The Law of Magic
Description: Chaos destroyed everything he knows. Now he has to start again with its consequences.
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership of the characters, situations and themes written about in this piece of fiction. I earn no profit from this work.
Current crossovers: BTVS, Law and Order.
AN: Not my first bit of fiction but the first on this site. Don’t expect rapid updates this is just for fun.
Claire Kincaid stared through the observation window at her cousin. His hair was longer than she remembered and he was pale. She thought his face slightly different to what she remembered as well but it had been so long since she had seen him, let alone talked to him.
“Has he said anything?” she asked the doctor standing next to her.
“No, not since we found him. We’ve diagnosed him with a form of catatonia. He eats when food is in front of him, takes himself to the bathroom even brushes his own teeth. But as yet, he hasn’t reacted to outside stimuli, spoken or made any other attempts at communication since they found him in the ruins of Sunnydale.” The doctor stated as he glanced through the notes on his clip board.
“Nothing?” Claire turned to face him.
“We’ve seen some strange finger movements, and he’s been seen to be mouthing words sometimes but our specialists haven’t been able to read his lips and the finger movements don’t seem to relate to anything we’ve been able to find. Not keystrokes or any keypad we can think of. Put a pencil in his hand and all that comes out is scribbles. It’s random movements as far as we can tell.”
Claire scrunched her brow as she thought over what the doctor had been telling her. This isn’t what she expected when she had gotten a call for the FBI saying that they’ve identified one of the survivors of Sunnydale’s’ destruction as her cousin Xander. She had pretty much given up hope of any of her remaining family from that place surviving the mysterious destruction of the town that Halloween night.
“Was he hurt when they found him? Could that be the reason he’s like this?” She asked around her shock.
“There was no serious injuries, no head trauma, tox screen came up clear. He had a few scrapes and bruises, some burns on his hands, but they’ve all healed up well. We’ve done some CT scans of our own since he came in, and besides evidence of a few broken bones in his childhood, there isn’t anything wrong with him physically. He has some strange brainwave readings, but that isn’t too outside the norm for catatonic patients, in fact it could be a good sign. A sign that he hasn’t just shut down completely.”
Claire turned towards the doctor with hope.
“So he could come out of it?”
“Yes, but when is our biggest problem. This situation is a way for his mind to cope with what it was that happened to him or with what he saw. Some catatonia patients have been known to stay in this state for years, some for days. It’s actually very fortunate that they found you. We know that in his state he can hear and see what goes on around him, and communication with a family member, a familiar, safe person may be just what he needs to coax him out of this state. It won’t happen immediately but you just talking to him may just be our best hope.”
Claire turned back to her cousin. He was clothed in the psychiatric hospitals white pants and top, just sitting in the center of the room, legs crossed, hands on knees. Staring vacantly at the door. Strangely he wasn’t slouched, his back was arrow straight.
“Can I… Is it possible for him to be transferred closer to home? Somewhere in New York?”
“That shouldn’t be a problem. He’s receiving the government assistance package set up for survivors, so you can take your pick with hospitals you can send him too.”
“I have a friend in the field. I’d like to ask her before I make a decision. But you can send the paperwork through to my office” She handed him her card. “Can I… Can I go in and see him now?”
“Sure. Do you mind if we observe?” The doctor gave tucked the card into his folder and pulled a set of keys from his belt.
“No no, go ahead.”
Claire blinked at the brightness of Xander's' room as she entered. The room was very white and seemed to reflect the light from the silently buzzing fluorescents overhead. Xander continued to stare straight ahead. She noticed a small jug of water and a glass sitting next to him that she hadn’t been able to see from the window.
She walked over to him than folded her legs under her as she sat down next to him and tentatively took his hand in hers. He didn’t seem to notice. She sat there for a moment and just studied him. He must be around sixteen these days, it had been nearly a decade since she had seen him last. That visit hadn’t ended well. Xanders’ father had been… unpleasant was the way her parents had put it. She hadn’t been around for these episodes but she’d felt the tension around them.
Xander had been six at the time. A happy boy she recalled. Not that she’d been that attentive. She’d been 8 years his senior at the time.
He’d grown up into a handsome young man. At sitting, he seemed to be of a height similar to her if not a touch taller, and she was sure he had growing still to come. His skin was smooth and a lot paler than she expected on a boy from California, but that was probably from the last 2 months in hospital. The same could probably be said about his current thinness. His hair hung down to his shoulders, straight and deep brown. Someone in the hospital staff must keep it brushed. Cheek bones slightly higher than she remembered and a slightly more delicate chin but it was still him.
“Xander? Xander its Claire. Xander?” She brought her other hand up to cup his hand. He didn’t even twitch. That brought a sad frown to her face, even though she hadn’t expected anything.
“Xander… It’s okay. I’m gonna be here for you… I’m sorry about what’s happened to you, but, just know, I’m gonna be here when you want to talk about it.” She wiped at her eyes and gave his hand a squeeze.
It may have been her imagination, but she thought it took just a fraction of a second longer, for Xander to let go.