“I guess this is your room,” said a startled Rose. “Maybe? It wasn’t here before.”
Xander blinked and then narrowed his eyes, trying to focus more clearly on the sight before him.
Rose had led him on a circuitous trip of the TARDIS, one which began with those rooms which interested her the most and dwindled to those for which she had no use or whose purpose eluded her.
The scope of the ship awed him. While he had been willing to suspend a considerable amount of disbelief given that they were floating in a phone box in the middle of empty space, that the TARDIS housed a chef’s kitchen and fully-equipped gym was fairly remarkable.
He had seen those two rooms, as well as the library, which would have caused Giles to weep; the medical bay, which was far better equipped than Sunnydale Memorial Hospital; and Rose’s own bedroom, which was surprisingly simple with a subtle undercurrent of femininity. He had expected, well, shades of pink and lots of roses, even though Rose hadn’t exactly struck him as a girly girl. The Doctor’s bedroom was of course off limits.
There had been other rooms whose functions were fleetingly attested to by Rose, but he had disregarded them just as quickly as she had explained them, deeming they weren’t for his use.
“You should open the door,” Rose said, startling him from his reverie.
He looked at her, then back at the door, and frowned. He gazed at the relief carved into the wood, that of a knight atop a steed, a sword in one hand and a rose in the other. Above it was a sign, of sorts, in a script which appeared vaguely familiar.
“This is just weird.”
“Kind of," she agreed. "What does it mean?”
He didn’t answer, leaning in to examine further the plaque affixed to the door.
“Beats me,” he finally said.
“It says ‘Alexander’,” the Doctor announced, grinning when both Xander and Rose jumped.
“Sorry,” he added, though not at all contritely, peering at the door. “It’s Greek.” He nodded. “Good language, Greek. Very straightforward. No muddling of tenses.”
Rose rolled her eyes before turning to Xander. “Are you Greek?”
“No.” He frowned. “Not that I know of, anyway,” he added, shrugging.
“The name Alexander, in Greek, means ‘defender of man’,” the Doctor lectured.
Xander snorted, and then thought better of it.
“Should we be taking notes?,” he nervously whispered to Rose, who again rolled her eyes.
“Probably, but he does this all the time, just rambling things off.”
“It’s not rambling!,” the Doctor insisted. “I’m trying to give you some semblance of the education you so desperately require!”
“Now you listen to me,” Rose barked. “Just because I don’t have all your fancy degrees doesn’t mean that I’m not smart, and I’m tired of you suggesting otherwise!”
“That’s not what he means,” Xander said, wondering if they fought like this all the time or if his presence was the cause. Either way, it made him nervous.
“Oi! That’s not what I meant!,” the Doctor simultaneously exclaimed.
The Doctor and Rose both studied Xander, who shrugged again, a blush creeping up his neck.
“Remember that guy I told you about? The British one who’s like our dad?,” he asked Rose, who nodded. “His name’s Giles,” he added. “Well, he talks like that. It used to piss me off, too, but Willow finally explained it to me: he wasn’t saying that we’re stupid or anything, but that we’re just, well, ignorant.”
A fleeting smile crossed his face. “He used to have a girlfriend, Jenny. She said that ignorance was curable, but stupidity was forever.” He sighed. “Anyway, Giles just wanted us to know things, to know some of what he did. He’s one of those people who believes knowledge is power, and I guess he just wanted us to be prepared.”
Rose blinked. “Oh,” she said after a moment, eyeing the Doctor. “That makes sense. Of a sort.”
The Doctor stared at Xander. At last
! At long last! He and Rose finally had a translator!
Xander looked back at him rather apologetically. “It would probably help if you tried not to sound so pompous.” His eyes widened. “I mean, I’m sure you have the right to be pompous, because it’s pretty obvious you’re a genius or something, but it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” He frowned. “I think Willow called it ‘understanding your target audience’.”
Rose nodded emphatically.
The Doctor mulled that over for a second. “A fair point, but no promises.”
“Okay,” Xander smiled.
“You didn’t get to say goodbye to this Giles or Jenny,” Rose noted.
“Willow will explain to Giles what happened.”
He looked at the knight on the door and remembered Angelus. “Dead,” he said shortly.
“Oh,” Rose murmured. “Sorry.” She hesitated for as long as her curiosity would allow. “What happened?”
