Ask me and I'll have to regale you with a long winded excuse for why I'm writing this instead of something that could use some being finished. LOL This will be listed as complete, and I treat it as complete, for the moment. If I should choose to continue this story, I will, however it won't feature very much in the way of supernatural stuff. In fact I'm not even sure if Xander of this reality will even find out about that stuff, or return to Sunnydale to meet the Slayer and all that. (Were I to continue this, should Xander start helping his aunt solve the murder of the week?)
Also, please forgive me with the distances and such, not being from America, but it's frozen north neighbor and having only been to Florida once long ago for vacation, naturally my understanding of distances isn't the best.Disclaimer: Buffy belongs to Joss everything belongs to Joss surrounding the Buffyverse. As for Murder She Wrote, it belongs to CBS and Universal, or just Universal, I'm not sure about the creator names. But I do know I never dreamt up this fine television series. Nor do I make any claims otherwise. That is all.
Xander Harris, age nine, was currently sitting in the back of an honest to gosh Sheriff’s car. The nice man had picked him up from the nearest bus stop, which had been farther than Xander had expected. Considering he’d been around Sunnydale enough times to see the bus station, and expected that all small towns at least had some bus station.
The trip had been rather lengthy, to be honest he’d fallen asleep halfway through the plane ride, he still wasn’t sure how it happened. But he remembered how it started.
Uncle Rory died in a horrible car accident, mom and dad were forced to pay for his funeral, it was a cheap funeral, all the extended family had come. To pay their respects.
Rory was well liked, despite his status as the black sheep of the family, of course his dad would always be the evil sheep.
Three days after the accident, his parents got in a terrible argument, Anthony Harris had insisted on sending his son away, Xander wasn’t sure why. But he seemed, worried, for the first time in his life. His mother told him he was being paranoid, Rory’s death had nothing to do with them, whoever ‘them’ was.
That night, Anthony Harris turned up dead, strangled by someone. Xander hadn’t felt a thing for his loss, at least not towards the man who hadn’t been much of a father to him the past nine years. But he felt sorry for his mom, who had broken down crying. Xander still didn’t know how it happened.
Jessica Harris died a day later, killed by a bullet to the head, Xander was still shaken up about that. His mother, lying on the floor, blood and brains soaking the carpet. He’d called Willow, it was Willow who called the police. Child services came for him first though, along with a stranger, a man who insisted that Xander be sent far away for his own protection until this mess was cleared up.
So, the nice lady put him on a plane with the strange man, he was a little rough around the edges. Had a black eye from the first moment they met, he told Xander that he was being sent somewhere safe. Next thing he knew he was in Boston, the stranger left him there at a hotel for a few hours, he went to check up on something. Or so he said.
When he came back two days later, Xander had been scared and worried, but the hotel staff had been kind enough to him. They kept him calm, let him watch all the cartoons he wanted, and said not to worry.
The man told him that the situation had changed somewhat, the person responsible for his parents’ deaths was found and in custody, but child services had found some very alarming things when they dug into Xander’s past home life. So, they said that he couldn’t go and live with any of his cousins, or other relations, on the Harris side of the family. The nice man was a little surprised, or at least he was acting funny, smirking a little when he told them that they’d found one of his aunts. Who was willing, even eager to take him in.
Which was why, he’d been on another plane for at least three hours, going from Boston to New York. Except it was a strange way, Boston and New York were relatively close to one another. But because of some kind of mix up, Xander had to take the longer flight, or at least that’s what he’d been told when he asked.
After that, he had to take the train, but the train wasn’t running, a union strike. The nice man had been a little upset about that, but fortunately buses were still running, it took longer to get where he needed to go. It was a very long ride.
So now, Xander was in the back seat of a Sheriff’s car, because he’d never been in one before and the nice Sheriff had agreed to let him ride there. And he was on his way to meet an aunt he’d never met before, although the nice man had told him she was a very loving and special kind of woman, even if trouble seemed to follow her like a dark cloud.
“Yup, you’ll be in the finest care imaginable, young man, I can all but guarantee that, your aunt is one of the best women I’ve had the pleasure of knowin’, one of the best friends too.”
Xander offered a half-hearted smile, he was still missing Willow and Jesse. And he was still confused as to why somebody wanted to kill his parents. “I guess so,” he mumbled, “everybody tells me that. Even that nice Mister McGraw.”
“You don’t mean Harry McGraw?” the sheriff asked.
Xander nodded. “He was in charge of me, I think because he was working for my dad’s side of the family or something.”
