A/N: I have a new chapter to AHYNK in the works, but I felt more inspired with this fic. It's been lurking for a while, and I decided to divvy it up into two chapters that basically conclude the plot and determine via reviewer response if I should continue.
Disclaimer: I own even less CSI:NY than I do Buffy. At least with Buffy I have some seasons on DVD...no dice with CSI. Unfortunately, the characters aren't mine. I would certainly treat them a lot better than the writers do. Honestly! Danny/Lindsay?! Who thought THAT would work?
Note 2: chapters one and two take place post-S1 of Buffy, obviously during the summer, and a few years before CSI:NY S1, when Don's a fairly new detective.
It had been an once-in-a-lifetime chance. Normally Xander didn’t hold with clichés, but this one was undoubtedly true.
He’d always loved to draw. As long as his dad never found his sketches, his art, he was safe. He could express his emotions in a way he didn’t dare aloud. He preferred to draw Willow and Jesse when he could, but that was hard to do surreptitiously. Now, of course, it was impossible to draw Jesse from life…he was most significantly lacking in the life department, and since Xander had dusted him, Jesse didn’t exactly have much unlife going on either.
Willow, his wonderful, tricky best friend, had done something very sneaky. She had found out about his pictures and said nothing. She took some of his best things and mailed them to an art contest in L.A., which he had won the junior division of by, apparently, a landslide. Of the four pieces she had sent, he had received first, second, and two honorable mentions. The usual prize would have been acceptance and half the fees for a very nice art camp in New York City. When Willow took him with her and explained quietly to the judges why she had done things so covertly, they agreed not to print his name, not to tell his parents, and to pay three quarters of the fees – since a quarter of tuition was the second place price anyway. Willow had gotten her parents to cover the rest.
To his amused dismay, no one would tell him how much it cost.
Willow’s parents also paid for the plane tickets. His first plane ride – sixteen, alone, and too excited to sleep. Later, he would hope he hadn’t annoyed anyone too badly. In the mean time, he asked questions of anyone who stood still long enough – passengers and flight attendants alike.
At the airport, someone from Camp Renaissance was waiting with a sign with his name on it. The counselor’s name was John, and he drove Xander around for what felt like hours. Finally, they reached a massive building overlooking Central Park.
“You’ll be sharing a dorm with a local kid, Lou Calipari. If he gives you any trouble, you tell me or one of the other counselors,” John told him as they hauled Xander’s stuff up five flights of stairs.
“He’s from a bad part of town, and his dad’s a pretty well known cretin. Filthy rich, but a cretin nonetheless,” muttered the college kid.
“Kay. I’ll tell you if he does anything,” Xander lied. What a great way to end up with concrete shoes, he thought, with no small amount of prejudice. Instead, he prepared himself to civilly ignore his roommate as much as possible and spend the next four weeks being ridiculously lonely. Even with the preparations, there was a tiny spark of hope that surely Lou wasn’t that bad, maybe they could
And then he saw a bulky jock that looked at him the same way Larry always looked at him: like he was about to beat the shit out of Xander and nothing was going to stop him.
John gave Xander an unreadable look, dropped the Californian’s things on the floor, and left. Xander swallowed.
Lou glared fiercely. “Where the hell are you from, loser?”
“What kind of backwoods piece of shit town is Sunnydale, loser?”
“It’s on the beach, actually…couple hours drive from L.A.” Xander held back a resigned sigh. “Loser” wasn’t the snazzy nickname he was hoping for, but at least it wasn’t “Barf Bag.”
“Yeah? You go to the beach a lot, go surfing?”
Xander shrugged. He wasn’t about to say he was too poor to surf, and the one time he’d borrowed Jesse’s board, he’d wiped out so painfully he’d sworn off the sport forever. He was better on a skateboard, and for his skateboarding to be better than something was no mean feat.
“Heard you’re here on scholarship, loser. So, you that poor or that good?”
“That good,” Xander retorted tersely. Really, it was both, but why should he be the one to announce it?
“Right. This is how it’s gonna be. Keep your shit off the floor. It better be either in that trunk, on your bed, or in your hamper. You…do
have a hamper, right?”
Xander threw the netted laundry bag on the bed as he started unpacking, but otherwise ignored the brat.
“I’m taking both closets…an’ both desks. Aiight?”
“What the hell do you two desks for?” Xander snorted instead of replying.
Lou’s hand came down to squeeze his shoulder painfully. “For whatever I feel like. Got it?”
The remnants of the hyena burned for him to tear this creep to shreds. Instead, he nodded once, and was released. He consciously didn’t rub his shoulder.