“A lot,” he muttered. “To make short an incredibly long and really messed up story, a vampire killed her.” He stared ahead at the door which led to his room.
The Doctor and Rose exchanged a glance, but both refrained from further questions.
“I still don’t get why it’s in Greek,” Xander mused, again staring at the plaque.
“Why don’t you ask the TARDIS why she made it such?,” the Doctor suggested, a little snidely.
He shrugged. “She’s not answering me.”
The Doctor rolled his eyes, still put out by whatever connection the boy shared with the ship. “No surprise there. Prickly beast.”
Xander snickered. “That’s pretty much what Willow said about you.”
Rose burst out laughing.
“Oi!”* * * * *
The three of them stood inside Xander’s room, and the Doctor for one was suitably impressed. He liked this room, though it wasn’t anything which he imagined Xander would desire; it was far too utilitarian and austere. Still, the TARDIS wouldn’t make such a mistake, so whether or not Xander knew this was what he wanted, the Doctor had no doubt the TARDIS had gotten it right.
“It’s a little…blah,” Rose said, eyes darting about.
Xander looked about, his eyes wide. The room was large, at least four times the size of his bedroom back home. The walls were painted a soft white. He wasn’t sure of the proper name, but expected it was something like ecru or eggshell. He was sure Cordelia would have known. At any rate, the color blended with the light and reflected it, but not harshly.
In the far corner was a single bed which looked comfortable and sturdy. On the pine nightstand next to it were several photographs in simple silver frames: one of himself, Willow, and Buffy; one of Buffy and Joyce; one of Giles and Jenny; and one of he and Cordelia.
Rose, immediately interested, make a beeline for them. “Who are they?,” she asked of those whom she didn’t recognize.
Xander listed the names in a monotone, saving Cordelia for last, for reasons which escaped him.
“She’s very beautiful,” Rose said, the Doctor silently agreeing. “Did you split up because she moved away?”
Xander snorted. “More like she moved because I drove her out of town, though that’s probably giving me way
too much credit.” He said nothing for several seconds, a silence which went unbroken by both Rose and the Doctor. “I did something very, very stupid, and I hurt her badly,” he finally said.
The Doctor shuffled his feet; he understood all too well.
“So was it Buffy or Willow?,” Rose asked.
“Rose!,” the Doctor hissed, annoyed when she waved him off.
“Willow,” Xander admitted.
Rose nodded and said nothing more, though the Doctor now watched both of them through narrowed eyes. He admired the boy’s honesty and his willingness to assume accountability, but also suspected he had a tendency for brooding, and he doubted Rose had the patience for yet another such personality on board. He turned and his eyes became the size of saucers.
“That’s quite an armory you have there,” he noted.
Xander stared at the corner opposite his bed, his breath quiet yet heavy.
“Wow,” Rose murmured. “You know how to use all that?”
“Um,” Xander began, fidgeting, “not all of it, no. Giles didn’t have time to train anyone but Buffy, so everything I know I’ve learned on my own or from watching her.” He ducked his head. “I’m better with long-range weapons than hand-to-hand. I, uh, tend to get knocked on my ass a lot.”
“So with which ones are you competent?,” the Doctor asked.
“The crossbow,” he said immediately. “I’ve used the Francisca throwing axe before, but my aim isn’t really that good, not when I’m throwing something that heavy, so the target would need to be large and immobile.”
He absently scratched his arm. “I’m proficient with the bow and arrow, but there’s not much use for them. I mean, in a fight, there’s not that kind of time. By the time I load the arrow, set it on fire, and get ready to draw back the bow, Buffy’s already dusted twelve vamps.”
He cocked his head and frowned. “I’m not sure why there’s a rapier. I’m not really one for swordplay. And the staff is strange, too. I’ve tried using one, but it always gets taken away or broken. Cordy was much better with it, because for her it’s like a big baton.”
Rose was confused.
“Cheerleader,” he clarified. “She was good with the staff and the crossbow. Gymnastics, too.”
“I know gymnastics,” she said proudly. She thumbed over her shoulder at the Doctor. "Saved his life with them, too."
“Really?” Xander asked, perking up. “Could you teach me some? I asked Cordy, but it’s hard for her to explain that stuff because she’s been doing it for so long. And Buffy, well, she doesn’t really understand that not everyone’s body is capable of enduring what hers is.”
