No Longer the Zeppo

Author's notes: Infringements are meant, but I'm not making any money off this so please don't sue; you wouldn't get anything of value from me anyway.

Also, I wrote this in part due to a conversation I had with a friend about television shows that have a strong female lead that tend to emasculate male characters in an attempt to show how strong the female is. I find it offensive and cheap to take that route and tend to get annoyed when shows, movies, or books make the men into simpering girlfriends. It cheapens the character and detracts from what true feminism really is supposed to be. To make another character or person appear weak to emphasize the "strength" of another is cheap and a weakness in the writing. Personally, I hated the way the show underutilized the character of Xander. So, I decided to have fun with the character and put him in an AU where the 5th, 6th, and 7th seasons (which I pretty much hated) did not exist with him actively in it, with a serving of a crossover with Kindred: The Embraced. In my universe, Larry the gay football player is alive and so will be Tara. Please forgive any errors with either show, as I have not seen either in quite awhile. Also, with the Kindred universe, I am basing the 'facts' from what was done in the show, not necessarily the RPG. I haven't played the game in years nor do I really want to. If there are errors, let me know nicely or just chalk it up to this being an AU story and a product of my weird mind.

Warning: Flagrant use of potty language – you've been warned.

Chapter 1

It has been a year since they had graduated from high school. Cordillia had moved to L.A. in hopes of becoming a star. Oz was on some sort of self-imposed sabbatical in hopes of understanding and controlling his werewolf nature. Willow had split up with Oz and gained a girlfriend. Buffy was still the Slayer and had just completed her first year of college. Dawn was going to start high school the next year. Giles and Anya were the proprietors of The Magic Box and were heavily involved in supplying the more magical minded of Sunnydale.

Xander Harris, though, was just staring to find his own. He had finally landed a decent job with a local construction company. That, plus his stormy relationship with Anya, a former Demon, and the occasional helper-monkey duties of being a Slayerette kept him busy.

Right now, on a Friday night, he was on the road, headed to San Francisco on an errand for Giles and to see his old friend from high school, Larry. Giles needed a book that a dealer had obtained from some sort of estate sale and Larry, who had moved to San Francisco to go to college, had invited him up a while back. Since it beat paying for a motel room, Xander took his friend up on his offer and would be staying with him and his roommates for the weekend.

It was late by the time he arrived at Larry's; the drive had been long and he had put in a full day at work earlier. He barely had the energy to greet Larry, the roommates, and Larry's boyfriend. Larry showed him the couch where he could crash and as soon as his head hit the pillow he was out like a light.

The next day, after several cups of coffee and a hot shower, he was able to face the day. Larry's apartment mates were pretty nice. They were three guys from his school's football team who were apparently cool with Larry being out. Larry's boyfriend was pretty nice too. Similar to Larry in build, very manly in Xander's opinion; neither of them were a stereotype of what the typical gay man was supposed to be like.

Xander swung by the book dealer's store and picked up Giles' latest find: Demonology – a Study into the Dark Mind. The dealer assured Xander that it was a rare first edition and was well worth the cost; like Xander really cared.

Once that was done, he met Larry and Reed, the boyfriend, for lunch down at the Pier. During lunch Reed asked Xander if what Larry had told him about the darker side to Sunnydale was true. Xander, with a raised eyebrow in Larry's direction, confirmed that indeed there were such things as werewolves, demons, and the like and that Sunnydale was a Hellmouth.

"So you guys really did blow up your high school during graduation?" Reed asked in amazement.

"Yep," Xander affirmed. "The mayor turned himself into a snake-demon and wanted to eat the senior class as a way to herald his ascension. It turned out to be a great bar-be-que for us all."

"You should have seen Xan here," Larry gushed. "He was like our general, making sure that we all knew what to do in the fight."

Xander frowned and shrugged. "It wasn't that big of a deal. I just used the memories of when I was turned into a super soldier for Halloween."

"It was too a big deal. You were a rock out there when everyone else was ready to panic," Larry protested.

"You were turned into a soldier?" Reed asked, confused.

"Yeah, evil man with an evil costume shop turned everyone into their costume. Luckily, I was turned into a soldier and not something stupid and helpless," Xander snorted.

"Is this a normal occurrence for you guys?"

Larry and Xander looked at each other and grinned.

"It seems that way," Xander explained. "I've been possessed by a hyena spirit and a soldier, a coach tried to turn the swim team into frog spawn, chased after by a killer clown from hell, dated a Incan mummy that tried to suck my soul out of my body, almost got eaten by my science teacher that turned out to be a praying mantis, fought vampires and demons on a regular basis, went to the Prom with an ex-vengeance demon, and dated the head cheerleader."

"Have you ever considered relocating? Somewhere far away," Reed said after a few moments.

"Every fucking day," Xander said heavily.

"What's going on Xan? You were always the up one in the class. No matter how bad things got, you were always the positive one. What's changed?" Larry asked picking up that something was really wrong with his friend.

"Nothing really I guess. I have a good job, but the whole saving the world from the Apocalypse on an almost weekly basis is getting old. Plus the others treat me like I need some sort of protection, just because I don't have Slayer powers or can do magic. They send me out on errands, to get a book, get the coffee, doughnuts, whatever. I'm tired of being the Zeppo of the group."

"Why don't you leave? Stay here in San Fran. There are a lot of construction jobs up here, go to school, do whatever you want. Start over and be what you want to be. Its quiet here, no Hellmouth, no hordes of vampires," Larry suggested. "Coming to San Francisco gave me a chance to be me; I didn't have to be the asshole that I was in high school. People were okay with me being openly gay, plus I got to meet Reed here," Larry said, affectionately squeezing his lover's hand.

"Maybe," Xander said, staring out into the Bay, thinking about what Larry had said.

A/N: Please review. If you must criticize, please be constructive about it. Cheers!