Disclaimer: Don't own or claim rights to Buffy or TFATF~~~~~
Dom Toretto stiffened when he heard the greeting. His young cousin rarely rang – he parents were too stingy to allow the cost – so if Xander was calling, then it was something important. “What's the problem, Xan?”
“I'd ask if there had to be a problem to call you, but … yeah. Um. Can I stay? Just for the weekend,” he added quickly.
“Sure. You want me to come pick you up?”
“Yeah. I'm in LA, At the bus station. Um. I kind of had to get out of the 'Dale, so, well, here I am.”
The older man grinned. “Sure, Xan. Not a problem. I'll be there in half an hour, okay?”
“Thanks, man. You're a life-saver. And I'll tell you all about it. It's of the weird, but... Actually, it is kind of bad.” Dom could hear the sudden sadness in the boy's voice. “Stuff happened, you know? So … yeah.”
“Be there soon,” Dom promised.~~~~~
The tall man stalked into the depot as if he owned the place. Scanning the area, he quickly found his cousin and walked over. He smiled slightly at the sleeping boy, then reached down and shook him awake. “Xan? Come on, man, time to go.”
“Dom?” the sleepy boy mumbled. He uncurled himself from the chair, stood and stretched. “Thanks, man. I really appreciate this.”
“It's cool, Xan. You need me, I'm here.” He grabbed the boy's backpack and led the way to the car. “So you want to talk now, or when we get home?”
“Now might be better. You came alone?”
Xander took a breath. “So you know about the vampires,” he began nervously.
“You still doing that?” Dom asked tensely.
“Yeah. Still helping. Doing what I can. So. We had a field trip this week. The zoo.”
Dom smiled slightly. “Nice time of year. Good to be outside, not stuck in a classroom.”
“Yeah. That's what we told Buffy. She wasn't so into it, but the whole 'not in school' thing really did it for her,” he smiled. “She said things were all shiny and new.” Xander looked away and shrugged. “Then I saw some bullies take a kid into the Hyena house. I followed in, 'cause not really a slay-worthy thing. Just bullies. Except the hyenas were special. They had primals, or were primals.” He frowned. “Not really sure on that one. Whatever. Well, there was stuff painted on the floor, and I walked in and they were trying to feed the kid to the hyenas, but I called them on it, so they stopped. Except that, well, aggressive act, and voodoo paint on the floor, and primals? Apparently they're really mixy things, 'cause, next thing, the bullies and me were all sporting shiny new primal spirits large and in charge.”
Dom glanced at his cousin. “So you're talking possession?”
“Yep. Good news? I got the pack leader. Bad news? She's a matriarch.”
Dom's lips twitched. “You got possessed by a girl?”
Xander scowled at the man. “I got possessed by the alpha of a primal hyena pack. Can we please find some kind of good in this? 'Cause, frankly? Not much else of the good.”
“So what happened?”
Xander shifted in his seat, and stared outside for a few minutes. When he finally began to speak, Dom noticed how different he sounded. Gone were the usual tones and mannerisms, replaced by a soft, flat, matter-of-fact voice.
“The bullies became my pack. Kyle, Rhonda, Tor, and Heidi. Ate the school mascot. Bullied Will. I tried to rape Buffy, while the others killed and ate Principal Flutie. Tried to get Willow. Would have killed her, I think.”
Dom looked at his young cousin, horrified. “Fuck,” he whispered. “It's gone, now, isn't it?”
“Yeah. Giles figured out what was going on, and Buffy lured us back to the Hyena house so they could exorcise the spirits. Didn't go quite the way they planned, but they're gone now. So's the zoo-keeper that planned it all. Seems he wanted all that power for himself, and believe me, there was power to be had. I nearly had Buffy. She had to take me out with a desk to the head, that's how close it got. Anyway, the spirits went back into the hyenas, and the keeper got knocked into the pen with them, so he's hyena chow. Or, you know, hyena poop by now,” he added with a slight smile.
Xander turned back to look out the window again. “Told the girls I didn't remember a thing. Giles knows I lied about that, but he's not calling me on it. Not to the girls, anyway. He's good like that,” Xander added.
“You like that librarian, don't you?”
He smiled. “Yeah. I mean, he's all stiff and British, and all that, but I kind of get the feeling he's getting to like us. I mean, we're so not the way it's supposed to happen, but we are helping. Really actually helping. And we're not going away. I mean, Will's finally got a girl-type friend, and it means Buffy's got a friend, and not all lonesome-girl, and where Will goes, I go, apart from the whole 'got to kill the vampires thing' which I really want to do, even if I'm not any good at it, but...”
“Guy's lucky to have you, and don't you ever doubt that,” Dom growled.
Xander smiled at his cousin, and nodded. He hoped he never disappointed the man. The first family who'd given a damn was not something you wanted to mess up. Whatever Dom said took on a sheen of pronouncements from on high, and yet he took the confession of Xander-the-hyena as nothing worth ditching him for.
The car was quiet for the remainder of the trip, but Dom pulled the boy aside as they were about to walk into the house. “Your Giles, he ever train you?”
“Uh, no. He's kind of busy. What with the library, and the Watching, and stuff. He trains Buffy, and does research.”
Dom shook his head. “Not good enough. I'm going to have a word with the man. You need training. I got plans of my own, but your librarian needs to pull some weight, too.” He patted the boy's shoulder. “Don't worry about it, kid. Let's just have a bit of fun for the weekend.”
Xander nodded and smiled, then went in to greet his family, his normal, goofy smile firmly in place. When Dom followed, his sister met his eyes, and raised an eyebrow. Dom shook his head, so she nodded, and went to make Xander something to eat. Dom decided to wait until Monday to make his phone call.