“If you’ll teach me how to use some of these,” Rose countered, gesturing with a grand wave at the arsenal.
“Wait,” the Doctor interrupted, hoping to stave off that particularly distressing idea, “just so we’re clear, you weren’t merely the companion of the Slayer, but you actively fought at her side?”
“Well, sure,” answered a flummoxed Xander.
“And this Giles, whom I presume to be her Watcher, didn’t find it prudent to train you, as well?,” he angrily demanded.
“It wasn’t like that,” Xander protested.
“Oh? How was
it like?” He threw up his hands. “Don’t get me wrong. I abhor weapons and violence in general, and I’m less than pleased that the TARDIS has recreated these…artifacts…for your use, but I can’t fault you for trying to protect yourself.”
“It’s not Giles’s fault. Buffy requires a lot of attention, and so did Faith.”
“The other Slayer.”
“The other what
?!”* * * * *
Before Xander could even form an answer, the Doctor went on a tirade.
“Impossible! Never heard of any such thing. One girl in all the world with the power and blah blah blah. One! Two Slayers! The idea!”
“Buffy died,” Xander said, more sharply than was his intent.
Rose gasped softly and the Doctor ceased his hissy fit.
“She died,” he quietly repeated. “She went up against this really old vampire called the Master. There were prophecies which said she would die if they fought, but he was killing people, and she couldn’t have that.” His eyes, bright with righteous fury, locked with those of the Doctor. “She did her job, and she sacrificed herself to keep others safe.”
“Understood,” the Doctor said after a beat, “but that doesn’t explain how there are now two Slayers.”
Xander looked away and scratched the back of his head. “I found her body in an underground cavern. The Master had drowned her in a pool. I gave her CPR and she revived.”
“So that’s what Buffy meant when she said she was alive because of you,” Rose guessed.
He nodded, his blush now furious. It was apparent to the others that he was either embarrassed by being given credit or believed what he had done was not as impressive as it sounded; the Doctor and Rose thought it more so because of his humility.
“Go on,” the Doctor urged in a peculiar voice. Fascinating boy. Twinned the Slayer Line, all to save his friend, just as he had earlier saved Rose, then a complete stranger to him.
“Well, that’s pretty much it,” Xander said, shrugging. “She came back, but for a few minutes, she was technically dead, so another Slayer was called. Her name was Kendra.”
“Was?,” Rose asked.
He nodded. “And then Faith was Called. She’s a different kind of Slayer, a homicidal one who doesn’t limit her killing to vampires or demons. She’s in a coma now.”
“I see,” the Doctor muttered.
“Did she try to kill you?,” Rose asked.
“Rose,” the Doctor groaned.
“I want to know!”
“It’s okay,” Xander said, a sardonic smile on his face. “Yeah, she did. Of course, that was after she slept with me and threw me out of her room in my underwear. Good times.”
“Nice,” Rose murmured.
He caught sight of the look the Doctor was pointing at him. “Sometimes I give more detail than necessary. Even by my standards. Which are pretty low. I’m working on it.”
The Doctor gave a half-smile and nodded.
“I’m guessing there was more with this Faith?,” Rose asked.
“Oh, she was a peach. She kidnapped and held Willow hostage and tried to kill Buffy, and then Angel, a bunch of times, and then the whole town.”
“Angel,” the Doctor said.
“Yeah. He was Buffy’s boyfriend. He’s a vampire.”
Rose quirked a brow. “Was he a vampire while he was dating her?”
She chewed on that for a moment. “I’m sorry, but that’s just wrong
He sighed. “Well, a lot of people thought so, including me, but you love who you love, and that’s the end of it. I learned that lesson the hard way. It doesn’t really matter what anyone else says, because they’re not in your relationship.”
Rose thought about Jackie and all of her savage comments about the Doctor. “Agreed.”
She grabbed Xander’s arms and hauled him toward the weapons, demanding he explain in detail their use.
Xander was tense and looked to the Doctor for a reprieve, but was denied. The Doctor was not thrilled with Rose’s sudden interest in armaments, but he supposed she had felt rather inadequate given their recent adventures and wanted to learn to defend herself. He knew trying to discourage her would only heighten her frenzy, so he said nothing, preferring to inspect the rest of this new room.
