: Instead of borrowing a car for his post-high school road trip, Xander purchased a car, a really cheap one. He probably should have just borrowed his uncles, but without the need to return his uncles car Xander doesn't feel he has any reason to rush back to Sunnydale. Disclaimer
: As most of you know by now - I do not own Buffy/Angel (alas!), nor do I have even a friend of a friend who knows the good fellow (fellows?) that does own Buffy/Angel. Also, just to keep things on the up and up - I do not own Harry Potter, nor do I own CSI. If I did I'd probably be rolling around in my large piles of money rather than writing fanfic.Notes
: This fanfic is a XanderCentered Buffy/CSI/HarryPotter crossover. It may seem weirdly labeled, at least at first, but in my head this is primarily a Buffy/CSI fanfic with only a side-dish of Buffy/Potter despite the fact that the character of Harry Potter will appear in this fanfic before any of the CSI characters. The reason I feel like I do about this is because as far as this fanfic is concerned the BuffyVerse and the CSIVerse are one and the same, where Harry Potter comes in from another universe.
Before we began there are two more things you should be aware of:
1: As this fanfic is starting so is Angel's Season One, Buffy's Season Four, and CSI's Season Eight. I know that last one is a bit wonky, because CSI Season One is at the same time as the others, but because of the way I wanted certain things to play out CSI Season Eight was needed.
2: If you see this listed as a CSI cross, and come in expecting some exciting crime solving action, or for Xander to eventually become a CSI - you will
be disappointed! Xander is not
going to become a CSI, nor will he even visit CSI headquarters. In this fanfic a couple of CSIs will actually join Xander.
PS - About the title, it should probably be "Xander Book One," but from the moment this one jumped into my head it was dubbed "Xander Season One," and while I did try to come up with another title (I really did), I never could come up with one that I liked, and felt summed up the nature of the fanfic better than "Xander Season One." Xander Season One
If Xander needed more evidence that the universe hated him, he had it. Of course, after the whole thing with Cordelia, Willow, and especially Faith he hadn't needed it. For example, he was so pathetic he couldn't even find himself a decent car for his summer road trip.
Xander couldn't exactly blame the car, he could have borrowed his uncles, but at the last moment decided to buy a car of his very own. He'd found a very cheap car that appeared fairly decent, he really should have known better. Cheap rarely equaled good. The car had taken him from Sunnydale to Oxnard before the motor dropped out.
"So much for seeing all fifty states," Xander grumbled to himself.
Then he grinned. Despite what everyone thought, Xander knew he couldn't actually drive to all fifty states, he'd only said that so Willow could patiently explain that no one could drive to all fifty states. The smile vanished because Willow had only blinked at him before turning back to Oz.
Xander knew he deserved the cold shoulder from all but Willow. He hadn't been alone in his sudden attraction, but it felt as though he was the only one punished for it. He deserved the cold shoulder from Cordelia and even Oz, but not from Willow, because she was just as culpable in the whole thing as he was.
Xander shook himself, and almost smiled again. He'd had a whole argument prepared to explain how maybe one could drive to Alaska, though even at the time he'd only intended to visit the lower forty eight states.
However, he had a choice to make, he could head back to Sunnydale (no doubt Buffy and Willow were getting ready for their first year of college, if they hadn't all ready started), or he could continue on and see a bit more of the United States first. After all, it wasn't like Buffy and Willow were begging to have him by their side anymore. They'd spent the whole last year trying to get him to just go away.
Xander almost sighed. "Not the whole year, just most of it."
At least Buffy had allowed him to play a big part in her plans for graduation day, and he'd be forever grateful to her for that. Because after everything it felt like she was acknowledging that he wasn't entirely useless to have around.
Perhaps that was why he wasn't ready to rush back, he knew he didn't have a chance with Buffy, and with Angel gone, he suspected it would be more painful to be there, and watch her choose someone else.
Xander smiled. He'd known for at least two years that he never really had a chance with her. He'd actually accepted that when he asked her to the prom and she'd turned down.
If only she had left well enough alone, but she hadn't. The sexy dance that had come a few months after her rejection was both a high and a low for him. The high point was, of course, the sexy dance itself, the low point was that she'd just been using him to make Angel jealous. That was all it had been, and all it would ever be to her.
Still Xander would never regret saving her life, but he would always hate her just a little bit because while she had
thanked him for saving her life she had never apologized for using him in her quest to make Angel jealous.
Why she'd thought Angel would ever be jealous of him was something Xander would probably never know.
