Someone Knows about Mom
Chapter Four - Someone Knows about Mom
----- CASCADE, Washington
Xander took his time driving to this town. He stopped at small and large cities along the way. He played tourist in most of them. He was able to find several Slayers on his journey. He set them up with the Watchers that existed in the cities and also with access via email to the Headquarters.
The information superhighway was growing and the idea to open and maintain a secure Slayer Network was accepted by the Council. It would certainly be easier to communicate with the Watcher HQ that way.
Xander purchased dozens of the mini-computer notebooks, laptop style and had them shipped to London for the needed programming, which is what Andrew had been tasked to do in conjunction with Willow and a few of the other computer wiccans.
They were then returned directly to the Slayers that he had found. Many were sent for distribution from the next active Hellmouth in Cleveland. There the Watchers where they were organizing the girls into pods of pummelling mayhem.
His road-trip was taking longer, but he felt better for it no matter how long it was taking him. Eventually he ended up in Cascade, Washington. He was a little leery about visiting a guy whose mom had been friends with his. It would be weird going up to the guy to ask if his mother was one of those free-love flower children from back when.
He secured his stuff at a fairly decent motel inside the city and then began to track down the man known as Blair Sandburg. It didn’t take him long because he was sitting in a café reading the paper only to have the man’s name jump out at him from the pages of the Cascade Chronicle. Detective Blair Sandburg and his partner Detective Jim Ellison, have captured...
“Whoa,” Xander mumbled. “So the guy became a detective. That’s pretty cool.” He made a couple of notes about the Major Crimes division and decided to look up a few of the cases that these two had worked on. He was curious about their solve rate.
Days later Xander walked up six flights of stairs heading for the Major Crimes level because he couldn’t stand being in elevators. He was still not used to the motion without motion sensation that some elevators produced. The receptionist was quite nice and armed with his visitor tag he was ready to seek out Detective Blair Sandburg.
He walked into the main section of Major Crimes and with a quick look around he was able to find the man. He slowly made his way over to the man’s desk when he was suddenly blocked by a chest wall. It belonged to someone he hoped was human. He looked up and found himself being scrutinized by a man with short cropped hair and intense blue-eyes.
Xander took a short step back and said, “Sorry, but do you mind... I’m here looking for Detective Sandburg not a human wall.”
The other man’s eyebrows rose. It was the fact that this one-eyed person didn’t seem to care who he was that put him on his guard. “What is your business with him?”
“It’s personal,” Xander said. “Therefore, I believe, that it’s none of your business.”
“Jim!” Blair said in such a tone that the man in front of Xander deflated slightly.
“But,” Jim began.
“No buts,” Blair said walking up to the larger man and patting him on the back. “Let him through. I’ve been waiting for him to show up.”
Jim frowned and stepped aside to let his partner come forward.
“Hi, I’m Blair and this is my partner, Jim Ellison,” Blair said holding out his hand.
“Nice to meet you,” Xander said returning the enthusiastic handshake. “My name’s Xander Harris. Is there somewhere we can talk?”
“Interrogation one,” Jim said.
Blair rolled his eyes and said, “There a dinner just down the street and its near lunchtime. You interested?”
“Sure, but you lead the way,” Xander said. He watched in amusement as the two argued about Jim coming along or not. “Blair,” he said. “He can come if he needs to.”
Blair’s eyes turned quizzical at that statement, but as soon as Xander said that, Jim had his coat on and was tugging at his Guide. “Come on,” he said. “I’m hungry too.”
“Oo-kay,” Blair said putting on his coat.
“I’ll meet you guys downstairs,” Xander said. “What floor will you be getting off at?”
“Bas..., oomph,” Jim was about to say, but he was elbowed by his partner. “Bony elbows.”
“Ground floor,” Blair said. “In fact I think that I will come with you.”
“Not without me,” Jim said with a grumble following them.
The all headed down the stairs, when Blair asked, “Why the stairs?”
