Title: Everything's Connected
Author: Jade Aislin
Disclaimer: Buffy? The other shows? Nope. Don't own em. I don't even own the DVDs. *sighs* I don't even have enough money to buy the DVDs. *pouts* Eventually, this story will include: CSI, CSI: NY, CSI: Miami, Magnificent Seven, The Sentinel, Criminal Minds, and NCIS. And I still won't own any of them.
Beta: Queen Sereya
Summary: Mac Taylor once said "One way or another, everything's connected." Xander's about to find out how right he was.
Timeline/Spoilers: Let's see. This takes place after Xander's graduation. It also starts shortly after the jewelery scene in CSI: Miami `Lost Son'. Only Speed doesn't die. I've set this in 2004-05 or so, so ages and events will be adjusted to fit.
Chapter 1: Unplanned Events
Xander glanced at his locked doorway. His parents were being awfully quiet. They could just be passed out drunk. But then, they usually got quiet when his uncle was due to arrive and he was coming in the next day. He couldn't wait. He had officially graduated high school and his favorite uncle was coming to visit for a week. To top it off, said uncle had promised to help him look for a good car, or bike if they could find one, for his planned road trip. Maybe they would find a good bike. His uncle had taught him to ride one when he was sixteen and he preferred a bike to a car. Even if it would be harder to find a good bike in SunnyDale.
A ringing phone interrupted his thoughts. Xander picked up the cordless. Glancing at the caller ID, he smiled. Think of the devil and look who calls. He leaned back in his chair as he answered the phone. "Hey, Unc. You ready for a week of bike shopping?"
As a familiar voice answered, Xander frowned and sat up straight. "Ry? What's wrong?"
Xander listened to the voice ramble on, it's tone laced with worry. The grip of his hand tightening as he continued to listen. "But he's gonna be okay, right?"
Leaning over his desk, Xander grabbed a paper and pen. "What hospital is he at?"
Xander nodded as he jotted down the information. He blinked as the person on the other side asked a question. "Because I'm coming down, that's why. . . Shit, Ryan, I'm not going on some stupid road trip while Uncle Tim's in the hospital recovering from nearly being killed! Now, I'm gonna be on the next available flight. I'll call to let you know my eta. Oh, and Ryan. Hang in there."
Xander hung up the phone and bowed his head for a moment. This was bad. He had nearly lost his favorite uncle. Truthfully, he was the only family member he even liked. Taking a deep breath, he sat up and got to work. Turning his computer on, he waited for it to load.
Grabbing the phone, he dialed. "Larry? Hey, it's Xander. You still interested in my uncle's old car? I know I said I wasn't going to buy it from my Uncle Rory, but things change. Still offering the same price? Great, can you meet me today? Okay, I'll see you then."
After hanging up the phone, he stood up to find his father. He hated to give into the man, but he wanted to make sure he had plenty of cash. Plane Tickets weren't cheap. By buying the junk heap from his old man and then selling it to Larry, who wanted to fix it up and was willing to pay a few hundred more, Xander made sure he have some extra cash for Miami. Now he just had to let his father gloat over him.
Horatio closed the door to his hummer and went around to help Speed out of the other side.
"Thanks H," Speed said.
"I told you it was no problem," Horatio said as they made their way to the front door. "Are you sure you don't want me to stay?"
Speed shook his head. "Nah. I told you I've got company."
Horatio nodded. "Yes, you're nephew, you said." Horatio looked around the empty house and frowned. "Who doesn't seem to be here."
"Relax, Horatio. Xander called me before you arrived at the hospital. He's picking up dinner."
Horatio's frown deepened. "You know, Alexx was more than willing to cook for you."
Speed sighed. "I know, H. I know. But she needs to rest too. Between work and the hospital, I bet her kids are beginning to wonder what she looks like. I'll be fine. Promise."
Horatio smiled. "If you're sure?"
"Yes. Now go."
Speed watched Horatio pull out of the driveway. He started to turn before he heard a motorcycle pull in. He walked out to greet his nephew. Inspecting the package on the bike, Speed asked, "So, Xander. What goodies did you bring me?"
Xander smacked Speed's reaching hand. "Chinese. And you can wait for Ryan. Should you even be up? Go rest on the couch. Ryan will be home in a few minutes. You can wait 'till then. And make sure you're under a blanket."
Speed laughed, "Sometimes, you fuss worse than Ryan does, Xander."
Xander shrugged sheepishly. "You're the only decent relative I've got. So, sue me if I want you to live."
Speed smiled. He gave his nephew a weak hug. His smile widened as Ryan pulled into the drive. "Good. Now we can eat."
Ryan laughed. "Well, now I know why you keep me around."
"Aw, babe. I didn't mean it like that."
"I know." Ryan smiled. Giving Speed a quick hug and kiss. "Now, why don't you go sit on the couch, while Xander and I get dinner ready? Uh uh. No protesting. You just got out of the hospital. You are going to let us pamper you."
As Ryan led his boyfriend into the house, Xander followed, sticking his tongue out at the duo. "I saw that Xander."
Xander closed his mouth quickly as Speed laughed. Dinner was quickly spread out on the living room table and they began eating.
"So, Xander," Ryan said, "Speed told me about your graduation."
Xander paused, his fork halfway to his mouth. He placed it down on his plate. Wiping his mouth, he looked at Ryan nervously. "Yeah. Uh. I figured he might. I didn't hide anything from him. Look. We didn't have any choice."
"I'm not disagreeing with you. And I'm sure Speed has already talked to you about notifying the proper authorities."
Xander nodded. "Oh, yeah. Heard that earful. Repeatedly. And you guys may work around a great bunch of cops, but Sunnydale's cops, well . . . ."
