Disclaimer: Don't own or claim rights to Buffy or TFATF.~~~~~
Xander hunted around for his book bag. One last week of school, then he was free for 3 whole months – hallelujah! Maybe he should wish Willow 'mazel tov' or something. It was a thought. Except for the fact that she actually enjoyed school, got it, could sit still for it, all that. He was just glad that there was only one more week of torture left before he could be free to goof off with his best friends. He may not have many friends, but Will and Jesse were all he needed.
He left his bedroom, and was about to race downstairs to head out to school, when he heard his parents talking. Of course, his father would have to lower his voice for it to normally be considered talking, but that was just him.
“I don't care,” Tony's voice came up the stairs. “The boy's in high school now. He can go off to your family's place for the Summer.”
There was a pause when his mother must have spoken, then came Tony's reply. “You just get on the phone, and tell them that the boy is coming down. He's staying for the whole Summer, too. God! It'll be good to get some damn peace and quiet in this house!”
'Huh! Peace and quiet in this house,' Xander thought. 'That would happen sometime after you're dead, won't it? Shit. At Mom's family's place for the whole Summer. So much for our plans.' He sighed. 'Well, better break the news to Will and Jess. They deserve some warning. Ha – wonder how much warning I'll get? Oh, well, better get moving.'
With care, Xander made sure to sneak out of the house without either parent noticing he had still been inside to hear their conversation.~~~~~
Biting his bottom lip, Xander carefully crept up behind the slender redhead before swooping and wrapping his arms around her, pinning her arms to her body, and lifting her in the air.
“Xander!” she squeaked. “How could you do that to me?” Willow demanded after he had put her down again.
“Um, it was fun?”
“No, mister poopyhead, it was not funny. You scared me.”
“Oh, Will,” Xander began, pulling out the big-gun puppy dog eyes, “I'm sorry for scaring you. Will you forgive me?”
She groaned. “Yes, Xander, I forgive you. Now don't do it again,” she added, frowning.
“Yes, Will,” he agreed, grinning. Then he slung his arm around her shoulders, and walked with her towards the school. “So, got any plans for the Summer?”
“Yeah. Mom and Dad are taking me to some conferences. Other stuff. I'm going to be away for most of the holidays. Sorry.”
“Don't be. I'm pretty sure I'm getting shipped off for the Summer. 'Course, that means that Jesse's going to be stuck here all Summer by himself.”
“Oh, no,” Willow sighed mournfully.
“Oh, no what?” Jesse asked, coming up on Willow's other side.
“Neither of us are going to be here this Summer,” Willow sighed.
Jesse frowned at Xander. “Huh? What's the deal?”
“I'm being shipped of to someone else's place. Uncle or Aunt Somebody. Don't know who.”
“Where would they be?” Willow asked.
“Well, Mom has a sister in LA, and another in, um, Seattle? And I think Dad has some family in, ah, nope, can't remember where. Apart from Uncle Rory, of course.”
“And what's the chances of you being shipped to LA?” Jesse wanted to know.
“As little as possible, I'm guessing.”
“Yeah. That bites.”
“The big one,” Xander agreed. “So you going to be okay for the Summer?”
“Yeah. I'll figure something out. And we can talk, can't we?”
“We better be able to. Every couple of weeks, or so,” Xander agreed.
“I'll try calling, too,” Willow promised. “I'll be all over the place, so I might get the time zones wrong, but I'll try to do it right.”
Xander snorted. “Yeah. You could get the time zones wrong. That's going to happen.”~~~~~
The week had been long and short. Long, because Xander hated school, and the last week before freedom seemed to be the longest, but the moments outside of school had just vanished as he watched his expulsion from Sunnydale approach. And then there he was, exhausted, standing on the footpath, checking an address. The house was lit up, and loud with the sounds of a party. There were cars everywhere, and he could see a lot of people through the front windows. He checked the address again, and walked up to the front door.
He peered through the open door, looking for his cousin. A man stepped into the front hall and noticed him, so walked up to the door. “Can I help you?”
Xander gulped. The man looked scary – the muscles, the tattoos, the attitude all added up to someone he really didn't want to piss off. “Ah, I'm looking for my cousin, Dominic Toretto. Is this the right place?”
“Oh, hey, yeah. He said someone was coming. What's your name, kid?”
“Xander. Um, Harris. So is he here?”
“Yeah. Where's your parents?” he added, looking out the door.
“Um, home. I think. I guess.”
