Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy, Supernatural, Leverage, Angel or any other show out there. :( They belong to their respective owners. Now the plot, on the other hand, is now mine as the bunny didn't want to leave. *pets bunny like Dr. Evil pets his kitty* Do enjoy the unfolding
Summary: Prequel to "Can I Keep 'em?". Willow cast a spell that was read wrong, and Xander pays the price.
AN: This is a prequel to my story "Can I Keep 'em?" and soon to be series of "Collecting People for the One Who Sees". Note that Anya will not make an appearance; I can't do the girl justice... So, I hope you all enjoy the chaos that will follow....
Joyce sighed as she watched Xander snuggle into the spare bedroom in her home and smiled softly. Ethan had cast a small spell to give the young boy some light during the night, and made it rotate between blues and green colors. Small patterns appeared on the ceiling, and she smiled at the sight of cars, swords, dragons and other little creatures flying around. Ethan refused to put up clowns after Dawn mentioned that Xander had a strong phobia of them, and put up acrobats instead.
Closing the door over, Joyce made her way downstairs to where Ethan, Rupert and the others were seated. Sitting between the two elder men, Joyce happily accepted a mug of doctored hot tea and sipped it slowly. Watching the teenagers, Joyce sighed and leaned back for a moment.
"I'll be off to LA, with Xander, in the morning. Spike and Dawn will accompany me, as well as Ethan if he wishes. Tara, since Willow is being "fixed" you should stay to help Buffy in case magic is needed. Rupert will remain behind as well, since he has all the books you need for dealing with the demons here."
"I thank you for the offer Joyce, but I will remain here with Ripper and the slayer. I have less need for Chaos casting the longer I am in his Ordered presence."
Joyce nodded and tuned to face Buffy. Her daughter had a frustrated look on her face, and Joyce simply waited for the explosion.
"Why Spike?" Buffy spoke after several minutes, ignoring the hurt look on the vampire's face.
"Because I can trust him with Dawn and Xander. Dawn, because he looked after her many times, and Xander because of how he reacted in the store. If I leave Spike behind when we go to LA, Xander will be frustrated and might even throw a tantrum the entire time we're there. Now, anything else, daughter?" Joyce did not ignore the hurt look that Spike had hid, and made sure her daughter know who was in charge - her and Xander.
Buffy winced at the reproach in her mother's tone and shook her head. She knew Spike would behave for her mother and Xander, but the need to protect them and Dawn was strong.
"Shouldn't we call Angel to let him know that we'll be in LA tomorrow? Cordy should know that her ex is now a five year old boy." Dawn spoke up in the strained silence.
Spike snickered, causing everyone in the room to look at him.
"Can you see Angel's face when he comes face to face with a five year old Harris?"
The room exploded into laughter at the imagined look of desperation and shock on Angel's face at the revelation. The room calmed down and Joyce finished getting everything ready for the next morning, and she turned to Buffy. "We need to go shopping for clothes for him too. So if you go to bed now, you can wake up in time for a bit of clothes shopping."
Buffy squealed in joy and hugged her mother before running up the stairs to her room. Pausing to look in on Xander, she smiled at the picture he presented. Dressed in a long T-shirt from her mother's younger days, he was wrapped around one of Dawn's stuffed bears and he was nibbling on the thumb. Mentally cooing at the cuteness, Buffy skipped off to bed to sleep before the morning shopping trip.
While a few embarrassing moments had happened the night before when Xander woke up to use the bathroom and found Joyce getting to know Ethan and Rupert better, the morning shopping excursion was a success. After a hearty breakfast of pancakes, juice and fruit; Xander now had luggage, pants, underwear - in Batman and Scooby Doo style, t-shirts, socks, shoes and bathroom supplies.
Buffy had been in her element, and Xander was now afraid to go to any store with the Blond Slayer. He had been blunt when he told her that she was supposed to fight monsters, not the mall. Joyce and Dawn laughed long and hard at the pout on her face, but Xander simply patted her knee and told her to help Tara find something pretty. She was sad, and if shopping made Buffy happy, then it should make Tara happy too. Buffy smiled and hugged her, now younger, brother and head off to find Tara for some more shopping.
As they were getting ready to leave, Joyce told Xander that he would only get some chocolate once they were in LA as they had to drive there this afternoon.
