Uncommon Knowledge

Summary: AU BtVS season three/ X-Men movie crossover. Xander's road trip takes him quite a bit further than Oxnard. What happens when he meets a young woman on the run from herself? Xander/Marie (pre Rogue) friendship. Rated PG-13, just to be safe.

Disclaimer: I don't own X-Men or Buffy. They are owned by Marvel Entertainment, and Joss Whedon and Mutant enemy respectively. As far as I know, Nicholas Brendon and Anna Paquin own themselves.

Dedication: To my wonderful fiancée, who's helped me to find myself. Also to Nicholas Brendon (Xander) and Anna Paquin (Marie/Rogue) for their stellar performances in their respective roles.

A/N: Probably a one shot here, but I do have ideas for a potential sequel set post X2. Let me know what you think of this and if you'd be interested in seeing a sequel.

Xander Harris leaned back in the small booth with a contented sigh as he waited for his food to arrive. He'd always wanted to see Nashville, the home of the music of pain, and now here he was. He'd been in the city for little over a week and still it fascinated him. Unlike Sunnydale, Nashville actually brimmed with life and activity, even at close to midnight. If he needed any proof of that life all he had to do was take a look around the small diner he was seated in; there were people of almost all ages sitting at tables or crammed into booths like his, and even at the late hour, the waitresses were kept busy rushing orders out to the patrons. Glancing out the window, he felt a wave of relief wash over him as he could see that his car was still in the parking lot. A close call with a couple of would-be car thieves in New Mexico had reminded him that danger didn't always come with fangs or claws. * I'm just being paranoid * he reasoned * the parking lot's well lit, and this is a decent area. It's not too likely that someone would be crazy enough to try anything here.* No matter how paranoid he felt, he couldn't resist checking on the car when he left it for any length of time, and he'd started being more cautious when walking at night. At first, he'd chalked it up to years of fighting alongside Buffy, but he was becoming more and more aware that the soldier and hyena memories in him had reawakened since New Mexico. * Fortunately they aren't that hard to control * he thought * Without Buffy around, I'm the Alpha, the Major, they don't need to prove themselves as much*. He was shaken from his musings by a young blonde with blue eyes and a pretty smile setting his coffee down on the table. The worn and faded nametag on her equally faded uniform identified her as Tammy.

" Hey, sorry about the wait. Your food should be out in just a couple more minutes. It's not normally this busy at this time of night," she apologized. " It's ok," he smiled lazily, turning on the old Xander charm, " I'm in no hurry". Amazingly, the old Xander charm seemed to work for a change, and she blushed slightly before heading to her next table. Taking a drink of his much needed coffee as sudden thought struck him * Wait..I could charm her? Awww damn, she's a demon or some other evil creature knowing my luck.* He chuckled, almost hearing Willow and Buffy reminding him about his track record with women. With a sigh, he set the cup back down, his mind drifting back to his two best friends. It had been a month since he had left Sunnydale on his intended cross country trip. He'd sent them each post cards from the different stops on the way, occasionally he'd even send a little souvenir. He wondered what they'd think of the petrified wood he'd mailed them from Arizona. * Wills probably knew what it was right off the bat. Buffy probably thought I'd lost my mind and just mailed her a rock for the hell of it..nah, she's more likely used it to bludgeon something to death *. No matter how strange they were they were his girls. His thoughts were once again interrupted by the arrival of Tammy, setting down his order, a half pound hamburger and fries.

" Is there anything else I can get you, sir?" she asked politely, weariness evident in her strained smile. * Sir..how weird does that sound? * he mused. " No thanks Tammy. And don't bother with calling me sir. My name's Alexander Harris. My friends and beautiful waitresses can call me Xander though," he said. Tammy beamed, the smile reaching her eyes at the casual compliment, " Well if there's anything you need, don't hesitate to ask." With that, she was off again, and Xander thought he could detect an extra bit of bounce in her step as she went about her job. * Good going X- Man * he thought, taking a big bite of his burger. * Wonder if she has a boyfriend* He paused, wondering where the hell that had come from. Sure, she was friendly and attractive, but he'd only been in town a week and he would probably be leaving again soon. Especially if he wanted to complete his trip; even in a low end motel like the one he was rooming in, a week's stay was beginning to eat at his funds. It'd be nice to have enough money to make it back to Sunnydale. * Or would it ? * he wondered, taking another bite, * Buffy and Wills will be starting at UC Sunnydale in the fall. It's not like they'll have a ton of time to spend with a townie. * If he were completely honest with himself, they hadn't had a lot of time to spend with him during the past few months of high school either. Willow, when not researching the Ascension, had spent nearly all her time with Oz; and it had been the same for Buffy and Angel. Even with slaying matters, he was often pushed off to the side. * Maybe a change of plan is in order. There are worse things I could do than settle down here and see what kind of life I could have * Rolling the thought around in his mind he finished off his burger, and picked up the paper he'd brought in with him, every now and then munching on a fry.

The front page of the paper was plastered with the headline " Mutants: The threat hidden among us". * Yea, people notice mutants, who've by and large done nothing. But a demon tries to end the world, and nobody notices that * he mentally scoffed. Scanning the article, he saw it was standard anti-mutant rhetoric, another voice calling for the passage of the Mutant Registration Act. Despite his disgust at the prejudicial slant politicians like Senator Kelly used against mutants, he shuddered, reading the Senator's comments at a recent hearing on mutants on Capital Hill, referring to mutants " powerful enough to enter our minds and control our thoughts, taking away our god given free will.". * Great, that's all we need. A mutant telepath deciding to visit Sunnydale and getting vamped * the soldier spoke inside his head. It was a definitely disturbing proposition he knew, but the MRA wasn't the solution. Finishing the article, Xander flipped the paper open to the classifieds looking for anything he could possibly be qualified for. * Bright side of good old Sunnyhell high being blown up, my permanent record's toast * he smiled. Even with that in his favor, it didn't look very promising. A few restaurant positions he might be able to fill, a used car sales job, a temp agency looking for typists. * Nuts, there goes the settle down plan * he thought * Guess it'll be finish up my trip and back home to the wonderful world of being a Bucky's Fondue Hut boy by day and punching bag for the forces of evil by night*.