“Prevents vertigo,” Xander said by way of explanation. He was moving at a steady pace down the stairs, like he was used to it. He made sure that his left hand was on the left rail, which made him feel more secure.
It didn’t take them long to get to the dinner, sit down and order their meal. Blair couldn’t hold back his questions or curiosity. “So you were looking for me,” he started. “Can I ask why?”
“Yeah,” Xander said. “Before I go into any details can you tell me if this is your mom?” He pulled out the one photo he had of a geeky man in glasses. It was the only that he had with the two ladies and a photo that had been given to him by Doctor Egon Spengler.
Blair took the photo and looked at it closely. He smiled and said, “Yeah that’s her. I’ve seen lots of photos of her and this woman, but I never was told her name.”
“Her name was Jessica Lavelle back then,” Xander said pointing to the photo. “She married an Anthony Harris.”
“Your father,” Jim said.
“My adoptive father,” Xander said. “I’m looking for my real one now.”
“So why are you looking for Blair,” Jim asked.
“Jim!” Blair said in that tone again, but this time it didn’t work.
“It’s okay Blair,” Xander said. “I just wanted to know more about my mother. There’s nothing wrong with that, is there Detective?”
“Blair’s mine,” Jim said possessively. “I don’t want another Guide.”
Xander’s brow furrowed and then he let out a barked laughter. “Oh man,” he gasped. “The girls will never believe me.”
Jim wanted to leap across the table and grab a hold of the giggling man sitting across from him. “What’s so funny?”
“You think that I’m going to take him away,” Xander said with a gasping breath and shaking his head. “Admit it, there’s something about me that’s wiggin you out. You believe for some reason that I’m here to take him away or replace him. I’m not here for either of those reasons.”
Blair looked shocked at that revelation. “Jim,” he said calling the Sentinel’s attention. “Is there something you want to tell me?”
“No,” Jim said. “Not here.”
Xander got a hold of himself and the looked at the seeming silent exchange between the two other men. “Look guys,” he said drawing their attention back to him. “I don’t care what you two do together on or off the books. I only came here to ask about your mom.” He looked at Blair when he said this. “I figure you might have some information about contacting her because I don’t think she knows that my mother is dead.”
“Why would you think that?” Jim asked, suspicious about that information.
“I received a couple of letters from his mom,” Xander explained. “She addressed them to mine and my mom’s lawyer received them. He forwarded them to me and told me to deal with it. Check the post mark.” He handed over the last letter that he had received.
“It was sent a week ago,” Jim said. “That means she’s somewhere in America and not far from here. Chief, is there something you haven’t told me?” He turned to look at his partner.
“She’s about two towns over,” Blair said running his hand through his hair. “I didn’t want her coming here, but she insisted that she needed to see me. I got an email from her a couple of days ago so don’t look at me like that. I told her that I’d have to talk to you before I visited.”
“You didn’t have to do that,” Jim said.
“Yes I did,” his Guide said in that voice that told the Sentinel that he was more important. Blair looked at Xander and then reflected on something that Jim had said.
“Another Guide,” he said softly looking at the one-eyed man and then to his Sentinel.
“It’s just something I can sense,” Jim said. “Look this isn’t the place for this kind of talk. Give him the address to your mom’s and let’s get out of here.”
“No way,” Blair said. “Xander, I’ll go with you. You’re travelling around trying to get some closure,” at the man’s nod, he continued. “I need to do the same. Tell me where you’re staying and I’ll pick you up tomorrow morning.”
“No,” Jim said. “You’re not leaving me behind. I’m driving.”
“Jim,” Blair started to say, but stopped at the frown from his Sentinel. He sighed and nodded. “All right,” he turned to Xander and asked, “Where are you staying?”
“Backwoods Motel,” Xander said. “I only booked for a couple of nights. This won’t take long, will it?”
“No the town is only about an hour away,” Blair said. “I’ll call her and let her know that I’m coming to see her. I won’t say a thing about you.”
