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The Leading Man

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Summary: YAHF. Xander just wanted to show Buffy there were better options than a cursed undead guy. Somehow, becoming Balthier was not how he pictured accomplishing that mission.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Games > Japanese Fantasy > Final FantasysouldrivenFR15920,10189729,11015 Jan 1220 Mar 13No

Prologue

Author’s note: I had an idea and cloudleonsgurl made pretty artwork for it. Why aren't there more videogame crossovers? Or even more Final Fantasy corssovers that aren't Seven? Un-beta'd cause I'm impatient.

Disclaimer: do not own Buffy or Final Fantasy XII.

Illustration
lovely manip art by cloudleonsgurl (in case you skipped the author's note)

Prologue

Like any practiced cheap buyer, Xander located the bargain bin in Rayne’s costume shop within seconds upon entering. As he suspected, the bin consisted of a lot of odds and ends but, also toy weapons. With a toy gun in hand, all Xander needed to do for his costume yet was to stop by the Army Surplus store for the necessary soldier fatigues. Whistling a jaunty tune Xander wandered through the shop, deciding to browse the store before heading to the register.

Buffy and Willow, in all their girly nature were bound to take at least an hour before settling on an outfit. Well, Buffy would. Willow would probably go with her usual ghost theme. Willow was painfully boring that way. Jesse use to mock her badly for her choice in white sheets but, Jesse was always the one that was willing to waste a ton of money to look awesome. Xander never really cared for dressing up but, the reward of candy made it worth the holiday.

His pointless wandering of the store eventually bought him to the girls ‘ooh’ing and ‘ah’ing over what looked like a Princess Peach dress. Xander did not even have to guess to figure who Buffy was going to try and impress tonight. What did Buffy see in Angel? Yeah, okay, the guy was buff and had a whole kicked puppy look – in a brooding sort of way. Thing was, Angel ‘s dead. A vampire even. As in a slayer’s mortal – well for the slayer anyways – enemy. Soul or no soul, what did Buffy think she was doing? Acting out Romeo and Juliet forgetting that in the end they both died? If that was her idea of true love she needed her head examined.

It was not that he was jealous of Angel anymore, not really. Xander just thought Buffy deserved someone with an actual heartbeat. With the way Buffy went on about wanting to be a normal girl as well as be the slayer you would think she would be interested in a guy that could do that. Angel did not as far as Xander could tell. All Deadboy could see – heh, he would have to use that one (1) – was the slayer and his ‘salvation’ in Buffy. Angel did not really see Buffy in the ‘normal’ girl way.

With a sigh, Xander suppressed his urge to try to talk Buffy out of Angel. The more he and Giles tried the more Buffy was going to ignore them.

“Troubled young man?” a british accented voice asked Xander, startling him from his thoughts.

With a – manly – yelp, Xander jumped and turned to see the presumed owner of the store smiling at him. The smile was kind of creepy. “Not really, just my friend is about to buy that dress to impress some guy we know,” Xander admitted with a wince and frown.

“Ah, you mean swept off her feet by her ‘knight’? You do not approve, I presume?” Mr. … Rayne – or so the nametag claimed – asked. Xander hesitantly nodded, not sure he like where this conversation was going. The man’s eyes seemed to sparkle with mirth, or one of the florescent lights was flickering. “Well, there’s only one character better at winning a fair lady’s heart than a knight,” Rayne added with a wry smile and then indicated Xander to follow him. Curious, Xander decided to ignore the creepy vibes from the man and follow.

Rayne lead him to another mannequin advertising an outfit. The white shirt was more of a lacy turtleneck with a black vest heavy with gold and olive green embroidery. Two gold buckle belts with pouches attached hung off the mannequin’s hips. The pants to the outfit looked like they were made out of real leather. Overall the effect was fancy, realistic, and costly. There was no way he could afford this costume.

“The Rogue, in particular a ‘sky pirate’ according to my supplier. Personally I always support such characters, finding knights to be too… orderly and stiff for my tastes,” Rayne continued on obliviously. Only when he was done listening to himself speak did he notice Xander’s unease.

“Look, uh, Mr. Rayne. It’s nice you’re trying to help and all but there’s no way I could afford this,” Xander said as nicely as he could. He had not been since he started helping Buffy patrol finding three obligations too many to juggle. If he had not quit when he did the store was likely to have fired him for sleeping on the job. What money he did have saved up he tried not use unless his parents decided to spend all their grocery money on booze. Xander was still planning to do his road trip of America as a graduation to himself. With his dwindling funds he was lucky if he made it out of state. (2)

“Nonsense my boy, I’m practically willing to give this costume away for free,” Rayne announced undeterred. Xander gave him an incredulous look and the store owner gave a begrudging sigh. “I spent way too much money on the bloody thing and I’m not attracting the clientele with the means to purchase such a lavish outfit. I’m in the black enough to not be worried about what I’ll lose on this and I’d preferred to have as little stock leftover as possible.”

Xander looked over the outfit once more. Thinking over Ethan Rayne’s words, he had a point. Girls, for whatever reason, really seemed to like the charming rogue type. The amount of times he and Jesse suffered though Princess Bride attested to that. Xander doubted the outfit would win him Buffy’s heart but, maybe an evening of him hamming it up Dread Pirate Robert style might make her have second thoughts about Angel. It was worth a shot.

“Twenty good?” Xander offered trying to see how low he could get it. He was not willing to go much higher than fifty.

“Sold!” Rayne said eagerly, surprising Xander. “Just give me a few moments to box all of this up for you and I’ll meet you at the register.”

Stunned, Xander merely nodded and did as the owner asked, never seeing Rayne’s wicked smile.

~*~

Xander groaned as the house phone rang. It was Saturday, damn it. Saturday meant it was the weekend and the weekend meant sleeping in and not waking up at – Holy Cow Batman! It was noon already? What did he do last night? Was taking kids trick or treating for two hours really that exhausting on him? As Xander continued to stare at his alarm clock in shocked confusion last night’s events came to the forefront of his mind. Oh, right. They became their costumes…

Xander bolted upright in bed, his eyes trying to pop out of his skull classic Tom and Jerry style. They became their costumes last night! For several hours Xander stopped being Xander and became Balthier. It was probably the best night of his life and he did not even get to enjoy it! Worse yet Buffy and Willow were going to kill him and Giles would just sit back, cleaning his glasses, and ‘tut’ing disapprovingly. Never mind the social hell Xander was sure Cordelia was plotting. He was so doomed.

Xander did not need his mother to tell him the girls had called and asked her to pass on the message that Giles was supervising their ‘study session’ at the school library today. He was already out the door and racing away on his skate board before Jessica Harris got past “Your friends called-”. No doubt Tony Harris was awake with an awful hangover complaining about his disrespectful, waste of space son. Xander was in deep trouble when he got home but he could not really bring himself to care. His girls were going to give him ten times the hell his parents ever would if he did not get to the library.

~*~*~*~

1- Xander does not call Angel Deadboy until the following episode Lie to Me.
2- Thought it was kind of odd Xander had a roadtrip of America planned and wasted all that money plus what he earned over the summer to repair his car. I know classic car repairs can be expensive but he should have had enough money saved up if had been planning to be on the road for all of summer.
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