Disclaimer: I don’t own BTVS or Fight Club.
A/N: I was going to put this with my ‘Evil is Relative’ series, but it got way darker than those comic fics and I decided to put it by itself.
By: Cousin Mary
Andrew wasn’t sure what to think when Tucker showed up in Cleveland. He hadn’t seen his older brother since his junior year of high school, but there he was, standing on the New Council’s lawn. After much begging and a bit of bribing, Buffy had let him go out to deal with him. But how he’d ended up riding in his brother’s car traveling to only Xena-knew where, he wasn’t sure.
His older brother had always held that kind of power over him. So like Morpheus leading Neo through the looking glass, he followed Tucker to a dilapidated house on the abandoned street called Paper. There were other boys there, or men really. Andrew was one of the youngest there, the only one who wasn’t cut with muscles, bruised or bleeding.
Tucker had summoned hell-hounds to attack prom. Andrew had followed in his footsteps and summoned flying-monkeys to attack the school play. He’d expected Tucker to take him to some demon’s den or maybe a warehouse with a warlock. But he couldn’t sense any magic in the house, only the smell of too many people in too small an area. He’d grown used to that in Sunnydale and later Cleveland, though the Slayers had smelled a lot better than all the men.
“Tucker,” Andrew tried to keep his voice steady, he’d been trying to keep from whining so much. He liked to think he’d grown up a lot since the collapse of the Hellmouth. He’d fought bravely, Buffy had said so. He was training to be a Watcher. But he’d left. Why had he left? Because Tucker was family and he’d missed him, even if he didn’t know him very well anymore, “Tucker, why are we here?”
“Shh,” His brother wasn’t any taller than him, but he’d packed on muscle so he was a good 40 pounds heavier. His dark hair was cut short, he sported a tattoo of a snake eating a rat on his bicep. He was much more… colorful than Andrew remembered him, “You’ll see when we get there.”
So Andrew held his tongue and followed his brother on a snaking path through groups of men talking and drinking beer. They passed men doing push-ups and a guy sitting on the rickety stairs burning himself with a cigarette. The place was scrubbed clean, but it was old and falling apart. The roof leaked and water-stains had left shadows on the walls. Andrew had been in worse places, but that was usually to help kill something.
Finally they got to a door with “Tyler” painted sloppily across it in red paint that had dripped on the floor. Tucker shot him a smile that was more of a smirk, before knocking and leading him inside.
The space was lit with candles. There was a bare mattress under the window and a pile of clothes in the corner. There was also a chair, only one, and there was a man sitting in it, smiling at them. The smile was a little… off.
“Tyler,” His brother greeted the strange man with a nod, “This is my little brother Andrew.”
“Andy,” The man was wiry with muscles. He wasn’t wearing a shirt and there were scars all over him, visible even in the candlelight. He was wearing pants that looked like they had once been nice slacks from a suit, but they were stained and one of the knees was blown out. His feet were bare. He had light brown hair was cut shortish and stuck out every which way. His smile was manic and Andrew wasn’t too surprised when he jumped up tackled him. Of course, that didn’t stop the future Watcher from letting out a squeak as his arm was twisted up behind him. “Welcome to the family!”
“Uh, thanks,” Andrew tried to stay calm, tried not to panic as he struggled to remember everything Buffy and the others had taught him. He glanced up at Tucker and happened to see the back of the door, pinned to it were dozens of driver licenses with “Human Sacrifices” scrawled above them in black marker. He started to struggle, “Tucker! You traitor! You Lando Calrissian!”
“Hey, hey kiddo,” Tyler was struggling to hold him down, but he seemed to enjoy it, “Calm down.”
“Calm down? Calm down?!” Andrew twisted again, somehow getting his arm loose. He kicked out and managed to land his foot squarely on the man’s chest, “I’m not going to let you kill me!”
Tyler jumped up as if the kick hadn’t been felt at all. He bounced on the balls of his feet as Andrew scrambled to the opposite wall where he fell into a reasonable facsimile of a fighting stance. “Whoa, whoa! Where’d you get an idea like that?! I’m not going to kill you!”
Andrew’s eyes darted to the door, but Tyler just made a noise like “pfft.”
“They aren’t really dead,” Tucker had moved back when Tyler had jumped him, but he stepped forward again, “Andrew, this is Tyler Durden, our father.”
“And I gotta say,” Tyler was grinning that manic grin again, “You have a lot more to you than Tucker did when I found him. Kid, you’ve got some moves! Whoohoo!”
