Summary: Goes AU after early to mid season 5, PtL any time frame really, Tales of the City, after the series ended in book six. Challenge from the list sibs of Willow and Buffy going off on Xander for not 'being normal' as they see it.
Warnings: Off Scene, abuse of Characters, some details refrenced in flashbacks. Nothing too graphic. Technically some Willow/Buffy Bashing, but more so because they attacked Xander. *sighs* Sorry Xan, I hate to beat you up, but that's the way it goes sometimes.
Notes: Well the list sibs made the challenge of Buffy and/or Willow having issues when Xander came out of the closet and trying to 'cure' him of being gay. This is the result.
Disclaimers: Buffy and associated characters belong to Joss Whedon, Anna Madrigal and associated settings are owned by Armistead Maupin, Poltergeist The Legacy, is property of Sci-Fi Channel and Showtime
Scanning the crowd at the bus station, Anna Madrigal froze in place as she spotted who she thought looked vaguely like Xander. But it surely couldn't be him. The figure while looking much like the young man she mad met a few years back, was gaunt and had a terribly haunted look in his eyes, not to mention the bruises and the cast on one arm.
"Xander," Anna called out hesitantly, not sure if it was him. The weary and guarded response that he showed, indicated that it was indeed him, but that something truly horrible had to have happened to him.
"Over here Xander, it's Mrs. Madrigal," she called waving as he finally spotted her.
Slowly he made his way over, each step clearly leaving him in pain, as it was clear to her at least, that there were injuries beyond the obvious ones.
"What happened to you Xander?"
Trying to offer a lopsided smile, Xander ended up letting out a groan as a flare of pain shot up his injured jaw. "There were a few 'issues' with my ex-friends before I finally managed to make it to LA and catch a Greyhound Bus down here Mrs. M. I'd rather not talk about it for now, if you don't mind."
"We will be talking then young man, once we get back to my place, we will be having a very long and detailed conversation. Understood?"
Xander let out a soft sigh but nodded his agreement.
Turning around from having poured the two of them a glass of sherry each, Mrs. M handed one to Xander and sat down with the other in her free hand. "Now I don't care if you don't want to talk about it. It's rather obvious that someone or something beat the hell out of you. So you've got two choices as far as I can see Xander, tell me now, or tell me after I call the doctor. It's your call, but that's the only part that is your call."
Sipping at his glass of sherry, Xander winced as the alcohol burnt the cut on his lip. "Can I just say that I hate it when you get stubborn like this?"
Looking down at the floor so that he could avoid facing the angry expression of Mrs. M, he began to tell his story. "I'll give you the short version, as there's little difference between that and the long one, save for the nitty gritty details which aren't that important."
Sitting back up Xander took another sip of the sherry to boost his flagging courage. "Buffy's boyfriend, basically caught me going out one night and saw that I was going to the only gay bar in town. He didn't say anything at the time, but instead chose to tell her later that night. From there she and Willow, along with Riley, the idiot boyfriend, decided to stage an 'intervention' to 'save me' from the 'evils' of being gay. It wasn't very pretty, and I finally got lucky and was able to slip off. Another friend helped to get me as far as LA, and from there I hit a clinic and got my arm taken care of, called you and hopped on a Grey Hound bus. So can we just leave it go at that, please?"
"I can understand your reluctance to talk about it Xander, but it does need to be dealt with. They should be charged with assault for what they did to you. What if they try and do it to someone else?"
"They won't Mrs. M. The only reason is simply because I was one of their 'friends' and because they know that if I hear about it, and I will, then I'll swear out the charges," Xander said reluctantly. "For now, in spite of this they are needed right where they are, and doing what they do. There isn't anyone else to really handle it if they weren't there."
"Fine, lay down in the bedroom, and try to rest. I'm calling a doctor friend of mine who owes me a favor or three. I don't care if you don't want to be seen, my house and my rules, understood?"
"Yes Ma'am," Xander offered with a mock salute.
David sat down and took the drink that he was offered. "I'll be honest, from what little I can tell without doing X-Rays and such he's in craptastic shape, Anna. I don't know who the hell did it to him, but they really worked him over. I'd push for him to get a full visit at an ER, where they can run the proper tests, but I think he'd run and probably end up in worse shape for it."
"So what should I do for now then?"
"Plenty of bed rest, keep the ribs wrapped with an ace bandage to support them, since they're cracked, but not broken. I'd lay odds his lungs are a bit bruised as well, reducing his breathing capacity. Keep his head elevated and check on him every few hours."
"Thanks David, you're a dear and I dearly owe you one. Any time you need the favor returned let me know, all right?"
David laughed at that. "Don't even go there, you know you don't owe me a thing. I will drop off an order with the pharmacy around the corner for him for painkillers. I'm hesitant to order an antibiotic, so unless he spikes a sudden fever, he should be good. Watch out for trouble when he passes urine. Any blood, and let me know ASAP."
"Thank you David, I can't tell you how much I appreciate it."
"Just tell me this, are the ones who did it to him, at least being charged?"
Anna just shook her head sadly. "He won't press charges, and with the town he's from.well let's just say it's a very unusual town and leave it at that."
David raised just one eyebrow at that. "Where exactly did you say he was from again, Anna?"
Giving David a rather firm, look Anna hmmphed. "I didn't, but if you must know up the coast a few hours past LA. It's a place called Sunnydale."
David shivered at that name. "Never mind, I know more than enough about that place. I take it he was the one who was helping the yappy blond idiot?"
Anna burst out laughing at that, and just nodded.
"Then I take it that she and the piss ignorant red head are the ones who did this to him?"
