s rant. Even the red clothed one gave a small smile.
“Maybe we should introduce ourselves,” Buck said.
“I’m Buck and this here’s JD.” Buck said slinging an arm over the young man.
“Howdy,” JD said smiling.
“You’ve already met Vin,” Buck continued as Vin nodded his head.
“That over there’s Josiah.” Buck said pointing at the grey haired giant.
“Good day,” Josiah said with a warm smile.
“That’s Nathan, our resident healer.” The dark skinned man nodded.
“’Ol' Ez is the one in all the fancy duds.” Buck gestured at the red clad man who was still hanging back. The man tilted his head in acknowledgement.
“Yeah. Only his whole name is Ezra, Buck,” JD interrupted. “You know how he usually is ‘bout his name.”
“Shoot, kid. I know that. But there’s no call to be calling a friend by his full ‘n proper name, lessen he’s dying or something,” Buck complained.
Ezra came closer and rested his hands briefly on JD’s and Buck’s arm in thanks of their support. The two grinned at him and Vin stepped forward to stand right behind Ezra. He was actually pretty close to the other man. Xander watched as he gave both men a small smile.
Turning back to his introductions, Buck started to say, “Now, last is—”
“Chris Larabee,” the blonde finished for Buck, introducing himself.
“I’m Xander Harris,” Xander said.
“Not Tanner?” Vin asked.
Xander shook his head. “No. It was my dad’s mom that was a Tanner. That’s also how my dad and Uncle Speed have different last names. They have different fathers.”
The group stared at Xander, while Xander stared back.
“So, now what?” JD asked.
Xander looked at the men thoughtfully. “Well, exorcism is out.”
“Why?” Nathan asked. “I’d a thought you’d want us out of yer head.”
Xander smiled. “Well, yeah. But that’s extremely painful on the possessing spirit and you guys are the good guys. You don’t deserve that.”
The group shared a glance.
“That’s mighty nice of you,” Buck said.
“But it doesn’t solve our problem,” Josiah said. “Is there any other way to separate us?”
Xander frowned. “I can’t think of any off hand.”
“Then, what are we gonna do?” JD asked.
“Well, I don’t mind you guys staying,” Xander offered. “At least until we find some solution.”
“We wouldn’t be a problem?”
“Nah. Besides, that means you guys could get outta this town,” Xander said.
“Huh?” JD asked confused.
“Ghosts can’t leave their place of haunting without a body,” Xander explained.
JD blinked. “So?”
Buck slapped the back of JD’s head making his hat fall to the floor, which like their surroundings was a bland grey.
“Hey!” JD yelped before bending down to retrieve his hat.
“We’re ghosts, JD,” Buck said. JD just stared at him. “That means we’ve been stuck in this town.”
“JD, remember that time Buck tried to follow that young college girl home?” Josiah asked.
“Hey, now. I just wanted to make sure the girl got home alright,” Buck said.
JD nodded. “Yeah. Buck sure was upset at being stopped at the town limits. Oh. I see.” He turned to Xander to confirm, “So, if were in ya, we can leave?”
“Cool,” JD said.
Everyone stared at him.
“What?” He asked.
Xander shook his head. “Sorry it’s just weird to hear you say that. I didn’t know people used ‘cool’ back when you were alive.”
“We didn’t,” Vin said, “Least not that I’d ever heard.”
JD blushed. “I . . . uh . . . heard some kids say it once when their folks were looking at my stuff. They said the guns were ‘cool’. Did I use it wrong?”
The group turned to Xander who blinked back for a few seconds. “No, it was right. Just weird is all.”
“So, you won’t mind us all tagging along?” Josiah asked.
Xander shook his head. “Nah. You can stay at least until I can figure out how to release you guys without hurting you.”
“Will it take long?” JD asked.
Xander shrugged. “I’m not sure. Uncle Speed doesn’t want me going back to Sunny Dale. So it may take time to find books on the subject.”
“What will you do while you wait?” Nathan asked.
“I don’t know,” Xander said. “I’ve been looking up my family history. That’s how I found out about Vin.”
“Did you see anything about any Dunne kids?” JD asked eagerly, “It’d be nice to know how my grandkids turned out.”
Xander shook his head. “Sorry, I was only focused on my own family.”
JD sighed and looked off with a disappointed air.
“I’m sorry,” Xander said.
JD sighed. “That’s fine.” He paused before looking up hopefully. “How hard would it be to find them?”
Xander tilted his head, thinking about it. “I’m not sure. It depends how much info was written about them. You know things like birth certificates, newspaper articles, obituaries. . .”
Buck swatted JD’s head. “There’s no need to be asking more of the boy. He’s already got enough to worry about what with us stuck in him and all.”
JD gave Buck an intense look before smiling sadly and nodding in agreement.
“I don’t mind,” Xander said, “Besides, it would give me something else to do.”
JD eyed Xander. “If yer sure?”
Xander nodded. “Yes, I am. In fact, I could find the descendents for all you guys, if you wanted. . .”
The group looked at each other. Finally Josiah spoke up, “We wouldn’t want to impose. . .”
“You won’t,” Xander said firmly. “I want to do this for you.”
“It’d be nice to know how the kids turned out,” Vin said. “I didn’t get to see my kid grow up and jest knowing he grew to have his own set ‘a kids would be good enough fer me.”
