Generation X: Xander Style
word count: 4061
A/N: I'm having trouble picking out a place in the time-line for this fic. Scott, Jean and Lance are starting their senior year, Dawn and Rogue are juniors, Kurt, Kitty, Todd, Freddy and Pietro are sophomores. Evan is with the Morlocks, I have no idea if Boom Boom will show up. Younger X-men are either freshmen, or eighth-graders. Expect this to be way off from the original season three. Also, the Institute didn't get blown to smithereens. I don't know how but Scott found a way to stop the self destruct sequence. If you see any glaringly obvious plot holes let me know...and then proceed to ignore them.
Also, my beta was taking too long getting back to me on this chapter...and I kept changing stuff. So if you see any mistakes all I can say is oops.
Xander turned out of the school parking lot, more than happy to put it in his rear-view mirror. He was extremely glad that Dawn was going to be there on a daily basis and not him. Repressing a shudder he glanced at his charge. “So, what do you think?”
Dawn gave him a face that could have been a smile...in an alternate reality. “Principle Kelly seemed nice enough...”
He sighed. “You got a creepy vibe off of him too?”
“It wasn't just me then? I thought I was imagining it.”
“So that means I can home school right?”
Xander chuckled. “Nice try Dawnie.”
“But what if he's evil?”
“Oh he probably is, but according to Willow and Giles the demon population here is pretty low. So chances are, if he's evil he's probably just an evil human.”
“So I'm still going then?”
“Yup. You and the minis when they get here are all gonna be enrolled in the local system.” He slowed for a red-light. “Look at the bright side, fall term doesn't start for a week.”
“Hey you're right. Hmm, maybe I can catch some sun at the beach.”
He grimaced, she sounded so happy about that and he hated to burst her bubble. “Guess again kiddo.”
Dawn groaned and slunk further down into her seat. “You're gonna put me to work aren't you. You know power tools and I don't mix...I'm not as bad as Buffy but it's still an unmixy thing.”
Xander shuddered, remembering to press on the gas when the light turned green. “I agree that you shouldn't be allowed to even touch power tools, but I still need help fixing up the house. You're good with a paintbrush.”
“You know I apologized to Kennedy about that right? I had no idea the nail gun was that sensitive...or her for that matter.” She grinned at him.
Xander rolled his eye and turned onto the street that would take them to a local home improvement store. “Just because she's a Slayer doesn't mean that being shot with a nail gun is a walk in the park.”
Dawn managed to tone down her grin. “So what do we need. You have a list right?”
“I like to live on the edge.”
“Of insanity maybe. Seriously, what are we after besides paint?”
Xander slowed the car as the store came into view. “The basement needs a lot of work done if we're going to turn part of it into a gym. Some of the doors to the bedrooms need to be replaced, and the front walk is cracked all to hell.”
Dawn looked around the car. “We're gonna need a truck.”
Xander snorted and pulled into the parking lot. “I figured I'd pick out what we needed and have them deliver it.”
“I thought money was tight and that we were lucky to get the mansion.”
He picked an empty space near the entrance and shut the car off before looking at Dawn. “Anya had one hell of an insurance policy, and I'm the only benefactor she listed.” He watched as Dawn's eyes widened to almost comical proportions.
“Does Giles know? Scratch that, does Buffy know?”
“G-man knows...and I'm the one who paid for the house. So any renovations for it are coming out of my pocket. And no Buffy doesn't know.”
Dawn nodded in understanding. “One flash of puppy eyes and you'd be filling her closet with shoes to replace all the ones she lost in Sunnydale.”
“I like to think I'm made of sterner stuff than that...so probably only half her closet would be filled with shoes. But there would be chocolate ice cream to properly mourn her lost wardrobe.”
Dawn giggled and they shared a grin as they got out of the car and headed inside. The second they walked in they were nearly accosted by an overly helpful employee, wearing the ugliest green vest she'd ever seen. Ugh, the uniforms here sucked and she pitied the guy.