“Well don’t that beat all, yer aunt knows Mister McGraw, they’re old friends,” the sheriff revealed. He smiled, and then let out a laugh. “Hard ta believe you’d be sent here by McGraw of all people, guess it just goes ta show that we live in a small world after all.”
Xander laughed. “I suppose.”
“Well, here we are,” the sheriff announced, pulling to a stop in front of an old New England house. Xander stared up at it suddenly nervous, whoever his aunt was, she hadn’t been down to Sunnydale before. Not even for Uncle Rory’s funeral.
“Are you sure she won’t mind taking me in?” he asked.
“Missus Fletcher mind?” the sheriff repeated with a chuckle. “Son, you got nothin’ ta worry about, Missus Fletcher is one of the kindest women I’ve known, I may have mentioned that before. She’s also smart as a whip, and she enjoys children. Used ta be a teacher, before she retired, now she writes mystery novels.”
Xander shot the sheriff an awed gaze. “She writes books? Willow would love her,” he said.
“Willow a friend of yours from out west?”
“Yeah, my best friend,” Xander replied. He got out of the car and Sheriff Tupper fetched his suitcase for him.
“Well, she’ll be expectin’ ya. I expect she’s picked out a room for you.”
“A room, my own room, I mean,” Xander trailed off.
“Don’t you worry none, Alexander, yer Aunt ain’t like that old man o’ yours. You have my word on that.” Sheriff Tupper waited patiently for Xander to build up the courage to head for the front door, mentally he was wondering about the police force in Sunnydale, that they’d allow a child to live in that kind of situation. It was appalling.
Xander finally decided it was time to meet this aunt, all he knew was her last name, Mister McGraw hadn’t told him anything else. But that was because Mister McGraw had been a little rushed, something about another case he had to see too back in Boston.
Tentatively, Xander knocked on the door. A kindly looking woman answered.
“Hello, Amos, you must be Alexander, I’m sorry to hear about what happened to your parents. I didn’t know your mother all that well, I’m your aunt, my name is Jessica Fletcher.” She smiled at him.
“Jessica Fletcher,” he repeated, “did you know you have the same first name as my mother?”
“Really, how wonderful, you can call me Aunt Jess if you’d prefer,” she offered.
“Well, seein’ as how I’ve done my duty, I’ll leave you to catch up.” Sheriff Tupper tipped his hat in farewell, and then he put Xander’s suitcase down, he didn’t have much in it. Since he couldn’t take any of his comics, or the other stuff he’d stashed at Willow’s and Jesse’s houses. He hadn’t had time.
“Thank you, Amos, you know I really should consider getting a car,” his aunt said.
“Nonsense, Missus Fletcher, it’s no trouble at all, well, Alexander, bye. I hope we’ll be seein’ a lot more of you around Cabot Cove.” With that said Sheriff Tupper left.
Xander wasn’t sure what to do next, so he moved to get his suitcase. “Well.”
“Leave that for me, I may be an old woman, but I’m not past my prime yet,” aunt Jess said with a warm smile, bending down she picked up his suitcase.
“Now, Jessica, what have I told you about your back,” a voice called from the kitchen. A white haired man stepped into view, he was wearing glasses and had a disapproving look on his face.
“Oh, Seth, don’t be such an old worry wart,” she returned. “Alexander, this is Doctor Seth Hazlitt, an old family friend of mine. Not to mention our resident doctor,” she introduced.
“Uh, hi,” Xander greeted, he looked a little like a deer caught in headlights.
Doctor Hazlitt harrumphed. “Well, Jessica, I’ll leave you two to get acquainted. Call me again if you have trouble with your back.” Picking up a black bag, Doctor Hazlitt shot Xander a brief look, it was friendly, but gruff looking. As he walked past the boy, he paused. “I expect you to bring him down to my office for a full examination, don’t trust those Sunnydale doctors, probably falsified his records at some point.”
“I’ll do that, Seth,” Jessica returned with a friendly smile. Then she bent down. “Well, how about I show you to your room.”
Xander’s eyes lit up at that. “My room, sure, aunt Jess.”
Xander spent several days getting to know his aunt, she was a surprisingly genuinely kind woman, and she acted like she honestly enjoyed having him around. They talked about a lot of things, Cabot Cove, her mystery novels, how she met Mister McGraw, her side of the family. Apparently his mother, Jessica Canmore-nee Harris, was a distant relation to the McGill family, the McGill family being aunt Jess’s family.
