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Summary: The annual Sunnydale High School Zoo Trip has an unusual outcome, at least as far as some of the students are concerned.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > Xander-CenteredGreywizardFR1811,9594384,03617 Aug 1417 Aug 14No
This is entry #17 in the August 2014 Fic-A-Day challenge.


Disclaimer: They all belong to Crack-Head Joss and ME, and a bunch of other people (including the Mouse House!) who are definitely not me. Try not to let the unfairness get you down. I've learned to live with it.

Category: Buffy multi-crossover – both fiction and video – and a response to TTH Challenge 408 – A Fun Day at the Zoo…Or not.

Time Frame: Starts during Season One, Episode Six, 'The Pack', but diverges from canon almost immediately.

Spoilers: None intended, but if you don’t know what happened up to this point, why are you reading this story?

Character Bashing: None at all. How about that for a change?

Feedback: Of course!

Archiving: Talk to me first, please.

Author’s Note 1: Many thanks to Bill Haden and Theo (Starway_Man) for beta-ing this story.

Author’s Note 2: As usual, “word” indicates speech, :: word :: indicates mental communication, { word } indicates a character's thoughts, and // word \\ indicates foreign and/or non-human languages.

Author's Note 3: I was reading chapter 51 of CrazyDan's 'Flipping Channels, and my muse was inspired to write this. Mostly because she's somewhat demented, but she's fun to work with, nonetheless.


Sunnydale Zoo
Sunnydale, CA

April 7, 1997

The 'Predators of Africa' Exhibit Building

As he glumly considered the information plaque describing the honey badgers which were currently on display – "generally solitary, although the honey badger may occasionally hunt in pairs" – "notorious for their strength, ferocity and toughness" – "have been known to savagely and fearlessly attack almost any kind of animal when escape is impossible, even repelling much larger predators such as lions" – "bee stings, porcupine quills, and animal bites rarely penetrate their skin, and it is almost impervious to arrows and spears" – "virtually tireless in combat and can wear out much larger animals in physical confrontations" – Xander Harris morosely reflected to himself that even a *badger* was a bigger badass than him

{ Being a honey badger actually sounds like it's a whole lot more fun than my life, anyway. Especially, when you consider that not many bullies would survive messing with a honey badger! }

Seeing that Kyle, Tor, Rhonda and Heidi were all starting to close in on Lance, the sole male Scooby present shook his head, as though in resignation at the inability of some people to not act like idiots, and focused back on the here and now.

{ They must have decided to keep with the African motif, 'cause they're acting just like a pack of jackals would, } Xander reflected to himself as he made his way over to the group, shoving his way through the quartet and pushing them away from the cowering would-be artist.

"Why don't you guys go pick on somebody your own species?" Harris suggested, wishing idly that he were a honey badger at the moment – as the quartet of aspiring thugs began crowding him, in lieu of following his suggestion.

{ The primate exhibit is two buildings over, } Xander idly noted to himself. { I wonder if they've noticed they've got four specimens wandering free? }

The chalk circle already drawn on the floor remained unnoticed by all of the teens, as did the way the eyes of several of the various nearby animals flashed momentarily the moment the five students began arguing.

Curiously, one of the honey badgers in the nearby exhibit shimmered momentarily and then simply faded away completely, as Tor, Heidi, Kyle and Rhonda began to face off against their self-appointed opponent.

A moment later, the four bullies all instinctively jumped back several steps as Xander Harris released a low, somewhat hoarse snarl as they continued to try to intimidate him, and all four immediately started making their way towards the exit, throwing intermittent, nervous glances over their shoulders at him as they did so.

"Idiots," Xander muttered under his breath, brushing aside Lance's bewildered thanks before turning and making his own way out of the building.


Additionally, none of the teens present had noticed how several of the badgers in the neighboring enclosures had stopped what they were doing when their confrontation began, and were now watching Xander depart with some varying degree of interest.

// Hmmm. That boy reminds me, more than a little, of Young Toad, what with his good-natured impulsiveness, \\ Mr. Badger murmured to his companion before he turned his attention back to the snake he was eating.

// Yes, he did, \\ Boomer Badger – now retired from his previous responsibilities of providing inspiration and motivation to the Ranger Rick staff – nodded his agreement with his companion's evaluation as he grabbed his own snake and began chowing down on it, completely ignoring its frantic attempts to escape as he did so. // It'll be interesting to see how things develop. \\

// Yes, I definitely think it will, \\ Tummeler agreed, as he finished swallowing the last mouthful of his pit viper meal. // Honey Badger has been looking for something interesting to do for a while now, so merging with a human will probably keep him occupied for at least the next couple decades. \\


Sunnydale High School
Sunnydale, CA

April 9, 1997

Buffy Summers and Willow Rosenberg had each noticed that Xander's general attitude of indifference and casual contempt towards the school's self-styled 'elite' – i.e., the jocks, cheerleaders and the rich kids – seemed to intensify ever since their field trip to the zoo, but they had thought nothing of it, initially.

Oddly enough, it took Xander's casually body-slamming Larry Blaisdell against the soda machine (after the football player had attempted to shake him down for his lunch money) to finally focus their attention on their friend's new outlook on school life – and apparently on life, in general, too.

"Xander! You can't do that to Larry, what’s the matter with you? You could have gotten hurt," Willow reproached her childhood friend as she shoved her way past Larry's semi-conscious body and through the various groups of students who were staring with wide-eyed uncertainty at the youth in question ,who was currently nonchalantly walking down the hallway, after letting Larry drop to the corridor's tiled floor and retrieving his soda from the machine.

