Title: Central Park Coffee
Disclaimer: BtVS belongs to Joss, Mutant Enemy, etc., and Gossip Girl belongs to Josh Schwartz, The CW, etc. I own none of it.
Author’s note: I cannot be blamed for the crossover here. Seriously. Not my fault. My boss forced
me to watch the show. I swear
. Also, I know the next crossover was supposed to be with Saved!, but seriously, that just wasn’t working at all. As you may be able to tell from the fact that it’s been more than 2 years since the last Coffee fic. This will technically have a Saved! crossover, but we’re getting that out of the way early.
Author’s note 2: Crossover with Gossip Girl. Spoilers up through 2x19 “The Grandfather.” I know the timeline is all messed up, so here are some ages I’m going with: Xander – 28. Dawn – 22. Dan – 18. I know this meshes not at all with the Coffee timeline (in that Dawn has aged, Coffee-wise, 2 years in a matter of months (since Colorado)), but I figure that I can excuse this because Gossip Girl has an abstract relationship with time, and that’s allowed to infect me.
Xander stumbled as he ran for the door, the screaming following him down the hallway. He fumbled with the handle for a moment, then flung the door open in front of him and ran out onto the sidewalk. A final scream rang out from the house, and was followed by a book that slammed into the back of Xander’s head, knocking him from his feet and planting him chin first on the concrete.
“And stay away from me and my house, sinner!”
The door slammed shut. Xander rolled over and sat up. He picked up the book. “The Secret,” he said, tossing the book into the grass. “Figures.” He got up and started walking back to the motel, wondering exactly how he was going to tell Faith that in the hour since she’d left him, he’d managed to completely alienate this girl and make entirely certain that they’d never see her at the school.
His Blackberry rang.
“Hey, Xander,” said Dawn’s voice. “How’s Hilary Faye?”
“Far too accurate,” he said, rubbing the back of his head.
“Nothing. What’s up?”
“Got a new girl for whenever you guys are done in Maryland. You guys up for a return of the Summers sisters? And Willow?”
“Sure, we’re always up for company,” Xander said. “Why are you joining us though?”
“She’s in New York, and I need some shopping therapy,” she said. “Eleanor Waldorf has this great new dress that she premiered at Fashion Week that –”
“Yeah, yeah. That’s fine. Actually, I’ve been looking for an excuse to catch up with some family,” said Xander.
“I didn’t know you had family in New York.”
“A couple cousins, and an ex-half-uncle by marriage,” Xander said.
“What’s a half uncle?”
“He was married to my mom’s half-sister,” Xander said. “Still, Uncle Rufus is pretty cool. He was in a pretty popular band back in the nineties.”
“Cool. Well, I’ll make arrangements. How soon are you guys going to be done?”
Xander paused for a moment. There was no way they were going to recruit Hilary Faye. If they left soon, they could drive to New York by that evening.
“Tomorrow,” Xander said. “We’ll head up tomorrow. And make it somewhere nice.”
“Are you guys sharing a room, or should I get an extra?
“Uh… I um… I guess…”
“One room then, got it,” she said.
“Hey, question,” Xander said. “Regarding Giles’s monetary disposition.”
“Oh, I feel a nightmare coming on.”
“Nothing horrible,” Xander said. “Do you think he’d mind if I made some, uh, non-standard charges to the Council’s card and paid them back later?”
“How non-standard are we talking?” Dawn asked.
“More than a cake, less than a kidney,” Xander said.
“That’s kind of a wide range,” she said.
“Uh… what about a limo and an expensive restaurant?”
“Awww!” Dawn said. “That’s so cute that you think Faith is an expensive restaurant girl.”
“You don’t think she’d like a nice night out?” Xander asked.
“I don’t think she has anything to wear to a nice night out,” Dawn said.
“Well, what do you suggest? We just kind of… fell into this thing, and I owe her a dinner since I said I’d take her out to one. It feels like there should be, I don’t know, something to mark the occasion that we’re actually dating, you know?”
“And screwing doesn’t do that?”
Xander cleared his throat. “Well, we… haven’t actually…”
“Oh!” Dawn said. “Well, you can’t see it, but my face is totally red right now.”
“So noted,” Xander said. “Well, unless you can think of something else…”
“No, not really, sorry,” Dawn said.
“Well, I think that’s where I’m at, then.”
“Okay,” Dawn said. “And don’t worry about Giles. He’ll totally be cool with it.”
“Great. Thanks, Dawn.”
“Sure thing,” she said. “See you guys tomorrow!”
Xander hung up and walked the rest of the way to the motel. Thirty minutes later, he opened the door to the room he and Faith shared and heard the shower running. He glanced around for a moment, then headed up to the front desk.
A pretty young blonde woman in a khaki skirt and a dress shirt dazzled him with a very convincing smile.
“Good morning, sir,” she said. “What can I do for you?”
Xander smiled at her. “I was wondering if you know any romantic restaurants in the area.”
* * * * *
Dan Humphrey pulled his phone out of his pocket and flipped it open.
“Huh,” he said.
“Huh what?” Vanessa asked.
