Title: Spilt Tears
Part: 3/3 Spilt Blood
Disclaimer: Joss and Katims own all.
Summary: Heading to L.A. hoping for a fix...
A/N: So, we know by now how much is still stuck on my moldering old useless PC. (I kick it daily when I think of all the secrets it’s got trapped inside it’s fried mind. No, seriously, I kick
it. It’s still in my room, holding DVD’s, books, and magazines. I kick it a lot.). Anything I had saved for my old fics have been lost long ago. So, all that’s left is my steel-trap-like mind that’s got a thousand and one fic ideas (not to mention original fiction plots as well) elbowing for space. That said, this is one of the few where I actually knew where I was going with it.
A/N2: Of course, I just can’t remember if I knew I was going to make it a Tess/Xander pairing or friendship… Spilt Blood On the road to L.A. …
Xander clutched the steering wheel in a death grip. They’d been drying for days, and the trip seemed so much shorter on the return than it had in getting to Roswell. Of course, Tess had been desperately trying to put it off for as long as she could. Not that he could blame her. There hadn’t been a sympathetic soul in that café when Xander had forced her to tell them what had happened.
Khivar had threatened their lives, had sent back messages to wrest Isabel away from Max, and sowing dissention was his idea of child’s play. But if there was anything to be learned by the numerous big bads who set out to conquer Sunnydale, it was that plans never work out as well as they do on paper.
Xander took a deep breath, and struggled not to tense up when he saw the mile marker that would lead him to L.A.. As much as he hated Angel, and did not want to rely on him for help of any kind, he was kind of excited to see a familiar and non-judge-y face right now. In his few brief calls to Willow, Dawn and Buffy, he’d gotten similar vibes of angry from them. And Anya hadn’t even bothered to pick up the phone when he’d tried to call her.
He glanced to his right and watched her sleeping in the passenger seat. Blonde curls rested on her cheek, ruffled by the breeze from the windows. She couldn’t be more than seventeen or eighteen, and yet she’d been through hell for most of her life. Someone had to protect her and keep her demons away.
Hitting the turn signal, he slowly pulled into the closest gas station and pulled the one card he swore he’d never touch from his wallet. Five minutes later, they were back on the road again.
Hyperion Hotel, L.A. …
Cordelia and Fred were trying to shield the boys from the on-going battle with Holtz and the Wolfram & Hart fodder when the phone went off. Cordelia, determined to protect little Connor and Gage, ignored it. Paying customers could wait while her boys needed protecting. They’d been fleeing when the beep went off on the machine, and whoever was calling left the message. “Uh, guess who? It’s Xander. Normally I would never bother you at all - mainly because of the festering hatred I’ve always had for you, Dead-boy, but I kinda need your help. There’s this girl, and she’s looking for her - well, for something she lost, and I figured, ‘hey, Dead-boy’s got a detective agency’ so, yeah. We should be there within a few days. So be seein’ ya.”
* * * * *
Xander pulled the car into one of the vacant spots in front of the gated entrance to the Hyperion, his hands a bit damp at the prospect of seeing Cordy again. Oh, and Dead-boy and Giles, Jr. Tess looked at him nervously.
“Are you sure they’ll be able to help us?”
“Positively.” Not at all, but it was worth a shot.
“Right And they’re expecting us?”
“With bells on. Dear God, I hope with bells on, because Dead-boy can be cat-like stealthy sometimes.”
He led her from the car, letting her lean heavily against him until they hit the courtyard. The very trashed courtyard that had seen much better days. Along with the busted doors and smoke-stained walls.
“This is how it always looks,” he smiled reassuringly, lying through his teeth just to keep her calm.
But he held her just behind him, ready for anything. Except for the big green demon leaning over Cordelia protectively as she hugged another woman to her.
“Is he supposed to be green?” Tess whispered, peeking over Xander’s shoulder.
Three heads snapped up to stare at them, looking frightened and angry. Until recognition hit Cordelia. She was up and running towards him before he could even mutter ‘eep’. And then she was hugging him for some crazy reason.
