Title: Things Fall Apart
Pairing: Scott/Logan, Xander/Ororo
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or the X-Men.
Lying on the couch in the rec room with the kids, he found himself paying very little attention to the movie playing on the TV. His attention kept being caught and dragged in by the drama unfolding between Scott, Jean and Logan.
It was like every week Scott was getting jealous about Logan's flirting with Jean. It should have been funny, the two pretty redheads supposedly deep in love while the dark man edged his way in-between them. It should have been funny, but it wasn't. It was tired.
Jean was thirty-four years old, Scott was twenty-four, and Logan was God knew how old, but old, even though he didn't look it. Apart, they were mature individuals that had been tried and tested by life. So why the hell was it that whenever they were in the same room altogether, they acted like a bunch of hormone-driven teenagers?
Watching the soap opera that was their life, Xander ground his teeth silently. There was so much he could have said to them, but didn't. He was just an observer of their melodramatics, and he wanted to stay that way. Getting involved would be a bunch of trouble he just didn't need, not now and probably not ever.
But even though he tried to stay out of their business, they kept trying to suck him in. It pissed him off.
Xander turned his head to look at Ororo. "Nothing, just thinking."
She shot him a knowing look, but just smiled a little and leaned against his arm. She was a warm weight against him and he wanted to have her this close forever. She made him feel safe as very few things ever had.
He had known Scott for years, back when it was just the original X-Men and Jean had been the older woman of their little group. She had been there before Ororo and had been the prize all of the boys had fought to win. She was a decade older than them all, but they hadn't cared. She was female and they were a group of boys with no other possible love interest other than each other, which they were too young and male to really face then, so they had focused on her and fought each other to win her favor. She was the fair maiden and they were her knights, dueling for the honor of serving her. They had been fucking young back then, and that was the solid truth, him--Alexander Harris--and Scott Summers, Henry McCoy, Warren Worthington, and little Bobby, though the Iceman had been too young to play and still was, being a teenager even now, still only eighteen years old.
They had been kids playing at being grown up. They had dressed up in costume and fought to save the world, thinking that they were really making a difference. Years of fruitless missions and saving people that died anyway hadn't worn them down yet, and they had still had the enthusiasm to waste their precious time trying to win over Jean Gray. They had been boys and she was the only female let into their world, the token girl of the X-Men. They were kids being grown up, and she was a grown up that was years younger than her age mentally, so it had all just seemed to work itself out into yet another competition they had to throw themselves into.
Hank had eventually moved on with his science and brain stuff, not to mention the whole turning blue and furry and basically not being human-compatible anymore. Warren realized that even though there wasn't exactly a surplus of women in the mansion, there was a whole world of females out in the Real World. And him? Well, Xander found love with Ororo, otherwise known as Storm, and eventually grew up. He realized that life in the institute was completely different from everything outside, and that being a superhero didn't necessarily mean he couldn't die. Xander learned cynicism and life just sort of went on. They went from being the Lost Boys to Xavier's Peter Pan, to being hardened superheroes. And Jean wasn't Wendy anymore--she was just Jean, at least ten years older than them all, but forever immature, refusing to realize that she was a woman grown and the Xavier Institute was not the whole universe wrapped up in wood and brick and concrete.
With the arrival of Ororo the social dynamic of the group had changed, but Scott had remained enamored with Jean. She was the only woman he could see, and he lusted after her with crazy intensity, never mind that they probably really weren't still in love anymore, if they ever had been. They were just so used to being "Scott and Jean" that they couldn't imagine anything else.
Then Logan had shown up and everything had twisted up funny. Jean was drawn in by his rough charm and Alpha-maleness, while Scott was jealous of Jean's ever being attracted to someone else. Logan only saw the bright red hair and breasts and knew that Jean was everything he should want, so he did. Not one of the three realized what all the fighting and lusting and jealousy was really about, which was what actually made Xander angry.