“You uh... you remember my cousin, Xander?”
“The one from California?” she asked
Dan nodded. “Looks like he'll be in town tomorrow,” he said. “Hey, Dad!”
“Yeah, Dan?” Rufus Humphrey called from the kitchen.
“Xander's coming into town tomorrow. Wants to get together.”
“Hey, great,” Rufus said, looking up from the vegetables he was slicing. “It's been too lo – are his parents coming?”
Dan's fingers flew across the keys of his phone for a moment. A minute later his phone buzzed again. “No,” Dan said. “Just him and some friends.” The phone buzzed again. “And he doesn't need a place to crash – I offered – but says thanks.”
“As I was saying, it's been too long,” Rufus said, returning to his vegetables.
“I didn't know you guys kept that closely in touch,” Vanessa said.
Dan shook his head. “We don't, not really. Hadn't talked for a while, but he got in touch after Sunnydale collapsed to let us know he's okay, and we've been e-mailing every few months or so.”
“Oh, that's right,” Vanessa said. “He's from Sunnydale. How early did he get out?”
“Uh, if I remember right, I believe he was actually on the last bus out of town, right at the end.”
“Wow,” she said. “He must have stories.”
“Probably does,” Dan said. “I haven’t really talked to him about it much.”
Dan shrugged. “I guess it always kind of felt like intruding. I do know his former fiancée died there. And that he lost his eye.”
“Ooh,” Vanessa said, her eyebrows furrowing. “And he said he was okay?”
“The uh, the eye was actually before the town collapsed. He said it was a construction accident.”
“Wow,” said Vanessa. “That's rough.”
“Xander didn't have the easiest life,” Rufus said, joining them at the dining table. “His mom and dad weren't exactly parents of the year candidates, and despite its suburban nature, Sunnydale could be kind of a rough town. The last time we were out there, Dan was just 8, but Jessica - that's Xander’s mom - told me that one of Xander's best friends had disappeared a few years earlier.”
“That's horrible,” Vanessa said. “Well, what's he doing now?”
Dan and Rufus looked at each other.
“Um... I'm not really sure, actually,” Dan said. He shrugged. “I guess we'll find out tomorrow.” His phone buzzed again, and he looked at the message. “And... we get to meet his girlfriend.”
* * * * *
“They took the train?” Buffy asked as she pulled her luggage off the carousel. “Why would they do that?”
“There’s not really a great place for a car here,” Dawn said. “Plus, public transportation’s so good, who needs it?”
“Fair enough, I guess,” said Buffy. “I still would have flown.”
“It’s like a three hour train ride from Baltimore,” said Dawn. “Maybe they just wanted a little more alone time. On the plus side, we get to spend the day shopping.”
“That is a big plus,” said Buffy. “Where are we staying again?”
“Times Square Hilton,” Willow said, coming up beside them. “No bags yet?”
“Not yet,” said Buffy. “Bathroom trip uneventful? No Willow-clones who we could assault?”
“No, just general airporty grossness,” said Willow. She pointed at the carousel. “Here’s me.”
She stepped forward and grabbed her suitcase, then stepped back to Buffy and Dawn.
“So, we don’t need to spend time looking for this girl?” Buffy asked.
“Not today,” said Willow. “We know she attends Constance Billard School for Girls, and we know her name, but that’s about it. It being Saturday, we don’t really have any way of getting more info at the moment, other than breaking into the school.”
“No computer searches? No tech-fu to get us more info?” Buffy asked.
Willow shrugged. “I did some searches, but I kept coming across this stupid gossip site, which is just filled with absolutely ridiculous things. I don’t know, if half of what that site says is true then we may want to think twice about recruiting this girl.”
“Oh, come on,” Dawn said. “If Sunnydale High had a gossip site back in the day, and it featured mostly the Cordettes, how much horrible and ridiculous crap would be up there?”
“True,” said Willow. “Still, some of the things it says…”
“Well, I say we give her the benefit of the doubt. Did the site have anything useful?”
“One thing,” Willow said. She reached into her carry-on bag and pulled out a folder. She opened it up and pulled out a photograph. “This is what she looks like.”
Buffy and Dawn took a look at the photo.
“Pretty,” Buffy said.
“I don’t know,” Dawn said. “I mean, yes, but… she kinda looks like a bitch.”
“I guess,” said Buffy. “But like I said, I’m all benefit-of-the-doubt girl. No judging until we meet her. She’s a slayer, and whether she’s a bitch or not, we offer any help we have. Understood?”
“Got it,” Willow said.
Dawn took one last look at the picture. “Welcome to your new life, Blair Waldorf,” she said. A slight chill ran up her spine for a second, and she thought she heard a soft click. Dawn turned her head slightly, looking suspiciously at the crowd.
“What?” Buffy asked, looking around.
“I don’t know,” said Dawn. “I just got the feeling that someone was watching me, or like taking a picture or something.”
All three of them looked around at the crowd.
“I don’t see anything,” Buffy said.
Dawn shook her head. “I think maybe Andrew is making me paranoid with all his conspiracy theories. It’s probably nothing.”