“Oh my god, Xander Harris! What are you doing here? Is Willow here? Buffy? Giles?” She asked hopefully.
“Uh, nope, just me?”
“What good are you then!” Cordelia huffed, pushing away from him. “Who’s the high schooler?”
“Tess. The girl I mentioned when I called?”
“You called?” Cordelia looked shocked. “When?”
“Why are you
eager to see Willow and
Buffy?” he countered.
“Because we need some serious firepower if we ever want to get our boys back!” the green demon pitched in, drawing them back to the well, big green demon in the room.
“Giles, Jr. and Dead-boy go missing?”
“No. Angel’s sons went missing.”
Xander shook his head as if he hadn’t heard right. He did it again when Cordelia’s expression didn’t change.
“How can Dead-boy have kids? He’s dead
It took an hour of explaining to get him to wrap his head around Darla being brought back from the dead as a human, re-turned by Dru, and sleeping with Angel in order to conceive his child. It took another thirty minutes for the whole Darla killing herself to give birth to make sense. Tess looked equally confused, and she had no idea who any of these people were.
“So we’d just settled down into a routine when bamf, another little boy popped up in Connor’s crib. Poor little guy,” Cordelia’s eyes watered as she thought of the babies. “Gage is younger than Connor, but he’d been only a few hours old when he came to us. Hadn’t even been cleaned off.”
Tess tensed at this. Xander leaned forward nervously, his eyes never leaving Cordelia’s.
“This Gage, he didn’t have a v-shaped birthmark on him, did he?”
“How’d you know?”
Tess’s hand started trembling and her face paled. She reached blindly for Xander’s hand. The groping didn’t escape Cordelia’s notice. But Xander only glared at the upraised brow.
“Because it’s Tess’s
son Zan you found.”
“Oh my god,” Fred gasped from beside them, her big eyes watering at the revelation.
“Where’s my son? Can I see him?” Tess looked dizzy with disbelief. She didn’t even notice the looks Cordelia and Lorne were exchanging.
“You can’t,” a voice said from the doorway.
Angel stepped cautiously into the light, obviously still hurting from whatever had happened two days ago. Wesley and another man were watching him cautiously, as if they were ready to catch him at a moment’s notice. Xander had a very bad feeling about this.
“What do you -”
“Tess,” Xander started, trying to calm her down.
“Holtz took him. Took both of them,” Angel said bleakly, the lost look in his eyes far too familiar to the one he’d seen Tess wearing for the last six weeks he’d been with her.
“So you go and get him! Get my son back!” Tess cried, going a little hysterical on him.
“We can’t. Holtz and a woman named Justine took both boys to another dimension we have no hope of reaching,” Wesley said sadly.
“But - but -” Tess broke down then, sobbing as if her heart had been torn out of her chest.
Xander scooped her up, holding the hysterical girl to him. She’s only had the slightest hope of finding the only family she had left. He rocked her, trying to calm her down and keep her from hurting herself.
Angel - well, Cordelia, really because Angel was in too similar a place as Tess to be of much help - set them up with a room for the night. Tess nearly passed out from the emotional drain and Xander, his heart breaking for her, slipped out to see what he could do to fix things.
“We’ll go to G-man and tap Willow’s powers -”
“What, and break the news to Buffy that her ex had a kid?” Cordelia sighed, watching as he paced the length of Wesley’s office.
“You were all excited that she was here when I showed up.”
“Yeah, but bringing baby-mama drama down on Angel’s head isn’t going to help anything. And as for Willow, ” she shrugged. “Dawn left a message for us this morning. Willow’s in a bad place, isn’t she?”
“She’s abusing the power,” Xander nodded. “Since when did Dawn start leaving messages for you?”
“Uh, since Buffy died and she came to visit Mr. Summers in L.A. last summer,” Cordelia looked shocked that he hadn’t known. “She and Angel were holed up in his office for a few hours when she dropped by.”
“How did I not know that?”