“That’s fine,” Xander said. He was thinking about the things that he would have to do in order to secure his room. “I’ll see the two of you tomorrow morning, what time?”
“We’ll pick you up at nine,” Jim said getting up from the table.
Xander nodded and watched them leave without paying. He snorted, shook his head and pulled out his wallet. “Figures,” he said to the waitress. “This should cover it. You keep the change.”
“Thank you Sweety,” she said. “Would you like another coffee?”
“No thank you,” Xander said getting up and leaving too.
He headed back to his motel room. He checked his spells and charms that prevented anyone from coming into his room without his permission. Thankfully he and the girls had learned that anti-invitation spell because that was the most useful one in his repertoire. He truly needed it for the motel and hotel rooms he was currently living in.
Willow showed him the spell some time ago and Giles taught him how to do it with his limited skills.
‘That’s a laugh
,’ Xander thought. ‘I’m limited no more, but I need to be careful.
’ It was just minor things that he could do, but it was enough to protect him while he slept and it was enough to protect his things from theft. That’s all he needed.
----- 9:00am - Next Day
There was a knock at the door of his hotel room. He opened it to find the tall Detective standing there.
“Detective,” Xander said. “I’ll be right out.”
He moved away from the door to go grab his satchel bag. He turned around in time to see the man stand up and rub his fingers together. He looked down at his salt line and knew that he have to lay down another bit to close the disturbed connection.
“Hey,” Xander said. “Don’t touch something like that without asking. Now stand outside and let me close the protective circle you broke.” He took out a container of course salt, stepped over the ring and shook the salt into the space made by the inconsiderate Detective.
“So-mote-it-be,” he said putting away the container in his satchel and then he locked the door ready to go.
“What are you,” Jim asked. “Who are you?”
“Just plain old Xander Harris,” Xander said. “Don’t you believe me?”
“No,” Jim said. “Are you touched in the head?”
“Are you?” Xander returned, heading down to where Blair was standing by the truck waiting.
Jim frowned, but before he could say anything else Blair was there wishing Xander a good morning.
“Hey how’s it going?” Xander asked the short Detective as they both climbed into the Sentinel’s truck.
“Great,” Blair said. “I called my mom to let her know that we’re on our way, but Jim was still...” He gestured to the man as he settled into the driver’s seat of his vehicle.
“Yep,” Xander agreed.
They didn’t talk until they had left the city limits and were well on their way. “Do you mind explaining what that little ritual of yours meant,” Jim asked. “I’m sure Blair would be interested in knowing that you spread salt around your hotel room.”
“You did?” The anthropologist asked.
“Yes,” Xander said with a sigh. “It’s a wiccan spell of protection.” He took a deep breath and then asked, “Do you know what a ‘boca del infierno
Blair paused to sip his coffee and then said, “Its literal translation means ‘Hell Mouth
’. There are several cultural references to such things in many of the South American tribes that I’ve studied. There was never any physical evidence that such a thing exists, but the reference was usually used to refer to an element that disturbed nature in such a way that things ‘felt evil
’ or as they say, ‘el Diablo caminó aquí
’ or ‘the devil walked here’.” (...i...)
Xander nodded at that. “What about you,” he turned to Jim. “Have you ever felt something that just should not exist or something you instinctively knew was evil?”
Jim had to think about that for a bit before he said anything. The other two were waiting for his response and just for that he decided to answer as honestly as possible.
“There have been times,” he said reluctantly. “Some of our collars felt off... like they just didn’t care about what they had done. Sometimes I can walk down a street and know that something had passed by there and that it wasn’t something I ever wanted to meet.”
“There are places in the world where clans or tribes have refused to settle,” Xander said taking up the conversation to try and explain things. “They had people among them with sensitivity to the currents or auras of such areas and that’s when they realized that some of those places were very evil. Something about them changed their people in a very basic way. Now imagine moving forward several hundred years and the populations increase and people actually settle in those areas.”