It was so obvious, what was between the three. They were like one-dimensional cutouts of three-dimensional people, and every bit of emotion they had was completely visible to anyone that looked. So why the hell didn't telepathic Jean Gray realize what was going on with her and the men? Why didn't fucking Charles fucking Xavier, big brain and telepath, see what was happening and tell them so they would stop tearing themselves and everyone else apart?
It made Xander want to scream.
He wrapped his arm around Ororo's shoulder and hugged her tight. He didn't want to get involved in the trios problems, but if they didn't realize what was happening soon, he was going to crack and everything would go bad. They were driving him crazy with their not knowing.
Leader boy Scott with his years of psychology training should have realized what he was feeling and what Logan was feeling. Telepathic Jean should have been able to tell from her own thoughts and emotions and from Scott and Logan's what was happening. Even fucking Logan with his super powerful sense of smell and animal instincts should have known. But for three intelligent people with superpowers, they were painfully unaware of what they were feeling and what it meant.
Xander wanted to grab them and shake them until they either caught a clue or a bad case of brain damage. He was just tired of watching Logan being jealous of Scott's being with Jean, while Scott was jealous of Logan paying attention to Jean, while Jean stood there with her breasts thrust out and pretended not to notice what she did to the two men. For a telepath, Jean was surprisingly self-involved and pretty damned ignorant of human nature.
When was Jean going to realize that she didn't really love either Scott or Logan, that she only wanted them around because they made her feel special and young while she was fast approaching middle age? Logan, with his complete male animalness, was the epitome of manly heat, offering her wild and uncontrolled sex and a strength that would protect her from all approaching harm. Scott was young and beautiful and needed her, seeing her as the center of his world. She had caught him right out of the gate, had made him fall in love with her back when he was a teenager, and she had never loosened her grasp on him, barely letting him breathe. She was hungry for attention and the thought of two such opposite men fighting each other for her favor only made her feel better, and she really thought that she wanted them for themselves and not what they could give her. She was so hungry for love that that was all she could see, her need and desire. It blocked her telepathy from forcing her to face reality.
When was Scott going to catch on to the fact that he only thought he was in love with Jean because he had been with her for so long, for the whole of his adult life in fact? He had never fallen in love with anyone else, and had in fact sublimated any attraction he had for any person that wasn't Jean. He wanted to believe that she was his world, and she wasn't, not anymore, and maybe never. She was the dream girl he had thought he was supposed to lust after when he was young, but what did that mean now? He was twenty-four years old and Jean was the only woman he had ever known.
And when was Logan going to admit, even if it was just to himself, that he didn't really want Jean at all? He might have had an attraction for red hair, but that didn't mean Jean was the be all and end all of his world. From the first moment he had met her, he had been trying to get into her pants, letting his self-protective instincts rule him. He was masculine to an almost cartoonish degree and had to maintain that image no matter what he really felt. So he chased after Jean and taunted Scott and lied to himself about what he really wanted.
They were all so busy lying to themselves and everyone else that all they could do was hurt each other. They threw out so much crap that not even Xavier could get deep into their thoughts and see what was there. It was so obvious, but the world was obstinately blind.
Xander could almost taste the subtext whenever he was in the same room as all three of them.
Their willful stupidity pissed him off and it took every ounce of his self-control not to do something dumb, like get involved. They were deep in the depths of their own little story, and anyone that stuck their nose into that trap was never getting out alive. It just wasn't worth it.
He dragged his eyes away from the tense trio and forced himself to stare at the TV like he was enraptured with the mindless entertainment thoughtfully provided by Jubilee. The young Asian girl had delved into her private stash of DVDs for the good of the group and with very little prompting, and it didn't do not to be properly grateful. And Xander was grateful, since it meant he didn't have to watch one of his oldest friends in the world make a complete ass of himself.
Leader boy Scott was definitely out of his depth in the Real World. He had spent so much time being Xavier's go-to guy that he had pretty much forgotten every skill he had with dealing with life outside of the institute. It was one of the ways Jean had wrapped him so tightly around her finger.