“Our father?” Andrew repeated, and suddenly he found himself hitting Tyler Durden, “You son of a Cardassian whore!” He punched him, square in the face. And again. His hand hurt, so he started kicking. It took both Tyler and Tucker to hold him down this time.
“What the-?!” Tucker was pushing his face into the warped floor, “Where the hell did you learn that?!”
Tyler’s face was covered in blood. Andrew thought he might have broken his nose. Served him right. “You left! You just left us there!” Andrew felt himself start to cry and hated himself a little for it, “I should have known better than to want a family! It’s the stupid Trio all over again!”
Tyler looked at Tucker, who just shrugged. Then, before Andrew even knew what was happening his shirt was being pulled off, though Tyler continued to hold him down. His brother let out a string of curses that would have even impressed Spike, before stumbling back and sitting on the mattress. He was staring at Andrew like he’d never seen him before.
“Got anything to tell us Andy?” Tyler had found his knife and held it in his hand, testing the weight. Suddenly he let it fly and it sank with a twang into the wall. Andrew could feel his father’s eyes on him. He knew he was looking at the scars, from claws and fangs. The bullet wound barely healed just over his left hip bone.
“Jesus, Andrew,” Tucker whispered, “What the hell have you been doing?”
Andrew just closed his eyes. They’d taken his knife, the knife Dawn had given him for Christmas. He still had a stake tucked into his sock, but that probably wasn’t going to do him much good.
“No more hitting,” Tyler admonished with a finger wave and a chuckle before hauling him up into a sitting position. Tyler jumped back to his feet, bouncing with almost as much energy as a caffeinated slayer. “I’m not going to hurt you kid.”
“Yeah, you just want to get to know me, huh?” Andrew sniffed, wiping his eyes with the back of his hand.
“More than ever now,” Tyler’s grin was back.
“You know what happened because you left?” Andrew was glaring at Tyler and he knew he didn’t look very scary, but he didn’t care. He didn’t remember their father, he’d left when he was still a toddler. Left his mother, brother and him on the Hellmouth. He’d really never thought much about his own early childhood, focusing more on the social suckfest his high-school experience had been. But when Faith had had her second break-down, or had it been her third? Anyway, after Wood had left, Andrew had ended up becoming her shoulder to cry on. And somewhere in the middle of talking through to the root of Faith’s issues Andrew had started to realize that all of his problems probably didn’t stem from being the skinniest guy in Freshman year, “Do you know what you left us to?”
Tucker looked uneasy, “He’s here for us now, Andrew.”
“You grew into strong boys,” Tyler shook his head, “Men, fine men. Men who can fight and be what they were meant to be.”
“You didn’t teach me that,” Andrew crawled to where his shirts were, two t-shirts, the one with long sleeves went on first and covered the scars, then the second with a cartoon Darth Vader. The irony wasn’t lost on him, “I’m going to go now. Maybe once I wanted to know you, but now you can go to hell.”
“Whoa Andy,” Tyler grabbed his arm and yanked him back, pushing him back so he landed with a bounce next to Tucker on the mattress, “You’re my boys. I want you in on the ground floor of what I’ve got going down.”
“Andrew,” Tucker was looking at him like he used to when they were kids. Like he was going to show him what was what, like he’d protect him and show him how to protect himself. They’d been two scared little boys on the Hellmouth with only a circle of salt and a few candles for protection, “He’s our father.”
Andrew looked at Tyler who was grinning like a mad man, repeatedly slamming his fist into his thigh in a way that was almost sure to leave a bruise. He thought about how Giles had become the de facto father of all the Scoobies because he’d always been there for them. Even him, once his guest-age had ended and his first hesitant steps into the world of the white hats had begun, Giles had listened to him, been there. Sure the Watcher might have gotten a little annoyed with him at times, but that didn’t change the fact that Andrew had always felt like he could go to him with his problems. And then one day, he hadn’t needed to anymore. That was the day he’d known he was grown up. He looked back to Tucker, “You can come back to Cleveland with me.”
“Boys, boys!” Tyler bounded forward, stopping just short of their feet, “Stay here! Here is where everything will happen!”
“We don’t need him to be a family again,” Andrew told his brother quietly, “We always had each other.”
Suddenly the door opened and a blonde man with a severely beaten face appeared, “Tyler, everyone’s waiting for you downstairs.”
Tyler nodded at the man before turning back to the brothers, “Be here when I get back.”
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