Chapter Five - Unbelievable
----- Four Weeks Later - Castle Rock, Maine
Xander drove up to the long term care hospital. He was hoping that the last man on the list was not in there because of long term mental health issues. Luckily he had already gotten permission from a Mr. Z. Smith.
Apparently it was his son that Xander wanted to visit and he needed family permission to do so. He also had written permission to get the DNA samples in order test for paternity. Naomi had called while Xander was on the road and told him about one of the last men that they had both slept with.
She had confessed that she and his mother had sort of robbed this man’s cradle in the sense that they were both twenty-two when they slept with the man they knew as Johnny. The man was only seventeen at the time, but they ladies had explained what they wanted and why.
“Frankly,” she said. “We were expecting him to give it up to us in cup, but he wanted to experience love making in its natural form at the time. Back then it didn’t quite matter the age, as long as everyone consented. However we saw the trend in the news. We had him sign a statement that we never forced him to have sex with us and in fact chose to decline the alternative methods of conception that your mother and I were willing to do.”
This call still had confirmed to him another name, but this time in context relating to the ‘last ones
’ before the girls had separated to move on to the next stage in their lives. This might turn out to be the promising one, but Xander was hoping that the DNA that he had currently submitted would result in him getting a brother, even if he never found out about who his real father was.
The hospital was large and staff seemed to be friendly. The doctor in charge of Johnny’s case had very little to tell Xander other than the fact that the man’s brain was more active than those belonging normal humans. He was leading him to Johnny’s room and explaining, “The area of the brain that is working right now appears to be a section that we know of as the dead zone.”
“Does it affect him otherwise?”
“No,” the doctor said. “He does seem to respond to outside stimulus when people talk to him, but right now he’s still in a coma. Feel free to talk to him and tell him why you’re here.”
“Thank you doctor,” Xander said.
“Come on,” he said. “I’ll introduce to him.”
They walked into a room where a man was hooked up to machine. The room was filled with the drip, drip sound from the I.V. and the beeping sound of the attached monitors. “Johnny,” the doctor said. “I’d like to introduce you to Xander. He’s here to talk to you, now you behave.”
Xander looked at the doctor in amusement, but then turned around to talk to the man. He pulled up a chair and said, “Hey there, like the doc said my name’s Xander. Now I know that I’m a stranger to you, but I still feel that you should know what I’m up to.”
Xander looked up when the door clicked shut, as the doctor left him to do some rounds, promising to come back and escort him out. “I’m not sure how to tell you this, so I’ll just say it. Some time ago in your past when you were a teenager you met up with two women who were asking you to do something a little crazy. Now I know that as a teenager you were not the crazy one, they were, but that’s neither here nor there. They wanted children, special children and they had spent a lot of their time sleeping around trying to get knocked up.”
“They were successful because they each got a son, but now here’s the crazier part of the deal. They had seen things in their youths to make them believe that evil had found a way into the world. All I can tell is that they told you the truth about that. Well... that is if they even told you about it.”
“I’ve been fighting these outside forces since I was sixteen years old,” Xander said. “It’s the right thing to do. I’m about to go overseas to help out the fight there, but something happened about a year ago. You see my mother died and I found her diary with a bunch of letters. There was a set of adoption papers and that’s when I found out that the man I thought of as my father, well... he really wasn’t. I began this journey about six months ago and you’re the last one to be tested.”
“I got permission from your father to get the samples necessary for DNA testing. I wish that you could give me the permission, but that’s okay. I can get in contact with your dad about this, but then again maybe you wouldn’t want to know about the results.”
Xander stood up and knew that he was running out of time. He gathered the hair samples and then took a mouth swab. Knowing that the cotton was dry he took a cloth from the bathroom and wet. Then he moistened the lips of the man who could potentially be his father.
“I want you to know that I’m doing good things in the world and fighting the invisible evil,” Xander said. “I hope that when you wake up that you’ll to the same.” He put a business card in the side table and brushed the man’s hand with his own.
He was about to walk out of the room when he heard a muttering sound. Looking back he noticed that the man eyes were moving quickly under the lids, as though he was dreaming.