Sometimes, when he let his brain drift along with a thought all the way to its conclusion, Xander thought that he didn't really like Jean Gray at all. She was a manipulative bitch, and if she wasn't such a do-gooder, she would be right up there with Apocalypse and Sinister on his list of evil.
She had hurt Scott so much without even knowing she was doing it that Xander just wanted to smack her as hard as he could. She had wrapped poor Scotty so tightly up in scars that he was probably never going to deal with any of the things that had hurt him, like his foster father's abuse, or his time on the street, or anything. She had even locked him up in a fixation on her own perfection so that he would never question his sexuality, because she was his sexuality, the only person he was allowed to desire.
Someday Jeannie was gonna get the surprise of her life when Scott woke up once and for all. Xander could only hope to be there to watch her get what she deserved. She had unconsciously hurt so many people that now it was her turn to feel the pain.
Xander felt Ororo snuggle closer to him and let a soft smile twist his lips. He shifted her so she was halfway in his lap, her head laying against his chest. Her hair was soft against him, and he liked to have her near. She was his happiness.
He had once seriously considered suicide. Ororo had been the thing to finally pull him back from the brink, and he had never forgotten that, not in all of their years together. And he had vowed that even if they fell out of love someday, he would still be grateful to her for saving him, because she was worth it.
His eyes drifted away from the TV and back to Jean and Scott sharing one of the other couches with Logan sprawled out on the floor in front of them like a cat.
The three looked like they were in the center of a spotlight. They were lit up from the inside, while the kids sharing space with them were kind of painted into the background, props for their psychotic break.
Xander unconsciously licked his lips. His eyes saw all three of them, but his mind focused on Scott.
Once he had thought he was in love with his best friend. He was fifteen and Scott was seventeen, and even with two years between them, they had done everything together and had been roommates in a mansion with over a hundred and fifty rooms and only six people, with Jean occasionally drifting through for holidays and visits while she got her PhD. Their lives had been wrapped up tight in each other, and maybe if they had been a little older they could have allowed their relationship to progress past friendship, but they weren't. They were teenaged boys that had had their minds trained by TV and society to think certain thoughts.
Homosexuality is shameful. Hide it. Don't be it. Deny it. Destroy it.
Even as he had jacked off to fantasies of Scott, Xander had hated himself. He was sick and depraved and wasting precious oxygen other people needed to breathe, more worthy people, more non-gay people.
Now, at twenty-two, he was fully able to admit the fact that he was bisexual. He liked both men and women and was capable of finding aspects of hotness in both sexes. Ororo knew that he sometimes checked out other men, and he knew that she thought that some women were beautiful, but they both knew they wouldn't do anything about it, not as long as they had each other. And that was all right, because they were in love, and it was real, and maybe it wouldn't last forever, but they were completely faithful to each other for right now.
But when he was fifteen he had just been a bundle of nerves, feeling things he couldn't explain and not wanting to face reality. He had been at the institute since he manifested his mutation at twelve, and since then he had been living in an all-male household, with Scott being so close to him that it was amazing they could even breathe.
Scott at seventeen had been a truly beautiful boy. He had been at his full height, while Xander hadn't had his last growth spurt yet. Scott was tall and lean with a sculpted kind of beauty that almost didn't seem real. He was funny and smart and sweet, and he was the leader of their group even though Hank was older.
Xander had looked up to Scott even as he loved him for his bravery. They were training every day together as a group, becoming the X-Men, and Scott was leader boy, a role he hadn't fit so tightly back then. He had been more human at seventeen, more real, and Xander had liked being the only one able to make Scott drop the "fearless leader" mask and be a real person. It had made him feel special.
From the first moment he met Scott, Xander had felt drawn to the other boy. When Scott had smiled at him shyly and held out his hand, Xander had known that he had found what he had been looking for his whole life.
They went to movies, they played football, they roughhoused with Hank, they teased Warren when he was being prissy, they studied together, they fought for each other, and they played at being Bobby's big brothers. They were best friends, always together, vowing that they would never be like Batman and Robin, with one being better than the other, one being the leader while the other was always subordinate. Because even though Scott was leader boy, Xander was Scott's best friend forever, and that had to count for something, no matter what Xavier wanted.
