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Family Ties (or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned

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Summary: It turns out the people who the Scoobies thought were their parents – mostly aren't. And as Mr. T says, "I pity the fools," when the Gang finally do locate their real parents.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > General > Theme: Real FamilyGreywizardFR13813,914215136,0122 Dec 1116 Dec 11Yes

Chapter Eight – Family Is What You Want To Make It

Fic #16 in my Christmas Challenge Fic-A-Thon.

~~~

The Sineya Institute for Optimizing Human Potential
Cleveland, OH

Willow Rosenberg's office

June 20, 2006


A day had passed since Giles and Andrew's shocking revelations about the parentage of most of the original Scooby Gang, and Willow was still trying to deal with the fallout from everything she'd learned yesterday.

It hadn't taken her long to realize, after hearing Andrew's pet theory that Xander's biological father was a clone of some sort, that this was most likely what *she* was as well. Willow was a smart woman, the valedictorian of her graduating class in high school, and there was no other non-magical explanation she could think of to account for the DNA match to Dana Katherine Scully-Mulder.

{ It looks like she's had a pretty rough life at times, } Willow thought to herself, reading through the former Agent Scully's FBI file. { She was kidnapped, her sister was murdered, her father died, she thought she was infertile after the abduction, she battled against that inoperable cancer – and here's the real kicker; her and this A.D. Skinner guy, they actually *buried* her husband before digging Fox Mulder up again three months later and proving that he was still alive? If I didn't know better, I'd think she'd married a vampire... }

"Hey, Red. Ya got a minute?" Faith asked as she knocked and stuck her head inside the door.

"Sure, Faith. What's up?"

"I was wondering if we could have ourselves a little chat, before I head off for the Baxter Building in New York," the brunette Chosen One shrugged.

"Okay. So, you've definitely decided to claim your inheritance from your mom?" Willow asked with a smile.

"Nah, not yet," Faith sent her another small shrug. "Figured I'd scope out the situation a bit more first. Talk to those guys Richards and Grimm – not to mention those other people they associate with, Johnny and Susan Storm. Plus, I wanna go back to Boston as well, look up this Sam Malone guy. Find out whether or not he ever knew about me, and if he did – why the hell he was never interested enough to look for me, after I 'disappeared'."

"Do you, uh...are you sure that's a good idea? I mean – it's been nearly twenty-five years, Faith," Willow said hesitantly. "What do you know about this guy, other than he was a major sports star way back when?"

"Funny thing, actually – but according to what Andrew found out, one of dear old dad's associates, this shrink named Frasier Crane? He has a talk-back radio show in Seattle nowadays. So I phoned the guy up long-distance, and we had quite the chat while the good doctor was live and on the air," Faith smirked.

Willow's eyes went round. "You didn't tell him –?"

"Relax, Willow. All o' the Scooby secrets are still safe," Faith smirked again. Then she sighed, "So level with me. You really think that whole paparazzi thing is gonna happen like Jeeves said it would, once people find out who I really am?"

"I dunno. Probably," Willow shrugged. "But if you're worried about the whole prison thing, don't be. You know how Angel managed to get your record mystically sealed before he was killed two years ago, and I mojo'ed everyone in Los Angeles and at the Stockton Women's Penitentiary to delete all memory of you and your actions. As far as the rest of the world is concerned, 'Faith Lehane' is not now and never has been a prison convict."

"Thanks for that, Red," Faith said sincerely, and not for the first time. "So, how you holding up?"

"Me?" Willow asked in surprise.

"Yeah, you! C'mon, ya can't fool me. If I'd found out I had a twin sister who was seventeen years older than I was, I'd be majorly freaking right now. Even more than I currently am," Faith rolled her eyes.

"Is that what I am to her? A twin sister? Or am I just the woman's clone?" Willow asked softly, causing Faith's jaw to drop down. "Seriously, Faith, what am I gonna do? Go knock on Mrs. Scully's door – someone who's old enough to be my grandmother – and say, "Hi, I'm Willow Rosenberg and I recently discovered I'm an exact genetic duplicate of your daughter Dana. I look just like her when she was my age, right? By the way, I think I might be a clone of some sort, because I'm pretty sure you never gave birth to me...and yet here I am." What do you think the odds are she'll either slam the door in my face, or keel over unconscious?"

Faith was completely and utterly unable to hold back her trademark smirk. "Why don't you just go directly to the source, then?"