" Looking for a job..Xander?" Tammy asked, pausing by his table for a
moment. Startled, he jumped slightly, " Yep, it doesn't look like I'm
going to find one though. The pickings are pretty slim. This place isn't
hiring by any chance is it?". She shook her head sadly, " Sorry, we're
full up right now. However," she looked around to make sure no one was
paying attention to how much time she spent on this one customer, " my
uncle has his own construction company, and they're always looking for a
guy or two to help out at the sites. You look like you're in pretty good
shape, why don't you give him a call, see if he needs anyone right now?"
She quickly scribbled down a name and numbed on a scratch piece of paper
and handed it to him " I could put in a good word for you too, if you'd
like. And maybe show you around town.I mean, things the tourists usually
ignore," she added, scribbling down another number and slipping it to
him, " That's my home number.". Noticing other patrons starting to get
impatient, she smiled and said loudly enough for the closest table to
hear, " Is there anything else you'd like sir?".

Xander smiled, " Just the check when you get a chance." She pulled the
folder with Xander's bill from her apron and set it on the table, " I'll
be back in a bit. Take your time." With that, she was off, tending to the
more impatient patrons. The bill wasn't too much, and given the tip she'd
given him about the job, Xander decided to leave her a nice tip as well.
Looking in his wallet, he carefully pulled out a twenty, more than twice
the total on the bill, and slipped it into the folder before standing and
heading out of the door. Part of him felt guilty about not staying to
thank her for the tip, but another part had the distinct feeling that she
wouldn't let him leave her as good a tip if he had stayed. The warm night
air washed over him, lifting his spirits on it, * I just hope Wills isn't
too upset if the job works out," he thought as he walked towards his
car. Construction, a normal job and one that usually paid fairly well,
not working for minimum wage and fighting for his life every night.
Things were definitely looking up. He was nearly to the door when a
scream shattered the calm night, " Help! Somebody help me!" * I should
have seen that coming* he thought sarcastically. Despite his sarcasm, his
feet were rapidly heading away from the car and towards the direction of
the scream, running on instinct, the soldier and hyena acting in concert
with years of slaying to lead him cautiously towards the mouth of a dark
alley. * Unless it's a vamp, I'm probably in way too deep over my head*
he thought. It didn't stop him from slipping the stake he kept in his
jacket's inner pocket out into his hand and creeping into the alley;
every sense alert for trouble.

It wasn't too hard to find it turned out. At the end of the alley, a
large man was standing over the form of a young woman, Xander couldn't
make out too many details from his distance, but she didn't seem to be in
immediate danger. She'd backed away from the man as far as she could, a
good two or three feet separating them. * Ok kid * the soldier said *
just take it slow, then you can get the drop on him * The hyena simply
urged him to hunt, to kill and Xander shook it off with only slight
difficulty, edging close enough to hear the two figures at the alley's
end. " Please," the young woman whimpered, " don't do this. You don't
want to touch me. Really." The man just laughed, tossing his head back,
revealing the distinctive facial ridges of a vampire, " Oh, I'm going to
do more than touch you girlie".
* God, do they have a hand book for bad lines like that? * Xander
wondered, thankful that the problem he was facing was a familiar one *
huh, never thought I'd be thankful to see a vamp *.
" Ah'm warning you. Whatever you are, don't touch me" the young woman
said. Despite the slight tremor in her voice, Xander could detect the
steel underneath, something the vamp either didn't or consciously chose
to ignore. " And what'll happen if I do girlie?" he snarled, advancing on
her. " You'll get hurt" she said simply. The simple, honest declaration
stopped the vampire in his tracks as he broke down in a momentary fit of
laughter. * Time to make my entrance * Xander thought. " I'd listen to
the lady if I were you ass face," he said, stepping away from the
shadows. Both individuals turned to look at him at the same time. "
Please," the young woman asked, clearly afraid, " help me." . " Don't
worry ma'am," Xander said, tipping an imaginary hat to her, " this'll
only take a minute."

" You've got that right," the vampire growled, clearly not amused. "
You, don't go anywhere girlie. I think you'll make a pretty sweet dessert
after I deal with this clown". Grabbing her exposed throat, he slammed
her against the wall. It was the last mistake he would ever make. As soon
as his cool undead hand made contact with her exposed skin, they both
began to scream, until the vampire let her drop to the ground, barely
standing himself. Xander didn't know what the hell had just happened, but
he wasn't going to let a good opportunity pass him by. Rushing forward,
he tackled the vamp to the ground and drove the stake into its heart,
dusting it. " Ok, so I lied," he grinned, " it took less than a minute."
Standing in front of the dazed young woman, Xander had a chance to get a
good look at her. She was young, perhaps seventeen or eighteen like
himself, with a very delicate build that hinted at not having eaten for a
while. She had long brown hair and large expressive brown eyes. Her eyes
were the most telling thing about her, it was as if she'd seen too much
too soon. He knew that look all to well; it'd been in his own eyes in the
bathroom mirror every morning since he learned the reality of the world.
" Hey, are you alright?" he asked, offering her a hand up * Hmmm she's
wearing gloves in this weather? * was his last thought, before one of her
gloved hands turned into a fist and caught him squarely in the jaw,
knocking him to the other side of the alley with its force.