"We have a lot to do in LA, and I need you awake for it. So you'll get a nice big chocolate bar just before we get there, ok?"
Xander nodded, and Joyce mentally cackled at the horror that would show on Angel's face. She was so glad that she got a digital camera that could capture Vampires. She would have to show it to Buffy when she got back.
Packing up the car, they made sure that Spike was safe in the back seat under the black blanket. It wouldn't do for Xander's guard to catch fire.
Just as they were pulling onto the main highway to the Hyperion, Joyce nodded at Dawn to give Xander a chocolate bar. During the ride, Xander had been told several stories about Angel, both good and bad, as well as Cordy and a few other people now working with Angel. They had all agreed that they didn't know Doyle, as only Buffy met him for a moment, but he seemed like a nice person.
As they wove the tales of Older Xander's high school years, the young boy frowned as they finished, gladly taking the bar from his cool Sparkling sister.
"Can I scare Mr. Broody-pants?" He asked after a long moment of silence.
"Go right ahead Xander, he made Buffy cry last time he saw her." Dawn answered in a matter of fact tone, making Xander gasp in outrage.
"No! He made the Super Princess cry? He's a bad man then." Joyce, Dawn and Spike had to stop themselves for laughing at the look of pure evil glee that came over the young boy's face and wondered if they should mention that Angel already apologized for it, until they remembered the other times that Buffy cried because of the Souled Vampire.
As they pulled up to the Hyperion, they wondered just what Xander would do to Angel upon seeing him.
Cordy was bored. She had filed everything that needed to be filed, answered the phone whenever it rang, and had already checked her appearance for the twenty-fifth time in half an hour. Angel was in his office, brooding once more, and Doyle was out at Lorne's bar. She was just about to get up to leave and get some coffee when Joyce, Dawn and Spike entered with a little brown haired boy.
"Joyce, what's going on? What's with the boy?" Cordelia knew better than to snipe at the older Summers woman that had been nothing but nice to her, and waited to see what was said.
"Oh everything is fine. We just finished beating Willow half to death for playing with things she shouldn't be touching, right sweetie?" Joyce looked down at the little boy and he bounced in place.
"Queen C! Queen C! Mama, me wanna hug Queen C!" He squealed in delight at being put down before dashing at the startled young woman who recognized that grin.
"Queen C! Help me hurt Mr- Broody-pants for making the Super Princess cry!"
"What the hel-heck happened to him?!" The screech brought out Angel who was curious about the noise coming from Cordelia's station.
"Cordy? What's going on?"
"Joyce, Dawn, Spike. What's going on?"
"Well, we brought Xander to come and see you."
"Xander." The name was said so flatly that Spike smirked at his grand-sire in glee.
The name made Angel look down at the small boy by his leg and he cocked his head to the side.
"Who are you?"
"I'm Xander." It was said in such a 'Duh!' tone, that Cordy snickered at the dumbfounded look on Angel's face.
"Well, this is a small improvement to your previous state." Angel smirked at the brown-eyed boy and missed the look of anger that passed on the other four faces in the room.
"You made the Super Princess cry. So, now, I will make you cry too."
The last part was said in such a perky tone that Angel could only feel dread as he watched the little boy skip over to Dawn.
"What happened to him was Willow playing with magicks she shouldn't be. She de-aged him to a time when he was last truly happy. He's now five."
"Oh she's praying alright." The evil grin that spread on the faces of Spike, Joyce and Dawn made Angel swallow, and Cordy look at them in shock.
"Tara left her, and Giles bound her magic with Ethan's help. Buffy was really pissed off knowing that she was being compelled to side with Willow whenever it came to magic, so when the Devon Coven came, she let them take her. She also wished that Willow suffer for what she did." Dawn spoke up after seeing Angel back up a step and hugged Xander a bit more before letting him crawl up Spike's leg.
"Yes, and you wished that Xander would have Rupert, Ethan and myself as his parents." Joyce continued in a calm tone of voice.
"Big Bad, can we go find more special people? They all nearby.... ooohhh and you can go all grrr on the baddies that'll come after them too!" Spike cackled and nodded as he walked out with his nummy, leaving Joyce and Dawn to explain everything to Angel and Cordelia.