“Get Spike away from the Angel,” the man in the coma croaked out. “You need him for what is coming.”
Xander rushed to the man’s side and moistened the lips again, this time making sure that some water trickled down the throat. He said in voice and tone, a voice that he barely ever used, but it was one that could convince Master Vampires to follow him.
“I hear you. I heard you, it will be done,” Xander said. “It will be done.”
Johnny heard the voice and tone. He quieted back down. It wasn’t time for him to wake up, yet. His time was coming, but at least the message was out. His subconscious had lit up when the one-eyed man touch him, but he soon returned to his coma state.
Xander quickly got rid of the towel and sat back down. He was waiting for the doctor to show up, but inside his heart was thumping heavily. ‘Get Spike away from the Angel
,’ he thought. ‘What the hell does that mean?
The doctor had finished his rounds and was informed that there had been a spike in Johnny Smith’s condition, but that it had settled back down to the coma levels. He stepped into the room looking for something that was out of place, but could find nothing out of the ordinary.
“I trust everything went well,” he said.
“Yes,” Xander said. “This helped me a lot.” He stood up putting the visitor’s chair away. “Does he dream? Do any of these patients dream?”
“I feel that they do sometimes,” the doctor told him with complete frankness. He looked at the one-eyed man, who had a frown on his face. “I pray that they don’t have nightmares, but the mind is a scary, wonderful place and it’s not something that I can cure. I would rather that they do dream because that means that somewhere in there, they are still living.”
“I understand,” Xander said. “Thanks for everything doc.”
“You are welcome,” the doctor said watching the young man leave the building.
Xander stepped into his vehicle. He returned to his motel room in order to sort out the testing items. He was still waiting to hear about the results against Chet Donnelly and Blair Sandburg’s DNA.
He already received the ones regarding Egon Spengler and Frank Ridgeway. They were not related to him biologically.
Now he just needed to figure out the meaning behind the message of a coma patient. “Get Spike away from the Angel,” he said out loud. “If I were to literally interpret this information, I’d have to say that I need to get Spike, dead Spike away from Angel.”
He sighed and packed up his stuff. This time he chose to fly. He changed his London ticket for one going to Los Angeles. ‘There is nothing wrong with checking up on things,
’ he thought. ‘I don’t want any regrets and if I never checked this out I would regret it.
Xander wasn’t worried about his DNA results because they were being sent to the Cleveland Watcher HQ. He knew that it was best to have a central location for his mail while he was travelling. He narrowed his eyes and then thought to stop there on the way to see if they heard anything about Spike coming back in some way shape or form.
Three days later Xander was in a taxi from Los Angeles International Airport to a building that he would never have associated with Angel or his do-gooder band of merry men. He had received the information direct from Giles.
Spike was alive again. Although alive was relative because let’s face it the blond vampire was currently incorporeal and it was not clear how long he’d be like that.
Xander’s only purpose is to get Spike away from an Angel. Unfortunately, he could not interpret that as Angel the vampire because apparently real Angels existed. So he needed to investigate the situation more closely and hopefully when Spike gained a bit of flesh, something else would reveal the next course of action.
He was riding up the elevator because there were just too many floors to this building for him to climb. He wanted to get in and get out, but Giles was using this opportunity to have someone investigate the goings on at Wolfram & Hart’s Western office. It seems that Angel was now the man in charge of the whole shebang.
He waited semi-patiently listening to bad muzzak while riding up to nearly the top floor. A vampire stepped into the elevator and once they had passed a couple of floors the vampire attacked Xander, hoping to kill the one-eyed man. Unfortunately for him, the man knew how to take care of himself and the vampire was dusted just as they reached Xander’s destination.
The doors of the elevator opened and a dust cloud whooshed out in puffs of grey-black particles. This event had everyone in the vicinity watching with interest. They didn’t move from their spots. They were surprised when a human male with an eye-patch stepped out of the elevator car. There was nothing special about him that they could detect, but he obviously had taken care of a vampire.
Most of the employees just shrugged and went back to doing their regular business. Others were still standing their waiting to see if something else was going to happen.
It did, in the form of Harmony Kendall standing up and shrieking. She ran to him shouting and hugging him, saying, “Oh, my god, Xander Harris what are you doing here?”