He wasn’t annoyed by the size offered to Xander, for the TARDIS had unlimited square footage and there would be no further drain on her core power supply; what he noticed most was the amount of empty space the bedroom afforded. There was furniture and the weapons, of course, as well as a closet and bathroom; there were books and pictures and what appeared to be comic books and compact discs, all tidily stored away, leaving a great gaping maw of nothing in the middle. He peered over his shoulder at the small bed placed flush against the wall.
There was no clutter. Xander didn’t appear to be a highly organized individual and, given the fact that he was a teenager and that Rose’s own room could qualify for national disaster relief, this struck him as odd. After another few seconds, he realized what was bothering him.
The entire room was situated so that no impediments would fell him should the boy need to make an escape. Nothing to trip over, nothing to knock into in the dark, nothing that couldn’t be easily replaced later if necessary, as if it was expected that whatever time he spent on the TARDIS was transitory, a presumption which both relieved and rankled.
And Xander’s lack of commentary and the obvious comfort he experienced when walking into the room, the Doctor could only surmise that he was pleased with what the TARDIS had done. Had he a history of running away and, if so, from what? He glanced over at the boy and narrowed his eyes.
Or from whom?
It was strange the boy had made mention only of friends, even dead ones, but no family.
Oh. Well, that wasn’t good. He nodded to himself and clapped his hands.
“Right! Rose, I’d like to speak with Xander alone, please.”
She looked at him and then at Xander, who appeared baffled and concerned. “Why?,” she demanded.
“Because I said so!,” the Doctor snapped.
Stung but refusing to show it, Rose pursed her lips and stomped out of the room.
“Fine!,” she called over her shoulder. “I don’t care anyway!”
“Oh, obviously,” the Doctor muttered.
“Did I do something wrong?”
“Why would you ask that? You haven’t done anything yet.” His eyes narrowed. “Have you?”
Xander shrugged. “Because when something goes wrong, it’s usually my fault. Ask anybody.”
“You share that particular talent with Rose.”
“I heard that!,” the girl shrieked from her bedroom.
“Wow,” Xander murmured. “Are her ears bionic or something?”
The Doctor surprised himself by tittering like a ninny. He then felt rather flustered by the effusive grin Xander aimed at him. The boy was wholly charming for no discernible reason, but it was welcome. If Xander could walk at the side of the Slayer for four years and witness countless deaths and unholy destruction, yet still retain a core of innocence, it gave him hope that Rose might as well.
“So you needed something?”
“Eh?,” the Doctor fumbled. “Oh, right! Well, as we’re going to be traveling about the whole of space and time, I thought it might behoove both of us if I gave you a quick exam and any inoculations you might require. Don’t want you coming down with anything nasty, after all.”
Before he had finished, he could tell Xander was not enthusiastic about the suggestion.
No fight. No resistance.
“Did you do that with Rose, too?,” asked a now suspicious Xander.
Excellent, the Doctor thought. Doubtless the boy would later compare notes with Rose to make sure. “Not as such, no. Rather thoughtless on my part, but luckily it’s been a nonissue. If you’d like, we can include her, as well.”
“At the same time?!”
The Doctor suppressed a wry smile. “Not if it makes you uncomfortable, of course not.”
“Good! Good for no sharing! Um, yeah. Okay.” He raised a brow. “Does this require naked time?”
“Just checking.” He followed up that statement with what he hoped was a saucy wink just before prancing from the room with false nonchalance, leaving the Doctor speechless.* * * * *
Xander sat atop one of the empty gurneys in the medical bay, his legs kicking at air. He was absolutely not nervous, especially since the threat of nudity had been neutralized. And it made sense, didn’t it? He well knew if there were some space bug drifting about, he’d be the most likely to catch it.
The Doctor had donned a white lab coat for the event, making everything very official, and which only exacerbated the rise in his blood pressure. What if there was something already wrong with him? What if he was a danger to Rose? Was he contaminated? Would the Doctor stamp him defective and send him back? Back to what? He couldn’t have failed this soon, could he?
“Relax,” the Doctor said calmly. “It’s all very simple. You won’t feel a thing.”
“Is that a question or a declaration?”
The Doctor sighed and shook his head and commenced with the exam, running an exoprobe up and down the length of the boy’s body. “Good," he nodded. "Temperature normal. Circulatory and renal systems normal.” He nodded again to himself. “Neural system normal.”
“Really?,” a surprised Xander interrupted.
