Title: The Dopplegang Effect
Warnings: Alcohol-abuse, Angst, Child-abuse, Crossover, Dark, Jean-bashing, Language, NCS, OOC?, Rogue-bashing, Xander-torture, Violence, Yoai/Slash.
Disclaimer: Buffy, the Vampire Slayer does not belong to Becka, nor do the X-men; characters are used without permission for a non-profit purpose. No infringement is intended.
Note: This is not exactly based on X and X2. I'm mucking around with the times frames, ages, and events, and making a bit of a blend between the movie-verse, the animated series, and the comics. Short version: the school and Professor from the movie; Rogue and Bobby roughly the same age as Xander (19); Jean not dead, some mutant students from the movie, etc. So blame all inconsistencies on me; I have my reasons. (Or I just couldn't remember what happened in a certain part, so I made it up...)
It was bad. Worse than usual, that was for sure.
He'd sort of gotten used to it over the years. Not comfortable with it, but he and pain had a fairly decent relationship. He accepted it, understood it, but he didn't like it. He never would. And it was a friend to him, he supposed, in a sick, sad way. It stayed with him everyday, more loyal than a mastiff, and just as dangerous.
Looking himself over in the mirror, he had to grimace. Not just at these latest additions to his body, the bloody welts on his back, the angry black and purple bruises on his side, the lovely shiner his eye now sported, but the older scars and burns as well. People assumed he wore obnoxious baggy clothing because he had no taste; in truth, looser clothing was less likely to rub and chafe against whatever injury he might be recovering from, and if people were so busy being appalled at how his orange and purple shirt clashed with his khakis, they were less likely to notice the damage underneath.
Maybe he'd been a tyrant in his previous life, he mused as he carefully stepped into the shower and washed his back with hiss of pain. Maybe that was why he deserved to have the snot beaten out of him on a daily basis. His father never needed a reason; his very existence seemed to do the trick. Or maybe, he conceded as he gently taped up his ribs just in case there was more damage from those last few kicks than he realized, maybe he just had really shitty luck.
He'd long ago accepted that he must be somehow flawed if his father hated him so. This opinion of himself was reinforced every time Buffy, Willow, or Giles made a crack they thought was over his head. He didn't really blame them. He'd help them fight the good fight because he believed what they were doing was right, but he didn't think he owed them anything. Maybe at one time he had... but the donut runs and the casual use of his life as bait for whatever nasty lurked in the night had quickly dispelled him of that notion.
Today Buffy had told him, straight to his face, that he wasn't needed; he just got in her way. Giles had been lost in his texts and manuscripts trying to avert the crisis-o'-the-week; the man he had come to associate with the word "father" no longer had time for him. Willow was lost in her own magic and Tara, and Tara was so wrapped up in Willow she wouldn't have noticed the Apocalypse descending. And Dawnie... well, she was only just beginning to discover herself, and he didn't begrudge her that. The only one who seemed to listen to him was Spike, and if that didn't make him pathetic, he didn't know what would.
They weren't bad people, just like his parents weren't truly evil. They were just human, with their upsides and their flaws and their blind fumbling through life to try and better themselves and deal with the issues around them. He didn't hate them, but in the same regard, he couldn't really love them either. He stayed with them, yes, but he was human too. He used them to satisfy his need for friendship and affection. If they were belittling his intelligence, well, at least they were aware of his existence.
So he played their fool, their friend, their zeppo. He played the part of dutiful son to his parents. He was a hard worker and a decent guy at whatever job of the month he felt like going to. But something in him was stirring. Something in the air pressed upon him so heavily it was hard to breathe. Something was building, and even if he wanted to, he was powerless to stop it.
Something had to change.
After Buffy had told him he wasn't needed, and he'd realized that everyone else was too wrapped up in his or her own world to say otherwise, he'd nodded. He told her good-bye. He told all of them good-bye. And Spike was the only one who heard him. He could feel the vampire's eyes on his back as he walked out the door, and the expression was one he hadn't been able to place. He went to his house and started packing. About halfway through his father found him, beat him when he realized he was loosing four hundred a month in rent, and left to grab a beer.
Now that he was cleaned up, he finished packing efficiently, taking only the bare essentials: a sleeping bag, his sturdiest clothing, toiletries, weaponry, a few pictures and personal items, and his wallet. He walked up the stairs and out of his basement, through the door and out of his home. And, with a liberated smile, he got into his car and drove away from his life.
Xander sat at one of the bar stools in a seedy little place on the outskirts of town and waved at the boy behind the counter. The kid didn't look any older than sixteen. "Two shots of tequila to start with, and a bottle of LaBatts," he said. He smiled when he was asked for ID.
With a casual flip of his wrist, he pulled out his wallet and presented his fake ID. The boy glanced at it, nodded, and then ran off to get his drinks.
Xander hated drinking, but it didn't stop him from getting smashed every night. He had so many cuts from beer bottles, and considering the overpowering scent of alcohol accompanied every word his father had ever spoken to him, it was a wonder he didn't vomit when he drank. Well, he did vomit, but that was usually after six or seven shots of tequila, and at least two sixers of LaBatts.
