Xander caught Willow before her head hit the ground, his reflexes kicking in. He held her in his arms, cradling her head in his lap as he knelt on the Rosenberg’s front lawn. It was then that Willow’s comment hit him. Willow was his sister… his younger sister. Not only did he have three older brothers, but he had a little sister as well… and that sister was Willow, his best friend since they were in kindergarten. Xander, all of a sudden, was feeling dizzy and faint himself. He looked up at John, begging his new found father to deny the allegation, to say that he was somewhere else at the time but John wasn’t shaking his head or denying anything.
“You never told me,” he said instead. “You never told me you were married.”
“Ira and I were fighting at the time. I went out to find someone who could make me forget about how we were doomed to a childless future. Then you came along and I knew I had my man. I never realized that you would make it so that my husband and I never fought again. I never thought that you would make Ira and I parents and grant our biggest wish. We owe you for that.”
“No problems,” John said sarcastically. “Just call me again when you need me to be a sperm donor.”
Xander shifted slightly, holding Willow like this was becoming really uncomfortable. Unfortunately, John seemed to be a little occupied trying to process the fact that he had another child out there, one he had never known about until now, while Sheila was focused on the man who had fathered her daughter and was ignoring the teenager in question.
“Um… little help?” Xander eventually voiced. It snapped John out of his thoughts.
“She didn’t know?” he said, crouching down beside Willow, easing her out of Xander’s arms and lifting her with ease.
“No, she didn’t.” Sheila managed to look slightly guilty as she turned towards the house and began to lead John and Xander in. At that moment, the Impala pulled up at the curb and Dean, Sam and Adam emerged, hurrying up to their father and younger brother.
“What happened?” Dean asked, taking in Willow’s limp form. John shifted her in his arms slightly; unable to remember the last time he’d had to carry one of his boys like this. She was much lighter than Dean and Sam had been at her age.
“She fainted,” Xander told his brothers… their brothers… his and Willow’s older brothers. It was going to take a lot of getting used to. Xander glanced at John, who shook his head slightly. Xander nodded slightly in reply, understanding that John didn’t want to go into details. Dean, Sam, and Adam were still getting used to the idea of Xander existing without having to deal with the news that they had a younger sister as well. John would tell them later on.
Sheila led the group into the house and the older three boys waited downstairs while John carried Willow upstairs to her room and Xander followed his father. As John reached the landing at the top of the stairs, Willow groaned, returning to consciousness.
“Shh, it’s okay, kid. I’ve gotcha,” John said soothingly. Willow opened her eyes blearily, looking up at him with eyes that were similar (but definitely not identical) to Dean and Adam’s. Willow rested her head against his chest as John carried her into her room. He lowered her to the bed as Sheila had pulled the covers back. She glared at Xander.
“Um, you okay, Wills?’ Xander asked, knowing that Sheila hated it when he was in Willow’s room.
“Yeah,” Willow said weakly. “I think I’m good.
“I’ll see you tomorrow then,” Xander said, giving Willow a significant look. She knew what it meant. She nodded in reply.
“See you then,” she said, before dropping back into the dark oblivion of sleep.
The next morning, Willow snuck out before her parents were even up, knowing that she was still in trouble for being late the previous night. She’d only been saved from an on-the-spot grounding by John’s arrival and the bombshell that had dropped as a result.
She walked to the school, sitting on a bench and eating a banana she had taken from the fruit bowl at home. Giles wouldn’t get to the school and unlock the library until about nine and it was currently almost eight.
Knowing that she had a long wait ahead of her, Willow pulled a book about demons out of her bag and began to read, hoping that Giles would be able to do something to determine whether or not she and Xander shared a father and if that father was John Winchester.
Not too long afterwards, Xander trotted into the courtyard, dressed in a shirt and pair of jeans that were obviously not his, a backpack slung over his shoulder.
“I borrowed a set of clothes from Adam,” he said by way of explanation as he sat down next to Willow. Willow put her book away, having marked her page.
“So, what happened last night?” she asked.
“Well, we went back to the motel. Nobody said anything till we got into the room and then Dean and Sam, the oldest two, they started asking John… Dad… about you. John asked me when your birthday was and then counted back, checking this journal that he had. He said that he was in L.A. at that time and that Sheila had approached him and that he’d been busy working and needed to… unwind. They were a bit peeved by the whole thing, so Adam and I just sat and watched. He asked me about you and I told him that you were a straight A student and you were really compassionate. Sam and Dean eventually came over and listened to me as well. I think they were all a bit surprised. From what I gathered, things have been a bit off between Dad and the older guys ever since he told them about Adam and me a few weeks ago. It’s not something they have against you, it’s just that they were a bit peeved about Dad going out and… you know, when he finished his work instead of coming home to look after them. They weren’t that old when we were born after all. Their mom died when Sam was just six months old and Dean was four at the time and he had to bring up Sam, according to Adam.”
Willow leaned forward in her seat. After fifteen years of being an only child she finds out that she has four older half-brothers, one of whom was Xander. From what Xander had found out the previous night, it sounded very likely. She couldn’t picture her mother sleeping with more than two men but then, she’d never imagined her mother cheating on her father, not even during an argument between the two. Xander put his arm around Willow’s slender shoulders, holding his best friend close.