"And say what?" Willow demanded. "Faith, I've read her file from top to bottom. Dana Scully-Mulder is a devout Catholic and a middle-aged doctor with a husband and son, living a normal life somewhere in Virginia. If I show up on her doorstep – me, a twenty-something Jewish lesbian witch who once killed a guy in cold blood, and someone who's living proof that she's not a unique individual anymore – you honestly think she'll want me anywhere near her and her family?!"

Faith shook her head slowly, unable to disagree with Willow's analysis of the situation. "So what are you gonna do?"

"Talk to my adopted parents, first off," Willow decided, getting up off of her chair. "Ask them nicely how it was I came into their parental custody. And if they don't tell me the truth, then I'll ask again – but the next time, not so nicely," Willow semi-growled, unable to help feeling betrayed at the lie (or lie by omission, call it what you will) Ira and Sheila Rosenberg had been feeding her all these years.

***

Buffy Summers' sleeping quarters

The same time


Buffy was packing her stuff, and just like Willow she was thinking about all the revelations Giles and Andrew had provided yesterday about her and Dawn's parentage.

The funny thing was, the Eldest Slayer didn't feel upset or betrayed over finding out Hank Summers wasn't her biological father. The blonde woman had written him off as a bad investment of her emotions a number of years ago, and now the concept that her mother had cheated on her husband way back when didn't bother her the way it once would have done.

No, what really bothered Buffy Anne Summers was the fact that Joyce had never even mentioned 'Harry Cleese' to either her or Dawn; there had been no pictures, no letters, no nothing. If not for the information Andrew had uncovered, Buffy would never have known he'd actually existed.

{ Who the heck was this guy? } Buffy asked herself, not knowing that her bio-father was actually the legendary Greek hero and demi-god known as Heracles (or Hercules, as he was more commonly known).

{ For some reason, I've suddenly got me a baaaad feeling about all this, } Buffy then mused to herself. { Not only because of that Bureau 13 thing Andrew mentioned, but also all that crazy stuff about this guy possibly being in his mid-seventies when he got Mom pregnant. I mean, there is not enough 'ewww' in this world to express how I feel about that! }

Finally, Buffy finished packing and dragged her luggage over to her little sister's temporary personal quarters. "Dawnie, you ready? We gotta get to the airport if we're gonna catch our flight to JFK on time!"

But to Buffy's surprise, Dawn was just sitting there on her bed, the empty suitcase on the floor. "Dawn?" the older Summers woman asked hesitantly.

"Yeah, I've decided I'm not going to New York. If you wanna talk to this Victor Tegler guy, Buffy, go ahead – I'll pass," Dawn said in a flat, toneless voice.

"Dawnie, what's wrong?" Buffy asked with great concern.

"Oh, c'mon – don't tell me you haven't figured it out yet?" Dawn replied, some exasperation creeping into her voice. "Harry Cleese disappeared in 1980, Buffy. So how could he possibly be *my* father, if I'm nearly six years younger than you?! Do the math, already!!"

{ Oh no, } Buffy thought in alarm, finally getting it. "Well, we don't know for sure what might have happened back then..."

"So, what? You honestly think this guy showed up roughly five years after you were born, to have another quickie with Mom – before disappearing all over again?" Dawn demanded sardonically, and causing Buffy to look away. "No one with even half a brain in their head would buy that one! That's why I'm just not interested in any of this, Buffy."

"Dawn..."

"Because I'm the Key. We both know that, sister dear. I was created by those monks and sent to you, in order to keep me safe from Glory. Before that, I was a big glowing ball of green energy somewhere in Eastern Europe – and *don't* try to tell me otherwise!!" Dawn ranted, seeing her big sister opening her mouth to contradict her. "Hank Summers isn't my father, fine. At this point in my life, I don't really need one anymore; and if there's ever anything I need some fatherly advice on, Giles is the man I turn to. Just like you do, Buffy. Heck, he's been more of a father to us than anyone else over the past decade! That's why I'm gonna wait here for you to return from New York City, and then afterwards we can go back to Rome. Or else I can go back to Europe by myself; I don't really care either way."

Buffy was stunned by Dawn's outburst, staring at her sibling in amazement and not a little annoyance as well. The truth was that the blonde Slayer did not enjoy contemplating what it must have been like being an only child, before that reality-alteration spell had been put into effect during the summer of the year 2000. That was why the Chosen One always got angry and defensive whenever the truth of Dawn's origins was shoved directly into her face. It wasn't just the fact that such claims detracted from Dawn's status as a human being; Buffy just plain didn't like thinking her sister was anything other than a normal twenty-year-old brunette with a talent for ancient languages and getting into trouble on Tuesdays.

"All right, fine," Buffy exhaled, burying the annoyance as best she could. "I'll go to New York, you stay here. When I get back, we'll discuss our next move. Deal?"