“Hi there, can I help you?” The guy's smile and bubbly attitude faltered for a moment when he saw Xander's eye patch. “Um...we have a sale going on right now on kitchen counters.”
Xander waved him off. “Our kitchen is fine, we're just gonna look around, get our bearings.”
“Oh...just come to the front if you need anything then.”
“Will do, come on Dawn.” He led her further into the store, stopping in front of a very shiny leaf blower.
“Yeah. Still not used to the staring. No one stared at the patch when I was in Africa.”
“Yeah well, Africa is a crazy kind of place.”
“Don't I know it.” He gave her a smile. “Let's go find us some paint.”
She followed him as he wandered about the store until they eventually found the paint aisle. It was empty except for a scruffy looking boy about her age, maybe a little younger, who looked lost as he stared at the hundreds of buckets of paint on the shelves.
“So what exactly do we need the paint for?” When Xander didn't answer her she looked over at him to find him staring at the kid. “What's up?” She kept her voice low.
He blinked and glanced at her. “Nothing...I think.”
She looked over at the boy again. He was pretty unremarkable, standing there with a slouch, his shaggy hair brushing the collar of his shirts. The color was hard to discern, it could have been dirty blond, brown...or just dirty. His pants were ragged and had holes in the knees and his shoes looked like they could fall to pieces at any moment.
“Xander?” She murmured. “Is he...”
“He could be a local neutral.”
He nodded. “Probably.”
Dawn nudged him. “So, paint?”
“Paint? Oh! Right, paint. The stuff we're here for.”
Dawn grinned, glad she'd distracted him with their mission of the moment. However she glanced at the boy again. He looked normal enough, but appearances didn't mean squat. Xander knew that first hand...especially after what happened in Africa. If Xander thought something was off about the guy, chances are he wasn't completely normal.
“You never answered my question. What do we need the paint for?”
Xander snorted. “Have you looked at our house? The ceilings have old water stains, the walls are flaky and that ugly yellow paint in the bathrooms has got to go.”
“I'm starting to think you bought a fixer upper just so you could fix it up.”
He shrugged. “What can I say, I miss working with my hands.” He was about to say more when a guy in the standard ugly green vest that was the store uniform stomped passed them and toward the scruffy kid further down the aisle.
He was blond with majorly broad shoulders that just screamed 'jock'. The guy grabbed the scruffy teen and shook him. “What are you doin' here ya freak? We don't service your kind.”
The teen's eyes were wide and nervous, and for the first time she saw they were almost a gold color. Kinda pretty actually.
“H-hey Duncan. Just uh...just lookin' at the paint yo.”
Duncan sneered at him. “Yeah right Tolensky. You and I both know you don't have the money to pay for it. So get out of here before I pound you.”
Dawn frowned at that and glanced at Xander, who gave a nod. That was one of the things she loved about her pseudo brother, sometimes he just knew what you wanted to say, or what you were thinking. She glanced back at the jock. “So...Distraction plan C?”
“Should work. Let's move.” He grinned and watched her bounce over to the bully.
She put on her brightest and ditziest smile before tapping the jock's shoulder. He turned with a scowl that disappeared the instant he laid eyes on her.
“Hi there, do you think you could help me for a moment?”
Duncan let go of the Tolensky kid and grinned at her. “Sure, anything for a pretty girl.”
She giggled and batted her lashes at him before pointing at the first bucket of paint she saw. “My bedroom totally needs a new look. Do you think this kinda paint would work? Or do I need some kinda primer first...and what is primer?”
Duncan turned to look at the paint and started on some long explanation that she could care less about. So she glanced at the scruffy kid and winked just as Xander walked passed her and motioned for the kid to follow him. Poor guy looked confused at their intervention but he followed Xander out of the aisle. She grinned and went back to feigning interest in the jock guy's opinion on primer. Now all she had to do was ditch him.
Xander led the teen to the next aisle, coming to a stop once they were out of sight. “You okay kid?”