“It wouldn’t be too bad, Wills. I mean, John seems to be a great guy and Dean and Sam and Adam seem to be pretty great. Imagine how cool it would be if you could come with us when we go on the road trip. Seriously, when have we had the opportunity to see the world beyond Sunnydale? Giles and Angel can handle the Hellmouth and Giles has been saying that it’s really quiet at the moment because all the vampires are still pulling themselves together after the thing with the Master.”
Willow looked over at Xander sadly before she launched herself into his arms. They clung to one another tightly, Willow’s face buried in Xander’s shoulder while he rested his chin on the top of Willow’s head, his hand rubbing up and down her back.
“If anyone in the world could be my brother, I would have chosen you, Xander Harris,” she said. Xander sniffed and decided that the moisture on his face was rain, because he certainly wasn’t crying at Willow’s comment. Willow’s shoulders shook as she sobbed onto Xander’s shoulder.
“And if I could choose anyone in the world to be my sister… and they had nothing to do with Tony, I would have chosen you, Willow… in a heartbeat. You’ve always been like a sister to me.”
“Maybe we subconsciously knew,” Willow suggested.
Xander shrugged. “Maybe, but what I mean is… even if we aren’t related, you’re still the best sister I could ever have. And if we are related, well, that just means that you’re the best sister I could ever have and it turns out that you are actually my sister and not just my best friend in the whole world.” Willow smiled into Xander’s chest at his rambling. Maybe they were related after all.
She thought back on her feelings for Xander as she’d gotten older, and how she’d developed a crush on him… Those feelings had, in the last twenty-four hours, disappeared, leaving her knowing that she and Xander weren’t meant to be together in a romantic sense; instead they were brother and sister… even if they ended up not sharing a father. She was a part of him and he a part of her. They’d been all the other had ever since their earliest memories and the bond they forged during the past eleven or so years was unbreakable.
The two best friends sat and held one another, savoring the sense of belonging and friendship that they shared, born from being the only one in the world the other could ever trust from early childhood onwards.
Giles let his jaw drop when he walked into the courtyard and found the two teenagers, holding each other as if their friend was the only thing keeping them alive. Giles’ heart caught in his throat as he wondered what would cause such a reaction for the pair. It was almost certainly bad news. He felt a thrill of horror go through him as he wondered if something had happened to Buffy. Joyce was not likely to call him if there was bad news but she would call Willow and Xander.
“Willow? Xander? Whatever is wrong?” Giles asked. Xander and Willow pulled away form one another, although Xander kept an arm around Willow’s shoulders.
“Can we talk in the library?” Xander asked. Giles nodded, polishing his glasses.
“Of course, come on.” He hurried off, leaving Willow and Xander to catch up with him. The pair of teenagers hurried, catching up while Giles was unlocking the door of the school. They walked through the deserted corridors until they reached the library or rather, what was left of it since the Master’s attempted rising. They walked around the destruction into Giles’ office and observed as the Watcher went about making up a pot of tea.
“Now, what troubles you?” Giles asked, taking in the red, puffy eyes of both teenagers.
“I’ve always known that Tony Harris isn’t my real dad but last night, a guy… John, came to my house claiming to be my biological dad. My mother confirmed it and it all seemed okay. He had his three older sons with him and he asked if I wanted to go on a road trip with them this summer. It was all okay. My dad reacted… as my dad usually does to things and it was decided that I would spent the night in the motel with John and my brothers.”
“Perhaps not the wisest of ideas… Motels and the like offer no protection from vampires,” Giles interrupted.
“Yeah, well, it was the motel, the streets, or your house,” Xander defended. “Anyway, Willow came with me for moral support while I talked to John and that was all okay until she realized that it had made her late for her curfew. John and I took her back home and John got out to explain to Mrs. Rosenberg that it was his fault. She was really angry and tearing into Willow and John stepped up to her and she was all shocked and started screaming that John was Willow’s biological father, too.”
Giles choked on the mouthful of tea he had just taken.
“Wait a minute… are you saying that…?”
“Xander and I share a biological father, yeah, that about sums it up.”
“Is it…er, likely?” Giles asked.
Willow shrugged. “I don’t know, I haven’t spoken to my mom since… I kind of fainted last night and I snuck out early this morning,” she admitted.
“Willow, you rebel,” Xander teased. Willow blushed and ducked her head, ashamed at her actions. Xander put his around her shoulders reassuringly.
“Anyway, John’s two eldest sons quizzed him at the motel last night and it sounded like it’s possible,” he continued
“My parents lived in L.A. until I was born,” Willow added. “And John said that he was in L.A. at about the right time.”
“So, what do you think, Giles, is there something you can do to confirm or deny that we’re actually brother and sister? I don’t know… like spell or a ritual or… something?” Xander asked.
“Well, yes, I do believe that I know a spell that can assess the likelihood of your being related.” Giles polished his glasses. “It’s in one of my books.”
“So, research session?” Xander asked.
“Research session,” Giles confirmed.