I don't own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or X-men. They belong to Joss Whedon and Marvel Comics, I believe... Oh and the fanart is an amalgam of mostly BtVS and Marvel pics.
AN: Please note that Jubilee will not be coming into the plot for a couple of episodes. I need to get Xander established in L.A. before she comes into the plot. Please note that this takes place post Graduation. However, there will be a few subtle differences in the pre-Graduation plot-line...
Sunnydale Memorial Hospital
June 27th 1999
As he lay there in the hospital, staring up at the ceiling, Xander contemplated the ironies of his life. It is perhaps ironic that many believed him to be the most positive member of the Scooby Gang. Nothing could be further from the truth. Xander was merely good at faking a positive attitude. Honestly, Xander had believed that they were doomed to die without graduating high school. Their last ditch effort had been desperate, Buffy had been more concerned with Deadboy then she had the fate of the world… not that that was unusual in any way. She had only ever put the fate of the world over good ol’ Captain Forehead once, and that was only with the fate of the world hanging by a literal thread. Honestly, Xander was past blaming Angel for it, these days. The thrice-damned vamp might be a coward, but he was not the one who forced Buffy to do such things.
Anyway, suffice it to say that Xander was feeling lucky to be alive, and so he did not much care about the loss of his right eye by comparison. He had even managed to stake the vamp responsible, after the vamp took an unwise moment to gloat about Xander’s helpless situation. Vamps were such drama queens. Maybe it wasn’t Deadboy’s fault he was the same way. Maybe it was a vamp thing…
Finally Xander, despite lying in the hospital with a bandage covering much of the right side of his face, allowed an impish grin to grace his face. Mock him though Cordy had over his succession of small jobs that he had slaved at quietly through high school, she wouldn’t be laughing now. Knowing as he did that it was only a matter of time before a regular human like himself picked up a severe injury on the hellmouth, Xander had poured all of his money except for the bit saved up for his road trip, into insurance. Now Xander was looking at a pretty sweet check from the insurance. Certainly it wasn’t a huge amount, but combined with his road trip fund it would likely be enough to start his own business without a loan. No more dead end jobs for Xander Harris. No sirree.
Alas, all good feelings must eventually come to an end, and the hellmouth was especially vindictive about raining on Xander’s parade. And so it is unsurprising that this was the moment when Buffy Summers entered Xander’s hospital room. “Xander?”
Xander flashed a grin at her. “Hey, Buff. How’s the celebration going?”
Buffy seemed oddly confused by his statement. “Celebration?”
“Come on, Buffy. We survived high school, not to mention the mayor. You’re telling me that you don’t consider that to be worthy of celebration?”
Buffy looked incredibly uncomfortable. “Angel is leaving me and you have been permanently disfigured. You’ll excuse me if I don’t feel much like celebrating.”
Xander sighed in exasperation. “This little thing. This won’t keep me down for even a week. I’ll be back on patrol in no time.”
Buffy shook her head. “No, you won’t Xan…”
“Of course I will. You think I’d leave you in the lurch over a little thing like this. Please, why I…”
“You’re not following, Xander. You are not patrolling anymore. I’m putting you fray-adjacent.”
“Buffy, we’ve been through this before and there is no way…”
“…that I am going to let you talk me out of it this time, Xander. You’re finished. Your past injuries were bad enough, but this is it for you. This is the end of the line. You were already too weak to really handle fighting the night, before. Now, you’re more a liability on patrol if I let you go. I am not going to risk you getting someone killed, Xand.”
Xander sat in bed, stone-faced, for a long moment before responding. “You can’t take me out of this duty, Buffy. It’s not your choice to make. I made a promise to Jesse, a long while back. I said I would fight the night until the day I died. I’m not dead yet, so the battle goes on.”
Buffy seemed confused. “Who’s Jesse?”
Xander felt a pain like heartburn well in his chest when Buffy professed not to know Jesse. The only reason he did not lash out at Buffy physically was because he knew it wasn’t her fault. She had not really known Jesse very long at all. “Jesse was a good friend of mine. He’s dead now. For me to give up my fight against the night would be the equivalent of spitting on his grave. I won’t do it.”