Pale gold eyes narrowed at him in suspicion. “Yeah. Yeah I'm fine. What'dya want yo?”
“Want? Why would I want something?”
“People don't just help the Toad without wantn' somethin'.”
“It's a nickname yo.”
“Okay then.” He stared at the kid for a moment, it was like looking backwards. The slouched shoulders, the defensive posture. Poor kid had been kicked around too many times. “Look, you don't know me and I don't know you. But lets just say I don't like jocks or any other kinda of bully.”
The kid sneered at him. “Whatever.”
Dawn swerved around the corner and nearly ran them down. “We should leave now.” She said as she started to heard them back toward the entrance.
Xander sighed and looked over his shoulder at her. “What did you do.”
She blinked wide eyes at him. “What makes you think...never mind.” She shrugged. “He asked me out...and got grabby.”
Xander snickered. “Did you break him?”
Dawn blushed. “No. But he'll have a nice shiner tomorrow.” She grinned at them in victory as they made it outside. “So local boy, are there any other home improvement stores around here?”
He eyed them warily, squinting in the summer sun. “You really gave Duncan a black eye yo?”
Dawn shrugged again. “My big sister is like a master of self defense, so I've picked up a few things.”
“Damn, and I missed it. Yeah, there's a couple a places. Better quality stuff too yo.”
Xander nodded. “Cool. You mind riding with us? We're still new in town and Dawn isn't allowed to navigate anymore.”
“That wasn't my fault. Buffy downloaded those directions.”
“Which means you should have double checked them.” He grinned at her before looking at the boy again. “You gotta real name we can call you?”
He shifted his feet and nodded. “Yeah...it's Todd. Todd Tolensky.”
“Xander Harris, nice to meet you. This is Dawn Summers, she's practically my little sister.”
Todd turned to glare at Dawn. “You related to anyone around here?”
Dawn blinked at him. “We're from California. We don't know anyone in New York.”
“Then why the heck did you move to Bayville yo?”
Xander pointed his electronic key at the car and it beeped in greeting as he unlocked it. “We'll tell you on the way...” His stomach growled then and Dawn giggled. “Right after lunch.”
Todd played navigator for them and directed them to the local burger joint and then the park so they could talk in relative peace. They had settled on one of the picnic tables beside an old grill under a large shade tree. The two Californians had quickly divided up the food between the three of them and he'd watched in awe as Xander inhaled his burgers almost as fast as Freddy.
Dawn and Xander had been nothing but nice to him and it made him uncomfortable. It was cool, in a way, but weird too. No one was ever this nice to him, not unless they wanted something. His mind flashed to Mystique and he frowned.
Dawn reached over to tap him gently on the forehead. “You're thinking too hard.”
He sent her a mild glare. “What do you want from me yo? No one is ever nice to me. No one buys me lunch...well almost no one. It's just freaky.”
Xander sighed around his mouthful of food and quickly swallowed. “Like I said back at the store. Bully's suck, I don't like them. I was one of their favorite punching bags when I was a kid.”
Todd snorted and took a long look at Xander. The guy was built, not bulky like Wolverine, but you could see the muscles move under his fitted t-shirt. And when he wasn't acting like a goof the eye patch made him look like a pirate or a bouncer or something. “Yeah right yo.”
Xander grinned at him them. “I earned this sexy body with long hours of construction work and running for my life on a daily basis.” Todd continued to glare at him. “Look, back when I was in high school...god I sound like an old man.” He grinned ruefully. “Anyway, back then I was shorter, skinnier and had a smart mouth. One that got me pummeled at least once a week, sometimes more.”
Dawn nodded. “And then he got mad when my sister beat up the bullies for him.”
“It violated the guy code!” He shrugged. “I was kid, and it was embarrassing to have a tiny blond valley girl beat up the quarter back after he slammed me up against the coke machine. I got over it.”
Todd gave Xander a disbelieving look. “Say what?”
