Hopeless Crushes Abound

Author: Lucinda <lucindasiverling[at]hotmail.com>

main character: Xander

pairing: many crushes, mention of some dating, Xander crushing on Rogue. for Jinni's add to the TNL fic request.

disclaimer: I hold no legal rights to Xadner or any other characters of Buffy the Vampire SLayer. I hold no legal rights to Rogue or any other characters from X-Men: Evolution.

distibution: XanderZone, Twisting the Hellmouth, Quickfics, Paula - anyone else ask.

note: set after season 1 Evolution, AU post season 2 BtVS (Time frame of season 3)

Xander clutched the strap of his backpack, wishing that things were different. Wishing that he wasn't here, standing on the front steps of Bayville High School. That's right, Bayville, not Sunnydale where he was supposed to be, where he was needed or at least useful. All because his parents had been killed by some drunk driver. He'd discovered that legal custody of him had been willed to his Aunt Constance Mills-Hayett, currently living in New York. So, before he could even finish gaping about having a relative so far away or figure out a way to try to protest, he'd been packed up and shipped away. Willow had been devastated, and he hadn't been much better.

So, here he was, starting his senior year at a brand new school, where he didn't know anybody at all. No friends, the few relatives barely more than strangers, and no particular purpose. There didn't even seem to be a discernable demon or vampire population in the area. No, Bayville didn't seem to worry about vampires, they had mutants.

The idea had freaked him out at first. His aunt had tried to reassure him a bit. It was something that a person had to be born with, unlike the former Sunnydale swim team. His aunt had explained that some of 'them' were still 'decent enough people', that they 'couldn't help their personal problems'. He'd been given the clear impression that while his aunt and uncle wouldn't be out joining anti-mutant mobs, they definitely considered mutants to be second class citizens. The whole mutant question just gave him the willies.

Slowly, he walked up the steps, not quite certain where he needed to be. He looked up from his schedule just barely in time to avoid a collision with a girl. She was… different. Her clothing was all black, a gauzy long sleeved shirt over a tank, a leather skirt, leather boots, gloves, dark eye makeup… and a pair of white streaks in her dark hair. She was pretty, and looked… so not the sort of girl that would ever go out with him.

"Umm… sorry about that. I wasn't watching very well." He smiled, hoping to look harmless. "Can I get a clue where I need to be for… umm… American History with a Mrs. White?"

"New here, aren't ya? You go up those stairs, and it's the second door on the left." She had a faint smile, as if she found something amusing about him. Her voice... it was like honey, soft and sweet and there was a bit of an accent. Wow.

Xander found himself looking for her in the halls, seeking a sign of her during lunch. He got this silly grin when he'd catch a glimpse of her white streaked hair in the distance, and to his great delight, they were in the same English class. He could already tell that he was getting a crush on her.

But the path of love is never smooth. During his first week there, he managed to watch her enough to figure out that she had a crush on this guy named Scott, a sort of tall thin guy with these funny red glasses. But Scott had a thing for a red haired girl named Jean or Jane or something like that, a girl that was involved with the quarterback of the Bayville football team, Duncan. Figures that even on the other side of the country, he could fall for a gorgeous girl with a thing for the tall serious sort of brooding type. The only improvement was that Scott wasn't a vampire.

"Xander. Just who I was lookin' for." Rogue's voice was a welcome sound, almost like music to his ears.

He turned, part of him trying to remember that she wouldn't be wanting him, just… well, what did she want? "Rogue. Hey. Is there something I can do for you?"

"I hope so. I've been having some trouble with that play, and well, I was sort of hopin' we could spend some time studyin' the dratted thing." She smiled a little, almost as if she wasn't used to the expression.

He felt as if something inside was leaping and soaring. "Yeah, sure. I'd like that. Hmm… maybe just... here, after school? Romeo and Juliet, the Xander version…"

"Great. I'll meet you by the track." She smiled, and headed off towards her next class.

Xander couldn't remember ever enjoying studies so much in his life. He also felt like he was getting to know more about her, although he still didn't know why she went by Rogue. She was from Mississippi, and had moved here suddenly. He had the strangest feeling that she was trying to keep something a secret, but couldn't imagine what. There weren't nearly enough demons for her to be a Slayer… What if she was a mutant? She might be pretty worried about people finding that out, considering some of the views people had.