They used to talk through the night. Xander would cross the dark expanse of room to crawl into bed beside Scott and they would huddle up together under the blanket and whisper their secrets to the only ears that mattered in their world. They shared everything with each other and they both knew that there was nothing in the universe that would ever break up the duo of Scott and Xander.
Then Jean had shown up, and it wasn't Scott and Xander anymore, it was Scott and Jean, with Xander always on the outside looking it.
It was Jean that Scott began telling his secrets to. It was Jean that Scott went to movies with, and fancy dinners, and everything else. She was older and they did adult things, and Xander was always younger than them, still a teenager, still desperate to do childish things and have fun.
Jean forced Scott to grow up, and Xander hated it. He didn't want to lose his friend, didn't want to lose that warm feeling in his stomach that being with Scott gave him.
As members of the X-Men they risked their lives to stop Magneto, and Apocalypse, and Mystique, and Sinister, and countless other evil-doers. They fought hard and lived hard and they grew up faster than they should have, but Jean made Scott grow up even faster. Because she was ten years older, even if she acted younger than her years, she was still older than Scott. And he was young and impressionable and he was perfectly willing to fit himself into whatever she wanted him to be… which wasn't a kid.
Watching Scott grow up and drift away had made Xander realize what he felt for his friend. He loved Scott Summers. He lusted after Scott Summers. He wanted to grind their bodies together and melt their lips into one. He wanted Scott in him, wanted to be in Scott, wanted to fit them together into one being, an undulating blob of pure sex. And it was never going to happen, because Scott thought that he was in love with Jean, and even though she smiled on the outside, Jean didn't like Xander, was jealous of his relationship with Scott.
Lonely and afraid of what he was feeling, Xander had fought to get up the nerve to just end it all. He had kept a razor blade under his pillow and would draw it over the veins in his arm, tracing the pale blue lines with a thin overlay of red. The itching and burning as the miniscule cuts healed had felt somehow sweet to him, putting him in touch with the rest of the world, weighing him down solid so he couldn't just drift away.
His mind's natural defenses kept Xavier from figuring out what he was doing, and having that secret all to himself was a wonderful sensation. It had made him feel like he was special and unique… He had the ability to take his own life, and no one could stop him if he really wanted to go through with it. He had power over his own fate.
After he moved into a room all by himself, he would jerk off to images of naked Scott, then get out his razor. He fell into a ritual of self-abuse, stripping naked on his bed with the lights off, holding his cock with brutal strength and ejaculating painfully, filled with shame and self-loathing for his lack of control. And when he was done, he would wipe up the semen, pull his pajamas back on, and get out his razor. His excellent night vision allowed him to trace his veins in the blindness of the dark, the pulsing blue of unoxygenated blood beneath his skin a tantalizing river, pulsing neon with the lights off.
For months he tortured himself with his love for Scott, and through it all, Scott drifted farther away. They remained friends, but they weren't best friends, they were just acquaintances trading polite words while they trained in the Danger Room, or borrowed notes for shared classes. Scott was wrapped up tight in Jean, and Xander was left to wallow in self-pity.
Then Ororo came. She was beautiful and smart and Xander knew the first time he met her that she was what he had been looking for his whole life. And he still loved her now, because she understood him in a way that Scott never had, not even when they had shared all of their secrets, because he had actually been able to admit to her that he had feelings for her. He had never been able to do that with Scott.
And now Ororo was his lover, but she was also his friend. It was with the strength of her love that he was able to begin really talking with Scott again. So Scott was again his best friend, though there were some things that they never talked about, like Scott's relationship with Jean.
Even though they never brought it out in the open, Xander thought that Scott knew that he blamed Jean for the loss of the boy Scott used to be. He never said it, but Xander thought that Scott knew that Xander blamed Jean for Scott's becoming something of a robot. Because even though she said she loved him, Jean didn't even try to get Scott to be anything other than Cyclops of the X-Men. She had probably forgotten that there was a real person inside the visor wearing, leather-clad hero, or if she still knew, she probably didn't care. All she wanted was her audience.
