Xander walked wearily towards Ezra’s hospital room, clutching the duffle from his trunk. If Sunnydale had taught him nothing else, it was to be prepared to hide the evidence -- hence, the change of clothes. He knew it would have been a better idea to use the public restrooms downstairs, but he felt the need to clean himself up thoroughly, and Ezra’s private bathroom would make that a lot easier.
Sticking his head round the door, he was relieved to see no sign of Chris and that Ezra was apparently asleep. As he stepped in and moved towards the bathroom the figure beside the bed stirred.
Vin’s eyes silently took in Xander’s condition. Nothing was said, but a simple raised eyebrow spoke volumes. Xander shrugged, hoisted his bag a little higher on his shoulder, and moved into the bathroom, shutting the door quietly behind him.
“Did he look alright?” Ezra asked softly.
“Tired, a little beat up, and really in need of a shower,” Vin answered honestly.
Ezra sighed. While it was still less than a year since he had discovered he had a son, it was at times like this that he felt the loss the most. The vast gulf of the past that lay between them seemed almost insurmountable. And today yet another obstacle had been placed in the way, thanks to the United States government.
“He fought for me,” Ezra murmured, remembering the fierce protectiveness the blond’s words had roused in the one-eyed man earlier in the evening.
“Yeah, I reckon,” Vin replied, “Most likely for all of us. Lance has a protective streak nearly as big as Larabee’s.”
“I suppose you believe that this little turn of events should be quietly ignored.” Ezra looked to the sharpshooter, seeking reassurance that it was the right thing to do. Knowing in his heart that pushing for information would be fruitless, but needing the answer all the same.
“Sometimes a show of force is the most effective response.” Vin, too, wanted answers, but he trusted Xander to do the right thing. If this is what the one-eyed carpenter felt was necessary, then he would back the play. Nathan would not see it in the same light. Chris was too angry to even try to understand. Buck, Josiah, and JD could go either way. But he knew that if Ezra was thinking a little more clearly he too would see the necessity of Xander’s apparent actions.
Any further comments were interrupted by the bathroom door opening.
“Hi, Ezra, shouldn’t you be getting some rest?” Xander was glad to see his Dad awake, but the man was still very pale.
“I could say the same of you. As JD would say, you look awful,” Ezra said with a smile.
“Thanks. Feels like a long couple of days, can’t think why.” Xander grinned at the pair as he pulled up another chair. His ribs ached, and the new bruises coming out from the evening’s demonstration were colourful, to say the least, but he felt a measure of satisfaction that made it all worthwhile.
“Has Spike left?” Ezra enquired.
“Nah, headed back to my place to crash again.” Xander stretched out, resting his feet on the end of the bed.
The last few days had been draining: from being dragged back into the ‘good fight’ by Spike, through the horror of Ezra’s injury due to his connection to Xander, to trying to arrange as much protection as possible for his new kin, Xander felt like he’d been to hell and back. He knew he was going to have to find a way to reconcile his two worlds somehow, but for now a truce had been made and he could focus on what mattered most to him: his family.
“Oh, good. Perhaps we will have the opportunity to converse again before he leaves.” Ezra’s voice broke into Xander’s musings, and he smiled as his son rose to the bait.
“Not if I can help it.”
A/N Turns out this is going to be more of a two-parter/arc. Who knew!
Threads to be followed up I promise, just no current e.t.a. Don’t hate me….
A/N 2 So many reviews, thanks btw, feel guilty leaving it here but in the end stayed with plan A.
As penance shall be posting bonus story ASAP :0)
Thanks to RevDorothyL for all her beta work – fixing my appalling grammar, Americanising my English idioms and her inspiration to get me through this!
Thanks to Lyl for allowing me to steal her sharpshooter quote. (although I have mutated it a little for my purposes, flowed much better in her version!) See her Numb3rs fic In Another Life for it’s original incarnation.
I found a "Rhefugi" to English Translator online for the ‘demon language’ lines in the bar.