“Put that stake down,” a British voice said. “She’s harmless.”
“How am I supposed to know that,” Xander said. “She’s latched on to me and won’t let go.”
“Don’t be a silly loser-boy,” she said in a high squeaky tone of exuberance. She finally let him go. “I’m just happy to see you get away from the Slayer.” At the mention of the Slayer many of the employees that had been standing around, moved on to their next task or basically moved on to avoid the man.
Xander just shook his head. “You haven’t changed at all Harmony,” he said pocketing his weapon. He looked around and found himself looking at the face of the ex-watcher. “Wesley Wyndam-Price?”
“Alexander,” Wesley said. “You shouldn’t have been able to come here armed like that.”
“That’s just silly,” Xander said. “Of course I’ll come armed. Especially in a building like this one filled with evil emanations. You guys do know that the grounds here were deconsecrated, don’t you?”
“We learned about that when we were trying to bring Spike back to life,” Gunn said stepping forward.
“Back to life?” Xander had to ask. “What does that mean?”
“Means I’m a ghost, Harris,” the blond said, coming into the Lobby from Angel’s office by walking through the wall. He walked through the columns showing off the fact that he was not corporeal.
“I know that Spike, but he said back to life as in... not ghostie any more,” Xander said. “Where’s the necklace?”
“It’s in Fred’s lab,” Wesley said. “Do you know how to bring him back?”
“I’d say that he was already brought back,” Xander said. “Just not at the right time, since he’s here sort of... like an astral projection.” The stopover in Cleveland to update his laptop information and speed had proved to be unexpectedly fruitful in the online purchasing department. He had acquired a few new books and several chunks of jewellery from someone who obviously had no clue as to what they were selling.
Also with his laptop working at a higher capacity, the Watcher updates had a list useful spells. He now had a solid plan to help Spike. “Can I see the medallion?”
“I’ll take you there,” Wesley said. “Fred had some experiments that she wanted me to look at.” He turned to Harmony and said, “Tell Angel where we are, should he ask.”
“Well,” Gunn said. “I have some depositions to prepare, see you later English.”
“Yes,” Wesley said going back to his office to put away some of his things. He took out another notebook and said to Xander, “Follow me. I have a few questions, if you don’t mind answering them.”
“Not a problem,” Xander said. “Spike, you coming with... or do you want to hang here?”
“I’m right here,” the blond vampire said. “So what’s the what Harris? Still a Scooby or have you branched away from your girlish roots?”
Xander snorted and shook his head. “You know dying didn’t change you,” he said looking into the blue eyes that haunted his dreams and nightmares during his travels. “Don’t you let it,” he said with conviction. “Don’t you dare.”
Spike gulped at the intensity of the stare. Even with one eye he knew that something in the boy was judging him and... ‘That’s accepting, that is,
’ he thought. His eyes grew huge. ‘Accepting, all of me
He coughed and said, “Now don’t get poncy on me you git.” He sounded pleased about the comment even if his tone was gruff. “How you goin’ to fix this mess?”
“I have to check something out first,” Xander said. “Then we’ll see.” He turned to Wesley who was still walking along side them, waiting to ask his questions. “Ask away,” Xander said. “If I don’t want to answer, I’ll tell you that.”
“Who runs the Watchers Council now,” Wesley asked. He needed to know if it was his father or his father’s cronies.
“Rupert Giles,” Xander said. “A couple of the older Watchers that never had Slayers assigned to them, run the research departments and business side of things, but they are not the corrupt ones.”
“How do you know,” Wes asked.
“We tested them,” Xander said. “They were washed with Wiccan and Whitelighter magic. Any with huge amounts of darkness in them didn’t survive. Many of the others were categorized under varying shades of gray and were assigned Slayers according to their strengths.”
“What category did you fall into?” Spike asked. He knew the boy... man and he knew that this one was not completely a white hat.
Xander looked at Spike and said, “My white hat is faded and tarnished, but still of the good I am, just like you.”
“Nah,” Spike bantered back. “Never ‘ad a white hat, me.”