Dawn grinned. “My older sister, Buffy, is a lot stronger than she looks. Now, you wanna tell us what that guy has against you?”
Todd shrugged under their curious looks. “Ever since I moved to Bayville I've been his favorite punching bag yo. He's a senior this year and I can't wait till he goes to college, heard he got some kinda football scholarship.” He took a bite of his burger. “So why are you guys in Bayville?”
“We needed a place for the school.”
A chill went through Todd. “School? You two opening up a school for gifted kids or whatever?”
The two shared a look before Xander asked. “What made you ask that?”
“Bayville's not that big yo. And there's already a private school on the north side of town, you can't miss it.”
“Oh, you mean that huge mansion up on the hill?” Dawn asked. “That's a school?” She turned to Xander. “Did you know there was a private school here?”
“Giles mentioned it, Xavier's school for gifted kids...or youngsters or something like that.” He shrugged. “What we're working on is smaller, mostly cause our house isn't as big, and it's a school for gifted girls. It's pretty select.”
“What's it called yo?”
Xander gave him a sad smile. “McNally's school for girls.”
“Yeah, my house so I got to name it. I also call it the McNally School of Awesome!”
Dawn rolled her eyes. “Dork.”
“Yeah, but I figure Jesse would have gotten a kick outta having a girl's school named after him.”
“Who's Jesse yo?”
“Jesse was one of my best friends when I was kid. He was killed sophomore year in a gang related incident.”
“Sorry yo. Did you guys live in LA or somethin'?”
Dawn shook her head. “Nope, we're from Sunnydale.”
Todd's eyes bugged for a second. Maybe he didn't know much of what happened outside of Bayville, but everyone knew about Sunnydale. Town's didn't just collapse into huge ass craters every day. “No way! That's harsh yo.”
Xander grimaced. “You don't know the half of it. So about that other store, the one that doesn't employ jocks. Would you mind hanging with us for a while longer and playing navigator again?”
“Sure thing dawg. I mean, since you bought me food an all.” He fiddled with the empty wrappers for a moment.
Xander looked at him thoughtfully. “Hey Dawn, mind finding a trash can for all this?”
Dawn was about to object but thought better of it when she noticed Xander give a small shake of his head. “Sure.” She gathered up the trash and headed towards the farthest trash can.
“The jock, he said you couldn't afford the paint you were looking at.”
Xander sighed. “I know neglect when I see it Todd. The only time I got a decent meal growing up was when I was at a friend's house. My parents spent as little money on me as they could get away with, just enough to keep social services away. By the time I was four I was an expert at dodging empty beer bottles. When my old man was in a mood I knew to keep quiet, to disappear. I don't know what your situation is, but judging by your clothes, those rips aren't a fashion statement.”
“I ain't your charity case man.”
“And I don't want you to be, everyone's got their pride, but sometimes survival is more important than pride. If you need money you can earn it. I know school starts soon but Dawn and I are the only ones at the house right now and we need help to get it fixed up before the girls start arriving. And if you need an estimate on how much paint you need for whatever project you've got going I'm your man.”
Todd leaned back a bit, stunned at the offer, and the revelations. “You mean it yo. This isn't some sort of sick joke?”
Xander shook his head. “My jokes are funny and used for tense situations. I don't joke about helping people.”
Todd worried his lower lip for a minute. “I guess. But the paint thing. I don't know what I need. Boss—er Landlady said to fix the place up. None of us know how to do any of that repair stuff yo.”
“She took us in...kinda. None of us have parents. Well Pietro and Wanda do but their dad's a little crazy. Landlady isn't much better. We live in a Boarding House.”
Xander's eye narrowed. “And where is your Landlady now?”
Todd shrugged. “Ain't gotta clue.”
Xander sighed. “Help us out, at least for today. When we're done I'll drive you home and give you some tips after I look at the house. I can leave an estimate for your Landlady. Then you can decide if you want to come back and keep working.”
“That's sounds okay.”