Xander smiled. “I can try to find them to the latest descendents. I’ll just need your last names.”
JD grinned. “Well, you know Larabee,” he said pointing at Chris. “I’m Dunne.”
Xander turned to Josiah who smiled. “Sanchez.”
“Jackson,” Nathan said curtly. Even though he tried to pretend that he didn’t care about his descendents, the gleam in his eyes gave away his interest.
“And I’m Willmington,” Buck said.
As Xander nodded and started to turn toward the last of the seven men, JD cried out, “Wait!”
Everyone looked at him while he was staring earnestly at Xander. “Don’t you need to wake up and write our names down?”
Xander shook his head. “Nah, I’ve got a good memory.” Finally, facing the last man, Ezra, he asked, “What about your kids? What’s your last name?”
Ezra looked at him sadly. “I’m afraid that any inquiry into my surname would prove fruitless as I had no progeny.”
Xander blinked for a moment, deciphering what Ezra had said. “Oh. Sorry.”
Ezra waved his hand. “No apologies are necessary, Mr. Harris.” Xander grimaced and Ezra stopped to look at Xander wit a raised eyebrow.
“Sorry. My dad’s ‘Mr. Harris’ and I don’t like the thought of us having anything in common. Please, call me Xander.”
Ezra nodded his compliance.
“Alright,” Xander said, “let’s get started. First, we’ll need a base of operations. It should be no problem renting a cheap hotel room. I’m sure the local libraries will have information on you guys. If not, there’s always a history museum. If I remember, there’s one in downtown Denver.”
“What about freeing us?” JD asked.
“Well,” Xander told him, “I’ll need to call some of my contacts for some books and that will take some time.”
JD nodded in understanding.
“Perhaps,” Ezra spoke up. “If we are to start our inquiries, you should awaken and find a more appropriate domicile in which to reside.
Xander nodded and quickly opened his eyes. He gave the town one last look and hearing both JD and Buck give the place a hearty goodbye, left.
Xander sat in front of his laptop, his head tilted to the side. For some reason, his name search had directed him to the Denver Police Department. That was strange. Denver wasn’t even a city in the 1800s. He scrolled down, reading the list of former officers, and stopped as two names appeared on screen.
“Huh,” he said.
“What is it?” JD’s voice asked. Xander may not have been able to see his ghosts with out meditation, but he could still hear them.
“Well,” Xander said while staring at the screen, “I think I may have found a couple of recent descendents for both Chris and Buck.”
“What’d ya mean?” Buck’s voice asked curiously.
Xander explained, “I googled Chris’ name and –“
“What’s googled?” JD asked.
Xander blinked and then remembered; they had no knowledge of computers. In fact, he had been bombarded by questions, mostly JD, when he had pulled his laptop out. After a brief description of what Google was, JD simply said, “Oh.”
“Anyway, I searched for Chris’ name and got back a list of former police officers. . .and well, the names Chris Larabee and Buck Willmington are both on it,”
“Yer telling me that I’m one of these Puh-leese Offers? What’s that? Sounds like someone giving away pulleys or something.”
Xander chuckled. “Not even close. Basically, it’s what you did. Police officers uphold the law and catch the guys who don’t. And it’s not actually you. It’s one of your descendents.”
“But they’re not there anymore. It looks like Chris left about six years ago and Buck followed a year later.”
“Does it say why?” Chris asked.
After Ezra had died protecting JD’s kids and with Vin following his mate shortly after, Chris had nearly joined them. Even taking care of Vin’s orphaned sons didn’t keep him form picking fights and taking idiotic risks. But then, two small boys, slightly younger than Vin’s, had shown up in town. It was right after Buck’s widow had taken her children back east. Chris’ friends seemed to be dropping like flies and these two kids came in claiming to be the children of him and that no good woman, Ella Gaines. Chris had wanted to deny the boys, but one of them had looked just like his beloved son, Adam, if a bit older. Chris had managed to live until all the boys were nearly adults. He would love to know what happened to all four of them.
“They’re not dead?” Chris asked.
Xander looked. “No. Looks like they both quit. Oh. . .”
“What?” Buck asked worriedly.
“It seems that this Chris Larabee quit after the death of his family. There’s an article here about one of his enemies bombing his car with his wife and child inside. . . Let me see if I can find where they went,” Xander said.
“Fine,” Chris’ voice said gruffly.
Time passed and before Xander knew it, the room was filled with light.
“Shouldn’t you be gettin’ some breakfast?” Nathan’s voice asked. “Or maybe sleep?”
Xander shrugged. “Nah. Let me just finish this search. I think I’m close to finding something.”
Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. Xander’s head turned in surprise. He asked thoughtfully as he stood, “Who could that be?”
Closing his laptop, Xander walked toward the door. Opening the door, his eyes widened in shock at the two men framing his door. The first man had no moustache, but was still easily recognizable.
The clean-shaven, jean clad one asked, “You Alexander Harris?”
Xander blinked before slowly nodding.
The dark haired man and the grey haired giant shared a look before the dark man spoke again. “I’m Special Agent Willmington,” he flashed a badge before continuing, “and this is Special Agent Sanchez.”
Xander stared at the two of them.
Finally, Agent Sanchez politely asked, “Would you mind coming with us, son? We’d like to ask you a couple questions.”
Next time: and Then There’s Family.