“Really,” the Doctor said dryly. “Although your dopamine and serotonin levels are slightly elevated.”
“Sorry,” he said contritely, hoping to cover the fact he had no idea what the Doctor was talking about. “Nervous.”
“Not a problem.” The Doctor continued running his scans, his pursed lips deepening into a frown and then a scowl.
“Uh, is something wrong?”
The Doctor said nothing at first, silently stowing away the probe and shucking off his lab coat. “Xander,” he said slowly, gently, “I’m very concerned.”
“Is it fatal?,” asked the resigned boy.
The Doctor blinked. “Excuse me?”
“Whatever I have. Is it fatal?”
“Nonsense,” the Doctor snapped, before recovering himself. “I’m concerned because you show evidence of multiple fractures in multiple locations. They’re healed of course, but it’s far more than the average human of your age – frankly, of any age – should have.”
“Oh. Well, that makes sense, right? I mean, four years of fighting yuckness? And I broke my arm once. That was in the library when we were fighting Drusilla. She’s a crazy vampire. Genuinely crazy.” He leaned forward. “She talks like Rose,” he confided.
“Well, I can understand why that would be disconcerting.”
“But it’s also irrelevant,” the Doctor continued. He paused. “The exam shows that these fractures are significantly old.” He raised a brow. “Far older than that for which your time with Buffy could account.”
“Oh.” He looked down at his hands, now folded in his lap.
The Doctor held his tongue for several seconds, busying himself with straightening things which didn’t require his attention, prepared to wait the boy out for as long as necessary. When five minutes had passed and Xander gave no sign of acquiescing, the Doctor sighed with frustration, but also pleasure that all the fight hadn’t yet been beaten out of the boy.
“I noticed you didn’t ask to say goodbye to your family.”
“Willow and Buffy are
“I understand that.”
“Do you?,” Xander challenged.
“Yes. I do.” he said sharply.
“Is Rose your family?”
“That’s not the issue.”
“I think it is.” The TARDIS whirred. “She thinks so, too.”
“Now you see here!,” he thundered. “Both
of you! My relationship with Rose is none of anyone’s concern.”
“But there is a relationship?,” smiled a smug Xander.
“Your deflection has been registered and disregarded.”
Xander sighed and shrugged. “Why do you need me to say it?”
“Have you ever said it aloud?”
Xander was grateful the Doctor wasn’t becoming all Afterschool Special, but he still resented the intrusion. “Is that supposed to make it more real or something?”
“I’m quite sure it’s very real,” the Doctor said quietly, placing a hand on Xander’s shoulder, “and completely undeserved.”
“Thanks,” Xander whispered after a moment.
“Do you know why I asked you to come with us?”
“Because Rose made you?”
The Doctor waved a hand. “She doesn’t have that much control over me.”
“Because the TARDIS made you?”
He snorted. “Her either.” He looked up at the ceiling. “No matter what she thinks!,” he said more loudly.
“Because you saved Rose’s life at what could very well have been the expense of your own.” He paused. “If you ever wonder what kind of man you are, Xander, remember this: you saved an innocent life because it was the right thing to do. Don’t make that out for any less than what it is. I certainly don’t.”
He was frustrated by the lack of response, angered that Xander now refused even to look at him. Why? Never before had he cared if someone failed to heed him. Their loss after all. But he knew this boy was special, that he, as Rose had earlier deduced, had joined them for a reason. The One Who Sees. He still didn’t know what that meant, and the TARDIS was being maddeningly tight-lipped. And why could he not see how time laid out for the boy?
“My father hit me. A lot.”
The Doctor nodded to himself. It was a start.* * * * *
Rose, ear pressed to the door, closed her eyes and punched at air.* * * * *
The Doctor was again beneath the console, tinkering with mechanisms which all but sighed with annoyance at his machinations.
He was very, very angry.
He had dismissed Xander quickly after the exam, lest the boy sense his rage and erroneously believe himself responsible.
Xander had gone off in search of Rose, which troubled the Doctor somewhat, as he did not wish to consider Rose and Xander becoming a source of comfort for one another, though he doubted it could be avoided for long.
Curiously, Rose had vanished within the TARDIS, an act in which she rarely engaged, but had done so on enough occasions that the Doctor understood she, for whatever reason, did not wish to be found.