Todd looked at all the stuff Xander had bought. Paint, paintbrushes, paint rollers, concrete mix, more paint, several slim wooden boards and variety of stuff that he'd never heard of before. And what the heck was a caulking gun and what did shooting caulking have to do with home repairs?
“You can afford all this yo? It's a lot of stuff.” He looked again at the bounty. “How's it gonna fit in your car?”
Xander looked at the purchases he'd made on their large cart. “It'll fit. We'll put the boards in first.”
“Uh, Xander. What are the boards for? I know we need to replace a few doors but--” Dawn started.
“The boards are for the new sidewalk, I'll need them when pour the concrete. Oh, I should have gotten shovels. Damn.”
“There are some in the garage.” Dawn chirped.
Much to Todd's amazement everything they'd gotten fit in the car. There was just enough room left in the back seat that he'd be able to sit comfortably. Xander was taking the cart inside and Todd let curiosity get the better of him. “So why's a guy like that in charge of a girl's school yo? Don't the parents get touchy about that kinda thing?”
Dawn grinned. “Xander's only into older women and men.”
“He's a fruit?”
Dawn's smile disappeared. “The word is gay, but in this case no. Xander has dated women, and one man. He doesn't label himself, he likes to have options. You call him that again I'll do to you what I did to super jock.”
“Easy girl. I didn't mean nothin' by it. Not like I called him a fa—somethin' worse.” He looked sheepish. “Not used to talkn' polite.”
Dawn gave him a hard stare before giving him a nod and a small smile graced her face again. “It's okay. I just don't like judgmental people.”
“Yeah, she's gets testy whenever someone makes a face at the food she eats. Word of advice, never, ever, let Dawn cook pancakes for you.” Xander shuddered. “Death by pancakes is a horrible way to go.”
Dawn smacked his arm before getting into the car. Todd looked at Xander uneasily. “How much did you...”
“Most of it. Don't worry. I figure, small town like this, you haven't been exposed to all parts of society. No biggie. Now, lets get to the house and we'll see how well you do with a paintbrush.”
“I wasn't tryn' to be rude yo...didn't know how else to say it. And...your not the only one like that around here.” Todd muttered, not meeting Xander's gaze.
Xander tilted his head and let what the teen had said sink in a little. “So you too?” Todd nodded and Xander ruffled his hair. “Don't be so glum about it. It's not a bad thing. However, since we're friends now Dawn and I get to interview, approve and possibly threaten all potential boyfriends. Now lets go.”
Todd gaped for a moment before slipping into the backseat, thinking silently about the weirdness of having...friends.
As it turned out Todd was a natural with a paintbrush. His work was a little rough, but that was expected since the kid had never painted a wall before. Xander was pleased with the amount of work they'd gotten done, despite the impromptu duel Dawn had initiated with Todd. It had been funny as hell to see the boy's gobsmacked expression when Dawn had casually painted his hair with her brush. She'd grinned impishly at him afterwords and it had taken him a moment to realize she was playing. It was almost as if Todd didn't know how to play. Something that Dawn had made it her personal mission to rectify. They'd chased each other around the room then wielding their brushes like swords, and somehow managed to drag Xander into it.
He snorted. It was the most fun he'd had in a while.
Even with their mini war the three of them had gotten half of the bedrooms on the second floor painted. Xander gazed around the last room they'd worked on. All four walls were painted a soft green. It looked good.
Xander looked over his shoulder at Todd. “Yeah?”
“It's gettn' late yo. I need to get back to the boarding house.”
“Your Landlady going to be waiting for you?”
Todd shrugged. “She might show up. Never know with her.”
Xander looked thoughtful. “You still want an estimate for repair work?”
“That'd be cool yo...and a ride maybe?”
Xander nodded. “I can do that. Hey Dawn!”
Dawn popped her head into the doorway, her face still covered in paint smears. “What?”
“I'm gonna take Todd home.”
She nodded. “I'll be okay for a while. I'm just gonna get cleaned up.”
“Cool. Come on Todd, let's roll.”