Wesley looked at them talking back and forth. He knew what they were talking about and wondered just what category his chosen family would fall under now that they were working at this place with evil at their disposal.
“You can always find one along the way,” Xander said, including Wesley in the conversation. “Don’t worry about the Council. They are still regrouping after their unfortunate losses.”
“What about the Slayers,” Wesley asked. “Aren’t they outnumbering the Watchers?”
“Doesn’t matter anymore,” Xander said. “The pattern was broken the day I revived a dead Slayer by normal human stubbornness. That pattern kept un-weaving because of it. The Slayers that need Watchers will have them and the ones that don’t... don’t.”
“What does the Council think about the ones that don’t,” Wesley asked with curiosity.
“What the Council doesn’t know, well it can’t hurt them,” Xander said. “Can it? Besides it’s not like they’re not connected to the Council, they just don’t need a Watcher, that’s all.”
“So Harris,” Spike said, his curiosity getting the better of him. “Whot brings you ‘ere?”
“Truth,” he asked and received a gesture to continue or at least get on with it. “I was told to come here by a man who’s currently in a coma.”
Fred listened to this part of the conversation as the men had just walked into her office. “That’s not possible,” she said drawing their attention to her. “Anyone in a coma would not remain in a coma after speaking. It’s not biologically possible because their neurons would be firing at a higher speed and they’d wake up.”
“It is possible,” Xander said. “Especially if there is a mystical type of intervention, which means that the information had to come from him and had to be delivered at that moment in time. He was used a vessel to get that information to the right person at the right time.”
Fred opened and closed her mouth. She was more of the science in these matters and with Wesley nodding there was nothing she could say in the matter. “Why are all of you here?” She asked. “I don’t mind the visit, but this is rare, I mean other than Spike. Who’re you?”
Wesley blushed because normally he’d be on the ball and making introductions. However Spike pre-empted him by saying, “This ‘ere is one of the very white hats I trust not to make a mess of things, ‘is name’s Alexander Harris.” He looked at the one-eyed man and continued, “’e’s one of the best men I have ever known, although ‘e does like ‘is Twinkies too much.”
“Shut up Spike,” Xander said with a minor blush at the reference to his former eating habits. “Just call me Xander,” he said to the small slip of a woman behind the desk and then he turned to Spike and said, “It’s not as bad as a punk vampire being addicted to daytime soap operas. I recall you being passionate for Passions!”
“Oi, they didn’t need to know that,” Spike said in minor protestation. “Hey, pet,” he turned to Fred. “’ows about you get the sparkly that was shipped to ole broody.”
“Oh,” she said startled to realize that they were waiting for her to retrieve the object. “I’ll just be a minute,” Fred said leaving them.
Wesley then turned and asked, “What are you going to do with it?”
“Test it,” Xander said. “I have a few things here in order to test it. Such things have a limited timeframe of activation, which I need to test. It might be that I don’t have to do anything and that Spike will solidify suddenly soon. It could also mean that he gets vaporized and is removed from this reality, but I do need to test it to be sure. Why don’t you tell me how he came to be here?”
“Why don’t we sit down?” Wesley said, pointing to the chairs in the room. “Let’s see, it was about one month after we had been here and we were almost finished with ‘in-house cleaning
’ when Angel had a pile of mail on his desk that he hadn’t gone through yet.”
He remembered that time as they had watched in horror as the pendent fell onto the desk and a skeletal human like frame burned backwards. “It was like watching him burn but it was in reverse,” Wesley said. “It looked painful.”
“It was,” Spike said. “Any way you think it, it was like being burned all over again. Been ‘ere since, can’t leave the city limits ‘cause I always end up back in this building.”
“That means you can hole up anywhere in the City,” Xander in a questioning voice.
“That would seem to be the case,” Wesley said. Spike looked at him sharply. “Angel spoke to me about it.”
“’Cause ‘e would,” Spike grumbled. “So, Harris,” he said calling to the one-eyed man. “How you going to figure out what’s goin’ on with me?”
“Oh that’s easy,” Xander said. He pulled out an old milk glass jar with a lid. It had, looked like water in it, but they all thought that it was something else because they could see a filmy glimpse of colour like a soap bubble.
