Disclaimer still applies.
Royal Scott had never been able to get over the fact that his eldest boy had blown his chances at college ball only to return home to a scandal. Xander had been only six when Dan Scott had announced that even though his high school sweetheart was pregnant he was still going to Richmond for college. Not being able to really understand the fights the Scott family had been having at the time made little difference. All Xander remembered was that his family used to shout a lot.
When Lucas was born, Keith took Xander to the hospital to meet his nephew and Xander was instantly hooked on the little family. Of course Royal had hated that, his two sons hanging out with Lucas and Karen when they should have been smitten with Dan and Nathan, and while Royal could do nothing about Keith spending time with Lucas he made it damned near impossible for Xander to do so.
Not that it had ever stopped him, Xander would sneak over to Karen's straight after school while Royal was at work and May was babysitting Nathan. When he got older around 11 he'd go to bed early only to sneak out a window and run to the cottage that Karen and Lucas lived in. When Royal found out what his youngest son was up to he was livid and for a year Xander had nearly never seen Karen and Lucas, then at 12 Keith had persuaded Royal to let Xander practice basketball down at the river courts in the summer evenings, and every night Xander would take Lucas to the courts in secret and watch him play.
Not that this solved anything, Royal couldn't understand why his youngest boy was so crap at basketball even though he 'trained' every night, but Xander wasn't interested in the sport, he was only on the junior league team because it covered his lie. The lie lasted two years.
Xander had blown a huge game when his coach had made him go into a playoff game for an injured player and Xander had practically given the game away to the other team because he was so bad. The car ride home had been spent in a deathly silence, Dan and Royal sitting in the front staring straight ahead.
When they'd dropped Dan off at his house he'd gotten out of the car with a parting shot,
" It's hard to believe you're a Scott sometimes Xander."
The silence ended when Father and Son finally got home and May, Xander's mother had asked how the game had gone. Royal and May soon got into a huge argument about the pressure Royal placed on Xander to play basketball and upset at seeing Royal yelling at May, Xander had announced that he would quit the team, that he never wanted to play, and then he'd told them about the riverside court lie.
Father and Son yelled at each other for ten minutes, Xander had yelled that he was sick of being compared to Dan, that couldn't Royal tell Xander was trying to be his own person. Royal had yelled at Xander for being the source of his embarrassment in the town and Xander had replied,
" You think I'm an embarrassment. God Dad! What about Dan? What about you? You're a grown man living his life through his sons! Is your life really that pathetic?!"
Royal had struck out at Xander and before the pair even knew what was happening, Xander's lip was split and blood trickled from his mouth and the teenager had pushed past his Father angrily,
" I hate you!" Xander had yelled on his way to the door,
" Yeah well if you hate me so much, don't bother coming back!" Royal had yelled after the figure of his son as he ran from the house. Royal had yelled words that would haunt him for years.
When Xander didn't come home that night May drove around to Karen's to fetch him only to find he wasn't there. Keith and Dan had driven every mile of the town , checking every nook and cranny for their missing brother but there was no point because by the time they were calling Xander's name into the woods, he was already in a new home, in a new bed, in a new life.
Xander Scott had become Xander Harris.
Sitting in a comfortable silence in a hospital room nine years later neither Karen nor Xander quite knew what to say to each other.
" Oh God, I should call Keith." Karen stated reaching for her phone but although she held the phone out ready she couldn't bring herself to punch in the numbers.
" You that mad at him?" Xander asked and Karen snapped out of her daze and shot him a glare,
" He nearly killed my son!" She spat, Xander nodded suddenly remembering the anger he had felt towards Angel for being responsible for putting Willow in the hospital.
Xander stood staring at Lucas lying still in the bed.
" You're going?" Karen asked sounding worried and Xander looked at her and nodded once,
" My folks, they still live in the old house?" He asked
" No, they moved away soon after you left, I think being here was a bit too tough on your Dad." Karen told him and Xander raised and eyebrow.
" You left Xander, you just disappeared, we searched everywhere! God, we thought you were dead!"
Karen remembered driving to the nearby towns, interviewing bus drivers and plastering posters to every free wall space. Karen remembered Royal turning up on her doorstep desperate to know if his son had called her. Karen remembered Royal in tears, asking for her forgiveness for the way he'd ignored her and Lucas. Trying to find redemption for losing his son.
" Some things have changed." Karen stated and Xander let out a small laugh,
" But most things are the same?" He asked and Karen sighed,
From outside the room a stern voice carried down the empty hallway,
" Sir, You can't be here!" Xander looked over to the door and stood casually moving to the doorway and peering out into the hallway.
A nurse was in the process of blocking the entrance to the children's ward with her body from a tall man dressed like he'd fallen out of a bad seventies horror flick. Black leather pants, and plaid shirt. Xander sighed, Vampires. They just couldn't leave him alone.