"Deal," Dawn nodded, getting up off the bed to give her sister a farewell hug. "And Buffy? I hope you find what you're looking for in the Big Apple..."

***

Cordelia Chase's sleeping quarters

The same time


The former Vision Girl of Angel Investigations was gazing at the private telephone number for Virginia 'Pepper' Potts, the number one assistant to Tony Stark, and Ms. Chase was wondering whether she should call the woman in order to set up a meeting with her biological father.

To be honest, Cordelia was still in two minds about whether or not she should just rip the paper into little pieces, drag Xander out of the school by the ear and force him to accompany her on a shopping binge throughout Cleveland's central business district. Not only to restore her sense of normality, but to try to forget for a while that the events of yesterday had happened. It had been a lot to absorb, after all; both the stuff about her bio-dad, and *that bitch*!

Whenever Cordy thought about Amora, her thoughts automatically led to Jasmine despite all her mental efforts not to. Even after all these years, the events of 2002-2003 in Los Angeles could not be forgotten or swept under the rug or whatever. All that was something the young woman had to live with somehow, for the rest of her life – the possession, all the blood spilled by her own two hands, the Rain of Fire, blocking out the sun, all the chaos and destruction Jasmine had sown in preparation for taking over the entire planet.

Not to mention what had happened with Connor, the young man whose diapers she used to change as a baby...

There was a knock at the door. Xander's voice then said from the other side, "Cordelia, can I come in?"

"Whatever," the former seer said grouchily, yet nonetheless hoping that Harris would take that as a 'yes'.

Luckily, Xander knew his ex better than anyone these days, so without further ado he entered the tastefully decorated and luxurious bedroom and came over to talk to the former princess. "We missed you at the Potentials' combat practice session today."

Cordelia stared at him incredulously. "After everything we learned yesterday, you were taking *classes* this morning?!"

Xander shrugged as he sat down on the bed beside her. "Life doesn't just stop for everyone else whenever we get thrown a curve ball, sweetheart. I've got responsibilities around here; heck, so do you. Besides, helping out the future Chosen crowd kinda distracted me from my own issues. Probably would have done the same for you, too."

Cordelia grabbed one of her bed's pillows and whacked Xander directly in the face with it. "Shut up! Besides, that's not the point!"

"Ah, yes, the classic female response whenever she figures the guy is actually right for once. 'That's not the point!' One day, I'm gonna have to update the Slayer Handbook to include that one," Xander said somewhat musingly.

Naturally, the ex-cheerleader hit him in the face again. "Xander, this is *serious*!"

"I know," Harris nodded, dropping the comedy routine. "Have you decided what to do yet?"

"No," Cordy groaned, throwing the pillow aside. "I mean, what do I say to this guy? "Hi, Mr. Stark, I'm the product of one of your one-night-stands from a quarter of a century ago. And don't worry, I'm not here to try to sink my claws into your mega-fortune or anything; I work for a secret international organization that could almost buy you out lock, stock, and barrel." Sure, like *that's* gonna be a fun father-daughter conversation!"

"And your mom..." Xander started to say, before Cordelia's head whipped around to glare at him. "Uh, forget I said anything!"

"Damn it, Xander! Why didn't you ever tell me about her?!" Cordelia demanded, looking pissed all over again.

"Well, one – we're not together anymore, Cordy, so it really wasn't any of your business. And two, all that's something I've been trying my best to repress since the moment it happened," Xander shuddered as he recalled the events in question. "And that was *before* I found out that Amora was your mother!"

Even though every instinct inside Cordelia's mind was screaming 'betrayal', her intellect told her that Xander did actually have a point. She didn't own her ex-boyfriend, and Harris was free to date whoever he liked. Granted, there hadn't been anyone she'd known of that actually *had* dated the big dork over the past two years; Xander's schedule was as hectic as her own, which didn't leave a lot of time for romance.

{ Do I really want to know details regarding how *that bitch* nearly did my ex-boyfriend last year? } Cordelia asked herself, before deciding the answer was a resounding 'No!' It was bad enough knowing that her bio-mom was both a genuine deity and a complete skank; there was little to no point in learning anything extra that would probably just give her nightmares.

Make that *more* nightmares.

"So how are you holding up after everything the geek babbled on about yesterday?" Cordy then asked Harris, wanting to redirect the topic of conversation somewhat.