"That's what I'm assuming. He won't answer, but who or what else would have, that he wouldn't have dealt with directly with instead?"
David shook his head sadly at that. Reaching behind him, he dug out his wallet from his pants and dug out two cards. "Here, when he's feeling a little better give him these. The one is a good doctor that I've worked with in the past, in case he can't reach me. Marcus knows about things like that and it won't be an issue."
Anna smiled at that. "That will be a big help David. I know how crazy your hours can be at times. And the other?"
"I'm sure you've heard of the Luna Foundation," David asked, smiling at her nod. "Let's just say they could be of a great deal of help to him. There's more than one Hmmmm 'organization' in existence that deals with things that most would deny existing. Have him speak with Doctor Rayne, once he's fully healed and mention my name."
"Oh really David, and just what are you planning?"
"Not a single thing, my dear Anna. Merely ensuring that he has a way to put his skills to good use is all. Plus maybe, just maybe there is a person there or even two, who can help him heal. I would give odds, that the dear Father Callahan, can help him to find his heart's peace and healing.as for the other.," David just smiled.
"I see, well, I'll do what I can to 'encourage' him to contact them. Maybe, I'll even see if Father Callahan, would be willing to make an occasional house call to visit an old friend and her ill companion."
"You are so shameless Anna, but that might be a good idea for both of them."
Several weeks later
"Xander, I'm having a guest over for lunch, I would like it if you'd join us," Mrs. M said softly, knowing how touchy and jumpy Xander still was about strangers.
"You sure you want me there Mrs. M?"
"No matter what Xander, I do enjoy your company. Besides it would do you some good to socialize a little bit. Father Phillip is a rather interesting young man as well. He's a bit more aware of things than most people are and won't betray a confidence if your worried about that."
Heaving a sigh, Xander nodded once, deciding to give in easily rather than fight it. "Fine, I'll join you two for lunch. What time should he be arriving?"
"Any time dear," Mrs M said, right as the doorbell rang. "Well in that case it appears he may already be here. I'll keep him occupied for a few minutes if you want to neaten up Xander."
With that Mrs. M headed out to greet her lunch guest, leaving Xander to silently mutter under his breath about being set up.
Sitting back in the living room, Phillip looked over at Xander and silently observed him. The signs were all there screaming that he was like a caged animal ready to fight or run at the least bit of provocation. "So Xander," Phillip said softly, deliberately pitching his voice on the softer side. "I hope ya don't mind if I call you by your first name. Anna's told me a fair bit about you, not anything that would violate your privacy mind," Phillip added on as he could see the young man tense up.
"I trust her, you are another matter Father Callahan," Xander said watching the priest carefully. "I don't trust readily or easily and even if someone says you're trust worthy, I"ll make my own judgement on that in time."
Phillip chuckled softly at that. "You're a lot like another friend of mine. Not readily willing to trust and very reserved. Which given what you've been through is a good thing I expect. Maybe after I've earned your trust, I'll introduce the two of you. I expect you've got a fair bit in common."
"Maybe, maybe not," Xander offered simply.
"Xander, Father Phillip knows far more than you think about certain things. So trust me at least, to know that he won't betray your secrets."
Xander shrugged at that, wincing slightly as the movement pulled at still sore ribs. "Maybe so Mrs. M, but I"ll reserve my judgement for now. I've been burnt too often in the past to readily trust."
"It's all right Anna, he's right to be hesitant to trust. His friends, or ex-friends I should more readily call them hurt him a great deal. Trust is earned, not given. Given what little I do know of Sunnydale, I don't blame him," Phillip offered gently, with a smile for his two companions. "I'm more than willing to prove myself if needed, but I won't betray the trusts that I hold either so I can't answer everything Xander might wish to know for now."
Xander chuckled softly at that. "Should I take that to mean you're associated with the Watcher's Father Callahan?"
Phillip shook his head at that, "Not at all. Rather a differnt association entirely. There's more than one group aware of such things, even if we all deal with different aspects. And no, I can't say who, but I can say it's none you've run into before though."
Xander snorted at that. "I'm sure, but without knowing who you 'work' with, how can I know how to trust you or not?"
Anna sighed at that and shook her head. "Boys, there's no need to fence about like this. Let's leave that aspect of things alone, since neither of you are likely willing to budge on it. I invited Phillip here for entirely different reasons Xander, but it's up to you if you want to talk to him or not."
"About what Mrs. M, how my friends used me and tossed me aside repeatedly? Or how about how they beat the crap out of me because they could accept Willow being a lesbian, but me being bi, wasn't 'acceptable'," Xander asked his voice sharp and filled with pain. "Doesn't really matter anymore, as I wouldn't go back for anything or any reason. They can find out how much I did the hard way."
"I know how that can go Xander," Phillip offered softly. "Those who are closest to you, are the ones who can hurt you the most readily and completely. Still, for your sake, you need to let go of it, or you'll become hard and bitter. What good will that do you?"
Xander snorted at that, before slowly getting up and walking out of the room. Pausing at the hallway he called back over his shoulder, "At least it means I won't get burnt or betrayed again." With that he slowly finished walking back to his room and locked the door behind him, the click of the lock ringing in the silence of his departure.
"Perhaps this was just too soon," Anna said softly, looking at Phillip uncertain of what else to say.
"No, the lad knows the truth of what's been said. It just hurts too much still to talk about it. Give him time Anna. He'll heal slowly, but the fact is he'll heal. I can see that much in his eyes at least," Phillip offered gently. "Otherwise he wouldn't have even joined us for lunch or talked to me at all. I'm a stranger, but at least he didn't run away."