“Oh man,” Blair said. “Anyone born in such a place theoretically would be sensitive or influenced by such a thing.”
“That’ right,” Xander said. “I was influenced, hence the salt circles and a few superstitious words of power in new places. I feel better for doing such things rather than know I didn’t and then find that I might have been influenced by something I can’t see.”
“What makes you think that your home town was influenced by this ‘boca del infierno
’?” Jim asked wondering where the young man was going with all of this.
“My town was built on such a place,” Xander said. “The original settlers were warned away by the local tribe of the area, but they refused to settle elsewhere.” He took a deep breath and then said, “You can tell that something ‘evil
’ influenced the people because the sheer number of graveyards, headstones, and churches were out of proportion to the number of people living in the town.”
“Were,” Jim asked catching the past tense.
“It sank into the ground,” Xander said. “Everything is gone, including all of the buildings.”
“Where was this town,” Blair asked. He was still brimming with curiosity.
“Oh, man,” Blair said. “I heard about that. The entire town was swallowed by a sinkhole. Some people believed that there were no survivors.”
“Oh, there are survivors,” Xander said. “We’ve had enough warnings about what might happen and some of the townspeople left earlier. Others, a few of my friends and I, stayed behind until the last minute. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to witness firsthand the destruction that took place there.”
“Is that how you lost your eye,” Jim asked.
“Just before,” Xander said. “Earthquake... I fell down wrong and ended up with something in my eye.” He shrugged and said, “It happens rarely, but it’s like those people who always say that odds are it would have happened sometime anyway. It’s just my luck that it was me this time. At least I’m still alive to tell the tale.” He turned to look out of the window, while the other two were reflecting on the information that they had just received.
It was true that some individuals are sensitive in unexplained ways. Jim figured it wasn’t his place to judge, besides he has the senses thing. What if the one or two others, with hyper sensitivity in one or two of their senses, turned them to seek out specific things like these locations that Xander had been talking about.
Blair was turning the new information around in his mind and he was matching it up to the data from his anthropological interests. Some of the strange information that he had learned, he never understood until it was now explained by this unique young man. There was something about him that was familiar too, but his Sentinel was turning into a lane that belonged to a house where his mother had apparently been living in for a couple of weeks.
Xander just looked on impassively and waited until they had stepped out of the truck in order to stretch his limbs. He noticed the movements of the curtains from what he assumed was the living room, but didn’t mention it to the others that they were being observed.
The door flew open and an older version of the young woman from Egon’s photo ran out the door to embrace her son. She was chattering at him excitedly. “Blair,” she said. “It’s so good to see you. I was wondering just when you’d be getting here? Why have you brought him
along,” she glared at Jim and then asked. “Who’s the other one with you?”
“Jim comes with me because he’s my friend and partner,” Blair said. “You will have to just accept that. Now put the hostility aside and come meet someone you may have only heard about.” He was guiding her away from his irate Sentinel, to meet Xander.
“Mom,” he said. “This is Alexander Harris, he prefers to be called Xander, and he thought you might be able to help him.”
“How,” his mother asked bewildered by the fact that she could launch into a verbal attack against the taller man.
Xander pulled out the photo and pointed at one of the girls. “Is this you?”
Naomi took the photo in shaking hands and gasped in surprise. “I haven’t seen this in ages,” she said in shock. Her face took on a dreamy aspect and she used a finger to pet the faces of the other two in the photo.
“Egon and my Jessie,” she said in a whisper. “Where did you get this?”
“Dr. Egon Spengler gave it to me,” Xander said.
“So he did it,” she said. “I always knew that he would.”
“Did what?” Blair asked wondering what this was about.
“He was a sweet boy,” his mother said leading them into the house. She kept looking at the picture and remembering. “He didn’t have the confidence back then to pursue his chosen field for his Doctorate, so my best friend and I treated him to a night that he would never forget. A confidence booster, if you will.”