Ryan nodded. "I understand in that town, it maybe hard to find anybody in authority that's not corrupt. But that wasn't why I brought it up. You're done with high school and I was wondering what your plans were."
Xander smiled and got back to eating as they talked. "Well, right now I'm helping out Uncle Speed. Then I plan on doing a road trip on that bike you helped me pick out."
Ryan smiled. "But what about after?"
Xander frowned. "I hadn't much thought about it. I guess go back to Sunnydale. Just because the Mayor's gone doesn't mean there aren't more nasties round the bend."
Speed frowned. "You know, Xander. There's some really good schools out here. You could get your college degree. Be surrounded by hotties while you study."
Xander laughed. "Thanks Unc. But seriously. I barely passed High school. I'm too stupid for college."
"No you're not, Xander," Speed said, "You know I don't like you talking like that. Your IQ is 167. That's far from stupid."
Xander blinked. "How'd you know what my IQ score is? I've never been tested."
Speed smirked. "Remember my visit last year?"
Xander nodded slowly. "Yeah. You kept sneaking up on me asking all those stupid questions. . . . Hey you tricked me!"
Ryan smiled. "Maybe he did. But with an IQ like that, you'd have no problem getting into any college, despite your grades."
Xander shook his head. "I can't leave my girls."
Speed frowned. "Xander, they don't appreciate you. They don't want you there."
"Xander I worry about you. I've been trying to get you from Anthony since you were eight. I don't like you living in that town. Now, do you think those girls can't handle protecting Sunnydale?" Speed asked.
Xander sighed. "No. They're tough girls. But, what would I do? For the past two years, I've been patrolling along side Buffy. It's all I know."
"As Speed said, there's always college," Ryan spoke up. He chuckled at the face Xander made.
"Not really the book learning sort. No matter what my IQ is."
Ryan nodded. "Well you could always look up your family history. See where you come from. Who knows there might be another good relative out there. Some great aunt who lives alone with a dozen cats."
Xander laughed and then looked thoughtful. "You know, I did have an aunt, I think. No. A great aunt on my mother's side. I think I met her once when I was five. She didn't seem to like me very much."
"They can't all be that bad." Speed patted his hand. "Side's I'd like to know who our ancestors were."
Xander looked at his uncle's hopeful face. He gave him a shy smile. "Maybe, I could look."
Xander poked his head out of the guest room. "Yeah?"
"Would you please get the dishes down? Ryan would have my head if he thought I was reaching up that high." Speed said as he stirred the sauce.
Xander smirked at his uncle. "Like you're not gonna get it for making dinner."
Speed swatted at Xander as he walked past. "Not like I'm gonna let you cook. I just got out of the hospital. I don't really want to go back so soon."
Xander pouted. "S'not my fault. All I did was follow the directions."
Speed smiled. "I know, Xander. But somehow, it turned toxic. It happens every time you cook."
A scrapping at the front door had both turning toward it. Unlocking the door, Ryan walked through it. Turning he deposited his shoes beside the door he relocked. Heading for the kitchen, Ryan frowned at his boyfriend. "Speed? What are you doing out of bed?"
Speed gave Ryan a sheepish look. "Cooking?"
Ryan's frown deepened. Xander snickered.
"What? Would you rather eat my nephew's cooking?"
Ryan shuddered. "No thanks. I'd rather not have my stomach pumped tonight."
"Hey!" Xander protested.
"Don't worry, Xander. We still love you." Speed said as Ryan passed him with a quick peck on the cheek.
Ryan headed toward the dining room. He began to reposition the dinner plates while Xander watched. Xander frowned and glanced at his uncle. Speed came over and noticed Ryan's antics. Ryan had his OCD mostly under control. True, he did clean his gun more than anyone else he knew. But precisely placing the dishes could only mean one of two things. He was either anxious or stressed out.
"Ryan? Babe? Rough day at work?"
Ryan sighed, his head down. "Same old. Same old."
Speed led Ryan over to the nearest chair where the man slumped down. Rubbing Ryan's shoulders. "They're not bad people."
"I know," Ryan said. "They just miss you and feel like I'm trying to take your place."
Speed snorted. "Hardly. You had your application in weeks before I got shot. I should talk to H."
Ryan whirled around, grabbing Speeds hands. "No! I'll be fine. Things will be better when you come back."
Speed squeezed Ryan's hands. "Ryan, you don't have to put up with this. We can tell them about us."
Ryan's eyes widened in panic. He tugged his hands, trying to escape from his boyfriend. Speed hugged him, trying to calm him down. "Shh. It's okay. They won't hurt you. They're not like that."
Ryan nodded shakily. "I know, Tim. But when ever I think of telling someone, I can't help thinking about Kyle."
"What happened to Kyle was terrible. And you were so young to witness that, but our coworkers won't turn on us."
"You can't know that!" Ryan refused to look at his boyfriend.
Speed tightened his grip. "I can know that. Look, what if we only told a few of them? Say H and Alexx."
Ryan chewed his bottom lip. He knew how much Speed thought of his coworkers, especially H and Alexx. H was like an older brother to him. Alexx was like his mom. It had to be hurting Speed, not being able to tell about their relationship. It was his fault too. It was his insecurities that prevented Speed from telling the world. He didn't know if he could handle the whole lab knowing. But if it was just those two. . .
Weakly, Ryan nodded his head. "But just them."
Speed smiled. "Sure. I'll invite them over next week."
"So, you guys done with the mushy stuff, yet?" Xander asked from the doorway.
Speed laughed. "Yeah. We're done. Let's eat."
Next time: More Unplanned Events