“So when are Xander and Faith getting in?”
“About now, actually,” Dawn said, checking the clock on her phone. “We may catch them at the hotel, but Xander said something about catching up with some family?”
“Oh, right, his cousins and uncle live here,” Willow said.
“Ex-half-uncle by marriage, he told me.”
“Whatever that means,” said Buffy. She darted forward and came back with an extremely large suitcase.
“Excellent,” said Dawn, grabbing the handle on her bag. “Shall we?”
“I didn’t know Xander had family on this side of the country,” Buffy said.
“His mom’s half-sister lives out here. Separated or divorced, I think. Xander trades e-mails with his cousin Dan, though, sometimes,” said Willow. “Actually, his uncle’s a little bit famous.”
“Oh?” Buffy asked. “How so?”
“He was in a band back in the early nineties,” said Willow. “Uh… Lincoln Hawk, I think it was.”
“Huh,” said Dawn. “Never heard of them.”
“They had a couple of big songs – where’s... Buffy?”
Willow and Dawn stopped walking, and looked around. Buffy was standing stock still, her jaw wide open, staring at Willow.
“What?” Willow asked. “What is it?”
“Xander’s uncle is Rufus Humphrey?” Buffy asked, her eyes wide.
“Yeah. Rufus. I couldn’t remember his name,” Willow said. “How did you –”
Buffy's cell phone was already out and dialed. “Xander?” she said. “I absolutely *have* to meet your uncle.”
* * * * *
“Okay,” Xander said, scratching his nose where it was irritated by his eye patch. “No, that’s fine. Buff, I get it, you’re a fan. Yes, I’ll call you later. We’ll have dinner or something.”
Xander listened for another minute, then rolled his eyes. “Okay. We’ll see you later.” He hung up. “Sorry. My friend Buffy’s apparently a closet Lincoln Hawk fan, or at least a Rufus Humphrey fan. That should be a fun and awkward time.”
“Oh, God, that’s exactly what Dad needs,” Dan said. “A young girl stroking his musical ego. I can see it now, Rufus Humphrey spurred to write a new solo album by his legion of adoring fan.”
“Ha,” Xander said. “Unlikely. And Buffy's not that young. Although I never said that.”
“Never said what?” Faith asked, walking up to them.
“That Buffy is 'not that young.'“ Xander said. He glanced at Dan, who looked surprised. “Faith, I'd like you to meet my cousin, Dan Humphrey,” he said. “Dan, this is my girlfriend, Faith.”
Faith quirked a quick smile at Xander, then shook Dan's offered hand.
“Nice to meet you,” Dan said.
“Hey, I need a dog or something,” Faith said, nodding her head at the Nathan's a few yards away. “Either of you guys want?”
“No, I just had lunch, thanks,” Dan said.
“I'm good for now,” Xander said.
Faith dropped her bag at their feet, and Dan and Xander watched as she headed off to get a hot dog.
Dan's hands were stuffed into his pants pockets, his arms pressed to his sides, and he spun on his heel to face his cousin. “Really?” Dan said.
“Yep,” said Xander.
“She looks… different than I thought she’d look,” said Dan.
“What did you think she’d look like?”
“I don’t know,” Dan said. “More… chaste? Innocent? Less biker chick? I mean, her name is Faith.” He shook his head. “I didn’t figure you for the bad girl type.”
“I didn’t either,” Xander said. “But life throws some… strange pitches, and we end up in places we never thought we would.” He looked over at Nathan’s. “But sometimes it works out.”
“Hey, well, good for you, man,” Dan said.
“What about you, any special ladies in your life?”
“Ah, no, not at the moment,” Dan said. “There was a girl. She's... smart, and funny, and beautiful, and... really, really rich.”
“Oh, yeah, I can see why you'd want to let go of someone like that,” Xander said.
Dan smiled. “She was great. We... were great. When we were great,” he said. “It just... I don't know, there were issues on both of our sides, and it got... messy.”
“Ah,” Xander said.
“Also our parents are dating.”
“Oooh,” said Xander, wincing. “That... sucks.”
“Yeah. It's okay, though. I think we're... on the way to maybe being, at least, friendly.”
“Well, that's good,” Xander said. “Friendly is good.”
“So where are you staying?” Dan asked.
“Ah, a good question,” Xander said. He pulled out his Blackberry and checked his e-mail. “Looks like... Times Square Hilton.”
“Very nice,” Dan said. “That's only about ten blocks from here.”
“Hey,” Xander said to Faith as she returned, half her hot dog already gone. “Feel like dropping our bags off at the hotel before we head out to Brooklyn?”
“Sounds good,” she said. “I was gettin' antsy on that train. Not enough space. Could use a walk.”
“Great,” Dan said, heading for the 37th street exit. His phone buzzed, and he pulled it out and looked at it. “Ah... crap.”
“What?” Xander asked.
“No, nothing, just... this girl I hate is back in town. She caused a lot of trouble the last time she was here,” Dan said. He shook his head. “I just hope I don't run into her.”
“Well, it's a big town,” Xander said. “What are the odds?”
End Chapter 1