“The trinket goes in here,” he pointed to the jar. “I pour a potion over it and analyze the results.”
Fred came back and saw the jar on her desk. “What’s that?”
“That will apparently analyze the medallion,” Wesley said. He sat back to watch the process.
Xander took the medallion from the glass tray with a pair of tongs and dropped it gently in the milk jar with a small ‘ploop
’ sound. None of the substance inside the jar splashed out, though. It was almost like it couldn’t. He pulled out a tiny jar of blue-green shell, opened it and used a tiny dropper to add three drops to the milk jar.
Quickly he put the cap on the milk jar and told everyone to, “Step back.”
They didn’t need to be told that twice. The water in the jar was bubbling in multiple colours, like it had boiled. A few moments later the water settled and colours began to swirl inside the jar. Soon they settled too and Xander pulled out something from his pack that looked like a common colour wheel for crafts or painters.
“Give me a few moments,” he said to the others. He had the wheel up near the jar and the colour settled even further into a burnt crimson red. He grinned when he say that and said, “Well it looks like Spike will become corporeal instead of disappearing into the dead realms.”
“How can you tell,” Wesley asked. He had never seen such a process before.
“Red is for life,” Xander said. “Variations of that shade indicate the timeline. Blue is for death.”
“So that means I’m coming back in full,” Spike said.
“Yep,” Xander confirmed. “By this indicator I’d say about two months or less.” He peered closely at the wheel and jar. “Definitely less than two months.” He stood up, took the jar over to a lab sink and using the same tongs he fished the necklace out of the jar. He rinsed it in the sink and then handed it back to Fred.
“Here you go,” he said. “You can put that away now.” She blinked at him and then tucked it away in the glass case. She returned it to its secure location and the came back to the group.
“So what happens now,” Spike said. “’ow am I supposed to know when the times up?”
“You’ll solidify and that’s that,” Xander said. “You could walk through a door at one time only to find yourself walking into the frame the next. I think it will happen suddenly and unexpectedly.” He looked at the others in the room and asked, “Any more questions for me Wesley?”
“No, not at this time,” the man said.
“Well then, I’ll leave you guys to run your evil empire,” Xander said. He turned to Spike and told him, “I’m planning to set up an outpost here in L.A. Do you want to come with to find a place or do you want to stay here?”
“Are you kidding,” Spike said. “Like I bloody well want to hang out with the poof and his side-kicks, ‘o ‘course I’m going with you, I’m not useful here anyway.”
“Spike,” Fred said, catching his attention, but knowing that he needed to go somewhere else, somewhere away from Angel. “Come back and visit me sometime.”
Spike looked at the kind girl and nodded. She had a special place his undead heart, just like Dawn did. There was something in the girls that reminded him of his gentle, non-sex times with his Dru. He turned and looked at Xander, saying, “So what’s the plan?”
“We get out of this wiggins
worthy place and find something that will be useful,” Xander said. “No town homes or anything like that. The girls are too hard on those places, but something...”
“How about a hotel,” Wesley asked. They turned to look at him and he continued on, “There are hotels that need work everywhere in this town. You can probably find something useful.”
“That’s not a bad idea,” Xander said. “I’ll have to look into that, so thanks.”
“You’re welcome,” Wesley said leading him to the elevators. He needed to let Angel know about the analysis and the conclusion that Xander had come to. “See you around, Spike.”
“Not bloody likely,” Spike said following Xander to leave the building. They were alone in the elevator when he said, “I don’t know that I’ll be able to leave the city limits.”
“Pish,” Xander said. “I’m planning to find something within the city limits. I’m going to my hotel first where we can look up real estate. I’m not going to limit my search for just hotels.”
“No,” Spike said with a quirk of his eyebrow. “Why not?”
“The girls are hard on normal structures,” Xander said. “They had to move three times in Cleveland until they settled on an old warehouse for training purposes and an old sanatorium for living quarters. The bonus about the sanatorium is the fact that it’s gated and has an excellent security system now. The warehouse has the same and it allows the girls a chance to patrol on their way there and back.”