Blair’s eyebrows rose at that information. “Mom?”
“It was the sixties honey,” she said. Naomi then handed the photograph back to Xander. “We were all about having fun and you know ‘lovin’ one another right now
’. (...ii...) He knew the score, we never made any promises we couldn’t keep. Why don’t you all come on in and we’ll discuss what we need to discuss, hm?”
Blair just sighed, walked into the living room and flopped down on the couch. Jim followed him, sitting down next to him and Xander chose to sit in one of the wingback wicker-type chair made of all natural bamboo fibres.
“I trust everyone will have tea,” she said coming back into the room with full tray of tea, cups and saucers, etc... Naomi was challenging them to ask for something else, not that they would get it, but she needed to do something about the Pig
that was in there midst. She had no clue about the other young man with them.
Xander bit the bullet and pulled out two envelopes from his satchel. He handed them to Naomi, solemnly and that’s when she knew... at that moment she knew that her best friend had never received them. “So that’s why she never answered them.”
“I’m sorry,” Xander said. “My mom died almost a year ago... car accident.”
Naomi took a deep breath and sighed. “I see,” she said. “Who was responsible?”
Xander paused not sure if he wanted to tell her, but there was nothing to be gained from keeping silent in this matter. “Tony Harris,” he said. “They swerved into oncoming traffic. She died at the scene.”
Naomi had tears in her eyes. “If you’ll excuse me for a moment,” she said standing up and heading into another room. “Help yourselves to tea.”
Jim watched and sensed that for the first time something had deeply affected the woman. He had never sensed her regret or remorse during the time that Blair had ruined his doctorate chances. This was the first time he noticed how emotional the woman really was.
‘Just like Blair
,’ he thought, taking a glance at his partner.
Blair was sitting there slightly stunned at his mother’s emotional outburst.
Xander reached for the teapot and poured a cup of tea for the anthropologist.
“Blair,” he said handing over the cup. He looked to the other Detective and received a negative response to the offer of tea. “Guess we wait.”
“Yeah,” the Guide said taking a sip of tea. “I’ve never seen her like that.”
Naomi came back into the room after a short while with a tattered box, but the men could see the contents. It was filled with mementoes and letters. It even had its own version of a diary, similar to the one that Xander was familiar with. He had been using it to seek the reference to his potential biological father.
She looked at Xander and then pulled out a small photo album. “This was from the time that we travelled across America on foot,” she said. “We were sixteen at the time, but we believed that we were old souls. We had a lot of beliefs back then and there were things that we saw that no one believed in. We swore to have brilliant children that would eventually take up the mantle and fight the invisible fight against dark things.”
She took some tea and let Xander rifle through the items and objects. “What kinds of things,” he asked curious to know what his mom might have known. “Did your ideals come through?”
“Yes,” she said. “I have a brilliant boy... although I thought I taught him better than that. To hang out with a cop, Jessie must have been in laughing-tears when I told her.”
“I wouldn’t know,” Xander said. “I only found out about the letters after she had died.”
“It doesn’t matter now,” she said. “I know that you can see the invisible ones. The ones that no one believes truly exist.” She looked at her son and then she knew. She knew that the man sitting next to him was exactly what her son had described in his dissertation.
“Why did you lie?” She asked him. “He’s one them isn’t he. The people have a right to know.”
“Mom,” Blair said. “Why are you asking me this now? You certainly weren’t interested before and before you go any further, no he isn’t.”
“Yes he is,” she said. “I can tell.”
“Mom,” he said. “Now is not the time to discuss this.”
“Ma’am,” Xander said. “Whether Jim Ellison here is a normal human or a human-plus is his business. “The people
”, as you call them may have the right to know, but they don’t want
to know and you know that. You can’t force the belief of a sensitive subject like that on the public because they’ll either; mock you, take you to the loony bin or put him in an experimental room to see how he ticks. Do you really want to be responsible for putting a human in the hands of a Dr. Frankenstein type person who only wants to tear someone apart to see how they tick?”