Xander felt his hand curl into a fist.
He really hated Angel, and it wasn't just because he'd been the one to win Buffy's heart.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a woman take one look at his expression, and bolt away. He didn't know what she'd seen, but accepted that the expression on his face was probably less than pleasant. It never was when he thought about Angel.
Xander knew no one would believe that he didn't hate Angel because of Buffy. They might accept that it wasn't just because of Buffy that he hated the vampire, but they would never accept that his hate really had nothing to do with Buffy, at least not anymore, in the beginning, maybe.
No, Xander hated Angel, because despite proclaiming his love for Buffy he'd been content to sit back on his ass and leave her to die. How that equaled love, Xander might never understand.
Sometimes he wondered if Buffy had ever asked Angel about that? Had he been in her place he would have demanded answers from Angel, but he knew that Buffy deluded herself quite a bit where Angel was concerned. Sometimes he suspected Angel was just as deluded about Buffy as she was him.
The problem was that Xander sometimes wondered if Angel had taken the credit for grabbing Xander off the street, and forcing him to go along as Angel bravely charged in to save Buffy. Most of the time, Xander truly didn't believe that, but there were moments when he couldn't help but wonder, especially when he thought about Jesse's final days.
Quite some time after the Harvest, Buffy had confessed that Angel had been waiting for her that morning, which meant he'd been there before sunrise, which meant he could have been there when Darla drug Jesse back to her master. If he had been there that meant he was at the very least indirectly responsible for Jesse's death.
For a moment, standing in the bright afternoon sun, Xander toyed with the idea of trying to hunt Angel down.
He knew he'd never do it for several reasons. Mostly because he had no idea where Angel had been heading after Sunnydale. Plus there was the little fact that Angel could do a lot of good and save a lot of people. Well, that, and the fact that Xander had no hope what so ever of besting the damn vampire.
Xander shook himself, and started looking around. The cars here were all used, but from the club Xander knew this was the best place to buy a car in these parts, and he was leaving with a car today.
He glanced back toward the shinny silver mustang. He didn't want it, really.
"Oh, who am I kidding?" Xander asked himself. He'd fallen in love with that car the moment he'd seen it, but even with the hefty amount of money he'd saved he couldn't afford that car.
His real choice was between a shinny red 1998 Pontiac Grand AM or a blue/green 1996 Pontiac Grand AM.
Finally, he decided on the blue/green car for several reasons, though color didn't have anything to do with it. The red one was quite a bit more expensive because it was newer, and had less miles. Despite the fact that it cost several thousand more Xander might have bought it anyway, but since he wasn't planning to return to Sunnydale just yet he knew it would be wise to save as much money as he could.
By the time he got all the paperwork handled, and returned to his small loft above the strip club where he currently worked it was getting late in the day.
The building itself was very bland on the outside, and after Xander learned what the building housed, he had been surprised that it wasn't more tacky on the outside. Then again, Oxnard was a small town like Sunnydale so it made sense. Besides the inside was tacky enough for outside and inside. At least the part that was the club, the lofts above were small and bland.
Xander was sometimes stunned that he'd become a stripper, but it turned out that being a stripper was the only legal job he could find in Oxnard. Apparently, Oxnard was close enough to Sunnydale for most of the folks here to be wary of anyone hailing from Sunnydale. Xander had tried for several weeks to find another job, but once he got there there were suddenly no openings.
In the end, Xander wasn't complaining, because he could admit that after the embarrassment faded he actually liked stripping. Added to that was the fact that he could make more in one night stripping than he could in a month flipping burgers had helped him toss aside any lingering embarrassment. It also helped that taking off his clothes as an audience cheered and begged for more, or less as the case might be, was a much needed ego boost for his very battered ego.
The most shocking thing was that Xander hadn't actually needed much instruction. It was almost as though he were fated to be a stripper.
Xander entered his small loft. It wasn't much, but it actually felt more like home than his parents house ever had.
Tonight would be his last night here, he'd all ready packed his meager belongings, and was ready to head out as soon as he finished his last dance of the night. Traveling after dark in Sunnydale was dangerous, but if there were vampires or other demons in Oxnard he hadn't run across them.
Oxnard seemed to be free of anything supernatural. Xander suspected it might have something to do with the fact that Oxnard was close to the Hellmouth. Perhaps the supernatural was drawn away from the communities surrounding the Hellmouth.
Xander shrugged. It didn't matter, but Xander had almost forgotten how nice it was to be able to do what he wanted whenever he wanted, and not have to worry about the forces of darkness.