The vamp pushed the nurse out of the way violently and went to move into the ward where more than a dozen sleeping sick children lay.
Xander turned to Karen,
" I'm just shutting the door for a second, leave it shut." He ordered and Karen nodded nervously having listened to the frightened cry the nurse had just made.
Xander let the door to Lucas' room shut with a bang and the vamp turned to see who had made the noise.
" Hey, I'll let you in on a little tip, Plaid was never a good thing." Xander called out moving up the hallway and the Vamp turned to face the newcomer.
" I'll tell you what." Xander started conversationally, " You go back to what ever hole you crawled out of and I'll let you walk out of here." He offered and the vamp smiled,
" You'll let me?" He asked and Xander nodded " And if I don't go?" The vamp asked again moving towards Xander who smiled,
" Then you'll have a nasty encounter with a dust buster," He offered and the vamp paused surprised that the human knew what he was.
" Who are you?" The vamp demanded and Xander shrugged,
" The dustinator." Xander replied laying on a cheesy Arnie accent. Looking across at the nurse who had struggled to her feet he suggested,
" Why don't you go get security?" The nurse nodded and bolted down the corridor leaving only the vamp and Xander.
" So we going to do this?" Xander asked and the Vamp charged.
The vamp tackled Xander around the waist and knocked him against the wall hard, Xander in return brought his hands together to form a big fist and smashed them down into the vamp's back between his shoulder blades. The vamp grunted and let go of Xander and attempted a big right hook, which Xander ducked under easily and responded with an uppercut of his own, connecting with the vamp's nose.
The vampire stumbled back a few paces and Xander dipped a hand into his over sized jeans and came up with a stake,
" Don't leave home without it," He quipped but before he could move the vamp lashed out with a heavy boot and knocked into Xander's hand sending the stake skittering up the hallway. Xander stepped towards the vamp and delivered a kick of his own straight to the undead's groin. The vamp made a small noise and collapsed into a heap on the floor cradling his leather pants.
Xander took the opportunity to go after the stake but as he lent down to retrieve it the vamp tackled him again from behind grabbing him around the waist and knocking him into the floor, screaming as he went down the vamp recoiled violently and Xander grabbed the stake and jumped to his feet.
" What the hell?!" The vamp demanded as he knocked away some smoke that was coming from his singed front.
" What the hell indeed." Xander stated and thrust the stake into the vamp's heart taking opportunity of the vamp's state of distraction.
Hiding the stake quickly Xander kicked at the neat dust pile the dust had formed and looked up as footsteps raced onto the ward.
A big security guard saw Xander who waved smiling and he launched into a tackle, grabbing Xander around the waist in mid air and slamming him into the lino. Xander's head connected painfully with the lino and he struggled for breath as the bigger man hit him in the face at the same time the nurse yelled.
" That's not him!"
The security guard winced and got to his feet, offering Xander a hand who took it only because he was unsure if he still had a spine and would be able to stand on his own.
" Sorry." The man said gruffly and Xander held up a hand as if to say no problem but punched the guard in the face instead.
" Even stevens," he offered and the nurse moved in between the two men before they could start anything else.
" Where did he go?" The nurse asked Xander who pointed towards the fire escape at the other end of the hallway,
" He ran off." Xander explained straightening up and holding onto his ribs which felt like they'd all been snapped in half. The guard sure did no how to tackle.
" Were you a footballer?" Xander asked and the guard nodded smiling, unconcerned with his own swelling eye. He looked down the hallway towards the fire escape and with a nod towards the nurse he was off, racing away like a dog after a rabbit.
Down the hallway a door opened and Karen stepped into the hallway cautiously,
" Xander are you all right?" She asked hurrying over to him and Xander nodded,
" I will be as soon as I find my spine." He offered making a show of looking around.
" Oh my god your cheek, what happened?" Karen demanded moving forward and fussing over him like a mother hen.
" Nothing, I'm fine." Xander offered and the nurse stepped forward,
" You should probably let me take a look at those ribs and that cut." She offered and Xander started to shake his head but a sharp pain caused by breathing changed his mind.
" I'll take you down to the ER." The nurse started but Xander shook his head,
" No ER." He stated and the nurse looked surprised but nodded,
" Ok, why don't you go back to the room you were visiting and I'll bring in what I need?" She asked and Xander nodded.
Walking gingerly with Karen hovering to one side, it took Xander a few moments to get seated awkwardly on the edge of a chair next to his still sleeping Nephew.
Raising a hand to his face he inspected his aching cheek and winced as his fingers came away sticky with blood. Just like him to get away from a fight with the super strong undead only to be beaten up by a human.
A few butterfly strips later and some relief from his aching ribs, Xander stood and stretched awkwardly in the hospital room. Karen had fallen asleep in a chair by Lucas' bed and Xander sighed as he walked over and planted a soft kiss on her forehead.
Xander had procrastinated enough, it was time to go see his brothers.