Vince looked down at the kid. A bit on the scrawny side, and wearing too much for Summer. Long sleeves in this heat! Still carrying his duffle, and looking a bit scared, but not backing down. “So how'd you get here?”
“Bus, then walked.”
Vince felt his jaw clench. “Why didn't you call? Dom would have come for you.”
The boy blushed, and started playing with his the hem of his shirt. “Mom forgot to give me the phone number. But she gave me the address,” he offered brightly.
“Uh huh. Hey, let me take that,” Vince offered, reaching for the duffle. “Let's get you set up. You had something to eat yet?”
“Yeah, I had some lunch.”
“In case you didn't notice, kid, it's kinda night time now. I'll take you up to Mia, and she can get you something to eat and drink while I talk to Dom and get your bag to your room. I think you're sharing with Jesse, so you might just have to sleep a little heavy,” he added with a grin. “And no touching the computers,” he warned.
“Oh, okay. Not a problem. And thanks, ah …?”
“Name's Vince,” the man introduced. “I live here. So do Jesse and Leon. Letty's with Dom, and Mia's here too, of course. And here she is,” he added, knocking on a door.
When the girl came to the door, Vince introduced them, and let her know Xander needed something to eat. He then dropped Xander's bag in the bedroom he was going to share before going down to find Dom. He was pretty sure Dom would be about as impressed with the boy's parents as he, himself, was.~~~~~
Dominic was talking to Letty when Vince walked up to them, frowning. “What's up?”
“Your cousin's here,” Vince explained.
Dom grinned as he stood. “Great. Where are they?”
“No, just him. He's in the kitchen getting something to eat.”
“What do you mean, it's just him? Where are his parents?”
“Back home, apparently.”
“When did he get here?”
“Vince,” Dom growled.
“Boy said he took the bus, then walked. His mom didn't even give him your number, and what taxi is going to pick up a kid with a bag, 'specially coming out here?”
“Your shitting me!”
“Looked spooked coming in here, too. I thought he had a decent home?”
Dom thought for a moment. “What decent family dumps their kid on some cousins they only saw once, something like five years ago? And for the whole Summer, at that.”
Vince shrugged. “So his family is shit. He can still have a cool Summer. Cars, girls, all that,” he added, grinning.
Dom rolled his eyes as he stood to find his cousin. “We'll go easy on the girls. He's just a kid, okay?”
“Yeah. Like you weren't doing it at his age,” Vince grinned.~~~~~
Xander was devouring a sandwich when Dom entered the kitchen. He looked up at his cousin, and with wide eyes, attempted to inhale his mouthful, and promptly started choking. Several hefty thumps, and half a glass of milk later, Xander found himself finally able to breathe properly. “Hey, there,” he mumbled.”
“You right there?” Dom asked, seemingly amused.
“Yeah. You're bigger than I remember. It was a bit of a shock, is all.”
Dom laughed. “That's okay, Xan. You'll grow up someday, too.”
“Here's hoping,” the boy agreed. “So...” he began nervously, “You okay with this? Being lumped with me all Summer, I mean.”
His cousin snorted. “Hell, yeah. I don't get the feeling that your parents have changed much since I saw them last, so getting you away from them is no problem at all. I probably would have tried earlier, but things weren't that good around here for a while. Doubt your parents even knew what was happening, but ...” he shrugged. “It's okay now. Okay. So your Summer. We can't take you anywhere special,” Dom began, but Xander interrupted him before he could go further.
“No, that's okay. I don't want to put you guys out. Just so long as I have somewhere to hang. Maybe I can, I don't know, do something to help?”
Dom grinned. “Sounds good. The way I figure, you can help Mia out at the store, and you can also help out at the workshop. We tune cars. I doubt your dad ever bothered to teach you anything, so we can teach you about cars. Might even look at getting something from the wrecker for you to fix up, then it's all yours, and you know how to look after it. How's that sound?”
“Man! That sounds great! I get to learn about cars?” Xander's eyes and smile were both wide and bright.
“Sure. There's other stuff, too. We don't work all day every day. It just won't be a fancy holiday like some of your friends might have.”
“That's okay. All I was going to do at home was just hang with my friend all Summer. Neither of us were going anywhere, so that's cool. Will I be able to call Jesse? He's the one stuck at home this Summer, and I kind of said I would try to phone him. Is that okay?” Xander added in a rush.
“Yeah, sure. Not all the time. But, sure, you can call your friend.”
“Cool,” the boy grinned.