Chapter FiveA\N: Thank you for all the kind reviews. I would write this without them, but getting them does give me incentive. Hey, I’ve got an ego, too, you know! Sorry for the exceptionally long time between posts, but I’ve rewritten this thing twice. I’m still not perfectly happy with it, but I hope you are. Anyway, I don’t own Buffy or Valdemar. Those are owned by Mr. Whedon and Ms. Lackey.
“Faith.” Giles called softly. “Please, give me the knife.”
“No way, G. Not until this piece of shit tells the doctors that they can work on X.” She pressed the knife against his neck.
“Faith.” This call came from an unexpected source. Nurse Pierce stepped closer while waving a hand at the security guards to stay back. “Please give the knife to Mr. Giles. I promise that nothing will happen to you.” She looked at the dark slayer imploringly. “Please, hon. Xander wouldn’t want this.”
“How do you know?” Faith almost screamed back. “I heard what you guys said earlier. I can put two and two together. I know,” she slammed Tony’s head back into the wall hard enough for his teeth to snap against each other, “what this bastard has been doing to Xan.” Tears streamed down her cheeks, shocking the Scoobies.
“Because it was done to you?” came the quiet response from the nurse. “Sweetie, would you have wanted someone you care about to go to jail for hurting the filth that hurt you? He’s not worth it.”
Faith fought the sobs that were coming from her. Suddenly, she screamed, wild and primal, and drew back the knife she was holding. She slammed it into the wall next to Tony Harris’ head before she let him go. She turned and fell into her watcher’s arms.
The security guards rushed forward to grab Faith when they were stopped by a very pissed off nurse. “Leave her alone!” she barked.
“But…” the head guard began.
“I don’t care. I promised her that nothing would happen, and it won’t.” She glared at them. “Unless you want me to tell the chief of staff why bags of our rare blood types keep coming up missing, I would suggest you leave.”
“Alright, fine! We’re going.” The guard chief motioned for his subordinates to go. As he turned away, he mumbled ’Bitch’ under his breath.
Nurse Pierce laughed. “You think I’m bad? From the stories my dad tells, my mother did things that make me look like a saint. Apparently, Mom only suffered one fool lightly and that was because she thought she was in love with him. Now, get out of here before I show you some of that temper.” She graced him with a hard edged smile, one that her mother had used to strike terror into the nurses under her command.
Tony Harris had regained his feet. His face was flushed with anger but before he could say anything, his head was snapped around by a slap the likes of which he had never felt. The stars cleared from his eyes to look into the enraged face of one Joyce Summers. If he had ever wondered what a mother wolf looked like defending her young, he no longer had to.
“You utter bastard.” she declared. “How can you let a boy as fine as Xander not get the treatment he deserves? He’s your son, for God’s sake!” Joyce took a moment to compose herself as everyone looked at her in shock and admiration.
Tony grinned at her, maliciously. “For God’s sake, you say?” He snorted. “That’s why I’m denying him treatment.” His grin widened to a smile. “It goes against my religion.” He looked at the shocked faces of his son’s friends in satisfaction and a little triumph. “That’s right.“ he sneered. “My religious beliefs say that it’s a sin to seek medical help. So, I can deny him whatever treatment I want to and none of you can stop me.” He smirked. “After all, you wouldn’t want to put his immortal soul in peril, would you?”
Joyce looked at him in shock and horror. She turned to Nurse Pierce. “Is that true?” she asked, her eyes pleading with the nurse to refute it.
Nurse Pierce looked at Tony with thinly veiled contempt. “Unfortunately, it is. Unless you can prove that he is lying, he has the right to deny Xander treatment based on his religious beliefs. We can get the hospital lawyers to try to get an injunction to override this, but there is little we can do until then.”
“That means that what I say goes. And I say no treatment, and no life support either.” His face took on a pious look. “My son’s fate is in God’s hands.”
“Of course, it doesn’t hurt that if Xander dies, you will receive a rather substantial insurance settlement.” Giles quiet words caught Tony by surprise. He looked at the librarian in shock. Giles smiled thinly and slapped some papers against his chest. “You dropped these.” was all he said before he grabbed the elder Harris by both sides of his collar and slammed him into the wall. “You bloody bastard!” It was Ripper’s turn to rage at the man. “I should rip your lungs out, you bleeding wanker!” He began to slam the object of his contempt against the wall, repeatedly. Joyce and Nurse Pierce quickly moved to stop the enraged librarian before he killed Xander’s father.
Faith started to move to help them when a voice in her head stopped her cold. ‘Faith! Open the doors! Coming in, I am!’