Elsewhere, in LA, Lindsey MacDonald was meeting his cousin. He was tired and stressed out, and he wanted a few days with one of the few family members he actually liked. Eliot was running late, but he knew that it was because he had run into an old friend that he had gone hunting with in the past as well as a few of the street kids that he had been teaching how to fight and survive in the cut-throat world that was LA's streets.
Lindsey was so lost in his thoughts, that he never noticed the witch walking over to him until herbs were poured onto him, causing him to scream at the sudden and unexpected pain, before blacking out to the sight of a pissed off Eliot.
Eliot watched in horror as his cousin shrank before his eyes and he turned onto the witch that had done the casting. She had begun babbling about orders from Wolfram and Heart, and Eliot simply didn't care as grabbed her hair and calmly slit her throat for doing this to his family. Woman or not, no one touched Lindsey or hurt him if he could help it. Before he could begin to hack away at the body, his hunter friend, cleared his throat.
"Let us salt and burn her Eliot. You have to get the tyke out of here and get him some proper clothes before something bad happens to him."
"Alright Dean, but I need to watch her burn. After that, we go after the assholes that did this to Lindsey. No one touches my family."
Dean nodded and Sam dragged the body out of the building into the back alleyway. Dousing the Witch's body with salt, he was impassive as Dean set fire to the remains. He might not have liked Lindsey when he came to try and recruit him for Wolfram and Heart, but he had been honest and warned him about the dangers of almost getting caught up in their web. For that, Sam would help Eliot do everything possible to free Lindsey from the same thing he warned Sam of - Soul Stealing Bosses.
It didn't take long for the body to burn, with the amount of gas that Dean had doused the body with. With that task done, Dean called Eliot to ask where he wanted to meet up with him, and he was told the Hyperion Hotel. Apparently he had a bone to pick with a cursed Vampire that turned away Lindsey when he asked for help, simply because he wanted a mole inside Wolfram and Heart. Well, they'd be happy to beat the Vampire's ass, even though Eliot did say not to dust him yet. Shrugging, Dean led the way to his baby, and drove the rest of the way to the meeting place.
It took the pair of them an hour to get to the hotel, but they weren't worried. Eliot needed the time to get Lindsey some new clothes, and to see if he still had a bond with his cousin. They pulled up just as Eliot got out of a cab with his associates, and watched as a bleach blond man walked out o the doors with a small boy.
"Alright Xander, now, you remember the deal. I give you two more chocolate bars after we find the people you need and you can go and make Angel cry." The man spoke with a British accent and looked like an eighties reject.
"Yes Big Bad! I promise to be extra mean to the big poopie head that made the Special Princess cry." Xander would be extra mean to Angel because he had made Buffy cry right before they left for LA. He had the audacity to say something about this being an improvement. "Can we make Mama Joyce laugh? Queen C and Sparkle Girl too?"
Dean had choked when he heard the name Joyce and did a double take at the older woman that walked out of the hotel. She almost looked just like their mother.
"Aunt Joyce?" Sam looked at him in confusion as the woman spun around and the blond man turned to protect the little boy.
"Come now Whelp, we'll go make the poof cry with cheerleader's help. Tell her all about the mean evil Red Witch, and what the poof said to the Slayer, and the Bit and I will take pictures. Ready?"
"Wait before you go in. You're going to hurt Angel?" Eliot looked at them with a hitter's eye.
Before anyone could talk, Xander squealed and launched himself at Eliot. Lindsey, who was six years old, watched in awe as Xander deftly climbed up Eliot's frozen body and perched himself on the broad shoulders.
"He help! He help! Make Soul and Demon cry! Mr. Broody-pants will suffer!" Xander was giggling and Dawn, who stepped out with her mother, could tell that the sugar was finally fully in his system.
"If you put him down, you can come and watch a Vampire over 200 years old burst into tears at what Xander will do to him." The smile on the teenager's face made Eliot smile, she looked like a vengeful predator and he nodded.
"That's fine Darlin'. Now, before we go in, I'm Eliot, and this little guy is my cousin. A Witch de-aged him today, something about Wolfram and Heart demanding payment or something like that. Now, I don't want my cousin to lose his soul, so, I'll help you out if I can get a hand as well."