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Dominoes

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This story is No. 15 in the series "Childhood Lost". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Against Xander's wishes the secrets tumble like dominoes.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > Magnificent Seven, The(Past Donor)HiltonKFR151424,359411735,71030 Oct 1220 Dec 12Yes

Disclosure part 5

“Willow. I’m not leaving.” Xander glared balefully at the still fuming red-head.

“That man…”

“Has just had his world view shaken.” Xander finished.

“He shot you.” Willow huffed.

“I know.” Xander sighed. “I should have handled it better. I just didn’t want to put them though this.”

“You tried.” Willow sat beside him on the bed. “You could come home; recuperate with us.”

Xander looked at her sadly. “I am home, Wills.”

Willow sniffled before glancing at the pair in the doorway. She smiled at Ezra’s surprised look. “I’d better go check in on Spike; it’s cruel to leave Abby alone with him.”

“Willow,” Xander stiffened at her implied criticism of Spike.

“I’m kidding, Xan. I’m glad you two are friends. It’s good for both of you.” Willow patted him on the shoulder as she stood. “I’ll leave you guys to talk.”

There was an awkward moment after Willow left, which Xander broke. “Did you think Willow would have magiced me away?”

“Yep.” Vin answered with a laugh, even as Ezra muttered “It crossed our minds.”

“I wouldn’t leave without telling you.” Xander shifted back into the cushions trying to get comfortable. “You’re my Dad; for the first time in my life that really means something.”

“It means a lot to me as well, Xander.” Ezra answered unhesitatingly.

“Your Willow, she’s kinda scary.” Vin said with a grin.

“Nah, she’s a pussy cat. Sharp claws but at heart a pussy cat.” Xander laughed before sobering.

“Everything okay out there? Abby, the girls, they tend to overreact with me.” Xander looked embarrassed as he broached Abby’s earlier reaction.

“You clearly mean a lot to them, Xander.” Ezra soothed, not wanting to express his own feelings on the subject.

“I was out of line, Xander, I’m sorry.” Chris spoke up from the doorway.

“Spike rubs everyone up the wrong way.” Xander attempted to misdirect. He knew that Abby had bristled at Chris’s yelling about Spike and while he hadn’t heard the details, it didn’t take a genius to work out Chris had also said something about him.

“I’m not exactly happy having a… him,” Chris grimaced. “in my house. I could have handled this better.” Chris finished grudgingly.

“Honestly, I’ve seen worse.” Xander gave him a small smile. “Thanks for letting us stay.”

Chris gave Xander a long look. There was no mockery in his words; he’d unconsciously reached out to soothe Ezra without even looking at the man, barely flinching at the obvious pull on his wound. Chris couldn’t quite wrap his head around the forgiveness, the understanding that the pale looking man was giving him.

“We’re heading to bed. We’ll talk more in the morning.” Chris said gruffly.

Vin snorted as the blond disappeared. “Damn, he was almost polite there.”

“Our illustrious leader sometimes lacks the people skills one would expect of a human being.” Ezra sneered.

“Harsh, dad. All in all, I think that all went pretty well. Of course, I could have done without the bullet.” Xander sighed as his father bristled again. “Just look at it from his perspective, Ezra. There was a monster. I’m the one that got in the way of the shot when I tackled the kid.”

“It’s not just about him shooting you.” Ezra bit out the words. “He didn’t trust us.”

“He didn’t trust me, Dad. And I had been keeping a big damn secret from him.” Xander paused thoughtfully, picking at the bed sheet absently. “I would imagine he was worried about you guys, his team; his family. He welcomed me into his ‘clan’ -- into his home -- then you got hurt and I was there; Abby got hurt and I was there; and then you, Vin and the others pulled away, kept secrets from him. That must have hurt. So I reckon it was less about trust and more about wanting to protect you. Just like I tried to protect you all; fat lot of good that did.”

Xander looked up at the unexpected silence. “What?” He was uncomfortable with the looks the two men gave him.

“You constantly surprise me, Xander.” Ezra smiled at the blush the rose on his son’s cheeks. “And while we appreciate the lengths you went to protect us; you don’t need to worry about that now. You need to rest and heal up.”

“We’ve got your back.” Vin added. “Spike and Abby’s too. Sleep and we’ll see you in the morning.”

“Thanks.” Xander shifted trying to find a comfortable position.

~~~

Chris stood with his back to the wall outside the bedroom Xander was in. The boy’s words had been surprising, even having had his forgiveness face to face. It wasn’t often people kept up a false façade when they thought people weren’t listening. The obvious conclusion was he truly meant it.

Chris started as he realised he was being watched. He turned to find Xander’s friend Willow watching him.

“I thought you were doing a spell to prevent eavesdropping.” Chris decided there was no point hiding what he’d been doing.

“I only said I’d prevent us hearing your discussions.” Willow replied calmly. “Besides, I suspect you needed to hear that.”

“You set this up?” Chris frowned, just when he thought he could accept this… them.

“Actually, no.” Willow sighed. “The spell prevents eavesdropping but I only set it up one way. I’m not saying there are things we haven’t told you but you’ve heard the worst of it now.”

“Spells, magic, monsters. I wish,” Chris tensed as the woman moved quickly to cover his mouth.

“Ah, that’s not a good phrase to use around us.” Willow dropped her hand and smiled sheepishly. “Wish demons.”

“Wish demons.” Chris rubbed his face tiredly. “Right.”

“90% time there’s nothing listening but having seen the fallout, none of us really want to take the chance.” Willow gave him a bright smile.

“You do realize this is all…” Chris faded out.

“Bat shit crazy insane, oh yeah, but it’s our lives so you pretty much have to adapt.” Willow patted him on the arm. “Or not, as we said we’ll totally understand if you’d rather bury your head in the sand. I’m going to check on Xander; don’t’ worry about Spike he’ll probably sleep most of the day and he bought his own snacks.”

Willow slipped past the stunned man and into the bedroom.

Xander glanced up from where he’d settled on the bed. “Uh oh, I know that look. What did you do?”

“Nothing. I was just making conversation with Mr. Larabee.” Willow hummed as she settled onto the bed next to Xander.

“Did you break him, Wills? That’s not nice, Ezra wanted to be the one to break him.” Xander muttered sleepily.

“I might have, er, pushed a button or two but there shouldn’t have been any breakage. You said they were tougher than that.” Willow sighed as Xander wrapped his uninjured arm around her.

“We are indeed, Miss Rosenberg.” Ezra nodded to Vin as he slipped out of the room. He smiled at the sight of these two formidable people curled up so innocently together. It had been one hell of a day but for once the future seemed a little brighter.

~@~@~@~
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