That didn't mean Xander would stay out of things
when he got back to Sunnydale, and he hoped that his performance on graduation day would show his friends that he could hold his own. It wasn't that Xander wanted to be a hero, he didn't care about that, he just wanted to do his part to make the world a safer place.
However, about a month ago he'd decided to expand his vacation for a few weeks, maybe months.What if Buffy ended up needing him?
The thought would pop into his head on occasion, but Xander was deluding himself and he knew it. Despite the fact that she'd called him her key guy on graduation day, he wasn't the only person who could have done what was necessary.
As Xander grabbed a cola from the small fridge, he realized he'd spent more time dealing with his new car than he'd intended. In just under two hours he would do his last strip-tease for the fine folks at Oxnard.
He'd actually worked three weeks longer than strictly necessary, but knew buying a car would take most of the money he'd saved. Not to mention the cost of continuing his vacation, and even if he were headed back to Sunnydale it would've been nice to have some extra cash while he did the job hunting thing.
Xander grinned. Going back to Sunnydale right now would feel like admitting failure.
"And maybe," Xander said to himself. "I'll hit the jack-pot in Vegas, and not only have extra cash, but be able to find a place of my own."
Because Xander really didn't want to move back in with his parents. Having spent the past eighteen years with them was more than enough.
He pulled out his duffel-bag, he'd keep the stuff he needed for his last night close to him, and load the rest in his car before going on-stage.
Hopefully he'd make it to Los Angeles around dawn, and be able to find a good hotel. There was a part of him that was a bit leery about visiting the big city so he wanted to make sure he stayed in a nice part of Los Angeles. Leery or not, though, it was a shame to have lived his entire life so close to Los Angeles without ever having seen it.
Xander smiled as he pulled out his make-up. Two weeks into dancing he'd gotten over the idea of wearing make-up, because on the nights he actually used some he'd noticed that the gals and the guys who attended were more generous.
So, Xander would visit Los Angeles then head to Las Vegas. Hopefully, he wouldn't be forced to spend much money in Los Angeles, because he all ready suspected he'd have to take a job in Las Vegas before returning to Sunnydale. There was a bright side, it should be very easy for a stripper to find a job in Las Vegas.
Finished with his make-up, Xander pulled out the postcard he'd picked up yesterday. He wasn't sure Buffy or Giles would be missing him, but he thought Willow might. Still Xander wouldn't send the card from Oxnard, because while he was almost sure none of them would try to track him down, he couldn't be certain of that, and for some reason he didn't want to lead them to Oxnard and his fabulous stripping career.
He wasn't ashamed of being a stripper, but he suspected if Buffy and Willow knew then they'd never let it go.
He pulled out his pen:Willow,
Car died, not very far away from Sunnydale - Harris luck holding strong. Finally, managed to get a new car - plan to continue vacation.
Xander read over what he wrote, it was short, but he thought it was enough.
After a moment, he picked up his pen again and added:Be careful!
I don't know exactly when I'll be back, but I am going to at least see a few more places before coming home.
Hopefully, he'd run across a post office or at least a box somewhere between Oxnard and Los Angeles where he could send it.~ * ~ * ~
A month later, Xander had just taken his second job as a stripper, and he wasn't in Las Vegas yet. Los Angeles was an expensive place, and the money he'd saved from Oxnard was almost gone.
This time Xander hadn't bothered trying to get a so-called normal job, though Los Angeles was far enough away from Sunnydale that he was sure he wouldn't have been black-balled.
Thanks to his previous experience, he found himself hired at one of the better Los Angeles clubs. From what the other dancers said Xander believed he would make as much in a week here as he had in a month back in Oxnard, which hopefully meant he would be headed for Las Vegas soon.
After a week of staying in a motel, Xander realized he needed to stay somewhere much cheaper, so he'd ended up in a place that he was sure even vampires would avoid, though that wasn't why he was here. He actually expected the roaches were going to rise up any day, and evict or enslave the human tenants.
Xander refused to consider what other non-human/non-demon things might be living in the building. He was really starting to think living with vampires might be a better option. Still at least living here didn't cost much money.
Several days ago he'd thought he'd seen Cordelia, but had quickly realized that was impossible. While he knew she was in Los Angeles, or at least that was what she'd planned, there was no way the Cordelia Chase he knew would ever stay in a place like this. He suspected she'd actually sleep on the street before ending up living in a place like this.
Pushing thoughts of Cordelia away, Xander considered his options for getting to the club.