Buffy’s face firmed up, going stony. “I didn’t offer you a choice, Xan. I see you out hunting and I will drag you into the nearest building, kicking and screaming.”
Seeing Buffy’s resolve, Xander became resigned. He didn’t want to do what he was going to, but he wasn’t willing to give up a duty he considered as sacred as Buffy’s could ever be, and a hundred times more personal. “Well, you won’t have to watch for me long. I’m going on that road trip, soon as I can get used to seeing with one eye.”
Buffy smiled, seeing Xander’s resigned expression as capitulation to her demands. More the fool she. “That’s great, Xand. Maybe that road trip is just what you need to embrace normal again.”
Xander did not bother answering Buffy’s empty assurance as she swept happily from his hospital room.
Crawford Street Manor
July 29th 1999
It had taken Xander the better part of a month to get back to the point where he was comfortable walking and driving with an eye-patch. The loss of depth perception was a problem, but Xander was a soldier in more then memories. He would always soldier through.
Today was the day that Xander intended to start his ‘road trip’, though the trip was gonna be a hell of a lot shorter then Buffy or Willow realised. As Xander had expected, Willow had fallen in behind Buffy like a good little puppy dog. If Willow was good later, maybe Buff would give her a biscuit. Xander didn’t much care at this point. Their friendship hadn’t really been the same since the fluke, or perhaps their problems dated back to Buffy’s arrival. It didn’t matter. Now all that mattered was protecting his girls. Xander couldn’t do that anymore and so he had to turn to another to do it for him. And damned if that didn’t leave a bitter taste in his mouth.
Xander turned to see Angel waiting for him. “Hey, Deadboy. How’s tricks?”
Angel grimaced at the hated nickname. “What do you want, Harris? I was going to leave tonight, you know.”
Xander nodded. “I do. I’m here to convince you to stay.”
Ol’ Deadboy’s eyes widened in shock. “What?”
Xander sighed in exasperation. “Yeah, I never thought I’d have to say this either, but I need you to be here for Buffy and Willow. I can’t do it anymore. They won’t let me. They will let you.”
Angel sneered slightly in disgust. “You’re just gonna quit. And here I thought your friends meant something to you, Harris.”
Xander’s one eye pierced Angel like a stake. “You can’t protect someone who won’t let you do it, Deadboy. I need you to protect them, because Buffy might actually let you do it. She refuses to see me as anything but an invalid anymore. The only promise I’m gonna make you give me is that you have Giles scan you regularly to make sure that curse of yours is holding tight.”
Angel was still rather thrown by all this. “So what’s going to happen with you, then? I never took you for the sideline type. You’d go crazy within a month.”
Xander smiled genuinely at Angel for a long moment. “My insurance paid off big. I’m going to L.A. to start off a business, as cover for my demon hunting ops.”
Angel stared at Xander for a long time. “You realise that L.A. isn’t exactly minor league, from a demon perspective. I respect you, Harris, I really do, but you’ll be dead within a week if you go it alone.”
Xander shocked Angel by nodding. “Agreed. Buffy would have been dead a dozen times over if not for the Scooby Gang being around for her. And I am more then willing to acknowledge that I am not her level. I’m building a team, to fight the night. I’ve even managed to recruit my first teammate. He’s a former Watcher…”
Angel’s eyes bugged out. “Wesley?”
Xander snorted. “You’ve gotta be joking. Nah, I’m gonna be on the hunt with Sam Zabuto. He’s a good man. I have a lot of respect for him.”
Angel nodded woodenly. “I’ll stay Xander. I’ll watch over them for you.”
Xander smiled broadly, briefly reminding Angel of Cordy’s megawatt grin. “Thank you… Angel…”
Angel was so shocked that Xander had actually called him by name that he only turned back to find Xander gone from Sunnydale. Buffy’s White Knight had passed on his title to Angel. And as for Xander… Xander was escaping to L.A. to continue fulfilling a promise he made on Jesse’s grave only a couple of years ago…
For canon-pickers, Xander lost his 'right' eye at graduation in this fic. I realise it was his left in canon, but that was a different circumstance.
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