Spike barked out his laughter at the thought that old fashioned loony bins were the only places that could contain Slayers. “What about old prisons,” he said chuckling. “I know a few that need to be behind bars.”
Xander laughed too because it was a contagious thought. “No,” he said. “Prisons are too open and the rooms are not nearly as comfortable. The hotel idea is fine, if we can’t find any old sanatoriums that need a bit of re-modeling to suit a new purpose.”
Spike was still chuckling from time to time, until his thoughts turned to why Xander had come to Wolfram & Hart in the first place. “Did you really come for me?”
“Yes,” Xander said.
“What did the vegetable say,” the vampire asked.
“Hunh,” Xander said in confusion.
“The man in the coma,” Spike said. “What did he say to convince you to come in this direction?”
Xander sighed and rubbed the back of his head. “He said, ‘Get Spike away from the Angel
’. There wasn’t many ways that I could interpret that. So the next time I contacted the Council I asked about you. They had heard that you were back, but they weren’t too clear about the conditions.”
“Who, Buffy,” Xander said. “No she doesn’t and neither does Dawn from what Giles was telling me. They’re living their life right now.”
“I see,” Spike said dejectedly. “No place for me there, is there?”
“No Spike,” Xander said with sympathy. He knew exactly how that felt.
Spike shook his funk away for the time he would be whole and would be able to get drunk in order to vent that situation away. “So what’s up with you?”
“What do you mean,” the one-eyed man asked as they stepped into his hotel room.
“What have you been up too since then,” Spike asked. He was curious about this man who seems to have learned a bit of mojo on the side.
“Road trippin,” Xander said. “You know. Cause the first time I tried to travel across the country I didn’t get that far and this time I had another purpose than just seeing the sight.”
“You looked for your old man,” Spike said with certainty.
“Yes,” Xander said, sitting at the table in the room and booting up the Council laptop with its secure network. “I traveled to different places and was actually in L.A. about three to four months ago where I witnessed the most horrifying thing.”
“Oh, yeah,” Spike sat down next to him to look over his shoulder in order to help him look for a suitable place in L.A. to set up a Watcher outpost for the Slayers in the area and the surrounding smaller towns. “Demon or human?”
“Definitely demonic,” Xander said with a conspiratory grin. “I was looking for a particular dance club when I stumbled into a demonic one. Seemed safe enough to go in, but ugh...” He shuddered dramatically, leaned in and whispered. “Angel was singing.”
Spike let out a ringing laugh that he couldn’t stop. “Oh man,” he said. “I know exactly what you mean.”
It took a while for the men to calm down, but eventually they did manage to find a few potential sites for a new Watcher outpost.
Xander watched as the ghostly vampire fell asleep on one of the beds in the room. It felt good to have a companion around. He had been alone on his journey for the past year, laying his personal demons to rest every time he contacted a potential biological father.
In the end it didn’t matter what the results were because the journey had already revealed a lot of things that he never knew about his mother. Speaking of results had a couple from the clinic that he hadn’t opened.
He pulled them out and settled on his bed to read the results.
----- DNA Test Results Donor A: Alexander Harris Donor B: Chet Donnelly No match.
----- DNA Test Results
(...i...) Donor A: Alexander Harris Donor B: Blair Sandburg Donor C: Jessica Lavelle 9 Alleles, in common 18 Autosomal STR loci, in common 98.3541% probability related biologically, Conclusion, half-siblings Dear Sir, If the above confuses you, please let us assure that the information is accurate and has been fully tested. The results indicate that the two of you have one common biological donor. Our conclusion is that the relation is paternal. The additional results show a full parental match between Donor A and Donor C. The results for Donor B and Donor C were not a parental match. Thank you for your patronage.
Xander inhaled sharply as he read and re-read the last results. ‘Relation is paternal
,’ he thought. ‘Oh, my god, Blair’s gonna flip. I’m flipping now, oh my god, oh my god...
“Harris,” Spike turned over and was staring at the panic in the man’s face. “What’s going on?”
Xander looked at the results again and then turned to Spike and said, “I have a brother.”
(...i...) I don’t know how the results actually do show up, but I was trying to keep it simple and make it look right and sound like it came from a C.S.I. episode more than something from reality.