Despite all the places he had been and all the things he had seen, the abuse of others stoked an ire within him that burned cold. He preferred this to fiery outrage, for it allowed him more control over his emotions and actions. And action would have to be taken.
He once had children, and he had loved them; he had also lost them, which was why he understood Jackie Tyler, though he did not like her. He knew that her every word and action against him came from a deep-seated place of love and concern for her daughter. Jackie had many faults, yes, but she was also a very good mother. Which was why he thought it an excellent idea that he take Rose home to visit; that way, Jackie could mother both
Rose and Xander.
And if doing so managed to quell somewhat her harassment of himself, he was not opposed to that.
He paused and looked up to see Rose glaring down at him. Lovely.
“What is it?,” he gruffly asked.
She said nothing, her gaze intensifying.
He pursed his lips. “You were eavesdropping.”
“That’s right,” she nodded. “And don’t deny you wanted me to.”
“Preposterous.” Of course he had; he had engineered it so that her curiosity would not be denied.
She curled a lip. “Why.”
He sighed and placed his tools on the floor before standing and rolling his neck. “Because you needed to know. If he’s going to be here, you need to understand him.”
“No,” he shook his head, “you don’t. He’s not always going to be the cute boy-hero, Rose. He’s going to be sullen, and snappish, and obnoxious on occasion.”
“Oh,” she snorted, “and I certainly have no
experience with that. And it’s not like you’ve ever told me why you are the way you are.”
Well, he had just walked right into that one, hadn’t he? “I told you about the war.”
“But not your part in it.”
No, and he wouldn’t; it would change everything. “That’s irrelevant. This is about Xander.”
She bit her lip and said nothing for a moment. “How did you know?”
He was about to shoot off an answer, but her tone gave him pause. He blinked and cocked his head. “You already knew.”
She nodded once.
She shrugged. “You grow up on an estate, you see things.”
“Ah.” He felt a right fool. It never ceased to amaze him that every time he attempted to teach something to Rose, he ended up being imparted some lesson by her. Fantastic girl.
She dropped to the floor and sat cross-legged, peering down at him. “So what do we do?”
“There’s nothing we can do,” he replied. “As much as I wish I could, I can’t change the past, Rose. Xander is who is, and that’s a good thing. You like him, and so do I.”
“Yes, all right, I like him. He’s a nice young man. Brave and kind and all those good things. Happy now?”
She smiled and bobbed her head. “Yeah.”
Her brow furrowed. “What do you mean, ‘he is who he is’?”
He pursed his lips. She wasn’t going to enjoy hearing this anymore than he would saying it, but it needed to be said. “Those things I said before, about Xander being a nice person. He’s that way because of how his father treated him.”
“But true. He fights demons because he has his own. He does the right thing because the right thing was never done by him. He helps Buffy control the Hellmouth because he never had any control over his own life.”
Rose was silent for several long moments, staring down at her hands, now folded in her lap. “That’s awful.”
“Yes, it is,” the Doctor agreed. “He was treated horribly by the people who should have loved him the most, but rather than become like his father, he became the antithesis. He’s driven to do good because he understands the bad.”
She accepted the observation without comment.
“Are you going to talk to him?”
She shook her head. “Not unless he wants me to. It’s not my business until he makes it such.”
Fantastic girl, really.
“But I’d like to pay a visit to his father with some of those weapons.”
“I’ve got a favor.”
He sighed and rolled his eyes. “Yes, yes. As soon as I get the TARDIS ready, we’re heading back to London so you and Jackie can bond,” he sneered.
She gave him a two-fingered salute. “Not that, but thanks. I think we should take Xander somewhere. You know, somewhere he’d like to go. Time machine, right? Maybe there’s something he’d like to see that would make him feel better.”
The Doctor cocked his head and considered it. “Yes,” he said. “All right. Why not?” No harm, and it was completely worth it for the beaming smile she shot at him.
“I’m going to find him and tell him!” And with that, she sprang to her feet and took off running.
He shrugged and began gathering his tools. Once finished, he stood and rolled his neck.
“Are you going to cooperate?,” he demanded of the TARDIS. “No surprise visits to other destinations?”
She whirred her agreement, which very much annoyed him.
“What is it about this boy? Why are you so keen on him?”
He wasn’t surprised when she didn’t deign to answer, but he was worried.
Whoever Xander Harris was, whatever
he was, it was sure to cause problems.