His mother was the last surviving family member, she inherited a modest sum of money, which Anthony Harris had squandered in gambling halls and casinos prior to Xander’s birth. Hence the numerous arguments he and his mother had, had.
Aunt Jessica encouraged Xander to explore on his own, telling him that young boys were notorious for getting into mischief, citing a few incidents of her nephew Grady’s younger days. Grady Fletcher telephoned twice a month, Xander got to talk to him once, he was an accountant.
Doctor Hazlitt was a lot better than any of the doctors he’d seen in Sunnydale, he had a certain gruffness in his demeanor, but when it came to his patients he obviously cared about their well-being. Sheriff Tupper was kind enough as well, aunt Jessica decided that instead of going to regular school, at least to start, she’d home school him. Simply because she knew that he was still upset about the loss of his parents, she also knew how terrible it was finding a dead body, apparently what Mister McGraw said was all too true. Trouble did follow his Aunt Jess.
On the eighth day, Aunt Jessica approached Xander after lunch, she looked a little uncertain. “Alexander, I’m afraid I have to go away for a few days, a friend of mine is in trouble. He insists that I lend a hand, so I will have to leave you with Grady.”
“Cousin Grady is coming here?” Xander asked curiously, he was interested in meeting more of this side of the family.
“No, I’m afraid I’ll have to send you to New York, Grady’s job prevents him from just dropping everything. I’d take you with me, if I could, but I do tend to travel quite a lot because of my books. Ordinarily though I’ll probably ask you to stay at Doctor Hazlitt’s or Sheriff Tupper’s, it’s just that Doctor Hazlitt is out of town for the next three days and Sheriff Tupper went fishing,” Aunt Jessica explained. She was fretting about, having led them upstairs to her room while she talked, now she was packing, Xander was helping her. She offered an apologetic smile. “The price one pays for being a world famous author.” She laughed.
Xander smiled. “That’s ok, I like Sheriff Tupper and Doctor Hazlitt isn’t too bad, I’m sure I’ll like cousin Grady too once I get to know him.”
Jessica took her nephew in her hands, squeezing his shoulders briefly. “It isn’t that I don’t want you to be around, I hope you understand that, Alexander,” she said.
“It’s ok, aunt Jess, I know, I can tell you’re different from mom and dad.” Xander lowered his gaze.
Jessica frowned briefly. “Well, if you’re ok with this arrangement,” she said, turning back to her suitcase she picked up a thick looking book resting nearby. “Now then, this is for you, it’s your homework for the next week and a half.”
Xander’s eyes widened as he claimed the book. “All of this?”
“You should be able to have half of the work done in this book before I get back, you’re very smart, Alex, you’ve scored quite highly in the few tests I used to gauge your grade levels.” Jessica smiled proudly at her nephew.
“Really? I always thought Willow was the smartest,” he admitted.
“Oh nonsense, you’re just as smart as her, trust me on that. I’m not one of those teachers who can’t recognize talent when I see it,” she stated.
“Does cousin Grady have a computer I can use to e-mail Willow?” Xander asked hopefully.
“E-Mail?” Jessica repeated. “I’ll never understand these new things very well, I’m afraid,” she admitted with a laugh, “but yes, Grady does have a computer. I’m not sure if he has e-mail, you’ll have to ask.”
Xander grinned. “I hope he does,” he said, “I guess I’d better go pack,” he added.
“Don’t forget your new clothing, you have to start wearing something a little warmer around here, Alex,” Jessica insisted.
“Yeah, I’m just not used to it,” Xander admitted.
“Well, I’m sure in no time you’ll be accustomed to the type of weather we experience here on the East coast.” Aunt Jess smiled warmly at Xander, and Xander smiled back. He may have only been there for a week so far, but he felt like he was actually part of something here, Cabot Cove had welcomed him with open arms. Everybody who knew his aunt had become involved in cheering him up, and he was grateful for it, still he wished somehow that Willow and Jesse could be there too.
Frowning slightly he wondered if Willow and Jesse would be ok without him. “Better go get packed, aunt Jess, I hope cousin Grady really will appreciate having to look after me. I don’t want to be a burden.”
“Are you kidding? Grady could use a few days with a nine year old terror like you, it’ll prove to him that he should start a family of his own,” aunt Jess said laughing.
“I’m not that bad,” Xander defended.
“No, but Grady doesn’t know that,” she explained with a wink.
Xander laughed. A genuine laugh, and he rushed to get started packing, it was time to meet more of his family. And with a little luck, this family would be around for a long time too.The End ?