“Because you were too busy getting engaged to Anya and then pulling a run-away groom?”
“She, ah, told you that?”
Before he could explain the situation - okay, so even he
couldn’t really explain it to himself all the reasons he’d left Anya at the altar - a loud, and very familiar shriek ripped through the lobby. Both Sunnydale veterans grabbed the nearest weapon and hauled ass to the source of the shriek.
Which turned out to be a combination of a Dawn shriek and a Lorne shriek, seeing as the green demon and the former Key were setting each other off. Literally. Angel, Wesley, Gunn, and even Tess had come running at the sound.
“Dawnie? What are you doing here?” Xander cried, trying to pull the teen away from Lorne as she bashed him repeatedly with her messenger bag.
? What are you
doing here?” came the teenaged accusation. Not that he didn’t totally deserve it, seeing as he’d abandoned her like nearly all of the men in her life. And it hit him then, what his running had done to everyone
he knew and loved, not just Anya.
“Trying to help a friend. Does Buffy know you’re here?”
“Does Buffy even know I still exist? And does she even care?” Hurt ripped through her, her face such a billboard for her emotions.
“Willow and Tara?”
“Once again, with the caring?” Dawn rolled her eyes at him. “And you can get lumped into that category, too you know.”
“No, I get it. Glory’s down for the count, so who cares about stupid little sister? So done with grown-up bullshit,” Dawn snapped, jerking away from him. Xander felt tension building just behind his eyes.
“Wow. And I thought Buffy was the only one with a chip on her shoulder,” Cordelia whistled quietly.
“So you came to Angel
?” Xander glared at Cordelia.
“You’d have rather I’d gone to Spike
, the other
vampire my sister screwed instead?”
“Eeeww, Buffy and Spike?” Cordelia shuddered.
“Oh, like the Buffy and Angel visual is so much better?” Xander shuddered himself.
“Uh, for us not caring about who this Buffy chick has boinked, can we get back on the subject of Lolita beating down on Lorne?” Gunn added.
“Don’t call her Lolita, that implies you think she’s hot,” Xander got another case of the shudders.
“Gee, thanks for the lovely blow to my self-esteem,” Dawn huffed.
“Does anyone feel that?” Tess said loudly, as if she’d been trying to get everyone’s attention for several minutes. Which she had. Her eyes locked on the teenager standing just in front of Xander. Dawn stiffened, as if just noticing something was off.
“Low vibrations on your spine?” Dawn said quietly.
“But getting bigger.”
Tess was down the stairs faster than any of them could move, her body colliding heavily with Dawn and Xander, pushing them all out of the way as a giant blue crackling portal opened up in the middle of the ceiling. Team Angel hit the ground as bright blue lightening struck near where they had been. Tess, Dawn and Xander all stared at the portal with open mouths as three figures tumbled through. The last figure shouted something and lightening streaked from his fingers, closing the portal behind them.
“Remind me to never say ‘Good plan, bro’ to you again,” a male voice said from the small pile of bodies.
“Uh, it was an awesome
plan, bro, until you
decided to pick a fight with the An’kanle again
. Their brains are ten times smaller than yours, you know,” another male - the portal closer, apparently - snapped back like only a sibling could.
“I swear, I must have been drunk or stupid to agree with any of you! Ever!” The only female voice, and this one sounding much older than either of the male voices, yelled at both of them, her hands slapping the backs of both heads.
“Maju, you have to do that every
time you’re pissed off with us?” the second voice demanded.
“You two ever gonna listen?”
“She’s got a point there, kid.”
“I’m a month younger than you, so suck it.”
The woman rose up, and the group saw her face for the first time. Graying dark auburn hair and a noticeable scar across her throat and face that looked familiar to Team Angel. Both men - well, boys
really seemed to close rank on her, noticing they were outgunned and outmanned.
“Aw, crap, Gage!” Maju - or whoever she was - curbed her curse like she’d been doing it for years. “Could you have not
landed us smack dab in your dad’s house?”