Like fate had decided that he was too happy, something had to ruin things. There was this giant guy, with claws and fangs and yellow eyes. If not for the bright sunlight, Xander would have thought 'giant vampire' but… well, he had no idea what the guy was. Other than big and scary. He'd attacked Rogue while se was talking to Scott about the math assignment, and there had been this huge panic.

Warped by his life in Sunnydale, when he heard the screams of panic, and the deep growls and roars, Xander had gone towards the snarling instead of running away. Yeah, he would be lucky to make it to twenty at this rate. Scary guy took a swipe at Scott, knocking off the glasses. This shouldn't have been such a big deal except that when the glasses fell, these red blast came from Scott's eyes, knocking the scary guy backwards. Scott then dropped to the ground, reaching for the glasses.

They'd been knocked far, and Xander picked them up, discovering that the weight was all wrong for glass or plastic. Reaching, he pulled Scott away just as the scary guy's claws swiped downwards. Shoving the glasses into Scott's hand, Xander whispered "Here, these are yours."

Just as Xander was starting to think that the scary guy was going to rip them apart with his claws, a bolt of lightning fell from the sky. It had been perfectly clear minutes before, and then… well, this woman with dark skin and white hair just drifted down on a gust of wind.

"Scott, Rogue, are you well?" Her voice carried a strange accent.

It clicked for Xander. The woman with the white hair was a mutant, Scott was a mutant, Rogue probably was as well. Figures. "Umm… the big scary guy. Who or what was he?"

"Sabertooth. He's dangerous." Scott's voice was tense, unhappy.

Rogue looked at him, her eye nearly unreadable. "Close as we can tell, he's a mutant."

"Oh, a mutant." Xander leaned against Scott's red convertible, trying to sort everything out. "So… are you a mutant also, Rogue? All of you seemed to know who he was, and it looked like he was going after you two… I'm sort of not liking being the only guy who doesn't know what's going on."

She almost seemed to close off something inside. Her arms wrapped around herself, and one torn sleeve fluttered in the breeze, exposing most of her arm, including a trickle of blood from a pair of cuts. "Yeah. I'm a mutant too."

He reached towards her, worried about her sudden closing off. It couldn't be healthy. "Hey, it's not that bad. You might want to do something about those cuts, God only knows where those claws have been."

She jerked away from him, her eyes suddenly wide and intense. "Don't touch me! You can't touch me."

Quickly, he pulled his hands back, wondering what he'd done wrong. "It's… umm sorry. But you're bleeding."

She seemed to realize that she'd hurt his feelings, because she became a little bit less tense. "Sorry, it's not your fault. But… I can't… I can't touch people. It's my mutation. Something... bad happens if I do."

"Oh. That doesn't sound like fun." Xander put his hands into his pockets, not wanting to upset her again. It was just his luck to get a crush on someone that could never touch anyone. "So, umm… tomorrow for the next Act of Romeo the inept romancer and Juliet the melodramatic?"

"You still… Even though I'm…" She looked at him, startlement adding a hint of color to her face. "Most people wouldn't' want to hang out with a mutant."

"What's that got… well, okay. See, I didn't grow up somewhere that made a big fuss over mutants. It's not a big deal to me, but it sounds like I need to remember to look, don't touch." Xander smiled, feeling something almost like resignation forming. If she couldn't touch, then he'd never have her. Love sucked sometimes.

"You're something, Xander." She smiled a bit, her eyes glittering with tears.

Scott looked at him, an awkward almost smile on his face. "Thanks, Xander. But, umm…"

"Let me guess, you'd rather people didn't know you're a mutant?" Xander had a half smile, his gaze still on Rogue. She'd turned, carefully gathering the fallen books. "Fine, I won't tell. That's not a problem for me. I'll just let you go. I got to go study anyhow. See you guys around."

The trip back to his aunt's lasted forever. He had a crush on Rogue, who couldn't touch anyone ever because of her mutation. She had a crush on someone else anyhow. Nobody got to be entirely happy because… Well, he couldn't blame the Hellmouth anymore. Maybe it was just being in high school in general? Yeah, high school sucked.