Not pausing to question this voice that she had come to trust, the dark haired Slayer ran to the double doors of the emergency room, stepping on the sensor that opened them and then stepping back as a large white form came trotting in. The other occupants of the ER waiting room suddenly stopped whatever they were doing to stare slack jawed at this new presence. The stallion stopped when he came abreast of Faith and swung his head around to look at her. ‘Hurry, child! Something is wrong. Xander wakes and not easily. Great is his pain. And greater is his power.’
Faith’s jaw dropped at the last statement from the Companion. “What do you mean ‘greater’?” she asked in shock. “X-man just roasted a bunch of those VUB’s and their god like they were marshmallows with a thought and you’re saying that he’s stronger?!” At Albriech’s nod her face whitened. “Shit!” ‘Indeed, Faith. No answers do I have about the why of it, nor do I care at this time.’
Albriech’s mind voice paused and he visibly shuddered. ‘His mind in agony is. I must reach him ere he is driven mad by the pain.’
He swung his head to look at the shocked group of adults. He gave a whiney of warning and tossed his head in an obvious threat. ‘Cause problems, will they?’
he asked Faith.
She shook her head. “I don’t think so. Watcher man is cool and so is Mrs. S. Even the nurse lady seems to be on our side. The only one who might cause problems,” Faith let her lip curl in disgust, “Is that bag of crap over there who happens to be Xan’s pop.” She looked into the sapphire eye that was giving her it’s full attention. “He’s telling the docs not to work on Xan. Says it’s his right because of his religion or something.” She jerked her head in Giles direction. “G thinks it’s just so that he can get money if Xan dies.”
That was as far as she got. Albriech laid his ears back, bared his teeth, and squealed in rage. Fury radiated off him as he began taking slow, measured step towards Tony Harris. He didn’t get far before his head suddenly snapped around in the direction of the doors that lead into the main part of the hospital. ’Faith!’
he mindspoke, urgently. ’He needs us, NOW!’
Xander’s mind was in turmoil. As his consciousness returned, so did the pain. His brain alternated between burning pain and throbbing agony. And, behind it all, was the murmur of voices. But, they weren’t voices that he heard with his ears; they were voices in his head. At first, his thoughts were incoherent and disordered with no real understanding of what he was hearing. Slowly, the words began to make sense. He could ‘hear’ concern from Willow, Faith, and Mrs. Summers, and yet, somehow he knew that they were not in the room with him. It was like he was hearing them from a distance. And, he noticed something odd in spite of the pain. Their voices were ‘twinned’, so to speak. It was like listening to a conversation and getting whispered subtext, which was really weird when he considered the fact that he wasn‘t actually hearing them. This was confusing him and making the pain worse. Their voices faded out from the pain, but new ones were added to form an unholy chorus. These voices pressed in on his mind; voices pleading for help, complaining about the food, lusting after a pretty nurse, anything and everything in a continuous, discordant noise.
He moaned in pain and began twisting in his bed as the pain increased. New voices that he recognized entered and he latched onto them in an attempt to center himself. That was a mistake since the first voice he attached himself to in reflex was his father’s. His pain was almost overridden by his disgust at what he heard from his father. He could ‘hear’ his father hope that he died so that he could get the insurance money. He ‘heard’ his father tell the nurse not to treat him. He ‘heard’ Faith attack and he tried to let go of his father so that he could center on Faith, but he was in too deep. He ‘heard’ everything that his father said to his girls, his family. He also ‘heard’ the gut wrenching things he would like to do to ’the little bastard’s sluts’ if they would let him or, if they wouldn’t, what he would force them to do if he could get away with it. That thought burned past his agony. Xander’s eyes snapped open as he screamed in rage. His vision blurred as if seeing through heat waves as his rage turned to dragon fire fury. His anger began to build even as he ‘heard’ Mrs. Summers tear his father a new one. The surge of affection that he felt for the woman that he wished was his mother began to calm him when he ‘heard’ what Tony Harris wanted to do to her for daring to slap him. His fury returned, doubled, then trebled as his thoughts centered on the bastard that was his father.
And then, a single cooling voice entered his head. “Chosen, hold your anger! Coming I am!’
Xander could feel the urgency and concern in the voice of his Companion. It helped center him and the heat slowly dissipated as he felt his new found brother coming towards him. He felt a second presence with his friend and relief flooded him, causing the rage to retreat farther as he felt the dark slayer alongside Albriech. He almost smiled as his mind whispered ’Faith.’
. Never expecting her to hear him, he wasn’t prepared for the shocked mind shout that she responded with. ‘X!!! What the hell?!’ ‘Faith?’