He could wear his normal clothes, but that would mean bagging his show clothes, and Xander suspected the folks at the club wouldn't be very happy with him if he brought any of the monster roaches to the club with him. Finally, he decided to wear his show get-up to the club, because he could wear his trench-coat over it, and not stand out to much.
Xander groaned, because that also meant applying his make-up before leaving. He wasn't crazy about the idea of walking to his car looking like a trumped up call-boy.
Once again, Xander found himself wishing this club had a loft for dancers like the one at Oxnard, it would certainly solve most of his problems.
On the other hand, Xander wasn't sure he'd enjoy living above this club, because inside and out this club looked like Xander had always thought strip clubs did. Tacky neon signs outside, and totally overblown decor inside. Still he wasn't going to complain, because it had made finding the place very easy.
Once dressed and made-up, Xander opened his door, quickly locked it, and made a mad dash for his car.~ * ~ * ~
"Five hundred dollars," Xander said to himself again as he let himself into his hellhole.
He'd known he would make more in Los Angeles than Oxnard, but he hadn't expected to make that much more. In Oxnard he was lucky to make one hundred a night, except on the weekends when he'd get about one fifty, or if really lucky two hundred. But his first night in the Los Angeles club, and he was bringing home just over five hundred dollars.
Add in what he'd made tonight with the few hundred dollars he still had, and Xander was going out apartment hunting this morning. Part of him hated the thought of getting an apartment, because that meant this was more than a vacation, but Xander just couldn't stay here anymore.
Now Xander was glad he hadn't balked and walked away the moment he'd realized that the club was half-gay and half not.
Xander grinned. There was magic at work in the club, Xander knew that instantly, because while the building wasn't actually halved down the middle the customers acted as though it was. The right side was the gay side, and the left side was for the ladies. There seemed to be this invisible line down the center that no one but the dancers crossed.
As a dancer, Xander was told to pretend the divide wasn't there, it threw some of the dancers at least until they got used to it, but to Xanders surprise he hadn't had any problems.
Between sets the dancers would talk, and wonder why none of the audience ever realized what was going on. Xander would have shared his thoughts on the matter, but one of the dancers had taken an instant dislike to the Xan-man, and by the end of the night, outside of work-related issues, none of the other dancers would have anything to do with him.
Xander shrugged. He didn't care, he was here to make money not friends, after all.
Thanks to Oxnard he didn't have a problem dancing for men, though most of the patrons in Oxnard had been female. Still because the men in Oxnard tended to be bigger tippers than the females Xander had gotten over the homophobia his father had drilled into his head pretty quick. He wasn't about to climb aboard the gay-train (he was still very much into women, thank you very much), but men could tip just as well as women, and he wasn't going to cut his potential income in half.
Xander took off his clothes, and pulled out more proper Xander-wear. Thankfully, he'd remember to wash the make-up off before leaving the club, otherwise he would have been stuck wearing it all day, because the water was coming out brown today. That happened at least once a week, sometimes more.
Once changed, Xander took a look around, and realized he couldn't wait to get out of this place. While he'd thought Cordelia would sleep on the street before she'd lower herself to live here, Xander was starting to think that idea had merit. He did have a car, after all.
Hopefully by the end of the day he'd have a nice place to move into tomorrow morning.
Xander turned, and spotted the post-card on the floor that he'd bought a few days ago. It had been just over a month since his last note home, and while Xander knew on some level his friends weren't missing him the ever hopeful part said he needed to send Willow another note just to let her know that he was okay.
He grabbed a pen. He'd write her a quick note, then hopefully, across town, he'd find a post office to send it from. He couldn't bring himself to give them enough clues to find him, because if he did, and they didn't it would break his heart.Hey, Willow,
Miss me? Don't answer that. Well, I finally reached my second destination - the big city is expensive. Don't worry. Got a job to replenish funds.
Don't know when I'll make it back to Monster Island, but things are fine. Better now that I've got the job - would you believe the place where I'm staying now is so bad that I think our fanged friends would turn their noses up?
Hope all is well with college and Buffy.
Xander frowned, and hoped Willow would understand the reason he'd underlined Buffy's name. While he was
concerned about Buffy just as much as he was Willow, he knew Buffy could take care of herself against Buffy things. And Willow was turning out to be a pretty powerful witch, so she could easily hold her own against Buffy things, as well.
If he hadn't believed that, he would have returned to Sunnydale the moment he'd left Oxnard. But he knew Buffy, Willow, and even Giles could handle themselves.~ * ~ * ~