Title: A New Day
Warnings: Implied drug/alcohol dependence in adults, implied child neglect
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy:TVS or Neil Diamond's September Morn
, they belong to their respective owners/creators. I make no profit from this.
A/N: Written for bloodwrites August fanfic contest on LJ which included the prompts: first day of school, apples, Neil Diamond's September Morn
, and must be rated T or under. My fic got chosen (yay me!) though I never actually got to see it published :( But I get to share it with everyone else now. Enjoy!
Summary: What happened the morning Xander met BuffySeptember morn
We danced until the night
Became a brand new…
“Gah!” A hand managed to fight its way free of tangled sheets to bat at the alarm clock blaring music less than a foot away from the previously covered head. Face turning to look accusingly at the now silent clock and the brightly glowing 7:00 staring back at him, Alexander Harris, Xander to…well, everyone, grumbled and pushed himself upright. Sneaking suspicious looks at the clock as if it would start playing again all on its own, he rubbed the sleep from his eyes as he mumbled to himself. “Awful music, why do they have to play that, and don’t they know it’s only August, shouldn’t play that until September, and even then I don’t want to hear it.”
Trudging his way to the bathroom, noticing the distinct lack of loud snoring indicating that his father had managed to find another job for the week, he took care of his everyday morning ritual -piss, brush teeth, shave, try to make his hair look half way decent- before heading back to his room to dress in baggy jeans and t-shirt and a bright Hawaiian shirt and grab his backpack, double checking that he had everything he thought he’d need for the day.
Hurrying down the stairs as he realized the time, engrained habits having him deftly avoiding the squeaky spots, he skidded to a stop inside the kitchen. His mother stood at the sink, staring blankly out the window above it. A sad sigh slipping from him, he walked quietly around her, looking in the fridge to see if he could find something to fix for lunch only to be greeted by the sight of shelves empty of everything except condiments and a stray can or bottle of beer that had been missed the previous night. Giving up on thoughts of breakfast as well, he sighed again, checking his wallet to see if he had enough cash to buy at least a soda and chips in the cafeteria later. Maybe Jesse or Willow would have enough to share with him, they usually did…wasn’t the first time he’d gone to school hungry after all.
Looking out the window next to the door, he could see Willow and Jesse just walking up outside his house and couldn’t help the smile that tilted his lips. They’d been friends forever, The Three Musketeers, they always managed to cheer him up. Opening the door, wincing as the hinges squeaked, he stopped as he heard his mother’s confused voice. “Tony? You‘re back already? I…I mean…”
Xander flinched at the panicked expression that crossed her face and spoke softly. “No, mom, it’s just me. Dad was already gone when I got up. It’s the first day of school, I’ve got to go or I’ll be late. Willow and Jesse are waiting outside for me. Why don’t you go back to bed, okay?”
“Bed? Yes…yes. You’re a good boy, Xander, not like…You’re a good boy.”
Xander watched his mother sadly, she’d gotten worse as he’d gotten older, the combination of pills and alcohol leaving her a vacant shell of a person most days. But then, what did she have to look forward to sober, at least spaced as she was she didn’t have to face the fact that…
“Hey, Xander, you comin’ or what?”
Jarred from his depressing thoughts by Jesse‘s yelled question, he shook his head and closed and locked the door behind him, racing down the steps to meet his two best friends. Falling into step next to them as they headed towards the high school, he noticed the shiny red apple Willow was holding cradled against her bright corduroy overalls. Hearing his stomach growl in protest over his missed breakfast, he gave her his best puppy dog look as he dared asked about the snack just out of his reach. “So, um, Wills, what’s with the apple? Thought we got you to stop giving apples to the teacher in grade school.”
“Xander!” The red headed girl laughed and shook her head even as a blush tinted her cheeks. “Well, you did, but this is different, this for the librarian, so it’s really not the same as taking it to the teacher, right? They’re different jobs, even though they are in the same building. You did hear about the librarian, right? He’s English, like all the way here from England, it’s so exciting, and I wonder what he’s doing in Sunnydale of all places, and in our high school, I mean wouldn’t he want to go to L.A. or something since it’s so close, and I’m sure there’s lots more cultural stuff to do than here. And…”
“Wills, breathe!” Jesse laughed, shaking his head as he cast Xander a knowing look over their friend’s head. If they didn’t stop her, she’d keep babbling until they got to the school. “So what, he’s from England? Big deal. At least he speaks English, that’s all I care about. Not like we’ll actually be in the library much anyway, right Xander?”
“Guys, you two are hopeless, how are you supposed to write your English papers if you don’t actually do the research for them? You know how important those grades are, you two barely passed last year, remember? I thought we talked about this?”
Xander laughed lightly and draped his arm over her slim shoulders, giving her a friendly hug even as he eyed the apple again. “We did talk about it. And me and Jesse agreed that you should be the one to do the library stuff, since you’re so much better at it than us.”
“Oh, hey look, it’s Cordelia”
It was Xander and Willow’s turn to give each other knowing looks. Ever since Jesse had hit puberty, well, more accurately, ever since Cordelia had hit puberty, he’d been sniffing after her like…well, like the horndog he was turning into. Once his attention was fixated on their enemy, he was pretty much lost to them until the brunette had managed to verbally crush him in front of her friends yet again.
A flash of something to the side caught Xander’s eye and he turned, catching sight of a petite blonde girl getting out of a car, talking to who he supposed was her mother, the typical vacant nod he recognized from most other teenagers’ conversations with their parents when they’d heard the same warnings for the umpteenth time making him smile.
Willow, realizing that her other friend was distracted, turned to see what was so fascinating. “Oh, hey, she must be new. I wonder where she’s from, oh, and do you think she’ll be in our grade? She looks our age, but then you never really know. And I wonder what she’s like, her bookbag’s awfully full for the first day of school; maybe she just brought a bunch of stuff ‘cause she doesn’t know what the classes are like. We should go talk to her; maybe she’d like to be our study buddy.”
Xander dragged his attention away from the perky looking blonde to look down at Willow, smiling fondly. The new girl was dressed in what were obviously fashionable clothes and in fact she looked a lot like some of Cordelia’s friends who were cheerleaders, and unfortunately, the dweebs and the cheerleaders never really did the mixy thing very well. But he hated to dash her hopes; he knew she had to get tired of being the only girl in their group. So instead of voicing his doubts, he gave her a bright smile as he heard the five minute warning bell go off and started towards the big double doors of the school.
“Yeah, Wills, we should talk to her. Who knows, maybe she has some interesting stories to tell about where she came from, and she’d probably like some friends around here.”
Passing Cordelia and her Cordettes in the hallway, Xander heard her interrogating the new girl. Buffy? Interesting name, she definitely sounded as perky as a cheerleader, but he could swear he saw something pointy sticking out of the top of her bag, too big to be a pencil, but what could it be. Maybe he’d get a chance to run into her later and find out. Not like there was anything else interesting happening in Sunnydale.