The bar was almost empty this time of night. Most of the demon population was either out munching on whatever unfortunate schmuck happened to be without a car, or enjoying themselves at Willy's "establishment." And most people in Sunnydale had long accepted that going out at night usually meant not coming back and had resigned themselves to watching TV or sleeping. There were a couple of frat boys in the corner, too drunk to care whether it was day or night, and three or four regulars lost in their own sorrows and drowning themselves with whatever they could afford. Fairly standard and not at all unusual.
The only person out of place was a burly, hairy, expressionless man who sat by himself in the corner. Xander knew he had to be from out of town - people just didn't _wear_ flannel in California. And that hair! It looked as if the older man had been savagely attacked by an 80's hairdresser.
Unlike the other drunks, he didn't hunker over the bar. Rather, he sat upright in his chair, his eyes wandering casually over the other occupants in the bar, much like Xander was doing, and what he'd affectionately termed, "casing a joint." It paid to know who might give you trouble in a place like this, where they were located in respect to you, how drunk they might be, and how many of their friends were sober enough to back them up.
The man's eyes finally met Xander's, and with a patented smile, Xander raised his beer. The man smiled back, showing more teeth than Xander believed any man should have, and the dark-haired boy took that as an invitation to pick up his drinks and slide into the seat nearest the older man. He slid one of his shots across the counter as a peace offering, and after a curious sniff, the man accepted it.
"Thanks, kid," he said gruffly. Actually, Xander conceded, he probably wasn't trying to be gruff. His voice was just that _deep_. There was an accent there, too, but he couldn't place it.
"No problem," he answered easily, though he bristled a bit at being called 'kid'. He downed the shot of tequila he had left, cleared his throat, and asked, "You're not from around here, are you?"
"Would you be askin' me if you thought I was?" the man countered.
Xander smiled, "Probably."
There was a moment of silence as the man downed his shot then took a sip of beer to chase it. Finally he answered, "No."
"You're a very quiet drunk."
"I'm not drunk."
"Then you're a very quiet person," he countered.
"I'm not one o' those, either." The man watched Xander from the corner of his eye as if to see how that comment would be taken.
The dark-haired boy leaned back a little, contemplating the older man. "What are you then? A vampire? A demon? A demigod? Please don't say you're one of those... my friends and I had a lot of trouble killing off the last one that came to town."
The man blinked at him and cocked his head to one side, studying him intently. He didn't say anything, so Xander continued with his usual babble.
"You're not a ghost or a poltergeist are you? Or a werewolf? Though it'd be kinda' cool if you were a werewolf. I'd have to introduce you to my friend Oz... he's still trying to learn about all the rules and history, if you know what a mean. Or are you a half-demon...? Nah, I guess that wouldn't work, 'cause you could still say you were part human..."
With a small smile, the man held up a hand to stop him. "You crazy?"
"Probably." Xander downed the rest of his beer to ease his throat. "So, what are you, then?"
"A mutant." Again, the man watched him closely.
"A mutant, huh? I've seen a little bit about them on the news. Mostly 'Mutants have blown up this building,' or 'Mutants have killed this person,' but there's just as much 'Humans have robbed this bank,' and 'Humans have blown up this school,' so I don't really put too much stock in it. Hell," he smiled softly, fondly recalling a few memories, "I've blown up a couple buildings in my day. Only one school though."
"You're odd. Fer a human, I mean." The man finished the last of his beer.
"True enough. What's your power?"
The man said shortly, "Healin'. Heightened senses."
"That's not too different from a vampire, I guess. Minus the bloodsucking part. And the sunlight thing. And the stake through the heart. Though I guess cutting off your head would kill you the same as them..." Xander ordered two more beers.
The man hesitated, then said, "You smell like blood, kid." He paused, "I could smell it on you the minute you came in."
Xander shrugged. "Doesn't surprise me. My back's still healing up. Word of advise - never take on a drunk when he's got a belt handy." He paid the boy for the beers, tossed one to his companion, and began to nurse his own.
"There's ol' blood, too."
"It doesn't help when you live with said drunk, either." Xander indicated his black eye. "Anyway, how long are you in town for?" Something began to stir in him again. That change he'd been looking for...
The man stared at him with a bit of sickened understanding and answered, "Leavin' tonight, prolly."
"Think you could stand a bit of company? I've been looking for a ride out of this shithole for years." It built and built, and he just rode with it.
"Job? Family? Friends?" The man hadn't said no offhand, and that was a start.
"Got fired yesterday, but I've got some money saved if that's what you're asking. I can pay for myself. I already told you about my old man, and as for my friends... well..." He smiled. "They'll just think a vamp got me."
"What do you want from me, kid?"
"A ride, some company, maybe to learn a thing or two. Mainly a ride, if you're not willing to provide the other two." He paused, then added, "And maybe if you could stop calling me 'kid.' I'd like that, too."
The man stared at his beer, and Xander had no idea what he was thinking, but he felt the change. He felt that this was what he'd been waiting for. He accepted it. And maybe, if he was honest with himself, he wanted it.
"I get a lot of shit fer bein' a mutant. Can you take care o' yourself?"
"A bit. But if you'd be willing to teach me, I'd be willing to learn."
"What's your name?"
"Xander. Well, Alexander, but I like Xander."
"You sure you want to do this?"
"Yeah." Xander grinned, "Yeah, I'm sure. What's your name, by the way?"
"Logan. I don't know where I'm goin'..." Logan smiled again, and this time Xander managed to get passed all the teeth, "but yer welcome fer the ride."