“Of course not,” she said. “I’d never wish that on anyone. It’s more about his advantage and cheating when he’s investigating his cases.”
“Are you sure about that?” Blair said standing up. “Are you sure that you considered that factor when you exposed my partner to the public like that and that you weren’t secretly hoping that he would be taken away in order to free me
from his influence?”
Naomi had the grace to blush, which was a clear indication that the thought had crossed her mind. Blair was livid at this. “You know what,” he said. “We’re leaving. Xander if you need to stay...”
“I’ll come with you,” Xander said. He looked down at the woman and said, “My mother would never have done something like that. She’d have respected my wishes. In fact when I left my fiancé at the Alter she told that it was better to be sure than to be married just because it was the fashion. It was the only time I had ever heard her hint that she did the wrong thing, but I was glad that she told me.” He looked at the other men and headed off in their direction with the intent to leave with them.
“Your mother told me that you were fighting the forces of darkness in your town,” Naomi said. “She wrote to me telling me that you were doing good deeds. I wanted the same for my son.”
Xander looked at her and said, “In my town the cops were corrupt. You couldn’t even find one to trust or go to. Your son has done good and is a good cop. It doesn’t matter if he can see what I see. What matters is that he is doing good in his own way, following his own path. Being a Detective partner to Jim has done some good in Cascade, from what I’ve read. He’s not some unknown hero that the world will never hear about, is he?”
“Alexander,” Naomi started to say, but then stopped. “I’m sorry that your mother has passed away.”
“Thank you,” Xander said. “Now if you can only tell me who my real father was, I’m sure that I can move on too and find my own path.”
“I can’t tell you that,” she said. She looked at her son and blushed, but then she said, “I can tell you that here’s a good chance that your father is the same as Blair’s. Your mother and I made a pack. We were determined to have talented children. We visited psychics, palm readers and people known as mystics, during our wild phase. They would point us in the right direction to a potential mate and we would sleep with the person.”
“We always slept together,” she pushed. “Your mother and I slept with the same men, at the same time. You were both born only a couple of weeks apart in the same month. I know that Blair was an early baby. You’re both the same age. Your father, Xander, could be the same as Blair’s.” Xander stumbled on the doorstep, while Blair looked back at her with an open mouth. “You both have a safe trip and remember...” She paused, waiting for her son and Xander to look at her again, as they were walking down the walkway.
“Detach with love,” she said closing the door on them.
“Whoa,” Blair said.
“I never would have expected that,” Xander said. “I shouldn’t have been surprised at it though. I mean it’s all in her diary.”
Blair looked at him and said, “Well at least you got some height.”
“You got the smarts,” Xander said with a shy grin. “We’d need to be tested to be sure. Do you want to be tested or would you rather forget the whole thing, I’m good with either option, although I’d rather not forget than forget if you know what I mean.”
“You two,” Jim said. “Get in the truck and will discuss it later.”
“Yeah,” Blair said. “We can discuss the forgetting or not forgetting once we get back to Cascade.” He paused to really look at Xander and said, “I’m voting for the not forgetting... you?”
“Yeah,” Xander said. “That’s my vote.”
Xander and Blair were at Jim’s loft. They were there on most days discussing myth and fact. Blair still had a hard time believing that Xander hunted things that went bump in the night, whereas Xander was rather accepting that Jim was a Sentinel.
They had several in-depth discussions about anything and everything under the sun. However the world called them back to their tasks and before they could go for testing, Blair had a case and Xander had to return back on his road-trip.
Blair submitted hair and nail samples, as well as a swab to be added to Xander’s list of DNA testing. Xander promised to call and write, even if the results were not what they were hoping for. They were both hoping for a positive family connection.
(...i...) Used the www.worldlingo.com
site for the literal translation of “the devil walked here”.
(...ii...) Line from a song written by Bob Dylan.