When she pulled Scott's strings, he did whatever she wanted without complaint. And maybe he had forgotten those nights of whispered confession, or forced himself to forget, because he wasn't that boy anymore, had never been that boy. He had popped out of Xavier's head full grown as Scott Summers, code name Cyclops.
And Xander was supposed to forget that sweet, laughing, beautiful boy he used to know. He was supposed to forget that Scott had once been human.
Xander sighed hard and wrapped his arms tighter around Ororo, bringing himself back to the present. He didn't want to think about the past right now. He wanted to enjoy being with Ororo and everyone else. He wanted to watch the movie and fall into brainless entertainment.
But he couldn't.
The tension originating from the three on the other couch was distracting him. They were buzzing in his brain and wouldn't stop.
Pretty Jean who treated Scott like a toy while she flirted with Logan. Beautiful Scott that had fooled himself into believing that Jean was the beginning and the end of his world. And Logan, playing at being attracted to Jean, while really his entire body thrummed with his real desire… for Scott.
Xander had known immediately that Logan was attracted to Scott and was just using Jean as a cover so no one would realize he was anything less than "manly." But Xander had also known that Scott was attracted to Logan too, even if no one else knew it.
When he looked at Scott and Logan, Xander saw a rush of color between them, a cord of desire and belonging connecting the two. They were meant to be together, and he somehow knew that it would happen soon, either that or everything would blow up and fall apart and they would never have anything.
If Jean would just get out of the way, Scott and Logan could be happy, but she was always butting in where she didn't belong. It was just so frustrating.
The connections forming between Scott and Logan were the same ones that used to be there for Scott and Xander. If given the chance, the cords would wind tight together, forming an unbreakable bond of love and trust, a forever kind of love, a once in a lifetime kind of love.
Xander regretted what he had lost, but back then he had been too young to really affect the world around him. He had been able to see the connections forming and breaking apart, but he hadn't been able to manipulate things, not like he could now.
He had known that there was something between him and Scott, but he hadn't understood what could have been until he grew up. If Jean hadn't stuck herself in the middle, he and Scott would have become partners and lovers. They would have joined so deeply together that their love would have been a thing of epic proportions. But Jean had gotten in the way. It was a bad habit with her, and if he could have, Xander would have broken her of it.
Because she was in the way right now.
Something was growing between Scott and Logan, but since she was standing in between them, the connections could not form. They met the impenetrable wall of her presence and could not pass. It was painful to watch, and Xander hated her even more.
She was sucking all of the love out of Scott's life, and even if Xander didn't feel the same way about Scott as he once had, he still saw Scott as being his friend. He didn't want Scott hurt, and that was what Jean was doing. She hurt him just by being alive.
It would be so easy, just sitting here on the couch with Jean across the room, to Reach out and snip the cords that tied Jean to the world. No one would ever have to know that he had done it. And with her out of the way, Scott could finally find happiness with someone else, someone like Logan. They both deserved a little bit of the good life, and it wasn't like Xander would feel so terribly guilty. He had ended lives with much less cause.
He sighed. He wanted so badly to uproot Jean, but he couldn't do it. Because if he ended Jean's life, that would have direct result on Scott's life, and that wasn't something he could just cover up, not yet. He could only hope that a new facet of his power developed to make assassinations easier on him. That would be sweet.
Xander sometimes regretted the promise he had made to Scott that he would never affect Scott's life without permission. If he could have, Xander would have Reached out and twisted the threads around Scott and Logan until they were bound so completely together that they could never get loose, and he would have severed every tie between Scott and Jean.
But he had promised, and he couldn't. Because even though he didn't share whispered secrets at night with Scott anymore, they had done it in the past, and that had to count for something.
So the warped triangle of Scott, Jean and Logan would go on… for now.