Feels like home
Standard Disclaimer applies.
Summary: Xander returns home to One Tree Hill after a nine year absence spent as a different person.
AN: This is set in the current time frame of One Tree Hill so Lucas etc are still teenagers.
Spoilers: One Tree Hill ep 13.
Feels like home
When things at home got bad Xander would walk his nephew Lucas to the riverside basketball courts. The seven year old would play for hours and Xander would sit on the sidelines listening to the sound of the ball hitting the asphalt and the problems in his life would be slowly washed away with each metallic swish of the net.
Nine years ago he had a fight with his Father Royal Scott, the older man had snapped and slapped his teenage son across the face and Xander had run from the house, run to the riverside courts. Where he hoped everything would feel right, there he had met Whistler and life had changed... for the better.
It seemed fitting then that upon returning to One Tree Hill he would visit the old riverside courts first, parking his car he strolled through the night toward the sounds of voices on the court.
Teenagers were gathered at the courts but there was no basketball, no happy cheering. Girls and boys alike drew on the ground with chalk and Xander moved closer to see what was happening.
Some of the boys gave him cautious looks and he supposed he deserved them, he was a man amongst teenagers, he wore a battered eye patch and ratty blue jeans with a black plain t-shirt that clung to the muscles he's developed from saving the world and working construction. He didn't belong in the moment the teenagers existed in.
A blonde haired girl with wild curly hair observed him from the bleachers and he twisted his head slightly to read the artwork scrawled on the ground. ' Get well Lucas!' The purple words ordered and inside Xander he felt a pang of worry, of fear.
Looking towards the river Xander closed his eye and allowed his memory to take him back to warm summer nights, walking hand in hand with his nephew. Letting the childish chatter wash over him as the boy talked about stats and ball players.
Opening his eye again he noticed the girl staring at him again and he tilted his head in her direction to get a better look. She sat next to a group of boys on the bleachers yet she was alone. Standing she jumped down from the bleachers and moved over towards him.
" You lost?" She asked boldly and Xander smiled, a smile that would never reach his eyes.
" Why? Do I look lost?"
" It's just this is a small town, and you're not from around here." The girl stated and Xander nodded.
" What's this?" He asked letting one hand gesture towards the court.
" It's for a friend." The girl said and Xander stared at her waiting for her to continue but she didn't so he smiled again.
" Lucas, what happened to him?" He asked and the girl stared at him a beat before answering,
" He got hurt. What do you want?"
" From you, nothing." Xander explained and turned away feeling the girl's eyes on him as he left.
Lucas was hurt. Lucas was grown up now, he'd missed that Xander thought as he moved back to his car.
Driving through the town again Xander knew where he was going without actually knowing why he was going there. It was as if the thought of his family hurt acted like a magnet drawing him towards the hospital.
Ignoring the bad memories that came with hospital visits Xander climbed the stairs to the ward in which his nephew lay. A nurse had been sweet talked out of the information he had craved. Lucas was seriously hurt in a car accident and had yet to regain consciousness after surgery.
The ward was quiet now, visiting hours long over. The chance of running into someone who would tell him he shouldn't be there higher.
Xander found the room he was searching for easy, years of negotiating the maze of hospital wards having been an advantage. The room was empty save for a tall boy lying as if asleep in the single bed. Taking a look up and down the hallway Xander moved into the room silently and let his eye scan over the numerous bunches of brightly colored flowers and strings of helium balloons.
And then he was standing beside the bed of the teenager he had known as a child.
" Looks like you grew." Xander let the words come out in a soft voice, " Look kid I know you probably wouldn't remember me but I remember you and you used to help me out when things were tough, so if I can do the same..." He let the words trail off and he sighed softly.
There was a noise at the door as someone walked in and stopped and Xander closed his eye briefly in frustration, not wanting to turn around.
" Hi, Are you a friend of Lucas' " A voice asked and Xander's head dropped as he recognized the voice to be that of Karen Roe, Lucas' mother. A direct link to his brothers.
" I was." Xander answered still not turning around, " Maybe I will be again."
The woman moved into the room standing on the opposite side of the bed and Xander turned to look at her. Even after nine years she looked the same, he supposed he had changed some.
Karen was staring at him her eyes taking in every inch of his appearance her mind obviously trying to place the face as it tugged at memory strings.
" Do I know you?" She finally asked,
" You did." Xander replied and Karen frowned and then her mouth opened in shocked realization and she let out a gasp.
" Xander?" She asked tears forming in her eyes and Xander nodded.
" Xander?" She asked again and she was moving around the bed, trapping him with no place to go.
" Oh my god!" She exclaimed as she moved forwards and threw her arms around the man standing in front of her.
Xander returned the hug with one arm and Karen pulled back and stared at him with so much intensity he felt himself take a step back.
" What are you doing here?" She finally asked and Xander shrugged and pointed to the boy in the bed.
" My favorite nephew's hurt and I can't come and visit? " He asked and Karen burst into tears.
Xander let the woman opposite him cry without immediately offering support finally he took a step forward and wrapped an arm around her and dragged her into his body in a comforting hug.
The man and the woman stood not speaking and the only sound in the room came from her quiet sobs.
So this is what it felt like to be home, and he guessed he'd feel a lot more before he left.