"I’m thinking not, Will. And why exactly couldn’t I have taken Lar down a peg or two, the way he deserves?" Harris asked in a completely disinterested tone.

"Because – because it's against the rules!" Willow sputtered indignantly.

"Rules? Huh. So the rules are that jocks like him are allowed to pummel me and steal my money, but I’m not allowed to defend myself?" Harris shrugged indifferently as he continued making his way down the hallway, infuriating the redhead at his apparently complete lack of interest in society's expectations of behavior.

"Well, I'm thinking 'Not!' on that idea. My new philosophy is that where the bullies are concerned, the rules are made to be broken; and maybe them, too. But hey, if they don't bother me, I won't bother them," Xander vaguely promised as he stopped by his locker and began switching out his books, apparently either completely oblivious or totally indifferent to the redhead's continued yammering to him about the importance of following school rules and regulations.


Sunnydale High School
Sunnydale, CA

April 12, 1997

As anyone who had ever met Kyle, Tor, Rhonda or Heidi could easily have predicted, the four juvenile delinquents in question got involved in several incidents over the course of the next several days, with their disregard for any sort of authority becoming more blatant with each passing day.

It was their decision to attack the Chess Club, whose non-confrontational members they clearly regarded as 'prey' – and whose vice-president was Willow Rosenberg – that triggered their downfall, however.

Basically, it was Willow's frantic plea for assistance when she showed up at the library which had Buffy rushing frantically to the school club room in question. And the Slayer's initial reaction to hearing the screams of pain and pleas for help as she rushed through the school corridors to the club's meeting room, was that she would pound whoever was harassing the club members into a fine paste.

However, Buffy’s somewhat surprising discovery as she arrived on the scene – that the pain-filled screams for mercy were originating from the four bullies she’d seen last week, at the zoo – made her pause for a moment, luckily, before taking any precipitous action.

And since Willow had specifically identified Kyle, Tor, Rhonda and Heidi to her as the Club's previous harassers, Buffy decided that intervention on her part actually wasn't needed in any way.

Primarily because Xander Harris was currently holding an unconscious Kyle DuFours by the ankle, after apparently using him as a human baseball bat to thrash Tor Hauer, Heidi Barrie and Rhonda Kelley – all of whom were also currently lying on the corridor's floor, bloody, battered and mostly unconscious.

"Xander, what did you *do*?" Willow practically shrieked when she arrived a few moments later, and found her childhood friend casually sitting on a chair near the unconscious quartet.

Her initial heart-stopping assumption that she would be called upon by the prosecution to testify against the dark-haired youth in a multiple murder trial was tossed aside, fortunately, upon hearing several of the school thugs issue loud groans, as they began regaining consciousness

"Oh, I think I probably convinced these idiots that picking on people is a bad idea," Xander shrugged indifferently as he took another gulp of his soda. "Y'know, by showing them that the old saying is true – what goes around, comes around."

"But, but Xander! You, you can't just beat people up like that! E-especially not to make them stop doing things you don’t like!" the redhead exclaimed with wide-eyed dismay, as she looked around at the disorderly mess that was the Chess Club meeting room.

"Actually, Will, I'm pretty sure I can," Xander shook his head in disagreement, a small smile creasing his lips as he looked over at her and Buffy. The two girls just stood by the doorway and assessed the damage, not wanting to come any closer to Xander right now.

"And since it seemed to work out so well this time, I'm thinking Kyle and his fellow idiots are probably gonna think long and hard about it before they start hassling people again," Harris predicted calmly as he got up and headed out the door.


Xander's prediction concerning the quartet's actions was actually proven incorrect when Principal Bob Flutie's body was discovered later that day – after 'wild dogs' had somehow managed to get into his office and eat him and then depart, all without anyone seeing any trace of them.

Eavesdropping as Buffy and Willow consulted with Giles about the girls' perceptions regarding changes in both his and the other four teens' personalities, Xander decided to let that trio deal with the problem however they wished, and not waste his time arguing with them.

After all, he knew he was who he was, and oddly enough – the fact that the Slayer and the hacker didn’t like some of the things he'd done lately, didn't really bother him all that much. After all, both of the girls occasionally did things that he found annoying, but he didn't get on their case about it.

Well, not all that much, anyway.

With a shrug, Xander headed back to the vending machine area, to grab some more snacks to munch on, while he waited for the others to decide what they wanted to do about those four idiots. He seemed to have developed a bit more of an appetite the past week or so, and Twinkies didn't seem to satisfy him quite the way they used to, anymore.

As he walked, Xander noticed Jack O’Toole staring at him in a calculating and assessing manner, before shaking his head and walking away. He also noticed how when the Cordettes passed him by, Cordelia Chase gave him a similar yet entirely different calculating and assessing look, before turning back to her flock of sheep and walking away – but with a definite sway of her hips, and wiggle of her butt.

Hmmm. For some reason, that useless bit of trivia of he’d read at the zoo – "generally solitary, although the honey badger may occasionally hunt in pairs" – suddenly popped into his head. Xander mused to himself that maybe it was time to broaden his horizons, with regards to the female population of Sunnydale High. Buffy was first and foremost in his heart, of course, but if that didn’t work out...

Well, there *were* lots of fish in the sea, as his dearly departed best bud, Jesse, used to say.


The End?

You have reached the end of "He Just Don't Give A –" – so far. This story is incomplete and the last chapter was posted on 17 Aug 14.

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