, asked Xander in wonder. ‘My God, you can hear me?’ ‘Xan, you’re freaking me out here!’ ‘It’s alright children. Explain, I shall after we leave this place.’
Albriech projected to both. ‘Xander, chosen, loath I am to take you from this house of healing, but little confidence have I that they can help you with the control of your mind. I am in the hallway. Can you come to the door of your room?’
Xander grabbed the monitor leads and yanked them loose as he sat up in the bed with a groan. Swinging his legs over the edge of the bed, he mentally answered Albriech. ‘Yeah, Al, I’m coming.’
He paused at the foot of the bed and held onto the frame as he swayed in pain. ‘God, Al! My head is killing me!’ ‘It’s alright, Chosen.’
Albriech’s voice soothed. ‘Leave here soon we shall, and teach you to block out the voices I shall. As soon as you mount, I will put you under my shields and that will lessen the pain.’ ‘Can’t happen quick enough, buddy.’ ‘Amen to that, Stud.’
Faith’s mind voice cut in. ’I’m feelin’ your pain, now, and I don’t see how your standin’.’
Xander felt guilt over that. ‘I’m sorry, Faith. You shouldn’t be feeling what I’m feeling. I wouldn’t even wish this on Deadboy!’
He staggered to the door and struggled to open it.
Faith had to smile at Xander’s turn of phrase. ‘Don’t sweat it, X. You ain’t doin’ it on purpose.’
Her smile vanished, to be replaced by a white faced grimace of pain. ’But, it wouldn’t hurt for you to move your ass so that Silver can get his shields or whatever on you so that you won’t hurt as bad.’
Faith’s mind voice paused. ‘Hold on, Xander. I’m coming to help you.’ ‘That would be of the good.’
came the pained reply. Faith opened the door to find a white faced Xander leaning against the door frame. “Nice seeing you, Sexy.” Xander said with a weak smile.
Faith returned the smile. “Back at you, Boytoy.” Her smile faded to be replaced with a look of concern. “Come on, Xan.” she encouraged as she slipped an arm around his waist, giving him a shoulder to lean on. “Let’s get you on Silver and get the hell out of here.”
“I’m all for that.” replied Xander. Faith boosted him up onto Albriech’s back and pulled herself up behind him. “Crap!” she heard him mutter. “Here come visitors we don’t need.”
Faith looked around to see a large group charging up the hall led by the doctor in charge of Xander’s case. He was closely followed by security and then by the whole gang of Xander’s friends and, unfortunately, family. “Now, see here, young man!” shouted the doctor. “You are in no condition to be leaving this hospital, much less riding this horse. Get down immediately and get back into bed!” He turned his attention to Faith. “And you!” he continued, “what are you trying to do? Kill him? I thought you wanted what’s best for your friend.”
“I do want what’s best for Xan.” she fired back. “I just don’t think that you guys can handle his problems.”
Before the doctor could protest further, a very clearly disgusted voice cut in. “Let the useless little bastard go, doc. He’s awake and able to move and I’m saying that if he wants to check out, let him!” Tony Harris glared at the people that turned and looked it him in disgust. “Don’t get all high and mighty with me!” he retorted. “If my sorry excuse for a son wants to leave, then let him! I wasn’t going to allow him to be treated anyway, so he might as well get the hell out of here and let somebody who’s worth something have the bed.” He looked up at his son on the back of Albriech. “Get down off that horse, boy, and get your ass back home.”
Xander looked down at his father in silence for a moment, and then with all the calm and dignity that he could muster, quietly said “No.”
Tony Harris’s face flushed blood red with anger. “What the hell did you say to me, boy?” He pointed a finger at Xander. “As long as I’m your father and you live under my roof, you’ll do as I say!”
Xander’s face turned white as his father ranted at him. His new found sensitivity picked up on a stray thought in his father’s head. “You bastard.” he said in a strangled whisper. “You’re not my father.”
Tony’s eyes widened at Xander’s accusation. “What the hell are you talking about, boy?” he yelled, almost desperately. “Of course I’m your father, and you’ll do what I tell you.”
Xander straightened on Albriech’s back. “I don’t think so, you son of a bitch. I’m not your son. I can see it in your head.” Albriech turned to face Tony full on and took a slow, deliberate step towards him. “Now, tell me the rest of how you’re not my father before I let my friend,” he patted Albriech’s neck lightly, “use you for a hoof cleaner.”A/N: This is the last ready chapter I have written. I'm working on the next and should have it out soon. There will be another story posted before it, though. It will be a fairly long Halloween story. A plot tribble entered my head and I just had to do something about it.