Xander sighed, before he grinned a little. "I hafta admit; it's been kinda interesting seeing myself as a multi-millionaire after inheriting ol' Grandpa Corleone's estate. Can you just imagine me, Xander Harris, lounging around on a luxury yacht in the middle of the Caribbean? A martini in one hand, a Cuban cigar in another, leaning back and watching all those gorgeous, scantily-clad bimbos playing volleyball on the foredeck of the ship..."

Xander was momentarily so entranced by the fantasy he'd described that he never noticed Cordy grabbing the pillow again before giving him another good, hard whack in the face. Harris then yelped, "Hey!!"

"Okay. Here's a question for you, doofus, and think *real* hard before you answer – where am *I* in this particular fantasy of yours?!" Cordelia sounded very annoyed for some reason.

"Ah...serving me drinks aboard the yacht?" Xander reflexively ducked as the pillow headed straight for his head again. "Or not..."

"I DON'T BELIEVE THIS!!" Cordelia almost ground her teeth together, tossing the pillow aside once more. "How can *you* possibly have more money than *me*? There's *got* to be something fundamentally wrong with this universe, in a scenario like that!"

"Uh, hate to burst your bubble, honey – but I've had more money than you since before we graduated high school, remember?" Xander said gently. "Besides, odds are that once Tony Stark learns who you are – you'll *definitely* be a lot richer than I will!"

"This is not easy for me, Xander," the brunette abruptly slumped her shoulders, visibly deflating.

"I know. But you're Cordelia Chase – Queen C, actress, Vision Girl, higher being, and whatever else you care to mention. Fact is, you can do anything you set your mind to doing," Xander told her supportively, instinctively putting an arm around his ex-girlfriend's shoulders to comfort her.

Cordelia looked up at him uncertainly. "You really mean that?"

"Of course," Xander replied unhesitatingly, removing his arm from her shoulders. "Like Riley once said, the wheel never stops turning. You're up, you're down, rich or poor...that doesn't change who or what you are. And you are one hell of a woman, Cordy. I just want you to know, it doesn't make any difference to me who your real parents are – you're still the first girlfriend I ever had, and the mmmph-!"

Xander Harris never got the chance to complete that sentence, before Cordelia abruptly decided to go with her instincts – and without any warning, the young woman shoved her tongue down her ex-boyfriend's throat as far as it would go, quickly pushing Xander onto his back before climbing on top of him.

It was really too bad, though, how Buffy, who'd been looking for Xander in order to say goodbye before departing for the airport, knocked on the door once and walked in on them roughly ten minutes later...

***

Rupert Giles' office

A while later


"Has she left yet?" Andrew's terrified, bleating voice echoed out from underneath Giles' desk, where he'd sought safety after Buffy had burst into the office screaming and yelling something or other about mental scars and Xander and Cordelia.

"Yes, Buffy's gone. You can come out now," the former librarian exhaled wearily, wishing that he had chosen a personal assistant who didn't show such acute survival instincts whenever the Alpha Slayer went on the warpath, and left him to deal with her on his own.

"Good," Andrew jumped up and held out his right hand. "Uh, and I believe you owe me five bucks?"

Grumbling to himself, Giles cursed the fact that before Buffy and Dawn had arrived here – he had been foolish enough to wager against Andrew that nothing would happen to drive Buffy mad, other than the news that Hank Summers was not her biological father. It had obviously been too long since before Sunnydale had collapsed into the ground, and he had forgotten how quickly calamity could and would strike whenever all of his 'brood' gathered together like this. "There you are. And don't spend it all in one place."

{ Okay, *someone* just showed how old he really is, } Andrew thought facetiously to himself, before banishing the thought as being uncharitable to his boss. "So what do you think will happen now, Giles?"

"I don't know, Andrew," Rupert shrugged. "Oh, Buffy will doubtless go visit her half-brother, and then try to track down their father, I suppose. Willow will do the same with her adopted parents, and possibly even visit her 'twin'. As for Faith, well...she might come back here after going to New York and Boston, but then again she might not. Hopefully, Dawn will stay a while before returning to Rome, and I want you to persuade her to assist the Prophecy department if she feels she has nothing to do. As for Xander and Cordelia..." he trailed off.

"Leave them alone?" Andrew suggested wisely.

"That sounds like an excellent idea to me," Giles nodded. "Those two will most likely be off soon to investigate their own parents, anyway."

Unfortunately the upcoming actions of Odin, whose interest in Midgard had been re-ignited after learning of the existence of Amora's half-blood daughter and Lazarus Long's fast-healing and potentially immortal son, would make that decision...

...one that Rupert Giles would eventually regret.

The End (For Now)

The End

You have reached the end of "Family Ties (or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned". This story is complete.

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