Part 1 : The Phone Call
BtVS belongs to Joss Whedon. NCIS:LA belongs to the house that produced NCIS, JAG and Magnum PI (Bellisario).Fandoms :
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (BtVS) and NCIS : Los Angeles (NCIS:LA)Note :
After the second chapter, updates will be much slower as that part of the story hasn't been written yet. Thanks go to churkey for doing the betareading on this one.
---Part 1 : The Phone Call
Xander inspected the trunk of his car one final time, checking whether everything that had to be there was there. The car was a secondhand Datsun Stanza, a relic from the 1980s when Datsun was Datsun and not ‘Datsun by Nissan’. As far as good old American standards went, the Stanza was an eenie-meenie tiny toddler braving the roads, but it had been about the only car within Xander’s budget. Hopefully, the little bastard still had enough engine to make it across forty-eight states. (He’d been disappointed to know they still hadn’t built a bridge to Hawaii and realistic enough to acknowledge the odds of Alaska vs. Stanza).
As far as baggage went, Xander had had to make some compromise as well. He would have loved, for instance, to take his comic book collection with him, but a small car equaled a small trunk. As it was, he’d gotten most of everything in the trunk, leaving the backseat as a rather uncomfortable bed.
He opened his first suitcase – there were two – and went over everything. ‘Let’s see,’ he murmured to himself. ‘Underwear, check. Magnum PI shirts, double check. Jeans, obviously present. Woolen sweater to brave the cold north and east, aye aye captain. Cheep fleece sweater-zipper thingamajigs, beneath the woolen sweater. There are my t-shirts of dubious origin and there are my… socks! Can’t go to New York without socks.’
For a moment, Xander stopped and pondered on the rather odd notion that people in New York – dreadful city, he imagined, but definitely a must see – that they didn’t wear socks. A chill coursed through his spine. Having no socks in California wasn’t really an issue, but no socks in New York? Where they had rain and the Atlantic and stuff like that? So socks. Good of him to remember putting them in his suitcase.
His eyes glanced over the content once more, followed by a nod to himself. This case seemed to be solved. Xander grinned briefly at the rather stupid pun he’d thought. He switched the first suitcase for the second, approving of the boxes of Twinkies and Dr Pepper stocked in it. ‘This,’ he thought proudly, ‘is my first aid kit.’ Most people would consider bandages and icky red stuff to disinfect wounds as integral components of a first aid kit. Unfortunately for most, Xander wasn’t everybody. There was, to his knowledge, only one in existence and he was standing right where he stood.
He stashed away the suitcase, thunked the trunk close and made his way over to the driver’s seat, sitting in his command seat, ready to turn on the engines and engage his hyperdrive. There’s a galaxy out there waiting for him to explore and discover! Alien species like Texans, Virginians, Alabamans and that one Roswell dude praying for his presence and assurance. The world as he knew it, namely Sunnydale, was about to open up for him, yes sir!
It took two streets until he remembered that he’d forgotten one item on his list: his toilet bag. Thankfully, he remembered it in time. What if he’d remembered it just as he’d entered Las Vegas? Then he’d sit there in his Stanza with bad breath, smelling like your average commoner. Xander wiped the imaginary sweat off of his forehead. ‘Huh, I wonder how Deadboy’s doing?’
His Stanza tuffed and huffed the impossible distance to his erstwhile home back. If cars could speak (and they weren’t alien robots), Xander was sure his would complain about the pointless exercise, perhaps even filing a complaint with the local Secondhand Car Union Representative (the SCURp for those in the know).
The house wasn’t empty when he returned. His father was sitting in the couch, drinking his second bottle of cheap whiskey of the day. As had become habit these past couple of years, Tony Harris didn’t acknowledge the presence of his son and simply continued ‘watching’ some boxing tournament.
His mother was a little better at observation: she lifted her head briefly off the kitchen table when he entered the house and promptly laid it down again.
Sometimes Xander missed the big fights his parents used to have when he was a kid. But, he acknowledged wryly, some people simply aren’t born to live. In the good old prehistoric days, his parents wouldn’t have lasted a week. Or maybe they would have, he mused absentmindedly, after all there wasn’t whiskey or sherry back then. Only water and mud. Which brought him to the postulation that mud might have been a cavemen’s coffee. It would certainly explain their funny heads. Maybe he should write a paper about this brilliant insight? National Geographic would certainly buy it.
Then again, literature on G-man’s level wasn’t really Xander’s thing.
Dismissing the concept, Xander ascended the stairs, crossed the hallway, entered his (former?) bedroom and searched for the whole reason of his slight detour. Sure enough, his toilet bag was just loitering there on his bed as if it was a dog who’d done something terribly wrong. He grabbed the bag before it could run off, you never know with these Hellmouths.
He was already turning the knob of the front door when the phone rang.
Xander hesitated. Should he pick it up? No, he shouldn’t. He was on the eve of the world’s most adventurous road trip, technically not a resident of the house anymore. He turned his head, noting that the Harris phone had an odd amplified ring to it.
His father hadn’t moved since he last saw the man, though the bottle was suspiciously emptier. From the kitchen, snores could be heard.
Grudgingly, reluctantly, dare he think against his will, Xander walked towards the telephone and picked it up.
“Harris residence, this is Xander on the phone,’ he greeted the anonymous caller.
“Oh thank god,” a woman replied. “I’ve been trying to contact someone in your family for ages.”
A frown marred Xander’s obviously divine face. “Who have you tried to contact so far then?”
He heard papers shuffling in the background, followed by the woman’s reply. “A Rory Harris and a Tory Harris, I presume you are related to Tony Harris?”
Xander nodded. Last he heard, Uncle Rory was somewhere in between Sunnydale and Reno looking for a new wreck to restore. “Aunt Tory’s been dead for several years, no wonder you couldn’t reach her.”
The woman coughed. “Of course, my apologies, sir.”
Xander rather liked being called sir. “If you’ll excuse me, but who exactly am I talking to?”
“I didn’t mention that, did I?” the woman commented. “I am Victoria Beckspam, I work for Rosemary for the Elderly, a retirement home for old people.”
A vague impression of déjà-vue overcame him when he heard the name. He’d heard that name somewhere, but where? “Ah,” he said.
“Yes, well,” the woman, Victoria, hesitated. “I regret to inform you that Max Harris passed away last night…”
Xander’s good mood vanished instantly. Max Harris was his grandfather. It had been a while, since about the time his Aunt died, that he’d seen the man. But he’d liked his granddad, the few memories he remembered pointed at a caring, if melancholic man.
“How did he die?” he eventually asked.
“An intracranial hemorrhage, Mr Harris, a blood vessel ruptured in his skull during his sleep. We found him this morning; unfortunately by then it was too late, we couldn’t save him anymore.”
“Did he… Did he suffer?” Xander asked quietly.
“The hemorrhage most likely paralyzed him and made him faint,” was the response he got.
Xander let his head sag a little. It was starting to look like the universe did, in fact, hate him. “What now?”
The woman was quiet for a moment, allowing him a moment to himself. “Someone will have to come up here, arrange the paperwork and the funeral, collect his belongings.”
“Give me a moment, I’m getting a pen and paper,” he said into the phone. A while later, he was back. “All right, I’m here. If you could give me the address of your institution, we’ll make sure someone in the family will be there as soon as possible.”
He noted the address, thanked the woman and cut off the connection, staring at the device for a long time.
A sigh made it passed his lips. How was he going to tell his father the news? Would he even comprehend it? Would he care?
Xander straightened his shoulders. There’s only one way to find out, he thought, and that’s by doing.